Free Speech Is Not Just For The Left

Good news for those of you who miss Arutz Sheva. A new radio station for those of us who live in Yehuda and Shomron (Judea and Samaria) has been approved.

The station can start operations as early as April. If the left-wing thought police let it, that is.

It seems that Gush Shalom is going to appeal to the Supreme Court to stop it, claiming that it is illegal. You see, according to Gush Shalom and Yariv Oppenheimer of Peace Now, the station will cater just to the political right. He claims that those of us in Yehuda and Shomron are all the same – political right wingers – and that we don’t deserve our own radio station because of this.

First of all, I think Yariv Oppenheimer would be surprised at the diversity of the people living in Yehuda and Shomron. After all, there are more than 280,000 of us. If three Jews can’t agree on anything, how does he think hundreds of thousands do? If you look at the voting statistics, you would be surpised to see Labor and Meretz voters here too.

Second of all, even if he could prove that we are all “right wingers” – why does that negate our right to free speech?

I miss my radio. I sometimes listen to Arutz 7 on the internet, but it is not the same as having it on the radio. My Friday morning cooking is just not the same.

Israel Will Never “Win” the Media War

Every once in a while someone will write an article about how Israel failed, again, to “win” the propaganda war. This past time it was about how Hamas won the propaganda war regarding the supposed blackouts in Gaza.

Noone really admits the truth – that there is no way that Israel can ever win the propaganda war – because the odds are always stacked against it.

At least Pajamas Media had a piece here explaining why this happens. The mainstream media will always publish something that makes Israel look bad – without even the most basic fact checking. Even when the Palestinians admit that they stage photo shoots, the world yawns, and the journalists are too “busy” to print a retraction.

There are some worthy organizations challenging the anti-Israel media bias – CAMERA comes to mind. They do challenge the media and demand retractions when necessary. But I can’t help thinking that what they do is too late.

You know what – I couldn’t care less about the propaganda war. The only wars Israel has to win are the real ones – on the ground. 

PSD Stands for Post Soccer Dad

Jack has picked up the gauntlet and is now organizing Havel-Havalim, and hosts the first PSD (Post Soccer Dad) edition. Is it my imagination or does this keep getting bigger?

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday to westbank brother! I’ll try to call you today, but if you are traveling the world over (as usual) you’ll read this first!

Many happy returns of the day.

Somewhere Between An Epiphany and Been There, Done That

This week my second son put on tefillin (phylacteries) for the first time. Our minhag (custom) is for the boy to put them on starting one month before his Bar Mitzvah, when it becomes obligatory.

In order to celebrate this occasion, we went to daven shacharit (pray the morning service) at the Kotel (Western Wall), and afterwards we went to have breakfast in a restaurant.

These are the bare facts. I’ve been debating with myself about how to write the complete description about this morning on the blog.

On the one hand, I could make an effort and put together a “three tissue post”, a la Treppenwitz. I would start with my personal struggles through years of infertility just to bring this boy into the world at all. I could then describe the crisp but cold Jerusalem morning, the sights and sounds of the Old City and the Western Wall, and the deep feeling of ancient traditions as I peeked through the mechitza between my morning prayers. For good measure I could mention that it was only a week after my mothers yahrzeit (anniversary of her death), which added a bittersweet tinge to the occasion. I could also describe how all of these things came together for me in a huge wave of emotions.

I could describe the morning that way – but I won’t. Because it would be a lie.

I could completely ignore it, or I could write a quick, “been there, done that” post, which would be the truth since we did the same thing for his older brother a number of years ago.

But that would be a lie too.

So how to portray the truth?

The truth is that I feel very lucky that this day was both “normal” and special. Normal in that we did not have to take heroic measures to get to the Kotel -we just got in the car and drove for about an hour. The most difficult part was deciding where to park – which we did in the paylot at the Karta and we walked the rest of the way.

Normal in that although it took quite a bit of effort to get him here, my son is (bli ayin hara) healthy and my infertility problems are just a sad memory from a long time ago.

Normal in that although I do wish my mother was here to share this, she passed away before he was born, and she would be very annoyed at me for letting sad thoughts about her mar the day.

One moment was elevated to being special, though. My son, after putting his tefillin away and making his way towards me, stuck out his arm for me to see.

“Look Ima” he said, showing me the slight depressions on his arm from where the straps had been. I rubbed my hand over them, and we shared a smile.

Pretty soon those marks on his arm will become “normal” for him – and thank G-d for that! This day, though, it was special – and we both had a chance to feel it.

Havel-Havalim #150

Wow! 150 editions and still going strong. Soccerdad has this week’s issue….

More Reasons To Read Jewish Blogs

Even when I am busy with work and family stuff, I try to read everyone on my blogroll at least once a week.

Here are some reasons why -

 Jameel gives us a heads up at some serious infringement of blogger’s rights. It seems that a commenter on Mystical Paths has been interrogated by the Shabak for, well, commenting…(!)

Jameel also has an excellent recommendation of a new blogger to read. “My Shrapnel” is a blog by a new olah who was injured in a suicide bombing. Her writing is excellent – definitely worth a look.

If you are looking for another good blog to read (at least on Tuesdays) take a look at Tuesdays with Morey, (the blog, not the book) written by an old NCSY friend.

Last but not least here is a heartwarming account of a very special wedding. (hat tip Jameel/Seraphic Secret)


Achmed’s Buddies

The IDF got another terrorist leader this morning. He was wanted for years, and was responsible for a terrorist attack in April of 2006.

I guess the IDF is doing its part to make sure that Achmed doesn’t get lonely.

Life In Israel

LifeinIsrael, by Rafi G., is a blog about, well, life in Israel. He posts all kinds of interesting things, and I enjoy reading him.

One recent post really caught my eye (and not only because of the pictures). Rafi likes to go on “adventures”, and is not afraid to travel to some unusual places.

This post is about his travels on a bitterly cold night in the Shomron, to what is considered the graves of our ancestor Itamar, son of Aharon HaCohen.

In a crazy way it really is typical of life in Israel. Here is a (somewhat?) Charedi Jew, going with what looks like a lot of other Charedi Jews (and some national religious too) to pray at a gravesite. This gravesite happens to be near an Arab city known to harbor many terrorists. So the gravesite is only open once a year, with the permission of the IDF.

Jewish soldiers make sure the place is safe for other Jews to pray. All are moser nefesh (giving of themselves) in one way or another. Those praying do so both for themselves and for others. The soldiers are protecting them. And another good soul, in typical Jewish fashion, provides food.

What could be more Jewish than hot cholent served on a freezing cold night at a gravesite near Schem (?!?).

Only in Israel. Thanks for the post Rafi.

President Bush – My House Is Not An Obstacle To Peace

Dear President Bush,

There are many reasons why there is no peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors, but my house is not one of them.

In order to prove this I don’t need to give you a history lesson, although that would be beneficial for background information. I don’t need to give you a lesson in the Bible, although that too would add to your understanding.

All I have to do is point out a few articles in the news from the last few days.

This article (surprisingly enough in the New York Times) portrays the pain and fear felt by the residents of Sderot, a small city in the south of Israel, where over 2,000 kassam rockets have fallen in the past four years (most after August 2005). These rockets have been fired from various places in the Gaza Strip, AFTER all of the Jews who had lived there were forcibly removed by the Israeli government. There were those who claimed that the cause of the constant wars in our area were just these Jews, and their audacity to live in “disputed territory”. So Arik Sharon, despite our protests and warnings, did what some claimed would bring peace. He forced the Jews from their homes.

Well now we know that this claim was false. After the Jews were removed the rockets just continued – and this time they were fired from closer range.

The problem (and the proof) isn’t just in the south – the north suffers too. Katyusha rockets were fired Monday night at Israel from Lebanon, a unwelcome reminder of the last war.

The real “obstacles to peace” President Bush, are, simply put, the people making war – not the ones building homes and communities.

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