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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Michele Flournoy decides she doesn't want to be Defense Secretary either

Michele Flournoy has decided that she doesn't want to be US Secretary of Defense either (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
But in a letter Tuesday to members of the CNAS board of directors, Flournoy said she would remain in her post at the think tank and asked Obama to take her out of consideration to be the next secretary of defense. Flournoy told the board members that family health considerations helped drive her decision and the fact that two of her children are leaving for college in the next two years.
"Last night I spoke with President Obama and removed myself from consideration due to family concerns," reads the letter. "After much agonizing, we decided that now was not the right time for me to reenter government. The good news is that you all are stuck with me for the indefinite future!"
The move means that only one of the three names rumored for the post remains under consideration: Ashton Carter, the former deputy secretary of defense. When Hagel was ousted Monday, speculation had immediately turned to Flournoy, Carter, and Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, a former Army Ranger. But Reed took himself out of the running almost immediately after Hagel announced his resignation.
I wonder whether the history of Obama's Secretaries of Defense had any influence on Flournoy's decision. 
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Monday suggested Hagel had vented “frustration” to him over his treatment by the White House.
The steady stream of stories in recent weeks that suggested Hagel was having a difficult time penetrating the president’s inner circle carried echoes of Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, two past Defense secretaries who went on to write tell-all books critical of the president’s handling of defense policy.
Former Democratic aide Brent Budowsky said Democrats across the Capitol saw Hagel’s ouster as the latest example of “unprecedented” drama created by “too tight and too controlling of an inner circle.”
He noted that not only had each of the president’s previous Defense secretaries voiced concern over his Syria policy, so had former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“This is going to precipitate a very visible battle beginning today and going through the confirmation of his successor about what the policy should be, and highlight the long-term and chronic internal disagreement,” said Budowsky, who is a columnist for The Hill.
Other defense experts say Hagel was not particularly close with the president or members of his national security team. 
"He had no relationships that were already established within this administration," said a retired military officer with current policy experience in Washington, who wanted to speak on background. 
The retired officer noted that Hagel is also older than the president's closest advisers, such as Rice and chief of staff Denis McDonough. 
"The generational difference was a really difficult thing," he said.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Remembering the martyrs

As you might recall, a week ago tonight, I attended a memorial at Maimonides school in Brookline, Mass. for Rabbi Moshe Twersky HY"D (May God Avenge his blood), one of four holy men who were murdered during their morning prayers at Kehillat Bnei Torah in the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem last Tuesday morning. The shiva (seven-day mourning period) for these four men ended on Monday morning, and this evening, Tuesday, I was part of an overflow crowd that spent more than three hours (plus extra time just to get into the synagogue) one floor up from where the terror attack took place, listening to eulogies for those four and praying for five other men who are still hospitalized, many of them still in serious condition.

I won't give you a lot of details of what was said, but I will tell you that I started crying when Rav Yitzchak Mordechai Rubin shlita (May he live for long days and years), the shul's rabbi, brought the story from the Talmud (Gittin 57) of Hannah and her seven sons who were martyred for refusing the Roman emperor's command to bow to an idol, and how she told the last son to go find our forefather Abraham in Heaven and tell him that while he, Abraham, had only offered to make one altar with a son for God (Akeidath Yitzchak, the binding of Isaac), she, Hannah, had made seven altars. Rav Rubin then instructed the four martyrs to go to Abraham and tell him that the synagogue had made four altars for God....

I have an update from Rebbetzin Tzipora Heller, which I would like to share with you (Hat Tip: Mrs. Carl).
The men who died in Kehillas Bnei Torah died as they lived; they were dedicated to living with emunah, faith in God, and beginning their days with dedication. They were killed for not being Muslim. When my daughter Miri received the call from the hospital social worker telling her to get to Hadassah hospital as soon as possible and not to come alone, it was one of the worst moments that anyone could experience. All four people in the car spent the 20-minute ride saying all of the variations of "I can't believe that this can be happening. It sounds terrible" that you can possibly imagine. When we were allowed into the recovery room to see Shmuli after his initial surgery, there were no tears; we were too shell-shocked. It takes only seconds to assume a new sort of normal.
When I asked the nurse about the trickle of blood that I saw flowing out of Shmuli's ear, she told me that they were able to control the majority of the flow, and that this isn't really significant. When they do the second surgery they'll take care of it. The answer sounded reasonable and left me feeling relieved. I had accepted that blood coming out of a man's head was normal, and that a second surgery was something to look forward to. I don't know what Miri was thinking, but the one thing that I know never crossed her mind or mine was regret.
Neither of us wished that he would have stayed home from the synagogue that Tuesday morning any more than Sunday or Monday. Neither of us wished that my grandson Mordechai would be the kind of kid who doesn't like to go to shul with his dad. We both know that the villain of the story isn't the coincidences of time and place that led them to be in Kehillas Bnei Torah Tuesday morning. The villain is the man with the cleaver and the man with the gun.
They are the stars of the tragedy but you can't let yourself be blind to the fact that they are supported by a cast of thousands. The countless kids who are taught hatred from their earliest youth for anyone who isn't them. The kadi in the mosque who spews out Itbach al Yahud (kill the Jews) in his Friday sermon after duly praising Allah the Compassionate. There are bit players in the ongoing drama. They have made the media the message, and the subtle and not so subtle anti-Semitism disguised pathological hatred for Israel all deserve billing.
Neither Miri nor I thought about them at the moment. We were both aware of something much bigger, more real than the ongoing soap opera called Them against Us. It's called faith in God, Who can turn things around in a moment, and whose Will isn't known to us but His ongoing kindness is. It was the only thing that mattered in the recovery room.
Read the whole thing.

As  I was leaving the synagogue this evening, I noticed a handwritten sign on the wall. It asked in Hebrew and English that anyone who has a freezer from R. Aryeh Kopinsky HY"D's Gmach should call a certain number.

May God Have mercy on the families of all the victims, and give them the strength to continue.

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Oh my: Times' public editor all but admits Matti Friedman was right

You will recall that over the summer, I blogged a Tablet Magazine article in which former AP Jerusalem reporter Matti Friedman accused the international media of institutional bias against Israel. Now, New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan has admitted that many of Friedman's allegations were correct.

Perhaps the most eye-opening tidbit of the piece is Sullivan’s disclosure that “The Times has no native Arabic speakers in its [Jerusalem] bureau.” This, she notes, can make it difficult for the paper to adequately cover Palestinians in all their complexity. It’s a concern Matti Friedman raised in his widely shared Tablet critique of media coverage of Israel, which Sullivan cites in her column. “If you follow mainstream coverage, you will find nearly no real analysis of Palestinian society or ideologies, profiles of armed Palestinian groups, or investigation of Palestinian government,” Friedman wrote. “Palestinians are not taken seriously as agents of their own fate … Who they are and what they want is not important: The story mandates that they exist as passive victims of the party that matters.”
Sullivan picks up where Friedman left off, and recommends that the Times invest in beefing up its investigation of Palestinians:
Diversify. Strengthen the coverage of Palestinians. They are more than just victims, and their beliefs and governance deserve coverage and scrutiny. Realistic examinations of what’s being taught in schools, and the way Hamas operates should be a part of this. What is the ideology of Hamas; what are its core beliefs and its operating principles? What is Palestinian daily life like? I haven’t seen much of this in The Times. There should be a native Arabic speaker on staff who can penetrate Palestinian society with understanding and solid news judgment.
Here are some of Sullivan's other recommendations
Include more. Provide as much historical and geopolitical context as possible in individual articles, within the space constraints of news coverage. Include, too, whenever possible, a sense of the region – for example, that the rise of radical Islam is not a distant issue for Israel but a very real one and a very local one.
Stop straining for symmetry. In headlines, in side-by-side photos, in photo galleries, the Times sometimes looks like it is running scared. Maybe this is just an excess of sensitivity, but it doesn’t reflect the core value of news judgment above all.
So can someone please explain why the Times chose not to cover John Kerry's blaming 'Palestinian' incitement for last week's terror attack in Har Nof?

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A Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) is a guidance kit that converts unguided bombs, or "dumb bombs" into all-weather "smart" munitions. JDAM-equipped bombs are guided by an integrated inertial guidance system coupled to a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver, giving them a published range of up to 15 nautical miles (28 km). JDAM-equipped bombs range from 500 pounds (227 kg) to 2,000 pounds (907 kg). When installed on a bomb, the JDAM kit is given a GBU (Guided Bomb Unit) nomenclature, superseding the Mark 80 or BLU (Bomb, Live Unit) nomenclature of the bomb to which it is attached.
The JDAM is not a stand-alone weapon, rather it is a "bolt-on" guidance package that converts unguided gravity bombs into Precision-Guided Munitions, or PGMs. The key components of the system consist of a tail section with aerodynamic control surfaces, a (body) strake kit, and a combined inertial guidance system and GPS guidance control unit.

The JDAM was meant to improve upon laser-guided bomb and imaging infrared technology, which can be hindered by bad ground and weather conditions. Laser seekers are now being fitted to some JDAMs.

From 1998 to August 20, 2013, Boeing delivered 250,000 JDAM kits, producing over 40 guidance kits per day.
250,000 in 15 years - or about 16,000 per year. That ought to put this number in perspective (Hat Tip: Michael Yon).
Nov 24/14: Israel. Israel is buying 3,000 JDAM tail kits with “the ultra-tightly coupled capability,” using a maximum $82.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification. This isn’t Israel’s first buy (q.v. Dec 12/10 request, April 12/13).
Work will be performed at St. Louis, MO, and is expected to be complete by Nov 30/16. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center at Hill AFB, UT (FA8213-15-D-0002, DO 0001, MOD 02).
 Yon asks whether Hamas is tracking this order. I think it might be of even more interest to Iran. Heh.

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If Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people, why can't we say so?

Silly me.

I always thought we were a Jewish state. We have a Jewish calendar. Our holidays are the Jewish holidays that have been existent for three thousand years (with one addition). Our day of rest is Saturday. So what's wrong with saying that we're a Jewish state? Why does the world go into such a rage over that simple declaration, while it doesn't care that there are Islamic states (which have made themselves free of Jews) and Christian states? This is the New York Times.
A nationalities bill has long been sought by Israel’s right wing, and the initial draft they produced downgraded Arabic from an official language to one with “special status.” That and other antagonistic elements are likely to be dropped from the version that reaches Parliament.
But in this time of high tensions and violence between Jews and Arabs, incited by competing claims to the sacred site in the heart of Jerusalem — called the Temple Mount by Jews and Noble Sanctuary by Muslims — any measure that claims a pre-eminent status for Jews can only add fuel to the fire.
Mr. Netanyahu says that the nationality bill is necessary because there were so many challenges to Israel’s existence. But it is hard to see how a law would put a stop to that. There is also speculation in the Israeli press that the prime minister has been pushing the bill as a political sop to right-wing members of his fractious coalition — indeed, the cabinet vote was split 14 to 6 along ideological lines, with two centrist parties opposing it.
The political battle could yet bring the government down. Neither argument justifies a fundamental change to Israeli law and guiding principles.
Having experienced the grievous legacies created when a government diminishes the rights of its people, we know this not the path that Israel should take.
Diminishes the rights of its people? How so? No one is going to be forced to be Jewish, to keep the Sabbath, or to keep the Jewish holidays any more so than they are today. What the law does is to instruct the 'supreme court' to stop intruding into areas where it doesn't belong by claiming to protect democracy at the expense of Jewish observance.

Who opposes this bill? Mostly people outside Israel (isn't it funny that the Times thinks that we're the only democracy in the world that isn't capable of deciding things for itself?). Jeff Dunetz got it right.
The critics of the “Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People,” bills coming from two places, liberal in observance and secular Jews who believe it is possible to separate Jewishness from the religion, and media sources that will criticize Israel for anything she does.

Truth be told, Israel cannot demand that the Palestinians recognize her as the “Jewish State,” if Israel herself doesn’t recognize it as a Jewish State.

As long as the bill recognizes individual rights and freedom and continues to allow everyone equal voting rights, Israel will remain what it always has been a Democratic and Jewish State.

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Of course: 'Palestinians' identify with blacks in Ferguson, Mo.

I don't think this needs too much commentary.
The flip side is that the Ferguson protesters are all running around with 'Palestinian' keffiyehs.

Who says that the US isn't involved in the same battle that we are?

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Iran wants to arm 'West Bank' 'Palestinians'

According to Israel Radio, this Twitter account really is tweeted from Ayatollah Ali Khameni's office.

Just think what they would do if they had nuclear weapons....

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Video: Survivor describes Har Nof terror attack

Survivor Rabbi Shmuel Goldstein describes the Har Nof terror attack, which took place a week ago today.

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Zvi S).

Rabbi Goldstein's story was also described here.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Livestream of eulogies for Rabbi Moshe Twersky HY"D

There's a livestream of the eulogies for Rabbi Moshe Twersky HY"D (May God Avenge his blood) here.

Rabbi Twersky's younger brother Mayer is speaking now.

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We've only just begun....

We need to get in the mood for this one.

Let's go to the videotape.

In case you haven't heard yet, the P 5+1 has only just begun negotiating with Iran over its nuclear weapons capability. What's the hurry? The talks have now been extended for another seven months to July 1, 2015 (so that's more than seven months, so sue me...) (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gave a more somber assessment, saying "real and substantial progress had been made but adding that "some significant points of disagreement" remained.
"These talks are not going to get easier just because we extend them. They're tough. They've been tough. And they're going to stay tough," he told reporters.
Gee, didn't he say the same thing about the Israeli-'Palestinian' talks? Those lasted forever and didn't get anywhere either.

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Hagel takes the fall for Obama's failed Iran policy? Forced out as US Defense Secretary

Chuck Hagel has been forced out as US Secretary of Defense.

Let's go to the videotape.

The irony is that after we here in Israel were very much opposed to Hagel's nomination, he actually got along with Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon (unlike Obama and Kerry), and seemed to be following Hippocrates' rule of first doing no harm with respect to our country.

The New York Times says that Hagel was the fall guy for Obama's failures to handle ISIS (Islamic State) and Ebola
Administration officials said that Mr. Obama made the decision to remove Mr. Hagel, the sole Republican on his national security team, last Friday after a series of meetings between the two men over the past two weeks.
The officials characterized the decision as a recognition that the threat from the militant group Islamic State will require different skills from those that Mr. Hagel, who often struggled to articulate a clear viewpoint and was widely viewed as a passive defense secretary, was brought in to employ.
Mr. Hagel, a combat veteran who was skeptical about the Iraq war, came in to manage the Afghanistan combat withdrawal and the shrinking Pentagon budget in the era of budget sequestrations.
“The next couple of years will demand a different kind of focus,” one administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. He insisted that Mr. Hagel was not fired, saying that the defense secretary initiated discussions about his future two weeks ago with the president, and that the two men mutually agreed that it was time for him to leave.
But Mr. Hagel’s aides had maintained in recent weeks that he expected to serve the full four years as defense secretary. His removal appears to be an effort by the White House to show that it is sensitive to critics who have pointed to stumbles in the government’s early response to several national security issues, including the Ebola crisis and the threat posed by the Islamic State.
 The bigger problem is that Hagel is a Republican.

Would it be too much to hope for Michele Flournoy?

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Funny you should mention that

During a wild cabinet debate over a controversial bill that would - get this - declare Israel to be a Jewish state, Yair, son of Tommy Lapid came up with this argument against the bill (quote from first link).
Lapid recounted speaking with the family of Zidan Saif, the Druse police officer who was killed defending Jewish worshipers in the Jerusalem synagogue massacre last week.

“What will we tell them, that [Saif] is a second-rate citizen?” he asked.
Funny you should mention that, because the Druze community in Israel is all in favor of Israel being a Jewish state
Israeli Druze “are not Palestinians,” a Druze leader said regarding a proposed law to officially codify Israel’s status as a “Jewish state.”
As opposed to Muslim Arabs, members of the Druze community tend to be pro-Israel.
“We are not Palestinians and do not have religious or cultural connections with them, but are full Israeli citizens. I want the state to be a Jewish state and not one of ‘all its citizens,’” said Atta Farhat, the head of the Druze Zionist Council for Israel, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Farhat said Jews “respect others and their way of life.”
“We see what is happening in Iraq, Egypt, and other Arab countries. We don’t want to live under a government of darkness, but where we have freedom,” added Farhat.

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'Palestinians' can't muster 9 Security Council votes

The 'Palestinian Authority' has delayed its 'statehood bid' at the United Nations after realizing that it could not even muster the nine United Nations Security Council votes that it would need to force the United States to veto the bid.
Malki told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency that the decision to postpone the statehood bid came following US pressure and threats, as well as the failure of the PA to secure the backing of nine Security Council members in favor of the statehood bid.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas said two weeks ago that he was determined to proceed with his plan to seek a Security Council resolution that would set a timetable for a full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines.

Abbas was hoping that the resolution would declare all the territories captured by Israel in 1967, including east Jerusalem, as the lands of the future Palestinian state.

Abbas and other PA officials repeatedly denied over the past few weeks that they had any intention to call off or delay the application to the Security Council.

But Malki confirmed on Monday that the PA leadership has decided to postpone the move. He did not say whether the PA would resume its statehood bid any time in the near future.

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Shimon Peres compares 'Palestinians' to Nazis

Yes, he did.

But first, let's go to the videotape.

Yes, that's the entry hallway to the synagogue, right outside the study hall where last Tuesday's terror attack took place. But Peres apparently made his statement while visiting the mourners.
"My grandfather, Tzvi Meltzer, was murdered in a synagogue by Nazis as he was wrapped in a prayer shawl just for being a Jew," related Peres. "Today too, our people are united under faith against all murder and terror. The memory of your loved ones will be blessed."
Peres was accompanied by Rabbi David Yosef, Sheikh Kablan of the Israeli Druze community, Ali Saeed of the Bedouin community and Abu Ghosh mayor Salim Jaber.

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US fears Iran to ramp up nuke production

With the P 5+1 talks on the verge of collapse and the US seeking an extension beyond today's deadline, the Wall Street Journal cites American fears that the talks' collapse will lead to Iran ramping up its nuclear production.
American officials have said in recent weeks that they believe Tehran could quickly ramp up its production of nuclear fuel, and potentially sabotage U.S. efforts to combat Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, if the negotiating process ends.
The Journal also reports on American skepticism whether Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif is empowered to make any concessions to cut a deal.
Some senior Western diplomats involved in the Vienna talks also doubted Tehran would be willing to significantly change its position in the coming months.
“The [Iranian] negotiating team that is in Vienna—they are open, nice people, who are doing the best they can,” said the official. “The problem is that you have some who I’m not sure have the mandate to get to the place they need.”
Mr. Kerry held four hours of negotiations on Sunday with his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, in a bid to push the diplomatic process forward, according to U.S. officials. The foreign ministers of the U.K., France, Russia, Germany, and Saudi Arabia also visited Vienna, and China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, is expected to arrive Monday morning. 
U.S., European and Iranian officials said they have made progress over the past year in negotiations that have crisscrossed the world from Oman to New York. But Obama administration officials increasingly are questioning whether Iran’s most powerful political player, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has empowered Mr. Zarif and other negotiators to make the necessary concessions for a deal. Mr. Zarif has repeatedly said he’s empowered to negotiate but that Mr. Khamenei is the ultimate decision maker.
That, of course, was utterly predictable.

Obama will ultimately face the choice of taking military action or allowing Iran to attain nuclear weapons status on his watch. I don't think he really cares any more. He has his Nobel Peace Prize and he's a lame duck facing two houses of Congress that won't pass his agenda but have very little power to force him to act on the foreign policy front.

What could go wrong?

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77% of Israeli Arabs prefer Israel to 'Palestine'

A Channel 10 news poll shows that 77% of Israeli Arabs would rather live in Israel than in 'Palestine.' (The tweet comes from the AP's Dan Williams in case any of you doubt my translation of the graphic).
The percentage might actually be even higher because Arab respondents generally hesitate to say that they prefer Israel over 'Palestine.'

But this has to make you wonder: Just whom are the likes of Hanin Zoabi representing in the Knesset and how do they keep getting elected?

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Chilling audio of R. Moshe Twersky HY"D talking about sanctifying God's name in death

Received by email (Hat Tip: Abraham S).

Chilling audio of Rav Moshe Twersky Hy"d, who was killed in Tuesday's terror attack in Har Nof. In the audio, the 59-year-old senior maggid shiur at Yeshiva Toras Moshe in Yerushalayim is addressing his talmidim (students) on Tuesday, June 22, 2012. He is discussing the topic of kiddush Hashem (sanctifying God's Name) and tells his talmidim (students) that it could "happen anywhere."

"Again, you have to be ready for kiddush Hashem. You can never tell. One never knows," Rav Twersky is heard saying. "It could happen anywhere. It could happen in Moscow, it could happen in Paris, in London, it could happen in New York, it could happen in Yerushalayim somewhere. Some Arab could come up with a knife and it could happen. It could happen. Not mufkah (implausible) today. Anywhere. Any place. Anytime. Any place it could happen."

Indeed it did, Hashem yeracheim (May God Have mercy). This great gaon (genius) in Torah and avodah (worshiping God) lived a life of kiddush Hashem and lost his life al kiddush Hashem. He continues
to serve as a source of inspiration to his talmidim (students) and now to tens of thousands all over the world. Yehi zichro boruch (May his memory be blessed). Hashem yikom domov (May God Avenge his blood).

And here's the audio (in English this time). 


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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Terrorists' mothers demand sons' bodies

Last Tuesday, I reported that Jerusalem police did not intend to return the Har Nof terrorists' bodies. Now, the proud mothers are demanding that the bodies be turned over to them.
“Let them destroy the houses, but we want the bodies back. We will not calm down until we bury them,” said Fatma Abu Jamal, the mother of Uday.
“The deaths of the cousins hurts us, but I am proud of my son,” Zakia Abu Jamal, Ghassan’s mother, told Ynet. “I didn’t get the feeling that my son was about to die as a martyr. He acted completely normal, but, unfortunately, was is happening at al-Aqsa [mosque] is the cause of a lot of tension and anger,” she added, referring to recent violence at the Temple Mount and widespread Palestinian assertions — denied by Israel — that Israel is planning to change the status quo at the site, the holiest in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam.
Fatma Abu Jamal said she was anxious to receive the body of her son. “We want to have the bodies so we can decide where to bury them, and not the Israeli government. They killed them, what more do they want from us?” she said.
Let them starve themselves to death. There is absolutely no way that our government should allow them to incite the 'Palestinian' masses by a public funeral.

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The military option is back on the table

Have to get someone to photoshop Hassan Rohani into this photoshop....

Michael Willner of the JPost reports that Israel is putting its military option to take out Iran's nuclear weapons back on the table in light of the deal that is being reached in Vienna.
World powers have presented Iran with an accord that would restrict its nuclear program for roughly ten years and cap its ability to produce fissile material for a weapon during that time to a minimum nine-month additional period, from the current three months.

Should Tehran agree, the deal may rely on Russia to convert Iran's current uranium stockpile into fuel rods for peaceful use. The proposal would also include an inspection regime that would attempt to follow the program's entire supply chain, from the mining of raw material to the syphoning of that material to various nuclear facilities across Iran.

Israel's leaders believe the best of a worst-case scenario, should that deal be reached, is for inspections to go perfectly and for Iran to choose to abide by the deal for the entire decade-long period.

But "our intelligence agencies are not perfect," an Israeli official said. "We did not know for years about Natanz and Qom. And inspection regimes are certainly not perfect. They weren't in the case in North Korea, and it isn't the case now – Iran's been giving the IAEA the run around for years about its past activities."

"What's going to happen with that?" the official continued. "Are they going to sweep that under the rug if there's a deal?"


But compounding Israel's fears, the proposal Jerusalem has seen shows that mass dismantlement of Iran's nuclear infrastructure – including the destruction, and not the mere warehousing, of its parts – is no longer on the table in Vienna.

"Iran's not being asked to dismantle the nuclear infrastructure," the Israeli official said, having seen the proposal before the weekend. "Right now what they're talking about is something very different. They're talking about Ayatollah Khamenei allowing the P5+1 to save face."


Yet, more than any single enforcement standard or cap included in the deal, Israel believes the Achilles' heel of the proposed agreement is its definitive end date – the sunset clause.

"You've not dismantled the infrastructure, you've basically tried to put limits that you think are going to be monitored by inspectors and intelligence," said the official, "and then after this period of time, Iran is basically free to do whatever it wants."
The result is that Israel is once again weighing a military option.
Without an exit ramp, Israel insists its hands will not be tied by an agreement reached this week, this month or next, should it contain a clause that ultimately normalizes Iran's home-grown enrichment program.

On the surface, its leadership dismisses fears that Israel will be punished or delegitimized if it disrupts an historic, international deal on the nuclear program with unilateral military action against its infrastructure.

By framing the deal as fundamentally flawed, regardless of its enforcement, Israel is telling the world that it will not wait to see whether inspectors do their jobs as ordered.

"Ten, fifteen years in the life of a politician is a long time," the Israeli said, in a vague swipe against the political directors now scrambling in Vienna. "In the life of a nation, it's nothing."

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'Palestinians' try to justify Har Nof terror attack

This Facebook post is simply beyond belief:

The four men who were murdered last Tuesday were all apolitical. None of them came here to 'occupy' anything. They came here because Jews are commanded by God to live in the land of Israel.

And you still think the 'Palestinians' are interested in peace?

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What excites 'human rights watch's Whitson

Here's what gets 'human rights watch's Sarah Leah Whitson all riled up:
Funny. In the United States, if someone sells drugs in a house, the house is subject to forfeiture, even if the owner knew nothing about it. Does Whitson consider that 'medieval'?

Home demolition as punishment was brought to this country by the British Mandate. Does Whitson consider Britain 'medieval'?

Egypt flattened 800 homes to make a buffer between Gaza and its Rafah border. Don't recall hearing Whitson calling that 'medieval.' 

Or maybe Whitson's real problem with home demolitions is if they're carried out by Israel.

Just sayin'....

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Anyone in Boston today?

They got the name of the synagogue wrong (it's called Kehillat Bnei Torah) but here are the details of Sunday's vigil in Boston.

Copley Square Plaza
Sunday, Nov. 23rd, 4:30 PM

Please spread the word
Bring signs, candles, flashlights and glowsticks.
Remind the world that Israelis must be able to pray in peace,
without fear from HAMAS-inspired murderers.
Stand up for those who are no longer here to stand up for themselves.
Sponsors (in formation) Include:

Young Israel of Brookline
Kehillath Israel
Maimonides School           
Temple Reyim
Boston Israel Action Committee
Congregation Beth El Atereth Israel
Temple Emeth
Congregation Shaarei Tefillah

Three of the four victims of Tuesday's terror attack were Americans (the fourth was British), and one of them was a Bostonian.


There's a similar event in Toronto on Tuesday. But this one isn't only Jews.

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This man was a Gmach

A Gmach is a kindness fund. There are all kinds of Gmach's in Jerusalem. Some find rides. Some lend chairs or benches. Some lend pillows on which to place a newborn baby before and after his circumcision. But only one lent freezers. That Gmach's owner was murdered in last Tuesday's terror attack. His name was R. Aryeh Kupinsky HY"D (May God Avenge his blood). Here's his story. (Again, with apologies to those who don't understand the occasional Hebrew that's thrown in).
Now, Aryeh was a big man. He towered over most anyone, was broad in the shoulders and deep in the chest, and he had a long, red beard.
But it was not his physical appearance that allowed Rafi to recall him. Stricken, he asked, “Aryeh Kupinsky? The one who always had a big smile?” Aryeh was a doer. When I think of him, the image my mind conjures up is one of Aryeh in motion. Long legs taking great strides, powerful arms reaching out with great sweeping gestures. And what is Aryeh doing? Why, he’s helping someone. Aryeh lived for others. His first thought was never for himself.
As Rabbi Jonathan Taub put it so well, Aryeh was simply incapable of being a guest at a Simcha. If he was there early, then he would single-handedly flip over tables and set them on their feet. He often did not leave until everything was put away. Once, a friend insisted that he sit, enjoy himself, and let those who were hired do the work. When he next saw Aryeh, he had lugged in all of the cartons of drinks that he had located outside of the hall, and he was finishing loading them into the refrigerator.
How many times had I heard him say, “What can I do to help?” When I first came to Yeshivah nearly two decades ago, someone explained to me that Aryeh Kupinsky was a person who would “Do anything, for anyone, at any time”. Aryeh was recently married when I first met him, but I heard that in his dorm room when he was a Bachur, he had put up a sign that read, “Please borrow anything – no need to ask”. Who DOES that?
Aryeh acted quickly and quietly. He asked for no recognition,and many were unaware of things that he had done. Here is one example that comes to mind. On Tisha b’Av for the past number of years, on the Neve campus, there has been a very well-attended program featuring superb lecturers. Beginning with Shacharis and ending with Minchah, the program has incorporated Kinos interspersed with hard-hitting, powerful, and sometimes fiery speeches. By two o’clock in the afternoon, everyone has gone home. Well, nearly everyone. There was one man who made sure that the Sefer Torah and two Haftarah scrolls that has been used for Davening were returned from the dining room to the Shul, and that the Aron Kodesh was properly locked.
Aryeh sought to establish something permanent in Chaya’s memory. We live in such a world of Shefa, b’Chasei Hashem. And with so many good, kind Yidden in the world, there are hundreds of categories found listed under “Gemach” in Frum directories worldwide. But Aryeh Kupinsky, Ba’al Chesed extraordinaire, managed to found a Gemach rare enough that – to the best of my knowledge – there is only one other one in existence. A freezer Gemach! He purchased a number of medium-sized freezers – of the six-drawer variety – and advertised that they would be available free of charge for use before Yomin Tovim and Simchos. He told me – with a mixture of incredulity and regret – that before Rosh Hashanah, he had to turn down 92 applicants. *Ninety-two*! Just days before Aryeh was so brutally taken from us, he was attempting to figure out how to acquire more freezers for this noble purpose.
What elevated Aryeh’s Gemach from merely unique to awe-inspiring, however, was the manner in which he ran it.
If you know anything about Har Nof, you know that it is built around a mountain. Every street is on another level, and many are stories below or above those closest to them. The entire neighborhood is made up of long, winding streets, and steep, winding staircases. 
Leaving the Kevurah, a member of the Chaburah related that he had yelled at Aryeh the last time that he had spoken to him. He had come across Aryeh while he was transporting a freezer from one recipient to another. On a hand truck. This was the only mode of transportation employed by the Gemach – hand-wheeled, bumped up and down every step and along every roadway. And there was only one “employee”.
“Are you crazy?!” our friend asked Aryeh. “Isn’t it enough that you furnish people with a free freezer? Let them pay fifty Shekel for delivery!” Aryeh recoiled. “This is my Chesed!” he protested.
I have seen in these last two days blurbs describing Aryeh that mention that he ran a Gemach. Aryeh did not run a Gemach. He *was* a Gemach. On that fateful Tuesday morning, when the Mispalelim became aware of the malevolence among them, they ran for their lives. Not so Aryeh. Numerous reports have Aryeh screaming at everyone in the Shul to run, while he made sure that they could. He hurled shtenders, chairs, Siddurim – whatever came to hand – at the terrorists to distract them, at one point physically restraining one of them. There were others who followed his example. After taking multiple blows – some intended for others – Aryeh fell. There is no doubt that he saved others’ lives.
There was an unexpected delay when we arrived at the plot in Har ha’Menu chos where Chaya is buried. The gaping hole in the ground was not quite long enough. We waited in the dark while the Chevra Kadisha took out their tools, and finally the earth reluctantly took Aryeh back.
Chaya a"h was R. Aryeh's 13-year old daughter who passed away two years ago. You can read more about her and R. Aryeh if you read the whole thing

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Anti-Semitism in the Ivy League

Welcome to the campus of Cornell University, where being Jewish isn't a whole lot different than it would be at Bir Zeit... if Bir Zeit admitted Jews.

Let's go to the videotape.

Much more about another American college campus gone anti-Semitic from my friends at Legal Insurrection here.

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Exclusive: Rabbi of Kehillat Bnei Torah eulogizes Druze police officer

The picture collage above is from the funeral of the Druze police officer Zeidaf Saif, who was murdered at the terror attack in Har Nof on Tuesday morning. In the middle picture, there's a man speaking at the microphone who looks a little out of place. He is Rav Yitzchak Mordechai Rubin, the rabbi of Kehillat Bnei Torah, where the terror attack took place.

I have tape (sound only, Hebrew only - sorry) of the Rabbi's eulogy.

It's below.


And here's a second collage of photos:

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Kerry blames 'Palestinian' incitement for Har Nof attack, NY Times fails to report it

Poor John Kerry. He finally does the right thing and unequivocally places the blame for a terror attack on the 'Palestinians'... and the New York Times won't even report it.
The New York Times is being criticized for failing to report on some versions of its stories, on Secretary of State John Kerry’s unusually unequivocal statement saying that Palestinian incitement was directly responsible for the Jerusalem massacre. He said that the murders were “a pure result of incitement” by Palestinian Authority leaders during the days before, to attack Israelis.
This was one of the most blunt statements made in recent years by a senior U.S. official against the Palestinian leadership. But according to reports in the U.S., the domestic American edition of the New York Times, which devotes so much space day after day criticizing Israel, decided to omit it from its print report the day after the massacre, and remove it from its website stories during the day of the massacre having initially posted it.
Kerry said “people who had come to worship God in the sanctuary of a synagogue were hatcheted and hacked and murdered in that holy place in an act of pure terror and senseless brutality and murder. I call on the Palestinian leadership at every single level to condemn this in the most powerful terms… this kind of act, which is a pure result of incitement of calls for days of rage, of just an irresponsibility, is unacceptable.”
Kerry is right. Here's an example that was posted on the internet on Tuesday - the day of the Har Nof attack. 

Let's go to the videotape.

The Times should be condemned as a facilitator of terrorism. Where is the outrage?

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Daughter of Har Nof terror victim speaks about her father

This is Michal Levine, the daughter of terror victim Rabbi Kalman Levine HY"D (May God Avenge his blood), speaking about her father.

Let's go to the videotape.

More here.


Desperate for a deal: West dropping demand that Iran make full disclosure of its nuclear weapons program

Reuters reported earlier this evening that the West is dropping its demand that Iran make full disclosure of its nuclear weapons program as part of any deal with the P 5+1. The 'deadline' for a deal is Monday.

Officially, the United States and its Western allies say it is vital that Iran fully addresses the concerns of the U.N. nuclear agency if it wants a diplomatic settlement that would end sanctions severely hurting its oil-based economy.
"Iran’s previous activities have to come to light and be explained," a senior Western diplomat said.
Privately, however, some officials acknowledge that Iran would probably never admit to what they believe it was guilty of: covertly working in the past to develop the means and expertise needed to build a nuclear-armed missile.

A senior Western official said the six would try to "be creative" in coming up with a formula that would satisfy demands by those who want Iran to come clean about any atomic bomb research and those who say it is unrealistic to expect the country to openly acknowledge it.
The outcome could also affect the standing of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which for years has been trying to investigate what it calls the possible military dimensions (PMD) of Iran's nuclear program. 
While the global powers - the United States, France, Germany, Russia, China and Britain - seek to persuade Iran to scale back its uranium enrichment program to lengthen the timeline for any bid to assemble nuclear arms, the IAEA is investigating possible research on designing an actual bomb. 

If an eventual accord does not put strong pressure on Iran to increase cooperation with the IAEA by making it a condition for some sanctions relief, it may hurt its future credibility, according to some diplomats accredited to the agency.

"You don't want to undermine the integrity of the IAEA," one said. 

The IAEA issued a report in 2011 with intelligence information indicating concerted activities until about a decade ago that could be relevant for developing nuclear bombs, some of which the U.N. agency said may be continuing.
I guess that like his boss, John Kerry has decided that an empty peace prize is better than no peace prize. 

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This is how it happened

This was sent to me by a number of people. With apologies to those who don't understand the Hebrew words that are thrown in....
We heard the ambulances. We heard there was a terrorist attack. Then we heard it was at our shul down the road. We got a phone call from Chaya Levine asking my husband to please look at the shul next door to see if Rav Kalman was there. My husband had dovened neitz with him just a short time ago. Rav Kalman gave him a hearty “yashar koach” for his duchening, and went back to learn. My husband came home to get Binyomin Dovid ready for the school bus.
You see Tuesday morning is Abba day- Binyomin Dovid looks forward toTuesday morning all week-. maybe because Abba puts ketchup on the cheese sandwich- or puts more pretzels in the bag than Ima does, or more salt on the salad. Or maybe because he so loves his Abba and their special morning together. And because Tuesday is their special day, my husband dovens at the neitz minyon next to our house, instead of his regular minyon in Kehillas Bnei Torah. My husband might have gone to his regular minyon anyway. Since he was often the only Kohen, on Tuesdays he would pop in for chazaras hashatz just to duchen for them. The carnage occurred during chazaras HaShatz. But Hashem had other plans for my husband. A few months ago a member of the shul, a Kohen, became an avel-a mourner- and he asked my husband if he could be the regular ba'al tefila. This Tuesday my husband did not go back to duchen, because he knew there would be a Kohen in his minyon. So after neitz at HaGra, he came home from shul. But Kalman- where was Kalman? My husband went back to HaGra to look for him. But he had left. Kalman had gone to Rav Rubin’s shul to ask the Rav a question. And Kalman did not come home.
We heard names- we heard rumors- we didn’t want to believe they were true. Rav Moshe Twersky- the kind talmid chacham who always made time for those who came to him for guidance and halachic advice, and then taught and learned until late at night. He was the one to whom my husband would turn with questions that came up in the minyon. It was Rav Moshe who said at his son’s aufruf that this minyon was like mishpacha. We had lost a family member.
R’ Aryeh Kupinski. R’Aryeh? No- not R’ Aryeh? Haven’t they suffered enough? When his daughter Chaya died suddenly in her sleep he was mekabel the din with pure deep faith- and went on to be mechazek others. R’ Aryeh- always running to help others; always a smile on his face- despite constant challenges. R’ Aryeh was the one who yelled “you run, I’ll fight” using a chair against a gun and a hatchet to buy time so that others could flee. The ultimate chesed.
The names to doven. Shmuel Yerucham ben Baila. Chaim Yechiel ben Malka. Eitan ben Sarah. Yitzchak ben Chaya. All still in need of tremendous Rachmei Shamayim. Please continue to storm the gates of rachamim on their behalf. Avraham Shmuel ben Sheina. Then the rumors turned to agonizing truth- Avraham Shmuel ben Aharon hy”d. Mr Goldberg. That nice warm smiley gentleman who loved Torah and Torah scholars, and every single Jew. Who learned every morning and only then went to work. My husband would set up a shtender for Mr. Goldberg and he in turn would lay out a siddur for Rav Twersky. That was the kind of minyon it was. It can’t be. But it was.
What about Rav Kalman? We still didn’t know for sure – rumors flying- but Rav Kalman was the most alive person in the world. He was the reason many people came to our shul on Simchas Torah- to see Rav Kalman’s ecstatic dancing with his beloved Torah. We should have known if he didn’t come home and didn’t call something was terribly wrong. But we couldn’t believe it could be. And then we heard. The brutal animals shot as they yelled out their vicious war cry. They butchered Rav Kalman as he stood in the hallway absorbed in a sefer-those few seconds gave some of the men in the minyon time to flee out another door. Rav Kalman’s last act of ahavas Yisroel was to save the life of his friends.
And now- Rav Moshe הי"ד, Rav Aryeh הי"ד, Rav Avraham הי"ד, Rav Kalman הי"ד are in the Beis Medrash shel maalah- with their beloved Torah.
Between the hope and the tears we spoke. “Chaya, do you remember….”. Binyomin Dovid was a sickly baby with Down syndrome and a host of medical issues and I needed chizuk. I made my way to Bnei Brak to see Rebbetzin Kanievsky. I waited outside until it was my turn. I came in to her- a sleeping baby in my arms. Rebbetzin Kanievsky took one look at him and said “you don’t know what shmira (protection) you have in your home”. I thought I understood. Perhaps, I thought, other things would be easier because this would be difficult. But now, almost 13 years later, I understand. BD was the only reason my husband was not in his minyon that morning. And because he knew my husband wasn’t coming, his post dovening chevrusa- a stalwart regular in that minyon, decided to doven elsewhere that morning. We could not have imagined so many years ago that our son would save his father’s life and the life of his chavrusa.
The stories abound. Those who were saved- Rav E- an elderly gentleman who takes a cab the half a block each morning- but THIS morning the cab didn’t come. Rabbi L was on his way to that minyon and for some reason he cannot explain, found himself turning into a closer shul, and stayed there. A. was up during the night helping his wife who felt unwell, so he decided to doven elsewhere. R’ S who smashed a terrorist over the head twice with a chair to try to stop his shooting, and somehow managed to run out unscathed. Rav P, Reb B, Rav Pr and Rav F who somehow ran through the line of fire out the door. Rav S who was hiding behind the bima until something told him to get out- and he managed to run through the side door. Rav I saw one of the terrorists in the kitchen on his way in earlier. He thought he was one of the many who come into the shul to take a free cup of coffee in the morning. Why didn’t he shoot him then? He escaped through a side door when the shooting started in the shul. Dr. H and Rav W who ran out after throwing a table at the terrorists. HaRav B, who is not a young man, heard the commotion and came downstairs. As he was trying to help one of the victims, he was shot repeatedly by the terrorists- but the guns misfired four times. When they pulled out a knife he ran upstairs. An old man outrunning two young terrorists?
And those who were not saved. Rav Kalman regularly dovens shacharis elsewhere and only came to ask a question of a Rav whom he didn’t know was not yet there. Rav Aryeh came perhaps once or twice a month to that minyon. The first chovesh (paramedic) who appeared at the scene always carries a gun- but he left it at home that morning. One thing was clear-it appeared random- but it is only random in the eyes of the world- we have to know that it is exacting in the eyes of Hashem, and that while we cannot possibly understand the equation we know it is the Truth.
To us, it is clear that the world is run with exactitude- and that this brutal butchering of innocent souls had purpose and meaning. We must focus inward- -avoiding politics and rage. We must focus our energy inward by asking what each of us can do better than before. That is the Jewish response.
Wednesday morning my husband dovened in his minyon. He set out no shtender, laid out no siddur. R’ Chaim, fighting for his life, was not there to call out “kohanim”. Rav Moshe was not be there today to lein. He will not ask for an Aliyah for his grandmother’s yahrtzeit R”H Teves. My husband took out his gabbai book and added הי”ד to four names.
As Rav Rubin said at the levaya, we must strengthen ourselves in Emuna. We must internalize the knowledge that nothing is by chance, nothing is without purpose and meaning We must strive in some small way to emulate the kedoshim- so different on the surface but so very much the same- each a true lover of Torah and Talmidei chachamim, each a true lover of his fellow Jew, each a ba’al chesed, each a man with true simchas hachaim. Each of us must look inward; ask “what can I rectify?” Each one of us must make some small yet powerful change. The family of the kedoshim asked those who came to the shiva to please take on something for Am Yisrael. This is derech HaTorah. This will give nechama to the widows, the orphans. This will be a z’chus for a refuah for the injured. And we can pray, that this will be the final chapter in the long and painful history of golus- and this will bring the Geula bimheyra biyameinu.

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Once upon a time in Europe?

Shavua tov, a good week to everyone.

There's a collection of pictures from Afghanistan in the 1950's and 1960's online. One of them is at the top of this post.
Afghanistan was not always such a repressive country. Photographs from the 1950s and 60s depict a very different Afghanistan; one where female students sat next to their male peers, where girls scouts worked along with boy scouts, where, in parks and playgrounds, buses and record stores, hospitals and schools, women were seen in equal numbers as men.

These collection of images offer a rare insight into Afghanistan’s past.
View the rest of the collection here

What's changed? Radical Islam, which moved in after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979.

How long will it be until we have a collection called Once Upon a Time in Europe?

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