Five for Friday

One aspect of a shortened work week – because of the Pesach holiday – is that I feel a bit of a cheat looking forward to the Shabbat break; after all, it’s not as if I haven’t enjoyed some holiday time already. However, Shabbat is different. It’s a different type of holiday, a different type of mindset, and a different type of experience. Much as it continues to surprise me, the power of the day to recharge the batteries (even if sometimes it is not a full charge) is awesome. So, I am looking forward to Shabbat.

Meantime, some links for you:

Shabbat Shalom!

The Haaretz response to a moral dilemma

From the Elder of Ziyon:

Why did Haaretz take down its article on Kansas killer’s admiration for Max Blumenthal?

Haaretz, picking up on a piece in the Washington Free Beacon, briefly posted this article yesterday:


According to the Washington Free Beacon, an online news source that describes itself as being “dedicated to uncovering the stories that the professional left hopes will never see the light of day, Frazier Glenn Cross, the Hitler admirer and Klansman who is accused of the murders, often praised Blumenthal’s work.

According to the report, a search of the VNN Forum – a prominent white supremacist website run by Cross – finds over 300 references praising Blumenthal’s criticism of the State of Israel and American-Jewish support of Israeli policy.

There is no doubt that leftist Israel-haters like Blumenthal give lots of material – and inspiration – for right wing antisemites like Frazier Glenn Cross. Both groups claim, disingenuously, that their criticisms of Israel are meant to defend human rights when it is the other way around – they use the language of human rights to attack the Jewish state, a nation whose record on human rights would be the envy of any other nation at war in history.

Some antisemites see no contradiction between the extreme right and extreme left manifestations of Jew-hatred. Someone named “Rehmat1″, for example, has hundreds of comments both on Cross’ VNN forum and on Mondoweiss, both linking back to his own blog.

The only difference is that the right-wing antisemites are more willing to admit that they hate Jews. The leftist antisemites prefer to use Israel as a proxy for Jews and are, too often, Jews themselves, which all stripes of Jew-haters love to quote to give their hate an air of authenticity.

Haaretz took down this article very quickly after it was posted online. Why?

Perhaps the reason is that Haaretz has provides at least as much comfort and aid to the VNN antisemites as Blumenthal does!

While Haaretz doesn’t seem to be as explicitly praised as Blumenthal was by Cross, according to Mondoweiss, Haaretz itself is mentioned on the VNN site over 11,000 times and Cross mentions Haaretz himself scores of times in his antisemitic rants! (I did not check either the Free Beacon’s or Mondoweiss’ claims about the number of citations of Blumenthal/Haaretz.)

Haaretz provides at least as much of aid and comfort to antisemites as Blumenthal does, and perhaps that is what prompted it to silently pull this story.

Do you think the editorial board of Haaretz might stop to think about that last observation: Haaretz provides at least as much of aid and comfort to antisemites as Blumenthal does. And will they go that step further and ask themselves if what they are doing is a good thing?

Burn, baby, burn


In the orthodox Jewish way of life, on the morning before Pesach, the practice is to burn all the chametz found during the search in the home, and everything left over from breakfast. In Ra’anana (as above), and indeed throughout Israel, there are several public fires – monitored and secured – to accommodate the practice.

The blessing is:

“All leaven or anything leavened which is in my possession, whether I have seen it or not, whether I have observed it or not, whether I have removed it or not, shall be considered nullified and ownerless as the dust of the earth.”

Chag Sameach!

What goes around may reverse

Most sensible people accept that the general standard of driving behavior on Israeli roads is awful. Awfully awful. There is not a single Highway Code rule that is not broken every minute of every day on every main road.

  • Lane discipline? What white lines?
  • Keeping a safe distance? This way he knows I want to overtake.
  • Mirror, signal, maneuver? What’s a signal?
  • Never overtake on a bend? There’s never any oncoming traffic here.
  • Stop at a stop sign? That’s for novice drivers only.

And on it goes. The ironic aspect is that, according to all feedback, the driving test for new young drivers is a long, involved, and demanding process that teaches all the right stuff. But after passing the test…

It’s with this background that you may not be shocked to know that there are several theories why the driving is so poor. This being a popular topic among immigrants (especially) I have heard many, varied excuses. (Or reasons; it depends on your point of view.) This weekend, I heard one that was new to me.

Apparently the 1948 State of Israel had about 400 cars in the entire country. And so, the theory goes, this is not only a young country, but also a young country of drivers. In other words, there are not enough experienced drivers, and certainly not enough experienced generations of drivers, passing on the right driving skills.

I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t convince me. However, it did spring to mind on the journey home from the office tonight.

It happened like this: I approached a roundabout on a single lane road. The car ahead of me went through the roundabout very slowly. I followed. On the exit from the roundabout, I was still behind this slow car. It stopped. It pulled in. (No; no indicator was harmed in that maneuver.) I passed the car carefully – in case it started up again without warning – noting the little old lady in the driver’s seat. The next thing I see is her starting to move her car. In reverse. She reversed into the roundabout and back the way she had come… OMG, where do they come from? I was glad I was going in the opposite direction.

So your challenge, should you accept it, is to come up with an explanation. Just why is the driving so bad here?

Five for Friday

Friday? Aready? And Pesach is just about here. Bloody hell, time flies past fast here. Ah well, looking on the bright side, it’s good to stop now and get to see what’s happening out there in the big, bad world. With that in mind, here are a selection of links I hope you enjoy:

Shabbat Shalom!

Good news for Ra’anana

Especially if you are a coffee drinker.

Today on Achuza (the main shopping street) I saw the following sign on a shop being readied to open:

Note the English text. Apparently it's a sign of class...

Note the English text. Apparently it’s a sign of class…

Yes, Cofix is coming to Ra’anana. It will be interesting to see if Ra’anana coffee prices go down in response, as they have in Tel Aviv where the chain started. For more information, see here.

Oh good. They are bringing the houses down.

There’s something missing from this Arutz Sheva report:

MK Slams ‘Collective Punishment’ in Yitzhar Demolitions

‘Price tag’ vandalism does not justify punishment against an entire community, MK Orit Struk says.

MK Orit Struk (Jewish Home/Bayit Yehudi) strongly condemned the demolitions in Yitzhar on Tuesday, noting that ‘price tag’ attacks against the IDF do not justify a show of force against the community’s residents.

“Puncturing the tires of vehicles of IDF soldiers and commanders is a criminal act, and the spokesman for Yitzhar, which represents the majority of residents disapproved of it yesterday,” Struk noted. “This does not justify in any way the declaration of war on the whole community because of the actions of some resident youths, especially when police know how and where to find them and bring them to justice, according to the law.”

“Collective punishment and destruction of homes as vengeance has long been rejected as illegal by the High Court in relation to the terrorists, and there is no moral or legal justification to carry it out on civilians,” Struk continued, noting that Yitzhar residents’ “only crime is that criminal acts were carried out near their homes.”

IDF and police forces demolished four homes in the Samaria on Tuesday, as apparent retaliation for ‘price tag’ vandalism on IDF jeeps on Sunday and Monday.

Yitzhar community spokesmen have responded to the demolition with harsh condemnations of the dramatic demolition, slamming “collective punishment.”

“This policy of destruction and collective punishment by authorities against residents of Yitzhar is outrageous,” a statement reads.

“It is unthinkable that the Israeli government and security forces demolished the homes of innocent people and took revenge due to the illegitimate ‘price tag’ actions of individuals, as serious as [these acts] are. We urge the security forces and their head to stop this policy and immediately stop the growing cycle of hostility.”

What’s missing? Here’s a relevant fact from the Times of Israel report:

Residents of the hard-line settlement of Yitzhar clashed with Israeli security forces as several illegal buildings in the West Bank community were demolished before dawn Tuesday.

The buildings that were brought down were illegal. (And you can bet your bottom dollar that the people there know that.) So, if the authorities demolish illegal structures elsewhere – for example, in Jerusalem, as they do – why shouldn’t they demolish them in Yitzhar? Oh, I know the timing is meant to send a message to the extremists in that community, but it’s a bit rich – to put it mildly – to complain of “punishment” or “collective punishment” not being deserved just because somebody knifed a couple of army vehicles.

Stop Press: the buildings were illegal. There’s no justification for building them like that. None. And there’s no justification for crying when they are torn down. Quite the opposite: it is good when the Rule of Law applies. We should celebrate that fact, not complain.

Five for Friday

It’s the weekend, again. Hooray! We are a week closer to Pesach. We’ve still got a bit of preparation to do before the festival, but Susan’s got it all under control. And since the office makes it mandatory to take the time as vacation, it will be a break from work. I’m not going to make it to Jerusalem for Games Day, but maybe we will get some cycling or walking in.

Meantime, here are this week’s set of links for your attention.

Shabbat Shalom!