Ariel’s smart move

French-Israelis hold a sign reading "Jews of France in danger, your place is in Israel" during a rally in Tel Aviv in memory of the shooting victims in France on March 22, 2012. Photo by Gideon Markowicz/FLASH90.
French-Israelis with sign, “Jews of France in danger, your place is in Israel” Tel Aviv, 2012. Photo by Gideon Markowicz/FLASH90.

I met a French Jew in Jerusalem today, normally not a blog-worthy event but this fellow was from Paris, had just made Aliyah with his family and recently moved into our neighborhood having never seen it. Ariel’s cab had stopped on the street, he stepped out and hailed me then asked the question I am best equipped to handle in Jerusalem.

Do you speak English?

Ariel’s next question, while pointing at the roof of an elementary school, was, “I was told I could see the Knesset from here. Is that true?”

It was almost true, I explained, and once we got the Knesset’s whereabouts settled I learned that Ariel, his wife and children have recently left their home in France and made Aliyah to Israel, in haste, because they feel they can no longer live safely in Paris.

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Juttah, the movie…




It’s been about two months since the once wild Jerusalem dog (whom Marcia has named, Juttah) appeared half-dead in our backyard desperately seeking food.

It is only natural, then, given the immense interest stirred up by my first blog account of Juttah’s uncertain welfare, found here,  that the sure-to-follow sequel would blossom into a video epic. The epic never materialized, however, ordained or not, but we did manage to upload a short video detailing our new, healthier dog’s progress and prospects to date…

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A Trail of Gifts

Before and after a few days of food.

[Note: My apologies. This is the “real” post and the other has been deleted. The first notice went out when someone accidentally clicked the “Publish” button well before the post was readable.]

Marcia and Miriam, our landlady, have befriended a wild dog. In fairness, the animal they’ve taken to would now be better characterized as loud, untrusting and mischievous since Marcia gave her a name, Miriam made the once small hole in the back fence bigger for ease of entry and both ladies have begun to buy her treats and food.

Marcia’s got the food.

Jutta, that’s what Marcia named her for reasons that may never be known, was only days ago just one of many starving, unloved Jerusalem animals, most of them cats, exceptional only in her ability to avoid being seen. But the poor dog began to break our hearts last month as hunger prompted her to take more risks and she began to visit here regularly (with her tail tucked and barely able to walk) looking for something to eat. Though she only appeared at odd intervals and mostly after dark, her comings and goings eventually betrayed a pattern. She came and left the same way each time; in and out through either of two small holes in Miriam’s fence then across the back of the neighboring yard and off to who knows where through another fence-hole somewhere.

Gifts in exchange for food.

One morning, about 2:30 AM, Jutta woke the whole building with an awful, life-changing howl. Miriam got on her knees the next day and unrepaired the back yard fence to make the hole bigger. She built a small hutch to protect the food that she and Marcia agreed to leave for her, though only cat food that first day.

Marcia began to deliver proper dog food twice daily afterward, big portions, and though we never saw her eating, Jutta ate it all. So things seemed to be looking up for her until a second big winter snowstorm hit Jerusalem.

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Who’s Haman?

Purim Celebrants, Jerusalem, 2014
Purim Celebrants, Jerusalem, 2014

Strange Bedfellows update, March 5th,  following Netanyahu’s speech to Congress regarding Iran:

The Israeli Prime Minister got a vote of confidence from an odd source following his recent address to the US Congress. While Nancy Pelosi found herself near tears, “saddened by [Netanyahu’s] insult to the intelligence of the United States, “Al-Arabiya‘s English edition editor-in-chief Faisal J. Abbas wrote a surprising op-ed on Tuesday, calling on US President Barack Obama to listen to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.”

“What is absurd, however, is that despite this being perhaps the only thing that brings together Arabs and Israelis (as it threatens them all), the only stakeholder that seems not to realize the danger of the situation is President Obama, who is now infamous for being the latest pen-pal of the Supreme Leader of the World’s biggest terrorist regime: Ayottallah Ali Khamenei,” Abbas wrote.

Good grief, even Israel’s sworn enemies see the foolishness and shortsightedness of this deal. (Al-Aribiya editor demands Obama listen to Netanyahu)


Original Post:

March has arrived, a critical election looms in Israel and here in Jerusalem it seems that Chicago, not spring, is in the air. The New York Times reports...

Jeremy Bird, the architect of the grass-roots and online organizing efforts that powered President Obama’s presidential campaigns from Chicago, is advising a similar operation in Tel Aviv. But this time it is focused on ousting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.

Jeremy Bird
Jeremy Bird

The Times goes on to suggest that the White House’s apparent intrusion into the upcoming Israeli elections is nothing special, arguing on the administration’s behalf, “American strategists have for decades signed on to work in Israeli political campaigns,” but, given the negativity  Mr. Bird has ushered into the contest while directing the sudden political phenomenon, V15, and considering the disturbing sources of V15’s funds (see below), this effort fails to pass the smell test when compared to the past involvements of other American election advisers in Israel.

Of V15, the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, wrote on January 26…

“…with the help of American money and a former campaign adviser to President Barack Obama, V15 is trying to replace Israel’s government. The money and organization comes from V15’s partnership with OneVoice…an international grassroots movement that amplifies the voice of mainstream Israelis and Palestinians, empowering them to propel their elected representatives toward the two-state solution.”

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Strange Designs

Strange Designs

Current events in Israel are never dull. The same holds true for Israel’s ancient and modern history and vehicular traffic. With respect to current events, this nation’s circumstances seem to grow stranger by the hour as the remaining 99.9% of the world’s population deals with the Jewish remnant gathering here against their wishes. Consider the photo panel above and ask yourself, What’s wrong in these pictures?

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Wars, peace, prophets, produce and Innocents Abroad

Israeli Tanks

Mark Twain is credited with having said, “History may not repeat itself but it does rhyme.”  Rhyming aside, one can easily argue that history repeats itself in Israel. As of old, history has repeated itself at least fifteen times here since November of 1947 in the form of war. Twain visited the land (among other places) in 1867, before its restoration, and assessed the dire state of the Galilee in his humorous memoir of his travels, The Innocents Abroad…

“ …[Judea and Samaria is a] desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds-a silent mournful expanse…. A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action…. We never saw a human being on the whole route…. There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of the worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.” – (Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad. London: 1881)

Time and the vision of several Hebrew prophets have proved Mark Twain only half correct. One hundred and forty-five years after the famous author memorialized Israel’s northern land as a “desolation” I walked the south shore of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) with my camera and snapped the confounding photos below.

They would certainly have surprised him.

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