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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



      Kislev 1, 5770, 11/18/2009

      Mixed Messages From Rav Yigal

      I hope that you've been reading my other blogs, Shiloh Musings and me-ander.  I post to them daily, including picture posts, which you may enjoy.
      In a few weeks we will celebrate the Holiday of Chanukah, or Miracles of how the "small" defeated the "mighty."

      Mixed Messages From Rav Yigal

      HaRav Yigal Kaminetzky, Rabbi of Gush Katif, was in Shiloh for Shabbat.  He gave a shiur/talk to the entire yishuv, men, women, youth, anyone who was willing to give up their Shabbat afternoon rest.  Since I always go to a Women's Torah Class Shabbat noon, I had no problems with the timing.  I just had to wait until my husband returned home to be with my father; that made me a few minutes late.

      When I walked in, Rav Yigal was talking about faith and the greatness of what his people, the Gush Katif DP's are experiencing.  I was upset, turned off.  This was too consistent with the reports I'd been reading and hearing of how he had worked with the government before and immediately after Disengagement.  I did not want to hear about the great opportunities for Kiddush Hashem etc.  I have no patience to hear about the "bright side" of the gerush, the expulsion from Gush Katif by the Israeli Government which turned loyal Israeli citizens into homeless, unemployed "evictees."

      It took all my self-control to stay rooted to my seat and not make a fuss.  I'm glad I did it, because after that awful saccerine speech, Rav Yigal said much better things, things I could relate to, agree with or found particularly interesting. Just a couple of his points:

      • The families that stayed to the end and protested have done better, both emotionally and financially.  On the whole, his statistics, it was good for the parents and youth to defend their homes and very crucial for the children to see their parents doing so.
      • The time that those families were housed in hotels at full-board were less of a financial hardship than for the families which went immediately to Nitzan (the carravilla site) where they had to support themselves from day one.
      • The government's (Sela's) cruelty was unprecedented, and it continues to be inexplicable.
      • The Arabs had never demanded Gush Katif.  They had never lived there, and according to him, present agricultural attempts by the Arabs have not been successful.

      Personally, I think that the official protest movement was not as determined to stop Disengagement as it should have been.  Rav Yigal was part of that movement.  Our soldiers in the IDF should have refused to participate.  It's interesting that davka now there is less fear to protest and pay the price.  This isn't all that surprising, considering that Israelis reelected the Labor Party after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the "mechdal," disasterous mismanagement and misjudgement of our defense and Military Intelligence.  But the following elections in 1977 brought Menachem Begin's Likud (or was it still GaHaL) into the government for the first time.

      It does take a while for things to sink in.  There's the perspecitve of time, and many people need that to make changes in their thoughts and actions.  Change of any sort is not easy for most people, and very few are natural risk-takers.  G-d willing, the Jewish People will understand what we must really do.

      Chodesh Kislev Tov.  In a few weeks we will celebrate the Holiday of Chanukah, or Miracles of how the "small" defeated the "mighty."   

      Cheshvan 26, 5770, 11/13/2009

      Aliyah, What's Your Favorite Excuse?

      I blog more frequently on Shiloh Musings and me-ander.  You're invited to visit and read.  Shabbat Shalom

      This post is inspired by a poll on Arutz 7. The answer I wanted to give isn't one of the choices.  I think that most people fear change.
      "...most people fear change." And to make aliyah successfully, you have to change more than your address

      That's the key, and everything else is just an excuse.  The next biggest difficulty is conquering Hebrew, the fear of making mistakes, sounding stupid.

      Poll: What's the biggest obstacle to Aliyah?

      1. Finding a good job

      2. Leaving family behind

      3. Security concerns

      4. Not knowing Hebrew

      With good Hebrew, you can get a good job, not one limited to those for "English speakers."  With good Hebrew, you can become part of Israeli society and not restricted to being friends with fellow anglo (English speaking) olim, immigrants.  

      There is no intellectual linguistic reason to think that learning Hebrew, or any other language, is impossible.  Immigrants from all different countries to all different countries manage to learn the new language and function.  

      And for those Jews who have graduated from a life time of Jewish schooling, it's criminal that they're not totally fluent in Hebrew.  Jews were once, until the mid-twentieth century, known as multilingual experts.  That's why there were Jews on the ships which sailed to the new land, America.  The same students whose parents would tell me that their family is incapable of learning English would later admit that their grandparents were fluent in three or four languages.  

      What changed was expectations.  It used to be that immigrants expected, demanded from themselves a few months to immerse themselves in the new language and culture and then be as fluent as anyone else.  Today this is harder.  Immigrants come with their old language DVD's, ipods filled with their old music and quickly set up cable or a dish to receive television from the old country.  

      As I've already written, "...most people fear change."  And to make aliyah successfully, you have to change more than your address.

      Cheshvan 23, 5770, 11/10/2009

      How Should We Label Those Arabs?

      Just to remind you that I post much more frequently on Shiloh Musings and me-ander.  You're very welcome to visit those blogs.

      How Should We Label Those Arabs?

      Always eager to learn, I accept that my placement of "sic" before the term "Palestinian" may be incorrect.  Sabba Hillel commented on my blog that I should write "sic" afterwards.

      For a long time, I refused to use the "P" word at all, unless it was in quoted text.  Then I vainly I admit began adding it, with "sic" before and both italicized, to attract google and other internet searches to my blogs.  But if he's correct, I guess I need a new way of mentioning that false people, the one invented by the British to prevent the Jewish People from receiving all of our Historic Homeland.  The Balfour Declaration declared that we, the Jewish People, should be given our Land, which the international community had labeled "Palestine."  But then the British brought in the Hashemites, declared them to be the rulers (king) over the territory east of the Jordan River and began inventing a history, culture etc.

       That act was typical of the way the British treated their "colonies."  They played G-d.

      I have always placed the "sic" before, because we must say "bli neder" before the thing we don't pledge to do. I feel it necessary to indicate that the "Palestinians" sic are a false nation before the word is even read or pronounced.

      After over a decade of EFL teaching, I have no doubt that people don't read all the words, so I need to warn them that I don't recognize a separate Arab nation here. But back to proper grammar combined with accurate history.  I guess I ought to write it this way:

      Pseudistinians, AKA "Palestinians" sic,
      Does anyone have a better idea?

      Cheshvan 17, 5770, 11/4/2009

      Israel, Face the Truth!

      Although I don't post here all that frequently, I do on Shiloh Musings and me-ander.  Here's what I think of the weak dollar, and read my ongoing saga about bringing my 89 year old father to live with us.
      No concessions, gestures, gifts of Land etc will placate the Arabs

      What Will It Take For Israel To Read The Writing on The Wall?

      All those years successive Israeli Governments ignored the missile attacks against it from Arabs in Gaza and Lebanon have increased the danger.  The latest military intelligence is that Arabs in Gaza, (and possibly Lebanon, too), have rocket launchers which can reach Tel Aviv.

      Each time a Kassam is launched by the Arab terrorists at Israel, they are practicing.  This isn't some innocent baseball pitching.  They are out to destroy us and they're not too shy to say so.  We just have to listen.  We have to hear what they are saying and not what we want them to say.

      The Israeli politicians, urged by its media and foreign busybodies, like Obama, Clinton (both,) Blair, Sarkozy etc refuse to accept the truth.  No concessions, gestures, gifts of Land etc will placate the Arabs. 

      They want us dead and gone.  Our only defense is to refuse to obey foreign advice.  We must be strong and only do what's best for us.  The world will rally around or look for someone else to bully.

      Cheshvan 12, 5770, 10/30/2009

      Yitzchak Rabin's Legacy, The Altalena

      Shabbat Shalom!  There's always more to read on Shiloh Musings and me-ander, which are updated much more frequenlty.  Please visit.

      The Israeli media is now full of 1984-style programs and statements in memory of their idol, Yitzchak Rabin.  In contrast, many of us remember a different Rabin and a different Israeli History.
      Israeli society is still suffering from pre-State hatreds and the Yitzchak Rabin murder is being utilized as a tool against a large and growing segment of the Israeli public

      Yitzchak Rabin was a David Ben Gurion loyalist, a Palmach officer, an IDF (Israel Defense Forces) Chief of Staff, twice Israel's Prime Minister, who was murdered (assassinated) after a public appearance at a Left wing rally, fourteen years ago.  Since then Israel's Left, media, politicians, academics etc have used it as the springboard, justification for massive character assassination against anyone who dares to disagree with their opinions and ideology.

      If this was literature, instead of history, it would be written as a classic case of poetic justice, "...a literary device in which virtue is ultimately rewarded or vice punished, and often in modern literature by an ironic twist of fate intimately related to the character's own conduct."

      That brings us to the Altalena, a tragedy caused by vile hatred of Jew against Jew.  It dwarfs the despicable sezon, when Ben Gurion's followers gave names of fellow Jews to the British to have them arrested and worse.

      In 1948, Menachem Begin's Irgun had managed to buy much-needed arms for the battle for Israel's Independence.  An agreement had been reached with the new provisional government concerning how they were to be used and distributed, with a priority for freeing Jerusalem's Old City.  But David Ben Gurion tricked him and ended up sending his soldiers, including Yitzchak Rabin, to attack the ship, sink the weapons and murder Jews.

      "Begin had meanwhile boarded the Altalena, which was now heading for Tel Aviv. He hoped that it would be possible to enter into a dialogue with the Provisional Government and to unload the remaining weapons peacefully. But this was not the case. Ben-Gurion ordered Yigael Yadin (acting Chief of Staff) to concentrate large forces on the Tel Aviv beach and to take the ship by force. Heavy guns were transferred to the area and at four in the afternoon, Ben-Gurion ordered the shelling of the Altalena. One of the shells hit the ship, which began to burn. There was danger that the fire would spread to the holds which contained explosives, and the captain ordered all aboard to abandon ship. People jumped into the water, whilst their comrades on shore set out to meet them on rafts. Although the captain flew the white flag of surrender, automatic fire continued to be directed at the unarmed survivors. Begin, who was on deck, agreed to leave the ship only after the last of the wounded had been evacuated."

      The late Shmuel Katz, told me that he had always believed that the main goal of the attack was to assassinate Menachem Begin, whom Ben Gurion considered his strongest rival.  Menachem Begin, always the noble gentleman, in his naive innocence could never accept such a theory, nor would he demand apologies and cheshbon nefesh, accounting of the soul, from those who attacked him and his followers.

      In Psychology there's a principle called projection, "Projection also appears where we see our own traits in other people..."  That explains why Menachem Begin and Israel's pro-Jews in the Land of Israel Right wing do not constantly verbalize character assassination and incitement against the Left, but the Left always does it against the Right. 

      The Israeli Left has a documented history of discrimination and violence, for example the Altalena and Amona, against the Right, though they have no problems constantly proclaiming us as violent and guilty of attacking fellow Jews.

      Israeli society is still suffering from pre-State hatreds and the Yitzchak Rabin murder is being utilized as a tool against a large and growing segment of the Israeli public.  I don't know if we'll ever really know who was behind that assassination.  I just know that the Left has enthusiastically adopted it as their mantra, their weapon of choice against loyal and innocent Jewish citizens.