Thursday, 30 April 2009

Israel Matzav: 'Never again,' Obama style

'Never again,' Obama style

At Pajamas Media, Michael Ledeen analyzes Barack Obama's Holocaust Memorial Day speech and concludes that the President has a very Orwellian idea of what we mean when we say "Never again!" (Hat Tip: Power Line). Here's the key part of the article.
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Israel Matzav: 'Never again,' Obama style

Israel Matzav: North Korea shipped uranium to Iran?

Israel Matzav: North Korea shipped uranium to Iran?

Israel Matzav: Obama's personal morality and Israel's security

Obama's personal morality and Israel's security

The most striking thing about the first 100 days of the Obama Presidency is the extent to which the new President has sought to impose his worldview on the United States - and by extension the world - through immediate and sometimes drastic policy initiatives. From the massive expansion in government, to the takeover of private businesses like banks and automobile manufacturers, and to his 'outing' of CIA interrogation techniques, Obama has represented a radical shift in the way the United States does business. No President - at least in my recollection - has so explicitly attempted to stamp the nation and the world with his personal worldview and 'moral compass.' It behooves Americans - and Israelis - to examine what we might be in for in the next three and a half years.
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Israel Matzav: Obama's personal morality and Israel's security

Israel Matzav: It's a capital offense!

It's a capital offense!

A 'Palestinian Authority court' in Hebron has sentenced a 59-year old 'Palestinian' man, Anwat Breghit, to die by hanging for the crime of selling land to Joooos.

Dozens of Arabs have been executed in the past for collaborating with Israel by selling land to Jews, but the court’s ruling is the first time the PA officially has handed down a guilty verdict of treason for the crime. Previous summary executions with the approval of the PA have been met with outcries from human rights organizations.
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Israel Matzav: It's a capital offense!

Israel Matzav: Fatah and Hamas still fighting? It's the Joooos' fault

Fatah and Hamas still fighting? It's the Joooos' fault

In an interview published in the Tuesday edition of London-based pan-Arabic daily al-Sharq al-Awswat, Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit had a very simple answer to why Fatah and Hamas cannot get along: It's the Joooos fault.

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Israel Matzav: Fatah and Hamas still fighting? It's the Joooos'

Israel Matzav: H1N1 virus?

H1N1 virus?

It seems that Israeli Minister of Health Yaakov Litzman is not the only one who is opposed to referring to the virus currently sweeping the world as 'swine flu' (Hat Tip: Memeorandum)
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Israel Matzav: H1N1 virus?

Israel Matzav: The achitect of Obama's Middle East policy

The achitect of Obama's Middle East policy

If I asked you to name architect of the Obama administration's Middle East policy, whom would you name? Until I read the article I am about to discuss, I would have named Brent Scowcroft or George Mitchell. Some of you might have named Samantha Power, a few might have said Hillary Clinton, and maybe some would have mentioned Dennis Ross or Dan Kurtzer. According to Ed Lasky, you and I would all be wrong. The architect and real power behind the Obama administration's Middle East policy is a former Democratic Congressman from Indiana named Lee Hamilton.
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Israel Matzav: The achitect of Obama's Middle East policy


Never-ending wars, economic gloom, terrible drivers, consistently idiotic politicians, hordes of nasty antisemites, Iranian bombs, hot summers and drought in winter, taxes... and the Israelis keep on smiling. Or rather, endlessly kvetching but fundamentally smiling. I challenge you to find any society anywhere with levels of satisfaction with life to equal those of the Israelis, as detailed here. Even the Israeli Arabs mostly agree, though with less exuberance.

The numbers have been mostly consistent for years and years. Partly they reflect Israelis' conviction that things really are pretty good. Second, they reflect the typical Israeli conviction that life is fundamentally what we make of it, so why complain? Most profoundly, however, the consistently stratospheric levels of satisfaction stem from the recognition that compared to the previous 2,000 years or so, we're living in a miracle.
taken from:Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations (


The other day I linked to the short-list of pictures competing at Y-net for the slot of "Most typically Israeli picture, 2009", a competition between snapshots sent in by regular Israelis, and chosen by the regular folks at Y-net. Here's the picture that was chosen:
Should we talk about it a bit?

First, this was a popular choice, vox populi - not the choice of a small group of self anointed pompous cultural experts or celebrities or what have you.

Second, if you don't know what it's about, it's hardly self explanatory - which is probably the reason it was chosen. The voters in this competition were looking for a typically Israeli picture, and they chose one they felt to be specifically Israeli, unique to us. Fundamentally unfathomable to outsiders, actually, as Roni Shaked commented in his column, which was not translated. (Y-net isn't Haaretz - all the more regrettable).

Where's the picture from? It was taken by 21-year-old Yonnie Kot, a recently demobilized tank commander. He snapped the shot from his position in the turret of his tank, in one of two scenarios. Either he'd just parked the tank after a run of maneuvers, as his unit reached a resting point, or they were preparing to continue and the van appeared. I've been in that picture hundreds of times, as have most of us; Achikam, home for Independence Day, glanced at it and said "Classic! And I've been in that field!"

What's it a picture of? Of a gazlan, of course. What's a gazlan? Well, the etymology is pretty clear. GazLAN is the Hebrew word for a thief who steals in bright daylight. GAZlan is the fellow, mostly uneducated and with imperfect syntax, who does a roaring business selling hot dogs and ice cream to military units on maneuvers. Each maneuvering area has one or two of them, and they always know in advance exactly which unit will be where when and how to get there. The commanders of the unit may have spent the entire night navigating the desert so as to assault a specific dusty hill at dawn, peering at their maps (or GPS screens). Once they've shot their payloads and churned up the dust, they lead their unit over the crest of the hill to regroup before moving on... and there's the gazlan fellow, with no specially-fangled military maps and satellite navigating equipment, waiting with his over-priced merchandise to fleece the troops. And boy, are the troops glad to see him.

Yossie Beilin once told in an interview of a life-changing insight he had many years ago while on the field of battle with casualties not yet evacuated, standing in line at the window of the gazlan. Even accepting it really happened that way, he was presenting his all-Israeli credentials while suggesting his hardly-all-Israeli perspectives.

If Yossie Beilin so, certainly all the rest of us less enlightened proles.

Yet this isn't the full story. Roni Shaked notes that thousands of snapshots were sent in, so it must have been a far larger number who did the choosing. They could have chosen all sorts of pictures to celebrate their communal identity - heroic ones, aesthetic ones, national ones, even simply more interesting ones. The aggregate voice that chose this particular picture was saying something. That this is a situation we all recognize, and recognize as being uniquely us. That the army is an essential part of our communal and personal lives, but the civilian gazlan is a central part of it. That the military planners pore over their preparations, but the uneducated gazlan will always see through them. That we'd never pay gazlan-prices for a hotdog at home, but in the army we'll gladly fork out the money rather than survive off the fare supplied for free by the system.

On a profound level, the gazlan is an expression of cynical humor in a crazy situation that isn't humorous; his elevation to national icon reflects the combination of grim determination and irreverence about it, all rolled together. He's precisely not Brecht's Mutter Courage, trudging after the marauding armies, making a living off the destruction they wreak while losing everything to its maws. The gazlan as a metaphor isn't separate from the troops, a parasite off them: he's the better side of them, the reminder that soon they'll be on his side of the equation, the civilians making the best of a wacky situation - but then again, they won't, because soon enough they'll be back in uniform as reservists, paying outrageous prices for his wares.

PS. I've noticed my exhortations to know Hebrew if you want to understand Israel have become regular fare on this blog. It's not a mandatory requirement, of course, but if I can convince you, here's a rather painless venue - no travel required, so you're even saving the planet!
taken from:Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations (


Psalm recited before Birkat Ha-Mazon on Shabbat and HolidaysShir Ha-Ma’alot - A Song of Ascents (Psalm 126)

There are those who explain this Psalm homiletically as a conversation between Jews who live in the Land of Israel and Jews who live in the Exile.The Jews in Exile say: "A song of ascents. When Hashem will bring the exiles back to Zion, we will be like dreamers." We sing and dream for the very day when the Master of the Universe will return us to Zion.
The Israelis respond to them: But this is occurring now. It is already possible to sing. Blessed is Hashem, we are full of rejoicing, "Now, our mouth is filled with laughter, and our tongue with song."
The Jews in Exile comment: Surely, we have heard on the television and radio outside of the Land that the non-Jews praise the great achievements of the State of Israel, "Then it was said among the nations, ‘Hashem has done great things with these people.’"
The Israelis smile: You are telling us? We know. "Hashem has done great things for us, and we rejoice.
"The Jews in Exile begin to be convinced: "We should return from our captivity, Hashem, like streams gushing through the Negev." If so, we ask the Master of the Universe to bring us back to the Land with a sudden miracle, like the streams of the Negev which were dry from water and suddenly a mighty stream flows. We are waiting for that moment.
That is not the way it is! Respond the Israelis: The Redemption comes little by little, sowing is laborious, difficult and backbreaking: "Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy."
If so, respond the Jews in Exile: We do not concur, we are scared of the difficulties and hardships. "One goes out weeping when burdened with the full measure of seeds." – This is not for us.
Don’t exaggerate, smile the Israelis, it is not so tragic. In total, it is sufficiently pleasant here. "He shall surely come in joy, bearing his harvested sheaves."
taken from : Torat HaRav Aviner (


Italian 1,500 passenger cruise ship Melody was attacked by Somali Pirates after dinnertime Saturday as it sailed north of the Seychelles and about 500 miles (800 kilometers) east of Somalia, according to the anti-piracy flotilla headquarters of the Maritime Security Center Horn of Africa. The Melody was traveling up Africa's east coast, from Durban, South Africa to Genoa, Italy.

The ship's Italian Commander, Ciro Pinto said the pirates fired "like crazy" with automatic weapons, slightly damaging the liner, when they approached in a small, white Zodiac-like boat.

"After about four or five minutes, they tried to put a ladder up," Pinto told Sky TG24.

According to the company's director Domenico Pellegrino, the private 6 man Israeli security force aboard the MSC Cruises ocean liner Melody returned fire on the pirates Saturday with pistols and water hoses, preventing them from boarding.

"It was an emergency operation," Pellegrino told The Associated Press. "They didn't expect such a quick response. They were surprised."

Passengers were ordered to return to their cabins and the lights on deck were switched off. The massive vessel then sailed on in darkness, eventually escorted by a Spanish warship to make sure it made it to its next port.

"It felt like we were in war," the ship's Italian Commander, Ciro Pinto, told Italian state radio. "They were starting to climb up but we reacted, we started to fire ourselves. When they saw our fire, and also the water from the water hoses that we started to spray toward the Zodiac, they left and went away ... They followed us for a bit, about 20 minutes," he said.
Pellegrino said MSC Cruises had Israeli private security forces on all their ships because they were the best. He said the pistols on board were at the discretion of the commander and the security forces.
Saturday's exchange of fire between the Melody and pirates was one of the first reported between pirates and a nonmilitary ship. Civilian shipping and passenger ships have generally avoided arming crewmen or hiring armed security.

Why would anyone go near that area of the world unarmed?
On second thought,why would anyone go anywhere unarmed?
taken from: DoubleTapper (
More here and here
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