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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

      And:

      me-ander

      Tevet 17, 5768, 12/26/2007

      Peres-Self--Hating Jews Hall of Fame


      Shimon Peres and his ideological chassidim, proteges, are my nominees for Yid with Lid's contest for the Self-Hating Jews' Hall of Fame!
      Peres is the Jew who tells us to ignore history:
      "People tend to remember more and think less," Mr. Peres wrote in "The New Middle East," his 1993 manifesto defending the accords. "Our thoughts, which concentrate on the unfamiliar, are less welcome. However, we must focus on this new Middle East reality … and not wander among memories of victories in long-gone wars -- wars that will never be fought again." Critics of Oslo pointed to Arafat's unambiguous record of hostility to Israel, double-dealing, and ruthlessness. For Mr. Peres, however, history was not a source of wisdom, but a burden. Quoted from here
      He doesn't want us to learn from it, or learn it at all, since it makes his hair-brained schemes look like they're endangering the viability of the State of Israel. It's Shimon Peres who preaches John Lennon's horrifically misguided "Imagine," the song that praises a world in which
      "Imagine there's no countries It isn't hard to do Nothing to kill or die for And no religion too."
      According to this, there's nothing to live for either. No future, no past just today, "Imagine all the people, Living for today." Peres and Olmert and his coalition have no trouble offering our precious Land, and even our Jerusalem to the same Arab terrorists who want to destroy us, because they only care about today. They do not value tomorrow, our future, our children, grandchildren and the coming generations. What can be more self-hating than that?


      Tevet 15, 5768, 12/24/2007

      Illegal Building and The Jerusalem Housing Crisis


      Arabs are building willy nilly all over the place,

      and nobody cares. 

      They only get all up in arms

      when Jews build.

      No matter what.

      There's definitely a housing crisis, especially in Jerusalem.  Old houses are being destroyed,

      and a furturistic railway is being constructed,

      but there's no housing for the ordinary working class Israeli.

      The Israeli Housing Ministry must build public housing again in Jerusalem.  It should be exclusively for IDF Veterans, women who served a full two years in Sherut Le'umi, National Service and new immigrants.  The housing must be affordable, expandable, with efficient bus service, education, health, cultural and religious facilities built along with the neighborhoods.  Nothing like this has been constructed since Pisgat Zeev and Neve Yaakov, which combined public and private construction.  If I'm not mistaken Har Chomah was not "public housing."

      If the Israeli Government doesn't see itself as fully sovereign, constantly checking and begging for international approval, then it must be forced to resign.

      I didn't leave the United States to live in an American "puppet-state."



      Tevet 12, 5768, 12/21/2007

      Arm Yourself With Tissues


      What a way to start the morning... And that was after listening to a very special song last night when traveling to and from a wedding. The music, arrangement and words were so moving. My neighbor told us that it was by one of the Gush Katif refugees. I can't remember the entire name, but what I remember is Elro'i Va'anunu. Then this morning, the first email I saw was from Ya'aqov, who lives in nearby Tapuach.

      ...I would like to share one video with you which I found to be particularly poignant and personal, as it documents the history of the Tashnady Family, from the beginning to the end of their residency in Neve Deqalim in Azza. Actually, it is more of a montage to music, than a video.

      I obtained this video from a one of the sons of the family, Moshe, who was then a college student at the religious, science school Machon Lev. It was produced by his brother Pniel. I had the opportunity to meet the Tasnady brothers right after the Expulsion... complete post

      If A picture is worth a thousand words, then this montage of photos set to music says more than all the articles and even blog posts published on Disengagement. So, I've said enough, just watch it, and don't froget the tissues!


      Tevet 11, 5768, 12/20/2007

      What's Good for the Goose...


      I always get a kick out of these great moralists who would never take their own medicine. The latest is that Catholic, Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah, the Holy Land's top Roman Catholic clergyman, who said:

      "If there's a state of one religion, other religions are naturally discriminated against."

      Is he dismantling the Vatican? One thing for sure is that he blames Israel and the Jews for everything and re-writes history by claiming that Christianity and Islam have equal footing with Judaism in the Holy Land. "Minor" historical facts, such as chronology and that his Jesus was actually Jewish, are conveniently ignored.

      Another of my favorites is US President George Bush, who keeps lecturing and threatening Israel about how to react to terrorism. Israeli civilians are under a constant barrage of Arab missiles and threats of destruction, but we're instructed to "turn the other cheek" and suffer, while Bush and his Condeleezza Rice keep shtupping the terrorists with more money.

      The very existence of the United States has never been threatened, and as horrific as "9-11" was, proportionally it wasn't as dangerous to that country's stability and public safety as the Arab terrorism we've been suffering from.

      If there was moral honesty in this world, 9-11 would have made America more sympathetic to the plight of Israelis. Instead the opposite happened. We've been chastised for defending ourselves while the Americans killed thousands and thousands of innocent civilians who lived thousands of miles away from the United States. America and its allies took over Iraq by force, killing  thousands of civilians in order to give Saddam Hussein a fair trial. I'm sure you can add further examples of moral hypocrisy.



      Tevet 8, 5768, 12/17/2007

      Totally Different Expectations


      Recently I went to a lecture by someone who was raised in one of the most extreme, restrictive, of the Chassidishe Courts.  He described a world so different from anything I could imagine.

      Every small detail was regimented, and they were, and are to this day, never allowed to make choices, think for themselves.  All of their clothing, from their hats to their shoes had to be according to their rules.  But what shocked the audience the most, was the marriage customs.  When the marriage broker thought there was a possible match, and the parents agreed to it, the two young people were allowed to glance at each other a few minutes and then had to give their agreement.  They didn't meet again, nor communicate in any way, until the yichud room, where the couple goes after the ceremony for their first time alone.

      He had no idea whom he was marrying, besides the fact that his Rebbe and parents and society approved.  If he had passed her on the street between the engagement and the wedding, he wouldn't have recognized her, but then again, he was trained to keep his eyes off of women.  He did what he was expected to do.  As they got used to the arrangement, the marriage was no worse than any in the "freer world."  It was probably even better, since their expectations were simpler and more pragmatic.  Their marriage only ended when he insisted on leaving their Chassidishe life, and she wasn't willing.

      Now to something very different but similar.  I've never been able to relate to the concept of "trying out aliyah."  Once I decided that I was making aliyah, moving to Israel, that was it.  I never added conditions to it.  I had no idea what was awaiting me.

      We got married, got on the boat, docked, made our way to Jerusalem and moved into the Maon Betar, in the Old City.  I washed our laundry in the bathtub and hung it out to dry on this balcony, until a roof was built over it.  Then my husband climbed up to the roof, with a pail of clean,wet laundry and got strange stares from the Arab women who were hanging out their clothes.  It wasn't considered "men's work."  At the end of the day, he'd bring the dry wash back in.  Not quite what we were used to from our New York life.

      In those days you didn't have the expectations today's immigrants have.  In those days nobody lived the way ordinary Israelis live today.  In those days, not only weren't there internet and cellphones for quick communication with "the old country," but a "short wait" for a home phone line meant a year.

      Just like we got married "for keeps," not to "try it out," we made aliyah for keeps, too.

      Sometimes too many choices mean too much trouble.