did she get the job? How else does one get a job in this
administration? As payback for service done not for the nation but for
the career and image of Barack Obama.
Jen Psaki first came to my attention back in 2007 when she zealously defended Barack Obama for attending a fundraiser
for his campaign held at the home of former NBA basketball player Allan
Houston, who has a history of espousing anti-Semitism -- a history that
drew the ire of the Anti-Defamation League,
American Jewish Congress and other groups. Among other statements,
Houston has said that Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus,
"spit in his face and hit him with their fists." When the AJC and other
anti-discrimination groups asked that Obama return the money since he
was doing well with fundraising anyway and did not need to take money
from an anti-Semite, Psaki blithely dismissed their concerns and said Obama had no plans or intentions of returning the money.
concerns were raised when news surfaced that hedge fund billionaire
George Soros was playing a key role in Obama's campaign -- not only
personally and with his family skirting campaign financing rules to fund Obama,
but activating his fundraising network and empire of 5217 groups to
propel Obama into the Presidency. Soros is well-known as a bitter
critic of Israel who also funds a wide range of groups that oppose
Israel. Psakis' response
was, well, Psakian: "Mr. Soros is entitled to his opinions" (with the
obligatory statement that Obama and Soros disagree on Israel -- the same
defense offered when the close ties between Obama and Reverend Jeremiah
Wright Jr. became known.
'Human rights watch's vulture an expert in fiction
Peter Bouckaert, the 'human rights watch' official who was quoted prominently trashing Israel in a 'private' Facebook page conversation among a group called the Vultures, is an expert in fiction. Bouckaert wrote 'human rights watch's coverage of the Second Lebanon War in 2006, which in a prelude to the even more toxic 2009 Goldstone Report took uncorroborated testimony of Lebanese as absolute truth.
This was sent to me by email:
EXPERTS OR IDEOLOGUES?
NGO MonitorSeptember 08, 2009NGO Monitor Monograph Series
Peter Bouckaert, “Emergencies Director” for HRW,38
has a background in research in South Africa. His one-sided approach to
the Arab-Israeli context may be the result of drawing a false analogy
between the two very different conflict situations of South Africa and
Israel. Bouckaert worked at the Constitutional Litigation Unit of the
Legal Resources Centre in South Africa 1994-1995 and the South Africa
Department of Land Affairs 1996-1996. 39 He
holds a law degree from Stanford University and received a fellowship
at HRW after graduation in 1997. In his position, Bouckaert “is
responsible for coordinating [HRW’s] response to major wars and other
human rights crises.”40
An interview with Bouckaert described his “maverick style,” his “urgent
headline grabbing activism,” and, as with many other activists at HRW,
his anti-establishment approach (Case 2005).
has authored a number of tendentious op-eds directed exclusively at
Israel during and after the Second Lebanon War. An August 5, 2006
report from Tyre, For Israel, Innocent Civilians Are Fair Game,
claimed that “Time after time, Israel has hit civilian homes and cars
…killing dozens of people with no evidence of any military objective./My
notebook overflows with reports of civilian deaths…” (Bouckaert Aug.
5-6, 2006). Another op-ed inThe Guardian described the
“carnage in Qana” and Israel’s actions as “war crimes” (Bouckaert July
31, 2006). As noted below in the case study on the Lebanon War, HRW
amplified and distorted the events in Qana by publicizing a false
casualty figure and repeating claims of indiscriminate attacks.
Bouckaert also wrote HRW’s September 2007 report on the Second Lebanon War, Why They Died.
This pseudo-research publication followed HRW’s pattern of highly
selective analysis, unprofessional methodology, unverifiable
allegations, and grossly disproportionate criticism of Israel that
includes 122 pages on alleged Israeli abuses, and just 23 pages on
alleged abuses by Hezbollah. This report also reexamines and corrects
some of the most blatant errors in the case studies from HRW’s earlier
report, Fatal Strikes which Bouckaert co-authored (NGO Monitor Digest Oct. 1, 2007). For example, in Fatal Strikes an airstrike on Aitaroun on July 17 is presented as an example of the killing of civilians at a time when “Hezbollah was not operating in the area.” Yet in Why They Died,
the details are changed. Different witnesses report that “The night of
the attack, Hezbollah was firing from inside the village. …At 10:15 p.m., they were firing rockets from near our house. We heard the missiles going out.”41
on Jenin in 2002, following the international campaign to accuse Israel
of a massacre and war crimes, Bouckaert alleged that “very serious
violations of the laws of war took place” and claimed that Israel
“clearly failed in [the] important obligation [to minimize suffering to
civilians] by causing the significant loss of civilian life and massive
damage to civilian property.” This assertion erased Israel’s decision to
send soldiers to fight house to house against terrorist infrastructure,
instead of relying on airstrikes, due to the civilian presence in
In the picture above, Mohamed al-Dura is seen in his role as the patron saint of Durban, the internationally coordinated political and economic campaign against the existence of a Jewish state.
US Senate votes unanimously to back Israel against Iran, House bill to 'perfect' sanctions has 340 co-sponsors
The American people's representatives in Washington have told President Hussein Obama that they are tired of his soft touch on Iran. On Wednesday, the Senate voted 99-0 to back Israel in the event that it is required to defend itself against Iran, while the House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously approved the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013.
The "Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013" passed the House Foreign
Affairs Committee by a unanimous voice vote and is expected to easily
pass the full 435-member chamber, where it already has about 340
co-sponsors. A vote by the Republican-controlled House is likely within
the coming weeks.
The measure seeks to cut Iran's oil exports to
less than 500,000 barrels a day, limit Tehran's access to foreign
currency and expand the list of blacklisted sectors of Iran's economy.
Sponsors called it the strongest sanctions package ever against Iran's
There is not yet a companion Senate bill to the House measure.
United States believes Iran is enriching uranium to levels that could
be used in nuclear weapons. Tehran says its nuclear program is intended
for producing power and medical supplies. Iran is already under
sanctions by the United Nations, the United States and the European
Union over the program.
Republican and Democratic US lawmakers
have both been pushing US President Barack Obama's administration to do
more to crack down on Iran's nuclear program.
A UN report showed on Wednesday that Iran was pressing ahead with
constructing a nuclear reactor that Western experts say could offer it a
second way of producing material for a nuclear bomb if it decides to
A bipartisan group of senators introduced separate
legislation earlier this month that would block Iran's access to
billions of dollars worth of foreign currency reserves.
Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a
sponsor of the resolution that passed on Wednesday, said after that vote
he was working on legislation for what he called "perfecting" sanctions
to fill loopholes in existing restrictions on Iran.
Okay, so the Senate vote is non-binding and only symbolic given that the President is the only one with the power to make war. And the Obama administration will undoubtedly try to water down the House bill when it gets to the Senate, may even consider having Obama veto it and will be lax in its enforcement. But given Benghazigate, the IRS and the threat of domestic terrorism in the US, does Obama want to, and can he, fight another battle on behalf of Iran?
Major-General Amir Eshel also said Israelis
should brace for a protracted and painful conflict should their forces
engage in combat with Hezbollah or its main backer, Iran.
"If Syria collapses tomorrow, we will need to take action to
prevent a strategic looting of advanced weaponry," he told the
Fisher Institute for Air & Space Studies near Tel Aviv.
"We have to be ready for any scenario, at a few hours'
notice," Eshel said.
He assumed fighting could escalate on to three fronts at
once and require the Israeli air force to employ "the full
spectrum of its might".
Beset by the more than two-year-old insurgency, Assad has
not retaliated for the air strikes.
But some Israeli experts
worry his forbearance could wear out - especially if he believes
new Russian-supplied air defences will let him fend off his
militarily superior foe.
Eshel said the most formidable of the Russian systems, the
S-300, was "on its way" to Syria and that Israel could not
afford to see its air superiority dented given what he predicted
would be the need to hit the other side intensively.
"If we want to prevail within a few days, we need to use a
lot of firepower, and quickly," he said. "Air superiority is
critical, and we must contend with a new generation of
'Human rights watch' official, AP and AFP reporters, trash Israel in private Facebook group
A 'human rights watch' official, and several foreign correspondents for AP and AFP, trashed Israel in a private Facebook group after the Israeli government released a report exposing Muhammad al-Dura's 'death' as a fraud.
A “secret” Facebook group of foreign correspondents and human rights
activists quickly devolved into an anti-Israel hate-fest on Tuesday
following the release of a new Israeli government report that cleared
the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) of wrongdoing in the 2000 death of a
The Israeli government report
contests the claim that the IDF killed a Palestinian boy, Muhammad
al-Durrah, in a famous 2000 incident in Gaza that helped ignite the
Journalists and activists mocked the report, attacked the IDF, and
claimed pro-Israel lobbyists were influencing the media coverage, in a
private Facebook group for foreign correspondents known as the “Vulture
Peter Bouckaert, a senior official at Human Rights Watch, dismissed the report as “typical IDF lies.”
“As usual, it takes them a long time to really build up the falsehood,” wrote Bouckaert.
Bouckaert also blasted the New York Times for its coverage of the report.
“It really isn’t good journalism to write this up as if these are credible allegations when it is a pack of lies,” he wrote.
Correspondents from numerous outlets, including the Associated Press and the Agence France-Presse, also piled on.
According to my sources, Bouckaert was the direct supervisor of Marc Garlasco at 'human rights watch.' Garlasco was the organization's senior military analyst until he was suspended in September 2009 after his hobby of collecting Nazi memorabilia was uncovered by bloggers.
In February, a prominent study funded by the US State Department concluded that Israeli and 'Palestinian' school textbooks were equally biased in their treatment of 'the other.' An exhaustive study in the Tower destroys that myth.
Despite the media presentation, however, something about the study,
and the media reports on it, didn’t ring true. As a product of more than
a decade of Israeli schools I can attest to the fact that the Israeli
public education system certainly has its share of problems. But of all
the issues—ranging from crowded classes to plummeting standards—one
thing I never encountered was ignorance or hatred of “the other side.”
Indeed, this is true of Israeli society in general. Even a surface-level
familiarity with Israeli culture and academics provides enough
information to know that the Palestinian perspective is represented in
the arts and media and factored into the Israeli political process and
legal system. Faced with a purportedly objective study that completely
contradicted my own experience with the Israel’s education system, I
felt compelled to examine the report in depth.
What I found isn’t pretty. The report is not only flawed, but also
dishonest. It systematically exaggerates the faults in Israeli textbooks
and downplays those found in the Palestinians’. Its methodology tends
to distort the raw data rather than analyze it, usually to the detriment
of the Israeli education system. Put simply, it makes every possible
effort to create the impression that Israeli and Palestinian attitudes
toward each other are the same, even when this is demonstrably
untrue—according to the study’s own research data. It is no surprise
that the State Department, which funded the study in its early phases,
has endorsed neither the composition of the committee nor the report’s
This is an important issue, not only because of the need for
scientific accuracy in such studies, but because the presentation of
“the other” in Palestinian and Israeli texts is an absolutely essential
topic. In many ways, it is the essential question in regard to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Are both sides building societies that can
sympathize, or even empathize, with “the other”? If so, it could mean
an (eventual) end to years of war. If not, then we may well be facing
decades of further violence and the absence of any lasting peace between
Israel and the Arab world.
Obama's embassy in Israel tries to pressure Israeli courts
It's been... for me personally... one of those days... which explains the lack of posts today....
The Obama administration has apparently decided that we are a banana republic whose citizenry requires their protection against our abusive court system. And that's all true. Except that they're protecting the side that needs no protection.
Obama's embassy in Israel showed up in court on Wednesday morning to 'gently persuade' the Israeli government not to legalize four 'outposts' in Judea and Samaria. And when it was over they smugly insisted that they weren't interfering in the judicial process. Right.....
“We do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement
activity and oppose any efforts to legalize settlement outposts, which
would undermine peace efforts and would contradict Israeli commitments
and obligations,” US Embassy spokesman Geoff Anisman told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
He added that the United States position on these points has been clear and has not changed.
spoke in the aftermath of a High Court of Justice hearing on a Peace
Now petition demanding that the state enforce the law and demolish six
unauthorized West Bank outposts.
The state, however, has told the
court verbally and in writing that it intends to legalize four of them;
Givat Assaf, Ma’aleh Rehavam, Givat Ho-Roeh and Mitzpe Lachish.
A US embassy representative was at the hearing, but refused to speak to the press.
Legal Forum for the Land of Israel immediately condemned his presence
there, charging that it was a blatant US attempt to interfere with
Israel internal legal procedures.
But Anisman said US
representatives often went to court proceedings and Knesset sessions as
part of their routine work to monitor Israeli activity. This is similar
to how US embassies in other countries operate, he said.
Really? Someone get Matthew Lee to show up at the State Department briefing today and ask whoever gives the briefing to name another country in which the United States shows up for court hearings. I will guarantee you that if there is such another country, it is not a member of the OECD and it is most certainly a third-world country. It almost certainly will not be a country that has an adversarial judicial system.
Peace Now Executive Director Yariv Oppenheimer said, however, that he
did not recall seeing a US representative at past hearing on the
outposts. He added that he has seen in the past European representatives
observe court hearing on human rights issues.
"I believe the
presence of an embassy representative was a message to the government
and not to the court, that the issue of the West Bank outposts is very
important to the US," Oppenheimer said.
As if we needed another reason to hate the New York Jets.... Their team now includes an Islamist 'Palestinian' named Oday Aboushi who is a prominent Jew-hater on social media.
Far from being an American dream, Oday Aboushi has exhibited this
exact type of extremism. He too has targeted Israel with his Twitter
account, one tweet even having anti-Semitic overtones. This past
January, he posted a photo depicting an old woman looking down while
three clearly Orthodox Jews talk to each other in the background. The
caption reads, “88 year-old Palestinian evicted from home in Jerusalem
by Israel authorities to make room 4 Orthodox Jews.”
The photo contains the logo of Middle East Monitor (MEM), an
anti-Zionist publication based in England. The picture has recently been
used in a smear campaign against Israel and her observant Jewish
citizens. Aboushi chose to be one of the smear merchants.
On April 19, one week before the NFL Draft, Aboushi wrote a tweet exalting a fundraising dinner
sponsored by Islamic Relief (IR), an organization with numerous ties to
terrorism. He wrote, “Beautiful NJ fundraiser event for the kids of
Palestine in refugee camps.” The affair was held in Hasbrouk Heights,
New Jersey and was titled, ‘A Night for Palestine.’
In May 2006, Israel labeled Islamic Relief a front for Hamas
after arresting the group’s Gaza program manager, Ayaz Ali, for
providing “funds and assistance to various Hamas institutions and
organizations.” Ali admitted that he had cooperated with local Hamas
As well, in 1999, IR collected and sent more than $6 million
to Chechen rebels with ties to al-Qaeda. The same year, IR received
$50,000 from Human Concern International (HCI), a charity that the U.S.
Department of Treasury described as a “Bin Laden front.” Shortly after
the September 11 attacks, IR itself was investigated by the Treasury Department as a possible source of funding for al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.”
Besides Twitter, Oday Aboushi also has a Facebook account. Currently in the ‘Likes’ section of his Facebook page
is the imam of the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley (ICTV), Mohamed
Mabrouk. Mabrouk was previously the imam of the Islamic Society of
Greater Lansing (ISGL). Both of these mosques have ties to terrorism.
Last March, ICTV held a conference and banquet at the Anaheim Hilton, titled, ‘Muhammad (pbuh): The Prophet for Our Times.’
The event was co-sponsored by Islamic Relief. Among the speakers for
the function was the imam of Brooklyn’s al-Taqwa mosque, Siraj Wahhaj.
Wahhaj had previously been named by the U.S. government as an
“unindicted co-conspirator” for a trial dealing with the 1993 World
Trade Center bombing. Wahhaj had been linked to the bombmaker of the attack,
Clement Rodney Hampton-El, and during the trial, he was a character
witness for the spiritual leader of the attack, Omar Abdel Rahman, whom
Wahhaj has openly praised.
Four years ago, the Jets seemed to know who their fan base is.
In April 2009, the Jets front office contacted the NFL
to ask that the date of its home opener be moved, as it was going to
coincide with the Jewish high holiday of Rosh Hashanah. The team did the
right thing to complain on behalf of their Jewish fan base, and they
need to do the same in the case of their Islamist draft pick.
Well, yeah. Except that the Jets may figure that the three-day-a-year Jews who would go to synagogue on Rosh HaShannah and Yom Kippur would be pleased to show how liberal they are by embracing a creep like Aboushi.
Feiglin: Immoral for Israel to take US aid, US may not survive Obama
Likud MK Moshe Feiglin has told The New American that it's immoral for Israel to take US foreign aid. But many of you who like that statement may not like his reasoning.
“I’m totally against this [US foreign] aid [to
Israel],” Feiglin told The New American, a relatively unknown
publication affiliated with far-right American politics. “It cannot be
when, first of all, the Americans are standing in line like two or three
miles in the snow to get a job. To get any kind of aid from America
when, economically, we are in a much, much better position doesn’t look
moral to me.”
Furthermore, American aid “is not in our
favor, not economically, not militarily, not in any way,” the MK told
the magazine’s Alex Newman. (He gave the interview last month in the Knesset,
but it only appeared on Monday.) “This aid serves psychological
purposes, not anything else. We are talking about 1.5 percent of our
income, of what Israel is producing — we can definitely deal without
Since World War II, Israel is the largest
recipient of US foreign aid, having received a total of $118 billion,
most of it in the form of military assistance. Currently, Washington
supports Israel with about $3 billion per year.
Newman asked Feiglin about former Republican
presidential candidate Ron Paul’s argument that the US administration is
using the aid “to obtain leverage over the Israeli government when
Israel should be thinking about its own interests rather than what
Feiglin responded, “I 100 percent agree.”
So is Feiglin a Ron Paul supporter? I think he'd say that's none of our business. On the other hand, he certainly doesn't have a lot of confidence in the Obama administration's stewardship of the American economy.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen with
America — I’m more worried about America than about Israel,” he told the
magazine. “I know it sounds maybe a little bit crazy. However, we are a
nation of 3,300 years. We have our little ups and downs over our
history, but it seems like physically we are stronger than ever.
“History shows that big empires fall, and it
doesn’t look like America today is on the rise,” he continued. “So
there’s more — from my historical understanding — there’s more to worry
about now for America than about Israel. I think — and again, excuse me
for saying so — I think America needs Israel not any less than Israel
Feiglin said he is aware that his comments
sound “a bit funny” — though not because the world’s last remaining
superpower is also the world’s strongest economy, but because the US has
so many more inhabitants than Israel. “But even though I’m aware of the
numbers, I’m still saying what I’m saying because I think that Israel
carries moral weight, and also technological and strategic and
territorial weight, that is much bigger than its size.”
The Chief of Staff stressed that the IDF is aware of Syria’s numerous
attempts recently to smuggle in weapons and of Assad’s plans to expand
operations against Israel. “We will not allow the Golan Heights to
become a comfortable place for assault from Assad,” declared Lt. Gen.
Lt. Gen. Gantz warned that “if Assad impairs the situation in the Golan
Heights, he will have to bear the consequences. I am not a litigious
person, but we need to know how to defend our Northern border under its
The conservative British-based news and opinion website—The Commentator—first drew attention to the disruption on Tuesday in a report headlined: Has Saudi Arabia blocked the Jerusalem Post? The article wrote a “A lecturer from Saudi Arabia has claimed that the country is blocking access to the Jerusalem Post website.”
The prominent Saudi blogger and journalist Ahmed Al Omran confirmed on his Twitter feed that the Post website “is blocked,” whilst Haaretz and Ynet are both accessible.
The writer of the Commentator article
Ahmed Abdel-Raheem is an Egyptian artist and a PhD student who works as
a lecturer at Al-Lith College for Girls, Um Al-Qura University, Saudi
Arabia, according to his byline on the website of the Commentator.
He wrote, "Over the past week I have tried to access the website of the newspaper the Jerusalem Post, but every time I click the link of the paper, I have received the message: 'Sorry, the requested page is unavailable.'"
It remains unclear why the Saudi government banned access to the Post’s website. Sara Miller, the managing Editor of Jpost.com, said: “Since the start of May, there has been an almost 100-percent drop in the number of visits to jpost.com from Saudi Arabia.
until April 30, we were getting hundreds of visits from Saudi Arabia
every day, and now it is less than 10. There is clearly a demand for
news from the Jerusalem Post,
and it is a shame that the Saudi regime is proving yet again that it is
determined to stifle freedom of thought and expression among its own
Haaretz is a much more appropriate newspaper for the Saudi government anyway.... They agree on so much....
A South African talks about 'Palestinian' apartheid claims
Here's a talkback from YNet (sorry, I don't have a link) in which a South African talks about 'Palestinian' claims of apartheid (Hat Tip:: Herb G).
insulted. I'm extremly glad that this article come up in my google alert. I
grew up with apartheid here. and for the last year's I get angry because we
always hear apartheid in Palestine.
I started visiting Gaza
and west bank 7 years ago. ive even stayed in tel Aviv twice. the
Palestinians do not understand what apartheid is. after being in Palestine I saw
Palestinians in Israeli government. I saw over a million Palestinian living
with rights. everything I learn when I was there was that there may be
discrimation but to say apartheid is a insult to us that lived with
apartheid. I was in west bank last November. I could not believe how much
west bank has prosper in the last 2 years. buildings being built. many
stores. shopping plaza. everyone dressing nicely. I still donate through
the UN for Palestine.
but I don't think I'm going to anymore. using apartheid for propaganda
purposes is an insult to us. the Palestinians do not know how good they
have it. the west bank is still better then where I live in pretoria. and muslims
in Israeli government is a big sign that show no apartheid. I'm tired of
being lied to. and most of my friends here after they visit west bank they
say the same thing. I'm sad, im angry the Palestinians lie about this. try
living in a real apartheid in 1980s south Africa. west bank is like
a heaven. and almost all Israelis I speak to want peace. almost no white
south African before would believe we were even allowed to walk on streets.
this Palestinian propaganda must stop, because if anyone with a open mind
come visit there, they would see prospering city with lots of buildings and
great dressed people. what Is funny is that in Israel I would see Muslim
amongst Israelis. but in Gaza
and Arab west bank, they would never allow Jewish people into their area.
I'm starting to believe apartheid is alive and well in Gaza and west bank since only one peoples
there. in Israel
it is diverse, with diverse people in government. apartheid is lie, and
disrespect to true apartheid victims.......thembi
Khader Abuassab is an unusual name – in fact, there is apparently only
one listed in the United States: he resides in Paterson, New Jersey.
Abuassab was the one who placed ads in Arabic newspapers about the
Palestinian American Day celebration and he texted invitations to
friends, community leaders, politicians and law enforcement officials.
According to Abuassab, South Paterson is known as “little Ramallah,” and
he felt it was important for the Arab Palestinian community to be
recognized much like any other local ethnic community.
So who is Abuassab?
According to a Feb. 2012 Press TV interview, Khader Abuassab has served on the Paterson Board of Education and has run for City Council.
In the spring of 2012, when an Associated Press series disclosed the practice by the New York Police Department of surveillance of Muslims
at businesses, universities and mosques in the greater New York area,
Khader Abuassab told Muslims not to cooperate with the authorities.
was indignant that Muslims, who are “an important part of Paterson’s
diverse community” had been “spied on or suspected.” He declared that
Muslim Americans “certainly don’t have to defend their citizenry to
In 2002 Khader Abuassab pled guilty
to having racked up more than $615,000 in credit card fraud, using 40
different credit cards to circumvent credit limits on the cards, and
then filing for bankruptcy to erase the debts. Abuassab admitted he had
not intended to pay for the things he charged.
In 2004, Abuassab was sentenced to 13 months in prison, with two
additional years of supervised release. In addition, Abuassab was
ordered by the federal district court judge in New Jersey to pay
$620,000 in restitution. No information was readily available about what
Abuassab had originally used the money for, and whether it had all been
What is known is that after sentencing, Abuassab sought a delay of his incarceration date so that he could “travel to Mecca.” That request was denied by the government.
Gaza student union posts cartoon: 'Clean the world of Jews'
The cartoon above was posted on the website of the Gaza Student Union. The character is in the colors of a 'Palestinian' flag, he's throwing a Star of David in the garbage and the caption says "keep the world clean."
The cartoon uses a Star of David rather than an explicitly Israeli
symbol, indicating that it is meant to refer to Judaism or the Jewish
nation as a whole and not the state of Israel alone.
The student union in question is known as the Islamic Bloc – in
Arabic, al-Kutla al-Islamiya. It operates in high schools, universities
and other educational institutions in Gaza. Its primary purpose is to
teach the next generation about the importance of, in Hamas’ words,
freeing Palestine from the Israeli occupation.
Is aliya worth the sacrifice of the relatively easy Jewish life in the United States (in particular) and in some other western countries? What would Israel be like if all the people who talk about aliya (immigrating to Israel) actually did it?
When I left yeshiva here in 1980 to return to the US, I don't think there was a single member of my group who hadn't vowed he was coming back. When I came back a year later, having overcome what most in my generation considered the biggest hurdle to aliya (I had found a mate who was also committed to aliya), I sat in someone's living room on the yeshiva campus and was harangued for half an hour about how I'd 'never make aliya.' The Israeli who accompanied us on the trip was in shock: 'But he married someone who also wants to make aliya.' And the response: 'If I had one agora for every American who sat in that chair and told me they'd make aliya, I'd be a millionaire.'
I would estimate that 25-50% of my 'foreign' yeshiva colleagues now live in Israel. And I know of at least two 'American Israelis' among my yeshiva colleagues who moved back to the US, leaving their parents here.
An ideal, yes. Am I going? No. This is the response I give. It is
also the response I have received, time and time again, in return.
I don’t usually let the contradiction and inconsistency of this reply
bother me. The response has enabled me to affirm my unwavering
allegiance to the dream of Israel while simultaneously excusing my
decision to stay here. Though we usually strive to achieve ideals,
somehow we are okay with leaving the dream of aliyah respectfully untouched. Israel has become more a statement of ideology than a plan of action.
But sometimes the disingenuousness does bother me.
When we think about the aliyah question, do we do so within
the context of sacrifice? Israel is a country built upon sacrifice. We
acknowledge and celebrate this sacrifice when it comes to others:
Soldiers who gave up their lives. Friends and relatives who gave up
homes, jobs, and the smaller comforts of living in the States. But when
it comes to our jobs, our plans, our comforts, our homes, the
question immediately becomes more grey. When it comes to our own lives,
we hold sacrifice at arms length – even with libi ba’mizrach swinging around our necks and Israeli flags spotting our dorm room windows.
The inconsistency between thought and action is uncomfortable, when
we pause to consider it. We sacrifice for other ideals. Why not this
Kerry calls Oren to protest 'outpost legalizations'
Last Thursday, I reported that the Israeli government has decided to legalize four 'outposts' on which Jews have lived for years, rather than expelling more Jews from their homes. That action resulted in a highly unusual protest from US Secretary of State John FN Kerry to Israel's ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren.
A senior Israeli official told Haaretz that after Kerry learned of
the Israeli decision last Thursday, he personally called Oren and
requested clarifications, stressing that the move undermines his efforts
to restart negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Kerry
requested that the government rethink its decision, or at least postpone
the outposts’ legalization.
phone call from the secretary of state to a foreign ambassador to
demand explanations and voice a protest is considered a very unusual
move, one that indicates Kerry’s anger at the Israeli decision. Such
protests are usually conveyed through lower-level channels.
Responding a question from Haaretz, a State Department spokeswoman
said the administration had raised the issue at a high level with the
Israeli government’s representatives in Washington. Aharon Sagi, the
Israeli embassy spokesman, declined comment.
four outposts are Givat Assaf, located near Beit El; Mitzpeh Lachish in
the South Hebron Hills; Ma’aleh Rehavam in Gush Etzion; and Givat
Haroeh, located near the settlement of Eli. The decision to legalize
them, and Kerry’s protest, both came on the eve of the secretary of
state’s fourth visit to the region.
Kerry is due to meet Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Thursday and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Friday. He is then expected to return for further talks with both leaders the following week.
'The eve of the secretary of
state’s fourth visit to the region'? Actually, the decision was announced a week before Kerry planned to visit, giving him more than enough time to cancel if he chose to do so. Recall that in 2011, President Hussein Obama gave a speech calling for Israel to withdraw to the indefensible '1967 border' as Netanyahu was boarding a plane to Washington. Kerry has no cause for complaint.
The embedded video, from Saraqeb in the Idlib province of northwestern
Syria, shows the carrying out of sentences handed down by a rebel sharia
Hundreds of local residents gathered to hear the sentence being
pronounced by a rebel. Two residents were found guilty of offenses
against sharia and sentenced to 40-50 lashes each.
The elder man was convicted of having his daughter, who had divorced
her first husband, married to a second man during the "cooling off"
period of three months required by sharia law. He did this ten days
before the 3-month period had ended and was sentenced to 50 lashes.
The raising of a flag at City Hall on Sunday was like any of the
dozen or so similar events held in the city each year in a nod to its
Except it wasn’t.
That’s because the flag raised — for the first time in Paterson, and
possibly at any city hall in the United States — was Palestinian.
Symbols or assertions of Palestinian statehood are fraught with
political sensitivities, and Khader Abuassab, the event’s organizer,
said he received harassing phone calls before Sunday’s event.
But no problems were on display Sunday when the flag was raised in the rain before elected officials and about 150 people. People cheered, danced, shared sweets and shouted, “Long Live Palestine.”
“Palestine is our country and we are proud of that,” said Clifton
resident Salwa Ramadan. “We’re happy [to be] recognized finally.”
Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-Paterson, and Assemblyman Thomas
Giblin, D-Clifton, showed up — with Pascrell presenting a letter of
Special Congressional Recognition and Giblin presenting an Assembly
resolution marking the event.
I have been told that a 'letter of Special Congressional Recognition' is something that any Congresscritter has the right to present. So is Congress now endorsing the jihad against the Jews?
IRS reinstates Zionist Organization of America's tax exempt status
The IRS has apparently decided to relieve some of the pressure it is facing by reinstating the tax-exempt status of the Zionist Organization of America. Here's a press release from the ZOA.
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is pleased to report that the
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has reinstated its recognition of ZOA’s
status as a tax exempt, tax-deductible 501(c)(3) organization. In a letter
dated May 15, 2013 to the ZOA, the IRS wrote, “We are pleased to inform you
that upon review of your application for tax exempt status we have
determined that you are exempt from Federal income tax under section 501(c)
(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to you are deductible under
section 170 of the Code. You are also qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers of gifts under section 2055, 2104, or 2502 of
the Code.” ZOA wishes to emphasize that all donations to ZOA have remained
tax-deductible throughout this period since they were legally directed to
the “ZOA Donors Fund” managed by the Foundation For Jewish Community
(fjc.org), a third party 501(c)(3) donor-advised fund. Direct gifts to ZOA
will now again be tax-deductible. “The work of the ZOA has never been
altered or diminished one iota during this period. Our campus work; our
Title VI efforts; our Capitol Hill work; our writings, lectures, TV and
radio appearances have continued as always. Our devoted ZOA Board and
virtually all of our major donors and all of our employees remained
committed to and supportive of ZOA,” Klein explained.
We are also pleased to announce that at its November 23, 2013 Brandeis
Dinner, Gov. Mike Huckabee, former presidential candidate and Host of the Huckabee Show on Fox TV, will be the speaker and will be receiving the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson Award for Pro-Israel Activism. We would also add
that ZOA is honored to have James Tisch, prominent and distinguished Jewish communal and business leader, as Co-Chair of our upcoming ZOA Dinner. Mr.
Tisch has served as Chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major American
Jewish Organizations, and as Chairman of the New York Jewish Federation –
UJC. He serves as CEO of Loews Corp.
Morton Klein, President, Dr. Michael Goldblatt, Chairman, and David Drimer,
Executive Director, said, “We are gratified that the IRS has reinstated our long held tax exempt status. We also want to thank our friends and especially a great group of devoted ZOA employees who helped to expedite the
resolution of this matter. A special thanks must be given to Mr. Tyler B.Korn, our brilliant and tireless tax attorney who gave freely of his time,
energy, and wisdom to help resolve this situation.
We want to emphasize that ZOA’s work never stopped and never changed during
this period. We also want to thank all of our friends and donors for their continuing support. The ZOA looks forward to continuing our critical work promoting strong US/Israel relations; advocating for Israel’s security;
protecting Jewish students from anti-Semitism on America’s campuses; and
educating the public, media, and Congress on the ongoing Arab war against
You think the discovery that the IRS has been openly discriminating against conservative groups had nothing to do with ZOA's tax-exempt status being reinstated? If you really think that, you're a fool.
Kerry poses for photo-op with father of Mavi Marmara terrorist
This is the photo Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu tweeted
showing Secretary of State John Kerry, himself and according to Hurriyet
Daily News, Ahmet Doğan in the center (Photo via Twitter, May 17, 2013)
Last week, TheBlaze reported
that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan invited the father of
one of the radical Islamist activists killed on the 2010 Gaza flotilla
to join the official entourage on his visit to the U.S. last week. And
while sources familiar with lat week’s visit told TheBlaze that the
father did not enter the White House or meet President Obama to deliver a
personal letter about his son, according to the Turkish foreign
minister’s Twitter account Secretary of State John Kerry did meet with the father and even posed for a photo with him.
The Turkish news site Hurriyet Daily News reports
that Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu arranged the breakfast
meeting Friday where he, the father (Ahmet Doğan) and Kerry were
present. Doğan reportedly updated Kerry on the “pending trial of Israeli
soldiers involved in the” flotilla incident.
According to Davutoglu, Kerry promised to give the letter to Obama.
Who says that the Obama administration isn't accommodating to terrorists?
Oh my.... Bashar's army claims to seize Israeli jeep from rebels
This al-Mayadeen TV (Lebanon) exclusive footage shows a Jeep armored vehicle
(armored version of AIL M240 Storm used by the IDF) that was used by the
"Free Syrian Army" (FSA) in the Qusayr city that is currently being
liberated by the Syrian Army. Writings in Hebrew can be seen on the
vehicle, as shown in the footage.
Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: David H). More after the video.
Note that the jeep looks quite old and that we didn't see it running. Could it be left over from the 1967 or 1973 wars? Or for that matter from the 1982 war with Lebanon? Could Bashar's army have put the markings on the jeep themselves?
"The delegation as a delegation has been postponed," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
"The Palestinians violated all the agreements we had with UNESCO:
that this was to be a purely professional, not a political visit," he
said. The official said the Palestinians asked to introduce a "slew" of
political elements into the visit, with PA Foreign Minister Riyad
al-Malki characterizing it as a fact-finding commission to investigate
Israeli steps in Jerusalem.
The spokesman said that contrary to an
agreement brokered in April at UNESCO's headquarters in Paris, the PA
was now insisting on taking the delegation to the Temple Mount, and
meeting with Palestinian political personalities, not just "engineers,
architects and professional people".
"We have said this was unacceptable" the spokesman said. "Hopefully the delegation is postponed, and not cancelled."
It was not immediately clear whether some of the delegation participants had already arrived in the country.
agreement in April that paved way for the delegation to inspect
preservation and rehabilitation work in the Old City had Israel
allowing it in exchange for a Palestinian agreement to postpone five
anti-Israel resolutions pending before UNESCO. According to Israel, the
delegation was not to go to the Temple Mount or deal with the issue of
the Mughrabi Bridge, leading from the Western Wall Plaza to the Temple
Jamal al-Dura challenges Israel to an international commission
Jamal al-Dura, the father of fake martyr Muhammad al-Dura, has challenged Israel to agree to an 'international commission' to investigate his son's 'death.'
Jamal al-Dura, the father of 12-year-old Gazan Muhammad al-Dura who
became a symbol of the second intifada, is willing to exhume his son's
body to prove that Muhammad was killed, and that he was killed from
bullets fired by IDF soldiers.
"Are they willing to do an international investigation? Is Israel
willing? I'm not saying the people of Israel, I mean the government, and
IDF soldiers," Jamal told Army Radio.
Dura claimed he had
contacted Israel asking for such an investigation, but he has yet to
receive an answer, leading him to accuse Israel of being afraid of such
"Israel now has a black stain on it in the eyes of the
world," Dura said, claiming the Israeli government is now lying in
order to clear itself of all blame.
A little bit late to try to clear that stain, don't you think?
When asked by Army Radio when did Muhammad die, Jamal insisted his son
died on the spot. "In my opinion, he died on the spot. Yes, yes, he died
next to me. If Muhammad didn't die, who injured me?" he asked.
Actually, we do know who injured Jamal al-Dura. It wasn't Israel and it happened long before the incident at Netzarim in September 2000. He lost a libel lawsuit on that one... in France. Are they impartial enough for him?
When presented with the findings of an Israeli doctor that operated on
him and determined his scars predated the incident, Jamal dismissed it
as lies. When pressed further, he avoided answering the question. "You
can ask my lawyer in France. He'll tell you. Me, I'm not allowed to talk
about this. At court, he will talk about it," he said.
Dura further said he never received compensation - not from Israel nor
from the Palestinian Authority - for the death of his son, that he
claims is buried in al-Bureiz refugee camp.
Sure, let's dig him up... if they can find him. The problem is that even if an international commission finds that Muhammad al-Dura's death was a fake, it won't change the 'Palestinian' claim.... Ask the Turks.
Stuxnet may have helped - rather than hindered - Iran's nuclear program
I've been meaning to post this since Friday. Ruthie Blum explains how Stuxnet, the computer worm that afflicted Iran's nuclear program three years ago, may have helped, rather than hindered, Iran's nuclear ambitions.
according to a new report, published in the Royal United Services
Institute journal, Stuxnet may have done more harm to the West than
The study, "Are
Cyberweapons Effective? Assessing Stuxnet's Impact on the Iranian
Enrichment Program," was conducted by King's College academic Ivanka
Barzashka and calls into question commonly held assumptions about the
famous computer worm and the consequences of its performance.
destructive potential, it is surprising that more machines were not
affected," writes Barzashka. "Clearly, the Iranian operator managed to
contain the problem … Iran's ability to successfully install and operate
new centrifuges was not hindered."
Barzashka based her
detailed report on International Atomic Energy Agency physical inventory
data showing that "uranium-enrichment capacity grew during the time
that Stuxnet was said to have been destroying Iranian centrifuges."
"An increase in
enrichment capacity or centrifuge performance shortens the time Iran
needs to manufacture the nuclear material for a bomb," Barzashka says.
"If anything, the malware, if it did in fact infiltrate Natanz, has made
the Iranians more cautious about protecting their nuclear facilities,
making the future use of cyberweapons against Iranian nuclear targets
In a funny yet
predictable twist coming from a British academic, Barzashka's conclusion
from her own research is that cyberwarfare is not the way to go about
extending goodwill gestures toward Iran while engaging in talks. What
the rest of us can and should glean from her study is that even Stuxnet
seems to have sped up, rather than retarded, Iran's nuclear program.
Welcome to the socialist paradise, where everyone is equal except for those who are more equal. And don't expect Finance Minister Yair Lapid to change that.
Seventeen percent of Israel’s population paid over three-fourths of the
direct taxes in 2008, while about half fell beneath the income tax
threshold, a report by the Finance Ministry’s State revenue
administration revealed Sunday.
The report, which used data from
2008, the last year of complete available data, and modeled estimates
for 2011 and 2012, found that the overall greatest contribution to the
state’s direct tax revenues came from the second highest tax bracket, in
which 6.4% of the population paid out 30.9% of the total.
third as many people--1.8%--paid into the top top tax bracket, but the
higher rate meant they represented 27.2% of the overall direct taxes
collected. Fully 43.7% of the population fell into the lowest tax
brackets of 10% or less, and represented a mere 2.4% of the tax revenue.
On average, Israelis paid 20.6% in direct taxes, 13.4% in income tax and 7.6% on Health and National Insurance taxes.
Two babies narrowly escaped a rock attack near the Samarian town of Shilo on Saturday night (Hat Tip: MFS - The Other News).
Among those targeted by the attackers was the Shlissel family from
Ariel. Mother Ayelet was driving, while her husband sat in the passenger
seat and the couple’s three young children slept in the back seat.
Ayelet Shlissel recalled the attack in an interview Sunday with Arutz Sheva.
“We passed Wadi Harmiya and suddenly I heard the boom,” she said. “My husband was hit by a rock and fell onto me.”
“After a few seconds he came to, and he checked to see that everyone
was OK,” she recalled. He husband would later require hospital care.
They did not stop to fully assess the damage, but simply left the
scene as quickly as possible, she said. She realized the danger they had
been in only after reaching the Eli junction and stopping to report the
attack to security forces.
There, they saw how large the stone that had hit her husband had
been, and saw that a smaller stone had hit the carseat in which their
four-month-old daughter was sleeping. “I don’t want to think what would
have happened if the [large] rock had hit the baby,” she said.
It's official: Government inquiry finds al-Dura 'killing' was a hoax
As I reported last week, a government commission of inquiry has concluded that the Mohammed al-Dura 'killing' was a hoax. The official report has now been released.
government review committee of the incident and its implications found
that "the France 2 report's central claims and accusations had no basis
in the material which the station had in its possession at the
time…There is no evidence that the IDF was in any way responsible for
causing any of the alleged injuries to Jamal or the boy."
Minister Netanyahu directed then-minister of strategic affairs Moshe
Ya'alon to set up the governmental review committee in September 2012.
According to the Prime Minister's Office "the purpose of the committee
was to examine the al-Dura affair in light of the continued damage it
has caused to Israel, and to formulate the Government of Israel's
position with regards to it."
Upon receiving the report on
Sunday, Netanyau stated that "It is important to focus on this incident –
which has slandered Israel's reputation. This is a manifestation of
the ongoing, mendacious campaign to delegitimize Israel. There is only
one way to counter lies, and that is through the truth. Only the truth
can prevail over lies."
International Affairs Minister Yuval
Steinitz, who presented the report to Netanyahu, called the al-Dura
affair "a modern-day blood libel against the State of Israel, alongside
other blood libels like the claims of an alleged massacre in Jenin. The
France 2 report was utterly baseless."
The committee determined
that, " Contrary to the report's claim that the boy is killed, the
committee's review of the raw footage showed that in the final scenes,
which were not broadcast by France 2, the boy is seen to be alive."
addition, the review revealed that "there is no evidence that Jamal or
the boy were wounded in the manner claimed in the report, and that the
footage does not depict Jamal as having been badly injured. In contrast,
there are numerous indications that the two were not struck by bullets
The committee added: "The review showed that it
is highly-doubtful that bullet holes in the vicinity of the two could
have had their source in fire from the Israeli position, as implied in
the France 2 report."
The review committee criticized France 2,
stating that the television station's report was "edited and narrated in
such a way as to create the misleading impression that it substantiated
the claims made therein."
I'm sure you're all shocked.
But 13 years later, with Israel having already 'confessed,' who is going to believe it?
UPDATE 8:04 PM
The government report (in English) is here. The evidence that was before the government commission may be found here.
Yiftah Shapir, director of the
military balance project at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel
Aviv, published a paper on the system in which he argued that “it is highly
doubtful that the Syrian army, in its current situation, is able to invest the
manpower and resources” to learn how to use the S-300.
doubted that Syria can, at this time, set up the facilities to make the S-300
operational on its soil.
Those factors could prompt Assad to try and send
the S-300 to a “safer place,” to Hezbollah’s custody in Lebanon, although this
is unlikely to happen, Shapir said.
Hezbollah has the ability to send
technicians to Russia to study the S-300, and store it in a safe location in
Lebanon. However, Israel would almost certainly reject such a development, and
A third option, that Russia will send its own crews to
operate the S-300 on Syrian soil, is also unlikely, due to the dangers they
would face from rebels and “a third party,” Shapir said.
Assad is seeking
the air defenses now because of the recent air strikes in Syria – one in January
and two this month – attributed by foreign media sources to Israel.
strikes “demonstrated to Assad what his vulnerabilities are,” Shapir
“At this stage, it is difficult to know whether
Russia intends to proceed with the deal and sell the systems to Syria... or
whether all of the maneuvers of recent weeks are empty... and aimed at
demonstrating Russia’s determination to support Assad, while sending a message
to Israel that there is a heavy price for its attacks in Syria,” Shapir said.
Report: US apologizes to Israel for disclosing that Israel was behind Damscus strikes
Israel Radio reported this morning (Sunday) that the United States has apologized
to Israel for disclosing that Israel was behind the strikes on Damascus
two weeks ago. According to the report, the decision to disclose that Israel was behind the strikes was made at a low level in the Pentagon, and the US Department of Defense is investigating how that happened. According to the report, Israel believes that it is now facing much stronger threats from Bashar al-Assad as a result of the disclosure.
According to the Sunday Times,
reconnaissance satellites have revealed preparations made by the Syrian
army to deploy surface-to-surface Tishreen missiles. Syrian President
Bashar Assad, the report said, is ready to use these missiles should
Israel decide to conduct a strike on Damascus.
The paper quotes Israeli missile export Uzi Rubin as saying Syria has
a lot of Tishreen missiles at its disposal, and that should they fire
them at Israel, they could potentially paralyze all commercial flights
coming in and out of the country.
"Our polices are to stop, as
much as possible, any leaks of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah and other
terrorist organizations. We will continue to act to ensure the security
interests of the citizens of Israels," Netanyahu stressed.
IDF spokesman Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai took to his Facebook page on Sunday to criticize the Sunday Times report, calling it "not credible" and "far fetched."
IDF continues to follow any scenario and be prepared to any scenario,
in the northern border as well as any other border, which doesn't leave
us with much time to speculate about the future," Mordechai wrote.
report comes amidst a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the Middle
East and Syria in particular after Israel allegedly carried out two airstrikes on several targets in Syria earlier this month.
Israel declined to confirm the strikes so as not to pressure Syrian
President Bashar Assad into serious retaliation, according to a
confidant of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
However, Israel Radio reported this morning that the United States has apologized to Israel for disclosing that Israel was behind the strikes on Damascus two weeks ago. More in the next post.
Syria told Iran three years ago it would not defend Iran against Israeli strike
According to a cable sent by the US embassy in Damascus in December 2009, Syria warned Iran that it would not help the Iranians to fight Israel in the event of an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, and that Hamas and Hezbullah would not do so either. The cable was released by Wikileaks.
The message was passed on during three close visits to Damascus by senior Iranian officials in December 2009. National Security Advisor Saeed Jalili on December 3, Vice President and head of the Environmental Department Mahammed-Javad Mahamadzideh on December 5-6, and Minister of Defense Ahmad Ali Vahidi on December 8-11.
10. (S/NF) More significantly, Syria reportedly resisted Iranian entreaties to commit to joining Iran if fighting broke out between Iran and Israel or Hizballah and Israel. Waddah Abd Rabbo, Editor-in-Chief of Syria's only privately-owned (but still very pro-government) daily, said Iranian officials were in Syria "to round up allies" in anticipation of an Israeli military strike. "It (an Israeli strike on Iran) is not a matter of if, but when," Abd Rabbo said, reporting what Syrian officials had heard from their Iranian counterparts. The Syrian response, he continued, was to tell the Iranians not to look to Syria, Hizballah or Hamas
to "fight this battle." "We told them Iran is strong enough on its own to develop a nuclear program and to fight Israel," he said, adding, "we're too weak." The Iranians know Syria has condemned Israeli threats and would denounce Israeli
military operations against Iran.
"But they were displeased with Asad's response. They needed to hear the truth," Abd Rabo said.
11. (S/NF) Asked what advice Syria was giving Iran, Abd Rabbo replied that Syria, along with Turkey and Qatar, was preparing for an Israeli-Iranian military exchange in the near future. "Military officials tell me they have noticed Israeli drones snooping around our sites," he explained, noting some Syrian officials saw Israeli reconnaissance as an indication that Israel might seek to disable anti-air radar stations as part of a plan to fly bombers over Syrian territory en route to Iran. "We expect to wake up one morning soon and learn the Israeli strike took place. Then we expect an Iranian response. At that point, we, Turkey, and Qatar will spring into action to begin moderating a ceasefire and then a longer-term solution involving both
countries' nuclear programs. That's the best scenario. All the others are bad for us and the region," summed up Abd
Rabbo. "We would hope the U.S. would recognize our diplomatic efforts to resolve a regional crisis and give us
some credit for playing a positive role."
I am an Orthodox Jew - some would even call me 'ultra-Orthodox.' Born in Boston, I was a corporate and securities attorney in New York City for seven years before making aliya to Israel in 1991 (I don't look it but I really am that old :-). I have been happily married to the same woman for thirty-one years, and we have eight children (bli ayin hara) ranging in age from 8 to 29 years and five grandchildren. Our eldest daughter and eldest son are married! Before I started blogging I was a heavy contributor on a number of email lists and ran an email list called the Matzav from 2000-2004. You can contact me at: IsraelMatzav at gmail dot com