Thursday, December 31, 2015

A taste of Israel: Machaneh Yehuda

(This post has had some technical difficulties. I'm posting it; but I'll also try to solve the problems)

Machaneh Yehuda is the name of the main 'shuk' (market place) in Jerusalem. It's the largest open-air market in Jerusalem. 

It's got almost everything you need for your kitchen (excluding appliances). It's got fresh food, all the spices you could dream of, and lots more. There are 200 stalls and, I'd guess, more than two-dozen small restaurants and drink kiosks. 

My wife and I have made ​​it our habit to go to the shuk once a week to shop for our fruits and vegetables. Even accounting for the (modest) cost of bus fare (to get there), we find that the prices in the shuk are cheaper than we've seen at any stores in our own city. In addition to lower prices, the quality of what we buy in the shuk is better.

This shuk is a busy place. It attracts an average of 200,000 shoppers and visitors a week.

Here's a video about the shuk. You'll see some of the vendors we buy from. You'll watch people walk the aisles we walk. You'll get a taste (or, at least, a sight) of the colorful cornucopia of foods we see every time we shop there.

The prices you'll see in the video look to be four-five years old. Prices are in Shekel. A shekel is app 4 times a US dollar. 

The prices you see displayed are not 'per pound'. They are 'per kilo'. A kilo (kilogram) is 2.2 pounds. 

The video is less than 2:16. It's called "Postcard from Machane Yehua." It comes to you courtesy of Israel21c. There's a second video below it.

This second video is in Hebrew. It gives you an authentic flavor of being here. 

Don't be intimidated by the Hebrew. Yes, if you don't speak the language, it can sound overwhelming at first. It isn't.

So far as my own Hebrew goes, I can understand 100% of some of what's being said in this video. I understand close to 0% of other things being said. Most of the time, however, I can understand the 'gist' of what's being said - the topic, the context and the emotional content. I just don't yet have the vocabulary part of it.

Funny thing about that is, for most of my communication with people, I don't need that much vocabulary. 

i think you'll see in this video more of the vendors of the shuk, and more of the foods available in the shuk. I believe that this video gives you a better flavor of 'being there'. 

I'd say this video gives you a view of the shuk one might call, 'the real thing'. It runs 3:31. If you do get overwhelmed by the language, don't worry. Just watch the scenery behind the speakers. 

This video comes from the official site of Machane Yehuda (

Come home to Israel. The shuk waits for you - in both English, Hebrew and 'Hebrish'. 

'Hebrish' is your secret to success in Israel, particularly in a city like Jerusalem where many Israelis have some familiarity with English. 

'Hebrish' means Hebrew-English. It means you attempt to speak in Hebrew, but you use the occasional English word to substitute for a Hebrew word you don't know or can't remember. 

It works. Israelis who listen to you will often give you the correct Hebrew word for the occasional English word you've just used. 

If you can't speak a real Hebrew, speak Hebrish. It's  the language of new Olim.

Come home. The shuk awaits you. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015: the year that changed the world?

When the last history book is written, it may identify the year 2015 as ‘the year that changed the world’. If that turns out to be true, the catalyst for this change could be Islamic terror. If the world does change, Israel could become a hero. America and Europe could become 'the forgotten'.

2015 began with an Islamic terror attack in Paris, France. A Parisian satire magazine had published a cartoon lampooning the Islamic figure, Mohammed.  Angered by that representation, Islamic terrorists went into the offices of that magazine and machine-gunned just about everyone they saw, killing 12 (“Charlie Hebdo attack: Three days of terror”, BBC, January 14, 2015).

During 2015, Islamic terror attacks killed hundreds around the world. In 2015, Islamic terror has also killed more than 160 in the US and France (Karen Yourish, et al, “Recent Attacks Demonstrate Islamic State’s Ability to Both Inspire and Coordinate Terror”, InternationalNewYorkTimes, December 7, 2015). Clearly, Islamic terror has expanded beyond the Middle East (ibid).

2015 now ends with police across Europe on alert. They worry about a ‘New Year’s Day’ terror attack (Tom Whitehead and Allison Quinn, “European capitals on alert for New Year's Eve terror attack”,, December 28, 2015).

In America, a terror attack in San Bernardino, California in December killed more than a dozen. As a result of that Islam-inspired attack, the US moved swiftly to fight terror in the US. But the way the US did this was odd. US President Obama announced that, “Increasing gun control, rejecting Islamophobia are keys to combating terrorism” (Scott Johnson, “Annals of Inanity”, powerline, December 7, 2015).

It seemed a declaration of madness. Obama believes gun control is the best way to fight terror? He believes Islamophobia causes Islamic terror?

This Obama madness was no less insane than what Democrats in the US Congress have done. They’re preparing to end 2015 with their own terror-fighting suggestion: to criminalize criticism of Islam (Robert Spencer, “House Democrats move to criminalize criticism of Islam”, frontpagemag, December 29, 2015).

That’s insane because violent Islam is on the march. Criminalizing criticism of Islam will not stop future Islam-inspired violence. It will serve only to misrepresent—and possibly protect--the source of that violence.

Islam floods into Europe. It brings violence to Europe (Daniel Greenfield, “Muslim Migrants Increase Crime in Germany by 65%”, muslimstatistics, October 8, 2015).

The US is next. The Obama administration wants to open US borders to Muslim refugees (“US seeks steep ramp up of Syrian Muslim refugees coming to US”, jtfnews, September 20, 2015).

Is that smart? Last month, the US Pentagon warned Europe that ISIS killers were using Europe’s open-door refugee policy to sneak fighters undetected into Europe (Bill Gertz, “Joint Staff Warns Islamic State Terrorists Travel to Europe Unimpeded”, Washington Free Beacon, November 30, 2015). What makes the Obama administration think things will be different for the US?

Apparently, the US doesn’t accept that ISIS seeks to conquer America. The US doesn’t appear to understand that ISIS aims to complete that conquest through Islamic immigration, not guns or bombs (Daniel Greenfield, “Muslim Immigration is What ISIS Wants”, sultanknish, December 27, 2015).

Instead of fighting Islam-inspired terror, America smiles at Islam. It protects Islam (Michael Chapman, “Mark Levin: Obama Is ‘Trying to Protect’ Islam and ‘Is Seeking to Destroy Israel’”, cnsnews, February 11, 2015). It promotes Islam (Ben Shapiro, “6 Times The Obama Administration Said Its Job Was to Promote Islam”, breitbart, January 8, 2015).

Radical Islamic terror threatens the West (“ISIS leader al-Baghdadi threatens the West”, fojusi news, December 27, 2015). But for some, America’s Obama encourages radical Islam (Jesse Byrnes, “Cruz: Obama 'encourages radical Islamic terrorists'”, The Hill, January 12, 2015).

While America panders to Islam, Europe fears Islamic terror. It doesn’t have the infrastructure to fight that terror. It needs help. It knows exactly where to go to find that help—Israel.

As 2015 ends, ISIS publishes a declaration which the West sees: the only country ISIS fears is Israel (Abra Forman, “The Only Country ISIS Fears is Israel”, breakingIsraelnews, December 27, 2015). ISIS fighters say they aren’t afraid to fight US or UK ground troops. Those troops have little experience in city terrorist strategies. Israeli soldiers are different. They’ve got extensive experience in urban fighting. Israel is too strong for ISIS (ibid).

The US plays make-believe with Islam. It empowers Islam. By contrast, Europe is awash with Islam. It's already talking to Israel (Cynthia Blank, “Report: Israel helped thwart massive terror attack in Germany”, Arutz Sheva, November 25, 2015).

Europe’s fear could change the world’s attitudes towards Israel. Europe's need for help could make 2015 the year Israel’s position on the international stage changes--from outcast to saviour.

Europe could drive that transformation. But its inbred anti-Semitism will turn Europe against Israel even as Israel holds out a helping hand. In the end, Europe will pay a heavy price for that anti-Semitism. 

What will happen to America? Will America turn to Israel--or follow Europe's anti-Jewish lead? It will follow Europe's lead.

The G-d of Israel has a Story for you. It’s the Story of the Final Jewish Redemption. It's the Story of 2015, after which Israel becomes a hero on the international stage, while Europe and America tumble.

Will that really happen? 

Stay tuned. This movie isn’t over.  

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

This is how Israel deals with the impossible

When you first make aliyah to Israel, you learn something. You learn that nothing here is easy.

After you've been here for awhile, you learn something else. You learn that everything here really is impossible--everything.

For example, Our politicians are impossible. Our schools are impossible. Delivery people are impossible. Government bureaucrats are impossible. Our media is impossible.

The language is impossible. The road signs are impossible. Israeli drivers are impossible. Our very survival is impossible.

But then, this is Israel. In this Holy place, nature does not prevail. 

When you've lived here for awhile, you realize that the rules of both man and nature don't really apply. Once you discover that   everything is so impossible, you develop an attitude. That attitude makes you look at the next impossibility and say, so...? 

We cope. We figure out how to put a round peg into a square hole. 

We create for ourselves a way of life--a Jewish way of life. It's a way of life that seems to be built around the impossible.
I can't explain it. But that's what it's like here.

Wait, maybe a picture will help. You know that, sometimes, a picture is worth a 1,000 words. Perhaps I've got a picture for you that's worth more than 1,000 words.

Look below. You'll see how we Israelis deals with the impossible:

There’s no such thing as impossible in Israel. Photo by
There’s no such thing as impossible in Israel. Photo by

Soon, life in France will be impossible. Life in Britain and South Africa will be impossible.
Soon, life in the US will be impossible

When that happens, you won't know what to do. What can you do when everything is impossible?

That's why you should come home to Israel. Here, there's really no such thing as 'impossible'.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Duma and the war against Jewish Israel

On July 31, 2015, some unknown assailant or assailants fire-bombed an Arab home in the Israeli-Arab village of Duma. Three Arabs were murdered in that fire, including an infant.

It was a horrible crime. It was condemned by Jewish Israel.

There is evidence to suggest that this incident had a context. That context was an ongoing clan war in that village. But some Jews in Israel wouldn’t accept that possibility. They refused to consider that this incident might have been Arab-on-Arab violence. Instead, they saw this murder as an opportunity.

Even before a competent, professional police investigation could be launched (some believe that such an investigation was never launched), certain Jews decided that this crime had been committed by Jews. They cried, ‘Jewish terror’.

That was possible. We all acknowledge that. But then, it was also possible that this fire-bombing was part of that clan warfare. In fact, for a murder committed in the center of an Arab village which the epicentre of a long-running feud, that might have been the most obvious investigative starting point.

The opportunists didn’t acknowledge that possibility. They ignored it. They never spoke of it.

That silence suggests a truth. It suggests that, when you ignore an obvious probable cause for murder, professional police investigation may not be your agenda.

It’s been 150 days since that fire-bombing. Duma is not about a murder investigation. It’s about how Jews threaten to destroy Israel (Stuart Winer, “Bennett accuses Jewish extremists of using ‘murder’ to destroy state”, Times of Israel, December 21, 2015).  

Since September, 2015, Arabs have conducted a wave of terror against Israel. But because of Duma, we no longer focus on that Arab terror. We focus on ‘Jewish’ terror.

Who benefits from such a focus? Who benefits when Jews are accused of trying to destroy Israel? (Winer, ibid). Who benefits when Rightist Jews are accused of unravelling Israel’s democracy? (Naomi Chazan, “The unraveling of Israeli democracy”, Times of Israel, December 22, 2015).

Israel’s Left benefits. They’re the ones who argue that the problem with Israel is its Jews.

An attack on Israel’s Jewishness is good news for Israel’s Left. Look at what it did last week. It attacked Israel’s Jewishness.

Israel’s Ministry of Education approved a new civics textbook for Israel’s schools. The head of the far-Left Meretz Party, Zehava Galon, went ballistic over this news (Uzi Baruch, “New civics textbook approved, Meretz head goes livid”, Arutz Sheva, December 22, 2015). She, along with other Leftists, was horrified. The new text was bringing ‘right-wing’ [Jewish] values to children (ibid).  The Left complained, “The new book erases the democratic identity of the state and completely subjugates it to the Jewish identity" (ibid).

This accusation is the Left’s life-blood. You should remember it. It’s the Left’s anti-Jewish mantra.

But this mantra doesn’t defend Israel, as the Left claims. It dismantles Israel.

Israel’s ‘Declaration of Independence’ links Jewish identity to the State of Israel (“Declaration of Establishment of State of Israel”,, May 14, 1948). For example, the ‘Declaration’ says,  “The State of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles [Jews]” (ibid). It says, Israel “will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the [Jewish] prophets of Israel (ibid) [emphasis mine]. Put another way, this founding Document ‘subjugates’ the identity of the State to its Jewish roots.

In addition, the ‘Declaration’ clearly speaks of “the Jewish people in the building-up of its State” (ibid) [emphasis mine]. The link is explicit: Israel is the Jewish people in the Jewish “ancient homeland” (ibid). Israel has a fundamental Jewish identity.
For the Left, this is a lie. According Leftist Chazan (above), the problem with Israel is that ‘ultra-nationalists’ are committing some kind of Original Sin against Israel by “conflating the state with the (Jewish) people”. This is nonsense. ‘Ultra-nationalists’ aren’t linking ‘State’ with ‘Jewish’ because of some insane idea. They are taking that link from Israel’s ‘Declaration of Independence’.

Israel’s Left rejects that link. It wants to erase the Jewish ideals of Israel’s ‘Declaration of independence’.  It uses Duma for this purpose: instead of insisting on a professional police investigation in Duma according to the standards found in any democracy, it chooses to use Duma to demonize the Jewish Right.  

Leftists do this by claiming that Duma proves that Jewish Rightists threaten Israel’s survival (Tova Dvorin, “Former ISA chief blames justice system for Duma”, Arutz Sheva, December 27, 2015). The Jewish Right feels this demonization: 78 percent of the national religious sector (the main ‘Jewish Right’) feel the Duma murders have been used to attack their community (Jeremy Sharon, “Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu suggests Shin Bet behind wedding celebrating Duma murders”, Jerusalem Post, December 28, 2015).

Duma is not about a threat from the ‘Right’. It’s about how the Left seeks to attack Jewish Israel. 

Duma is a powerful opportunity for the Left. It empowers the Leftist dream to destroy Jewish Israel. It emboldens the Left to question the legitimacy of Jewish Israel.

Duma: it’s the newest weapon in the Left’s war against Jewish Israel.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Hamas smuggling Intifada?

Hamas aims to destroy Israel. You learn that from the Hamas Charter. You also learn it from how Hamas behaves.

It fires rockets into Israel. It teaches its children to hate Israel. It starts wars with Israel.

When it starts a war with Israel and then gets hammered by Israel, it begs the world for help. It cries that Israel-the-brutal has turned Gaza into a Holocaust.  

When, inevitably, international donations show up, Hamas redirects them away from rebuilding for civilians. It uses those donations to rebuild its war machine.

Part of that war-rebuilding effort amounts to a ‘smuggling Intifada’ against Israel. ‘Intifada’ refers to actions by ‘Palestinians’ to ‘shake off’, or ‘resist’ the supposed ‘Israeli occupation’. This smuggling Intifada has the same goal as a knife or car Intifada: to ‘resist’ (attack) Israel.    

To fight this ‘smuggling Intifada’, Israel won’t allow an open border to Gaza. It demands that any truck arriving at the border seeking to cross into Gaza be inspected thoroughly.

Naturally, Israel gets demonized for this. When Israel stops trucks from going into Gaza it becomes the demon ‘Zio-nazi occupier’ who, instead of helping the ‘Palestinian people’, prefers to make its border searches so long and cumbersome that reconstruction slows to a snail’s pace (Zvi Bar’el, “Construction materials are arriving to rebuild Gaza, but the red tape is thick”, Haaretz, November 15, 2014).

But the war-like behaviour you see in this Intifada isn’t Israel’s. It’s Hamas’.

To set the record straight, Israel has not neglected Gaza. Since reconstruction efforts began in earnest in late 2014, Israel has allowed more that 1.2 million tons of goods and material into Gaza (“Reconstruction in Gaza”,, June 17, 2015). That adds up to more than 550 tons a day (through June 17, 2015).

Still, Israel will protect itself. It will capture as much smuggled goods as it can.

Here are some examples of Hamas smuggling failures from the last 12 months. These failures reveal why Israel has to slow down reconstruction deliveries--to defend itself:

-Israeli authorities found 20 tons of iron oxide marked specifically for civilian use.  Iron oxide can be used for military purposes. 20 tons of it can be used to build more than 20,000 rockets (Abraham Rabinovich, “Israel Taking Major Steps to Battle Hamas’ Attempts to Smuggle Weaponry”, Washington Free Beacon, December 22, 2015).

-Israel has opened a warehouse to house seized goods capable of being used for war purposes. Some of the items confiscated include bullet-proof vests, boots, scuba diving equipment, welding equipment, advanced cameras and generators of a kind used in tunnel construction (ibid).

Tunnels are Hamas’ super-weapon. It’s fair to say that tunnels are the one ‘weapon’ Israel appears to fear most. Anything Israel can do to interdict tunnel construction materials will enhance Israel’s self-defense. Any such material Hamas can smuggle into Gaza will enhance its war-making capability.

-On one occasion, Israeli authorities at the border noticed a generator going to Gaza had an unusually large gas tank. They took the gas tank apart. Inside, they discovered a small dismantled tractor designed for digging tunnels (ibid).

-A ‘thinner’ was discovered to be a liquid used in the production of rocket fuel (ibid).

-Dismantled drones were found hidden inside air conditioners (ibid).

-A block of marble was found to be hiding welding equipment (ibid).

To protect itself, Israel has no choice but to require that every truck arriving at a Gaza crossing point must unload. Items must be examined before being reloaded onto trucks headed into Gaza. Boxes and containers must be X-rayed. All of this takes time.

Hamas exacerbates its Gaza reconstruction debacle because it refuses to commit to its civilians’ needs. Instead, it’s aggressive about rebuilding its tunnels and restocking its weapons supplies (Shlomi Eldar, “Hamas focuses on rebuilding tunnels as Gazans suffer”, ALMonitor, March 5, 2015).

How does the hate-Israel industry view this ‘smuggling Intifada’? It cries to the world that Israel has no right to restrict what’s called ‘dual-use’ (civilian-military) reconstruction material. It claims that Hamas’ tunnels are legitimate (Ali Abunimah, “Why has there been almost no reconstruction in Gaza?”, electronicIntafada, August 20, 2015) . They are used only for self-defense (ibid). Therefore, by confiscating materials used to build tunnels, the hate-Israel industry claims, Israel refuses the ‘Palestinian people’ their right to self-defense (ibid).

But the tunnels found by Israel during the 2014 Gaza-Israel war weren’t for ‘self-defense’.  The Hamas tunnels Israel discovered last year all ran from Gaza into Israel (not from Gaza away from Israel). This suggests a hostile, not defensive purpose. More important, the Israelis also discovered that most (if not all) of the tunnels they found ended closer to small Jewish civilian communities than military installations.

Hamas continues its war against Israel. Smuggling construction material into Gaza is part of that war. Maybe we should call this Hamas smuggling war the ‘smuggling Intifada’.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Palestine and the Arab narrative: a short history

Here in Israel, Shabbat ended more than an hour ago. In America, it's still not quite noon.

Here's a video. Consider it part of your Saturday night entertainment. It gives you a short history of this place called, 'Palestine'.

It gives you an insight into 'Palestinian' claims against the Jews.

Take a look. The film runs for 14:11. The screen is small. But I think it's okay to watch.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Where is Duma taking Israel?

I’ve been talking to Israelis about the ongoing drama surrounding Duma. My ‘survey’ is anecdotal. But my results are disturbing.

Duma is an Israeli-Arab village. On July 31, 2015, someone went into that village and fire-bombed a home. Three Arabs, including an infant, were murdered in that fire. Jews were accused of the attack.

This attack contained several suspicious elements.

-the house firebombed was not at the edge of town. If Jews were going to fire-bomb an Arab house, it’s far easier to fire-bomb an easier target. Why would Jews go into the middle of an Arab village when easier pickings lay elsewhere?

-the house fire-bombed was not the only house fire-bombed that night. Another house, next door, was fire-bombed first. Eyewitnesses reported that, when the perpetrators realized that the first house was in fact empty, they moved over and fire-bombed the second house. Eyewitnesses also reported that the perpetrators didn’t run off after that. They remained at the second house to make sure those inside didn’t or couldn’t come out. Again, if Jews are going to commit such a heinous act, they wouldn’t linger. The Jews who’ve been accused of this crime weren’t known to behave this way. They aren’t stupid. Why would they increase their odds of capture by lingering?

-there are two Arab clans in or near this village which have had a long-term feud. The Arab victims here belong to one of those clans. The two clans have been committing crimes against each other for some time. The fire-bombing of first one, then a second, home (and then lingering, to make sure no one came out from the burning house) all seem far more likely to be associated with a feud-driven personal attack than a random Jewish terror attack.

-after the attack was reported to Israeli authorities, police (or security or military personnel) reportedly removed local CCTV tapes. Nothing has been heard of them since. Why?

-Israeli officials did not actually investigate the arson—or, if they did, it was not thorough. The bulk of any investigation was left to the Palestinian Authority (PA) police. But once Israel screamed ‘Jewish terror’, the propaganda value that that brings to the PA is so great, the PA has no incentive whatsoever to prove that Jews didn’t commit this crime.  

-at the scene of the crime—or, nearby—anti-Arab graffiti was found on a wall. The graffiti seemed consistent with similar graffiti left at a crime scene by Jewish youth called, ‘hilltop youth’. But then, Arabs have been known to write such graffiti after a crime they have committed, to incriminate Jews. On what basis were Israeli authorities so lightning-quick to say that that graffiti had been scrawled by Jews?

-Israeli officials have been frustrated by this group of ‘hilltop youth’ for some time. This group is not large, but Israeli authorities have, apparently, wanted to destroy it. They fear its existence. The problem for the authorities has been that few of these youth had ever been arrested for serious crimes because, police have found, there has existed little evidence that the group had committed crimes other than fighting with the IDF (Israel Defense Force) when the IDF came to knock down their homes—or the homes of other, non-group members—who lived in other, nearby isolated areas.

-within hours of the attack, before any investigation of value had finished, Israeli officials rushed to call this attack an act of ‘Jewish terrorism’. Why the rush to judgment?

-within three days of the attack, Israeli authorities secured from the highest echelons of the government permission to do something the government had previously refused to allow: give security officials the right to use ‘administrative detention’ on Jews. Administrative detention allows the Israeli government to ‘detain’ individuals suspected of committing crimes or suspected of preparing to commit crimes. These individuals can be held indefinitely (subject to a 6-month review). No charges need be brought against them. No reason for arrest need be given. Was this arson really Jewish terror—or was it a convenient excuse someone needed to ‘prove’ administrative detention was needed in order to break up the ‘hilltop youth’ group without having to generate proof?

-within days (or, perhaps hours) of receiving permission to use ‘administrative detention’, several youth were ‘detained’ and locked away. No charges were brought.

-by December, high-ranking Israeli officials announced, for perhaps the second or third time (one lost track) that no evidence existed to bring any of the detainees to trial. But the authorities also repeatedly declared that they know who had committed this crime. They just didn’t have the evidence.

-at least one detainee attorney accused Israeli security officials of using torture on his client, a minor.

-internal security officials attacked those who had accused them of torture of attempting to incite against them.

-on December 20, 2015, a local Israeli District Court ruled that one detainee—a minor--was being held illegally.

At that point, events related to Duma began to cascade:

-December 20: the Shin Bet (Israel’s Internal Security Agency [ISA]) announced a ‘MAJOR DEVELOPMENT’ in the case: indictments will be filed.

-December 20: a tape recording of a hearing for one youth revealed details of what a prudent and responsible person would conclude was a description of torture.

-December 20: from that recording (above), the detainee said he had attempted suicide. On the recording, he could be heard begging for the ISA to kill him because he could not bear the torture any longer.

-December 21: Security officials promised that indictments would be forthcoming.

-December 21: Israel’s Supreme Court denied a petition by one detainee to see his lawyer.

December 22: Education Minister, and head of the Jewish Home Party, Naftali Bennet, announced that these hilltop youth sought to destroy the State of Israel. He defended the interrogation techniques used on the detainees as, ‘legal’.

-December 22: Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu declares that ISA interrogation has been ‘legal’.

-December 22: Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, calls attacks against the ISA (for the use of torture), ‘despicable’.

-December 22: Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked announced that no detainee had attempted suicide.

-December 23: a senior Israeli defense attorney says that confessions taken as a result of torture can be cancelled.

-December 23: a video of a wedding celebration purports to show hilltop youth celebrating the killing of the Arab infant murdered in the July 31, 2015 arson. The video, however, is actually unclear.

-December 24, 2015: an editorial in the Times of Israel presented Duma as more than a murder: it’s a wedge issue for Israel.

This editorial demonizes Israel’s ‘far Right’ and ‘Orthodox Jews’. Regarding the Duma incident, it says the Israeli far right has sought to deny the investigating authorities’ contention that the Duma killings were an act of Jewish terrorism (David Horovits, “The dance of death”, Times of Israel, December 24, 2015). In addition, the lawyers for some of the detainees have tried to “blacken the name of the Shin Bet security agency” for allegedly torturing them (ibid).

There is no attempt here to discuss evidence of torture as possibly credible. There is no attempt to explore potentially illegal actions by the ISA (withholding access to lawyers and denying detainees their religious rights). There’s only the single assumption: the ‘far Right’ and ‘Orthodox Jews’ are taking us, essentially, down the road to Hell.

My own survey of both English-speaking and Hebrew-speaking Israelis is certainly unscientific. It’s anecdotal. But the results are revealing: these Israeli Jews aren’t buying the government’s version of the Duma story. They don’t buy the unstated assumptions of the Times of Israel editorial.

What seems to anger these people most is the video of that wedding. Most feel it was a set-up by the ISA (or its collaborators) to demonize hilltop youth with incendiary ‘proof’ that’s questionable at best, pure fiction at worst. The video, they say, is too unclear to prove much of anything.

This Duma story keeps hitting us in the face. It snowballs.

It’s been 145 days since the arson. The ISA has held detainees without due process (and, for some, without access to their lawyers) for up to 140 days.

We wonder, where is the government going with this? This is not what we expect from a democracy. This is more like Guantanamo Bay in our own back yard.

Where is Duma taking us?

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Duma, visions, Israel, HaShem--and us

I see a vision of Israel’s future. That vision comes from the Prophet Yechezkel. It’s a vision that says,

“Behold, I [HaShem, G-d of Israel] take the Children of Israel from the nations to which they went [in exile], and I shall gather them from around and I shall bring them to their soil; and I shall make then into a single nation in the land upon Israel’s hills” (Yechezkel, 37: 21-22, ArtScroll translation, New York, 2012).

I can see this vision clearly. It’s as real to me as life itself.

I see this vision of Yechezkel every day--from my window. It lies before me brightly in the winter sunlight.

I live in Israel. I have been ‘gathered in’. Yechezkel’s prophecy has come true.

I see a second vision of Israel. This vision comes from the prophet Zechariah. It’s a vision of strife, pain, war and conflict. It comes from the Part of our Redemption Story where, in the days just before Redemption, we see--within a period of war—how Jew fights against Jew (Zechariah 14:14).

We are in that ‘period of war against Israel just before Redemption’. We see today how Jews have been accused of murdering Arabs in an Israeli-Arab village called, Duma.  As a result of that accusation, I see Jews torturing Jews in a Jewish prison in Israel.

I see it clearly (Ido Ben Porat, “Cops, ISA [Internal Security Agency] publicly beat Duma suspect, says relative”, Arutz Sheva, December 3, 2015); Hezki Ezra, “Lawyers expose brutal torture against Duma suspects”, Arutz Sheva, December 17, 2015; Uzi Baruch, “Rights group demands Justice Ministry check illegal torture”, Arutz Sheva, December 17, 2015; Eliran Aharon, “Protesters demand Shin Bet stop abusing Jewish prisoners”, Arutz Sheva, December 19, 2015).

On July 31, 2015, an Arab house was fire-bombed by unknown arsonists in Duma. Three Arabs within that house were murdered in that fire. Just hours after the incident, Jewish officials accused ‘Jewish terrorists’ for that crime. They didn’t wait for an investigation. Jewish youth--some married, some minors--were ‘detained’ for the attack.

Imprisoned, several things happened. The religious rights of some detainees were denied to them (Ari Yashar, “Breaking their silence: Mothers of teen Duma suspects to protest”, Arutz Sheva, December 8, 2015). The police used false figures in their initial arrest warrants (Yoni kempinski, “[Israel’s Internal Security Minister] Erdan admits there's no evidence in Duma case”, Arutz Sheva, December 4, 2015). The police offered no evidence to indict them.

Yet, these detainees remain hidden in a Jewish prison. Some cannot see their lawyers. In a democracy, that should be a violation of a prisoner’s legal rights. Some, we have been told, suffer terribly from torture. Can a Jewish State allow that?

This is the vision of Zechariah. Is this what’s happening in Israel?

Through the lens of the vision of Zechariah, I see Jews within the Israeli government working extremely hard to prove to us that they have not tortured any Jews and that they have captured the true perpetrators of the Duma crime. But I also see Jewish officials presenting these detainees to us as guilty without trial, with no evidence offered. Can a Jewish Israel allow this?

Why should Duma make us remember the prophecies of our Tanach? The answer is simple: Israel’s Declaration of Independence declares that this Jewish State of Israel is to be “based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel“ [emphasis mine] (“Declaration of Establishment of State of Israel”,, May 14, 1948).

Duma returns us to Israel’s founding document. Duma returns us to our prophets—and to our sense of a Jewish justice as ‘visioned’ by those prophets. Duma reminds us of the ideals embedded in our Declaration of Independence.

This is why Duma is about more than a vision. The prophets referred to in our Declaration of independence spoke words of HaShem. It was He who empowered the prophets. It was He who gave us Jewish justice. 

Duma is a test. The test is, how will we as a nation respond to the Duma case? Will Duma help us heal the soul of Knesset Yisroel (the national transcendent soul of Israel), which has been fractured by disunity? Or, will Duma make that fracture worse?  

I don’t know the truth in this case. I don’t know if interrogators crossed a line into torture. I don’t know if the laws they used to justify their interrogation techniques are simply bad laws. I don’t know why some of the Jewish boys detained for this crime have been prohibited from speaking to their lawyers. I don’t know why some of these boys have had their religious rights stripped from them. I don’t know if a recent ‘film’ of a wedding really does show what we are told it shows (celebrating the murder of the Arab infant in the Duma arson).

As this case unfolds, we may never find the truth. But then, maybe this case isn't about truth.

Maybe, it’s about us. Maybe, it’s about how we work together to create a national unity regarding this case—or how we allow this case to fracture us.

We can create a national unity for this case. We can do that through justice. For example, we must demand justice in the form of due process for these detainees. We must demand justice through a trial in open court where nothing will be hidden. We must demand a full investigation into the treatment of these boys, to discover exactly what happened to them and when those things happened. We must demand to know what medical advice interrogators received regarding these boys—along with if, how and when that advice was followed by interrogators. Finally, we must ask, how does Jewish justice fit into this case?

Duma has happened for a reason. That reason is probably not  simply ‘fact accumulation’ or 'evidence'.

HaShem watches us as we respond to Duma. He watches all of us.

May He bring our Redemption speedily in our time. G-d knows, we need Him.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Kerry’s plan for an Abbas-inspired peace: blame Israel

US Secretary of State John Kerry is a busy man. He works hard for peace.

He works for peace by consoling a rogue Iran (Shianee Mamanglu-Regala, “U.S. accused of bowing to Iran as it seeks to ease visa restrictions while ignoring Tehran nuke violations”, christiantoday, December 23, 2015). He works for peace by listening patiently to a China that spits and threatens (Karthick Arvinth, ”China warns US against 'provocative actions' in South China Sea”, International Business Times, December 22, 2015).

But working ‘with’ China and Iran isn’t Kerry’s first love. His first love is working against Israel.

Here’s how that works:  

-When the 2013-14 peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) began to falter in late 2013, he blamed Israel (Lori Lowenthal Marcus, “Kerry Blames, Threatens Israel if ‘Peace Talks’ Fail”, JewishPress, November 8, 2013).

-When those same peace talks looked like they would collapse, he blamed Israel (“Kerry blames Israel for feared collapse of peace talks”, middle east eye, April 4, 2014).

-When—a few days later--those talks had, basically, collapsed, Kerry blamed Israel (Raphael Ahren, “Kerry focuses blame on Israel for collapse of talks”, Times of Israel, April 8, 2014). He said Israel carried the lion’s share of responsibility for that failure (ibid).

-When it was clear to all that ISIS was spreading like a wildfire across the Levant, Kerry blamed Israel. He said Israel’s failure to close a ‘peace’ deal with Mahmoud Abbas was fuelling ISIS’ spread (Tova Dvroin, “Kerry Blames ISIS on Failure in Israeli Peace Talks”, Arutz Sheva, October 17, 2014).

-When the current wave of Arab terror in Israel was a month old, Kerry blamed Israel for that terror (Lee Smith, “John Kerry Blames Israel For Palestinian Terror”, tablet, October 15, 2015).

In December, 2015, he continues to blame Israel. He’s announced that, because of the failure to achieve ‘peace’ with Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA) could collapse (“US Secretary of State Warns of Collapse of Palestinian Authority and Its Consequences”, ndtv, December 6, 2015). If that collapse occurred, PA officials have added, ISIS will take over the PA (Elad Benari, “Erekat: Make peace or ISIS will take over”, Arutz Sheva, December 11, 2015).

This most recent blame-Israel gambit could be Kerry’s best anti-Israel move yet. This ‘PA can collapse’ is no new, crack-pot insanity. It’s a time-tested accusation. It’s been around for more than a decade. Kerry’s contribution to it is, he vaulted it onto the international stage. As soon as he publicized it on December 5-6, 2015, it went viral across the globe. 
Here’s a brief history of the ‘blame-Israel-for-a-PA-collapse’ game:

-The PA was going to collapse in in August, 2015 (“US warns Palestinian Authority could collapse following terror ruling”, i24news, August 11, 2015).

-The PA was going to collapse in February, 2015 (Noam Amir, “IDF security assessment: The Palestinian Authority can collapse at any moment”, Jerusalem Post, February 13, 2015).

-The PA was going to collapse in 2014 (Amira Hass, “The Palestinian Authority Is on the Brink of Collapse, Study Says”, Haaretz, March 21, 2014).

-The PA was going to collapse in 2013 (Khaled Elgindyin, “Ramallah Unravels - The Collapse of the Palestinian Authority”,, January 17, 2013).

-The PA was going to collapse in 2011 (Vita Bekker, “Palestinian Authority faces financial collapse”, financialtimes, September 21, 2011).

-The PA was going to collapse in 2009 (Branko Brkic, “Palestinian Authority could collapse if Abbas resigns?”, DailyMaverick, November 10, 2009).

-The PA was going to collapse in 2006 (Charles Levinson, “World Bank: Palestinian Authority faces collapse”, Mail&Guardian, May 8, 2008). 

-The PA was going to collapse in 2004 (“Annan fears Palestinian collapse”, BBCnews, January 28, 2004).

Most of these stories blamed Israel—directly or by suggestion--for a PA collapse. Truly, it’s an accusation that has never gone stale. 

The PA-is-going-to-collapse accusation might become the near-term mantra for Kerry’s ‘blame Israel’ strategy. It’s certainly a wonderful way to work against Israel. As the PA's Erekat suggested (above), blaming Israel for a PA collapse makes Israel the instant villain, who introduces ISIS to subvert peace--and destroy the PA.

That accusation (and ISIS threat) helps Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the PA. For Abbas, ‘peace’ means 'Palestine' replaces Israel (PLO Charter). Therefore, he loves to hear Kerry blame Israel. He believes that the more Kerry blames Israel, the weaker Israel becomes—and the closer Israel gets to ‘disappearing’.

That’s not true. But Abbas doesn’t care about truth. What he cares about is, an Israel that’s been ‘Kerry-ized’ into diplomatic isolation is an Israel ripe for attack.

You see that thought-process unfolding on Israel’s streets. The more Kerry blames Israel, the more confident Abbas becomes that he can kill Jews with impunity. Isn’t that why we’ve seen so many stabbings and car attacks lately against Jews in Israel?

Kerry wants an Abbas ‘peace’. Kerry works hard for that ‘peace’.

He can’t wait to blame Israel.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The tenth of Tevet and modern Israel

The twenty-second day of December, 2015 is also the tenth day of the Hebrew month of Tevet. On this day more than 2,500 years ago, the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar began a siege of Jerusalem (Rabbi Noah Weinberg, “Siege of Jerusalem”, aish, reprinted in 2015 from December 30, 2000). We remember this day as a day of tragedy for the Jewish people.

But nothing much happened on that first day of siege. There was little damage done (ibid). No Jews were killed (ibid).

If nothing much happened, why do we call this day, ‘tragic’? Why do we remember it by holding a public fast-day in its name every year?

It’s a tragic day for a couple of reasons. First, it led to the destruction of the first Holy Temple in 586 BCE. Second, the siege that began that day lasted perhaps three years and had a horrific ending. Both the Holy Temple and a capital city (Jerusalem) were destroyed.  

Finally, we remember this day because we have come to realize in retrospect that that one day was the beginning of a very long line of disasters for the Jewish people (ibid). These disasters included two exiles, the ultimate destruction of Two Holy Temples (more than 500 years apart) and the murder of countless Jews.

That’s why this day is tragic. It’s why we hold a public fast.

We commemorate this long-ago siege-day of Jerusalem not only for the tragedies that resulted from it then, but also because this one day carries a message that resonates with us today.

That first siege day sent a message to the Jewish people. It was a wake-up call. It signalled that, if a foreign enemy was shutting them in, Jews were not behaving as they should.

It was a reminder that the Jewish people needed to wake up and fix their problems (ibid). They didn’t wake up. They failed. The siege then led to the destruction that followed.

The destruction that fell upon the Jews back then had been avoidable (Rabbi Naphtali Hoff, “Asara BeTeves: An Avoidable Siege”,, reprinted from 2013). No destruction would have occurred if the Jewish people had listened to the Prophet Yirmiyahu.

They didn’t listen. They refused to listen (ibid).

Today, we are still under siege. We are still not listening.

We are besieged by Edom, the Christianized West, which leads an anti-Israel diplomatic attack against us. We are besieged by Yishmael, the Arab enemies of Israel who would destroy us and replace us with an Islamic Caliphate. We are besieged by anti-Jewish Jews abroad and in Israel who give aid and comfort to those who would destroy us—and who bring shame to the Jewish nation.

When we fast on this day, we should remember that long-ago wake-up call. We should remember we are surrounded by hate. We should remember we are besieged by Jews who would destroy our religious identity in the name of a Man-made ideology called, ‘democracy’.

Today is not just a day to fast. It’s a day to remember. It’s a moment to understand that when we fail to follow HaShem, the G-d of Israel, we pay a price.

May our fasting bring merit to the nation of Israel. G-d knows, this Jewish nation needs all the help He can give us.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

French Jews, American Jews--and Redemption

A Jewish ingathering into Israel from exile is a hallmark of the Jewish Redemption. It’s the ultimate Return to the Jewish Holy Land that was Promised more than 3,300 years ago. It was a Promise made by HaShem, the G-d of Israel.

This Promise was serious. It wasn’t a one-time-offer in our Tanach (the ‘Jewish canon’). It wasn’t mentioned once and then forgotten.

It appears repeatedly. It appears so often, you can’t miss it.

It’s in our Torah (D’varim 30:3-5). It’s repeated at least three times in Yishaiyahu. It’s repeated at least four times in Yirmiyahu—and three more times in Yechzkeil. It appears repeatedly in what’s called, the Trei Assor, a collection of writings of twelve ‘minor’ Prophets.

It’s ubiquitous. It’s in our Tanach. It’s in our daily prayers. We mention our Return every day, three times a day. It’s a Promise that’s with us constantly.

Jews have lived with this Promise since our current exile began in 70 CE. Now, since 1900 CE, this Promise has become reality. 

Look at the numbers. Over the last 115 years, the number of Jews in Israel has jumped dramatically. While it’s difficult to get accurate population numbers for Jews in Israel in 1900, it seems reasonable to say there were perhaps 60,000-70,000 Jews in Israel in 1900 (this figure seems a fair compromise taken from available data; most data do not report 1900 population figures; most report 1915 when, most say, there were some 83,000-85,000 Jews in Israel).

Today, there are more than 6.3 million Jews in Israel. That’s close to a 7000 per cent increase.

One might argue that no other country has experienced that kind of growth for the same time period (this excludes growth-through-conquest). Israel’s Jewish growth is a miracle, especially when you consider Arab progroms, wars, suicide bombings and intifadas against Jewish Israel.

Within our Jewish Heritage, there is a concept called, HaShem’s Shechinah (G-d’s ‘presence’). Originally, that Shechinah dwelled on the Temple Mount, our Har HaBayit, the Home of the Holy Temple. When the Second Temple was destroyed (70 CE), the Shechinah left the Temple Mount.

It followed the Jews into exile. Wherever it rested, Jews were protected. When it ‘removed’, HaShem’s Protection no longer covered the Jewish people. The result was Jewish suffering.

Today, many say that HaShem’s Shechinah is withdrawing from exile. As that happens, exile becomes increasingly dangerous for Jews.

They say the Shechinah returns to Israel. Perhaps that’s why we’ve seen so many miracles surrounding the creation and survival of the State of Israel. Perhaps that’s why Arabs cannot drive us away. Perhaps that’s why we’ve seen such an ingathering since 1900.

Here are some numbers. In an 1897 Russian census, there were perhaps 5,100,000 Jews in Russia (“Population—Jewish over the centuries”,, no date). Today, there are perhaps 186,000 Jews in Russia. The Shechinah withdraws from Russia.

In 1900 Europe, the total European Jewish population appears to have been 8,977,581 (Joseph Jacobs, “Statistics,” Jewishencyclopedia: The unedited full-text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, 2011). Today, it’s closer to 1,400,000 (“Vital Statistics: Jewish Population of the World”, JewishVirtualLibrary, ‘Europe’, 2014). The Shechinah withdraws from Europe.

This precipitous drop in Europe’s Jewish population, 1900-2014 is not simply due to the Holocaust, 1940-1945. In 1950, the earliest post-war census available, there were 3,500,000 Jews (9,500,000 before Hitler) remaining in Europe (“Jewish population of Europe in 1945”, Holocaust Enclyopedia, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, August 18, 2015). This represented a 60 per cent drop in the Jewish population, due to the Holocaust. But since that census, the Jewish population has dropped another 60 per cent, to 1,400,000. The Shechinah withdraws from Europe.

That withdrawal continues in France. It leaves French Jews vulnerable.

France is home to Europe’s largest Jewish community, 450,000+ Jews. But anti-Semitism in France has reached such a level that a super-majority of these French Jews now considers aliyah to Israel (Shimon Cohen, “80% of French Jews considering aliyah”, Arutz Sheva, November 16, 2015). Today, French Jews ‘get it’. The Shechinah no longer protects them.

French Jews feel the ‘vacuum of hate’ that spills onto them as the Shechinah withdraws. They know the time has come to Return.

Through this awakening of the Jews of France, the Promised Ingathering accelerates. Because of the Jews of France, Redemption draws closer.

Few think about France. Most think about America. They talk primarily about America’s Jews.

But with French Jewry starting to commit to Israel, it’s beginning to look like our focus on America’s Jews could be misplaced. America’s Jews don't come to Israel. They back away from Israel.

Instead of talking about those who back away from us, we should be talking about the Jewish community of France. We should be marveling at how these French Jews could create the ‘critical mass’ needed to trigger the Jewish Redemption. We should look at these brave Jews and ask, can the French ingathering trigger the Redemption? 

Stay tuned. This movie has just begun.

Friday, December 18, 2015

UN neglects reality by obsessing over Israel

The UN lies. It does not specialize in helping humanity. It pursues a different specialty. 

It demonizes Israel. It loves to attack Israel for defending itself against an unending series of Arab anti-Israel terror campaigns. 

The UN is truly obsessed about Israel. It can't condemn Israel enough.

From the way the UN behaves towards Israel, you'd think the Arab-Israel conflict was the only conflict in the world. You'd think the Arab-Israel war was the only terror hot-spot in the world.

If you thought that, however, you'd be wrong. Outside Israel, there are terror hot-spots that threaten to tear apart Africa and the Arab-Levant. Outside Israel, the world threatens to explode from terror attacks.  

You can see how terror outside Israel really lights up the world in this 3:50 minute video below. You can see, in other words, how psychotic the world's supposedly 'humanitarian' activists are: they ignore explosive terror to bash a tiny (but Jewish) Israel.

In this video, you'll see a 15-year time-lapse presentation of terror attacks world-wide. These attacks appear on a world map in the form of yellow flashes in varying degrees of brightness. The brighter the flash, the greater the fatalities of a terror attack.

Israel is app in the middle of the map. Israel is practically invisible on the map. The large flashes (representing major terror attacks) that are near Israel are generally not in Israel.  Mostly, they occur in Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Libya.

According to this map and its graphics, Israel is a shockingly small hot-spot when it comes to terror in the world. More terror against humanity occurs outside Israel than in Israel--or the Palestinian Authority. 

You will also notice that the map begins to light up with terror towards the end of 2009. From that point, you can see how brightly and how often terror-flashes explode. 

The UN must have missed all that. It was too busy attempting to criminalize Israel (the 2009 Goldstone Report, the 2014 Gaza war and the 2015 Gaza Report) to notice. It was too busy inviting the Jew-hating 'Palestine' to become a UN Member (2012, 2013).

The UN's obsession over Israel is a self-defeating delusion. The UN behaves towards Israel like a doctor obsessing over a paper-cut while his body is being ravaged by cancer.

We all know how that medical delusion will work out. Don't think the UN's Israel-delusion would be any different. It won't. 

The video is called, "15 years of terror   a time-lapse map". Take a look:

UN Humanitarians have a clear agenda. They are not interested in humanity. If they were, they'd go after the real terror hot-spots--in Africa, the Indian sub-continent and the Arab-Levant. 

The UN won't do that. Their agenda has only one focus: to de-legitimize the world's only Jewish State. 

This isn't news. The world has carried this delusion for more than 2,000 years. It's as strong as it's ever been.

Why would the UN work so hard to harm the world's only Jewish State when there's so much horror and pain in the rest of the world?  You tell me.

As you saw in the dramatized map above, The world burns from terror attacks. The UN doesn't care. It just wants to attack the Jewish State. 

At least, that's the way it seems.