Tuesday, December 30, 2008



Our leaders are going to “review a number of possible cease solutions”? There should only be ONE cease fire solution and IT SHOULD BE NOTHING SHORT OF


Anything less than that, and every enemy of Israel will prick their ears in anticipation of attacking us.

Look, we will never be the media’s darling, ever. We are not “good little xtians,” we are not “professional arab victims,” and we are not “poor african people.” We are Jews. The only time the world loves us is when we are victims of a holocaust, we have intermarried with them and forgotten who we are, or when we exist in some animated Bible story that shows how their god-on-a-stick was a Jew. They don’t like Jews with guns who defend their land, they don’t like Jews who are successful, and they don’t like Jews who demand justice.

Forget approval and look for fear. This is the best way, the only way, that Jews get peace from our arab brothers—when they fear us. Then they will be nice because they respect us.

As for the Europeans and the Americans and the rest of the arab world, who cares? They hate us any way. Why care if they hate us a bit more? Being hated is liberating! We shouldn’t’ feel the need to impress people who will never be impressed by anything short of our dramatic and painful demise. Just act as we see fit an that’s it.

Let’s pummel the shit out of Hamas until they come crawling and bloody to our feet, then make them kiss our feet before we shoot them dead.

This is the only way we can have peace.

Dec 30, 2008 18:12 | Updated Dec 30, 2008 19:20

Israeli leaders to discuss suspending Operation Cast Lead

Officials in the defense establishment have recommended to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to suspend military operations against Hamas in Gaza for 48 hours and during that time to review a number of possible ceasefire solutions for Operation Cast Lead.

Senior Israeli ministers were Tuesday night reportedly set to discuss the proposal. If the unilateral ceasefire would fail, Israel would launch a ground offensive, according to reports.

Olmert reportedly opposed suspending the operation. Barak was reportedly weighing the idea.

The recommendation, disclosed by defense sources on Tuesday evening, came after Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner earlier in the day.

The IDF issued a statement that it was not recommending a ceasefire.

The defense establishment is suggesting that Israel use the suspension of operations to carefully study Hamas's intentions; whether the group was planning to escalate the violence by renewing attacks inside the country or whether it would opt to stop its rocket attacks against the South altogether.

It was possible that Operation Cast Lead, the massive bombardment since Saturday of Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, had already made clear to Hamas that the "rules of the game" had changed and that Israel will no longer tolerate rocket fire against its civilians, the unnamed defense establishment officials said.

France, which suggested the temporary suspension of operations, was the first non-Arab country to call for Israel to halt the operation, its president calling using Israel's use of force "disproportionate."

A Hamas spokesman said Tuesday evening that the Islamic terror group is conditioning a cease-fire on an opening of Gaza's borders.

The spokesman, Mushir Masri, spoke after news broke of the Israeli defense officials' recommendation.

Masri said an end to the fighting was not enough. He said that if Israel halted "the aggression and the blockade, then Hamas will study these suggestions."

Sorry Hillary! The War Started Without You!


Let's hope that Hillary's newfound pro-Israel stance (that she adopted for the Senate seat for NY and, I believe strongly, was only for that purpose) holds as she takes the reins of Secretary of State from that horrid Bush lap-dog Condi Rice.

I fear that Hillary will show her true colors, however. Most people either don't know (or prefer to forget) that Hillary was the chairperson of a fundraiser for Americans for Peace Now while her husband was president and I fear, greatly, that we saw the real Hillary then and not now.

I guess we will soon see where she really stands. I just hope she is with us.

Meanwhile, I thought it was pretty dang smart of Obama to select her for Secretary of State. After all, there is no better way to destroy someone's chances of becoming president than by naming them to that particular office.

Remember how popular Colin Powell was BEFORE he was Secretary of State? How about Condi Rice? Remember how they all thought she would be president some day, and now people can't even stand the sight of her?

Hillary will take that spot, become horribly hated, and forget ever challenging Obama again. It was a very nice political trick for Obama, a win-win. He unifies the party and destroys his major competitor, all in one fell swoop.

By the way, can ANYONE EVER remember a former Secretary of State going on to become president??? Well, actually, six have--but all were before the Civil War: Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, J. Q. Adams, Van Buren, Buchanan.

I highly doubt Hillary will ever grab that brass ring.


WASHINGTON - Israel's attacks on Gaza could test Hillary Rodham Clinton's mettle as the next top US diplomat mediating between Israelis and Palestinians.

As incoming President Barack Obama's secretary of state, she will have to overcome a view of some in the Arab world that she is more interested in supporting Israel than being evenhanded.

Clinton could find herself pursuing the same Middle East peace that eluded her husband, former President Bill Clinton, in the final months of his presidency in 2000.

University of Maryland professor Shibley Telhami said opinion polls he conducted earlier this year in Arab countries indicated Clinton was viewed as someone who, like her husband, would work to advance Middle East peace.

"Bill Clinton had a much more positive image in the Middle East [than George W. Bush], and Hillary is seen in a similar light," he said, adding that her past support for Israel would not necessarily count against her with Arabs.

But even if Clinton were ready to take on the role of peace broker early on, the upsurge in violence and Israeli and Palestinian elections expected over the next two months would likely delay meaningful discussions. "There is too much blood spilled for this to end quickly," said Telhami.

Aaron Miller, who advised six secretaries of state in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, said Clinton was respected in the region and disputed that she was viewed as pro-Israeli. He said Clinton's personal and political battles as a former presidential candidate made her tough and resilient - desirable attributes in Middle East diplomacy.

More important than her prowess as a mediator will be how high a priority Obama makes the Israeli-Palestinian issue among the many challenges facing his new administration. "She will have to do the heavy lifting, but she must be empowered and backed up and supported by the president," said Miller, at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.

Sen. Clinton, who lost the Democratic presidential nomination to Obama, needs to maintain a strong relationship with the new president to be effective, he added.

While well-versed in foreign affairs, Clinton has yet to be tested in a crisis, such as the Israeli offensive against Gaza to suppress Palestinian rocket fire against its citizens.

The Bush administration has so far backed Israel's actions in Gaza and demanded that Hamas stop firing rockets into Israel and agree to a lasting cease-fire.

Edward Walker, former US ambassador to Israel and Egypt, said Clinton should go to the region early. Her confirmation hearings are expected in mid-January and she could take office immediately after Obama's Jan. 20 inauguration.

"What the administration needs to do is to say that we consider Israeli-Palestinian peace a priority but that we cannot force the parties into an agreement unless they are prepared for an agreement," Walker said.

Smart Bombs and Smart PR--IDF Launches Youtube Gaza Channel


It appears that Israel has suddenly caught on to the PR angle of technology and technology savvy journalists and bloggers. Thank Hashm!

It isn't realtime, but it is very commanding video of some very commanding moments. I don't know about you, but I still love the idea of "good guy -vs- bad guy," and, unlike a lot of people who try to get their comments through my moderation, I have no problem telling the good guys from the bad guys!

I can't believe all these wackos who write to my blog telling me how Israel is in "violation of international law" etc. etc. etc. Pleeeeeeze.

Look, you dimwits! We LEFT GAZA IN ORDER TO PURSUE YOUR MYTHICAL "PEACE" PROCESS AND IT ONLY BROUGHT US VIOLENCE AND WAR. We did it your way, now it is time to do it the RIGHT way.

So, just save your stupid comments for some talkback at CNN, OK? Israel hate doesn't get published on my blog, and I don't care about your weirdo ideas of "Journalistic fairness." There is no such thing, people. Lefties already have CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, ABC, BBC and Al Jazeera.

All I have is Foxnews and this blog. (And Foxnews isn't all that reliable, OK?)

You want equality in the news? Start another right-wing blog! When we have about 5 million right-wing, pro-Israel bloggers, we can start to talk about "equality of the news" OK?


Dec 30, 2008 14:33 | Updated Dec 30, 2008 16:01

IDF launches YouTube Gaza channel

In the midst of its Gaza operations, the IDF is entering yet another conflict zone: the Internet. The Israeli army announced yesterday the creation of its own YouTube channel, through which it will disseminate footage of precision bombing operations in the Gaza Strip, as well as aid distribution and other footage of interest to the international community.

IAF destroys Grad truck
Footage shows terrorists loading vehicle with missiles; Navy joins op.

"The blogosphere and new media are another war zone," said IDF Foreign Press Branch head Maj. Avital Leibovich. "We have to be relevant there."

Her sentiment reflects a growing awareness in the Israeli government that part of the failure of the 2006 Second Lebanon War was Israel's lack of readiness for the intense media debate surrounding its operations.

Since the beginning of the Gaza air strikes, Israeli politicians have been appearing regularly on the largest international news networks to defend the IDF. Leibovich's YouTube initiative is another piece of the new media offensive.

Some of the footage might be considered disturbing, such as one video that allegedly depicts men loading rockets onto a pickup truck, to be driven to the border and launched into Israel. The grainy, silent, black-and-white video was transmitted from a plane flying overhead. Moments after the men finish loading their cargo, they are hit by an IAF air strike.

Leibovich was not overly concerned. "The intelligent audience watching the footage will know that people killed did not have peaceful intentions toward Israel," she said. "I don't believe they'll be disturbed."

"The important thing is to get the truth out there," she added, noting that her office, in addition to curating the YouTube channel, had delivered multiple private briefings to bloggers around the world. She said that members of her department were also getting ready to start their own "vlogs," a new media term for regularly posting videos of oneself speaking one's mind in diary form.

Members of the IDF's various foreign desks intend to use these vlogs to discuss a number of aspects of the conflict, in both English and Arabic, in a personal setting that they hope will overcome the stiffness of television news.

The Youtube channel may be accessed at: http://www.youtube.com/user/idfnadesk

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Get Out Of The Way UNIFIL! We Have Some Unfinished Business As Hizbullah Wacko, Nasrallah, Calls for Opening Second Front in Northern Israel


This is what the failure to secure a complete victory has done for us. Our enemies still remember the Lebanon war in which we retreated before we were done. We can’t ever let that happen again. If Hizbullah attacks, then we must face them full force and destroy them—UNIFIL or not. In fact, I would expect that Olmert, Livni, and Peres are on the phone right now encouraging the UNIFIL workers to get the hell out of dodge.

I saw some blog entries earlier asking the question “Why are we calling up reserves? Why do we need reserves right now?” The answer, my friends, is Hizbullah. We need all our reserves because we know he is planning to attack. We knew it last Thursday when Lebanon diffused the ticking rockets on the border.

Our enemies will try to attack us from all sides. Right now the government is in disarray with elections coming, the US president is a lame duck waiting to leave office, and the arabs are desperate to raise funds right now because oil is at a 20 year low and they are, frankly, feeling the pinch. Hizbullah doesn’t want Hamas to get all the money! They will try to cause trouble too. After all, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, right?

If Israel hadn’t been so quick to accept the yoke of the US demands last time, we wouldn’t be having these problems now. Hamas and Hizbullah would be too afraid to mess with Israel. But, unfortunately, we need to fight this war not only to get some semblance of peace, but also to get renewed respect from our enemies.

May Hashm bless our troops with victory, with life, and with luck, and may Israel scare the shit out of everyone in the region once more.

Peace can only be achieved through a commanding, decisive, overwhelming victory which insures deterrence. Without that, we will be fighting every day until the end of time.

Hizbullah Vows to Open Second Front in Gaza Conflict
by Hana Levi Julian

(IsraelNN.com) Hizbullah terrorists have vowed to open a second front against Israel in the north in retaliation for the IDF military operation against Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

Terrorist chief Hassan Nasrallah issued a statement on Hizbullah's Al-Manar television station Sunday, vowing that "northern Israel will burn as Gaza is burning." Nasrallah rarely appears in person; he speaks via a video hook-up from his hideout due to fears of assassination by Israeli agents, following the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

Hizbullah officials were quoted in a number of Arabic-language publications on Saturday warning that they would not permit Israel to attack Gaza without retaliating.

Last week seven Katyusha rockets were discovered primed and ready for launching in southern Lebanon, located near the northern border of Israel. All seven were aimed at targets in the Jewish State.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, anticipating such a reaction, warned Hizbullah Saturday night in his speech informing the nation about the military operation in Gaza that any "others who may seek to take advantage of the situation would be wise not to."

The last time Israel faced a two-front war was in June 2006, when a military conflict began with a cross-border raid by Hamas terrorists near the Kerem Shalom Crossing with Gaza that resulting in the kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Two other soldiers were killed and a fourth soldier was critically wounded in the attack. Shalit remains captive in Gaza to this day.

Less than a month later, in July 2006, Hizbullah terrorists carried out a cross-border raid in northern Israel, kidnapping and ultimately murdering IDF reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.

The attack, which was conducted simultaneously with the launch of a barrage of Katyusha rockets at Jewish communities in northern Israel, opened a second front in the military conflict that had began with Gaza, and ignited the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

Traitorous Israeli Arabs Riot in Sympathy with Hamas. Now they show their true colors! Let's identify and deport them NOW.

Welcome Terrorist Sympathizers from Haloscan! I know you are here to see my treacherous Jewishness exposed, but as you will notice, I am speaking out against TERRORISTS, not "Palestinians." It is YOUR choice to believe they are one-in-the-same.

What does that say about YOU?

Enjoy! I haven't changed a thing in my post but this welcome. I have nothing to hide.

You, however, do.

I hope your homeland security services are watching your list. I'm sure they are! After all, it wasn't hard for me to find you.



P.S. Oh, and by the way, thanks to my dear friend, Sophia, for recommending my site, and for encouraging you to come! (You know "Sophia" is a Jewish name, right? And, of course, that she must read my blog A LOT or she wouldn't have been able to recommend it!) Every hit on my blog is more popularity for me in the Google searches and more exposure for my blog. You are wonderful, really. Thanks and Kisses! --M


We must remember that we are at war.

The rules are different when one is at war, and we need to make that clear.

Right now, the road between Hevron and Gush Etzion is closed due to rock attacks by rioting arabs. Two children have been injured—one, a small baby injured by a rock thrown at the car, and a one-year-old who was hit by glass shards from a rock through a car window.

Also, many Arabs rioted in E. Jerusalem.

Hopefully, our leaders will see what kind of “friends” these arabs are who are inside Israel. Can you imagine giving half of Jerusalem to these barbarians? We would be fighting a war every week.

I suggest that any arab who is arrested in violent protests or in rock-throwing in sympathy with Hamas should have their Israeli citizenship revoked and be immediately deported to Gaza. Likewise, any "guest" from another country who is arrested in such a protest should also be forcibly escorted back to their native land and encouraged not to return, ever.

I am not suggesting that we deport people who are involved in civilized, non-violent protest. That should always be protected speech for any side of any conflict.

However, if the protesters are involved in violent behavior, trying to hurt our citizens and fight an internal war, start internal strife that saps our defense when we are threatened from the outside, then we should investigate their true allegiances. Are they truly Israeli citizens, who identify with Israel, and who love Israel, or are they simply our enemies, identifying with our foes, waiting for a chance to strike?

We have a hard enough time with our external enemies. We need to make sure that we eliminate, the enemies inside Israel.

I understand that troops have used live fire to disperse a violent rock-throwing mob in Naalin. It's about time we recognized this activity for what it is--a possible attempt to infiltrate Israel, an attempt to overburder our security forces, and a danger to our national security infrastructure.

Any violent protest, right now, needs to be taken very seriously and answered with commanding, if not deadly, force.


Mashaal Calls for 'Third Intifada,' Israeli Arabs Declare Strike
by Gil Ronen

(IsraelNN.com) Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal called Saturday night for a "third intifada" against Israel, speaking from Damascus following the IAF attack on Gaza earlier in the day.

According to Channel 2's Arab affairs correspondent, the strategy of the terrorist group is to ignite rioting in Judea and Samaria as well as inside Israel, with the aid of the Islamic Movement.

MK Yitzchak Aharonovich (Yisrael Beiteinu, "Israel Our Home"), a former Deputy Commissioner of the Israel Police, said Saturday evening that "the Israeli nation has a new opportunity to find out on which side the leadership of Israel's Arabs rests and to whom they owe their allegiance. The police must react with an iron fist against any kind of provocation on their part," he added.

Aharonovich was joined by his colleague at Yisrael Beiteinu, Dr. Uzi Landau, a former Minister of Public Security, who called upon the Israel Police to "immediately dismantle the mourners' tent put up in Jaffa by Arabs in identification with Hamas, and prepare to… prevent such provocations in the future."

Police are preparing for the possibility of extensive rioting in northern Israel.

The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, an umbrella group of Arab organizations, declared a national strike in the Arab sector beginning Sunday morning.

Hundreds of Arabs who are Israeli citizens rioted in response to the IDF's operation in Gaza on Saturday.

Arabs in Yafo (Jaffa) hurled rocks at an Egged bus. The bus was not carrying passengers at the time. Arab residents in eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods threw rocks at police.

Also in eastern Jerusalem, hundreds of Arabs attacked Israel Police and Border Police forces with rocks at the entrance to the Shuafat neighborhood. In a separate incident, several dozen Arab youths from eastern Jerusalem set alight garbage bins on Salah a-Din Street and were dispersed by police. No one was hurt and one suspect was arrested.

An Arab attempted to run over an Israeli policeman near the Old City of Jerusalem Saturday night. He hit the officer and injured him lightly in the leg. The driver was apprehended and is being questioned.

In the Muslim quarter, Arabs threw rocks at Border Police. Police officers arrested four people.

Calls to block Route 65
According to Ynet, hundreds of members of the radical Arab Ibna Al-Balad movement demonstrated in the northern Arab city of Umm El Fahm and chanted a call for the "redemption" of Gaza "with blood and fire." Another demonstration took place nearby in the Kara Junction.

Arab members of the communist Hadash movement also demonstrated in Umm El-Fahm and Nazareth. In the mosques, speakers called for residents to seal off Route 65 which passes through the largely Arab Wadi Ara area, near Megiddo. Dozens of supporters of the Arab Ra'am-Ta'al party, which is headed by MK Ahmed Tibi, demonstrated against the operation in the northern town of Sakhnin.

Arab leaders in Israel called the IDF attack on Gaza a "war crime."

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Update: Court Reverses Reversal Ratzon Loses in Supreme Court Case Against Likud

Update: Court Reverses Reversal

Supreme Court: Michael Ratzon Won't Get 21st Spot

(IsraelNN.com) The Supreme Court on Sunday night overruled Saturday night's decision by the Tel Aviv District Court to give Michael Ratzon the 21st spot on the Likud list of candidates for Knesset in the February elections. The Supreme Court ruling puts Ratzon in the 34th position on the ballot.

The decision means that Moshe Feiglin, Ehud Yatom and Tal Brodie also remain in spots on the ballot with a relatively low chance of being elected to the Knesset.

Well, Bibi was determined to destroy Likud single-handedly through his hatred to Feiglin. However, it appears Likud will be saved by the TA Court--who has ruled the Primary results must be restored, at least for Ratzon.

Feiglin will have to send a letter to Likud to be reinstated to his No. 20 slot. Let's see if he actually does it, or if he wishes to play the martyr a bit longer.

The final lists are to be posted tomorrow, so he better be quick with his letter. Hopefully, Likud will not completely lose its mandates, as I would hate to see Livni as PM. I mean, Bibi isn't much better, but with the right wing in prominent positions in the Knesset, they may be able to tie his hands enough to keep him from destroying what is left of Israel after Olmert leaves office.

Court Verdict Means Feiglin Might Be No. 20 After All
by Gil Ronen

(IsraelNN.com) A Tel Aviv District Court verdict Saturday night may mean another chance for Jewish Leadership faction head Moshe Feiglin to win a Knesset seat on the Likud list.

The court ruled in favor of Likud candidate Michael Ratzon in a motion he filed against the party's decision to change the initial result of its primaries. As a result of the ruling, which came in a last-minute court session before the Sunday deadline for political parties to submit their Knesset candidates' lists, the Likud will be forced to reinstate Ratzon in the 24th slot, after having bumped him down to the 37th slot.

The decision drastically improves the chances that Feiglin will also regain his place in the 20th slot of the party's Knesset list. Another candidate who may benefit is Ehud Yatom.

"The [Likud] Elections Committee lacked the authority to change the result of the elections," Judge Yehuda Zaft determined in his verdict.

'Justice has been restored'
Ratzon said in response that "justice has been restored and the democratic process, as determined by the Likud members, has won. There are judges in Israel."

The judge did not determine the fate of Yatom and Feiglin because they did not file motions. However, he referred to Feiglin in his decision.

Regarding Feiglin's initial election to a slot with a very realistic chance of entering the Knesset, Judge Zaft determined: "It seems that there is no room for doubt that this election did not make the Likud chairman and its leadership very happy," he wrote. "In his motion, the plaintiff describes the moves which preceded the appeal to the Election Committee and it is clear that the move was intended to change the list in such a way that [Moshe Feiglin] would be distanced from the high and realistic position he had reached."

If Feiglin and Yatom file motions with the court, they stand a good chance of winning, following the verdict in Ratzon's motion.

A senior Likud source said Saturday evening that if Feiglin files a formal request to the Likud's legal institutions, "there is a very good chance that he will be returned to the 20th slot he was elected to in the primaries."

Don't waste compassion on the Gazans. The people in Gaza elected Hamas. They did nothing to protest the rockets. Whatever they get, they deserve.


While we are all sitting watching the newscasters who, by the way, completely ignored the story of rockets falling on the heads of Israeli school children, elderly, farmers, business people, and factory workers--lets all remember this:

The people in Gaza elected Hamas. They have supported the goals of Hamas (including "wiping Israel from the face of the map"). They have protected the Hamas leadship, and they have marched in rallies in support of Hamas. When Israel told them to stop the rocket fire or the IDF would come down of them, they did nothing to protest the rocket fire. When the rocket fire increased, they still did nothing.

They were the ones who said the cease fire was over (as if it ever existed in the first place!)

Whatever they get, they deserve.

And all those little kids? I'm sorry. I just see "Jihadists in Training." I dont' see any little kids. They aren't growing up in innocence and sweetness. They are growing up steeped in hate for my people. They watch TV shows about killing Jews and pose in suicide-bomber suits.

And when the newscasters spew the "civilian casualty" line--please remember that Gaza doesn't have an official military so, technically, they are all civilians. Just substitute the world "terrorist" for "civilian" as you hear each report and you should be fine.

Steele your heart. These are terrorists, the children of terrorists, the spouses of terrorists, the sisters and brothers and mothers and fathers of terrorists. If they weren't, then why did they vote for Hamas? Why didn't they take down that government?

My compassion is reserved for truly innocent victims of violence. My compassion is reserved for the people of Sedrot and Ashkelon.


Dec 27, 2008 17:23 | Updated Dec 28, 2008 0:29
225 killed as Israel rains fire on Hamas in the Gaza Strip

In the heaviest military strike against the Gaza Strip since the 1967 Six Day War, the Israel Air Force bombed over 170 targets on Saturday, killing more than 225 Palestinians, as Israel launched "Operation Cast Lead," aimed at putting a stop to Hamas rocket attacks against the South.

Barak says 'now is the time to fight'; Livni explains Israel's stance to Int'l community

In two waves, over 100 fighter jets and attack helicopters dropped dozens of smart bombs and hundreds of tons of explosives on Hamas training camps, headquarters, weapons storehouses, underground missile silos and command-and-control centers scattered throughout the Gaza Strip.

In response, 80 Kassam rockets, Grad-model Katyushas and mortar shells pounded southern Israel throughout the day. One rocket scored a direct hit on an apartment building in Netivot, killing 58-year-old Beber Vaknin and wounding several others.

As ground forces amassed outside Gaza ahead of a possible ground operation, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that Saturday's aerial bombardment was just the opening salvo of a long operation that defense officials told The Jerusalem Post would likely last several weeks.

"There is a time for a cease-fire and a time to fight," Barak said. "Now is the time to fight."

Defiant Hamas leaders threatened revenge. Hamas "will continue the resistance until the last drop of blood," vowed spokesman Fawzi Barhoum.

Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal called on West Bank residents to rise up against Israel in a renewed intifada.

Soldiers from the Paratroop and Golani Brigades were deployed along the Gaza border ahead of the possible ground offensive. Defense officials said that anyone and anything identified with Hamas was a potential target.

At least two senior Hamas commanders were killed in the air strikes. One was identified as Maj.-Gen. Tawfiq Jabar, commander of the Gaza Strip police, who was killed at the Gaza Police Academy during a graduation ceremony; 70-80 Hamas operatives were reported killed in that attack.

Officials said that Israel did not plan on conquering the Gaza Strip or toppling the Hamas regime, but would likely continue the air strikes together with limited ground assaults against Hamas infrastructure and Kassam launch sites.

"We will not stop until Hamas halts its rocket attacks and terrorist activity," one senior defense official said.

The operation was given three goals - to stop Hamas's rocket attacks against Israel; to stop the smuggling of weapons into Gaza; and to stop Hamas's terrorist activity against Israel.

"Our purpose is to hit Hamas in such a way that will force it to halt any firing and other hostile activities against Israeli citizens and against the IDF," Barak said. "We will do everything it takes to defend our citizens and bring about a significantly improved situation along our border."

The IDF opened the underground military command-and-control center located at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv. Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi manned the post together with several top generals throughout the day. OC Air Force Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan was inside the IAF underground command-and-control center nearby.

"The goal of the operation was to shock, awe and deceive the Palestinians," a senior IDF officer said Saturday, referring to Barak's decision to open the crossings on Friday - done to deceive Hamas into believing that Israel was delaying a military response to the rocket attacks.

Reports that the cabinet planned to convene on Sunday to discuss the situation in Gaza were also aimed at deceiving Hamas.

The air strikes caused widespread panic and confusion in Gaza. Black clouds of smoke rose above the Strip, ruled by Hamas since June 2007. The IDF said it had avoided striking at targets next to schools and inside densely-populated apartment buildings, but urged Gazans to stay away from Hamas infrastructure.

The IDF Central Command also went on high alert out of concern that Hamas terrorists would try to infiltrate Israeli cities to perpetrate suicide bombings. Military sources said there was also worry that Hamas would try to kidnap soldiers in the West Bank and that Hizbullah might attack along the northern border.

Olmert cautioned Israel's enemies against trying to take advantage of the fact that Israel was busy in Gaza.

In a televised speech, Mashaal warned Israel that it would not achieve by fighting what it had been unable to achieve through diplomacy.

While the Damascus-based Hamas leader maintained that his organization was interested in renewing the cease-fire with Israel, he said this would only be possible if Israel and opened all crossings in and out of the Strip.

Mashaal defended his group's actions and the continued rocket attacks on Israel that led to the IAF offensive, saying Israel - and not Hamas - was responsible for the renewed bloodshed.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Some Sephardic Customs for the Holiday of Hanukka by Joseph Mosseri


Please forgive me for not posting these sooner, but I couldn't find them in my files until today.

Joseph Mosseri is not a rabbi, but he is probably one of the best learned men I know in the laws and customs of various Sephardic communities in the world.

You can definitely trust what he has to say, and if you have a correction, being the consumate scholar that he is, he will be quick to verify and correct anything he has published. He has a true love of Torah for Torah's sake and a true knowledge for knowledge sake. I am proud to say I am his friend.


Customs for the holiday of Hanukah
Written by Joseph Mosseri

1)The custom in Egypt was not to say Sidouq HaDin all 8 days of Hanoukah.

2)The custom amongst all Middle Eastern and North African Jewish communities
is to only use pure olive oil for the Hanoukah lights. The reason being that
this is considered to be the best way to fulfill the commandment and because
the holiday miracle occurred through olive oil.
3)When lighting, the custom as brought down by Maran, Hakham Yosef Karo, in
his Shoulhan 'Aroukh, is to start with the light on the right.
Meaning that on the first night when you are going to light, you begin with
the wick closest to your right hand.
On the second night, you begin with the wick adjacent to the one you lit on
the first night, them you light the one of the first night.
On the 3rd night, you begin with the newest wick, and work your way back to
the right.
And such is the manner on each night.
By the last night you'll be lighting that closest to your left hand first
and moving to your right. In the same manner that we write English or any
Western language.
Since the custom is to use oil wicks and not candles, we light with a candle
and after the obligatory lights are kindled, the Shamash, or extra wick is
kindled with the candle. The candle is then extinguished.
Since it is forbidden to use the Hanoukah lights for our own purposes and
lest someone use it for such, we always have the Shamash or extra wick lit.
That way if the lights are used we can say that we were using the shamash
and not the obligatory lights.
By the way Syrians pronounce it ShamOsh and not ShamAsh.

4)If you can safely light near your entranceway in order to publicize the
Hanoukah miracle to those who pass by in the street that is great. If not
you can feel comfortable knowing that you can follow the custom to light
inside the house where it will be publicized to the family members. This is
based upon MaHaRYQaSh ,in his gloss to the Shoulhan 'Aroukh, chapter 671.

5)The custom in many Sephardic communities is to follow the qabalah of the
AR"I (as brought down in the
Shoulhan 'Aroukh) for the berakhah and to say "Lehadliq Ner Hanoukah" and
not "....... shel hanoukah" even though that's the way it's mentioned in the
Gemara and among the Rishonim.
There are many reasons for this based upon both grammatical and mystical

6)On Mossae Shabbat (Saturday night), the Shoulhan 'Aroukh decreed that in
the synagogue the Hanoukah lights should be kindled first then habdalah
should be recited. And this is the way the law and custom was practiced in
Aleppo, Syria. On the other hand many posqim, rishonim and aharonim,
disagree with Maran regarding this, therefore there are variant customs.
The custom in both Cairo and Alexandria was to say Habdalah first, both in
the synagogue and at home.
The custom in Jerusalem, according to Hakham Mosheh Pardo who was Ab Bet Din
there, in his Shemo Mosheh, was also to say habdalah first even in the

7)The custom on Friday afternoon/evening of Hanoukah as brought down in the
HID"A's Birke Yosef in the name of Hakham Shemouel Abohab is to pray Minhah
in the synagogue the go home to kindle the Hanoukah lights, then to light
the Shabbat wicks, then to return to synagogue for Qabalat Shabbat and

The question of course arises that since we do not consider the lighting of
Shabbat lights as the acceptance of Shabbat, why must we light Hanoukah
prior to Shabbat lights? Isn't there a well known rule that Tadir ve She-eno
Tadir, Tadir Qodem, meaning that something that is done regularly done must
take precedence over something that is not usually done. Any comments?
(See comments I have received below. Item # 28).

8)On the Shabbat Eve occurring during Hanoukah, Bameh Madliqin is not

9)In the synagogue the Hanoukah lights need to be placed against the
Southern most wall. On the 1st night the Western most light will be lit
first, etc... This is based upon an old responsa of HaRaDBa"Z, Hakham David
Ibn Abi Zimra.

10)The custom in both Egypt and Jerusalem is to also light the Hanoukah
lights in the synagogue during the daytime. This of course is done without a
berakhah. The reason for this lighting is strictly for the sake of
proclaiming the miracle since the light of these wicks is not needed during
the day. It is also to help remind those who may not have lit at night for
whatever reason what day of the holiday it is so they could light the proper
number at night.
In Egypt this was done before the commencement of prayers, in Jerusalem
before Aromimkha.

11)The custom in Egypt during daily morning services of Hanoukah, is to
recite the Hanoukah holiday mizmor (Psalms 30), immediately after the Sefer
Torah is returned to the Heikhal and Qadish Titqabal is said. The Mizmor is
said, followed by Qadish Yehe Shelema, then Qaveh and the qetoret are said.
No other mizmorim are recited after qadish titqabal!
It is the Custom of Sepharadi Jews in Gibraltar, Lisbon and at least
parts of Morocco to start Tehilim 30 during Hanoukah, in the morning before
Baroukh Sheamar, with Mizmor Shir Hanoukat Habayit LeDavid, as during the
year we start it with Aromimkha.

12)If prayers are being held in the house of a mourner during Hanoukah. Both
the mourner and all those in attendance say Halel in the house of the
mourner. The reason for this is that the Hanoukah Halel was established by
the Hakhamim and we are commanded to recite it. On Rosh Hodesh the law would
be different as Rosh Hodesh Halel is only a custom.

13)The custom in Tunisia and other places is that all the while that the
lights are burning
the ladies do not do any work.

14)In Tunisia and Libya, Rosh Hodesh Tebet, is called Rosh Hodesh of the
girls in remembrance of the heroics of Yehoudit. On this day parents send
gifts to the girls and grooms to their brides to be.

15)The custom in Aleppo an in many other Sephardic cities was that prior to
Hanoukah the shamash of the synagogue would give out a tall wax candle to
each man which he would use for lighting the Hanoukah wicks. They in return
would give him a small donation.

16)Rabbi Shem Tob Gaguine in his Keter Shem Tob mentions that the custom in
Israel, Syria, Turkey, and Egypt would be to say the 1st berakhah of
Lehadliq Ner Hanoukah then to light while saying the other berakhot. This is
still the custom among most traditional families but there are already many
who say all the berakhot prior to lighting.

17)The custom on Hanoukah is to eat a type of sweetened fried dough.
In Egypt it was called Zalabya or Loqmat El Qadi.
In Iraq and Syria it was called Zingol.
In Turkey it was called Bilmuelos.
In Greece it was called Lokomades.
In Morocco it was a donut called Sfinz, topped with powdered sugar
or glazed with honey.
In Tangier it was called bunuelos.
This was the only traditional Sephardic item shared by almost all
communities for Hanoukah.

18)The custom was never to give out presents or spin a top (dreydel/sevivon)
on Hanoukah. these are traditions that came from Germanic lands and from
living among Christians who exchanged presents for the Xmas holiday which
usually coincided with hanoukah.

19)The berakhot are Lehadliq ner hanoukah and She'asah nisim. On the first
night we also add the berakhah of shehehiyanou. After that we recite Hanerot
Halalou (the version that has 51 words not 36 words) then we recite Mizmor
shir hanoukat habayit ledavid (psalm 30). Ma'oz Sour is not sung!
With the influence of the AIU especially in Lebanon, many Jews from
Beirut are more than familiar
with Maoz Sour.

20)The law and custom for Sepharadim is that only 1 Hanoukah is used for the
entire family. Not like the Ashkenazi custom of each member of the family
lighting their own personal Hanoukah. In most traditional families in order
to share in the love of the missvah, the head of the household will give
each member of the family a chance to light.
On the 1st night he will light the 1st wick and he'll let his wife light the
shamash. On the 2nd night he'll light the newest wick, his wife the next,
then the oldest child the shamash, etc.. for all 8 nights.

21)Sepharadim until recently never called the Hanoukah lights by the name of
Menorah. It was referred to simply as Hanoukah or by Ladino speakers
especially those of Jerusalem as
a Hanoukeyyeh.

22)Prior to the expulsion from Spain in 1492 there were indigenous Jewish
communities in Israel, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, etc..
When the Sepharadim came from Spain there were always conflicts with the
older resident communities. Over time the communities meshed and molded into
One rare case though was in Aleppo, Syria.
The indigenous community who were known as Must'arabim remained a Separate
community with there own peculiar ancient liturgy until about 1930.
Those from Spain who lived in Aleppo had and have a special Hanoukah custom
till today.
Those Spanish Aleppo Jews light one extra light on each night of Hanoukah.
One the 1st night when all the Jews of the world light 2 lights (1 plus the
shamash), they light 3 (one plus the shamash plus an extra shamash). By the
end of the holiday when we all have 9 (8 plus the shamash), these Spanish
Aleppians have 10 (8 plus the shamash plus the extra shamash).
The reason for this custom is that after the expulsion from Spain they
finally found haven in Aleppo but the indigenous community would not accept
them into the community at first. But by Hanoukah they were finally
accepted. This of course caused them much joy, they deemed it a miracle for
themselves and their families for all times that they decided to light an
extra light each night of the holiday.

These are some of the families which I know to be of these Spanish Aleppians
who adhere to this custom till today. Haber, Attie, Tawil, Betesh, Sutton,
Cattan, Mishaan, Dweck.
Do you know any others? I'd love to know!!

23) Regarding the singing of Maoz Sour. Some have wondered that if it is not
a Sephardic song how it has crept into our homes and synagogues. The answer
is quite simple. Ashkenazi and Israeli educators in our Jewish Hebrew Day

24)There is a custom in Morocco at the end of the holiday to gather up from
each home all the remaining wicks and oil from the holiday and make a
bonfire. the children all partake in this and revel in jumping around it.
Some have mocked at this custom but I have found it mentioned by none other
than Rabbi Eliyahou Ben Amozegh!!
See his amazing commentary to the Torah, entitled Em LaMiqra, Perashat

25)I have also found out that in the Old City of Jerusalem there was a
for the last day of the Holiday to make a tremendous feast for all the poor
children of the city. This was based upon the fact that Perashat Miqess was
always read towards the end of the holiday and there is a verse there that
says "Shoubou Shibrou Lano MeAt Okhel" "Return there and gather up for us
some food" They turned this into a tradition to gather up food throughout
the holiday and make a special feast for all the needy children and to use
the extra funds and food to give them small stipends for the long harsh

26)I mentioned the custom of eating a special type of Fried dough that was
sweetened with syrup or Powdered sugar. I have just found out that the
Lebanese Jews do the same thing and they call them Awamat.
The Syrians and particularly those from Damascus have a special pastry
called 'Atayif for Hanoukah. It is thin round dough which is stuffed with
nuts and sugar and folded in half and deep fried. It is then drizzled with a
sugary syrup while hot and served up fresh.

27)Another Minhag on Hanoukah is the reading of Megilat Antiyokhous, it can
be found in Sidour Bet Obed.
Among the Jews of Ghardaya,Algeria this is read in Arabic.

28)The custom on Friday afternoon/evening of Hanoukah as brought down in the
HID"A's Birke Yosef in the name of Hakham Shemouel Abohab is to pray Minhah
in the synagogue the go home to kindle the Hanoukah lights, then to light
the Shabbat wicks, then to return to synagogue for Qabalat Shabbat and

The question of course arises that since we do not consider the lighting of
Shabbat lights as the acceptance of Shabbat, why must we light Hanoukah
prior to Shabbat lights? Isn't there a well known rule that Tadir ve She-eno
Tadir, Tadir Qodem, meaning that something that is done regularly done must
take precedence over something that is not usually done. Any comments?

Maybe not to confuse the children?

Here is one response which I received on my question about why we light
the Hanoukah lights before the Shabbat lights on Friday afternoon.

"Also, re the tadir rule vis-a-vis Friday evening - this rule applies when
both misvot are of equal importance. However, since nerot Hanukka are
clearly inferior to nerot Shabbat, we apply the rule ma'alin bakodesh, hence
the minhag as we know it"

Would you agree or disagree with this reasoning?

Here's another response:
One possible answer to the tadir question is as follows:

The misvah of nerot Shabbat is really a component of the more general misvah
of kavod Shabbat - namely, that one should ensure that there is abundant
light present for his Friday night meal. As such, the misvah of ner Shabbat
is not to light per se, but rather to ensure that a light is produced that
will last throughout the Shabbat meal. Clearly, with regard to nerot
Shabbat, the Hadlaqa is not the misvah - a careful reading of the Harambam's
(Hilkhot Shabbat ch. 5) formulation demonstrates this where he writes
"hayyavim li'iot ner dalouq bebetam", not "hayyavim lehadliq nerot bebetam".
(This does not mean to say that the Misvah merely consists of having lights
present on lel Shabbat - case in point, if one lights on Friday morning he
has not fulfilled the misvah. However the lighting serves to designate the
lights that illuminate on Friday night as being produced for the purpose of

kavod Shabbat. That can only be accomplished by lighting in close proximity
to the advent of Shabbat. To put it succinctly, the misvah can be defined as
such: to ensure a light that is designated for Shabbat is produced, for the
purpose of deriving benefiting from it on lel Shabbat.)

In this respect, ner Shabbat differs with ner Hanoukah, where the halakha is
"Hadlaqa oseh Misvah". For this reason, if hanoukah candles blew out, one
is not required to rekindle them - even on Erev Shabbat (see Shulhan Aroukh
(O"H 673, 2). Contrast that with the rule if Shabbat candles blew out
(before sheqia), one is required to rekindle them.

Applying this distinction to the principle of tadir, where the activity of
one misvah is the very fulfillment of the misvah and the activity of the
competing misvah is merely a step in the ultimate production of the
fulfillment of the misvah, then the former misvah wins out, even if the
other misvah is tadir. In other words wherever the fulfillment of the misvah
is instantaneous (ner Hanoukah), it takes precedence over a misvah whose
fulfillment is suspended until some later point in the future (ner Shabbat).

How about this one:

The din is if someone has not enough money to buy oil for Nerot Shabat & for
the Hanuca, then Nerot Shabat have preference due to Shelom Bayit. Therefore
we light Shabbat first.

I am not a Rabbi or a Poseq. I am just interested in discussing Halakhot & Minhagim, laws and customs.
I invite your insights, comments, criticisms, etc..
Please let me know if you would like me to forward the same to my list.
If you would like to be removed from this list or know of someone who would
benefit from it just let me know by including, first name, last name, &
Joseph Mosseri joseph.mosseri@verizon.net

Rabbi Angel on Shabbat Hanukkah

Thoughts for Hanukkah 2008
By Rabbi Marc D. Angel
Posted December 24, 2008 - 12:35pm

I recently had a conversation with a newly-retired person who told me that he tries to find ways "to kill time" now that he no longer works full time. I thought: this man may have 20-30 more years to live; should he be devising ways to "kill" this amount of time? Shouldn't he be planning something more constructive with the time that God allots him?

Life presents all of us with a question: what next? This question applies not merely to someone who has retired from his job, but to each individual at every stage of life. We reach one plateau, achieve a particular goal--but then what?

In the "al ha-nissim" passage that we include in our Hanukkah prayers, we recall that the Almighty helped our ancestors fight off their oppressors and granted the Jewish people a great victory. The passage continues: "ve-ahar kakh"--and afterwards, the Jews entered the Temple, lit the Menorah, and established the holiday of Hanukkah. The key phrase is "ve-ahar kakh", afterwards. This phrase reminds us that after having achieved one level, we need to move on to another higher level. Life should not be lived passively. We should not be thinking about "killing time". Each morning when we wake up, we need to remind ourselves: and now what? What have I planned as my next step in life?

Life is an ongoing process of renewal, of facing new struggles, making new discoveries. A thoughtful and pious life is not only a source of happiness to the person living such a life, but also impacts on others. Our ancestors lit the lights in the Temple, and thus gave inspiration to all future generations. Their understanding of "ve-ahar kakh" enabled future generations to play their roles on the stage of history.

Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, first Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Israel, once asked: who is on a greater spiritual level, a person on the tenth rung or the thirtieth rung of the spiritual ladder? The obvious answer would be that the person on the thirtieth rung is on a higher spiritual level. But Rabbi Kook answered: it depends which direction the person is moving. If the person on the tenth rung is climbing and growing day by day, he/she is spiritually alive and energized. If the person on the thirtieth rung is moving downward, he/she has lost spiritual elan and will continue to sink unless he/she can re-direct upward.

As we step on each rung of the ladder of life, we need to evaluate whether we are moving upward or whether we are letting ourselves move downward. With each step, we need to focus on what comes next, on how we can reach the next higher level, on how we can use the time God grants us in a meaningful and constructive way. This requires planning, self-discipline, and a focus on spiritual growth. We can succeed.

***The Angel for Shabbat column is a service of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals, fostering an intellectually vibrant, compassionate and inclusive Orthodox Judaism. Please join our expanding community by becoming a member of the Institute on our website: jewishideas.org


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Bibi Zigs Left But Should Have Zagged Right


Bibi zigged when he should have zagged, again. He was betting the Israeli public was leaning to the left, when, in fact, they have been leaning to the right since the whole Gaza debacle.

Bibi felt so smug as he demoted Feiglin, thinking that Feiglin would destroy Likud and allow Kadima to get a toe-hold in the polls, but now he finds that that demotion may cost him the clear mandate he was counting on for Likud.

He just doesn't get it. The Israeli public is tired of lying down and letting Peace Now decide our borders and our national policy. They are tired of rockets falling on the heads of schoolchildren while our government cowers in the corner, too afraid to make the UN or the EU or the US upset. The public is tired of biased courts and corrupt politicians, and they showed how they felt when they put the right-wing in.

When Bibi moved those right-wingers down the party roster, he showed a contempt for everything the voters want to change.

Meanwhile, the whole Feiglin issue has been bumped from the the district court back into Likud’s own internal court—to be decided today.

Perhaps Likud will decide that their mandates are more important than Bibi’s ego—but I doubt it. On Friday the district court may have to over-rule Likud, but the damage has already been done.

Right-wingers, now sure that no matter what we do, we won’t retake Likud, are migrating away to other parties. Hopefully they won’t chose the Shas Weenies—they are NEVER consistent, they can be bought-off with a few school and welfare budget items, and they don’t even listen to Ovadia Yosef half the time.

Last update - 09:41 25/12/2008
Support for Likud falling among right-wing voters, survey finds
By Yossi Verter, Haaretz Correspondent

Support for the Likud is falling, with a projected 15 percent of its former electoral supporter planning to vote for other right-wing parties, a poll commissioned by Haaretz and performed by the survey company Dialogue found Wednesday.

The poll found the Likud would receive 30 seats in the Knesset compared to 36 in a previous survey by the same pollster.

Apparently, all the votes that make up the six-seat difference went to Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas and Habayit Hayehudi - all of which could boast a significant increase in constituents.

On the whole, the rightist bloc is still leading over the centrist Kadima and the leftist Labor by some 12 seats. The Pensioners Party managed to garner more support compared to the December 10 poll, bringing it to a total of two seats.

A possible explanation as to why Likud hemorrhaged votes can be found in the controversy surrounding hardliner Likudnik Moshe Feiglin's election to the relatively high 20th spot during the party's primary election last week.

Invoking various technical and legal amendments in the party's charter, Netanyahu managed to bump Feiglin down by more than 15 seats in what commentators described as a bid to prevent Likud from losing votes due to an overly-hawkish public image.

Now it appears that Feiglin's ousting from a Knesset seat has backfired, causing rightist voters to abandon Likud for sectarian and hardliner parties.

But according to the Dialogue survey, which was conducted over the phone and included 475 participants, Likud's decline adds nothing to Kadima's base of support. In fact, Tzipi Livni's party has continued its steady but slow decline of one seat every fortnight. It now holds 26 seats, compared to 27 two weeks ago and 28 last month.

Just as Kadima cannot claim to profit from Likud's misfortune, so Labor cannot boast any achievement at Kadima's expense. If Ehud Barak's party - which is currently Israel's fifth largest - is responsible for Kadima's one-seat loss, then it has probably lost that seat to Meretz, which rose by two seats over the past two weeks and may now command the support of enough voters to give it eight Knesset seats.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Another Xmas, Another Group of Bogus Reports from Beit Lechem Blaming Israel for Declining Xtian Population


I remember being in Beit Lechem on Xmas in 2001. We were on our way to Rachel's Tomb, and we stopped there briefly and observed five or six television trucks parked around.

Supposedly, the town was under siege by the evil Israelis--strange we didn't notice as we drove around in our bulletproof bus.

What comes out of the media is truly mystifying. I don't know where they get half their ideas, but I have come to wonder if they aren't fed their stories by arab "friends" that "help" them with their luggage and other items as they trudge around Israel looking for something dramatic in an a country where drama is so normal that it goes almost unnoticed.

So, here we go again, another year, another bunch of bogus stories about how Beit Lechem is under siege by those evil Israelis. Of course they won't mention that the town is under the auspices of the PA authority and the level of crime and violence is at such a height that no one dares walk around without either an armed escort or their own gun.

G-d forbid they would report the truth and embarass those noble savages--the "palestinian people."



Media's 'cold deceit' descends upon Bethlehem

An arctic chill has descended upon Bethlehem in recent days. And I'm not talking about the weather, but the cold deceit of the mainstream media, which, like clockwork, file misleading reports from this important Christian city every year. They completely ignore Muslim intimidation of Christians while blaming Israel for ruining Christmas and for the drastic decline of Christianity in one of the holiest cities for that religion.

Let's start with a widely circulated AP article: "Bethlehem adapts to life in shadow of Israeli wall."

The piece paints a picture of an economically downtrodden Bethlehem and squarely blames Israel for building a "wall" that the AP claims "not only cuts Bethlehem off from Jerusalem, but meanders through the town." AP "journalist" Dalia Nammari interviews local residents who lost their jobs, including one family who closed their car repair shop, we are told, because of the Israeli "wall."

The article is drowning in lies. Did Nammari actually travel to Bethlehem? If so, she would know there is absolutely no wall that "meanders through town."

Israel built a fence, in 2002, in the area where northern Bethlehem interfaces with Jerusalem. A tiny segment of that barrier, facing a major Israeli roadway, is a concrete wall that Israel says is meant to prevent gunmen from shooting at Israeli motorists. Israel had good reason to build the wall in that one small area, since terrorists in 2000 and 2001 routinely shot and killed Israeli motorists at the adjacent roadway.

The rest of Bethlehem is not encircled by any wall or fence. Actually, unless one enters the city from the area interfacing Jerusalem, a traveler coming in from any other entrance will not even encounter the barrier.

Nammari's main contention – Palestinians in Bethlehem are suffering economically, and this is Israel's fault – couldn't be further from the truth. The Palestinian Authority itself has declared Bethlehem is undergoing major economic growth and is expecting more tourists this year than any time since 1999!

Even the New York Times was forced to admit as much. A Times article from yesterday datelined in Bethlehem, was titled, "Palestinians work to jolt West Bank back to life."

The piece, allows, "Both Israeli and Palestinian officials report economic growth for the occupied areas of 4 to 5 percent and a drop in the unemployment rate of at least three percentage points. The improved climate has nearly doubled the number of tourists in Bethlehem and increased them by half in Jericho."

The Times quotes Victor Batarseh, the Palestinian mayor of Bethlehem, triumphantly declaring: "It has been the best year since 1999."

"Our hotels are full, whereas three years ago there was almost nobody. Unemployment is below 20 percent," he said.

But alas, the Times is sure to get in an inaccurate snippet aimed at Israel: "Even today, getting into Bethlehem requires passing through an Israeli checkpoint under the shadow of the enormous Israeli separation barrier." (Again, not true. There are other entrances into Bethlehem that don't face any barrier).

The Times piece did not bother to tell readers one of the main reasons tourism is up in Bethlehem: The number of terrorist attacks launched by Bethlehem-area terrorists is down, drawing fewer Israeli antiterrorism operations in the city.

Enter Reuters. A piece by the news agency concedes in its title, "Bethlehem fills up with Christmas pilgrims," that the city is teeming with tourists. But it blathers about "a daunting concrete wall 4 metres (13 feet) high with watchtowers" without informing readers that the wall is only in a tiny, necessary section.

The Reuters article attributes the rise in Bethlehem tourism to a "decline in violence" in the West Bank that has "tempted back tourists who no longer fear gun battles in the streets." Decline in violence? That's a bit general. Perhaps Reuters is so entrenched in its political narrative in which Israel is the aggressor it is afraid to admit a decline in Palestinian terrorism has helped free Bethlehem from economic decline.

Now let's go into a little necessary background on that "wall" in Bethlehem. The barrier, most of which is a fence, was constructed after the outbreak of the Palestinian intifada, or terror war, launched after late PLO Leader Yasser Arafat turned down an Israeli offer of a Palestinian state, returning to the Middle East to liberate Palestine with violence.

Scores of deadly suicide bombings and shooting attacks against Israelis were planned in Bethlehem and carried out by Bethlehem-area terrorists, including Eita and his ilk.

At one point during the period of just 30 days in 2002, at least 14 shootings were perpetuated by Bethlehem cells of Arafat's Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorists, killing two Israelis and wounding six.

Many times Muslim gunmen in the Bethlehem area reportedly took positions in civilian homes in the hilltops of Christian Beit Jala, which straddles Bethlehem. Beit Jala afforded the terrorists a clear firing line at southern sections of Jerusalem and at a major Israeli highway down below, drawing Israeli military raids and the eventual building of the security barrier there.

Another popular theme of the mainstream media in recent years is that Bethlehem's Christian population, which is drastically declining, is dwindling because of the "barrier."

Simple demographic facts disprove this contention that Israel built the barrier six years ago. But Bethlehem's Christian population started to drastically decline in 1995, the very year Arafat's Palestinian Authority took over the holy Christian city in line with the U.S.-backed Oslo Accords.

Bethlehem was more than 80 percent Christian when Israel was founded in 1948. But since Arafat got his grimy hands on it, the city's Christian population dove to its current 23 percent. And that statistic is considered generous since it includes the satellite towns of Beit Sahour and Beit Jala. Some estimates place Bethlehem's actual Christian population as low as 12 percent, with hundreds of Christians emigrating each year.

As soon as he took over Bethlehem, Arafat unilaterally fired the city's Christian politicians and replaced them with Muslim cronies. He appointed a Muslim governor, Muhammed Rashad A-Jabar and deposed of Bethlehem's city council, which had nine Christians and two Muslims, reducing the number of Christians councilors to a 50-50 split.

Arafat then converted a Greek Orthodox monastery next to the Church of Nativity, the believed birthplace of Jesus, into his official Bethlehem residence.

Suddenly, after the Palestinians gained the territory, reports of Christian intimidation by Muslims began to surface.

Christian leaders and residents told me they face an atmosphere of regular hostility. They said Palestinian armed groups stir tension by holding militant demonstrations and marches in the streets. They spokes of instances in which Christian shopkeepers' stores were ransacked and Christian homes attacked.

They said in the past, Palestinian gunmen fired at Israelis from Christian hilltop communities, drawing Israeli anti-terror raids to their towns.

In 2002, dozens of terrorists holed up inside the Church of the Nativity for 39 days while fleeing a massive Israeli anti-terror operation. Israel surrounded the church area but refused to storm the structure. Gunmen inside included wanted senior Hamas, Tanzim and Brigades terrorists reportedly involved in suicide bombings and shooting attacks. More than 200 nuns and priests were trapped in the church after Israeli hostage negotiators failed to secure their release.

Some Christian leaders said one of the most significant problems facing Christians in Bethlehem is the rampant confiscation of land by Muslim gangs.

"There are many cases where Christians have their land stolen by the [Muslim] mafia," said Samir Qumsiyeh, a Bethlehem Christian leader and owner of the Beit Sahour-based private Al-Mahd (Nativity) TV station.

"It is a regular phenomenon in Bethlehem. They go to a poor Christian person with a forged power of attorney document, and then they say we have papers proving you're living on our land. If you confront them, many times the Christian is beaten. You can't do anything about it. The Christian loses, and he runs away," Qumsiyeh told WND, speaking from his hilltop television station during a recent interview.

Qumsiyeh himself said he was targeted by Islamic gangs. He said his home was firebombed after he returned from a trip abroad during which he gave public speeches outlining the plight of Bethlehem's Christian population.

One Christian Bethlehem resident told WND last year her friend recently fled Bethlehem after being accused by Muslims of selling property to Jews, a crime punishable by death in some Palestinian cities. The resident said a good deal of the intimidation comes from gunmen associated with PA President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization.

A February Jerusalem Post article cited the case of Faud and Georgette Lama, Christian residents of Bethlehem who said their land was stolen by local Muslims and when they tried to do something about it, Faud was beaten by gunmen.

One religious novelty store owner I met recently told me Muslim gangs regularly deface Christian property.

"We are harassed, but you wouldn't know the truth. No one says anything publicly about the Muslims. This is why Christians are running away."

IDF Has Green Light for Gaza, Livni Headed for Egypt


I understand that Livni is expected to visit Egypt, but I suspect Livni is planning to deliver plans for the Gaza invasion to the Egyptians so that they can prepare for the onslaught of people running to the border when the bombing begins. I have no belief, at all, that there will be a "compromise" for peace at all.

According to all reports, the IDF has the green light to proceed as needed in Gaza. I hope this isn't a half-war--one we can't win. All we need is another Lebanon.

I have a feeling that Livni is pinning her PM plans on this strike, so I'm sure she has let everyone know it better be good. If it is a resounding defeat of Hamas, she just might pull off the election. That's the bad news.

The good news is that Hamas might be handed their rear end on a platter. But don't make plans for a victory party just now. Remember that Hamas' good friends, Hezbollah, are standing there on the Northern border waiting to attack the Golan. With our guys busy in Gaza, they might decide it is a good time to strike.

I don't like the idea of war, but I think Israel is headed for one. May G-d protect every Israeli soldier and every person in Israel who wishes to defeat this terrorist threat.

Gaza clash impending – Israel air strikes versus Palestinian long-range missiles
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report

December 24, 2008, 10:43 PM (GMT+02:00)

The fifty or so missiles and rockets Hamas sent crashing into Israel Wednesday, Dec. 24, along with dozens of mortar rounds, represent no more than a quarter of its capabilities, DEBKAfile's military sources report.

IDF officers calculate that the fundamentalist Palestinian group can shoot 200 missiles a day, on a par with Hizballah's barrage against Galilee in the 2006 Lebanon war, with devastating consequences in casualties and damage to property.

They can reach an area far broader than the strip taking hits from Gaza Wednesday which was delimited by Ashkelon to the north and Netivot to the east. Therefore an outer rim of 30 locations 30 km distant from the Palestinian enclave has now been connected to the Homeland Command's early warning system, including Kiryat Gath, Kiryat Malachi, the Lachish Region and Ashdod. Homeland Command operations units have been deployed there too, together with emergency medical, firefighting and rescue teams. Magen David Adom is on top terror preparedness with 200 ambulances on standby in southwestern Israel.

The Israeli security cabinet meeting Wednesday concluded that Israel would have to resort to military action to extinguish the escalating missile, mortar and rocket barrage from Gaza, which Wednesday left a trail of some 57 shock victims – half of them children - and wrecked homes, vehicles, shops, workshops and roads. The ministers took into account that Hamas would counter effective Israeli air strikes in Gaza by fielding its long-range missiles now believed to have a range of 42 km. This takes in the important Mediterranean port town of Ashdod and the outskirts of Beersheba.

The dilemma facing Israel's military command is this: Will Hamas if attacked immediately throw its long-range weapons into the fray against southern Israel, or rather build up the tempo of its short-range missiles in stages? They hope that, like the IDF, Hamas will exercise a measure of restraint and not lose sight of its goal, believed to be the renewal of the "ceasefire" which it formally terminated last Friday.

However, field officers in the South are less optimistic. They told DEBKAfile's sources that they don't believe half-wars are a practical option.

Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni has been invited to meet Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak Thursday, Dec. 25, to discuss the Gaza crisis. Cairo has broken the embargo on the Gaza Strip by inviting any government wishing to send aid to the Palestinian population to send it via Egyptian territory.

"The increasing stupidity of Israel is forcing us to intensify the rocket fire"


The same logic has been employed by alcoholics everywhere who insist that they are not drunks. The liquor companies, by their very existence, force them to drink.

And, of course, it is true that if alcohol just didn’t exist, they wouldn’t be alcoholics. (They might be drug addicts, or sex addicts, or something else, but they wouldn’t be alcoholics!)

The same is true of Hamas. If Israel just didn’t exist, they wouldn’t have to hate Israel and make war on Israel. (Instead, they would make war on someone else and hate someone else, but they wouldn’t make war on Israel!)

So, I guess Egypt is right to love us and Jordan is right to love us. If Israel wasn’t there, these hate-filled morons would be pounding the hell out of the outskirts of Cairo or Amman, right?

However, I don’t think, that Egypt or Jordan would put up with this for one minute. Israel needs to squash these lice in the scalp of humanity once and for all.

Dec 24, 2008 17:26 | Updated Dec 24, 2008 18:33
Hamas: Israel forcing us to fire rockets

With Kassam rockets raining down on cities in the western Negev, including Ashkelon, the Hamas military wing lashed out at Israel late Wednesday, saying that it was Israel, and not the Islamic group, which was responsible for the escalation.

Mideast expert Dan Diker says Hamas wants to create a strategic balance of power with Israel

"The increasing stupidity of Israel is forcing us to intensify the rocket fire, and put thousands more Zionists in the line of fire in order to protect the Palestinian people," a spokesperson for group's military wing said.

"The artillery unit of the Izzadin Kassam brigades is acting out of an obligation to protect our Palestinian brothers, and out of a desire to take a stand against the arrogance of the Zionist enemy," the group said in a statement which was distributed in the evening. "Since early morning, the unit launched intensive rocket fire of dozens of rockets and mortar shells at military outposts, bases, and the thieving communities of the Zionist enemy which surround the Gaza Strip from North to South."

Also on Wednesday, Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal accused Israel of not abiding by the truce and being the one to break the ceasefire.

According to the report, Mashaal said that Israel failed to open the crossings into the Gaza Strip and did not cease cross-border military attacks.

In an interview with Russian television, Mashaal criticized Egypt as well, and called on Cairo to open the Rafah crossing in order to break the blockade.

Earlier in the day, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called on both sides to cease hostilities and called the escalation "hard and regretful."

"Our people are facing attacks and a blockade," he said. "We are doing our utmost in order to achieve a full ceasefire and to calm the situation."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

JFN Plans Help for Nonprofits Hurt By Madoff, Partial List of Those Affected by Scandal


So much has been lost, it would be a miracle if they can make up even one-tenth of what was lost, but I am very pleased that there are smart, capable, and competent people working toward a tangible solution to this problem instead of everyone just flapping their lips and throwing up their hands.

Hannukah is a time a miracles. Perhaps the Jewish Funders Network will find one! (Please let it be so!!)

I have included a partial list of those organizations known, so far, to have been harmed by Madoff. You will find that list at the end of the first article.

For more information, you might want to check out this video report from the FoxBusiness Channel.

Plan in the works to help nonprofits hurt by Madoff
December 23, 2008

NEW YORK (JTA) -- The Jewish Funders Network is developing a comprehensive plan to help nonprofits hit hard by Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme that includes bridge funding.

JFN President Mark Charendoff told JTA of the plan after convening a meeting Tuesday in New York of 35 of the country’s largest Jewish foundations. By its estimates the JFN, which has some 900 members who are major funders of Jewish causes, counts some $2.5 billion in philanthropic funds as erased by Madoff’s scam, Charendoff told JTA's philanthropy blog, the Fundermentalist.

The meeting started with an address by a professional from the Chais Family Foundation, a $170 million philanthropy that was forced to close after losing its assets through Madoff.

“On the one hand the meeting was very painful, and on the other hand there was a lot of anger in the room,” Charendoff said. “There are people who dedicated their lives to Jewish philanthropy, and this guy [Madoff] is posing as a Jewish philanthropist to gain access to individuals with money and to not-for-profits to exploit them.”

According to Charendoff, the foundations represented at the meeting came to a consensus to take action. They will create an information hub to include the financial commitments to nonprofits made by foundations that were hit by Madoff that can no longer meet their obligations, as well as a list of nonprofits that are in danger of closing and others that identify as candidates for merger.

The foundations involved with JFN will create a pro-bono human resources bank through which foundations and nonprofits can share costs for legal resources, accounting, grant writing and development needs. The foundations also decided to create a mechanism to create bridge financing for organizations directly hit by Madoff. That mechanism would provide a vehicle for emergency loans from philanthropists to nonprofits in trouble. The JFN has pledges for “millions” of dollars in loans, Charendoff said.

The group also has reached out to a handful of executives at Jewish federations to see how the private philanthropists can work with the federation system to help in the wake of Madoff’s damage.

The List:

Charities, Old People, Jews Hit Hardest by Madoff Fraud UPDATED
12/15/08 at 11:01 AM

Information is still trickling out about who lost money (and how much) with Bernard Madoff, the legendary New York investor whose sons turned him in to authorities last week after he admitted that the investment arm of his securities firm was "a giant Ponzi scheme." But as the SEC sifts through the rubble of his midtown office, a list is taking shape that gives some idea of the magnitude of Madoff's crime. What's truly heartbreaking is that it's not just deep-pocketed giants like Steven Spielberg and Swiss banks who lost out, but charities — several have already shut their doors and fired their staffs — and a crowd of pastel-panted Palm Beach senior citizens whose dreams of living out their days on the golf course have been dashed. Below, a list of known victims so far, which we'll try to update as they roll in.

Access International Advisers, New York-based investment firm may have lost $1.4 billion in assets, according to Bloomberg.
Aozora Bank Ltd. The Japanese bank had 12.4 billion yen ($137 million) invested with Madoff, according to Bloomberg.
Banco Santander – Spanish bank reported yesterday that clients of one of its Swiss subsidiaries have lost $3 billion.
Banque Bénédict Hentsch – $47.5 million worth of client assets at risk.
Basically everyone at the Palm Beach Country Club – Madoff has belonged since 1996. "I’m taking care of my sick mother-in-law," one member, Richard Spring, 73, told the Times. "My wife has cancer. I just can’t deal with it. I’m cooked."

Bank Medici The Austrian bank has two funds with a combined $2.1 billion invested with Madoff.
BBVAThe second largest bank in Spain; potential $404 million in losses, according to Bloomberg
Benbassat & Cie Swiss bank has 1.1 billion francs, or $935 million, at .stake, according to la France via Reuters.
BNP Paribas – Did not invest directly in the Madoff funds but has 350 million euros, or about $500 million, at risk through trades and loans to hedge funds.
Bramdean Alternatives – British asset manager lost $19 million, or 9 percent of the company, according to a statement. The female CEO is being pilloried in the press: "I am an ordinary person who manages pension funds for pensioners. If I was a male fund manager this would not happen. Someone has to take a stand. If women are persecuted in this way you won't have any female fund managers. This could destroy me," she told the Evening Standard.
Carl & Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation – 99-year-old Boston philanthropist Carl Shapiro's foundation lost $145 million, almost half its money, according to the Boston Globe
Clal Insurance Israeli insurance company, $778,000, according to Bloomberg
Chais Family Foundation – Gives out some $12.5 million each year to Jewish causes in Israel, the former Soviet Union, and Eastern Europe; announced yesterday that it had closed after losing all of its money through investments with Madoff.
CNP Assurances The French insurance company could lose up to $4.1 million, according to Bloomberg
Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity – Invested money with Madoff — its losses are thus far unknown.
EIM Group – European investment manager has $230 million exposed.
Dexia SA The Belgian financial had $106.9 million wrapped up with Madoff, according to Bloomberg
Fairfield, Conn. – $42 million, or 15 percent of the town's retiree pension fund.
Fix Asset Management $400 million.
Fortis Bank Netherlands $1.4 billion at risk, despite lacking direct exposure to Madoff’s firm, according to the AP.
Madoff employees – "Generations of employees had worked for Madoff and invested their savings there."
Fred Wilpon – New York Mets owner, unknown.
Groupama France-based international insurance group, $13.6 million, according to Bloomberg.
Harel Insurance – Israeli investment service, $14.2 million.
HSBC – $1 billion at risk.
Avram and Carol. Goldberg – The Boston-based founder of the Stop & Shop supermarket chain and his wife lost $29 million, according to reports.
J. Ezra Merkin – The GMAC LLC chairman's Ascot Partners lost most of its $1.8 billion, according to the Journal.
Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles – $18 million of the Foundation's Common Investment Pool (currently valued at 11 percent of its assets) was invested with Madoff.
The JEHT Foundation As commenter Sleater noted below, the JEHT Foundation, a nonprofit in downtown New York that promoted reform of the criminal and juvenile justice systems, has been felled by Madoff and will close, according to its web site, at the end of January 2009. According to the Web site: "The funds of the donors to the Foundation, Jeanne Levy-Church and Kenneth Levy-Church, were managed by Bernard L. Madoff, a prominent financial advisor who was arrested last week for defrauding investors out of billions of dollars."
Julian J. Levitt Foundation – Texas-based Jewish charity, lost about $6 million.
Kingate Management Ltd. – $3.5 billion at risk, according to Bloomberg.
Korea Life Insurance Co – $50 million.
Korea Teachers pension – Has $9.1 million indirectly invested.
Leonard Litwin The 93 year old real estate mogul has lost an as yet undetermined amount of money. This is not his only loss this year –Litwin narrowly missed making the Forbes 400 Richest Americans list and instead ended up on the “82 American billionaires too poor to make the list” list.
The Madoff Family Foundation – Madoff's own charity gave to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Lincoln Center, Robin Hood Foundation, and others. Its $19 million is gone, obviously.
Man Group PLC – The world's largest publicly traded hedge-fund manager, $360 million.
Maxam Capital Management – Darien-based hedge fund helmed by Sandra "Jerry Maguire of hedge funds" Manzke lost $280 million. "I'm wiped out," Manzke told the Journal.
M&B Capital Advisors – Spanish hedge funds had $578 million invested.
Mediobanca Italian investment bank, $671,00, according to Bloomberg.
Mirabaud & Cie. Lost “a few million Swiss Francs” according to Reuters via Le Temps.
Mort Zuckerman’s charitable trust Losses stand at $30 million, or 10% of the trust. “That was still a big chunk of money that was intended to go to worthier causes than shall we say Mr. Madoff,” said Zuckerman in an interview with CNBC.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. $11 million.
Natixis The French corporate and investment bank could lose up to $614 million, according to Bloomberg.
New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg – "One of the wealthiest members of the Senate, entrusted his family's charitable foundation to Madoff. Lautenberg's attorney, Michael Griffinger, said they weren't yet sure the extent of the foundation's losses, but that the bulk of its investments had been handled by Madoff."
Nomura Holdings Inc. – Tokyo investment firm; said today it had $302 million in exposure.
Norman Braman – Former Philadelphia Eagles owner, unknown.
The North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System – $5 million.
Notz, Stucki & Cie International portfolio management group; undetermined amount, according to Bloomberg.
Neue Privat Bank – Acknowledged being at risk.
Oak Ridge Country Club members A few members of this predominantly Jewish country club in Hopkins, Minnesota have lost perhaps almost $100 million, according to the St. Paul-Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Pioneer Alternative Investments – Irish hedge fund invested all of its $280 million in assets with Madoff — gone.
Phoenix Holdings According to Reuters, the insurance unit of this Israeli bank had $15 million invested in funds managed by Thema that followed Madoff’s investment strategy.
Robert I. Lappin Charitable Foundation – The Boston-based charity, which financed trips for Jewish youth to Israel, announced last week: "The money needed to fund the programs of the Lappin Foundation is gone. The foundation staff has been terminated today."
Royal Bank of Scotland – $600 million exposed.
Royal Bank of Canada Less than $40 million ($50 million Canadian).
Societe Generale – The French bank lost less than $13.46 million dollars, which it called a "negligible" amount.
Sumitomo Life Insurance Co. The Japanese company had $22 million (2 billion yen) involved, but put their losses at only “several hundred million yen” according to AFP.
Technion The Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa could lose $6.5 million.
Tremont Capital Management This advisor to hedge-fund portfolios has about 7% of its $2.7 billion in assets exposed to Madoff.
Walter M. Noel Jr. and the Fairfield Greenwich Group – The Fairfield Greenwich Group invested billions of dollars with Madoff over twenty years, and has lost approximately $7.5 billion. “[Noel] was a person of superb ethics, and this has to cut him to the quick,” George L. Ball, a colleague of the founder, told the Times.
The Wunderkinder Foundation – Steven Spielberg's charity. "In 2006, the Madoff firm accounted for roughly 70% of the foundation's interest and dividend income, according to regulatory filings."
224 funds and investment vehicles in Spain The Spanish stock market regulator CNMV has not yet revealed their names, but as of October 31, they had a combined 106.9 million euros directly exposed to Madoff.
Reichmuth's Reichmuth Matterhorn fund – 385 million Swiss francs, or $327 million, in potential losses.
UniCredit SpA The Italy based cross-European banking company has a potential $102.5 million involved, though the company told Corriere della Sera, the Italian newspaper, that “exposure…was 'equal to zero' in Italy and 'very limited' overall.”
Union Bancaire Privee Swiss asset management bank, $1.08 billion.
Yeshiva University – "Sources close to Yeshiva University, where Madoff served as treasurer of the board of trustees and chairman of the board of Y.U.’s Sy Syms School of Business until he resigned last week, said that the school has lost tens of millions of dollars, if not more," according to Jewish and Israel News.