You don’t say

As you may know, Nachum Hofri the current Ra’anana mayor – is seeking re-election. Given his recent troubles (see this post) it rather puts a new perspective on his campaign strapline:


For those non Hebrew speakers, the bottom of the flyer text translates as:

“Nachum Hofri.
Says little. Does a lot.”

This may explain why his spokesperson appears to operate the other way around!



I don’t quite understand this – and would welcome any kind of context or explanation – but the performance by some Russian artists of these classical Jewish tunes in this video is great.

[Thanks to Michael for this.]




This is a folio game in the Muskets and Saber series from Decision Games. The designer is Eric Harvey.

I bought it when it first came out in 2010, but after playing another in the series was not that inspired to play this one. However, a neat replay from Norm Smith (here) using the cut down simple version of the rules – “Quick Play” – made me break out the folder, get the map down on the table, cut the counters and get playing.


The topic is the 1800 battle in Italy, which started with the French staring defeat in the face, and rescuing matters at the death in an amazing turnaround.

The components are a half standard sized map, less than 100 counters, a series rule book and battle rule book. The package comes in a colored cardboard folder (folio?). The physical quality is ok, but does not exactly grab me and demand to be played. The map is restrained. (I nearly said “boring”.) The counters are unimaginative, but clear. (I nearly said “boring”.) The rules are ok. However, while the system is simple enough, it’s noticeable that you need the errata to make the combat results work and get credible results. The play testing did not do Decision any favors.


It plays quickly enough, and is easily doable solitaire. There were no major rules questions, though I wish I understood the thinking behind the terrain and the terrain effects chart. For a series aimed at accessible gaming, the number of exceptions in the terrain is ridiculous. To add insult to injury, why should the gamer have to look inside the battle rule book for the terrain rules about vineyards, for example? I want all that information easily and readily available. Bad stuff, Decision. Frankly, it looks thoughtless.


This is the sort of gaming experience that leaves me underwhelmed. I would rate it highly as a bridge game to introduce new potential wargamers. But for this grognard, there was nothing to lift it above “average”.


Nae burds?

This story from the inimitable Elder of Ziyon says a lot about the rubbish so called pro Palestinian campaigners pump out to credible, gormless, and lazy media:

ABC-Australia parrots a lie: “There are no birds in Gaza”
On Australian TV, there was an interview with Moira Kelly, a woman who is building a garden in Gaza, who makes the incredible claim that there are no birds in the sector (4:08):

The Elder continues:

The interview, when posted on the ABC website, is headlined “Peace garden to bring birds back to Gaza.”

But as AIJAC shows, the claim that there are no birds at all in Gaza, this “phenomenal little statistic,” is a ridiculous and easily disproven lie.

Check it all out, here.


More local mud?

Things may have just turned a wee bit more spicy in the local mayoral elections (see this previous post) according to the latest news from Ynet:

A senior Raanana municipality official was arrested on suspicion of receiving bribes from contractors and vendors in order to promote contracts and for using funds from an NGO that he runs for personal needs.

The Lahav 433 unit searched his home and office on Monday morning; he will be remanded in Rishon Lezion Magistrates Court later in the day.

See here for information about Lahav 433, the Israeli FBI.


Building freeze

The headline’s a bit of a cheat, because this is nothing to do with construction in Judea and Samaria. Instead, it’s about the state of play – economically – in Israel. It’s one of the most common questions from people outside of Israel, and possibly more so from those who have never visited. I am unsure if this is because their vision of Israel is somewhat blighted by western media coverage.

Basically, I look around me and see normal economic activity – and lots of it. For example, while the Economist floats its McDonalds Index as a sign of economic health, I prefer the broad brush of another economist who said that if you look around you and see a lot of cranes, that’s a damn fine sign of economic wellbeing.

Enter this picture, taken this evening from the gym car park.


Cranes, cranes, and more cranes. And round the corner there were more. I guess we are doing ok. (And no sign of a building freeze round here!)


Local political mudslinging

We’re having an election for Mayor in Ra’anana. Judging by the large number of competing large billboard posters for the candidates, this is being hotly contested. But if I had been in any doubt, this Arutz Sheva report featuring the favored candidate, current Mayor Nachum Hofri, rather swiftly removes it.

Raanana Mayor Won’t Fire Staffer for Slurs on Judaism

Raanana Mayor Nachum Hofri won’t fire staffer who rejoiced in destruction of Temple and compared ‘settlers’ to Nazi youth.

Raanana Mayor Nachum Hofri has clarified that he does not intend to fire his campaign spokeswoman, Hana Beit-Halahmi, despite controversy over offensive comments she made about Judaism and religious Jews.

In response to rumors that he planned to fire Beit-Halahmi, Hofri wrote on Facebook that his spokeswoman “will be with us until 22.10.13.”

Beit-Halahmi most recently caused an uproar when she wrote that Tisha B’Av, the day of mourning over the destruction of the First Temple and Second Temple, “is essentially a cause for celebration.”

After her comments were publicized by Arutz Sheva, she offered a clarification, saying, “My post this morning was wrote jokingly, because the amount of violence and needless hate around the politics of force at the Western Wall raises questions about what would happen if it were more than a wall.”

“Gog and Magog,” she answered herself, referring to a massive war prophesied in the Bible.

Beit-Halahmi had previously caused offense in 2010 with serious criticism of Jewish youth in Judea and Samaria. In an article titled, “Berlin 1939, we have returned to you,” she wrote, “The hilltop youth, and settler youth in general, have taken the place of the Hitler Youth.”

“Fighting to replace the Brown Shirts are the Oz unit, right-wing organizations in the territories, and those 35 rabbis who signed a letter against renting apartments to Arabs,” she continued.

“So what do we have here? Nazis – settlers, Kahana Chai – Brown Shirts, Hitler Youth – Hilltop youth, Rabbis, Aryans – Pure Jews… Checking the purity of the Aryan race – who is a Jew… Jailing children of foreign workers – prison camps and concentration camps – prison for refugees in the desert – concentration camps… I opposed comparisons to the Holocaust, until they stopped being comparisons to the Holocaust and started being a remarkable similarity between people, ideas and processes in pre-Holocaust Germany and in Israel here and now,” she wrote.

Arutz Sheva has an axe to grind and a particular perspective to favor. However, the comments made strongly suggest that the words foot and mouth appear in close proximity in the same sentence in describing them.

And, given that, by some accounts, 40% of the Ra’anana population are dati (religiously observant) the comments made do not seem to have been made with delicacy, diplomacy, or discretion as any of the foremost points under consideration. Maybe there will be more fun to come.


Maccabiah ceremony review

I was going to do my own review about Thursday night’s event, but this piece by Aaron Kalman at the excellent Times of Israel gets it just about spot on.

It was the first time the third largest sporting event in the world was opened in Jerusalem, rather than the Tel Aviv and Ramat Gan area, a fact pointed out by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres, who delivered the mandatory speeches. But, thankfully, the evening wasn’t about the politicians — it was about the Jewish athletes and communities represented on the field and in the stands.

There’s not much point in reinventing the wheel, so enjoy what he put together – here – and I can celebrate the time saved!

Shavuah Tov.