Thursday, July 10, 2014

Southern Comfort by Jonathan Becker

This was written by my friend and neighbor Jonathan Becker


Yesterday, the first day of "Operation Protective Edge", I accompanied Marc Provisor down to the Gaza border to bring some much-needed medical/security gear to kibbutzim that are in the line of murderous rocket fire by Hamas and other Islamic "militants". These kibbutzim have, in some ways, fallen through the holes in the system: while their security teams co-ordinate all operations with the IDF, the IDF has "bigger fish to fry", and these teams often go without crucial equipment, from medical supplies to security gear, to simple things such as batteries and flashlights. Marc, and the One Israel Fund, is trying to fill this gap. From what i saw yesterday, he's doing a heck of a job.

Marc is my friend and neighbor. He lives two doors down from me in Shilo, a Jewish community in the Shomron (Samaria). Here, too, we know what it is like to "fall through the cracks" of large, cumbersome systems and bureaucracies in times of emergency. Marc moves fast and takes initiative, which is something desperately needed in these times. Two nights ago he posted a comment on Facebook that said "Anyone interested in helping me with an equipment run, send me a private message." I responded right away. I had some free time, I'd always wanted to accompany him on one of these trips, and anything was better than sitting at home reading the increasingly horrifying news of intensifying rocket fire from Gaza, and our response to it.

I got a first class ticket. Yesterday morning we threw some flak jackets and helmets into his jeep and headed out.

First stop was a small community outside the city of Ariel, where a jovial man named Ze'ev runs an operation that imports, collects and designs/packages medical equipment. Here i saw firsthand that Marc doesn't just collect donations and get this stuff to where it's needed. He is deeply involved with the actual design of the various forms of medical kits that One Israel Fund distributes. He was doing it right there in front of me, while Ze'ev was packing them. Making suggestions, throwing out ideas like confetti, bouncing them off Ze'ev as we put the gear together. This gear, while always in a state of development, is already fully functional, streamlined, and ready to go. All the ideas and suggestions were for next time. We packed the gear in the jeep and drove to Kibbutz Einat, just over the "green line" from Ariel, where we met up with Eiran (not "Iran", he explained to me, laughing) and packed the jeep with more gear. Tactical flashlights, vehicle-mounted floodlights, various forms of emergency lighting. A lot of light. We wanted to bring "light" to the embattled south of the country,, and Eiran was our man. We headed straight south from there, the jeep full of goodies.

The road to the Gaza border was as one might have expected: a lot of cars heading north, more and more the farther south we got. On our side of the road, by the time we got close to where we were headed, there were almost no cars going south, towards the dangerous areas where we were headed. We had the "pleasure" of stopping along with some of the other drivers on that road to head for a roadside bomb shelter when one of the frequent "color red" warnings was sounded. You have 15 seconds to stop the car and hit the shelter. People were taking it seriously but, as they say, "morale was high". The Jewish equivalent of "high fives" were exchanged after we heard the distant booms of Israeli returning fire, and we were on our way again.

At Re'im we met up with Guy, the regional coordinator between the IDF and the local security teams. He would be our guide for the rest of the trip. What can i tell you about Guy? He was a mensch, under a lot of pressure. He didn't know us from Adam. He just wanted to help, and that meant helping us help. He was doing his job. I could say all this and more about everyone we met yesterday.

Guy took us first to Kissufim, where we were met by the Rav Shatz (the local security honcho, hereafter referred to as "R"S") and, I guess, his deputy. They were both completely tricked out in military gear that would make readers of "Soldier of Fortune" drool. I've lived in the Shomron for twenty years, through all sorts of hellish military situations, (albeit as a civilian) and I’d never seen anything like it. Even Marc was a bit taken aback. "Probably just trying to impress us", he whispered to me.

As it turned out, that may have been true. But they were friendly, sincere, and clearly grateful that someone from "the outside" had come to show some solidarity with them. And yes, they were clearly quite competent. They weren't playing around.

The younger of the two was the actual R"S. He was in his twenties, named Sa'ar. He looked like a movie star. In more peaceful times, i would guess he was quite the "lady killer" around those parts. He was talkative, kind of puppy-like, even. It was hard not to like him. He had been born and raised down there, he told me proudly (as did everyone we met from this point on. He wanted to know who we were, where we were from, what we were doing exactly, what the mood was like in the rest of the country, in particular in the "settlements". I'm a conversationalist, so i kept him busy, with pleasure, while Marc attended to the business of distributing the gear we'd brought. 


We were taken to see a couple of recent rocket strikes, one on a chicken coop. While we were there we had to take cover from just such a strike. We heard (and felt) the boom, very close, and responding fire from the IDF. In those seconds, everyone locks into "professional" mode. As security guys, our new friends ordered me to shelter by a nearby cement wall, and as a civilian, i obeyed. There was no fear, just.... this is how it is down here right now, my friends. It was us, the soft-spoken fellow who owned the chicken coop, a curious bystander, Guy, the security guys, the IDF, and, a mile away, a huge, insane terrorist organization with thousands of fighters and missiles who were trying to kill us. That's just what it was. There was nothing to talk about. We said warm goodbye's, wishing them strength, and moved on.

Next was Ein HaShlosha, even closer to the Gaza border. Here we were met by Rami, who was very different from the R"S of Kissufim. An older man in his sixties, he'd been around the block a few times. He was wearing just a t-shirt with an Israeli patch sewed onto one arm. He carried only his sidearm, though his M-16 was in the front of his pickup truck, pointed right at me when i settled into the shotgun seat. I re-arranged it gently.

I was sitting in the front because Marc and Guy wanted me to get a good look at what we were going to see. They were old hands, they had already seen it. I am grateful to them. Rami gave us quite the tour of the kibbutz and the border. Recent rocket attack sites, one of them as yet unexploded, near which we got out of the truck and i took advantage of a shameless photo op. I later felt that my grin in the photo was inappropriately incongruous with what we were seeing and the general situation, but it was genuine. These men were not afraid. They were doing their jobs, and as anyone who's ever done an uncomfortable job knows, humor is key. There is generally no room for sad sacks. We were all joking around about this terrible situation. And that, in my opinion, is how it must be, in most cases.


Here, at Ein HaShlosha, I was also introduced to the awful idea of the "terror tunnels" up close. These are not just the regular tunnels for bringing weapons and goods in an out of Gaza. They are built, over many months, for a single use: for terrorists to "pop up" inside the kibbutz and randomly kill as many Jewish civilians as possible. The terrorists who are doing this know that they will be killed if they succeed. They know that the months of labor will lead only to one short, deadly encounter, and that the tunnel will be immediately destroyed afterwards. I found the idea of the blind hatred necessary to do such a thing to be even more unsettling than the rockets. I listened to Rami with even more respect as he described how the IDF would inform him of the existence of the tunnels, detected by sophisticated sensors, but not much else, until they were blown up before reaching their destination by the IDF. The destruction of one of these tunnels lead to the deaths, a few days ago, of seven Hamas "operatives" who were inside it hard at work at the time. Rami described his frustration at being able to do little for his friends and neighbors about these sophisticated and potentially deadly terror attempts, but also his admiration for the IDF who, while not keeping him "in the loop" as much as he would like, still managed to protect the kibbutz from such infiltration attempts. So far, and with God's help, he said. We could do little but give him the gear for his security team and wish him a hearty farewell. Still it was something. At the time it felt like a lot, actually. We shall see.

Next up: Kerem Shalom. We were greeted by the R"S, Ofer. Ofer had known of Marc and his work with One Israel Fund, and was the one who contacted him in the first place for help. Ofer was the reason we were there. He struck me as a good man in a tough situation, but about as close to the end of his rope as anyone I’d ever seen. His kibbutz had been among the hardest hit. He was, in fact, to be immediately (if temporarily) relieved as soon as we finished our visit there. Some kind souls had thrown down for a short "vacation" for him, they were sending him to a show in Tel Aviv. His teeth were on edge, his burden too large to bear. It was hard looking at him, frankly. He was very happy to see us, under the circumstances, and made us the best cup of Turkish coffee, Israeli Army-style, that I’ve had since...well, since the last time Marc made it for me.

Ofer's office had a collection of Kassem rocket fragments, which i found fascinating. Marc explained a bit about the workings of the big bastards while Ofer made the coffee. It was like a little museum of psychosis, there in Ofer's office. This is what happens when hatred meets steadfastness. It's not a comfortable place to be but yet again, i was moved and humbled by the sheer competence and self-sacrifice of those i proudly call "my people".

So: more gear distributed, more blessings exchanged, Ofer is off to a much deserved shower and a show in the big city, and we are off to Nirim.

 All the towns we've visited up to now are pretty much right on the Gaza border, and Nirim is no exception. Maybe even a bit closer. There is sadness here. The whole population was evacuated hours before we'd arrived. There was no one there except the R"S, Zevik, a few random stragglers, and a couple of Thai agricultural "foreign workers" who had apparently missed the evacuation and were waiting for another ride to take them to a safer part of the country.

Zevik's eyes were red from lack of sleep and stress. He was maybe in his fifties, t-shirt with Israeli flag patch, sidearm, big belly, easy laugh. But tired, very tired. He showed us around. Here, a rocket hit in the middle of a small park. Here, one exploded in a tree, showering a nearby house with shrapnel. I was struck by all the children's toys in the yard- bicycles, dolls, a miniature punching bag. I thought at first it might be a kindergarten. The occupants were "on vacation" along with everyone else. It felt like a ghost town. We stayed a bit longer with Zevik, schmoozing while we unloaded the gear. He was clearly very happy to get it, and even happier for the company. A lonely hero of Israel, guarding his turf, his neighbors more safely quartered elsewhere for the time being.

Again, warm goodbyes and blessings, and we were headed back up north. We stopped in Sderot for a felafel. The town felt, to me, determined. Skeleton crew. A few people stared at us curiously. Supposedly there are a lot of journalists based in Sderot right now, but they must have been somewhere else when we were there.

When we hit the road again for the long ride back to Shiloh, we didn't talk much. There was a lot to think about, and we were getting regular reports about how "the situation" was escalating in a big way. Terror attack from the sea. Missiles over Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Call-up of forty thousand reserve soldiers. More booms. We saw the smoke rising from the Gaza strip. I wondered about what kind of people could possibly live over there and support what Hamas was doing. I wondered about how some of my friends wonder about how i could wonder. Marc was worried about his son in the army. I wasn't a tourist, we have been friends for over 20 years. We didn't feel the need to amuse each other. We knew we'd wake up tomorrow, God willing, on the same street, two doors down. We knew we had seen wonders and miracles and helped, even if in a small way, to bring a small people with big hearts a little bit more together at a tough time. That's just how it was. It's how it is, right now.



Monday, July 7, 2014

You say Tomato...

Many media outlets are carrying stories of how Israelis, both civilians and soldiers are calling for the revenge of the gruesome kidnapping and murder of three Jewish boys.  If that wasn’t enough, they are now screaming at Israel for the yet unsolved murder of an Arab boy in Jerusalem.

The Arabs constantly and consistently, with the major assistance of world media and the anti-Israel crew, harp about Jewish violent acts and vandalism directed against them.  Never mind that Arab violence and vandalism against Jewish targets far out weighs and out numbers the before mentioned.

The calls and shouts in Israel are for the most part not about revenge against “Arabs”, they are for calls to destroy terrorists and terrorism.  Many of these signs posted are simply and purposely mistranslated… where the word “Mechabael” is used, meaning terrorist, most media outlets translate it into “Arab”.

Now that in its own is interesting, how these progressive folk immediately translate and equate the word Terrorist to Arab, but that is an entirely different topic.

What we are witnessing is not an outbreak of racism, but a cry to our government, to our Prime Minister, to give us what is our simple right of having our country defend us, no more, no less.  Bibi and this government is failing, he has been failing as so many politicians do when it comes to standing up for our simple rights.  Our Southern region gets pummeled by rockets and all he can do is threaten that he will get the Security Cabinet together to drink mineral water and discuss what should we do… over and over again, and some aerial attacks against Hamas targets that have had no effect. 

Abu Mazen and Hamas join forces continue the same incitement against Jews, the same that for the last 20 years has led to the majority of murderous acts against the Jewish people, and he says “I don’t want to see you.  Jewish Farms in both the North and South are victimized by Arab marauders to the point where some have to close up shop and his Internal Security Minister along with the Chief of Police twiddle their thumbs. Jews traveling in Judea and Samaria are shot at, attacked by rocks and Molotov cocktails, ambushed, and yes at times killed, and he and his trusty Ministers do no more than hold meetings, while their General only employs the minimum needed procedures, barely accomplishing anything. 

Every time reserve soldiers are called up, ready to give the ultimate for our people, yet despite their motivation and dedication are then told that “not responding is strength”, and sit like dogs waiting for a scrap of leftovers. Every time you tell the Artillery teams to waste taxpayers money and bombard an empty field, and when you tell Security personnel, don’t fire until you have been hurt…. what do you think you are doing?  You are accomplishing more than any terrorist ever hopes to achieve, you are hurting the souls of this people who have built this land and stand for far more goodness that any of our neighbors.

Stop!

These are not cries for revenge, these are not cries of racism, these are cries for help, these are cries of despair, these are the cries of a strong people being abused by their own government, in that, that the most of our leaders will do is to talk or respond by blowing up a corn field. These are cries of frustration
Imagine a father watching his children hurt before his own eyes, not being allowed or able to save and protect them.

If there is ever a reason for acts of violence being committed against Arabs, they come from the despair of not enough being done to maintain a civil existence. Vigilantism like in any society is for the most part the result of frustration.

Indeed the Arab world laughs at us.  They rocket us, Bibi says, you better watch out or I’m gonna…. and then he gives them a few days for an “ultimatum”, a which point they rocket us some more and then spin it like they are the good guys by stopping the attacks against us.

Arabs take to the streets and destroy their own areas, endanger countless people and our police lack the ability to keep order.

We saw a taste of real response for an unfortunate 18 days where due to innocent boys getting murdered, our children in the IDF went after the bad guys, and guess what, the Arabs knew that something might change. But they still stood their ground, because they knew that Israel’s leadership no longer places the security of our people to be paramount, that Israel’s leaders no longer trust themselves, or have confidence. They know that Israel’s leaders think that Israel’s security depends on having people on the outside say what a nice little country they have. That our security depends on the nations outside of Israel, who because of the lack of spine of our latest leaders, have started to toy with us and attempt to veer us down a path to our own demise.

We are not calling for revenge, we are demanding respect, we are demanding that our leaders act to keep our families safe.  That they stop using us to play with the world.

We are the strongest people in the world, we are ready to defend ourselves, our land, and our people, wherever they are.

We are ready to continue to better the world.

We demand that our government acts to keep Israel, all of Israel safe.  No more talking the talk, time to walk the walk.  Otherwise, exit…stage left.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Lines

More and more lines are being drawn…many are also being crossed. In the last week two events occurred on opposite sides of the world regarding Israel that I find to be interesting.

I’ll start overseas…The “Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations” … the vote… admit J Street or not, that is the question.  The answer…No!  And now, all the folk that were upset by the results are in a tizzy.  The claims of the need to show the “diversity” of Jewish America seem to be their new battle cry.  Threats of “we’ll leave” if we don’t get our way, we’re going to start a new club, foot stomping, hair pulling, you know….a temper tantrum their expression.  A common denominator among most (not all) of the PO’d folk is that today they represent the spawning grounds of the biggest Jewish anti- Israel activists today.  Leaders in the BDS Movement, various “Justice for Palestine” movements, New Israel Fund offshoots, the list goes on, names and groups that the Arab League would be proud to call them their own.

Upsetting is the fact that these so-called “leaders” like to claim that they represent the entirety of the strains they call their flock.  I am so happy to see the growing numbers of Reform and Conservative Jews distance themselves from these impostors and stand by Israel even though in their own communities, their non-conformist love of Israel goes against the flow of the misinformed and manipulated and perverted views of their “Representatives”. 

Well, the J-Streeters and their cohorts have their work cut out for them in the near future.  They have to figure out how to be more anti and deceive others in the process.  Their challenge of fooling their own into thinking that they actually care more about Israel than our Arab enemies is going to take even more effort and New Israel Fund funding.  Like I said, if J Street, Americans for Peace Now, Union for Reform Judaism, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and the others wish to form a new club, I am sure they will have all the Arab and Anti Israel backing and funding they need to make it a fun and PC place to be.  I welcome their Rebels into the Pro Israel camp… besides, it’s more fun on this side anyway.

And now to mesh it with the recent “David the Nachlawie” incident.  For those that are unaware, the “David” story is where a lone Nachal soldier, at a guard post in Hevron, after being properly taunted to the point that he felt his life was in danger did what any soldier should do, he cocked his rifle and aimed it towards what he felt was the threat…the NERVE!!!!! In the never ending saga of proving the we in Israel are ever so sorry for existing, his superiors felt that this is the last straw in what seems to be a line of his own bad behavior (though not connected), and his combat status should be revoked and that he should serve some jail time.  What was not expected was the outcry and support given to this soldier who simply followed procedure and acted as he should.  Soldiers both in reserves and enlisted, officers, both high an low, Government Ministers past and present, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, all who serve our people and country came to David’s side in support.  The common denominator in this case, that we (as listed before) are sick and tired of our soldiers being spit upon, cursed, hurt and abused by those who seek our doom and happen to be supported by many of the same groups I mentioned at the beginning of this article.  This “David” saga will not end, it is only the beginning as our soldiers will start to stand up for themselves more and more, yes, even in front of the supplied cameras and will start to show the world what will happen to you if you mess with an Israeli soldier, who is doing his job. Watch it happen, it has already gotten the attention of the government here, and they are not sure how to handle it.  By the way, no political affiliation required for this one, just having a spine.

So, both events are actually connected in that they represent the basic premeditated divide and farce of said “open-minded”, “progressive”, and pro-diverse so called neo mainstream whatever Jewish groups…  If there is what to be upset about it is continuing to watch how so many of our people just do not get it, and prefer to be separate from our land and side with our enemies, whom they refuse to see who just who they really are and what they are really after.

I can only smile as they taste defeat, and only wish them continued double helpings, which we all can take part in serving them.

On this eve of our Holy Memorial Day, and our Day of Rebirth into the State of Israel, where we mourn and remember those whose lives were lost to our enemies, and those who dared and continue to put their lives out in front in order to protect not only their comrades but also our people and our land.  As we celebrate our State that despite having a healthy dose of challenges, continues to flourish better than almost anyone around, a place for our people, even if you disagree…

We are 66 years old, and that is just the beginning, so put that in your pipe and smoke it.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Marching On

As the Israel Day Parade approaches in NYC, there is a lot of neck hair standing regarding the inclusion of groups that support the Boycott of Israel, better known as BDS, Boycott, Divest and Sanction. The “ BDSer’s” are moderates in a number of instances, a major group that will be marching, the New Israel Fund supports groups that are actively involved in actions that cause harm to Jewish citizens of Israel and there are groups that straight out would like to see Israel cease to exist as a Jewish State, all of course in the name of “Humanity” and to better the world. 

I have not listed the all the groups here because the problematic issue that I see cropping up is not the inclusion, rather the reaction of the people who are against them.  Calls to pull funding from the UJA, not support the parade, not participate and so on.

I have watched throughout the years as the common reaction among our people outside of Israel is to back away, and in essence back down from the threat.  That being said, I have seen, and continue to see the few heroes who act to make a change, and stand up for our people and country.  But for the majority, it is always the same nice letters written expressing “dismay and emotional distress”… “nebuch” as they say.

Often the result of pulling out is that we leave our fellow Jews to be the victims of these nefarious groups, open to their lies and poison… also resulting in even more separation of our already tiny people.

Obviously, money talks, and usually any organization that is based on fund raising like the UJA will react to the possibility of losing needed funds.  But here is a secret, its not all about money. 

The Israel Day Parade is about Israel, and those groups that are supporting sanctions against Israel are our enemies, their very actions work to remove the only Jewish State that exists in the world, even many of their original supporters have backed away after realizing that their real mission is to destroy Israel.

Unfortunately, they have managed to disguise themselves quite well, indeed, they are the shining beacon of humanity, the great hope for a better future, they have fooled a majority of our own people into not only backing them, but are working feverishly to turn them further against the State of Israel in our continuing challenge to exist here in a sea of nasty folk.

I witnessed this personally in the last AIPAC Conference in DC as I asked various supporters of said groups if they were aware as to the actions of these people and what their funds actually go to?  Needless to say, that most, were quite upset, and had no idea regarding the true nature of these “Champions of the Jewish people”.

So, I would like to suggest a different methodology in dealing with the Israel Day Parade, how about instead of just backing away, and backing down, do the opposite… stand up to the challenge, stand up to the groups, make them feel unwelcome.  Put up signs and banners showing just who they are and what they are really doing.  Educate the people standing next to you.  Do not leave those of our people who are not aware, or ignorant, to lie there as victims to our enemies.

Even though we may not show it in the best light to the Jews living in the diaspora, we in Israel still do fight against our enemies, we still have the “stuff”, and make more of it everyday.  Sure we put out a few rotten apples, too may, but we still have the best gig in town when it comes to Jewish Strength, and will continue to do so.

Again, I would like to suggest a different course of action, make our voices louder than the enemies, force the UJA and JCRC’s to wake up, but attend, attend, attend and show the world that we are strong, and in a strange way, even united.  Remember, United we Stand, Divided we fall?, True stuff.  This year, lets show them an even stronger people devoted to our land and our people and lets show them that we are here to stay.. and if they don't like it, well, we’re ready for that too.

(I must add that this article was not written to detract from any of the other efforts being made to fight the inclusion of these Anti-Israel groups.  I applaud them and fully support them.  I solely wish that more efforts are made to stop this continued virus of these groups, and that we must use as many legal means as possible to achieve that goal.)


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Seeking the True

A classic example of the efforts being made by mainstream Jewish organizations to further create a wedge in our little Jewish world was the Jewish funded and sponsored trip last week by the wonderfully enlighten Harvard group to the grave of Arafat, the father of modern day terror and murder.  I would love to say that this outing was unique, one of the kind, rogue, but I can't. These efforts are being made daily by a Jewish leadership that has had their souls kidnapped by enemies of our people.  Flying the flag of humanity and open minds, claiming to be the Liberal camp of the day, these crusaders have been setting out to "save our people", the "Tikun Olam", and to purge us from the demons within us... As they perceive it of course.

I'm not going to use the term self-haters to describe these poor souls because I honestly don't believe they hate themselves or our religion.   The are being taught to hate people and perceived groups who they feel are dangerous to their way of living, threats to their being.  Indeed their pent up frustrations at their own lac kings of an identity are being directed away from those who seek their demise to those who would only strengthen them and connect them better to their heritage.  Stockholm syndrome? Sure, fact is that these kids were sent to embrace the same people who would dance on their graves.  Of course, in the name of intellectual and progressive thought.  I especially enjoyed the "apologies" written by the backers.  They apologized because they were caught.

A few weeks ago I was asked about where I live, in Shilo, and Judea and Samaria...why should I live there, what right do I have... You know, I was being "grilled" (and loving it, I might add). Besides discussing recent history, I of course mentioned our history there, our presence, the importance of the place in our peoples history in the land.... Pretty much the standard.  What was said next will stick with me and was profound, as it clearly represents a prevalent mindset in Diaspora Mainstream Judaism.
"Why not Warsaw or other European cities where Jews flourished, whats the difference?"   

I admit, I was not ready for that level of pre-meditated ignorance, or contempt, and of course it brought about an emotional response, in which I actually had to hold my temper.  

I know it has been said a million times, and I'm sure it will be said a million more.  Most Jews, including many in Israel simply do not have or understand the connection we have to this land.  I'm not saying they have to agree with my opinions, or be in the One State Jewish Camp, but to understand and to feel the connection, that is paramount.  

These outside groups discuss the need to understand the "conflict" yet they make every effort to actually color it to their predesigned views. A visit to a "settler" means a "Rabbi" usually, some one religious at least, or more accurate, someone who most Jewish students would feel no connection to, even actually dislike because of constant feuding and controversies going on in our little "shtetles".

Of course they are always brought to the Palestinian Peace Loving Moderates who only seek self determination in their own ethnically cleansed state...but that has nothing to do with anything. These groups are much like horses with blinders on, being led around without seeing the surroundings, basically at the mercy of those pulling them literally by the nose.  Some call it the blind leading the blind, but it is not that innocent, the "leaders" know exactly what they are doing, and the victims are our future generations.

The government of Israel claims that they will be taking the reigns in reconnecting Jews living in the diaspora with our land.  I’m curious to see how they plan on doing this and based on what model, or what new miracle potion they have brewing in the pot.  In the mean time, they are not even at the discussion level, and then it will be endless meetings discussing how to do it, when to do it, and when to schedule the next meeting to discuss the same thing… classic Kibbutz/Socialist methodology.

When our fearless leaders here (in Israel) actually decide to roll up their sleeves and start to work, I hope their first goal will be to understand and tag those who are working against our peoples connection to our land.  I then hope they will make the effort to crush those same “anti” efforts and missions, even though most of these “missions” are being led and funded by “stand up” Jewish “leaders” and their organizations. 

The Arabs are not teaching the concept of Peace with the Jews in their schools, their media still spills daily and hourly lessons in hatred.  Despite the “Shiny and Happy” people you will see representing “Palestine”, who BTW are straight out lying about their society and live only in the nice sections of secular Ramallah.  We have no choice but to take the lead today, to connect our people back to our land and ourselves.  That goes even for the “Right” thinking people, both in and out of the country.  

Time to re-Format our thinking, fix that hard drive and yes, upgrade it the latest and better model out there.  Some peripherals may be dropped in the process, but time to reboot our people.  A new OS (Operating System) is in the works, better upgrade as the old one will stop working soon and all your old “programs” just wont work anymore. (Sorry for all the computer talk, just worked).


That is our alternative, our only alternative. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

AIPACin'

For the past six years I have been receiving calls from the floor of the AIPAC conference in DC.  I always hear the same question, "why wasn't I there".  So this year I decided to preempt the callers and I took part this year in the AIPAC conference in DC.  My decision wasn't based on any want or feeling that I had to support AIPAC, rather that I felt I needed to learn more for myself.  I admit that my feelings towards AIPAC have not been the most favorable due to their negative stance to the communities in Judea and Samaria, and the continued refusal to take congressmen out to see other realities and alternatives. Over the past few years I have also been meeting more and more congressman, "policy makers" and many others who work in the US admin or political apparatus, all seeking to know more, especially in the security field in which I work.

A common denominator among the US politicians, or at least one of the many, has always been the question, "why doesn't AIPAC take us out to Judea and Samaria?". I have heard congressmen say to me that the more they become pro Israel, the less Jewish support they get.  And have even found outright refusal by some of AIPAC leaders to acknowledge the spectrum of realities in Israel, only to look through the narrow slit, many of us call a point of view.

Even more fuel to this desire to attend was the fact that a week prior to the conference, a contingent of J Street board members, along with other members of not the most Judea and Samaria friendly folk, led by Jeremy Ben Ami himself came out to meet me in Shilo. The match that lit the flame was when one of the members said to me, rightfully so, " I know you don't really like us, but at least we came out to hear you here in your home, AIPAC never does", he was right.

So, armed with curiosity, a healthy dose of motivation and a tie, I set off.  I was not really prepared for what I saw. I was expecting only to see a mob of delusional abyss, a confrontation with the "enemy within", though those two challenges were healthy in attendance, and other similar challenges.

What I did see was a large group of people who honestly support Israel and are doing what they feel they can do best to keep the US on Israel's side. It's a given that, that concept is as diverse as the Jewish people themselves.

Indeed our Jewish people were represented by a healthy show of our own spectrum, all shapes and colors, and yes even political views ranging from right to left (though I personally no longer like to use those terms).  One could see a clear example by the  varied Rabbinical presence afoot. "Rabbis" from all walks of life, genders, and well, let's say all sorts.

Panels, forums, discussions ranging from topics such as the Iranian issue to cooking splattered the many rooms, podiums and varied venues throughout the conference.  Most were filled to capacity. I was truly surprised by the amount of different issues discussed regarding our little country, and the fact that so many people would attend to hear about issues many of us just scan over in our daily reads.

My main curiosity was of course the Israeli - Arab " conflict", the local one, which is the realm in which I traverse. Since this is one of the big two being discussed by the New York Times, HaAretz and the Thom Friedman group, I tried to focus on close to home.

They had the Former head of Shabak, "Think Tanks Scholars", and of a course a HaAretz reporter, among the many experts, whom most in attendance figured is the real knowledge of our present day crisis. I attended as many of these panels as I could.  Half truths, altered facts and premeditated misinformation were the lead actors in these B-rated performances. 

Security officials turned politicians presented partial scenarios rather than a more full accurate picture that would enable those present to have an informed opinion.  The "Mavens" from various institutes definitely presented more facts, but were strategically manipulated from a broader look into the situation on the ground, and needless to say, I was not surprised by the direction taken by the "truly informed", seekers of right, our ever endeared Left wing of Israel, one of which Ari Shavit, HaAretz Champion, who seemed to be hold one of the starring roles.

I watched as people seethed and squirmed in their seats listening to perceived truths and theories. I listened as questions that countered the orchestrated left leaning claims presented were addressed, and only partially answered, leaving only more questions and quizzical looks. Of course I also noticed the looks of pride among those who still dwell in their own ignorant bliss.

None of this left me surprised.

Two main points I found interesting. 

One - the amount of people who are Judea and Samaria "friendly" realists and supporters were in attendance and truly out in force, but they were quiet...too quiet, at times it seemed stifled, and afraid to discuss their views. Even the side discussions by those who at least outwardly appeared to be good ole heartland supporters tended to avoid the subject of Jewish presence and existence in Judea and Samaria. Like some taboo subject to be discussed in dim lit corners, hidden like chased subversives out to start a rebellion, (hold that thought for a future article). Never to let an opportunity pass, I enjoyed the chance to instigate thought and jumped into a few of these quorums to shake things up.  Proud to say that the discussions indeed turned interesting.  Political Correctness seemed to be the password of the day. This was even more pointed out when a dear friend of mine, Helen Freedman attempted to show me a sign showing support of Jewish Sovereignty in Judea and Samaria. She was quickly surrounded by "Security" people and AIPAC staffers, telling her that she was endangering others by simply showing me, I might add, privately, that sign.

Two - the friendliness of so many of the attendees was incredible, the atmosphere was truly a breath of fresh air.  Once people would hear where I and my friends at the conference call home, you would see a thirst for knowledge well up like they haven't had a drink of water in days. So many asked questions, because they were realizing that they just didn't know and always thought that they really didn't belong to "those" people out there. When proofs, other opinions and possibilities were shown to counter the altered facts they had been shown and taught, their interest only heightened. In fact May expressed not only a want to come and see for themselves, but an anger at those who have been keeping them and their children in the dark.

Both of these points have strengthened me, and shown me  just how important it is that we do not forsake our people who do not have the privilege to really experience our land. That we must continue to make the efforts to not just fight for our land but to continue to help defend so many of our people outside who are virtually defenseless to the onslaught of delusional and dangerous efforts made by a well financed group of people who would prefer to change the reality of Israel.

AIPAC has far to go, and their efforts, though claiming to be noble are still playing into the hands of many of our detractors and yes, enemies. Whereas they descend on the many congressmen in continued and determined effort to stay the needed support of Israel (for the greater good I must add), their supporters must see the fuller picture in Israel. That is why we, who are involved with fighting for our land must attend these conferences, and not let them fall further from our reality, thus enabling them to present a stronger picture for the reasons to support and stand by Israel.

I would like to add that I was not alone in my efforts. I was privileged to have in my company, neighbors, friends, truly brothers and who I consider heroes of our land, that made the experience not only more enjoyable, but meaningful.

May we see the miracle of Purim return and our people overturn the threats of our enemies, sooner than later.