Assaults, sirens, shutdown and remodeling…

CLK_0042Maybe this morning, Tuesday, October 13, 2015, was truly worse than all the others; maybe it was only that it seemed so. All morning, across the city, we could hear beating helicopters, screaming ambulances and convoys of police vehicles racing behind their sirens. A sampling of events…

Meanwhile in America, even-minded Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the preacher President Obama never listened to while regularly attending his church, has weighed in from his hateful perch.

Israel is an apartheid state, Wright finds the time to say (adding that Jesus was a “Palestinian”).

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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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Who, exactly, has Israel’s back?


Channel One in Israel has produced what it claims to be a leaked transcript of a conversation between US President Barak, “I’ve got your back, Israel,” Obama and  Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu in which the President of the United States tries to bully Israel into submission to its enemies.  “The White House quickly issued a denial, with Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser, calling the supposed transcript of the call “totally false,” in effect, asking those who have read the transcript to disregard an exchange that, if true as reported, perfectly explains what has appeared to be the exasperating hesitancy of Netanyahu and his cabinet to vigorously pursue action in Gaza that would end Hamas’s ability to continue bombing, kidnapping and murdering Israeli Jews. Netanyahu’s office, for what it is worth, also provided a twitter denial reproduced in an article in Time.

Pray for Benjamin Netanyahu. Anyone want his job? True or false, the transcript fits the strangely unfolding events of the last three weeks as Israel has been hesitant to get an essential job done, puzzling its people with unilateral cease fires and excruciating deliberateness in Gaza while her citizens and soldiers remain in harm’s way.

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Bring Back Our Boys



Three Israeli boys, yeshiva students in their teens, came up missing six days ago on Friday, June 13, after they were last seen hitchhiking in the West Bank. The overwhelming suspicion is that they were taken captive by terrorists. Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly held the Palestinian Authority responsible for the well being of the boys.  A first report linked here from The Times of Israel. The students have not been found yet.

One of the most disturbing aspects of the Times article…

Earlier Friday, a senior Islamic Jihad official called on Palestinians to kidnap Israeli citizens, arguing that Israel had proven in the past that it was willing to negotiate the release of Palestinian security prisoners in exchange for the lives of its civilians.

Who can argue with his logic? Recall that Israel agreed to release 1,027 terror convicts in exchange for captured soldier, Gilad Shalit, on October 11, 2011, “the first captured Israeli soldier to be released alive in 26 years.”

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Who are these guys?


Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned to England from Germany in September of 1938 believing he had struck an honest deal with Adolf Hitler, having crafted the now infamous Munich Agreement.

That agreement, at first hailed as Peace in Our Time, delayed World War II for not quite 335 days. (Original video below: “One man saved us from the greatest war of all.”)


Today hope for peace in the Middle East (and the world) rests upon John Kerry’s equally vacant though much less sincere smile .

But while the British Prime Minister clearly hoped to bring peace to Europe, Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei  has made it difficult for Kerry to pretend that the US opposes Iran’s becoming a nuclear power. Khamenei said recently, “The American government is untrustworthy, supercilious and unreasonable, and breaks its promises,” (Link)

Tellingly, Kerry ignored those remarks and sniped instead at Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu for suggesting that further negotiations with Iran might be a tragic mistake.

So a question goes begging for an answer; Who will have better served mankind after the smoke clears? Neville Chamberlain as a caricature of  Don Quixote or John Kerry as a less competent Don Knotts?

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Israel’s Secret Weapon

Operation Pillar of Defense

Late Friday afternoon, Erev Shabbat, November 16, 2012, warning sirens blew in earnest in Jerusalem for the first time since we have lived here. Later reports claimed that two rockets launched from Gaza had landed close to, but outside the city. Even though Marcia, the neighbors and I had all heard and felt faint concussions from explosions that Hamas later boasted came from “improved Qassam” rockets, everyone here remained calm.

Out on the street, pedestrians walked at the same leisurely pace as before. In an apartment next door, an orthodox gathering sang together while the sirens wailed, preparing for blessings over wine and bread and a Sabbath meal.

But after all kinds of prior talk about being prepared, Marcia and I still weren’t quite sure what to do; then Marcia’s all-girl intelligence network kicked in. Her cell phone rang continually as she gathered tactical assessments from women all over town. Everyone and everything seemed okay. After a quick meeting with our fellow building mates we agreed to meet in Miriam’s makhsan (storage room) if the sirens blew again. (Modern buildings in Israel all have fortified safe rooms, by code, but ours was built well before this rule, sometime in the 1930s.)

While Jerusalem’s and Tel Aviv’s recent experience is relatively unique, missiles have fallen regularly into southern Israel from heroic positions in Gaza (urban centers, hospitals and schools) for years. Citizens in the south are urged to reach shelter within fifteen seconds of an alert to be safe.

Here in Jerusalem the recommended time to respond is a luxurious 30-90 seconds.

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