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Do You Have a Weapon?

Two days ago, we were standing in line to go into the central bus station in Be’er Sheva. I hate standing in that line, because there are always, always, people smoking right beside you. But that’s off topic.

At any rate, someone five people ahead of us went through the metal detector, then went back through it, and then went through it again.

He got wanded over and he got a pat-down – pockets, stomach, legs, arms. The security guard didn’t find anything, and in the end, the man got an apology, too.

I hadn’t been paying too much attention, so I just figured he’s beeped on the metal detector, and hey – he fit the profile, so why *not* check him?

As a sort-of apology for holding us up, the security guard then let five people through without even a blink: a man and a woman who looked like American tourists and turned out to be a couple, Yizchak, me, and this skinny Arab guy with slicked back, black hair, who was too busy talking on his phone to even notice his surroundings. He looked to be about 20 years old. And me? I think he should’ve been checked over. Talking on the phone doesn’t mean you’re not a terrorist.

Well, I’m not a security guard, and the guy had already gone through, so I kept my mouth shut. We found out that we’d missed a bus by three minutes, and found a place to sit and wait for the next one.

And then . . .

From the other entrance, we see three policemen escorting a handcuffed Arab guy of about 20 years old. Two policemen on each side, and one behind him, carrying an assault rifle at the ready.

And we realized that that over-done pat down and apology (we’ve never seen such a pat-down before, at least not in Israel – in America and Canada they do it all the time, to innocent, non-threatening people, because security there is stupid) were both given because the security guards were looking for someone.

They were looking for this guy, that they just arrested. And this other guy was mistaken, wrongly and undeservingly, for the guy they arrested. Was he a would-be terrorist? Or a wanted criminal? We’ll never know.

Because this story, like so many others, never made the news.

Valentine’s Day is Stupid

I wrote this post on Februart 15, 2016.

It really is.

Hearts, cookies, wine, cards to the entire class . . . and for what purpose?

If you love someone, you put effort into your relationship every day.

If you don’t love someone, Valentine’s day won’t help that.

If you are in a relationship, you should be putting in more effort than cookies and wine on February 14th.

If you’re not in a relationship, a day to make you feel single is just dumb.

 

Same goes for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and every other Hallmark holiday that was created for poochy-moochy.

In Israel, we have the 15th of Av, a historical holiday commemorating the massive matchmaking dances of ancient Israel (we’ve been here thousands of years, remember?). And today, it has become a kind of Israeli valentine’s day, except less drippingly-sweet (no hearts handed out to the entire class, no candies) and with a few traces more meaning.

The issue is that in recent years, Israel has started to adopt February 14 as Valentine’s day, too. So now we have 15 of Av, a historical holiday which is celebrated as a day of relationships and love. AND we have February 14, because, well, it’s another day to sell stuff.

It’s not just stupid. It’s consumer-ism at its best (or rather, worst).

We don’t need Valentine’s day. And really, neither does anyone else.

Fields of Poppies

I wrote this post on February 18, 2016.

I keep hearing about “Darom Adom,” or “A Red South.” It’s basically a weekend festival, for a few weekends in a row.

I don’t have time or energy to go to any festivals shmestivals, but some green fields or forests sounded nice.

I found Darom Adom’s site, and started checking which fields were closest to us.

And then Yitzchak says, “I don’t feel comfortable walking around in fields of poppies, especially given the security situation.”

“What? Seriously? Because they’re poppies?”

He doesn’t get it. So I say, “Among the fields the poppies blow between the crosses row on row . . .”

I’m off. I know I am. But that first stanza is printed on every Canadian $5(?) bill, and I read the bills, so I learned that little piece by heart.

He says, “You learned that somewhere?”

I say, “No, it’s on Canadian bills, I memorized it.” Then I look it up. Yep, I was off by quite a few words in that first line. The rest of the first stanza I knew pretty well, though.

And now I don’t want to go to poppy fields either. Thanks, Yitzchak.

You know, it’s been nine years since I’ve thought of anything related to poppies. Maybe we can make it like red, white, and green (and black and orange, and pumpkins with faces) and just let North American shtik lie in its grave?

The Mysterious Letter

Once every few months, we find that everyone in our building has received a letter from the municipality. The letter states that we have until day X to clear out and clean our bomb shelter, and otherwise we will be fined.

Now, in all honesty, people here use bomb shelters as storage rooms, and clean them out only when they are needed – which is usually *after* the first air-raid siren. So it makes sense to say, “Clean out your bomb shelter OR ELSE.” Yes, it does.

But the first time that we were told to clean out our miklat (bomb shelter), we didn’t get letters in the mail. Instead, we saw a handwritten note on the door of the shelter.

This was in the evening.

The next afternoon, we had our first air-raid siren of Tzuk Eitan (Operation Protective Edge).

It happened twice more during Tzuk Eitan that we found a note on our shelter door, and the next afternoon (or maximum, two days later) we had another siren, after we had thought that Hamas had forgotten about us already.

Now, a year and a half later, we’ve received three or four letters to empty the miklat. Two have been found in the mail; another one or two handwritten on the miklat door.

The latest letter was left in our mailbox a few days ago. We had to clean out the miklat by today. But as far as I know, no one has come to check that we did it. And still. It makes me wonder what’s going to happen next.

Every time we get one of these letters, I wonder if Pikud Ha’Oref (the Home Front Command) knows something we don’t. I mean, they obviously know a lot of things that we don’t – that’s their job. But it does make us wonder if we should be preparing for another war.

In all honesty, we should probably be preparing for another war, anyways.

Hamas has used the concrete and building materials so generously donated by the EU, UN, and other “concerned” nations, to rebuild its tunnel systems. Lately, many of those tunnels have been collapsing, but Hamas is apparently concentrating its efforts on a single, strong attack tunnel; 100 operatives are working on it, and the work is progressing at a rate of 50 meters a day(!!).

And on the northern front, it is almost certain that Hezbollah is working to build a similar set of tunnels, plus they are accumulating rockets and chemical weapons to use against us.

In other words, until now, we’ve been able to play nice.

But with the threat of a war with Hezbollah erupting on our northern border, we don’t have time to play pansy with Hamas. When – not if – we got to war with them, we will have to make it short and to the point. We will have to wipe them out, once and for all.

And I would prefer that *we* decide when to attack Hamas, instead of waiting for Hamas to attack us in what possibly could be a terror attack of catastrophic proportions.

And then you have . . . the PA. Oh my G-d. I don’t even want to go there.

So I won’t. I will just say this: I believe that we are about to fight a third “war”, which is more of an operation to clear weapons out of PA controlled areas, and possibly other areas, too. Something like a Chomat Magen (Operation Defensive Shield), version 2.

This is a war that we need to fight – now. Together with, or before, the war with Hamas.

But with such a pitiful government, are any of these wars going to happen?

I don’t know. But I sure would like to.

What do *you* think?

Here’s a “Duh” Eyeopener

I know I haven’t posted in a looong time. I know.

I’ll explain why later. But of course, it won’t really be a good excuse, right?

At any rate, I just came across this video (thanks, Janglo!) and it is too good not to share. Corey put people on both sides of the Israeli-Muslim conflict on the spot. And while the Israelis aren’t amazing, what the “Palestinians” say should be an eyeopener for anyone who *doesn’t* believe that Israelis aren’t the responsible party.

Yes, I know that the claim is that we stole their land. But at the end of the day – the UN gave us the land. And 60+ years later, people who have never lived anywhere else, people who have good lives, objectively, here in Israel, say . . . oh, I’ll let you see for yourself.

Leave me a note in the comments and tell me what you think.

The Hunger-Striking Terrorist

Remember the hunger-striking terrorist from Islamic Jihad, who was released from jail?

Well, I don’t know what happened since then, but I do know that he was supposed to be re-jailed for some reason, and tried to escape into the tachana merkazit (central bus station) in Be’er Sheva. Suddenly, there was a security lockdown. Everyone was confused and worried. Huh? What happened?

Oh, nothing happened . . . it’s just that there’s a dangerous fugitive on the loose, and he’s run in here.

Luckily, they found the terrorist after only a few minutes, and all was well. Thank G-d, no harm was caused.

This story didn’t make the news; I’ve checked. You know how *I* know it happened?

Because this morning, when Yitzchak was on his way to work, he happened to pass through the tachana merkazit in Be’er Sheva at the time this incident happened. I assume he was scared for himself. But instead, he channeled it into being scared for me.

Lesson: Don’t free terrorists, of any sort, and for any reason, ever.

On a different note, I hope that Uri Ariel succeeds in convincing the government to implement his suggestion. If there are harsh enough consequences, terror will stop. You murdered Jews on this road? No more Arabs can travel it anymore. Your son murdered Jews? All of you, *out*!

Safety In Numbers?

As a kid in America, I grew up hearing about safety in numbers.

If you have to go out at night, my mother said, go with a friend or two. The bigger the group, the better off you are. There’s safety in numbers.

My father never dropped me off at a bus stop unless there was another woman waiting there. Sometimes, that meant taking me almost all the way (or all the way) to school. It’s not safe to wait alone (or with a man). There’s safety in [female] numbers.

If you’re walking in an unfamiliar place, it’s better to be with a group. There’s safety in numbers.

If you get separated from me in the subway station, my mother told me, don’t panic. Find a worker, or a cop, and just sit tight. As long as you’re not alone, you’ll get back to where you started from. There’s safety in numbers.

Beaches during the day are safe, because there are plenty of people there. At night, when there’s no one, it’s dangerous. There’s safety in numbers.

I guess that worked, at least to some degree. Until terror came to America, and any large group of Jews was considered to be a target.

Until there were terror attacks on full buses. In 2001, there were lots of terror attacks involving suicide belts. Who wants to waste a suicide belt on an empty bus? There’s safety in *less* numbers.

I remember seeing posters asking for donations, to buy schoolchildren bulletproof vests. I always wondered what happened to their legs and heads, and why there couldn’t be bulletproof suits. I was in grade 7-8, I think.

Sbarro, the bombing in a pizzeria. A busy pizzeria. Maybe there *isn’t* safety in numbers. The less people you are, the less worth the explosives you are.

A tower with thousands of offices.

A concert.

A jam-packed restaurant.

A parade.

A school in Boston.

The streets of Paris on a Friday night.

A college in California.

Busy places.

There’s safety in numbers?

Only if the threat is mugging, robbery, or perhaps rape.

But there’s gang rape, don’t you know? And crowds of observers watch and do nothing.

There’s safety in numbers?

Somehow, I think not.

The quieter the place, the less people are around – the better.

There’s safety in *less* numbers.

Unless you’re on a road in Samaria. Then, being the only car is dangerous.

But so is being on a busy road when there are terrorists throwing burning tires, or waiting in ambush with rocks or guns.

Or walking in a mall, when there is an “innocent” Arab who’s just bought a kitchen knife.

There’s safety in numbers?

Perhaps not. The more crowded the place, the better a target it becomes for Arab terror.

There are no “innocent” Arabs anymore. They are *all* potential terrorists.

To be watched from afar, avoided, and possibly reported to the police.

Even an Arab nurse, even an Arab telephone technician, even the Arab kitchen worker in your school, who everyone likes and trusts.

Give them enough money, and they will turn on you . . . with a knife, a gun, a suicide belt, a tractor, a truck, or a car.

No Arabs can be trusted. Ever.

Except for those who turn on their comrades, and fight alongside us for peace.

But those who are quiet? They are terrorists in the making. Terrorists in waiting.

Preschoolers are terrorists in training.

“How will you kill the Jews?”

“With a knife.”

“Why do you want to kill them?”

“Because they stole our land.”

As Drizzt so eloquently writes, “Conditioned hatred is rarely a rational emotion.” [Long live Drizzt. But unless he is killed, he will live almost forever.]

There is no safety in this world. We can only pray that G-d watch over us,

and save us from the hands of our enemies, “friends”, and the international community.

Until we take out all the terrorists and their entire families.

And then we will all be safe.

Golda Meir, where are you?

. . . And The Government Is Stupid

Closing off Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem does exactly what these Muslim extremists want: It divides the city in two. This is the first step towards a divided Jerusalem, and it’s the real reason for the attacks on the light rail. The light rail helps to unite the city, and make transportation between all parts of the city easier – and safer. But this isn’t what these terrorists want. They want to drive us out.

And a divided Jerusalem is a step in that direction.

Besides for that, closing off the Arab neighborhoods of the city:

1. Doesn’t help the security situation that much, since there are roads to other areas of Jerusalem, and Arab villages only a few minutes’ drive away.

2. Ties up security personnel who could be put to better use somewhere else, preventing attacks.

3. Puts those security personnel in even more danger than they would be guarding the Old City.

In other words, stupid idea. And the worst part?

It’s just another band-aid, that will pretend to work until it falls off, and we discover that *nothing* has healed underneath. Band-aids don’t work when you need a surgery. And they don’t usually work on the cuts from surgery, either. But they do provide an illusion that all is okay.

And that illusion is probably one of the most dangerous aspects of this situation.

Here’s some proof (thanks, Janglo!) that the government is just not doing their job properly:

terror attacks in israel, statistics, palestinians kill jews, palestinians are murderers, palestinians kill israelis, muslim extremist terror, terror attacks in jerusalem, intifada terror attacks in israel, statistics, palestinians kill jews, palestinians are murderers, palestinians kill israelis, muslim extremist terror, terror attacks in jerusalem, intifada terror attacks in israel, statistics, palestinians kill jews, palestinians are murderers, palestinians kill israelis, muslim extremist terror, terror attacks in jerusalem, intifadaScary, isn’t it?

This is what we – my family, friends, and I – are living with. Every. Single. Day.

And then Kerry has the audacity to blame this terror wave on us – because we live in “settlements” in our own country, these “Palestinians” are allowed to murder us. Oh, but he didn’t really mean it that way. He just . . . kind of did mean it that way. How else can his words be interpreted?

And Obama – well, he can’t even blame these “Palestinians” for their own actions. G-d forbid they should be responsible for their own actions.

Please, Kerry – and Obama – just stay away from here. We don’t need you. We have enough on our heads. All you’ll do is cause more trouble. And hey, UN? You stay away, too. Just because Abbas wants your help, doesn’t mean that we do. We know that you’ll cause more insecurity, and more danger, to our citizens. We don’t want your “security forces” patrolling Jerusalem, aiding and abetting terrorists, and murdering Jews.

I guess all that matters in the end is that the world accepts Abbas’ words as truth. As the Bible of Moshe from Sinai. If he says that the “child” terrorist was “executed” (when was the last time Israel “executed” any terrorist?), it must be true. Even if that poor “child” is receiving excellent medical care – on Israel’s bill of course – and is set to be released from the hospital in a day or two. Even after that “child” and his 15 year old friend tried to murder innocent civilians – among them a 13 year old boy, whose only sin was riding his bicycle.

And wow, Lapid said something smart for a change! Moshiach (the Messiah) may be on his way, after all!

Smart Move, Rami!

Rami Levy is smart. I’ve been wondering for years when stores are going to decide to take this step. And I’m wondering how fast everyone else – small stores included – are going to follow suit.

In the meantime, Rami is being smart, responsible, and I like his foresight.

Want to know what he did?

He took knives off the shelves. If you want to buy a knife, you need to go to the Customer Service counter and ask them. And if you want to enter one of the stores, you will have to pass stricter security measures. I admit that security guards aren’t always an option – or even realistic – for smaller stores. But definitely, wherever you *can* put a security guard, you *should* put a security guard.

It’s a bit unrealistic to insist on only selling bleach and kitchen knives to sane Jews. But we don’t need to make terrorists’ lives any easier.

P.S. – This guy happens to be a saint. Hidden saint, that is. My he see only blessings.

IDF: Don’t Sleep On Buses

When I first came to Israel as a gap year student, we used to joke that the last row of seats on an intercity bus was the “soldiers’ seat”. Anyone who sat there was basically asking for a soldier to flirt with her.

[Note: there are female soldiers, too. So it’s not *definite* that a girl sitting there was asking a guy soldier out. But we were 19 year old girls. This was how we joked. Or how my friends joked, rather.

I digress.]

This last row of four seats was called the soldiers’ seat, because most of the time, you could find a sleeping soldier lying over all four seats. Even if the bus was crowded, and someone wanted those seats, no one would wake the soldier up. He’s in the army, poor guy. He’s been doing exercises and getting up at 4 in the morning the whole three weeks. Now he’s on Shabbat leave to see his family, let him sleep.

[Note: I traveled on Thursday afternoons and right after Shabbat. Same as the soldiers. The rest of the time, I was in my program. And they were on their army bases. Students and soldiers have similar schedules. Kind of.]

As I grew up a bit, I continued seeing soldiers sleeping on the back bench of a bus, but less often. Nowadays, you see them taking up two seats on the side of the bus, or sometimes just sleeping like the rest of us – with their head leaning on the window or their bag.

Cute kids. Good kids. Poor soldiers? I guess. But mostly, they’re cute kids. I like soldiers. Just out of high school, full of life, smiling, with dreams for the future. Not quite sure who they are, or what they want. Still figuring out what the world is and where they fit. Some of them are further along, and have matured. Some are dating. The more mature ones are recently married.

There are the career soldiers. Also nice. I admire them more. But they’re less cute, probably because they’re not kids. Ah. And the career soldiers sleep less on buses. Maybe because they have cars of their own?

And now the IDF wants to change this. They don’t want to lose soldiers. The security situation is bad, and getting worse. Who knows when it will get better? So they’ve changed the rules: Don’t sleep on buses. It’s not safe. They’re adding other instructions, too.

But I think one of the saddest, most poignant changes is that soldiers – cute, ignorant, innocent, immature kids just out of high school – are no longer allowed to sleep on buses. Because it’s just not safe.