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Iyar 4, 5769, 4/28/2009
He fought. He killed. He conquered. He was a normal Jewish man who led what seemed to be a normal, even boring life in pre-state Israel. But Ezra Yakhin was anything but. As a young man, Yakhin was a postman by day, a LECHI fighter by night.
Ezra Yakhin tells of his time growing up very poor in Israel what was then called Palestine. Though he lived in Jerusalem, the home he lived in didn't have a toilet, he had to leave his apartment to use a common bathroom for the building. Not having a kitchen in his house, his mother had to cook on a primus stove burner in the back yard of the building. Yet, Yakhin says he never felt like he was poor as a child because his friends and neighbors lived that way as well, so he didn't feel any different. Life was difficult, but there was a growing sense of the revival of the Jewish People in their home, Israel. The dream of statehood had taken hold since the end of WWI when the British, now with its troops in the Middle East, had promised, then reneged, on allowing the Jews to establish their homeland.
It was oppressive living under British occupation who clearly favored the Arab nations. The Jews were not allowed to protect themselves against Arab theft, violence or pograms. Curfews were common and the obvious preference of the Arabs by Britain made it impossible for Jews to live and practice their Judaism freely.
Ezra Yakhin tells the story of how he wanted to help fight for the freedom of the Jewish nation. He had read about the actions of the mysterious heroes in the LECHI (Lochamei Herut Israel – Israel Freedom Fighters) underground. He yearned to join up but he didn't know who to approach. All members were recruited secretly, so he had to try to send out hints to his neighbors and friends to let them know he wanted to be recruited, without making it too obvious, where someone might snitch on him to the British. Sometimes he would wait at night to see if he could spot the newer members of the LECHI whose job it was to paste posters up on lamp posts and city walls urging people to throw off British rule and gain independence. But these newly recruited members were also impossible to find. They had to be good at being invisible, because getting caught by the British putting up 'freedom posters' was a crime. All LECHI members were considered terrorists. They could be caught, imprisoned and tortured for information. Yakhin, so much wanting to join up to fight for Jewish independence, would wait at night to try to find anyone hanging up posters. However, even he couldn't spot them. One moment there was nothing out of the ordinary, and the next, there would be a newly pasted up poster nearby, without a trace of anyone having been there.
Ezra Yakhin, still a youth, knew that his working at the post office would help the LECHI. British headquarters were at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem and he knew the area well delivering mail and telegrams. Photos in his book, ELNAKAM, show the streets in Jerusalem near British headquarters filled with barbed wire. Apparently, the British were very fearful of the Jewish underground groups and protected themselves by keeping nearby streets 'no man's land'.
Yakhin tells how he finally succeeded in being recruited into the LECHI underground, the secret ways he used his job at the post office as a delivery boy to help with LECHI intelligence, and how he finally was trained for real military missions against the British occupation forces in Palestine. He also tells about the first time he had to kill.
Obtaining weapons for defensive purposes and for driving out British forces from the Land of Israel was one of the greatest challenges for the underground. Yakhin describes one of his attempts to steal a gun from a British soldier. In the scuffle, he was shot and wounded. Limping away and bleeding, he tried to find safety and help, but it was impossible to go to a hospital because there he would have been found by the British. He also describes the fate of his fellow freedom fighters who were either killed by the British mandate troops or the Jew-hating Arabs.
Idealistic and also in the throws of youthful love, he shares with us the story of the girl he fell in love with who was also a LECHI member - and what happened to her.
After WWII, the British were even more lustful in finding Jewish underground members because of their aiding Holocaust survivors trying to make it to the shores of the Land of Israel. The British were strict with their policy of curtailing Jewish immigration to Israel. In his book, Elnakam, Yakhin shows notices sent out by the underground which stated: "Since the arrival of the immigrant ship, 'Exodus 1947' and the banishment of its immigrants, the Israel Freedom Fighters have begun a systematic campaign against the enemy forces, its vehicles and installations." The notice then goes on to show a list of strikes against British army patrols and bases. It is an impressive list of actions and Yakhin describes many of the scenes that could be scenes in a real action movie.
Yakhin also relates the heart wrenching story of his best friend who was kidnapped in broad daylight by the British and never seen or heard from again. British denials of any wrong doing filled and fueled news paper articles for quite some time. It wasn't until much later that the truth came out that he had been murdered by the British who tried to cover it up.
The book ends with his telling how he was fighting in the streets of Jerusalem in one of the major battles for the Old City, the area of Jerusalem where the Temple once stood and the Western Wall continues to stand. It is the holiest place in the world for the Jewish people. In this fierce battle to liberate Jerusalem and at great losses of his friends and other (now) Israeli fighters, an explosive shell was fired in front of him and exploded. As he turned to shield himself, shrapnel cut though his helmet going through the back of his neck up through, and out of his eye. Rushed with the other wounded fighters to the hospital, he had to have surgery without being given anethstesia. Throughout the several hour ordeal, awake on the operating table as they worked on him, he kept repeating to himself in the grips of immense pain, "A LECHI Man doesn't groan". He ended up losing an eye from his massive head wound and has a glass eye until this day.
Yakhin is still active to this day. Though over 80 years old, he lives in an old Jewish neighborhood which, since the Jordanian occupation of eastern Jerusalem, is now occupied by hostile Arabs. The apartment building he lives in is inhabited by a group of Jewish families and married couples who aren't afraid to re-establish their Jewish roots there.
An excerpt from his book, Elnakam:
"No sleep for you tonight," says Tanchum. "You're to go to the Abu-el Bassal quarter and mark the movements of the army there. What we need is information about the movements of military vehicles in the path joining the Beit Yaakov and Zichron Yoseph quarters."
We went to look for the place best suited for the look-out base, finally choosing the brick factory in Sadoff's yard, where I could hide all night behind a pile of bricks and observe the movements of the vehicles on the path. I didn't go home this time to tell my parents that I was "sleeping at a friend's place," I simply couldn't face the fearful look in their eyes, knowing full well how anxious they would be. Obviously, they would not be slow in making a connection between my absence and the acts against the Brits, and their feelings, when I failed to return that night were not hard to imagine. On the other hand if I didn't let them know in advance, they might comfort themselves with the thought that I had been caught breaking curfew and arrested. This wasn't pleasant, but implied a fine at the most.
So – no going home. As curfew time approached I was ensconced behind my pile of bricks. Each of the neighbors nearby took a last look at the yard before lowering their shutters and locking their doors, and they all saw me there. To avoid their worried glances I slipped around to the other side of the pile, making myself fully visible to the patrols enforcing the curfew. Only after everybody was shut inside the houses did I slip back – only to be cordially invited by someone peeping through the shutters to go in and stay till the morning. Ignoring the invitation I waited tensely for darkness to fall.
The noise of army vehicles touring the area filled the night. Sometimes they would stop to permit a foot patrol to get out. At times, some men talking English, approached my brick pile, and I couldn't tell whether they were just loitering or going straight for me. Hearing a vehicle approaching I would raise my head to see it, risking being seen by a passing patrol. I could hear them but it was too dark to see them. Conversely, I realized that my dark figure could be easily made out on the background of white bricks, and I was just what the enemy was looking for. There…. They were coming, now! They had seen me and where could I hide? They were getting nearer. Their English fell painfully on my ear. No place to run…. "
If you want a book that will educate you, make you laugh and cry, show you miracles and is just one darned good read of a true story of the heroes that fought for the Jewish homeland after 2,000 years of forced exile, GET THIS BOOK, ELNAKAM.
Nisan 25, 5769, 4/19/2009
I look for more information and find that the earth quake's epicenter hit the eastern Mediterranean sea, about 12 miles east of Tyre, Lebanon, but was felt in Northern Israel at a 4.2 magnitude. This took place just after 2pm Friday afternoon. Another earth quake was felt Friday evening again in northern Israel registering at a 3.5 magnitude. Thank G-d, no injuries were reported. All in all, The Geophysical Institute of Israel (GII) confirmed that at least TEN earth quakes took place yesterday in southern Lebanon.
Prepare for Mass Casualties
Now, what makes this news story even more interesting - and disturbing - is that under a year ago, Israel's northern hospitals were put on high alert and were told to *expect a coming major earth quake soon, with the expectation of possible mass civilian casualties. Israel's Health Ministry sent out a notice to Israel's northern hospitals to prepare and be ready for possible mass casualties of Israel's northern residents. (* This report is from about 9 months ago when Israel was also hoping to get permission from America to attack Iran. At that time, it was reported that it was not a matter of IF, but WHEN.)
Iran Digging 320,000 Graves
I then read on Iran's Press TV news website, that Iran is digging over a quarter of a million graves on its soil, ostensibly, because Iran is expecting a military invasion and an attack on it's nuclear facilities. The report came out almost the same day that Israel sent its letter to hospitals in the north to be ready for mass casualties. It states: "A senior Iranian commander says the country is digging some '320,000 graves' in its bordering provinces for future slain invaders. Brigadier General Mir-Faisal Baqerzadeh, the Head of the Foundation for the Remembrance of the Holy Defense, said Sunday that the decision had been approved by Iran's Armed Forces Headquarters. "We will dig 15,000 to 20,000 graves in each of the border provinces," he said. "We do not wish the families of enemy soldiers to experience what Americans had to go through in the aftermath of the Vietnam War," added Brig. Gen. Baqerzadeh, who is also the head of the search committee for missing soldiers. The commander said the preemptive measures would decrease the time slain soldiers would be 'missing in action'."
Iranian Nuclear Production/Installments - The full map is located here.
All in all, the number of graves they are digging comes to approx. 320,000 graves – for their enemies, they say.
1) Why is Israel preparing for mass casualties in northern Israel?
a) It could be exactly what we are reading, that we are expecting a major earth quake which could be very serious. Or…
b) Israel may be planning on attacking the Iranian nuclear facilities in the near future and is preparing for a massive missile attack in response, from Iran's proxy in the north, the Hezbollah and possible other terror groups.
2) Why is Iran digging 320,000 graves?
a) It could be that they are expecting 320,000 enemy soldiers to come in and invade Iran and attempt to attack it's nuclear facilities. They plan to kill all of these soldiers, and then bury them – out of humanitarian concern - as they claim. Or…
b) It could be that they are really expecting some type of aerial attack, whether by fighter jets or by long range missiles onto their nuclear facilities, and they really are expecting to bury their OWN soon to be dead Iranian people who are working and residing in the area.
I would imagine that there would be a lot of massive damage and dirty radiation leaks after an attack on a nuclear site, and Iran would need to bury, not burn, any bodies that lingered there as soon as they would be able to approach the area.
Now again, being careful about keeping speculation, speculation, as I have no personal proof, I believe a connection between these two news stories would be a possibility to consider.
Let's try to examine why Iran, a Moslem regime which sponsors terrorism and courts fascist leaders like Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, is so concerned about the humanitarian needs of its enemies. Why would they be so 'thoughtful' to worry about enemy infidels and bother to dig 320, 000 graves for those they hate. They could easily burn their bodies or just make much quicker mass grave sites.
Let's also think WHO would be sending in so many enemy soldiers to invade Iran? Not Israel. Our standing army is less than 200,000 men and women and I don't think that the US has that many troops in Iraq to invade Iran and still retain control in Iraq. So unless Russia is planning on marching in and attacking Iran's nuclear facilities, which seems unlikely since Russia and Iran do business together and the two signed an agreement for Moscow to supply fuel to Iran's nuclear reactor, I doubt very much there will be ANY military invasion on Iran.
One more point, how did Iran even come to the number of 320,000? There aren't enough 'enemy' troops from the USA or Israel to support such a number, yet this is the number they estimate and get approval for?
America does not have 320,000 troops in Iraq to invade Iran. Israel does not have enough troops nor the ability to march any troops through hostile Jew-hating countries like Jordan, Syria, Turkey or Iraq to get to Iran. So if this is the case, and Iran really expects an aerial attack, then reason tells us that these graves will be for the people working and living in these nuclear facility communities.
Only time will tell.
Nisan 14, 5769, 4/8/2009
I believe we are moving fast towards redemption. Just as we have lessons in the Pesach Hagada (Passover guide book) we need to reflect on how we relate to history and our future redemption today. Will we leave our Exile and go with Moses or will we be one of the majority who found excuses to stay behind where we thought we felt more comfortable?
Who is your Pharaoh?
a) Barak Obama
b) Materialism / Comfort Zone
c) Your career
d) G-d is your only, Only, ONLY, Master.
What are your goals in striving towards freedom?
a) To make as much money as you can and sped it on fun things
b) To laze around on the couch and drink beer and watch and cheer a ball game
c) To fight for your beliefs so you are allowed to live by them
How can you best serve G-d?
a) Staying in the Exile and 'practicing' Judaism but not living and embracing it.
b) Suffering what you have to do because of 'obligation' and the rest of the time feeding your desires
c) Just talking to G-d, striving to be his servant, bringing the holy to the mundane, and making the mundane holy.
Perhaps these are questions we should be asking ourselves and relate them to today at the same time.
Is Materialism our pharaoh, keeping us enslaved?
Do we view freedom as what we were taught it was through western standards and western eyes, and not through what G-d tells us in the Torah?
Are we trapped in golden cages in the Exile, not wanting to leave 'Egypt' (america) because we are frightened of what it will be like on a journey in the 'wilderness' until we get to the Promised Land, and so we choose to stay in our comfort zones, not leave, and miss our chance at redemption and being embraced by G-d in His Land?
I would just like to re-post this video, and show you the miracles that G-d made for us, the Jewish people, His Chosen Ones. When you see the sea split, think to yourselves, "Look how much G-d loves us, G-d didn't do this for any other nation except us. He really, really loves us!"
And to sum up, I wish all of the friends of the Jewish People to stand strong, be at peace, and be blessed with all good things. As for all of my Jewish brothers and sisters in the Exile, I pray you have a wonderful, happy, and kosher Pesach. May you learn from our rich history and Holy Torah, and may you yearn, and accomplish, our fervent prayer, "Next year in Jerusalem!".
Nisan 9, 5769, 4/3/2009
A young Jewish teen was murdered today, axed to death. An Arab, planning to do an act of terror, infiltrated into the community of Bat Ayin and the 'brave' man picked and preyed on KIDS to kill. Sick. And sick, sick, sick, again. The boy who fell victim to the axe murderer was named Shlomo Nativ.
(To the left, Shlomo Nativ, z"l )
Where was Shlomo's mother when this vicious attack took place? Maybe cleaning her house for Pesach (Passover). She might have been scrubbing her stove like I was today, ...as her son was being murdered. I couldn't help thinking after I read about the terror attack in between cleaning jobs, that from now on, every year, instead of looking forward to a happy Pesach holiday, Shlomo's parents will be observing the anniversary of their son's too-soon death.
Another young boy, 7 year old Yair Gamliel was also attacked by the same Arab terrorist who the army has not yet found, but believe they will, and have already brought in 2 Arab men in for questioning. Little Yair had the terrorist's axe slammed into his head,,,,
Bat Ayin (the blue point above on the map) is a community located southwest of Jerusalem, with wide spaces and open land. The Arab who came on a mission to murder, had to purposely head for the community to seek out his victims. Looking at photos and news clips of the surrounding areas, one sees valleys and hills making Bat Ayin a target only if it was specifically planned.
Who raises children to grow up into men who then choose to take an axe and go on a murder spree, and target children? What kind of monsters are these Arab women raising?
I have an acquaintance who takes a lot of taxis. He is friendly with a lot of drivers, Jewish and Arab. One of his drivers who is an Arab, was telling him how upset he was because the Hamas and other Moslem leaders are constantly telling Arab parents to give up one of their children for 'The Jihad'. He said that all the time, they are pressured into sending a child to 'jihad'. He said that kids are told this at school, and the parents are constantly bombarded by it if they haven't already made 'the sacrifice'. The cab driver continued and said that he didn't want to give up one of his kids, but felt really guilty about not doing it with so much pressure placed on him.
Hmmm, and how would THAT scenario go?
Husain gets home from a long day's work driving his Jerusalem cab. He walks in the door, sits down on his chair in the living room and thinks, "Hmmm, should I send Ahmed, Rashid or Ibrahim to die? Eeny, meenie, meeny miney mo..."
What kind of culture is this? How sick can this world be? How do these Arab women live in a society that lives for glory through blood and death, treats women like second class citizens (I know, worse) and pressures parents to choose a kid and sacrifice him for the Jihad? I wonder if the other surviving brothers fight over 'Jihad Kid's' room after his mother straps a bomb on him and sends him to blow himself and other innocent people up on busses, in cafes, or just raises her child to think it's glorious to hike up a mountain with an axe and look for the nearest kids to prey on and sink that axe into their skulls. So then who's the murderer? The parents, or the kids they raise or send out, to murder?
I took a picture of the murder weapon on my computer while watching Israel's channel 10 news there, as I couldn't find a photo of the murder weapon online yet, so you are some of the first to see it. Imagine THAT in your head. ...Or your child's, G-d forbid!
The murder weapon
Nisan 2, 5769, 3/27/2009
Word has it that Obama, true to his election promises, is going to start a “civilian national security force” which is meant to be a military force -as strong as the U.S. armed forces, as well funded, and will be situated on the home front. Critics are calling it "Obama's Youth Brigade" and claiming it smells of the 'Brown Shirts' during the Nazi era. His Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, is helping him to implement this new national security force. As of now, it would be mandatory for those citizens who are in the "GIVE “ (Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education) program. But that's not all. The Federal Government will obligate other American youth to serve as well such as those Americans who get student loans.
Below, is a video of an interview on C-SPAN with Rahm Emanuel (who is now the White House Chief of Staff under Obama). In it, he states that this civil security force plan, would be for all American citizens between the ages of 18-25 to serve for 3 months (could eventually be longer) in a type of 'basic training'. This includes women. "Citizenship is not an entitlement program. It comes with responsibilities." Emanuel stated. He claims this is not a draft, rather it is a 'universal service' and 'required'.
It seems though that this is worse than the regular draft Americans knew from the past. Emanuel describes this new plan would require everyone between the ages of 18-25, women included. The Obama administration may get their way.
The rules and demands of this new civilian security force also include religious restrictions. The Bill, as shown below, would forbid American youth in these brigades to participate in conducting worship services, and operating facilities devoted to religious instruction or worship.
SEC. 1304. PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES AND INELIGIBLE ORGANIZATIONS.
Section 125 (42 U.S.C. 12575) is amended to read as follows:
SEC. 125. PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES AND INELIGIBLE ORGANIZATIONS.
(a) Prohibited Activities- A participant in an approved national service position under this subtitle may not engage in the following activities:
(I am skipping here to article # 7)
7) Engaging in religious instruction, conducting worship services, providing instruction as part of a program that includes mandatory religious instruction or worship, constructing or operating facilities devoted to religious instruction or worship, maintaining facilities primarily or inherently devoted to religious instruction or worship, or engaging in any form of religious proselytization.
I am curious as to how young religious Jewish American men who need to pray in a minyan (quorum of ten men or more) feel about this. How could a religious Jew manage? Would there be kosher dining rooms? Would they get off for Shabbat? How will Jewish families feel when their sons AND daughters are taken away to serve just because they wanted a higher education but didn't have all the money to plop down at one time, so they took a student loan. Does someone have to be rich now, in order to be able to afford keeping the mitzvoth in America?
And for the rest of the American people… Why even have a civilian national security force? What is the need? Isn't the U.S. military enough? Aren't there enough American soldiers in bases all over the U.S. to use in case of an emergency? And if not, America already has what is called the National Guard. Why is there a need for an additional governmental mandatory youth force? Who will these youth be beholden to, the U.S. Constitution, or the office of the President? And where will this stop? At first, it is voluntary. But the plan is to make it mandatory. Emmanuel says the plan is for it to be 'universal', for all American citizens in the age group they described above. ...And it wouldn't be that difficult to enforce either. One more major terror attack (G-d forbid) against Americans would be a good excuse to push through this draft for all young Americans.
I wonder how American Jews are going to feel, having to possibly soon send their children to a place that does not let them practice their Judaism and denies or prevents them from fulfilling their Jewish obligations (Shabbat, kosher, daily prayer minions, etc,) These demands and restrictions should bother other religious Americans as well. I don't know how this youth brigade is going to manifest itself, but it sure would make me very uncomfortable if I were a religious person living in the 'Land of the Free', because it seems like those freedoms will only be a memory of what once was.
The civilian national security force bill has already passed in the House in a vote of 321-105 and will now go to the Senate. It will then go to President Obama for the final stamp of approval. And I imagine if anyone says 'nay' to him, he will answer, "YES WE CAN!"