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      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



      Adar 5, 5768, 2/11/2008

      Inviting Dictatorship?

      The Battle Cry Makes Me Nervous

      Today didn't go as efficiently as I planned, but maybe the delays in my traveling to Jerusalem were for one reason and one reason only, to find myself in the middle of a demonstration. I was on my way to the Israeli Museum, and the bus wouldn't turn in. Considering that I had watied over 40 minutes for the #9, knowing I could have walked there in just over 20, I didn't appreciate the extra walk. But then I found myself approaching a demonstration. Yes, every normal citizen should be demonstrating against Olmert. What kind of Prime Minister refuses to attack those who constantly launch missles at innocent civilians?

      The Arab terrorists have been bombing Sderot for years. The blitz couldn't have had been much worse. Finally, people are getting angry. Two brothers were seriously injured on Shabbat.

      I walked by taking pictures. The main slogan was:
      "Olmert, Resign!!"

      Then I passed a group of children leaving the scene. Not only did they shout, Olmert, Resign!!" but they also shouted:

      "We want Gaydamak!"

      That made me very nervous. People are so disgusted with the situation in the country and the inept, at best, politicians. Arkady Gaydamak has used his wealth to give the citizens of Sderot "vacations" from the war, while Olmert does nothing. The people of Sderot feel more secure asking Gaydamak for help, than asking the government.

      I fear that our country is being set up for a dictatorship, G-d forbid. In a sense we have one already. That's the way the government of formed by those writing the original laws. I asked a lawyer who specializes in the Israeli Government about my idea of suing Olmert. I was shocked and horrified to learn that as Prime Minister he has a lot of leeway without being required to bring his proposals to Knesset. That doesn't include giving our land, Capital City, to another country. But he does have the legal right to make other promises, without due process, checks and balances, or any of the things I was taught in my New York Social Studies lessons. According to Israeli Law, if the Knesset members don't like it, they can vote him out. Of course, if they do that, they, too, may lose their jobs after new elections. That's why, as much as many of them rant and belly-ache about Olmert, Peretz, Barak and Livne, we're still stuck with them.

      Also, the "electoral reform," which Olmert and Lieberman were touting is engineered to make an even "more stable government," meaning more power to the Prime Minister, making it even more difficult to get him out of office. District voting for Knesset Members won't make things any better, either. The most important "reform" would be a government with "Balance Of Powers," so no single branch, Executive, Judicial or Legislature could act without approval of the others.

      I wouldn't bring in Gaydamak, but I agree that Olmert is not doing his job to defend and protect the State of Israel. His policies can only bring tragedy. G-d willing, Olmert will quickly resign and totally disappear from public and political life.

      Shevat 29, 5768, 2/5/2008

      Loyal Soldiers

      Here's the latest "Voices From Shiloh" which appears in Sharon Katz's "Voices."

      I recently wrote about the IDF, and one of my Shiloh Musings readers asked a very important, crucial question in the comments.

      "Are we supposed to be proud of serving in the army? Are we making it into a specific ideal in itself?"
      At first I didn't know how to answer him. Very conveniently I had to say my daily T'hilim (Psalms) and, even though I must admit that I mumble them, somehow an answer was formulated in my mind by the time I had finished. Here's part of my reply:
      "Our Jewish soldiers should be in the army to observe the mitzvah of pikuach nefesh and keeping Eretz Yisrael safe and Jewish.That's what every one of our soldiers must be focused on, and then it's totally a mitzvah, a mitzvah to be proud of. If the army punishes the good Jewish soldier, it has to be seen as among the "trials/challenges" of living a proper Torah life."

      The Israeli Left-wing has been dealing with their dilemmas, the conflicts between their ideology and army orders, for a long time. They show no embarrassment at refusing orders and writing protest letters. The media support them, and the politicians adopt their ideas.

      The women in the extreme left-wing Machsom Watch keep denying that their harassment of soldiers endangers the soldiers and innocent Jewish Israeli civilians. They proclaim their "superior morality," even when facts contradict them.

      Now back to our soldiers, our husbands, sons, brothers, neighbors.

      It is a great mitzvah to be a soldier, a Jewish soldier for the Land of Israel. Defending Jews and defending our Holy Land are a privilege. The more frum soldiers in the army, the more power Torah will have in the army. I'm not claiming it's easy.

      Why should any of us expect that building a Jewish State should be easy? Building a Jewish State is hard. As the mother of five and a grandmother, I know that giving birth and raising children, as wonderful, thrilling and important as it is, easy it's not. When we become pregnant, our body definitely undergoes changes. For many women, even the monthly ovulation can cause obvious changes to the body. Some women are almost unrecognizable during pregnancy, and so many books and articles have been written about childbirth, there's no need for me to go into detail. But I'm sure you all know that the uterus must work terribly hard to expel the baby, and then… ahhh, a newborn baby is so sweet, soft and helpless. Then they begin growing and developing. I'm sure most of you have seen infants crawling enthusiastically, proudly and earnestly backwards.

      The Jewish People are so smart about some things, but we're not too wise about ourselves. Remember the "Golden Calf?" Such a short time after G-d's miracles facilitated our exodus from Egypt; couldn't we give Moshe another few days to get down from the mountain? Did they all have such exact watches and "palms" to keep track of the time? It's perfectly legitimate for someone to be late, not that he actually was.

      G-d forgave, OK, after Moshe used all his powers. Then there's the story of the "Meraglim," spies. They were la crème de la crème of the Hebrews, and ten out of twelve decided that they knew better than Moshe, even better than G-d. The majority voted against G-d and Moshe. So much for democracy! Joshua and Caleb were the only ones to insist that our People, with the help of G-d, could conquer the Land and live in peace.

      • Our IDF soldiers must model themselves on Joshua and Caleb.
      • They must be proud to be soldiers, because it's a great mitzvah.
      • They must remember who the real Chief of Staff is.
      • They must remember who gives the true rewards and punishments.

      Yes, we need strong soldiers, strong in faith in G-d.

      Shevat 26, 5768, 2/2/2008

      Hit Him Where It Hurts

      Hat tip IMRA
      If I'm not mistaken, Olmert's "assurances" to Lame Duck US Bush that Israel won't build anymore housing for Jews in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem is not a Knesset decision. It did not pass any of the proper chanels. That means that it's Etrog Olmert's personal decision.
      These financial losses should not be ignored.
      The Winograd Report describes how Olmert made war decisions without thinking them through, without consulting experts, ad nauseum. The Hebrew word repeated the most in the report, at least all the parts I heard, is ליקוי faulty, disabled. That's the Olmert way of governing.
      This Shabbat we read the Parshat Shavua, Portion of the Week, Mishpatim, which deals with Laws, including compensation. There's one thing that must be done by everybody financially damaged by Olmert's announcement that buiding is to be stopped, frozen in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.
      Sue him!!
      Sue Ehud Olmert as a private citizen!
      Go to court against Olmert!
      Olmert is not the Government of Israel.
      Olmert cannot make unilateral decisions
      that affect the future of our country.
      Make Olmert Pay!!

      Shevat 24, 5768, 1/31/2008

      Snow Job!

      What is it about snow?

      It blinds, doesn't it?

      Is this one of G-d's jokes, the great Winograd Snow Job was presented during a snow storm?

      Interesting that "untouched" snow is referred to as "virgin."

      Just don't forget that snow can be a danger.  So, take care.

      There's a thorn bush under those innocent-looking white "buds."

      Shevat 21, 5768, 1/28/2008

      I'm Not Afraid of Obama As US President

      Don't get me wrong. It's not because I think he's pro-Israel or cares about Israel or Jews in a good way. I wouldn't argue with the facts in articles like this one. But... I think that Israel is safer with an American President who isn't going to play us like some schmaltzy fiddle.

      Today's US blacks aren't the Martin Luther King who marched happily with Jewish supporters. Today's blacks know that they don't need the Jews' sympathy and support. I hope and pray that whoever is America's next president won't campaign with the perpetual lie of:

      "We must move the American Embassy to Jerusalem."

      I prefer honesty. I prefer a president who doesn't claim to be "a friend of Israel."

      Almost twelve years ago, hours after being run over by an Arab terrorist, I did not feel comforted to hear then US President Bill Clinton on the news saying that he will "stand by Israel." Well, to me "standing by" means watching, not helping. A friend doesn't "stand by;" he gets up and actively helps. Clinton's wife, presidential hopeful Hillary, uses all the code words to attract Jewish support, but she has the same aim as Bush and Rice, placating the Arabs and giving the terrorists another state.

      Obama may be more honest about it. I'm sure he has American Jewish supporters, because the American Jewish "religion" is to help the blacks, even if it hurts. And about the Republicans, I know even less about the candidates. As long as it's not Rudy, who knows how to manipulate Jews, I really don't care who the candidate is. In the end they're all the same.

      Could it be like Yes, Minister, or more sinister than that?

      Remember that the anti-commie Nixon recognized Red China, and Begin gave Sadat the Sinai.

      Yes, it's the same all over the world.

      Maybe those teenage girls who wouldn't give their names to the police are more pragmatic than all those obsessing over polls and elections. Think about it!