Mon, 18 Nov 2013 - 12:01 AM
Sat, 16 Nov 2013 - 1:01 AM
Sun, 14 Apr 2013 - 6:00 PM
Fri, 05 Apr 2013 - 7:00 PM
UK jihad murderer: "I’m a man, a soldier, a British citizen. I’m not used to people looking at my privates."
Among the prices we pay for democracy are legislatures doing silly things.
In 1894, the Indiana House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill that claimed that an Indiana man had devised a means of “squaring the circle,” constructing with just a compass and a straight edge a square of the same area as a given circle. Thought an impossibility since ancient times, squaring the circle had been proved impossible by the German mathematician Ferdinand Von Lindemann in 1882, one of the great mathematical accomplishments of the 19th century. The bill also made several vague references to the value of the mathematical constant pi, the ratio of a circle’s diameter to its circumference, in one instance calling it 3.2 (it’s 3.1459 . . . and so on out to as many digits as your computer is willing to go, for pi is an irrational number and thus cannot be expressed exactly as a fraction or decimal). The Indiana Senate, fortunately for that state’s reputation, killed the bill.
Now the Connecticut legislature has decided that it has the power to legislate historical fact. In this case it has passed a bill that reads, “The Governor shall proclaim a date certain in each year as Powered Flight Day to honor the first powered flight by Gustave Whitehead and to commemorate the Connecticut aviation and aerospace industry, . . .”
Gustave Whitehead, who lived in Bridgeport, Connecticut, is supposed to have flown an airplane of his own design in August 1901, more than two years before the Wright Brothers undoubtedly flew at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The only problem is he almost certainly didn’t. These sorts of stories float around journalism like Elvis sightings and UFOs, getting resurrected on slow news days every decade or so. Whitehead certainly built airplanes, but there is precious little evidence that any of them ever flew. He did build and fly gliders. A website dedicated to the Wright Brothers has an excellent essay that demolishes the claims for Whitehead. It is a brilliant piece of historiographical analysis, which is how historians—if not legislatures—determine historical truth.
The bill now sits of Governor Malloy’s desk. He would do the state a favor by vetoing this nonsense. But he probably won’t.
During the last three weeks, I published three blogs (here, here and here) that rubbished the Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) idiots who insist on shooting themselves in the foot by refusing any of Israel’s medical innovations. I have just looked back at what Israelis have been working on in all areas over the last three weeks and I can hardly believe that so much has been achieved. So let me bring you up to date on just the medical and clean technology advances.In medical news, we heard that the technique treating cancer conceived 30 years ago by Weizmann’s Zelig Eshhar is now curing patients across the USA. Other related Israeli innovations include: - A medication to prevent women’s ovaries being damaged during chemotherapy. - A new probe with two cameras that can detect cancerous polyps in the colon. - A derivative of an Israeli mushroom that appears to be effective against pancreatic cancer. Concerning the brain: - Tel Aviv University researchers have invented a gel and implant to repair damaged nerves - Ben Gurion University’s future CARES center will boost its top research into stress-related illness. - Israel’s Reuth Center is using a computerized shoe to teach people with brain damagehow to walk again. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=OUmgViA2D0Y Heart-warming news includes: - Discovery at Hadassah Medical Center of an area of the body that can grow new heart muscle tissue. - An implant under development at Israel’s MitrAssist that will fix a leaky heart mitral valve. Recent successful heart operations include: - Rebuilding the chest to protect the exposed heart of a baby born without a breastbone. - Performing a heart transplant on a 28-year-old Israeli-Arab – the oldest patient at a children’s hospital. - Save A Child’s Heart doctors saved the life of a 4-year-old Syrian girl born with only one ventricle. In medical research: - Israeli biotech Cell Cure received a government grant to help develop its macular degeneration treatment. - Scientists at the Israel’s Technion have constructed an advanced biological computer. - Life Science guru Dr Ido Bachelet demonstrated what Israel’s microscopic robots can do. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-5KLTonB3Pg In Agro-technology, Israel has been innovating in order to benefit the world - Israel’s Volcani Center has developed processes to keep fruit and vegetables freshfor months. - Israeli firm Indolive is helping farmers to grow olives in the deserts of western India. - Israeli start-up TIPA are expanding production of their environmentally-friendly food packaging. - And the Hebrew University’s ran an International Symposium on balancing technical progress with health. In Water technology: - Israel’s Netafim, the pioneer of drip irrigation, won the 2013 Stockholm Industry Water Award. - UK’s Anglia Water has bought an advanced sewage treatment system from Israel’s Mapal - 23 Israeli companies presented their innovative water products at “Wasser Berlin” - IBM Israel announced new software to interpret utility meter readings and sensors anddetect water leaks. - And the Israeli water authority has opened the Degania Dam to replenish the flow of the Jordan River. On the energy front: - The Israeli government is subsidizing the replacement of electric water heaters to solar powered systems. - 1.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas has been discovered at the Karish prospect in Israeli territorial waters. In approximately three weeks time, we will enter a sad period of the Jewish calendar known as “the three weeks”. Jewish tradition says that the last day of the three weeks will one day turn into a festival of celebration and usher in a new age of prosperity and peace. I can’t wait. Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel. www.verygoodnewsisrael.blogspot.com For a free subscription, email a request to firstname.lastname@example.org
The description of the exhibition:
It deals with the loss of land and the fight against this expropriation, but restrictions and limitations that the idea of land imposes on individuals and communities affected by a criminal identity-politics groups. Among the places affected by this problem, we include the occupied Palestinian territories; monuments honoring both the French resistance fighters who opposed the Nazis and the French fighters in colonial wars against the people who wanted to turn their independence. In recent years, the photographic arena of Shibli has expanded to other questions around social exclusion across the situation of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people from Eastern countries and communities of children in Polish orphanages . Death, the latest round of Shibli specially designed for the occasion, shows the efforts of the Palestinian society to preserve the presence of those who lost their lives fighting the occupier. This series gives a large place to their absence through photographs, posters, and graffiti graves, presented as a form of resistance to colonial rule.
Here are some of the photos being exhibited of Palestinian Arabs honoring suicide bombers and other terrorists:
The exhibit pamphlet also shows that he has photos of Bedouin soldiers in the IDF, but the idea that they are there because of loyalty to Israel is dismissed:
Trackers series conducted in 2005, focuses on Palestinians of Bedouin origin who have served or still serve as volunteers in the army Israeli. This project questions the price that colonized minority is obliged to pay to a majority composed of settlers, perhaps to be accept, perhaps changing identity, perhaps to survive, perhaps for all these reasons and others. There is a protest planned as well as an online petition against this "art" that glorifies murderers and demonizes Israel.
Every day of the year, the IDF works towards preventing terror and keeping the citizens of Israel safe. In May, IDF forces seized a large number of illegal weapons and apprehended the would-be terrorists in possession of them. Thanks to the work of the IDF, here are 8 weapon seizures you didn’t hear about from the month of May.
May 5 – IDF forces arrested a Palestinian man near Bethlehem in possession of an improvised weapon, ammunition and a 12 cm knife.
May 6 – IDF forces uncovered a rifle, ammunition and military equipment in the house of a terror suspect. The suspect was transferred to security forces for investigation.
May 9 – IDF forces arrested a Palestinian man in possession of an illegal rifle and a 9 cm-long knife.
May 13 – IDF forces discovered 3 Palestinians as they attempted to ignite 5 firebombs next to a checkpoint near Nablus. They were also found in possession of a 12 cm-long knife. The men were transferred to the Palestinian Security Forces.
May 14 – IDF forces seized an illegal hunting rifle, ammunition, military helmets and a tactical vest during the arrest of a terror suspect in Hebron.
May 19 – IDF forces seized 2 pistols, a hunting rifle, military vest, and ammunition during the arrest of a terror suspect near Nablus.
May 22 – IDF forces seized an improvised weapon, ammunition and military equipment during the arrest of a terror suspect near Nablus.
May 31 – IDF forces arrested a Palestinian man in possession of an illegal hunting rifle near Bethlehem.
“In May, we succeeded in seizing a significant quantity of weapons during the course of routine security and counterterrorism activity. The numbers reflect the IDF’s constant efforts, together with other security forces, to maintain security stability by thwarting those who seek to undermine the situation. The IDF will continue to operate night and day in order to defend Israel and to fight terror.” – Brig. Gen. Tamir Yadai, Judea and Samaria Division Commander
The Israel Defense Forces remains vigilant and will continue to work to seize weapons and apprehend those who seek to harm the State of Israel and its citizens.
To find more about the Judea and Samaria sector, click here
Last night I took my son to see Israel play Norway in the opening game of the European Soccer Championships for Under 21 at the brand spanking new Netanya Municipal Stadium. The tournament – to be seen by millions of soccer fans around the world – is a colossal BDS Fail and is proceeding despite the protests of the BDS movement, spearheaded by longtime Israel hater, the Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Funny that the BDS movement chooses to ignore the fact that the Israeli team consists of players with names like Marwan Kabha, Mohammad Kalibat, Munas Dabbur, Taleb Twatha and Ahmed Azam…..
The game itself was a pretty good one. Israel, who were clearly outmatched on the field benefited from a (questionable) penalty and an (even more questionable) Norwegian red card in the first half and managed to squeak out a 2-2 draw.
Tonight we’re going to see Germany Vs. Holland at the new stadium in Petah Tikva
There’s an old saying: it’s better to keep one’s mouth shut and be thought a fool than to speak and prove it. That is Secretary of State John Kerry’s problem.
What is remarkable is how Kerry has painted himself into a corner, not just staking his term as secretary of state on making Israel-Palestinian peace but in doing so in a matter of weeks.
"If we do not succeed now, we may not get another chance," Kerry told the American Jewish Committee. "I have heard all of the arguments for why it is too difficult to end this conflict," he added. "Cynicism has never solved anything. It has never given birth to a state, and it won't."
Well, not exactly. First, Kerry is practically begging the Palestinian Authority to accept a state. The problem is not cynicism but naivete. The cynicism is based on long experience and a careful evaluation of the political, economic, and strategic factors involved.
Second, Kerry hasn’t heard that the last chance already happened thirteen years ago at the Camp David meeting in 2000. No amount of wishful thinking will make it otherwise. In fact, that endangers people.Let’s review:
--PLO, Palestinian Authority, and Fatah leader Yasir Arafat turned down an independent Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem and around $20 billion in aid as a starting point in further talks.
--He launched a five-year-long war of terror against Israel in which around 2000 Israelis were killed.
--When offered an even better deal by President Bill Clinton Arafat turned it down.
--Even when besieged in his headquarters—saved only by U.S. intervention from total, humiliating defeat—Arafat still rejected compromise.
--In the 13 years since the Camp David meeting the Palestinians have not pursued any serious negotiations.
--About half the territory and people the Palestinian Authority claims to negotiate for is not even under its control but is being ruled by Hamas which advocates genocide against the Jews and is totally opposed to peace on any terms. Hamas would do everything possible to wreck any deal made by the PA and that group has about 20 to 30 percent support on the West Bank.
--In the present climate of Islamist triumphalism, Hamas has more state support than the PA and the PA is terrified of being “traitorous moderates.”
--The PA strategy is clearly to get maximal recognition of a state without having to make a deal with Israel. Kerry's recent offer of $4 billion (for tourism development!)--how much will the U.S. government pay off the PA for pretending to negotiate?--was turned down by the PA within 24 hours even though they could use the money for the leadership's Swiss bank accounts.
Might some of these facts be relevant?
Kerry gave the typical line that unless Israel gets a two-state solution, it will have to choose between its Jewish and democratic nature.
Ludicrously untrue. If that didn’t happen when Israel occupied the whole of the territories captured by it in 1967 and governed the Arabs there on a daily basis—a period of 27 years in the West Bank and about 35 in the Gaza Strip—it isn’t going to happen now. There was a time when Israelis advocated annexation of these territories but that hasn’t been true for many years. Of course, Israel will not have to choose.
Who cares about how many Palestinians there are, they aren’t being ruled by Israel and they are not Israeli citizens.Absent as usual from Kerry’s analysis are the risks that Israel would take if it accepted a Palestinian state under current conditions.
Consider these statements by Kerry:
The belief that a security fence and the status quo could bring Israel security are "lulling themselves into a delusion….The absence of peace is perpetual conflict. ... We will find ourselves in a negative spiral of responses and counter-responses…."
The problem, however, is an unspoken premise that if the status quo changed and there was an independent Palestinian state, the conflict would go away and there would be full peace. In fact what would happen is that the conflict would continue under worse strategic conditions for Israel.
"I am confident that both sides are weighing the choices that they have in front of them very, very seriously."No. Both sides are pretending to weigh choices in order to avoid insulting you. A serious analysis of the factors involved show that nothing is going to happen. An accurate view of reality should be the foundation for policymaking.
A case can be made for Kerry showing himself as working hard for peace in order to defuse any possible effect on events elsewhere in the region. But by working too hard, spending too much of his time on the issue, and making absurd claims that he is going to succeed, Kerry is setting himself up for an embarrassing fall.
Also by promising quick results he is destroying the chance for the United States to pretend it is laboring around the clock supposedly--what?--to ease the situation with a civil war in Syria, a nuclear bomb in Iran, a Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt, etc.
This article is published on PJMedia.
The pivotal breakthrough which now seems likely to oblige Haredim to share the burden in terms of conscription and gainful employment, heralds a belated and dramatic review of the relationship between the State and Religion. The question is whether these changes will intensify the trends towards divisiveness and polarization or lead to mutual understanding and national unity.
So far, the hysteria and sensationalism surrounding secondary issues such as the Women of the Wall brouhaha continues to be blown totally out of proportion. There is surely madness in the air to have women, including prominent secular activists affiliated with the far left Meretz party, gathering for prayers at the Kotel, wrapped up in traditionally male tallitot (prayer shawls) and in some cases wearing tefillin (phylacteries). It provide ingredients for a slapstick comedy.
There are of course also genuine followers of Conservative and Reform Jewish streams who reject traditional gender separation and are accustomed to egalitarian prayer. A small number of traditionally observant women also attend halachically-based women’s services which are not totally egalitarian but are still frowned upon by most Orthodox rabbis. And prior to 1948, men and women were not separated at the Kotel.
The case against this agitation is that the bulk of the 10 million Jews who pray annually at the Kotel are, at best, uncomfortable and in many cases distressed and outraged at being disturbed during prayer by women they consider to be acting in breach of the tradition in which they were nurtured.
It is all very well to insist on minority rights which, under ideal circumstances, should apply. But human behavior and especially religious sensitivities of the majority must also be taken into account. It is unlikely that ‘Women of the Wall’ would flaunt their independent approaches to worship if they knew that they were offending Christian or Muslim worshipers.
Indeed, the Israeli authorities have taken sensitivities to the most absurd and extreme level by actually denying Jews the right to worship on the Temple Mount at any time and at any location.
The number of active Reform and Conservative Jews residing in Israel is minimal and thus, until recently, the average Israeli was disinterested or bemused by these protests.
However, the issue exploded after Israelis were shocked by the excessive reaction of the Israeli police who, pressured by the ultra-Orthodox, arrested and jailed women for wearing prayer shawls at the Kotel. The ugly and offensive Haredi demonstrations at the Kotel also created a furor and received such wide international media coverage that the issue was transformed into a major Israel-US diaspora confrontation. Public opinion obliged the Prime Minister to intervene, which led to the acceptance of the Sharansky proposal to extend the Western Wall plaza to include Robinson’s Arch specifically to provide access for the ‘Women of the Wall’ to gather and pray as they desire.
Had both factions to this dispute not deliberately polarized the situation, we would have been spared this pain and ridicule. Had the women prayed quietly, with or without tallitot, the authorities should have ensured that they be left in peace. Had the haredim ignored the women and avoided these confrontations, there is little doubt that, in the course of time, at least the secular leftist political activists would simply have stopped “praying” at the Kotel.
The ‘Women of the Wall’ issue also gained public support because it became perceived as yet another example of efforts by the combined forces of the Haredim and the more right-wing religious Zionist elements to impose their stringent interpretations of Jewish law over the entire nation.
Many Israelis also, mistakenly, bracketed this issue with recent efforts to impose gender separation in transportation, public functions and in some cases even in the streets. The current attempts to enforce prohibitions against listening to a woman singing and the separation of the sexes – even in some sections of Bnei Akiva, the religious Zionist youth movement – was never the approach of mainstream Judaism by even the most revered former orthodox rabbinical leaders such as Chief Rabbi Herzog, Chief Rabbi Goren or Rabbi Soloveichik.
Needless to say, extremists on both sides are elated that this Kulturkampf is polarizing the country, despite the fact that it encourages mutual loathing and intolerance and deepens the chasm between the Orthodox and nonobservant.
It is clear that the increasing rigidity and efforts by the ultra-orthodox to impose their standards on the entire nation, combined with the failure of their rabbis to encourage their students to carry the burden of the draft and earn a livelihood rather than being dependent on state welfare, has alienated the nation against them. They are now often perceived as selfish, obscurantist, and unwilling to share the burden of civic responsibilities.
On the other hand, there is no denying that many of those graduating from the secular school stream, are utterly ignorant of Judaism or its practice and could be well be described as Hebrew Canaanites. Much of the ignorance of Jewish tradition amongst non-observant Israelis is due to the failure of the Education Ministry to include Jewish heritage in the mainstream curriculum. Alas, many rabbis have even preferred to have secular students educated in a totally atheist environment rather than have Jewish tradition taught in a non-orthodox environment. And in contrast to the outreach approach of diaspora Jews, Israeli children from non-observant homes are discouraged from enrolling in the state religious school stream.
In the early years of the state, graduates of the secular stream were at least proficient in Tanach (Biblical studies) but after a number of Meretz ministers headed the Education Ministry even this was substituted by greater emphasis on Third World studies and more contemporary subjects.
The appointment of Rabbi Piron as Minister for Education is likely to restore and infuse Jewish values and heritage into the secular educational system. His track record indicates that he will avoid coercion or attempts to enforce religious belief or observance. The Tali system created by the Conservatives is a role model which may be emulated.
We are now facing major changes in the relationship between religion and state. These have the potential of either intensifying the polarization which has been dividing the country or alternatively creating an environment in which Jewish values will be extended to a much wider section of the Israeli population. The determining factor will be the extent to which both sides display tolerance and understanding of each other’s sensitivities and seek to ease rather than exacerbate prevailing divisions.
I see hopeful signs that we are moving in the right direction. Over recent years there has undoubtedly been a greater inclination on the part of non-observant Israelis to become more closely connected to Jewish traditions and values.
That will only succeed in the absence of coercion and the recognition that whilst the ultra-Orthodox are fully entitled to impose upon themselves the most stringent interpretations of halacha, they will only create division and generate anti-religious attitudes if they seek to impose their way of life on the entire community.
The writer may be contacted at email@example.com
This column was originally published in the Jerusalem Post and Israel Hayom
This week marks the 46th anniversary of the Six-Day War and it cannot be said that the Palestinian Authority has neglected to remember the occasion. Earlier this week the PA’s chief “peace negotiator” Saeb Erekat schlepped a group of foreign journalists to Latrun, the crossroads town that once served as the choke point for the 1948 siege of Jerusalem to remind them—as well as Palestinians and Israelis—that what he is asking for is not negotiations for peace but an attempt to turn back the hands of time and return the region to the moment in history before the Israeli victory in 1967 changed the strategic balance in the region. As the New York Times reported:
“I am sure many of you are asking why is Saeb Erekat bringing you to this point,” Mr. Erekat said to a group of diplomats and reporters as he stood against a backdrop of green fields, a reservoir and an Israeli settlement of red-roofed houses in the valley below.
“It is not because I want to demarcate the maps or finalize the negotiations,” he said, referring to the intensive efforts of Secretary of State John Kerry to get the Israelis and Palestinians to return to peace talks. “I just want to stand here and say, ‘It is 46 years later.’ ”
Erekat’s candor is in a sense quite commendable. Latrun is a potent symbol of the nature of the Israel that existed in those halcyon days before the obstacle to peace was the presence of Jews in the West Bank and in which a small state with indefensible borders and a capital that could be isolated with ease stood on the precipice of destruction as Arab armies began to mass on its borders. Erekat was sending a clear message to Israelis that if they thought the PA would ever accept the fact that the world had irrevocably changed in those 46 years they could just keep dreaming.
As Erekat well knows there now exists a broad consensus within Israel about the desirable nature of a two-state solution. That consensus includes Prime Minister Netanyahu and most of the members of his government. Indeed, even the Israeli right knows that if the Palestinians ever offered a complete end to the conflict and recognized the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders were drawn they would find the majority ready to make painful territorial sacrifices. But by laying down a marker on Latrun—a place that no Israeli in his right mind would ever consider leaving—Erekat was making it clear their real priority was not peace but an effort to merely continue the conflict on more advantageous terms.
Indeed, reminding Israelis of the Israel that existed from 1949 to 1967 is not exactly the way to reassure his ostensible peace partners of the PA’s good intentions. But of course what else can you expect of a peace negotiator that has boycotted peace talks for the past four and a half years?
The actions of Erekat and his boss PA leader Mahmoud Abbas show just how much of a fool’s errand Secretary of State John Kerry has sent himself on by seeking to revive talks with the Palestinians. The PA says it will talk with Israel but only if Netanyahu promises in advance to use the armistice lines that stood until June 4, 1967 as the starting point for negotiations with the clear implication that they will accept little if any alterations to them.
Though Kerry and those American Jews who are cheering his efforts on seem to forget, Israel offered the Palestinians an independent state in almost all of the West Bank, Gaza and a share of Jerusalem in 2000, 2001 and 2008 and were turned down every time. The latter offer even included a codicil from Ehud Olmert abandoning Jewish sovereignty over the Old City and the Western Wall. But even those terms were not enough to tempt Abbas to give up the conflict.
If the Palestinians were really interested in peace, they could do what President Obama asked them to do this past spring and negotiate without preconditions as Netanyahu has always been prepared to do. But since doing so would put them in a position where they might be forced to either say yes to an accord, which is unthinkable given the realities of Palestinian politics, or no, which would demonstrate that it is not the Israelis who don’t want to make peace, they will continue to find excuses to stay away from the table.
But instead of negotiating, they continue to talk about forcing the Israelis to accept the so-called “right of return” for the descendants of the Palestinian refuges of 1948—something that means the end of the Jewish state and grandstanding at Latrun—which reminds Israelis of what a return to the 1967 lines would mean.
Instead of trying to move the clock ahead to a time when Palestinians will have finally rejected the politics of hate and war, Erekat and Abbas continue to appear more interested in turning it back to a moment when there was not a single Jew living in the West Bank, Eastern Jerusalem or the Old City. It is no small irony that there was not only no peace when there were no settlements but also no Palestinian independence. If the PA ever truly wants a state as opposed to a never-ending conflict, the Israelis will be ready. History cannot go backward even if the Palestinians wish it could.
June 22, 1983
30 years ago this month! Back in June 1983. -Dry Bones- Israel's Political Comic Strip Since 1973
Gardai and the Central Bank, which last year bought the eight-storey shell in the Dublin docklands, have launched separate probes into the vandalism, which happened early on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.
Several messages - including "Zionist engineered global financial holocaust", "Jewish supremacist destruction of indigenous Europeans", "Zionist global financial terrorism" and "Jewish financial terrorism" - have been scrawled in large red letters in the skeleton-like building. From La Repubblica (Italian):
Two swastikas, a Star of David and the word "Juden" have been painted with black spray paint on the facade of the Synagogue of Verona. The anti-Semitic action the other night was done by some hooded people, videoed by surveillance cameras that have provided the police the first evidence to start an investigation. It's not the first time such events happened in Verona: over the years and in recent months swastikas had been painted on Jewish cemetery, but never on the facade of the synagogue in the city center.
The incident happened to coincide with an important Jewish religious ceremony, the 150th anniversary of the [dedication of?] Sefer Torah, a scroll that contains the sacred writings of the Jews.