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      From the Hills of Efraim
      by Yisrael Medad
      This blog will be informative, highlight foibles, will be assertively contentious and funny and wryly satirical.
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      Yisrael Medad is a revenant resident of Shiloh, in the Hills of Efrayim north of Jerusalem.  He arrived in Israel with his wife, Batya, in 1970 and lived in the renewing Jewish Quarter, eventually moving to Shiloh in 1981. 

      Currently the Menachem Begin Center's Information Resource Director, he has previously been director of Israel's Media Watch, a Knesset aide to three Members of Knesset and a lecturer in Zionist History.  He assists the Yesha Council in it's contacts with the Foreign Media in a volunteer capacity, is active on behalf of Jewish rights on the Temple Mount and is involved in various Jewish and Zionist activist causes.  He contributes a Hebrew-language media column to Besheva and publishes op-eds in the Jerusalem Post and other periodicals.

      He also blogs at MyRightWord in English and, in Hebrew, at The Right Word.

      Tammuz 24, 5768, 7/27/2008

      Gee, Someone's Been Reading My Blog

      When I wrote on Friday about "not giving them tractors", I thought I was being humorous.

      Well, someone perhaps has read that blog post because this morning, look what I found pasted up:


      It reads: "Don't Give Them Rifles.  Don't Give Them Tractors.  Don't Give Them A Livelihood".

      Now, if we could only find enough Jews to take their places.

      Tammuz 22, 5768, 7/25/2008

      Humorous - But Not Really Funny

      Somehow, we Jews always manage, even in the depths of our travails, to crack a joke.  Academic studies exist on the subject.  And if we can't make a joke, we laugh anyway, straining to see the funny side of the situation.  It is probably a defense mechanism or, in my opinion, the triumph of Jewish optimism.

      Take, for example, this lady (you should pardon the expression):

      Her name is Tali Fahima and many of you will remember her as a veteran of two years or so in an Israeli jail for aiding and abetting the enemy, a Jenin terror commander.  As I wrote here, and trying to be funny myself by making a play on words, she could be termed The Babbling Whore of Palestine for terming her former friend and comrade, a Martyrs' Brigade terrorist, a whore himself for making a deal with the GSS in order to obtain medical treatment in Ramallah.

      But the joke is on us.  She became a media personality with T-shirts and rallies.  Her former friend the terrorist, who is in the business of getting Jews killed, is afforded the opportunity to extend his life by Israel.  Of course, he actually could be a collaborator, helping the GSS catch the "real" terrorists and then the joke would be on Tali.

      And what about this sign, created by one Dede for the Maariv newspaper:

      Twice in one month, tractors have been used as weapons of death by Arabs.  So, what is our response?

      Well, we could start a new campaign: "Don't Give Them Licenses!".  We could start bashing the tractoronim, the Hebrew for the mini-tractors, on the principle of "kill them when they're small".  As the old joke goes, a grandfather is showing his grandson around old building sites in Tel Aviv where he worked as a Sollel and Boneh laborer in the 1930s. "Here," he says, "I was a carpenter and there a bricklayer and there I worked on the plumbing."  And the grandson responds, "What, Saba, you were an Arab?"

      On another topic, the increase of Jewish same-sex weddings is on the rise.  In one case I discussed, one Andrew Lipka married his friend, Daniel Bloch.  And a Rabbi, Daniel Sklar, officiated at the Sunday ceremony that followed the justice-of-the-peace one.  Okay, admittedly, that's not really funny.  But in a closer reading of the notice I found, it seems that Andrews mother worked for, wait for this, the Jewish Family Services organization in Metrowest (that's another term for New Jersey).  I can't wait for the future Lipka-Bloch family.

      If we've mentioned family, Bar Mitzvahs are always a great source for humor.  This summer, we have a film that deals with the English Jewish community when a young lad's big day falls on the same day the English national team gets to play in the World Cup Final against Germany in 1966.  Based on a story by Peter Weiland, they need one Bridget O'Connor to write the screenplay.  Now, I know the Irish and Jews have a lot in common - red hair, fighting a liberation war against the British - but a Bar Mitzvah script?  And don't forget, the Rabbi in the film who helps prepare the kid is - blind!  Ha!  (Since the mother is played by Helena Bonham Carter,                                                                        

      it can't be all that bad).

      And for the last case, the drop-out rate from Satmar's Kiryat Joel went up by two recently.  Both woman. Both divorced women.  Both divorced women with children.  I blogged about Gitty Grunwald and also found out that Baila Glauber (below):                                                                        

      left her community, too, and is now a...policewoman.  Was that just a change of uniform?  A desire to assert dominance?  After all, she could have moved to Israel, achieved the mitzva of yishuv Eretz-Yisrael and made many people happy, including Tzvi Fishman.

      And so, have a nice Shabbat, and remember, there's a new charity joint campaign under the slogan: "Help Us So That We May Help Them"                             

      Shabbat Shalom.

      Tammuz 20, 5768, 7/23/2008

      True Zionism To Counter Our Enemies' True Goal

      One of the (very) many organizations and groups who are extremely active in attacking the issue of Israel's right - and that of the Jews world-wide - to establish residency, as revenants, in their historic homeland, is the Foundation for Middle East Peace. I have engaged Geoffrey Aronson, its Director of Research and Publications, in debates and conversations, and we are acquainted for many years.

      In its most recent report, I found an article and in it a short paragraph which, for me at least, goes to the heart of the 'problem', the core issue of my right the live in Shiloh. Here it is:-

      Settlements are the most visible, potent, and tangible manifestation of Israel’s “staying power” in its ongoing struggle with Palestinians to prevent the creation of a genuine Palestinian state. They represent an existential challenge to Palestinian efforts to establish sovereignty and independence, and thus are understood by Palestinians as the critical benchmark against which the prospect of their liberation from occupation is to be measured.

      As I have remarked to diplomats and journalists, if all the Jews need, for the sake of peace it is claimed, to remove themselves from the Yesha communities and to reconverge within the state of Israel in its pre-1967 borders, why not, for a much better peace, that all the Arab residents of the state of Israel move into that future "state of Palestine"? Why not make a switch and remove all possible of internal friction?

      One response is "that's immoral"? And I reply, what, only "immoral" for Arabs but not for Jews? A second response is that Arabs are citizens of Israel but we Yesha Jews are not citizens of "Palestine". We don't have a right to stay in "Palestine" but the Arabs have a right to remain in Israel. A third reaction is there must be a compromise but which returns the situation back to 1967 whene no Jews were there whereas Arabs have always been in Israel.

      But what this actually all boils down to is that many people are convinced that the Arabs of Israel, as well as the people opposing the existence of the Yesha communities, were cheated either in 1917 (the Balfour Declaration), in 1922 (the Mandate) or in 1947 (The UN Partition Resolution). They got a bad deal and we Jews are still at fault. Not only shouldn't we be in Judea, Samaria and Gaza but - it goes - we should be lucky that we're permitted, in the final negotiations yet to be reached, to remain in the 1967 borders!

      That subliminal deep-seated hostility - from Goyim and antizionist Jews - drives the opposition to the Yesha communities and makes any alternative all the more dangerous for Israel.

      We should respond by pointing out that the Arabs cannot have a third Arab state in the original Palestine Mandate territory (Jordan, "Palestine Fatah" and "Palestine Hamas") and they surely cannot have a uniethnic state in Judea and Samaria while Israel will have a 20% and growing Arab minority (if I am not mistaken we Jews are about 20% of the population of Yesha right now). And then we can borrow from the above quotation: They represent an existential challenge to Palestinian efforts to establish sovereignty and independence.

      But, we write it thus: They represent an existential challenge to Israel's efforts to maintain sovereignty and independence.

      Any territorial withdrawal of Israel from Judea and Samaria not only represents a negation of our national, historic, religious and legal rights, not only is it a blow to Zionist ethos and will further decompose Zionist spirit in the face of a resurgent Islam, not only will it endanger Israelis but, it will leave the state with a significant demographic element that has already joined the destructive forces seeking Israel's dismantlement.

      Indeed, only the balance of Jewish communities in Yesha can ensure Israel's future existence in any area of the former Mandate. A whittling away of its presence in Yesha will only encourage the trend of diminishing Israel within its pre-1967 borders which, I beleive, is the true goal of the Geoffrey Aaronsons of this world.

      Tammuz 17, 5768, 7/20/2008

      They Are Sailing (Oiy)

      A good friend sent me this:

      A small shipping vessel will set sail for Gaza from Cyprus on 5 August expecting to be illegally detained as it enters Gazan waters.

      And who will be on it?

      There will be 60 people aboard the "Free Gaza" vessel including a Holocaust survivor.

      And who is that?

      Why, Miss Hedy.

      According to Holocaust survivor and crew member Hedy Epstein, in the event that they can get through to Gaza they will "open the port, fish with the fishermen, help in the clinics, and work in the schools."  What Epstein hopes to do on this journey is to "remind the world that we will not stand by and watch 1.5 million people suffer death by starvation and disease."

      Does she sound familiar?  She should.  Her tale was written up last year at Arutz 7 and she was exposed.  And here she is lauding the Quakers.


      She actually announced she would sail last year and then this past Spring but somehow, there were "waves".

      But what intrigued me, and has for the past four decades, is the ability of Jews, more than any other people, to empathize with and sympathize for the enemies of the Jewish people, those who seek to do us harm.  What twists their minds so that they lose logic and rationality?  That they cannot perceive the harm they are doing to Jewish children, Jewish elderly as well as the real security of the state of Israel?  What perverts their thinking that they identify with those who lack morality or who disguise their hostility in such a weak fashion?

      Yes, we've had assimilationists, and communists, and cosmopolitan citizens of the whole world.  We've had those who have converted out.  But one would think that this has been going on for centuries and nothing good has come from these efforts.  Cannot these people consider that they are in error and their mistake is doing too much harm?

      I am left with the thought that of the many mysteries and insoluble situations the Jewish people has caused, directly or indirectly, this is the most odd, the most peculiar and the most damaging.

      Who will save us from our "friends and co-religionists"?

      Tammuz 10, 5768, 7/13/2008

      Happy Birthday, Ezra Yachin

      At the age of 16, Ezra Yachin joined up as a freedom fighter, one of Yair Stern's "unknown soldiers", to wage a war of liberation against the Britsh Mandatory regime in Eretz-Yisrael.

      It was a regime of the White Paper, of Land Regulations, of the betrayal of the Balfour Declaration but for the members of Lechi it was simply the yoke of a foreign occupation.  For Stern and his followers, it didn't even matter if the administration of the Mandate was good or not.  The fact that it wasn't Jewish was reason enough.

      Ezra lost an eye in the battle for Jerusalem just after the British left, near the municipality building at the end (or rather beginning) of Jaffa Street.  It's all in his book, "Elnakam" (his nom de guerre), one of several he has written.

      Ezra and I go back to 1970, when my wife and I shortly after our Aliyah spent a Shabbat at Beit HaShiv'ah, an apartment house for seven families that Lechi veterans took over near Jerusalem's Neveh Ya'akov neighborhood way before any Jews lived there.  Then, for many years, we would share a platform together in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and various rural communities to make an educational presentation on the struggle of the underground organizations in the pre-state days in the framework of Geulah Cohen's Midrahsa Leumit.  Actually, I first met him briefly in 1966 when, while on the Machon year-program, I attended the lectures of Ze'ev Yeivin on Uri Tzvi Greenberg's poetry conducted in the basement hall of Ezra's art gallery, Ezry, on King David Street.

      Ezra is now 80 years old.


      Last week, fellow comrades-in-arms, friends and others gathered in the former Russian Compound Central Jerusalem Prison for a celebration.  Ezra was quite busy hugging and signing books.  Above, he is talking to Tami, widow of Dany Bet-Hamikdash (aka Tzvi Shohami-Finkelstein) while Dr. Mordechai Nisan looks on).

      Ezra, happy birthday!

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