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      by Tamar Yonah
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      Tamar Yonah is one of Israel's most popular English-speaking radio show hosts. She made Aliyah from Southern California and after serving in the Israeli army began a prolific career in radio, including production, news and program development. She was the original creator and producer of 'The Aliyah Show' and still works whenever she can in that field. Tamar is a political activist, wife and mother residing in Judea and Samaria and currently hosts the top-rated shows of The Weekend Edition & The Tamar Yonah Show. Her award winning blog covers current events, religion, politics and anything else that's on her mind.

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      Shevat 25, 5768, 2/1/2008

      Beautiful Israel

      by Tamar Yonah

      I am guilty of the sin of laziness.  Miri from Yesha has been snowed in for the last two days. Actually, so have I, and I love it.  Time with the family, games, playing in the snow, and hot coffee.  Miri wants me to write another blog to make things interesting. Sorry Miri, I will have to do 'al chet' on my luxuriating in the time off.  I was thinking of writing about the Winograd report that came out.  Actually, all of the state of Israel was 'panting' in wait.  And then when it came out, it was a totally neutered report.

      The Winograd report, for those who don't know, is the Israeli government-appointed commission of inquiry, chaired by Eliyahu Winograd,  retired Israeli judge and was supposed to investigate and draw lessons from the Second Lebanon War. The report was supposed to point out the mistakes, blunders and yes, blame, for the failure of the war.  It did not.  After all the waiting, after all the expectations that now, this would be the end of Olmert as the Prime Minister and we would go to new elections, it was as interesting and effective as a re-run of Gilligan's Island. 

      Most all of us expected the report to bring down the Olmert government.  After all, heads had to fall. Amir Peretz who was the Minister of Defense, lost his position.  The Chief of Staff of the IDF, Dan Halutz  was also forced to resign, and so, it made sense to believe that the Olmert would follow.  After all, 'the buck stops there'.  But no, the report was so obscure, that it was almost a joke.  They didn't mention any names, not even Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's name.  They did not give conclusions of their 'findings', as they were concerned that future Prime Ministers might hesitate to make difficult decisions in the future, for fear of a commissions' nasty reports (Ch.3, para. 12).

      The report could have read:
      "There is someone who works in the government who erred greatly which led to the failure of the Second Lebanon War and destroyed Israel's deterrent factor.  It also led to the deaths of many soldiers who, if the government person was more prepared and experienced, could have prevented the loss of life.  We're not SAYING that the one responsible is the HEAD of the Government.  We mean, it COULD be, but we're not actually saying it EXACTLY. And we're not IMPLYING that there weren't irresponsible BLUNDERS, but maybe we shouldn’t be so hard on these dunce heads because it might make some people defensive and maybe, heaven forbid, bring down the government that has to stay in power (as U.S. President Bush wants) ."

      Oh, Puleeze,,,,

      I have to admit, though I tuned in for the special press conference and was listening to the report, it bored the heck out of me. I knew that I SHOULD watch and listen to it, but I kept switching channels looking for a re-run of Gilligan's Island.

      WHO GOT TO THESE PEOPLE?  Who 'convinced' them not to name names in this long, long 617 page report?  Who convinced them not to point out blame with names, so those responsible could actually take responsibility for it?  The nation was waiting for justice to take place so we could possibly go to new elections. 

      Who didn't want new elections to take place besides the weak Olmert? 

      Let us go back a few weeks in the news and recall the visit of U.S. President Bush.  He came here in order to prop up Olmert, in order to push forward his vision for a New Middle East with the establishment of a Palestinian State. As soon as he stepped off the plane, he is reported to have said to one of our ministers, Eli Yishai, not to leave the government.  "Tomorrow we will have a long, intensive talk in the course of which I will try to convince you not to leave the government…” Bush said.  Now, whenever someone says they want to have ‘intensive talks’, you can be sure there is going to be a LOT of arm twisting, threats and whatever else it is going to take to get their agenda through. Bush was here for approximately two days.  After meetings and photo ops, Bush then left the country with these words to the Israelis:  Keep Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in power. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/124883

      So WHO wanted to keep Olmert in power, that COULD?  Who had the means to do so?  Whose people got to the Winograd commission and neutered them, making sure no names were mentioned, so ‘the buck stops here’ man didn’t get the finger pointed at him? I don’t claim to have the answer.  However, I find it hard to believe that after all the hoopla about the damage the report was going to bring to Olmert, and then it turns out to be a nothing report, that SOMETHING must have happened.  You decide. 

       And so, I will write no more here about the 617 page Winograd report that was so intense, and yet didn’t finger Olmert, the main one, who if he had any honor, would take responsibility and resign.  I have nothing more to say about it.  Instead, I am looking out my window, watching the beautiful snow melting off my car, and I want to relish these last two days at home with my family when we had no school, and we were with family throwing snow balls, building igloos and snowmen in the beautiful Land of Israel.

      I am going to leave you with these two beautiful pieces and a thought as well.
      What would have happened if our ancestors, whose blood flows through our veins, rejected the land of Israel?  See this clip below, and remember how it must have been to leave the super power of the world, Egypt, and go into the desert with an old man, Moshe, just for the privilege of living in The Promised Land.  See below, and only then continue to read (please).  Make sure your speakers are open, and thanks to the reader who sent me this a while back.... 

      And last, I thank again our brave and idealistic ancestors who came to Israel when it was a barren desert land, filled with swamps, malaria, and corrupt, hostile Moslem, Ottoman government.  There were no universities, no operas, no good shopping, no beautiful gardens, no high paying jobs, only what looked like an awfully hard future of back breaking work, malaria, and Arab raids.  Yet they came, against all logic.  Why?  Because they yearned for the Land.  They yearned to work towards something bigger than themselves.  And they put their ‘safety’ secondary to their dreams.  It’s bigger than you and me.  As Joseph Trumpeldor, the ardent zionist said, “Tov la-moot, b’aad artzaynu”  -it is good to die for one’s land.”

      Please view below, this powerpoint presentation of beautiful, beautiful Israel. (I wish I knew who to give credit to, it is just magnificent.) 

      It is because of those before us, and those here today, that we have merited G-d’s gift to the Jewish people.  After viewing the presentation, ask yourself what you can do for Israel to further her advancement, and to further the building of G-d’s precious land.  Don’t miss viewing these awesome, beautiful photos (make sure your speakers are on.  A window may pop up asking you to OPEN or SAVE the powerpoint.  Choose OPEN.)  Click HERE to view, it will take a moment to load. Don't click when it comes on, the presentation will move by itself after a short pause.