Terror By The Numbers

Although the Central Bureau of Statistics in Israel publishes its numbers around the Jewish new year at Rosh HaShana, the terror statistics come out at the end of the secular year. Tucked into the Makor Rishon newspaper was an article with the roundup.

This year was considered a “good” one, terror wise, compared to last year:

In 2010 there were 9 dead and 28 wounded from terrorist attacks, versus 15 dead and 234 wounded in 2009 (which includes the period of the War in Gaza).

In 2010 there were “only” 150 rockets fired into Israel from its neighbors, versus 569 in 2009 (407 during the War in Gaza alone).

In 2010 there were “only” 215 mortar shells fired into Israel, versus 289 during 2009.

Thank G-d there were no suicide bombers either in 2010 or in 2009.

Remember these statistics. The next time we need to go to war against the terrorists in Gaza or Lebanon, (and according to army predictions this will happen sooner rather than later) and the liberals both in Israel and especially in America start to hyperventilate, you can give them some background. These numbers will almost certainly be ignored by the mainstream media – as if the IDF decides to go to war on a whim.

Can you imagine the citizens of San Diego putting up with hundreds of rockets and mortar shells fired from Mexico? Can you imagine the citizens of Maine putting up with hundreds of rockets and mortar shells fired from Canada?

Of course you can’t, and I hope you never do.

I Never Thought I Would See THAT!

I never thought I would see guys wearing kipot, tzitzit and peyos playing American style football. If this isn’t an “only in Israel” moment, I don’t know what is! Be sure to click on the video to see what I am talking about.

And Now For Something Completely Different

It’s been a slow blogging week, so I decided to share with you some of the more ridiculous humorous things I have come across lately.

First, you too can draw a picture of President Obama, using everyday things found in your own home.

Camel beauty contest anyone? (hat tip Elder of Zion) If this contest doesn’t thrill you, how about the best toilet in Britain?

I think they need to get a life over in Finland too, as they are notorious for their weird contests, including “wife carrying” (the winner gets his wife’s weight in beer!)

In Spain they run the world’s biggest food fight – using tomatoes (my mother would have smacked us silly if we threw food – it was one of her strict rules. So this one doesn’t appeal to me at all…)

Blissfully Oblivious

I mentioned in an email to someone in America that we scheduled something for this coming Sunday, December 26th. He wrote back “Isru Chag?” (For those of you who do not know, the day after the last day of Passover and Sukkot is called “isru chag”. Don’t ask me why though…)

At first I did a double-take, and then I got the joke.

Today I received an email, again from the States, where someone wished me “Happy holidays” (I thought the person was Jewish but now I am not sure). I laughed out loud at work and had to explain why.

It makes me extremely happy to know that December 25th is just another day in our calendar here in Israel. When my kids were little they saw a picture of Santa Claus once and asked me who that Rabbi was, and why he was wearing a red suit. I smiled for a week.

Only in Israel can we be blissfully oblivious.

Mortar Shells Fired Into the South

UPDATE: Kassam rocket lands near kindergarden this morning. A 14 year old girl in a house nearby hurt by flying glass.

*sigh*. Just a few days ago I wrote that when the news revolved around the weather it was a good sign that things were quiet in Israel. I should have kept my mouth blog shut.

Our neighbors to the south have started firing mortar shells over the border again – into the Negev. Thankfully noone was hurt. This past weekend Makor Rishon had an article about the stirrings of Hamas in Gaza. It seems that they need to show some sort of “progress” once in a while, in order to calm the public. “Progress” to them, is some sort of successful attack against Israel. (I wonder what would happen if they redefined progress as actually building something in Gaza…..)

The IDF is preparing for the next operation in Gaza, and they have said publicly that it is not a matter of “if” an operation will happen, it is a question of “when.” They also say that the next time the operation will be bigger.

Facing the Threat

A very interesting article appeared in the Science section of the New York Times, about how best to survive a nuclear blast. Surprisingly, the best thing to do is go down into a basement and wait for a few hours. Even hunkering down in a car for awhile will cut down casualties. 

What is more interesting, to me at least, is the fact that this simple solution has been known for quite some time, but the authorities in America are afraid to publicize it, for fear of throwing people into a panic. Note that this article did not appear on the front pages of the New York Times – just in the Science section. (Perhaps they thought that people who are interested in science would be less prone to panic?) Note also the title – preparing for the “unthinkable”. How can you prepare to survive something that you can’t even think about?

It all comes down to culture I guess. Here in Israel, we know that bad things can, and do, happen. Our history as Jews, both ancient and modern, contain so many horrors that we don’t have the luxury of denial. Our society takes the responsibility of saving lives so seriously that not informing the public of a way to help survive an attack for fear of panic is absurd, if not criminal.

We exchanged our gas masks a few months ago, as I wrote on the blog before. I still receive robo-calls from the Home Front Command to do so, so the campaign is still going strong. These calls do not make people panic – we do what we can to protect ourselves, and then get on with our lives.

What will it take for Americans to learn to do the same?

Absurd, But True

This video basically sums up America’s current foreign policy regarding Israel (I’ll give you a hint – they are obsessed with my house). Absurd, but true..

Please Help A Good Cause

Bank Leumi has announced that they will donate a million shekels to a good cause – and we can choose which one. Various charities have entered the competition, and one of them is run by one of the members of my yishuv. It is called Tal Chaim, and they not only provide food for the needy, but they provide ways for these people to get out of the cycle of poverty. They provide tutoring and homework help for those who need it, and run projects that raise money for the charity and employ some of those who receive donations.

Please click on this link to see their video, and vote for Tal Chaim. You can vote once a day from each computer from now until December 27th.

Good Signs

Israelis are “news hounds” – they check the news first thing in the morning, throughout the day, and the last thing at night before going to bed.  After mastering enough Hebrew to understand the radio, I got hooked, and also became a news hound.

After the disengagement, and all of the turmoil it caused, I needed to distance myself a bit. Now I read the headlines on the internet in the morning, and sometimes at night – but that’s it – unless something important happens, in which case I become a news hound again.

Whether you listen to the news in Israel once a day or every hour – you can always tell when things are quiet here. That is when the news contains articles about the weather.

I always take pleasure in that – it is a good sign, at least in this part of the world.

Winter Is Finally Here

In order to celebrate the coming of winter in Israel (finally!) I decided to put the “snow” feature on my blog.  How do you like the new background color? 

Even if I won’t see the real thing this year (although you never know…) I’ll enjoy the virtual stuff!

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