Family Update – Both the Nuclear Family and All of Israel

A short update on what is happening with our family.

My son was transferred to what in Hebrew is called “maatzar patuach” in the Tel HaShomer army base, until the court decides if and how much time he needs to spend in military prison before he starts his regular army service. This means that he has to stay in the base and can only go out when he gets official leave, which for the past 6 weeks has been every few weeks for Shabbat.

His wife can visit him by standing at the gate of the base, but she does not have official permission to enter the base to see him. As you can imagine this situation is not ideal for a newly married couple, but they are both dealing with it as best they can. We are hoping that the military court will finally come to a decision so that even if he needs to do some prison time we will know when it ends.

As far as the security situation, when we are home in our yishuv things are very quiet, but when we are at work we are like everyone else in Tel Aviv – periodic sirens where we need to go to the miklat (in my case an inner stairwell in our office). In general people are feeling secure since the Kipat Barzel system is shooting down the bombs before they fall, but there is still a danger from the shrapnel that falls to earth after the bomb is destroyed, so being in an open space is scary. The sound of the sirens themselves is also frightening.

There is a general increase in anxiety though. After a siren in a specific place the phone system goes into overdrive because everyone needs to call their family to make sure everyone is ok. Watsup is my tool of choice for this.

Many people have soldiers in their family who have been called up and will be going into Gaza when there is a ground invasion.

As usual we react to the stress with a lot of black humor, increased prayer, and the repeating cycle of obssessing with the news/Facebook and then taking a news fast when it gets to be too much. Working full time happens to be a positive thing – the work still has to get done, no matter what is going on outside, so people can’t obssess too much.

We should only hear good news!!!

Good News and Bad News and A Request for Help

First, the good news. Baruch Hashem, my son got married this past Sunday, Lag B’Omer. The wedding was wonderful and we are all very happy for the young couple and looking forward to Shabbat Sheva Brachot with the bride’s family in Zfat.

Now, the bad news. Because of a long and complicated story with the Israeli army (which I may post about at some point but I cannot do it now) my son was arrested by the military police the Thursday before his wedding and taken to spend the night in prison. After a long and tense wait on Friday he was given a hearing and granted three days off in order to get married. He appeared before a judge again on Tuesday and was given another few days off. He was required to appear again before a judge yesterday, where he was told that he could finish his Sheva Brachot week but needs to go back to military prison next Monday morning. He will have a hearing again this coming Tuesday to decide how much time he will need to spend in prison before being released to start his army service.

As I have mentioned before in my blog my son decided to become a Chabadnik during his high school years. The Chabad community is doing its part to help him, as is the Dati Leumi community in my yishuv. People with connections are helping behind the scenes.

Now I would like to call upon the most important community I know of – the righteous women of Israel. I would appreciate prayers for my son to receive the shortest possible stay in prison so that he can join his young wife. I am sure every woman can imagine how difficult it would be to start married life with a long separation from your husband, especially one so completely unexpected.

Thank you and G-d willing we will hear only good news!

Post script: Just to be clear, my son has been spending his time since high school either learning in yeshiva (both in Israel and in Brooklyn (770) or doing what is called  “shlichut” (community service). He has spent time in India organizing meals and religious services for Rosh Hashana, which also included walking in the pouring rain for half an hour in order to blow the shofar for a pregnant woman who could not make it to the Chabad house. He has traveled to other interesting (and dangerous) places in order to be the shaliach tzibur (conduct the prayers) for Yom Kippur where there was noone else to do so.  Back in Israel he spent a year working as a volunteer in a religious high school for boys with special needs.

His uniform is black (hat and suit) versus green, but he has been spending his time contributing to Klal Yisrael just the same.

Mazel tov!

I’ve disappeared from the blogging world for a good reason – looking for a shidduch for my oldest son. Baruch Hashem he got engaged this week and we of course are thrilled.

I will probably disappear again until after the wedding and Sheva Brachot (the week of celebration afterwards), but hopefully I’ll be back…..

Ruti Presents This Week’s Havel-Havalim

Ruti Mizrachi presents this week’s HH. I haven’t participated in a long time. Making note to self, write more and send stuff in.

Appropriate Reading for Tisha B’Av

Today is Tisha B’Av – the ninth of Av, which is a fast day (24 hours versus those fasts which are only during daylight hours) and commemorates the destruction of both temples in Jerusalem. Many tragic things happened to the Jewish people on this day. I thought that the following links would serve as “appropriate” reading for this day.

The first is a link to lists of all of the terrorist attacks and fatalities in Israel from 1948 until May of 2013. Starting in 2000 and going for the next three years the numbers are hideous. After the Oslo Accords (bringing “peace at last” to Israel) the Israeli government gave a lot of autonomy to the Arabs in Yehuda and Shomron, and kept the IDF out of mostly Arab cities. This loosening of restrictions led directly to Arab terror - here is list of the attacks and victims from 1993 until 2000.  After 2000 when Arafat decided it was to his benefit “go all out” – what was called the second intifada broke out, and the terrorists used the advantage they had to launch even more attacks on Israelis. This included rock throwing, hurling Molotov cocktails, and rioting in the streets. When this did not enlist a reaction from the Israeli government and the IDF, it progressed to suicide bombers. 2002 was a particularly bad year – especially March. I personally remember one week where there were three separate suicide bombers on Israeli busses. I remember feeling as if I couldn’t breathe – just from the feeling of sorrow. After the suicide bomber blew himself up in the Park hotel in Netanya on the first night of Passover, and another terrorist broke into a home in Elon Moreh and killed three members of the Gavish family, Arik Sharon finally called the IDF to launch an attack and go into the Arab cities again to root out the terrorists. After that the number of terrrorist attacks went down to “normal” levels (which would be shocking in any other country). Here is a list of the attacks since 2000, with the names and ages of the victims themselves. The list is heartbreakingly long, and it puts a m0re personal face to the tragedies.

To give you a “taste” here is the listing for July 16, 2001:

July 16, 2001 – Cpl. Hanit Arami, 19, and St.Sgt. Avi Ben Harush, 20, both of Zichron Yaakov, were killed and 11 wounded – 3 seriously – when a bomb exploded in a suicide terrorist attack at a bus stop near the train station in Binyamina, halfway between Netanya and Haifa, at about 19:30 Monday evening. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.

This is the listing for a week in March, 2002: (39 killed, 168 injured in one week) Look at the ages here – it boggles the mind.

Mar 27, 2002 – 30 people were killed and 140 injured – 20 seriously – in a suicide bombing in the Park Hotel in the coastal city of Netanya, in the midst of the Passover holiday seder with 250 guests. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. The victims: Shula Abramovitch, 63, of Holon; David Anichovitch, 70, of Netanya; Sgt.-Maj. Avraham Beckerman, 25, of Ashdod; Shimon Ben-Aroya, 42, of Netanya; Andre Fried, 47, of Netanya; Idit Fried, 47, of Netanya; Miriam Gutenzgan, 82, Ramat Gan; Ami Hamami, 44, of Netanya; Perla Hermele, 79, of Sweden; Dvora Karim, 73, of Netanya; Michael Karim, 78, of Netanya; Yehudit Korman, 70, of Ramat Hasharon; Marianne Myriam Lehmann Zaoui, 77, of Netanya; Lola Levkovitch, 85, of Jerusalem; Furuk Na’imi, 62, of Netanya; Eliahu Nakash, 85, of Tel-Aviv; Irit Rashel, 45, of Moshav Herev La’et; Yulia Talmi, 87, of Tel-Aviv; St.-Sgt. Sivan Vider, 20, of Bekaot; Ernest Weiss, 79, of Petah Tikva; Eva Weiss, 75, of Petah Tikva; Meir (George) Yakobovitch, 76, of Holon. Chanah Rogan, 92, of Netanya; Zee’v Vider, 50, of Moshav Bekaot; Alter Britvich, 88, and his wife Frieda, 86, of Netanya died of their injuries on April 2-3, 2002. Sarah Levy-Hoffman, 89, of Tel-Aviv died of her injuries on April 7, 2002. Anna Yakobovitch, 78, of Holon died of her injuries on April 11, 2002. Eliezer Korman, 74, of Ramat Hasharon died of his wounds on May 5, 2002. Clara Rosenberger, 77, of Jerusalem died of her wounds on June 25, 2003.

Mar 28, 2002 – Rachel and David Gavish, 50, their son Avraham Gavish, 20, and Rachel’s father Yitzhak Kanner, 83, were killed when a terrorist infiltrated the community of Elon Moreh in Samaria, entered their home and opened fire on its inhabitants. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. Mar 29, 2002 – Tuvia Wisner, 79, of Petah Tikva and Michael Orlansky, 70, of Tel-Aviv were killed Friday morning, when a Palestinian terrorist infiltrated the Neztarim settlement in the Gaza Strip. Mar 29, 2002 – Lt. Boaz Pomerantz, 22, of Kiryat Shmona and St.-Sgt. Roman Shliapstein, 22, of Ma’ale Efraim were killed in the course of the IDF anti-terrorist action in Ramallah (Operation Defensive Shield).

Mar 29, 2002 – Rachel Levy, 17, and Haim Smadar, 55, the security guard, both of Jerusalem, were killed and 28 people were injured, two seriously, when a female suicide bomber blew herself up in the Kiryat Yovel supermarket in Jerusalem. The Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack.

Of course, we cannot forget the rocket attacks from Gaza. Here are statistics for the decade between 2000-2010. This link summarizes the terror policies of Hamas in the Gaza strip.

If anyone should think everything is fine now, the road terror is on an upswing. (And we all know what happens when you don’t nip this in the bud – it leads to worse things). Earlier this month one of the stars of the Latma network (Israeli satire group) was traveling in her car with her small child when they were attacked by rock throwers. Thank G-d noone was killed.

Tzom kal to my readers who are fasting, and may we see better things very soon.

An Ounce of Prevention

I was happy to read this article in the Times of Israel site, which states that the IDF and Shin Bet have conducted a wave of arrests of Arabs suspected of violence in Yehuda and Shomron (Judea and Samaria).

The arrests have helped decrease the incidents of stone throwing and are also a preventative measure before Ramadan, which starts soon. The Israeli army always gives thousands of extra permits to Arabs living in Judea and Samaria to travel to Jerusalem during Ramadan, and the fast and extra “religious fervor” of the month always gives rise to violence against Jews.

Hopefully these measures will keep the quiet, while permitting those Arabs that just want to celebrate their holiday and visit family the chance to do so.

Personally I am very glad we have a car now. Traveling by tremping (hitchiking in Israeli slang) is always a bit nerve-wracking when the bus stops are full of Arab men going home early from work – especially near our yishuvim in Yehuda and Shomron. During Ramadan it is that much worse.

A Must Read for Women

This article in Salon magazine by Lauren Shields is a must read for all women. She decided to give up the “fashion rat-race” and spent nine months dressing modestly – and learned quite a lot along the way.

I am now working in an environment with many young secular Israelis, mostly women. I am amazed at what is acceptable, even in a semi-professional environment. Bra straps are everywhere (I know I am old, but I was taught that you shouldn’t let your slip show. Letting your bra strap show was unthinkable). I am also a bit appalled at how many people, especially young women, have tatoos. Granted, Orthodox Judaism forbids tatooing oneself, and perhaps that adds to my feelings of discomfort when I see them. On the other hand, I remember a time when tatoos were for guys who wanted to look tough.

In any case, clothing and makeup are only noticed on the first or second encounter with someone. After that their personality and behavior are what you remember about people, and then what is covered or not covered makes no difference.

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