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      The Eye of the Storm
      by Batya Medad
      A Unique Perspective by Batya Medad of Shiloh
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      Batya Medad made aliya from New York to Israel in 1970 and has been living in Shiloh since 1981. Recently she began organizing women's visits to Tel Shiloh for Psalms and prayers. (For more information, please email her.)  Batya is a newspaper and magazine columnist, a veteran jblogger and recently stopped EFL teaching.  She's also a wife, mother, grandmother, photographer and HolyLand hitchhiker, always seeing things from her own very unique perspective. For more of Batya's writings and photos, check out:

      Shiloh Musings



      Tevet 12, 5770, 12/29/2009

      Today's Lesson From the Fast of the Tenth of Tevet

      There's lots more to read in me-ander and Shiloh Musings, including notice of the latest Kosher Cooking Carnival.  So please visit my other blogs.  Thanks

      You would think that two fast days and three weeks of national public and religious mourning to commemorate, mourn the destruction of our Holy Temples in Jerusalem and its conquest by foreign nations would be enough for the Jewish People.  I'm referring to the 17th of Tammuz and 9th of Av and the three weeks between them.  They dominate the Jewish calendar and make summer vacations and planning smachot (joyous events) very difficult for Torah observant Jews.

      So, why do we also need a third fast day, a half a year earlier, on the Tenth of Tevet?

      I'd say that considering what's going to today with international interference in the growth and building in Jerusalem and our historical Biblical Homeland, the 10th of Tevet may be even more important than the 9th of Av.

      Medical research and statistics show that the earlier you discover and begin treating a cancer, the better the chances of the patient's survival.

      The Tenth of Tevet fast commemorates the beginning of the Babylonian attack on Jerusalem at the time of the First Beit HaMikdash Holy Temple.  If we had been successful in defeating them then, none of the other tragedies would have occurred.

      We must be strong and determined to do what's best for our national interests.  No foreign country cares whether we live or die.  One of the reasons
      I was totally turned off by Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union is because the author made a joke out of the fictional defeat of the modern State of Israel.  Michael Chabon does not understand how dangerously wrong he is.  His "what if" made a joke out of what most probably would have/could have been an extension of the Holocaust.  I'm now read Philip Roth's The Plot Against America, which gives a more realistic prediction of his own "what if."  He puts Charles Lindbergh as United States President in 1940 instead of FDR.  I'll review that when I finish reading it.

      The State of Israel, its citizens and Jews and freedom lovers and civil rights enthusiasts all over the world must take off their antisemitic lenses and recognize that by restricting our rights to build for Jews in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem etc they are causing our destruction.  That's the lesson of the Tenth of Tevet.

      Tevet 7, 5770, 12/24/2009

      New Year, What Year?

      I hope that you click on my other blogs, Shiloh Musings and me-ander, since there's lots more of my articles and essays to read there. 

      Thanks New Year, What Year?

      During my career as an Israeli EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher, I've come across a surprising amount of students who insisted that they lived according to the Jewish Calendar only.  They were sincerely confused and befuddled when I'd give them a list of the English months and tell them to put them in the correct order.  When I was subbing in Ulpanat (the girls high school in) Ofra, my class of relatively recent olot chadashot immigrants from Ethiopia were sure that the English months must be translations of the Hebrew months which they had just learned in Israel.
      In Israel it's legal to write Jewish dates on checks and other documents. You can call us a "bi-calendar country."

      In Israel it's legal to write Jewish dates on checks and other documents.  You can call us a "bi-calendar country."

      I was raised in America and the "goyish calendar" is the one I was raised on and knew best, but with the birth of our children we adopted use of the Jewish Calendar for birthdays.  And that now includes our birthdays, too.

      Living in Israel since 1970, we've also been oblivious to American and goyish holidays.  They're irrelevant to our lives.  That includes Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, the Israeli media and commercial interests are getting more goyish.  Here we are in late December and besides the usual annual "what's happening in Bethlehem news," we're being plagued by "New Years" sic stuff.

      January first isn't my "new year."  My year begins on the first of Tishrei, Rosh Hashanah.  I celebrate according the the Jewish Calendar, even though I sign my checks with goyish dates. January 1st is the day I must remember to write in a new number, that it's going to be 2010 and not 2009.  I wonder how long it will take me to get that straight.  Each year it's more of an effort, but then again, each year seems to get shorter.  As we get older, each new year is a smaller percentage of our life.

      Before I finish with this topic, I'd like to remind you that the Jewish Calendar is based on the moon; it's lunar.  When I'm out at night, I enjoy calculating the day of the month according to how much moon we see in the sky.

      Tevet 5, 5770, 12/22/2009

      Broken Record

      This post may read like a broken record, but there's lots more variety on Shiloh Musings and me-ander.  Please don't be shy and take a look in those other blogs. 

      Broken Record

      I'm sure I sound like a broken record, no not the Guinness type of the most and biggest.  The idiom "broken record" comes from the day when recorded music was on a round plastic disc with groves.  If one of the groves was faulty, the sound repeated and repeated until you moved the arm with the reading needle to a better spot.  When it comes to the issue of protests and negotiations to free Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who was captured by Hamas three and a half years ago, I'm sure I sound like a broken record.

      We need some G-dly Being to lift the arm and place the needle someplace else, totally different tactics.

       Palestine Media Watch presents a very comprehensive report explaining why the current policy is so dangerous.

      It's very hard to get balanced news about it.  On the IBA's official site this morning, as I write this post, these are the following headlines:

      • Meeting continues on the prisoner release proposals
      • A rally taking place in front of the Prime Minister's Office to free Gilad Shalit
      • Senior ministerial forum continues deliberations on Shalit deal
      • Ben Eliezer: Israel has taken steps to bring Abbas back to negotiations

      Yes, half of the eight headlines concern Shalit.  The media campaign is massive, massive but mistaken.  We keep hearing that "the fate of Shalit is in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's hands."  That's not true.  That's because Shalit isn't in "Netanyahu's hands."  He's in Hamas, Arab terrorists' hands, and they are the ones who have the physical and moral responsibility to free him.  It's not up to Israel.  Those Arabs are being strengthened by the Israeli media, because the media blame us, Israel, and not the Arab terrorists who are the guilty ones.

      So, I keep rewriting the same message, in different ways time after time like a broken record, hoping and praying that there will be a total turn-about in the Israeli negotiations and in the public campaign to free him.

      Kislev 30, 5770, 12/17/2009

      Ehud Barak's Altalena

      Chag Urim Sameach, May You Have an Enlightened Chanukah!  I blog more frequently, and on a much wider variety of topics, on Shiloh Musings and me-ander.  Visit them and find out for yourselves.  Thank you

      Ehud Barak's Altalena

      Before I get into this post, I wish to take the opportunity to remind any surviving Altalena attackers and supporters of that attack that they ought to do a serious חשבון נפש "cheshbon nefesh," accounting of the soul, their deeds.  There is nothing worse than acts of Jews against Jews, and no fancy liberal-sounding terminology can excuse it.  The Leftists love throwing that burden on us proud patriotic Right wing Israelis and Jews, but history and current events show that they are the guilty ones, not us.
      Ehud Barak's attempts to fill the army with technology-dependent yes-men is bad for Israel's security and survival.

      Menachem Begin and Irgun and Revisionist followers raised money and bought weapons to use to free the Old City of Jerusalem from Arab rule during Israel's War of Independence.  The armaments and volunteers traveled/were shipped to Israel on the Altalena.  Begin's representatives negotiated with David Ben-Gurion as to how to divide the weapons between the various Jewish fighting units and where to land the ship.

      Totally unknown by Begin, Ben-Gurion had other plans.  Ben-Gurion believed that once the public knew that it was due to Begin's contribution that Jerusalem, including the Kotel, western wall, would be guaranteed Jewish, they would support Begin over Ben-Gurion.  To prevent loss of power, Ben-Gurion decided to trick Begin and attack him and the Altalena.

      Menachem Begin survived the attack, and the Old Walled City of Jerusalem was captured by the Arabs.  Only during the Six Days War, nineteen years later, was it liberated and returned to Jewish rule.

      David Ben-Gurion preferred political power over Jewish rule of our HolyLand, including our historical and religious capital, Jerusalem.

      Ehud Barak is following in Ben-Gurion's footsteps by attacking the hesder yeshivot like the one in Har Bracha.  It is a well-known fact that in today's IDF Israel Defense Forces, the most motivated soldiers are the national religious, like those who participate via the hesder framework.  Barak's policies will only weaken the Israeli army.  Apparently, he, too, like Ben-Gurion, prefers personal power over Israeli victory.  He wants soldiers who obey his orders, not intelligent thinking Jews.

       Many of the military mistakes which caused the death of our soldiers during the "second Lebanese War" were due to the changes Barak, himself as Ramat Kal COS, had made in the army.  Barak initiated the dependence on technology rather than human reconnaissance.  Unfortunately things look different on a screen than in real life.  My son's unit was saved, because his officer refused the instructions from "higher up" and didn't stay where they had been ordered.  A different unit followed orders and many were killed and injured, because the place wasn't safe.

      Ehud Barak's attempts to fill the army with technology-dependent yes-men is bad for Israel's security and survival.

      Kislev 27, 5770, 12/14/2009

      Does the Obama-Hillary Clinton Team Have a Clue?

      Chag Urim Sameach, May You Have an Enlightened Chanukah!

      I post more frequently and on a greater variety of topics on my blogs me-ander and Shiloh Musings, so please visit them.  You'll find a very recent Havel Havelim, the floating internet magazine filled with links to Jewish blogs all over the world and the latest in the saga of my father's aliyah at the age of 89. You can also read my Dvar Torah Commentary on last week's Portion of the Week, Vayeshev.

      Another thing, this coming Friday is Rosh Chodesh Tevet, and we'll be having our תפילת נשים בתל שילה, כולן מוזמנות Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh, 9:30am. Everyone's welcome.

      Does The Obama-Clinton State Department Know What It's Doing?

      The United States is blessed with geographic isolation.  It can play its international manipulations, make all sorts of mistakes without affecting the day-to-day security of its citizens.
      If its military aid to Lebanon becomes the tools of death and destruction, residents of Omaha, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York etc aren't touched.  If its Afghan policy becomes a boomerang disaster, the residents of Maine, Miami, Cleveland, Hollywood etc won't feel it. Israel, even at its maximum size, is minute.
      We don't have the luxury of space and isolation to make mistakes.  If you have trouble reading the distance scales, this will give you a better idea of what Obama, Clinton, Europe, the United Nations,  Appease Peace sic Now, etc are planning for us.
      The above map isn't even up to date.  The weapons available to the Arabs today are more powerful.

      Israel is about the size of New Jersey.  How could anyone in their right mind promote an Arab terror state, larger/wider, in many places than Israel?  The 1949 ceasefire lines is an irregular indefensible "border."  There is no natural geographical or military logic to it.  There's no long history to justify it.  These borders only lasted about eighteen years until the neighboring Arab states, Jordan, Egypt and Syria, attacked Israel in 1967 with the aim of destroying the only Jewish country in the world.

      Miraculously, yes, totally unexpectedly and beyond any military plans, Israel not only survived but liberated the necessary territory to create defensive borders.  And even more unexpectedly, instead of fully annexing the land, which houses our long ancient history, successive Israeli Governments have been scheming to give it to Arab terrorists. Neither United States President Obama, nor his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are experts in history, defense etc.  They also have a stated agenda to promote a Pseudistinian "Palestinian" sic state.  We in Israel have neither a legal nor moral obligation to obey their dictates.