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      by Tamar Yonah
      A biting & sometimes humorous analysis of current events, Israeli politics & the Jewish World.
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      Tamar Yonah is one of Israel's most popular English-speaking radio show hosts. She made Aliyah from Southern California and after serving in the Israeli army began a prolific career in radio, including production, news and program development. She was the original creator and producer of 'The Aliyah Show' and still works whenever she can in that field. Tamar is a political activist, wife and mother residing in Judea and Samaria and currently hosts the top-rated shows of The Weekend Edition & The Tamar Yonah Show. Her award winning blog covers current events, religion, politics and anything else that's on her mind.

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      Kislev 28, 5768, 12/8/2007

      The Shock Factor - Undressing Evil

      by Tamar Yonah

      Why do we take it?  How is it that a society chooses to sleep, rather than wake up from their bad dream and fix things?  Sometimes it takes a 'the shock factor' to do what 'rationalization' smothers. The little known Chanukah story of how the Hasmonean revolt started, was actually because of a very brave woman!

      The background of the Chanukah story recalls the struggle for religious freedom from the Hellenistic Syrian-Greeks in the year, 165 B.C.E.  Antiochus, who was the occupying King at those times, sought to crush our Jewish identity and passed decrees against the practice of Judaism.  We were forbidden from studying the Torah, we were forbidden to keep the Shabbat  (Sabbath) and we were forbidden from making a brit milah (circumcision).  To do so meant the death penalty.  

      "Hellenistic rituals and sacrifices were instituted in the Bet HaMikdash (the holy Temple in Jerusalem), thus desecrating the sacred center of Jewish ritual life. Many Jews were impressed by the culture and power of their Greek conquerors and adopted their customs and practices. These Jews came to be known as "Hellenists". – Sound familiar to our situation today?

      “Other Jews were infuriated by the oppressive decrees aimed at destroying their religion, and vowed revenge. They were led by Mattityahu, a Chashmona'i (Hasmonean) who lived in Modiin with his five sons, who came to be known as the Maccabim. This name is derived from the first letter of each word in the phrase "Mi kamocha ba'elim Hashem?" ("Who is like You, O L-rd, among the mighty?".   After three years of guerrilla warfare in the hills and forests against the strong and powerful armies of the Syrian-Greek King Antiochus, the relatively small and poorly armed Maccabim won, and recaptured Jerusalem.  But WHAT started this revolt? What shocked the Maccabim into action?

      One of my favorite stories of Chanukah is the story about Chana (Hannah).  Not the extremely powerful story of Hannah and her 7 sons, but a different ‘Chana’. 

      This 'Chana' used what I think is an important strategy to wake people up from their stupor.  Shock.

      Too many of us do not want to change our daily routine.  We are comfortable in our lives and we don’t want disruption, and so it easier to bear burdens if they come in servings that we are able to swallow. If an evil regime passed all their terrible laws at once, people would be convinced they must fight.  But if the laws are ushered in one by one, in bite sized pieces, we learn to adapt.   We act this way because it is easier to be a little uncomfortable than have to go to battle and face having to risk it all, to lose everything we have worked for and even possibly risk our lives and that of our children.  No one likes disruption, and so we swallow the evil.  

      Sometimes we need someone to slap us, to wake us from our stupor and fight the evil that has embedded itself in our midst.  A young woman who lived many years ago did just that.  And we should all thank her.


      The story from the Midrash goes like this:
      (Taken from http://www.madrichim.org/contents.aspx?id=229 )

      The Marriage of Chana, Daughter of Mattathias (Mattityahu)

      As part of their campaign to break the spirit of the Jews, the Greeks decreed that every maiden must spend her wedding night in the bed of the regional governor, and that only afterward would she be permitted to her husband. They wanted to destroy Jewish sanctity and degrade the Jews.  As a result of this decree, the Jews stopped marrying. For three years and three months, no wedding was held in Judea. Then it came time for Hannah, daughter of Mattityahu the Hasmonean to marry. In spite of the decree, Mattityahu held a great celebration, inviting the leaders of the nation, for Mattathias' family was extremely prominent. The bride sat, as was customary, at the head table, but suddenly stood up, clapped her hands together, and tore her expensive wedding dress, exposing herself.
      Everyone looked away in embarrassment, and her brothers ran to fall upon her and kill her for shaming herself and her family.

      But Hannah exclaimed to them all, 'now you are so zealous as to shield your eyes?, for THIS you are zealous, yet you are willing to have a Greek see me naked and have his way with me?'  She added, "Why, when I shame myself before my relatives and friends are you so filled with embarrassment and anger that you wish to kill me, but you agree to surrender me this night so the heathen governor can lie with me? Why do you not learn from Simon and Levy, sons of our forefather Jacob, who avenged the rape of their sister Dinah (in Genesis, chapter 34)?  They were only two brothers who fought and took a whole city to free her, I have FIVE brothers - and where are you?'

      This, my friends, is what spurred the revolt of the Maccabees on the Syrian-Greeks and led to the first holiday commemorating religious freedom and the lift of the yoke of Hellenism and Greek occupation.

      The story of Hannah goes on:

      "Everyone realized that Hannah was right; her brothers discussed the matter and came to a decision. They dressed their sister in the finest garments and brought her with great ceremony, at the head of a large procession, to the King. Hannah's brother's declared, "We are the sons of the High Priest, and it is not fitting that our sister be given to the governor. Our sister is fit only for the King himself!" The brothers' words found favor in the King's eyes.

      The brothers accompanied Hannah to the royal bed chamber, and thereupon, seized the King and killed him. Afterward, they stormed out killing ministers, guards, and servants, who were in the palace. So began the Hasmonean revolt. "

      A sequel to this story is the story of yet ANOTHER Jewish Heorine named Yehudit (Judith).   Yehudit was a beautiful woman who single-handedly saved the Jewish town of Bethulia during the Hasmonean revolt.
      When her city was surrounded and besieged by the Syrian army of General Holofernes, she made a plan to save her people. She left the city walls of Bethulia with her maid in what looked like her fleeing to Holofernes' camp.  She told the cruel General Holofernes that she wanted to save herself and told him that the defeat of the Jews of the city was near. Impressed with Yehudit's beauty and her prediction of his defeat of the Jews, he invites her to celebrate with him 'alone'.   Yehudit tells him she must eat her own food which she made, and shows him the cheese delicies she has brought with her.  She feeds him this salty cheese, which induces the general to wash it down with wine and he falls into a deep sleep. She then approaches his bed and says a prayer:

      "Answer me, O L-rd, as You answered Yael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, when you delivered the wicked general Sissera into her hands. Strengthen me this once that I may bring Your deliverance to my people whom this cruel man vowed to destroy, and let the nations know that You have not forsaken us..."

      Yehudit then unsheathed Holofernes' heavy sword which was hanging near his bed and brought it down upon his neck with all her might.

      She leaves his bloody corpse soaking his mattress and takes the head and her maid away from the slumbering enemy camp to Bethulia. She tells the Jews of Bethulia that victory will soon be theirs. She takes the head of Holofernes and  puts it on a stake in public view to strengthen the will of the people. She then tells the Jewish men to wait for dawn to make a surprise attack. The enemy's camp is not prepared for a Jewish onslaught on them. When the morning comes with the charge of the Jews towards their camp, Holofernes's men run to their commander's tent where they find his headless body on the blood soaked mattress. In their shock, fear and confusion, they flee for their lives.  The Jews won the revolt and Yehudit was their hero.

      This Chanukah, we must remember the valor and strength of the Jewish women who risked their lives, to keep Israel Jewish.  To Chana and her 7 sons, to Yehudit, and to Chana the daughter of the high priest who shocked the Jews into action, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.



      Kislev 24, 5768, 12/4/2007

      Would You Like Fries With Your Meal?

      by Tamar Yonah

      I'm frustrated.  I wish I had more talent.  But I must operate with what G-d has given me.  I was lying in bed the other night, and this idea came into my head for a political cartoon.  The next day, I tried to jot it down as best I could, but alas, I am no Leonardo da Vinci. 

      Here was my quick sketch when I woke up the next morning...

      Yah, I know, I should stick to my day job.

      I used to be a concierge (once upon a time when I was younger) and you had to know pretty much everything about your area in order to best serve hotel guests. .  So, what I didn't know,,,  I had to compensate for, by at least knowing and contacting OTHER people who knew.  It worked.  After all, if I didn't know the answer to a hotel guest's query, I just dialed the number of someone I knew who did.  And that's what I did now.  There is a very talented guy who lives in the USA that I know of so I contacted him asking if he wanted to cooperate in making cartoons with me.... I would come up with the idea, he would use his G-d given talent to draw it up.  And I am smiling, because he is a terrific artist. David is a Gentile from Muskego, WI and says he "unconditionally loves Israel as a Jewish nation for Jews and only Jews. That means a Jewish identity and Jewish sovereignty." he says.

      So, thank you David!  A picture is sometimes worth a thousand blogs.    ...grin...

      It was a debate in my head whether Bush was drinking Israeli Blood Wine, or Saudi Oil Wine.  Either way, it ain't good for Israel.

      Feel free to add your own captions or comments to this cartoon, some of you are very talented and funny. 



      Kislev 17, 5768, 11/27/2007

      Going Out of Business Sale!

      by Tamar Yonah

      The Americans love a good sale and a good bargain.  Who doesn’t?  Well, I have an offer that is hard to refuse.  We have our prime minister who is now in Annapolis, as well as Tzippi Livni, our foreign minister, and Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, now our minister of defense.  Our prime minister only has about a 3% approval rating from his citizens. Not even the left wing in the country can stand him.  He also has at least 4 police investigations against him. 

      Our foreign minister, Tzippi Livni, talks about importing international troops to the region to secure our borders.  (Someone should inform her that we have our own IDF for that purpose.)  Ehud Barak is not stopping the rockets on Sderot from the terrorists, and he already shook hands with Arafat (may his name be erased) and was willing to divide Jerusalem and set up a Palestinian state, years ago when Clinton was meddling in our affairs.  They are running this country out of business.

      So, with all this on the table, I propose that Israeli citizens from the Left and the Right, offer a trade….  We’ll give you the three Israeli politicians right now in Annapolis, for one Jonathan Pollard.  That’s a 3 for 1 blow out sale!  And just think, having two prime ministers and a foreign minister is worth a lot more to your administration then a ‘Jonathan Pollard’ who has been rotting in prison for 20 years.

      Whaddayuh say, America?
      3 for 1 !!!!!
      Do we have a deal?



      Kislev 13, 5768, 11/23/2007

      There’s a G-d, and You’re Going To Have To Face Him

      by Tamar Yonah

      "The film that is censored by the media."  I would like you all to watch this 10 minute film.  We must not forget our brothers and sisters who were dragged out of their homes and whose communities were bulldozed down.  Their communities were OUR communities.  They are our sisters and brothers. Now, on the precipice of Annapolis, with our present leadership going to bargain away our land, expel Jews from their homes, and divide our capital, I say: "There’s a G-d, and you’re going to have to face Him".

      To view the film, click HERE. You can also download the video to see the movie in a larger size. Just look for the tab under the small window in RED, and click 'download'.

      To all those who worked to expel Jews from their homes, "There’s a G-d, and you’re going to have to face Him".

      To all those who gave away Jewish cities and Jewish property to the terrorists, "There’s a G-d, and you’re going to have to face Him".

      To all those who gave the terrorists guns and bullets, "There’s a G-d, and you’re going to have to face Him".

      To all those who trained the terrorists in sniping, "There’s a G-d, and you’re going to have to face Him".

      To all those who don’t put an immediate stop to the Kassam attacks on our southern cities and towns, "There’s a G-d, and you’re going to have to face Him".

      To all those who use our tax money to re-enforce roof tops from kassam rockets instead of going in and ridding us of the terrorists, "There’s a G-d, and you’re going to have to face Him".

      To all those who twist words calling murdered people ‘sacrifices for peace’, "There’s a G-d, and you’re going to have to face Him".

      To all those who didn’t keep their promise to the Expellees, and have left them without homes, work, or a life, "There’s a G-d, and you’re going to have to face Him".

      To all those who let Jonathan Pollard rot in an American prison, "There’s a G-d, and you’re going to have to face Him".

      To all those who free convicted terrorists to prop up the popularity of other terrorist leaders, "There’s a G-d, and you’re going to have to face Him".

      To all those who forsake our kidnapped soldiers and leave them in the clucthes of our enemies, "There’s a G-d, and you’re going to have to face Him".

      To all those who shake hands, hug, kiss or embrace our enemies and call them ‘partners for peace’ – shame on you. "There’s a G-d, and you’re going to have to face Him". 

      In the 10 minute film I mentioned above, this song, by Ariel Zilber, is played.  I am giving you the translation in English, but if you can follow the Hebrew, it is so much nicer.


      There’s judgment and there’s a Judge

      There’s judgment and there’s a Judge. 
      There will be a reckoning.
      For those who expelled the Jews from Gaza and Shomron.
      They put themselves out
      For us, to give security
      Now they are going about
      Hurt, without a home.

      There is judgment and there is a Judge. (Yesh Din, v’Yesh Dayan)
      They will be held responsible.
      A judge, a general, even a  plain soldier
      You will pay for the obsequiousness, foolishness, and arrogance.

      There is a judge, justice will be done
      There’s no mistake about it.

      There is Judgment and there is a Judge. (Yesh Din, v’Yesh Dayan)
      My brothers don’t lose hope.
      All the youth of the Gush gathered in Amona
      They didn’t think of running from the trooper on the horse
      Then I realized that the youth are determined.

      There is Judgment and there is a Judge. (Yesh Din, v’Yesh Dayan)
      Ask anyone on the street, where is the father and where is his son,
      Think about it.
      Our sages have stated, and it is written in our holy books
      There is mercy only for one who regrets his sin and doesn’t repeat it.

      There is Judgment and there is a Judge. (Yesh Din, v’Yesh Dayan)
      Listen soldiers and policemen, and anyone who wishes to give land to the enemy
      The land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael) is not mine and not yours
      It belongs to the Creator of Heaven and Earth, and He rejoices in the Land.

      There is Judgment and there is a Judge. (Yesh Din, v’Yesh Dayan)
      There is one that warned us all.
      The same prophet who has lit up our lives for years and years.
      He stated that he will personally fight, collect the fee (price),
      From anyone who talks to the enemy about giving up one grain of sand.

      There is Judgment and there is a Judge. (Yesh Din, v’Yesh Dayan)
      There are plenty of examples.
      Arik, Omri, Tzachi, Basie, Katzav and Chalutz
      There are more people on the list, they still have a choice
      If they stop mocking Eretz Yisrael.

      There is Judgment and there is a Judge. (Yesh Din, v’Yesh Dayan)
      Two years have passed since then, the son indicted, the father worthless
      There is One who doesn’t forget,
      and He does not forgive those that destroyed the blooming region

      There is Judgment and there is a Judge. (Yesh Din, v’Yesh Dayan)



      Kislev 11, 5768, 11/21/2007

      7 Reasons Why I Can't Attend the Annapolis Conference

      by Tamar Yonah

      Invitations have been sent out for the Annapolis conference.  I don't know why, but I happened to get an invitation in the mail (yah, right, ha ha).  At the bottom of the invitation, it says, R.S.V.P.  So, here's my answer:

      Dear President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice,

      Thank you for your invitation inviting me to Annapolis  - to yet another peace summit that pressures Israel to amputate her G-d given and fought for land, and give in to terrorism.   I am sorry, but I will not be able to attend.  You may choose from any of these reasons below.  Have fun appeasing the terrorists without me.

      I cannot attend the Annapolis summit because:

      1)  I have to wash my hair that night.

      2)  I'm busy that week, I have to go and clean up the mess in the Palestinian Authority.

      3) I don't leave the Land of Israel unless it is for a GOOD reason.

      4) I believe in talking softly and carrying a big stick, and no one will HEAR me at Annapolis.

      5) I keep kosher, and there is nothing kosher at, or ABOUT Annapolis.

      6) I have an appointment with Dr. Phil, and he's going to ask me, "And hows THAT (land for peace formulas) workin' for yuh?".

      7) I have to attend the opening of a new outpost/settlement celebration in YESHA.

       

      Readers, I know how creative you are.  Please, add your own R.S.V.P. answers below.  We need to give our government leaders some ideas they can use to not have to fly to Annapolis.  They need our help.  ;-)