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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.

      Elul 26, 5773, 9/1/2013

      It's Iran, stupid

      Now that US President Barack Obama has handed over to Congress a decision whether Syrian war crimes should be dealt with if at all, and therefore adding days, if not longer, to the possible further suffering of civilians, women, children and the elderly, he has, essentially, signaled to Israel that we cannot depend on him for the needed military support to deal  with Iran.

      His unwillingness to display firm resolve, preferring to hand over constitutional power he claims belongs legally to the President, illustrates an hesitant delay that we in Israel cannot afford.  We cannot sit patiently while a Congress debates.

      Of course, if he declares that this upcoming Congressional debate will also set a precedent for any future action he may take against Iran, in that the military operation will be defined as one in reaction to the use of weapons of mass destruction anywhere, there may yet be some benefit - if the vote supports him.


      Elul 24, 5773, 8/30/2013

      Not Quite A Cohen's Blessing

      One Jeff Cohen has visited Israel and is enamoured of the Nonviolent Unarmed Resistance he found amongst the local nonviolent unarmed Arabs he met.

      Jeff, it appears to me is one of those socialist-radical-progressive types, preferring any group, national, religious or ethnic other than the Jewish people.  He was here recently in a delegation sponsored by Interfaith Peace-Builders and the American Friends Service Committee.  He's at Ithaca College, an associate professor of journalism.  He launched the media watch group FAIR in 1986.

      Of course, he was a bit depressed but found

      ...good news: Across the West Bank, Israel’s occupation has given rise in recent years to a nonviolent “popular resistance” movement that should be an inspiration to people across the globe.  This unarmed resistance has persisted in the face of Israeli state violence (aided by U.S.-supplied weapons and tear gas), lengthy jail sentences for nonviolent protesters and widespread detention and abuse of children.




      He simply ignores or overlooks shootings, rock-throwing, stabbings with knives, tossed firebombs that kill, injure and maim.

      He then moves into the dangerous delusional promotion of violence, even if he doesn't intend so:

          ...leaders of the Palestinian popular resistance – from intellectuals to grassroots villagers who’d been repeatedly jailed – spoke to us about universal human rights, about a human family in which all deserve equal rights regardless of religion or nationality. “We are against the occupation, not against the Jews,” was the refrain among Palestinian activists. “We have many Jews and Israelis who support us.”... Israel [is] a society that seems as paranoid and militaristic today as our country during the McCarthyite Fifties...Seeing these “facts on the ground,” I kept asking myself NOT “Why have many Palestinians turned to violence and terrorism?” – but rather, “Why so few?

      If there is any type of human who does Zionism damage but either distorting its vision, its actions, its achievements and its intentions as well as excusing and forgiving all the evil of Palestinianism, it is the Jewish "I-want-outer".



      Elul 21, 5773, 8/27/2013

      How Many Foreign Ministries Do We Need?

      According to INN, U.S. Congressman Dave Reichert, from Washington's 8th congressional district,, has been in Israel.

      He had a full schedule which included, among other venues and people, a meeting with leaders of the Shomron (Samaria) Regional Council.

      The meeting, it was explained:-

      "was part of an effort by the Shomron Regional Council, which has established its own Foreign Ministry after realizing that other groups were not going to take the lead in promoting Israeli communities in the region. The heads of the Council have been meeting with U.S. lawmakers and explaining to them the importance of keeping Judea and Samaria under Israeli control.

      As it happens, I am pretty sure the Yesha Council has its own External Affairs Unit, reestablished recently.  Since I was part of the 1990 founding of a Foreign Media Desk of the Council, which has existed ever since, albeit with breaks, suffering from a lack of budget and attention and even an understanding of the importance of such a unit, the initiative could not have "taken the lead" although they may have been thinking they were.

      I am not going to argue who has the greater wisdom, the greater experience, the greater outreach.  I would suggest that some people in high places do some rethinking and quick.

      The almost 400,000 Yesha residents do not need two "Foreign Ministries".

      The issues are not solely "keeping Judea and Samaria".  Even if it was - and not also water, environment, boycott, security, demographics, construction - we cannot afford to present our, unfortunately usual, split personality.  Yesha residents are representative of the full gamut of the social, religious and political spectrum and as such, the broader the 'face', the better.  As far as I know, Gershon Mesika, as a member of the Yesha Council, is quite well aware of the new Unit.  I think it should behoove him to cooperate, for all out benefit, including the Samaria Region.  We do not need to be seen arguing in public.


      Elul 19, 5773, 8/25/2013

      The Women of the Wall vs. The ... Wall?

      The Western Wall of the Temple Mount, constructed by Herod, is approximately 488 meters (1,600 feet) long.

      Apart from at the Western Wall Plaza, there are two other exposed above-ground sections along the length of the Western Wall: the Southern Section of the Western Wall, and the Small Western Wall in the Muslim Quarter.

      The Small Western Wall is located about 170 meters (558 feet) north of the Western Wall Plaza.  Elders of Jerusalem used to come to the Small Western Wall to recite Tikkun Hazot (A Kabbalistic Midnight prayer for redemption).  There's a recent picture I snapped here.

      Are you asking what is the relevance of all this?

      No, it is not that elements in the Palestinian Authority seem to deny Jewish rights to the Wall.

      No, it is that we now learn that the Women of the Wall do not recognize the Southern Section as part of the Western Wall and demand to have their monthly prayer quorums at the Western Wall Plaza solely.


          The chairperson of Women of the Wall, Anat Hoffman, is adamantly opposed to an initiative by Religions Minister Naftali Bennett, to open a separate area next to the Kotel for non-Orthodox prayer, and to limit her group's prayers to that area. She was quick to denounce the offer almost as soon as Bennett announced it...The “new” prayer area is outside the Kotel plaza but still adjacent to the wall. It has been approved as a prayer area alone, and cannot be used for wedding or circumcision ceremonies...Speaking on IDF Radio, Hoffman said: “We must not let thugs decide our policy. I am willing to talk with Minister Bennett right this minute and give him some excellent suggestions that will not hurt anyone's feelings.”  "I respect other people's emotions very much, but I will not be relegated to an alternative offer that is located lower, and there is importance to this,” she said.

      I know that women are very good at fashion and culinary arts.  But to distinguish between 'that' wall and 'that' wall?  It's one wall.  The area they have been provided is amazing as it is close to at least one Second Temple mikveh, remnants of stores where sacrificial animals were purchased and where there is an inscription on one of the stones.

      It is holy.  It is sacred.

      They can pray there and commune with God.  After all, they are not displaying themselves to people, or are they?

      Is that their purpose, to be seen by others?



      I have been informed that the Jerusalem Chapter of Emunah women davened at the Small Wall ("HaKotel Hakatan") for years on Rosh Chodesh because they wanted to encourage people to realize the holiness of the entire Wall. In addition to all their education and welfare projects and with no obsessive desire for publicity, just davening.

      Elul 18, 5773, 8/24/2013

      On the Ceding of Territory

      In a legal comment by Julian Ku, When is a Treaty Ceding Territory Not a Treaty Ceding Territory?, is read this:

          I am not sure if it is a trend, but recently several nations have raised dubious legal claims  over territory that was ceded away by treaty.  For instance, Spain has zero legal claim to Gibraltar, as far as I can tell, unless the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht ceding it to Britain “in perpetuity” can be wished away.  Bolivia has zero legal claim to the port it seeks from Chile, unless the 1904 treaty ceding it to Chile can be ignored as well.  And in the latest example, Nicaragua is raising a claim to portions of territory it ceded to Costa Rica, despite having signed a clear treaty of cession doing so.

          The problem with this trend is obvious.  If treaties can’t settle territorial claims because they can always be reopened later, then the utility of having the treaty in the first place is decreased substantially. This poses a danger to the whole point of having international law for defining territorial boundaries.  I expect and hope the ICJ will reject these silly but dangerous claims in the Bolivia case.  But the broader international law community should be worried about this trend as well.

      Ku is Professor of Law and Faculty Director of International Programs at Hofstra.

      I reflected on that and while one may think this would support a negative critical view of Israel in the future, that is, if Israel cedes territory to the to-be-established-state-of-Palestine, perhaps a future government would demand that territory's return.  That Israel would renege on its largesse.

      Of course, there is another way of looking at it.

      Before the state of Israel was established, the World Zionist Organization accepted the first partition (Sykes-Picot) of the Jewish homeland, and then in 1922, the second, when TransJordan was removed from the ability of Jews to move there and reside there and then in 1947, the UN Partition, which the Arabs refused to accept in principle, as they did with an earlier suggestion in 1937.

      Territory was handed back by the state of Israel in 1957 to Egypt after the Sinai Campaign, in 1981 in the framework of the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty and to Jordan in 1994.

      But the ceding of territory has not halted the Arab demands for all of Israel.

      Even if Israel cedes territory, does that not only not placate Arabs but they will they at some future date perhaps renew hostilities.

      After all, that's what happened in 2005 and the Gaza Disengagement.


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