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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



      Shevat 15, 5769, 2/9/2009

      In Just Twenty-Four Hours...

      In twenty-four hours, polls, the real thing, will open in Israel, and our elections will begin.
      What's most amazing is the short memory of the Israeli Public

      I don't remember where, but recently I saw a statement that every Israeli Prime Minister has left either in disgrace or unwillingly or with his/her reputation in tatters. I don't know if it's totally true, but it's pretty close.

      What's most amazing is the short memory of the Israeli Public. I can't comprehend how Ehud Barak could be back in the running as head of the Labor Party. His "reign of terror" was totally unprecedented. Bibi left because the press hounded him, and he was "too green" as party leader (not ecology/reefer green) and didn't have his party under his control. Eshkol was too "grey" and boring, though he did a good job with the Six Days War.

      I had been wondering how I'd describe my state of mind, when I came across an interesting meme on The Jewish Side.

      I have to finish sentences, and that's how I'll pre-election post on the blog.

      1-I wish I could… have more influence in Israeli politics and policy.

      2-My biggest fear is… that Israelis will continue to vote for dangerous politicians.

      3-I hate to… think that nobody is thinking, nobody is listening.

      4-I love… to meet people who say: "I read your articles and agree with you."

      5-Today I will… take care of body and soul.

      6-Yesterday I… babysat for the grandkids, Baruch Hashem, thank G-d.

      7-My hair is… covered. I'm a Torah Jew and married.

      8-I will never… cease to fight for what I think is right.

      If you're willing, please link back to this post and do the meme. Thanks

      G-d willing, the Israeli electorate will be gifted with wisdom.

      Shevat 14, 5769, 2/8/2009

      If Law is Law...

      What If We Announced We Wouldn't Let Arabs Or Left Wing Observe Our Voting?

      Israel's Attorney General Mazzuz, Israel's  head legal honcho, has been trying to prevent Baruch Marzel from heading the polling station in Umm el-Fahm.

      Bauch Hashem, he failed.

      G-d willing, more honest Jews from strong Zionists parties, like the National Union, Ichud Le'umi, will take the challenge, our civil responsibility and go to the more difficult polling stations.

      Any polling station, which refuses them admittance, must be closed by the police, and the citizens shouldn't be able to vote. Mazzuz should have made an announcement like that, instead of trying to keep Marzel out.

      Law is Law, and fair is fair.

      Can you imagine if we dared keep out those we don't like? We be condemned. Our polling station would be closed and we'd be disenfranchised.

      It's that simple.

      Shevat 11, 5769, 2/5/2009

      Two For The Price Of One!

      I couldn't decide which article to post here, so I decided to give you a double-serving. There's always more, if you're interested, on Shiloh Musings.

      "Electoral Reform," Pandora's Box

      The road to the hell of gerrymandering is paved with the best of intentions aka "electoral reform."
      I'll be voting for Ichud Le'umi
      Just because it works in the humongously large, stable super-power, the United States, doesn't mean that it would be good for tiny and realistically threatened Israel.
      To divide (a geographic area) into voting districts so as to give unfair advantage to one party in elections.
      A number of years ago, the Jerusalem Municipality decided that the then new Ramot neighborhoods should be governed by district councils. Contrary to the original plan and expectations of the municipality, more religious and chareidi had bought homes and apartments in the new neighborhood than secular Jews. They didn't want the minority of secular residents to be dominated by the more religiously observant, which would be the result if they allowed true democracy.
      They studied the patterns of home purchase and saw that the secular dominated the low density, single-family homes, and the more religiously observant were in the higher story, multi-family apartment buildings. So, instead of dividing districts by population, so that there were approximately equal numbers of voters, families or residents in each district, they divided Ramot by buildings. Yes, a private home for one family was considered equal to an apartment house for forty families or more. Yes, that's an example of gerrymandering Israeli style.
      Every time I hear people say that Israel must have "electoral reform" and change to districts, I think of this and have nightmares.
      There are many things that should be changed in the Israeli Government. Chief among them are the courts and the way the judges are appointed. There should be checks and balances. Today, the Supreme Court can overrule any law which doesn't suit the political and "moral" agenda of the justices.
      And there's something that can't be legislated, the political sophistication of the voters. During the last elections, three years ago, the young Tel Aviv trendies voted for the Pensioners Party as a lark, and they became a political power in the coalition negotiations. They were a total farce and failure as Members of Knesset.
      As a G-d fearing person, I know that democracy isn't a true G-d. It's just a tool we humans can use... for good or for bad. G-d willing, the people we vote into office next week will use their positions wisely. For this I pray, and I'll be voting for Ichud Le'umi.

      The Israeli Media Is Attempting To Make Sense Of Avigdor Lieberman's Popularity

      It's rather humorous, actually. Suddenly the man they tried to avoid is the biggest news in the elections.

      "What's important isn't the numbers, it's the trend.
      That's what the pundits are saying, and they trend is voting for Avigdor Lieberman. Now for my understanding of the phenomena: It's all Bibi Netanyahu's fault! Bibi should never have gone for the "center." The people want a strong patriotic, Right wing leader, not some wishy, washy parve guy.
      • Parve isn't a leadership characteristic. It's a sign of weakness.
      • The center is like a whirlpool, dragging everything into the deep to drown.
      • A leader pulls us out of a morass and gives us a strong, positive, optimistic future.

      I'm not voting for Lieberman; I neither trust nor support him, but he's showing the leadership the country is craving.

      Polls are just polls, and elections, at least here in Israel, always provide later surprises. We never know how the politicians will behave once in office.

      So, it all boils down to:

      Yisrael, batach b'Hashem!

      People of Israel, trust in G-d!

      PS I'm voting Ichud Le'umi!

      Shevat 9, 5769, 2/3/2009

      The Great Right Hope

      I have no doubts that a very sizable, probably majority, of Israeli Jews are really Right in their kishkes, guts. That's the main reason why Bibi Netanyahu courted Benny Begin for this year's elections. Bibi knew that for many, having Benny on the Likud list would make it "Glatt Kosher" for a lot of Israeli patriots. The big problem is Benny Begin. He's not a politician and has as much charisma as Castor oil. Arlene Kushner's latest update describes last Saturday night's Election Forum in Jerusalem:
      Elections are coming a week from tomorrow, and when we consider the above, it cannot be too soon. Dear Heaven, at the end of the day, may we find ourselves with leaders who will protect our nation. Briefly here: Polls continue to show Likud in the lead, by how much depends on which poll you are looking at. The biggest surprise is the gain by Yisrael Beitenu, the party of Avigdor Lieberman. The major candidates held a forum in Jerusalem on Motzei Shabbat (Saturday night). Benny Begin, representing Likud, was a disappointment, as he spoke only against Kadima and did not present a solid and coherent platform for Likud. One senses that Begin, who has a sterling reputation for integrity, is tired and will not be the force within the party that it was hoped he would be. The star of the evening, according to audience response, was Uri Bank, who is on the list for National Union (Ihud Leumi) and presented a forceful and dynamic vision of what the party stands for. This nationalist, Zionist party is the clearest in its refusal to consider a Palestinian state.
      No surprise for me, at least.

      Shevat 8, 5769, 2/2/2009

      60 Minutes, Let The Time Run Out!

      CBS's veteran news show, 60 Minutes, just had a program about Israel. They called it "Time Running Out For A Two-State Solution?" Thomas Friedman also wrote an op-ed with the same theme.

      One thing I've learned is that whenever someone tries to sell you something that must be decided on, signed for "immediately, or..." it's something bad. And the sic "Two-State Solution" is worse than bad. It'll make the Arab Hamas terrorist missile attacks from Gush Katif look like Heaven.

      Please look at these maps.

      Please look again.

      On 60 Minutes, Tsippi Livni reiterated that she was going to remove Jews like me from their homes. Here's the transcript:
      "It's not going to be easy. But this is the only solution," she replied. "But you know that there are settlers who say, 'We will fight. We will not leave. We will fight,'" Simon asked. "So this is the responsibility of the government and police to stop them. As simple as that. Israel is a state of law and order," Livni said.

      The "only solution?" And what about "law and order?" Contrary to the Arab lies Bob Simon reported on his show, the Arabs build thousands of buildings all over Judea and Samaria without the need of permits and inspections. It's rare for the Israeli authorities to destroy unsafe, unapproved or Arab terrorist homes in Israeli cities, and when they do it takes months of complicated decision-making. The Arab mansions I photographed a couple of years ago are dwarfed by the new ones.

      Some of you may expect me to cry, rant and rave about how Tsippi's plan would affect me personally, but I don't see it as a personal problem. I don't see it as a local Shiloh problem, nor a Shomron (Samaria) problem nor a Judea-Samaria problem.

      Please look again at the maps.

      It should be very clear that the establishment of an Arab terrorist state in Judea and Samaria would herald the destruction of the State of Israel, G-d forbid. That is the aim of the Arabs. Hamas, Fatah, Hizbullah etc all agree on it. They're all the same.

      In May of 1967, Israel was a poor struggling country, suffering from Arab terrorism, when Egypt, Jordan and Syria began to threaten war. Egypt demanded that the United Nations remove its "peace-keeping forces," which had been in place to prevent war. The UN quickly fled. Egypt, Jordan and Syria bragged that they would destroy Israel and shove it "into the sea."

      I remember all this. I wasn't a child at the time. And at the time, Israel only held parts of Jerusalem and none of Judea, Samaria, the Jordan Valley, the Golan Heights, nor Sinai and Gaza.

      The present, the post-June, 1967, Six Days War violence against Israel is part of a long history of violence against Israel. It began long before Israel took possession of our Biblical, our historical Homeland. They never wanted us here and never will want us here. There is no possible compromise.

      As I've said many times before, I'm a pragmatist. I'm not a dreamer. I look at the facts, at the map and at history. 60 Minutes is just a TV show. It didn't tell the truth. The Arabs who appeared on it didn't tell the truth, and Tsippi Livni didn't tell the truth either. The only one who spoke straight was Daniella Weiss.