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      From the Hills of Ephraim
      by Yisrael Medad
      My blog from the heart of the heartland of the Jewish People in Eretz-Yisrael with thoughts, observations and ideas.

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      I am a resident of Shiloh, with my wife and children, and now grandchildren, since 1981, having come on Aliyah in 1970.  I have served in a volunteer capacity as a Yesha Council spokesperson, twice a member of Amana's secretariat, Benjamin Regional Council plenum member and mayor of Shiloh.  I was a parliamentary aide for Geula Cohen and two other MKs, an advisor to a Minister, vice-chairman and executive director of Israel's Media Watch and currently, am Information and Content Resource coordinator for the Begin Heritage Center.

      Kislev 10, 5774, 11/13/2013

      The Uri Ariel Slapdown

      Here is the full official release on the slapdown of Minister Uri Ariel by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu:-

      PM Netanyahu Directs Minister Ariel to Reconsider Steps for Evaluating Planning Potential

      (Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)

      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (Tuesday, 12 November 2013), directed Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel to reconsider all of the steps for evaluating planning potential that he distributed without any advance coordination. The Prime Minister told Minister Ariel: "This step does not contribute to settlement. On the contrary, there is damage here for settlement. This is a meaningless step – legally and in practice – and an action that creates an unnecessary confrontation with the international community at a time when we are making an effort to persuade elements in the international community to reach a better deal with Iran. At this time, the attention of the international community must not be diverted from the main effort – preventing Iran from receiving an agreement that will allow it to continue its military nuclear program. As a member of the Government, action must be coordinated and have the benefit of forethought."

      Minister Ariel told Prime Minister Netanyahu that he accedes to his request to reconsider all publications that were issued today regarding the evaluation of planning potential and said that in any case the issue was the potential for planning and not any sort of official stage.

      Actually, I am amazed Ariel thought he could get away with this.

      First of all, the anti-Yesha forces have access to all new plans, in all their stages.  See how they deal with Jerusalem now.

      Second, he probably hasn't installed his own people or shunted aside previous hacks.

      Third, as it was Chaim Levinson who blew the cover, if you can't keep it out of the opposing press, expect the worst.

      Fourth, we all know that for Netanyahu, Iran is the paramount existential issue.  He went to a moratorium on construction a few years ago to protect what he viewed as the prime goal: keeping America focused on Iran.

      Fifth, if you are going to something like this, announce it with full explanation before, not contritely afterwards.

      Of course, that Obama and Kerry are proving our worse enemies on both fronts - that of security and defense as well as the ethos of Zionism - and that Netanyahu has placed a dodgy bet, still does not relieve those in power from acting with wisdom and even cleverness.

      We expect - and need - better.


      Kislev 7, 5774, 11/10/2013

      Kerry & His Illegitimacy

      I read this:

      The UC Berkeley student government has banned the term “illegal immigrant” from its discourse, deeming the phrase racist, offensive, unfair and derogatory.  In an unanimous vote, student senators passed a resolution that stated the word “illegal” is “racially charged,” “dehumanizes” people, and contributes to “punitive and discriminatory actions aimed primarily at immigrants and communities of color.”...Its approval marks at least the second time this semester that a public university’s student government has voted to eradicate the phrase. UCLA passed a nearly identical measure in late August.

      And I hereby ban the use of "illegal settlement" from all discourse.

      But will Secretary of State John Kerry comply? 

      Here’s an excerpt from the official transcript of his recent interview:

      SECRETARY KERRY: ...Now, the Palestinian leadership made it absolutely clear they believe the settlements are illegal, they object to the settlements, and they are in no way condoning the settlements. But they knew that Israel would make some announcements. They knew it, but they don’t agree with it, and they don’t support it...We do not think you should be doing settlements. We, the United States, say the same thing. We do not believe the settlements are legitimate. We think they’re illegitimate. And we believe that the entire peace process would, in fact, be easier if these settlements were not taking place. Now, that’s our position. That is also the position – but we knew that there was not going to be a freeze. We didn’t negotiate a freeze. So there’s a difference here between knowing something may happen and objecting to it. The Palestinians profoundly object to it. The international community objects to it. The United States policy has always been that the settlements are illegitimate, and we believe this process would be much easier if we didn’t have the tension that is created by settlements.

      Let me ask you something: How – if you say you’re working for peace and you want peace and a Palestine that is a whole Palestinian that belongs to the people who live there, how can you say we’re planning to build in the place that will eventually be Palestine? So it sends a message that somehow perhaps you’re not really serious. Now, we understand the pressures that exist, and we understand that within the government there are people who have a different view. So until you arrive at a peace agreement, that issue will not be settled. If you arrive at a peace agreement, everybody will understand where Israel is and everybody will understand where Palestine is.

      The first is that if previously in 2009 I had hoped that the use of the term "illegitimate" was meant to distinguish American policy from that of the Arabs in that the question of legal, or not, was to be avoided because we Jews could make a very good case that we a quite legal, this seems to have dissipated.

      The second is that Kerry supports apartheid.  If we Jews can't construct communities and that they must be dismantled, then Jews can't live in a "Palestine that belongs to the people who live there".  "Palestine" is to be Arab, Arab only.

      Mr. Secretary, can Israel then be only Jewish?

      After all, Mr. Secretary, there are almost two dozen Arab states (UNESCO identifies 21 Arab states, while Wikipedia lists 23 Arab states. In addition the Arab League is a regional organization of these states that was formed in 1945. It currently has 22 members).

      Why can't there be one Jewish state, with an Arab minority?

      Or, why must Palestine by bereft of its Jews?


      Kislev 2, 5774, 11/5/2013

      There's No ... What?

      You've all read this, yes?

      There is no Temple Mount,” shouted Zahalka. “There is only the Aksa Mosque, I don’t see a Temple Mount, it’s something virtual” he shouted, and continued to call out “al-Aksa” every time anyone in the hearing said the words “Temple Mount.”

      That's not only intellectually dishonest and opposed to historical reality but dumb.

      Someone might say 'there'll be no Al-Aqsa'.

      Oh, and by the way,

      I have always maintained, it was the anti-Zionist politics that drove the Mufti Haj Amin el-Husseini to elevate artificially the importance of the Temple Mount, as well as the so-called Al-Buraq Wall (the Western Wall) during Mandate times.

      ElderofZiyon has now a great catch on this, "It appears that the Al Aqsa Mosque was not considered the third holiest spot in Islam until the 20th century.":

      According to A Dictionary of Islam: Being a Cyclopædia of the Doctrines, Rites, Ceremonies, and Customs, Together with the Technical and Theological Terms, of the Muhammadan Religion by Thomas Patrick Hughes (1885):

      MASJIDU 'T-TAQWA. Lit. "The Mosque of Piety." The mosque at Quba', a place about three miles south-east of al-Madinah. It was here that it is said that the Prophet's camel, alQaswa rested on its way from Makkah to alMadinah, on the occasion of the Flight...A prayer in the mosque of Quba' is said to be equal in merit to a Lesser Pilgrimage to Makkah, and the place itself bears rank after the mosques of Makkah and alMadinah and before that of Jerusalem...


      Cheshvan 23, 5774, 10/27/2013

      Aliza Lavie in the Land of the Waqf

      Yesh Atid (Hebrew for There's A Future) may have its future in turbulence.

      As we all read here,

      MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid), announced to the Knesset today (Thursday) that at last night’s meeting of the Committee on the Status of Women, during a discussion of the ritual baths in Israel, it was decided that an ancient mikve near the Temple Mount would be restored for use so that women could ascend the Temple Mount in ritual purity.

      That would appear to me a very good news.

      However, there is a problem.

      They are going up against the Muslim Waqf.

      The suggestion that a Second Temple period mikveh be restored for use by women ascending to the Temple Mount by MK Lavie is stirring things up:

          According to Al - Aqsa Foundation in a statement Sunday...MK Aliza Lavie from the party "Yesh Atid", which is led by Yair Lapid "- seeks to transform one Islamic sites of archaeological historical, located next to the Al-Aqsa Mosque for bathing and sanitizing to serve religious Jewish women who are venturing into the Al-Aqsa mosque, is considered...as a blatant assault on Aqsa mosque and its affiliates, and on the ancient Islamic monuments

          and the Judaization of the vicinity of Al -Aqsa mosque.  ...according to press sources, the MK promised during the meeting held recently in the Knesset, to work on the restoration...at the request of the organization "Women for Temple", within her authority as head of the Commission on the progress of women in the Israeli Knesset , and in addition to being the Chairperson of the Committee for archaeology...

      To bounce around between Yair Lapid, Anat Hoffman and the Women of the Wall (WOWers) and Einat Ziv and the Women of the Mikdash is tough.


      Cheshvan 21, 5774, 10/25/2013

      Out of Home, Out of House

      I caught this a bit late:

      Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) criticized the prime minister's willingness to release terrorists, despite Netanyahu's pledge to keep building in the settlements, the support center of Bennett's party.

      "The attempt to combine construction with freeing murderers is cynical and morally wrong. It would be better for the prime minister not to free murderers and not to build," he said.

      That's odd.

      Why not say, 'don't release and keep building'?

      After all, Peace Now claims we're building big anyway.

      Bennet all but lost Jerusalem - electorally, that is, Nadav Shragai writes.

      And it could get worse, as Binyamin Netanyahu illustrates.

      Let's help him not to lose Judea and Samaria?


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