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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.

      Tevet 4, 5768, 12/13/2007

      The Olmert Strip

      This site reported Thursday evening that Woman Strips at Kotel, is Taken into Custody and the details:-

      A woman in her early 20s remained in protective custody on Thursday after removing her clothing in the men’s prayer section at the Kotel (Western Wall) on Tuesday.  The woman walked into the prayer area as men were saying the Amidah, a silent prayer that cannot be interrupted, took off her clothes and lay on the ground. 

      According to Maariv, the woman repeated phrases such as “It’s from heaven” and “the Temple,” indicating that she was mentally disturbed.  A Kotel worker covered her with his coat while waiting for police to arrive.  Police took the woman in for a psychiatric evaluation. 

      I was wondering.  If Ehud Olmert is intent upon stripping Israel from its national, religious and cultural ethos; if he is intent upon stripping Israel and the Jewish people from its most sacred sites; if he is determined to strip Israel of its security in the face of Arab terror and much more, maybe he requires psychiatric evaluation and consultation?

      This is no tease.

      Tevet 4, 5768, 12/13/2007

      Rafik Bye-Bye

      Israel's electronic media and its print press are notorious for their lack of media ethics as well as their overall left-wing bias.  In my previous position as Director of Israel's Media Watch, I proved this theme, almost daily.

      Everyone is up for criticism - except, largely, the journalists themselves.  A politician may be carrying on a dalliance but do we ever hear/read about the shennaigans of journalists?  Are their pecadilloes ever headlined?

      I recalled this imbalanced situation whereby the public gets to know whatever the journalist and his/her editor want you to know about public figures - politically, financially, morally, etc., - but we rarely find out what's going on behind the cameras and computers.

      This past week, a small item did make it into the papers, albeit in an almost begligent way:

      Journalist Rafiq Halabi was convicted yesterday in the Civil Service Commission's disciplinary tribunal of conduct unbecoming a civil servant and of sexual harassment. Under a plea bargain, Halabi pled guilty to verbal harassment of an employee of the Israel Broadcasting Authority during the period he worked there.

      The verdict said that even though Halabi's harassment had been verbal, "sexually-tinged statements are also serious." Halabi will receive a reprimand.

      More than the incident itself, you should realize that this is the man who, when still a reporter, published The West Bank Story way back in 1985.  He is a Druse and successfully manipulated himself out of previous ticklish incidents by claiming discrimination against him.

      Well, his harassment of M.A. (name known to me) finally brought him down.  All power to women as well as Amos Goren, a member of the three-person tribunal and a personal friend of mine.

      Kislev 25, 5768, 12/5/2007

      Pay-As-You-Go Zionism

      I joined the Betar Zionist youth movement when I was 16.  Among other things, my madrichim imbued us with a dislike of "hyphenated-Zionism".  What did they mean by that term?

      Well, all during the 1920's and 1930's Zionism after Herzl became divided up into conflicting loyalties.  There were the Socialist-Zionists.  There were the General-Zionists.  There were the Cultural-Zionists.  And there were the Religious-Zionists.  Ze'ev Jabotinsky insisted that we must be monistic in our approach.  There must be an over-riding, primary goal for all Zionists: the State that needs to be established.  Afterwards we can argue about the content and character of that state. 

      Of course, that monistic concept, termed chad-nes (one flag) in Betar ideology, was misinterpreted by Jabotinsky's opponents and, in the end, his own party became known as the Revisionists-Zionists.  And now, 60 years into statehood, we have the new Ehud Olmert brand of hyphenated Zionism: the Pay-As-You-Go Zionism. 

      About 12 years ago, Dedi Zucker and MK Anat Maor of Meretz adopted a Peace Now idea.  Offer the revenant residents of Yesha money to pry them loose from their homes.  Do it on a sliding scale.  Those who leave immediately, get 100% compensation.  Those who wait to see will receive, say 50%.  And those that resist to the end and get thrown out of their homes receive 0%.  Quite invidious those left-wingers.

      The plan has been revived numerous times, most recently by Meretz MK Avshalom ("Abu-Vilan") Vilan from the Kibbutz Artzi Negba Kibbutz.  MK Penis-Paz of Labour has jumped on and even Defense Minister Ehud Barak has started pushing the idea.  PM Olmert has suggested it's still too early to discuss the matter.

      National Union MK Uri Ariel is quite a logical person and so, he has suggested that if any bill is tabled for legislation regarding this early compensation theme, he will table one that will adopt the very same principles but apply them to Arabs.  All's to be fair in politics.  And if the Arabs have been complaining about discrimination and unfairness, well, now they have been equlaized with the Jewish population.  No racism here.

      That move was to be expected.  However, my friend Gonen Ginat, former editor of the HaTzofeh news daily, published an article in which he struck out at the heart of Mr. Abu-Vilan's home turf.  He is suggesting that the state of Israel start paying kibbutz members who are stuck in out-dated ideological frameworks of minor communism/major collectivism where the younger population has left and only the old, infirm and still ideological die-hard members are left.  There are dozens of such kibbutzim (and, for sure, there are many that are quite successful, both financially and socially).  There are other kibbutzim that are suffering daily Qassam attacks near Gaza.  They are another category which could benefit from Ginat's scheme.

      Of course, what this all boils down to is that with the peace process which began in 1992-93, the criteria is no longer the Zionist ethos, the security of Israel or even some sort of peace.  It's the "New Middle East".  Pay everyone off, Arabs and Jews, and we'll all be happy and satisfied.  Set up industrial parks at the borders and all will participate.  Problems?  Pay.  In Gush Katif, the greenhouses were bought for the Arabs - who promptly pillaged and burned them.

      Now, some strange Jews with weird ideas think that they can buy off Jews from their homes.  I imagine they will find a few dozen out of 280,000 Jews in Yesha (and another 300,00 in east Jerusalem neighborhoods) who will provide them with the headlines they need.  But Zionism isn't a commercial venture.  And those politicians who push such a line will lose their value very quickly.

      While it is true that oil plays a major role in the scheme of Middle East politics, even blinding moral-based persons in American politics, we Jews, at this time of Chanukah, recall the other, better use for oil.  The spirtual one.  The one involving the Temple.

      Have an enjoyable Holiday of Chanukah and, in my unique Hebrew-language fashion: חג מדליק!

      Kislev 17, 5768, 11/27/2007

      Maybe Its Olmert Who Needs To Be Reminded?

      The report yesterday (see here and here) that Ehud Olmert brushed off American Jewish (and Christian) religious leaders who urged him to maintain Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel just as it is the eternal capital of the Jewish people is sad, as well as it is insentive.  His derision at their concern must have been painful for them and a lesson for them, for we in Israel have suffered similarly from Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Ariel Sharon and now Ehud Olmert.  It is the same disdain, the same degradation.

      The incident, though, perhaps has another message.

      Was the demand that was raised that Israel be recognized as the "Jewish state" last November 11 intended for the Pal. delegation and for the American administration or, possibly, was it something that was needed for our own Prime Minister?

      Jerusalem is something else.  Jerusalem is not just a city that a sovereign state claims.  Jerusalem is a holy city.  It has varying degrees of sanctity.  All Jews, wherever they are, turn towards Jerusalem to pray.  Its unity, its security, its future, where the Third Temple will be erected, is not just an Israeli internal matter.

      I do not downplay national sovereignty.  But this is not a vote for a political party.  This is a concern that affects the Jewish people worldwide and their voice must be heard and taken into account.

      After all, Olmert, as mayor of the city, asked Jews to come here to live, asked them to contribute money, asked them to intervene on Jerusalem's behalf.  He may be tired, this Olmert, but that is no reason to ignore the Jewish aspect of Israel, the Jewish quotient of Jerusalem, the Jewish element of Zionism.

      Maybe its about time world Jewry join us in being tired of Olmert and hastening his departure from the political scene by a coalition defeat and collapse.

      Kislev 15, 5768, 11/25/2007

      Finally, My "Cabbie Story"

      After work today, I went over to the rally organized to protest any possible redivision of Jerusalem.  I support such demonstrations for two main reasons.  Firstly, no Jew should ever disregard the uniqueness of Jerusalem.  "Ten portions of Sanctity descended to the world, and Jerusalem received nine of them" records the Mishna of Kelim.  More than any other symbol of the Jewish People's connection to the Land of Israel, Jerusalem is a powerful force.  The fate of Jerusalem and that of Judea and Samaria are bound up.  If the nation has been weakened spiritually and nationalistically to consider accepting the ideas of Ehud Olmert to partition the city, we of Judea and Samaria are in a difficult situation.  To think that we can rally support disinct from Jerusalem, that to ignore Jerusalem's fate will somehow not affect Judea and Samaria is unreasonable.  In fact, we may be able to save Judea and Samaria by saving Jerusalem.

      The second reason was more mundane.  One of the speakers was Representative (R., West Virginia) Eric Cantor.  He flew in special to speak and the organizers needed someone to sit next to him to translate (so, if you do see a picture of him with a white-bearded gentleman in a dark green windbreaker, that's me).  And truth tell, he made the most forceful, passionate speech.  I joked with him when he sat down that I hadn't needed to translate Natan Scharansky or Naomi Ragen or Boogie Ayalon or Nir Barakat.  His words contained their thoughts and more but he had said it better (I had met with him during the summer so we were "old friends" as the Jewish globe goes).

      On the way back to pick up some things I left at the Begin Center, I took a cab and my driver was an Arab from the village of Um Tzuba.  It's near Har HaChoma.  He wanted to know if I had attended the rally.  Finally, I said to myself, I am experiencing the "cabbie" story.

      I responded affirmatively and he asked, "does Olmert have the power to redivide the city?" and I replied that I didn't think he was politically strong enough and that his coalition couldn't survive too many shennanigans..  My driver was relieved.

      "Do you know what a hell it is to live under the PA?", he asked.  "Do you know that these hoodlums steal, ransack, take pretty woman to themselves and act as if they are a gang.  I spoke to a friend in Bethlehem and another in Shchem.  They mourn the day Israel left.  I only hope, he went on, that the Israeli people will defend their city and defeat Olmert".  The city, if redivided, I mentioned gingerly, will not be secure from the Hamas.  The city will be unstable economcially.  I turned to him and smiled and said, "sure, after all, how will you be able to make a living dfriving a car around Um Tzubah.

      There was full agreement in that vehicle that Olmert is crazy and will not be helping the cause of peace and security in his plan (if it is a plan).  I had found a cab driver after my own heart.

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