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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

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      Tammuz 21, 5768, 7/24/2008

      Welcome to Zot Shelanu! It's Ours!


      Continuing about the Israeli Political Party I wish would exist, I'm going to give a "first speech." If you're interested in doing more for the cause, please contact me. This is also posted on Shiloh Musings.
      All of Eretz Yisrael is ours, and we must make that clear, not only to the world, but to everyone here in Israel.
       
      Zionism is live and well. Just don't expect to hear about it from the media.
      Zionism is the action of Jews settling Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel.
      Zionism is when Jews make themselves self-sufficient and sovereign in Eretz Yisrael. 
       
      Zot Shelanu is for Jews who want a strong, independent state in the Land of Israel. Non-Jewish Israelis who fully support Israel as a Jewish State can certainly back us.
       
      Zot Shelanu is for all Jews, no matter what your level of religious observance. It's between you and G-d. All of us keep some mitzvot more and others less. The mitzvah which unites us the mitzvah of yishuv Ha'Aretz, settling the HolyLand.
       
      Eretz Yisrael is for all Jews, whether in the Golan, Negev, Tel Aviv, Kedumim, Nes Tziona, Shiloh, Eilat or Hebron. For each of us there's a different spot in Eretz Yisrael which beckons. Every rock, cave, hill and plain in Eretz Yisrael is calling someone.
       
      The media is keeping it a secret, but thousands of youth, adults and grandparents are establishing new communities in our Biblical Homeland. The mountain range, gav hahar, is the home of modern chalutzim, Jewish pioneers.
       
      We, of Zot Shelanu, support them, but not one hundred percent, one thousand percent! Yes, Zot Shelanu!
       
      All of Eretz Yisrael is ours, and we must make that clear, not only to the world, but to everyone here in Israel. Enjoy and take advantage of the great gift G-d gave us, because
      Zot Shelanu!


      Tammuz 20, 5768, 7/23/2008

      The Big Difference Between Obama and McCain re: Israel


      Lots of "scare" posts and letters are being distributed against Barack Obama insinuating that he'd be much worse for Israel than John McCain. I wonder.

       

      My gut reaction is that they're all the same.
      American politicians never waver on their determination to only do what's best for America in their eyes.

      Both McCain and Obama have appointed a special Jewish advisor. McCain has the veteran politician, Democrat-Independent Joe Lieberman, and Obama has United States diplomat and former US Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Kurtzer.

      Kurtzer and Lieberman are both Torah observant Jews who consider themselves Americans first.

      I've been researching their positions and can only say that they really are just the same in terms of their Israel policy.

      The big difference between the two is more in terms of their careers. Daniel Kurtzer is a career diplomat and Joe Lieberman is a politician, even running as Democratic Vice Presidential candidate. Also, Lieberman seems more a "policy purist" and did something very unusual for an American politician. He changed party allegiance. After decades in the Democratic Party, he became an Independent and now supports Republican McCain.

      None of this can predict the future. But one important thing must be remembered, never forgotten. American politicians never waver on their determination to only do what's best for America in their eyes. They don't go around asking opinions of other countries nor expect others to defend them.

      Israel and all Israelis must remember that.



      Tammuz 18, 5768, 7/21/2008

      Jerusalem Tour


      The day before I left for my kibbud av v'em* trip to the states, I joined my (formerly**) fellow staff of the Bnai Binyamin Beit El Yeshiva High School for a tour of Jerusalem.


      It's hard to know what came first... Did Arabs start visiting because it seemed empty of Jews, or did Jews stop visiting because Arabs began to show up?

      We met at the "Tayelet" in Armon Hanatziv, where there's a fantastic view of Mt. Olives, Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount) and other areas of Jerusalem Jews tend to avoid.

      Many Jews stay away from the Tayelet, too. Arab families picnic and party there.  It's hard to know what came first, like the chicken or the egg.  Did Arabs start visiting because it seemed empty of Jews, or did Jews stop visiting because Arabs began to show up?

       

      Being Yishuv Jews from Mateh Binyamin and Beit El, we didn't let that get in our way.  And we were pleasantly surprised to come across a Jewish wedding.

      MAZAL TOV!!

      *the Torah Commandment to Honor One's Father and Mother

      **I will no longer be teaching there, so it was also a farewell for me.



      Tammuz 17, 5768, 7/20/2008

      Zot Shelanu-- That's Why!


      A month and a half ago I wrote Still Hoping, which included a promise or two. One promise I kept here and here, but I didn't explain what happened to The Hope, HaTikvah, the "hopeful" Israeli political party which hoped to be headed by MK Dr. Arieh Eldad.
      I've decided to create a "pretend" party, the one I'd want to vote for.

      I really tried. Yes, I really tried to like and trust Hatikvah, but I could no longer lie to myself, nor to those of you who read my blogs for information you can't get any where else.

      My report about their Yom HaAtzmaut-Independence Day Reception didn't tell it all. I left out the lack of professional organization, no registration of participants to get their names, numbers and what they volunteer to do. I didn't mention the horrendously boring program, the history lecture by the university professor, nor the fact that the organizers made no efforts to meet and greet the attendees unless I was intentionally snubbed.

      To put it very simply, there are tested and proven techniques for establishing successful ideological and political movements. None of them were used, and without them, the movement hasn't a chance.

      But I gave them another chance, so desperate for a political party with an ideology I could support. The same person who had invited me to the reception then invited me to a parlour meeting. The host was a name I had read many times in "letters to the editor." I was encouraged. So I went there to meet the founder/organizer of Hatikvah.

      I didn't let the paltry number of participants bother me, nor the fact that I was younger than all by a couple of decades. I was impressed that those very elderly people managed to walk up all the flights of stairs. Then the speaker began... to lecture us. He started off bragging about how many generations his family has lived in Israel. I couldn't get the significance of it unless he's anti-immigrant. I tried to cut off some personal tangents by the other participants about their experiences in the pre-state undergrounds, very politely wondering what that had to do with the subject at hand.

      I even stayed after the speaker said that Hatikvah was established because their study showed that the only group of Israelis who didn't have a party to support was the secular right. I disagreed and tried to explain that for people like me, religious-right who in principle don't vote for religious parties, there isn't a reliably right wing party. He looked at me blankly, unable to comprehend my point.

      But half-way (or less) through the very detailed university lecture about the history of the State of Israel I begged the speaker to get to the main topic. He insisted that we wouldn't understand anything until we heard his entire speech.

      That was too much and I left.

      There is no political party, nor leader I trust to get us, the State of Israel, out of this dangerous mess we're in. So since I love politics and won't be teaching this year, I've decided to create a "pretend" party, the one I'd want to vote for.

      Zot Shelanu!
      It's Ours!


      Tammuz 14, 5768, 7/17/2008

      I Guess It's Time For The Little Red Hen!


      I'm sure you remember the Little Red Hen who could never find partners to do the hard work, the planting, reaping, grinding and baking. But when it came to eating the bread... suddenly she had lots of willing barnyard animals.


      Well for quite a few years, I've been kvetching and ranting about the dearth of reliably Right and patriotic political parties here in Israel. With a heavy heart I agree to vote for a party which inevitably disappoints me.

      So, now, instead of kvetching and ranting and pretending that some politician or party will do what must be done for the future of our precious State of Israel...If I have to pretend, I may as well go whole hog and invent my dream party or political movement.

      I'm debating between two names

      מחר Tomorrow
      or
      זאת שלנו It's Ours!


      Names and slogans are very important. Look at the US's Obama. His "Change" won him the nomination verses Hillary Clinton whose "My Turn" sounded childish.  (Ok, maybe it wasn't her slogan, but it was her theme.)


      There's a great old snappy Israeli song, מחר "Machar," Tomorrow. I danced it down Fifth Avenue during the Salute to Israel Parade, when I was younger. It's important to plan for the future, so there will be a future and not to just think of today.


      I imagine a montage of images from all over Eretz Yisrael--including Tel Aviv, The Land of Israel, and on top we'll see the slogan, Zot Shelanu! It's Ours!


      Please send your vote via the coments to help choose the party's name.
      More to follow...