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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



      Tishrei 7, 5770, 9/25/2009

      Bibi's UN Speech, Tease and Fizzle

      Please remember there's lots more on Shiloh Musings and me-ander, including posts by others.  So, please visit whenever you can.

      Bibi's UN Speech, Tease and Fizzle

      Our Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, addressed the United Nations yesterday.  Bibi is a very gifted speaker, and he's more knowledgeable about history and political science than most professors.  I've heard him answer difficult questions without any opportunity or need to prepare, and of course he's not dependent on staff-written speeches displayed on a teleprompter.There were some good things in his UN speech, but there were also things I find very troubling.
      In an address to the General Assembly earlier in the day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel heatedly denounced President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran for frequently rejecting the Holocaust as a historical fact.Mr. Netanyahu also spent considerable time denying that Israel had committed war crimes during its three-week military attack on Gaza last winter, as it was recently accused of doing in a report by a fact-finding mission from the Human Rights Council.
      The problem is that Netanyahu gave facts but came to the wrong conclusions.  Bibi should have tied all of these things up with a different conclusion.
      Netanyahu blasted the international community for encouraging Israel to leave Gaza, and then condemning Israel in the Goldstone Report when it responded to the rocket attacks that resulted: “This biased and unjust report is a clear-cut test for all governments. Will you stand with Israel or will you stand with the terrorists? We must know the answer to that question now, and not later. Because if Israel is again asked to take more risks for peace, we must know today that you will stand with us tomorrow. Only if we have the confidence that we can defend ourselves can we take further risks for peace.”
      Prime Minister Netanyahu should have stated that Israel is no longer going to "take risks for peace."  We have been doing it for decades and it has only brought us war, terrorism and condemnation.  The world hasn't changed since Hitler's Nazi Germany began their systematic discrimination against Jews, which gradually built up to mass murder, the Holocaust.  During that time, no foreign country condemned the Nazis nor defended the Jews of Germany and later of Europe.  United States President Franklyn D. Roosevelt even sent back German Jews fleeing the Nazis.

      Bibi's speech was a big tease.  It fizzled, rather than concluding with a strong message.  What a wasted opportunity and what a waste of potential leadership.  Bibi is proving no better than his predecessors.

      Tishrei 6, 5770, 9/24/2009

      Consensus? Dangerous Delusion

      Please read my more frequent postings on Shiloh Musings and me-ander.

      Unfortunately, too many Jewish Israelis have a rating system for the Land of Israel and our rights to live live in it.  They've divided up our Land into, what's ours, really ours, we can live in, not live in ad nauseum.

      Unfortunately, this dangerous philosophy can even be heard in parts of Judea and Samaria.  Gush Etzion has been one of the strongholds of this "cult."  The general feeling projected is that, as long as they're "included in the consensus," they feel safe and satisfied.  Of course there are exceptions, opponents, most notably two women, Nadia Matar (Women in Green) and Sharon Katz (Voices Magazine.)  They are today's Ruth and Chana, struggling to change the world.
      Our enemies, internal and external, don't accept the distinction.  For former Minister of Education MK Yuli Tamir, a small Jewish community in Gush Etzion is just as dispicable, unacceptable as one overlooking Shechem.
      "Anarchists like you" are a problem for law enforcement and the peace process, MK Yuli Tamir (Labor) reprimanded settler Udi Ragones as she stood Wednesday in the doorway of his small one-story home in the Nativ Ha'avot outpost in Gush Etzion.
      I'm not surprised that she said that.  As obnoxious and inaccurate as her statement/insult was, it was totally consistent with her ideology.  Periodically, when the world and many in Israel think that towns like my Shiloh are about to be destroyed, the target moves to the Golan Heights.  In the forefront of the struggle to stop the pressure are many of the same Land-loyal Jews who support Jewish Life in Judea and Samaria.  And then we hear from the Golan:
      "We're not settlers, like them."
      In a smaller scale, this is no different than Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's mistaken policies.  By trying to diplomatically compromise, our projected legitimacy is weakened.  You can't shouldn't make a deal with the devil.  Those deals backfire. 

      Remember fellow Jews, fellow Israelis:

      We're all One People in One Land, and we must work together.

      Tishrei 4, 5770, 9/22/2009

      PR Negotiating Hype? or Unbending Principles?

      There's nothing for Bibi to discuss with Obama
      Besides my usual varied postings on
      Shiloh Musings and me-ander, you can read the weekly international Jewish Bloggers Magazine, Havel Havelim. 

      Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, according to his aid, media adviser Nir Hefetz, won't bend on the "settlement issue."  Read carefully, Hefetz is his "media adviser," that means public relations, image etc.  I wouldn't read much policy in that.

      Bibi has already come out with lots of mixed messages about our rights to live freely in the Land of Israel.  He's a PR expert, a master with words and images.  The big problem is that the State of Israel isn't some toiletries or shoes to be marketed.  It's a life and death issue.

      Our enemies, like Jimmy Carter, are uncompromising in their demands that we have no rights to live and build Jewish life, homes, communities in Judea and Samaria.  We in Israel and Jews all over the world must recognize the fact that the world doesn't care what happens to us.  They didn't care seventy years ago when the Nazis persecuted and murdered Jews, and they don't care now.  The war against the Nazis had nothing whatsoever to do with helping Jews.  It was to stem German aggression.  Germany's aim was to take over the world starting in Europe.  That's what World War Two was all about.  A historian like Netanyahu should know that.

      There's nothing for Bibi to discuss with Obama.  He should stay home and build our country!  That's the best defense!

      Elul 27, 5769, 9/16/2009

      "War Crimes," "Peace" and Other Lies

      There's more on Shiloh Musings and me-ander, which are updated more frequently.

      Is this United Nations "fact finding" mission another "dog bites man, man bites dog" expose`?  When we innocent Jewish Israeli citizens were suffering from frequent Arab terrorism, did the United Nations bother budgeting and sending out any fact finding missions to investigate the situation?  Of course not.  If they had, the conclusions would have shown pathological cruelty and violence by Arabs against Jews, and that wouldn't sell many papers.

      Israel's self-defense is not a sic "War Crime," no matter how you slice it.  Israel, like any normal self-respecting country, has the right and responsibility to defend herself against all sorts of aggression.  Israel's "crime" against its own civilians is waiting years, instead of attacking those attacking us immediately.  By accepting the rocket attacks passively all those years in silence, succesive Israeli Governments failed in their most basic role and responsibility to defend innocent civilians.

      The state of war, which predates the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 and certainly predates the Six Days War nineteen years later in 1967, is due to Arab aggression which had been supported by the British Mandate.

      Peace is not up to Israel
      .  Peace is up to those initiating attacks.  Peace is the responsibility of the Arabs and their international supporters.  There's nothing for us to negotiate.  "Concessions" will only bring us more attacks and leave us weaker.  Organizations like "Peace Now" actually encourage war, Arab aggression, because the Arabs see a weakened Israel which lacks the motivation to fight, to defend itself.

      We will only enjoy true peace when our enemies are defeated we defeat our enemies!

      Elul 22, 5769, 9/11/2009

      Seder Rosh Hashannah & Expanding Jewish Traditions

      There's more to read on Shiloh Musings and me-ander.  Shabbat Shalom u'Mevorach!

      I grew up in a Jewish home of minimal Jewish traditions.  I discovered Torah Judaism when Modern Orthodoxy was beginning to shake off the "new immigrant" mentality where the priority was to fit into American society.  That was about forty-five years ago, and since then Jewish learning and delving into the Halachik (Jewish Law) literature has grown amazingly.

      Just take the Rosh Hashannah meal for example. Honey with apple and challah were all that many Jews had to signify that "Yihi ratzon..."  It should be G-d's will that we have a sweet year. Many families also had some sort of animal head on the table... "...to be a head not a tail."

      Those two sufficed even in the religious homes a generation or two ago.  But now, like the "bragging" about how late one was up expounding Torah and "yitziat Mitzrayim," the Exodus from Egypt, at the the Passover Seder, now on Rosh Hashannah there's competition "l'shaim Shamayim," of course in the Name of G-d, for the number of foods and blessings, in many case no more than Hebrew puns, to bless the new year.

      Another Jewish Holiday which has seen a boom, unexpected increase in the observance of a once minor aspect, is Shavuot.  Outside of Israel, Shavuot was a pretty-much unknown, ignored and forgotten holiday, except by those who were seriously religious.  So, unlike wine and matzah on Passover and honey on Rosh Hashannah there certainly weren't many Jews studying Torah all Shavuot night.

      In recent years, the study of Jewish texts on Shavuot night can be found all over the world and not only in strictly Orthodox frameworks.  In Israel, there's an amazing variety of learning, lectures and discussion groups throught the night open to Jews of all observance, all stripes and styles. Many Jews who don't fit the mold, don't wear the uniform are taking their Judaism very seriously.  Thank G-d.

      No doubt Moshiach Ben David is on His Way!

      Shannah Tovah, Gmar Chatimah Tovah!