Tag Archive | Arab

Is it Okay to Decide Others’ Fates?

nuclear weapons, nukes, nuclear warheads, nuclear missiles, nuclear bombs, hiroshima, nagasaki, iran, iran nuclear deal, nuclear proliferation treaty, israel, iran, p5+1, america, obama, kerryRegarding Iran, suddenly I realized something. Most non-Shiite countries in the Middle East, most prominently Saudi Arabia and Israel, are mad about the deal that P5+1 have signed with Iran.  It’s not just us. And what I realized today was this question:

What right do Obama, and the leaders of Europe have, to decide what happens in our neighborhood?  We are the ones most directly affected; why shouldn’t we be the ones making the decisions?

It’s like this: Imagine if Israel suddenly decided that anyone living in New York who wanted to own a weapon had to pass Israeli security standards.  No one else would be allowed to own weapons, not even police officers.  Only people that Israel chose would have weapons, and only they would be allowed to make decisions on the subject.  How would New Yorkers feel?  How would America feel?  What right does Israel have to decide who is allowed to bear arms in a country that isn’t theirs, and is so far away from them?

Yes, it’s true that guns in New York could possibly hurt Israel, or Israelis abroad.  It’s also true that Iranian nuclear missiles can (and will, if Iran gets the chance) hurt Americans and Europeans.  However, they are not the ones facing the greatest, and most immediate danger: a radical Muslim country, in their neighborhood, with nuclear weapons and no common sense or humanity to match.

Tell me, world: What right do you have to decide what goes on in our neighborhood, without consulting us, and against our wishes?  Note that not one of the P5+1 is actually a Middle Eastern country.  Not one.

What right do America and Europe have, to make our decisions for us?

ISIS vs. the Muslim World

To the ISIS and those Muslims fighting it

in Afghanistan,

in Gaza,

in Iraq,

in Syria,

in the PA,

and everywhere else where Muslims fight other Muslims,

may no one in the West or East get involved,

may no non-Muslims need to join your fight,

and may we wish much success to both sides;

may G-d be with you in your holy war against each other

and grant both the ISIS and Islamic Jihad, Fatah, Hamas, Hezbollah, PA, PLO,

and all religious Muslim governments,

much success in their endeavors.

We await news of the valiant fighters of Islam

fighting to the death

sacrificing their lives

with screams of “Allahu Akbar,”

‘Allah is Great’,

(or as Yitzchak and I like to joke, “Allah is a mouse,”)

may you die deaths of honor on the battlefield,

and may all who come after you say,

“What a great, holy war,

with such devotion,

see how many people on each side died,

only 100 were left on either side,

and soon,

they, too, succumbed to their wounds

and died.

Many of the women,

and much of those children

who were not yet able to fight,

assimilated and forgot that they were Muslims,

within a single generation.”

.

So, to our cousins fighting their own brothers,

Sunni and Shiite alike,

we wish both sides much success,

and await the day when peace will reign

and there will no longer remain

even a single person

who wishes to convert the whole world to Islam,

and kill the heathens who remain.

.

Much success to you all,

and may we say,

Amen.

And MORE Terrorism

Really, guys.  I’m kind of sick of it.

Not just sick of it, scared of it.  Like there would be any place to move to.  Europe is filled with rising anti-Semites, Canada has had over 1,600 anti-Semitic incidents last year alone, and in America – oh, America.  All you need to do is look in this past week’s news.  Wonderful, isn’t it?

And why is Boston allowed to execute a terrorist, but Israel isn’t?  I think the answer is this: Jewish blood is cheap.  Always has been.  And unfortunately, probably always will be.  I feel like we’re dealing with a repeat Holocaust, just slower; this is frustrating for two reasons: 1. The world claimed to have learned its lesson, and we claimed to have learned ours. 2. Hello, nutcases!  We have our own state, our own government, our own army.  Yet it is a little state, and little states need to keep big friends.  Those big fiends like to tie our hands.  Yes, sir.  Unless we stand up for ourselves soon, and do what needs to happen instead of playing along with what the world wants to have happen, we will all be in the sea in record time.  (Muslims aren’t smart enough to build gas chambers, but you have to ask what’s better – to die quickly and painlessly in a gas chamber, or to be shot or knifed the middle of the street, or to be drowned at sea.  Honestly, not sure.  I think I’d prefer the gas chambers.  And I kid you not.)

Rockets, yeah.  That’s the smaller of the problems.  Tunnels, that’s a much bigger problem.  People walking around with knives, Molotov cocktails, metal rods, rocks; terrorists driving cars, trucks, and sometimes buses – those are much bigger problems.  And the guns, too.  But luckily guns are more controlled; except that we have allowed the PA “government” to own guns and are now paying for it.  Oh, and Iran.  Yeah, Iran.  Big problem.  Not that big, if Israel is allowed to deal with it efficiently and the world either supports us or turns a blind eye.

Guys, this is scary.  I haven’t written too much this past week because I just don’t know what to say.  What am I supposed to say?  Let’s ship all the Muslims off the Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia?  Well, I wish I could say that, but no one would listen, and I kind of feel like saying it is counterproductive.  Again, maybe if the attacks were criminal in nature, we could make the terrorists’ lives better and that would be the end of the story.  But when 43% of the Arab population wants to conquer all of Israel AND kill all the Jews, it’s not criminal, it’s nationalistic.  And there is no choice but to kill the terrorists and potential terrorists, and nothing that we can do to better their lives will help us save our skins.

The world’s Jewish population has just returned to pre-Holocaust levels, 60 years later.  I wonder what it’ll be in another sixty years.  I wonder if Israel will still exist then, or if the world will be partying because they managed to create a world without Jewish communities in other countries and without a Jewish state.

Here are some of the nationalistic terror incidents from [just] this past week:
A farmer was beaten to death in the field, by Arabs who came in illegally from the PA looking for “work”;

Arabs threw firebombs at a Jewish school, three times in a row, and the police did nothing;

an ambulance was attacked (lynched, more accurately) by a group of Druze (and I’m disappointed, I thought better of the Druze community);

obviously, the UN blames Israel for abusing Hamas; we Jews are the only ones blamed for the murder of our own people;

a border policeman was injured in an attack by an “innocent Arab youth”;

there was a rocket attack;

Hamas is proud of the fact that they steered a drone into Israeli airspace;

two youth who stopped to answer a question put to them by an Arab youth were shot by said Arab youth; one is seriously injured and one is dead;

the terrorist who attempted to murder two Jewish youths on Shavuot is not being charged with attempted murder, but with “aggravated assault.”

I could go on, but Tova is insisting on drinking ‘Mama milk,’ so I need to stop here.

When a Muslim Asks For a Ride

Quite a few weeks ago, we spent Shabbat in Kfar Chabad.  Traveling back after Shabbat, we had two options:

1. Take the train all the way home, which meant a second train switch.

2. Get off where we normally would, in Be’er Sheva, and take a bus.

Although our hosts thought the train was a better idea, we didn’t have a carseat for Shlomo with us, and so we preferred to take a bus, instead of having to take a taxi from the train station.  I checked the times and found out that from when we were supposed to get off, until the last bus home left, was fifteen minutes – which should be exactly enough, giving us 2 minutes to spare if we moved fast.

As it turns out, I made a mistake.  The time we were supposed to get off the train, that gave us 15 minutes, was the time we were supposed to get off the train at a previous stop, to catch the connecting train.  The train got to Be’er Sheva five minutes before the bus was supposed to leave.  We ran and ran – and missed the bus, the last bus, by two minutes.

Then we had two options: Wait until the wee hours of the morning, or take a cab.  Yitzchak insisted that there were night lines.  He’s said this a lot, and I know that at one point such bus lines existed, but in practice, we have never seen any sign of them.

There were two other people who needed to get home to our city there, also.  We thought about finding a big shared taxi (together, if we paid for both kids, we would be 6 people, and even if we paid the extra for the others who weren’t there, it would still be cheaper than a regular taxi).  But none of the taxi companies were answering their phones.

A shared taxi, or 'monit sheirut'.

A shared taxi, or ‘monit sheirut’.

Then a religious driver offered to take us for 60 shekels off the usual price, in his words, “I’m practically losing money, but I figured, you’re religious, and I want to help you out.”  We were going to split the cab with the other people going, but when the driver saw how many we were, he refused to take all six of us.  I told G-d we were going to do this once, He should protect us from our stupidity and get us home safely, and next time we go anywhere where we might need a cab, we are going to bring a carseat for Shlomo.

During the drive, the taxi driver (religious with a knit kippa) started talking to us.  I asked him why there was such a huge price difference between a taxi during the day and a taxi at night, and he told me.  Then he said that when he sees an Arab, he doesn’t take him.  I asked how he would know just from looking that it was an Arab – some of them are almost indistinguishable from Jews, if you just look at them.  He said, first of all, he locks all the doors and closes the windows.  Then, he pulls over and opens one window a crack.  He asks where the guy is going and talks to him a bit, and if the man is an Arab, or even if he’s simply not 100% comfortable, he finds some excuse and drives away.  “It’s not worth it, even if he would offer me 400 shekels, it’s not worth the money, and I’m not going to take a risk by picking him up.”

He’s the first taxi driver I ever heard of who does this, and I think, honestly, that he’s a smart guy.  Maybe a little racist, maybe the refusal in itself carries risks, but it is still the safer route to take.  What is absolutely true is that picking up an Arab – whether you are a taxi driver or just a nice guy willing to give him a tremp (let him hitchhike) – can be very, very dangerous.  Often, it leads to carjackings, and more often, to murders, though these have become less common recently because of the awareness.

And like we saw last summer, taking a ride with an Arab, or even someone you don’t know (because they can dress as Jews and some speak beautiful Hebrew) can be very risky.  Three teenage boys took a ride with someone whom they believed to be a religious Jew, and who turned out to be a Hamas terrorist.  They were kidnapped and killed . . . remember?

Yesterday, a 60-year-old man in Tel Aviv agreed to give two young Arabs a tremp.  In return, he was stabbed, bound, put in the trunk of his car, and driven by those same Arabs towards their home in the PA.  By some miracle, the police decided the car was suspicious, and heard his cries for help in time.

Think about it: The guy lives in Tel Aviv.  Why under the sun didn’t the terrorist find someone closer to home?  Why does he need to go all the way from Tel Aviv?  Is there no one murder-able closer to his home?  Of course there are (unfortunately).  But here he had a chance to kill two birds with one stone: He gets home free of charge, and takes a Jew, dead or still living (and therefore torturable, and a good bargaining chip, as well) back with him.  Eventually, of course, he will kill the Jewish captive and get his 72 virgins (when he dies) – as well as a nice, fat, salary while he lives.

And if any of you had any doubts whether these Muslim extremists kill Jews because they are oppressed and want a decent life, or whether they kill Jews because they are taught to kill Jews, no matter how good their life is – watch this:

Obama: Please, Iran, Nuke [the] US!

After all of his talks, promises, sanctions, and deals;

after Obama has agreed to let a dangerous nation possess and develop nukes, and has given them the green light to forge ahead and go for a zero breakout time;

after everyone has told him that he is crazy; after he has insisted that he is not;

after it has become known that the Senate is planning to force Obama into cooperating and consulting with them;

after he has told us one version of the agreements, Iran has told us another version, and he still insists on making this deal –

after all of this, what does Obama do?

He admits to the whole world that he has allowed Iran to nuke the entire free world, by reopening the Cheyenne Mountain.  And then, we also realize that North Korea is capable of nuking the United States, as well.

Obama, we congratulate you on your failed second term, and on making history as the president who not only ordered Israel to allowed itself to be completely obliterated and its citizens brutally murdered by Islamic murderers, terrorists, and extremists, but also gave these same Islamic extremist terrorist murderers the go-ahead to obliterate the United States and the entire western world.

Obama bin Laden, we congratulate you on aiding your brother’s mission.

A Trip to the Consulate – Continued

The first section of this very interesting story of travel and bureaucracy can be found here.

Part Four: Going to the Consulate

I called Egged at 7:30; the call center wasn’t open yet.  I called again at 8:30, and was told that there was a bus at 8:45, and a bus at 9:45.  My appointment was at 10:30, and the bus ride was supposed to take 50 minutes.  Meaning, from 9:45 to 10:35.  If you remember that there is a line outside the consulate (so that you can prove that you have an appointment, receive a pass, and go through security), you will understand that arriving at 10:35 meant entering the consulate at about 10:45, 15 minutes after my scheduled appointment.  I got up and ran to the bus, calling Yitzchak on the way to bring me the money.

I felt bad about running so quickly, because my cousin had just asked me to watch her two youngest (she has a Shlomo-aged kid, a Tova-aged kid, a two-year old, and four older kids) while she took her Shlomo-aged kid to gan, but we both realized that there really wasn’t an option.  So I went.

I made the bus; Yitzchak missed it, and me, by 3 minutes.  I figured that there would be an ATM somewhere around the consulate; I figured wrong.  I got to the consulate 70 minutes early, because the bus had only taken 40 minutes, and discovered that I couldn’t go in until half an hour before my appointment.  I found a bench under some trees and finished nursing.

united states consulate, jerusalem consulate, american consulate

The oustide of the consulate.

Yitzchak ended up taking the 9:45 bus and arriving at 10:27 to hand me the money.  Of course, since Yitzchak couldn’t prove that he had an appointment, I needed to walk out of the consulate.  Because I had told the security guard, when I first went in, that my husband was bringing me the money, I was able to skip most of security and the guard told the inner security workers to let me through easily.  Therefore, I walked back into the actual consulate at 10:33, and they gave me a number with no problems.  It would have been smarter to take the number and then go out to meet Yitzchak, but I didn’t think of that at the time.

Obviously, in order to find out where Yitzchak was, I needed my phone, so I had to go through the cell phone security bogus.  But my phone was Yitzchak’s phone, and his was mine, so it made sense to switch them instead of just waiting for him to appear.  After Yitzchak had given me the money and I was waiting to go back inside, I saw that the person next to me was holding a passport issued by the Palestinian Authority.  Ha, I didn’t know they issued passports.  Is that kind of like a little girl pretending to serve tea to her friends?  It was actually kind of funny, and I said something to myself (or to Tova) and chuckled.

Finally, money in hand, diaper-and-clothes-changed (I had forgotten the diapers on the bed, and had to borrow a 4+ from another family; I told Tova not to poop in it because it was too big on her and would leak, and she actually listened until we were off the return bus and walking back), I had time to sit for a few minutes.

Part Five: The Catch

Then my number was called.  The lady at the window was very efficient, asked for all my documents, and I gave them to her; answered my questions about the social security cards; asked for Shlomo’s passport so that he could get his, and seemed surprised when I handed it to her; and sent me to pay.

She asked if I was still married to Tova’s father.  Yes, I am.  And in my head, I think that it’s a funny question to ask.  Can she have the marriage certificate?  I gave it to her.  She asked if I was going to pick up the report or if I wanted it sent to me.  I wasn’t sure I had enough to have it sent, and kicked myself for not asking Yitzchak for another twenty shekels when I had met him earlier.

I went to the shipping-and-number-giving desk, where I waited beside a guy with a thick accent who wanted to know where to go.  I tried to help him, until I heard his accent and saw his manner.  What does he need?  He wants to go to America. Does he need a visa?  Yes, he says.  Is he a citizen?  He doesn’t know what that means.  Where is he from?  “Palestine!”  Ha ha.  I laughed at that one.  The number-giving guy called for another guy and told the other guy to “help this gentleman”.  No one can tell me what the exchange rate is, and they are annoyed at me for asking and ‘being angry’, when I am not angry, just kind of frustrated at having to explain such a simple question over and over.

I go to the paying-desk, now that there is no line, and say, “Mah ha’shaar (what’s the exchange rate)?”  He thinks I said, “Mah hasha’a (what’s the time)?” looks at his watch, and tells me 10:45.  It took me a second to figure out what had happened, and then I repeated my question.  This time, he understood, and told me “4”.  I gave him the receipt from the lady who had handled my documents (and was waiting for my return) and gave him 400 shekels.

When I get back, the lady tells me that I can’t get a social security card for Tova because she doesn’t have a passport.  Huh?  I didn’t see that written anywhere.  As it turns out, it doesn’t have to be an American passport, but if we have never applied for any passport, from any country, for Tova, then she cannot get a social security card.  And she hands me back the form, apologetically.  Okay, fine.  At least Shlomo can get one.  She tells me to wait and that the consular officer will call me.  He will give back the documents.  If I want to apply for a passport, then my husband will have to accompany me.  Yep, don’t I know it.

I sit and wait for the consular officer.  While I wait, I see someone holding a credit card.  Hm, I think, can I pay for shipping with a credit card?  The shipping-girl isn’t at the desk, and while I wait for her to return, the consular officer calls our name.  We don’t usually use credit, even though our debit cards are really credit cards.  But sometimes, it’s a good option to have.  Although, we have been known to say that we don’t have an option for credit.  I suppose you could say it’s lying, but the truth is that it’s not usually an option, financially and budget-wise.

I ask the consular officer if I can still have the documents shipped to me, provided that shipping-girl will take a credit card (and I saw a machine for it on the desk).  He doesn’t know if she will take it, but says that it’s not a problem for me to get them shipped, even at this late stage.  Then he asks for Shlomo’s birth certificate.  I need proof that we are his parents asking for his social security card.  I don’t have the beautiful Report of Birth Abroad, nor do I have his Israeli birth certificate.  I thought the passport would be enough, and the consulate site didn’t say otherwise.  In fact, I thought the consulate site said a passport was enough.  And the lady didn’t say anything . . .  So, we can’t get a social security card for Shlomo, either.

Part Six: The “Solution”, or, Making the Most of An Aggravating Trip

However, Tova’s Report of Birth Abroad should be ready in a week and a half to two weeks.  I can drop off the social security forms at the same time as I pick up the Report of Birth Abroad, no appointment necessary.  I guess that’s what I’ll have to do; I don’t have a cell phone to ask Yitzchak his opinion (because, if you remember, it was taken when I came in), so I decide to make the trip to pick up the report and drop off the forms.  The consular officer is nice and makes sure every ‘t’ is crossed and every ‘i’ is dotted so that I will have an easy, fast, trip next time.  I appreciate it.  And I am frustrated that every trip to Jerusalem seems to leave loose ends that need to be tied up by another trip.  Another 80 shekels; another wasted day.  Arg.  We will not be able to get the social security cards by the 15th of June, but we can file for an extension.  Better yet, we can talk to a CPA and get him to help us out.

But, maybe we should get Tova an Israeli passport in the meantime, and then apply for both social security cards when we pick up the report of birth.  Hmm.  Sounds like it could work.

And that’s where we stand now.

I also didn’t get to buy what I wanted for myself when I was in Jerusalem.  Yitzchak said he’s going to check some places here and ask if they can order it in; if not, then I guess I will have another chance in two weeks.  Maybe we will plan it for a Friday that we are in Jerusalem.  But we are not pulling another stunt like this one; it was too difficult.

Part Seven: The Israeli Passport

We debated whether or not to get Tova an Israeli passport.  On the one hand, we aren’t planning on going anywhere.  On the other hand, we need it for a social security number, which could potentially save us, or give us, a lot of money, and the passport is good for five years.  Plus, it would be kind of funny to see two “baby” passports and compare the pictures.  We decided to get the passport.  From what I saw on the internet, it would cost between 125 and 140 shekels, which is not too bad.  Much, much, less than $105 (which right now is 420 shekels).  Plus, we probably wouldn’t have to wait in line.  Not too bad . . . so we went for it.

Tuesday morning, Yitzchak went to sell the chametz with the city’s rav, at the city’s commercial center.  At the same time, he took Tova to get passport photos taken, and parted with 25 shekel.  He went into the Ministry of Interior and asked for a passport application, only to be told that they don’t give them out, and we had to come in.

From what I had read on the internet, I knew that both of us needed to sign the application.  My plan had been for Yitzchak to pick up the application and sign it, and then I would fill it out, sign it, and take Tova in to the Ministry of Interior to apply.  Now, this plan got changed.  So, at 4:15, we all got on a bus and went to the commercial center, where they asked if we wanted a regular passport or a biometric passport (regular, thanks), and told us that since we’re married, only one of us has to sign the form.  The passport cost us 140 shekels.  Sigh.

On the bright side, they also said that the passport would be put in the mail either that day or the next morning, and we should have it within ten business days.  Sounds good to me.

And so, we now wait for Tova’s Israeli passport to arrive; hopefully before Pesach vacation ends and I have to go back to work.

Update: About an hour and a half before this post was published (I had scheduled it to post, ahead of time), we had a knock on the door: The passport had arrived, through registered mail, a day and a half after we applied for it.

Polio – Re-Vaccinate or Not?

You may have heard that there is a polio outbreak in the Muslim world.  Honestly, I don’t care that much – except that all of our neighbors are Arab.  Great news, right?

I’m not sure how long it’s been going on, but the Ministry of Health has told all residents of the south to vaccinate children 0-9 years of age with the oral polio vaccine (live but weakened virus).  This is because, starting from 2004, they replaced OPV with IPV in the standard immunization routine.  Which means that anyone born after 2004 received the inactiviated (i.e., dead) polio vaccine, instead of the live one.  On the whole, it’s a much safer vaccine now.  After all, a dead virus can’t hurt you, right?

On Friday afternoon, the Ministry of Health extended the order to re-vaccinate children 0-9 years old to all of Israel, because polio was found in the sewage in the area of Ramla and Lod.

[Backtrack: Polio was found in the sewage a few months ago, but most of the samples taken were from the south.  Word of mouth has it that polio has been in the sewage for years, but because we are mostly vaccinated, we never noticed it.  The outbreak in the Arab countries started because someone decided that the polio vaccine was a trick of the Western world in order to render Arabs infertile.  Therefore, the best thing to do was to order everyone not to vaccinate.  (Let’s say that this was true.  If the vaccine makes you infertile, the disease won’t?  Okay, no one ever said these radicals use their brains . . .)

Yitzchak adds:  Nigeria has polio, and as well all know, everyone goes to Mecca.  Then someone who came back from Mecca and lived in Judea and Samaria had caught the virus and somehow passed it on enough that there is stuff in the sewage.  I don’t know where Yitzchak got that, or if it even makes sense.  Take it or leave it.  Honestly, I think he has something there, but I’m not quite sure what it is.]

Okay, so now everyone should re-vaccinate.  And the fact that we are moving to the south (that’s for another post) makes me more nervous.  The vaccine is definitely better than the virus.  On the other hand, Shlomo is already vaccinated.  What are the chances of him catching it if he’s already had all his vaccinations?  They say the IPV prevents you from getting sick (but you can still transmit); the OPV prevents you from passing the virus on.  Do I really want to give my kid a dose of OPV so that someone who chose not to vaccinate their kid (and presumably won’t vaccinate now, either) won’t suffer?

I definitely need to go over what the Ministry of Health is saying and sort through it all.  I also have to check and make sure that Yitzchak and I are both vaccinated properly.  But if it’s an issue of transmitting the virus, not of actually getting sick – I think I’ll pass . . .

As I said, though, I need to do a bit more reading before making a final decision.

Oh, the stupid Arabs.  Oh, the stupid people who choose not to vaccinate, not only causing potential harm to themselves but also to others.  I assume said people won’t vaccinate now – in which case, I don’t see why I should do it for them.  But why can’t everyone get the regular vaccines, on schedule, and peace on Israel (shalom al Yisrael; a phrase that is used to mean, “and just be done with it”)?

Roadblocks (Or Obama’s Israel Visit)

obama, israel, obama in israel, obama israel visit, obama with netanyahu, netanyahu, america and israel, obama and netanyahu, netanyahu and obama, netanyahu obama visit

This post is about Obama’s visit to Israel.  It is subdivided into several sections, each of which was a post that I wanted to write this week (but couldn’t, because my computer broke, remember?).

A. Me: “I don’t get it – why does everything have to be closed, just because Obama is in the general area?  What, do they think someone will assassinate him will happen?”

Yitzchak: “The United States has a history of its presidents being assassinated.”

Me (thinking that I’ve only heard of Kennedy being assassinated): “In the U.S., not abroad.”

Yitzchak: “Both in the U.S. itself and abroad.”

Me (not sure, but not willing to argue the point): “They do know that if someone will assassinate Obama, it’s going to be an Arab, right?  Jews may or may not like him [FTR: I think I like him], but only an Arab would assassinate him – they don’t even want him to visit them.  Though, I’m not sure why, because he’s been pretty nice to them.”

Yitzchak: “Because they want to ‘cut off the head of the snake.'”

Me: “Hm, and this would be the head of ‘the head of the snake.'”

Yitzchak: “Yeah, and it would probably do them more harm than good, but they’re too blind to see that.  They don’t think that they [Muslim fighters] can be defeated.”

B. Me: “Why under the sun did Obama decide to visit right before Pesach?  He couldn’t have come during Pesach?  It’s not like he’s totally ignorant – there are lots of religious Jews in the White House, and he knows they’re getting ready for Pesach.”

Yitzchak: “If it were Bush, he’d have the excuse of being oblivious – all of Bush’s best friends are all Arabs.  But Obama’s best friends are all Jews, so he has no excuse for closing the roads when everyone needs to be shopping for Pesach.”

C. Today the 21 isn’t running.  The 5 isn’t running.  The 6 isn’t running.  I called the bus company and they told me that all three were running, but two of them had slight route changes.  On Wednesday, the 13 and 18 had changes or weren’t running.  The light rail train should be running, but we all know that “should” and “is” are two separate concepts.

None of these bus lines are running.  There are roadblocks set up, and buses can’t get through.  Neither can private cars.  And the taxi company in our neighborhood has been forbidden to send out taxis.  Yitzchak wasted over an hour today waiting for a bus that didn’t come, and then going to another neighborhood on foot, to wait for another bus that didn’t come.  And on a Friday, that’s pretty awful.

Yitzchak thinks – and I agree with his theory – that there must be American police involved.  Israeli police would probably allow buses through by making makeshift “checkpoints”.  Meaning, the bus stops at the roadblock, an officer gets on, he removes any suspicious people, and then allows the bus to pass.  Only American police officers could be stupid enough to freeze all of the traffic in three neighborhoods surrounding the one neighborhood where Obama is.  And no offense, but 9/11 would not have happened in Israel – simply because racial profiling is allowed, and the terrorists would not have been allowed to board.  Even today, with all the precautions that America takes, I am not sure that the airport security is enough.  And no, I don’t think that X-rays are appropriate, necessary, healthy, or acceptable.  All you need is to learn how to profile correctly.

D. (Theoretical conversation:)

Yitzchak (to a police officer): “Can I ask President Obama a question?”

Officer: “Why?”

Yitzchak: “Just because I’m curious, I want to ask a quick question.”

Officer: “Okay.”

Yitzchak (to Obama): “Mr. President, can I ask you why you decided to come, of all times, the week before Pesach?”

Obama: “That’s a very good question.  I’ll have to think about it and get back to you.” (or, alternatively)  “That’s a good question.  I really don’t know.”

(Both of these answers are actually very complimentary to Obama, since most people don’t know how to admit mistakes or say that they don’t know something.)

E. We have friends who were very anti-Obama in the elections and said that Romney is pro-Israel and Obama is an anti-Semite.  They encouraged us to vote for Romney.  Our voting cards did not get here in time, but we were planning to vote for Obama, and would have if we had had the opportunity.

This morning, one of them said, “Obama sounds like a Jew the way he’s talking.  He’s really being nice.  And he obviously knows his stuff.”

From one extreme to the other, huh?

F. One thing that does bother me is that this, “was not a political visit,” yet, students from Ariel University were not invited to Obama’s speech. That in itself is a political statement.  However, I blame the U.S. Consulate for this step.  I don’t know whether Obama corrected it, or why he did or did not (because my computer broke, remember?), but either way, I am more mad at the consulate than at the president.

G. Overall, I think Obama’s visit to Israel has gone pretty well.  He wants to speak to Bennett.  He has been pretty reasonable on the peace-process front.  And Netanyahu seems to be getting along with Obama just fine.  In addition, Obama seems to have realized – the first president in a long time – that peace truly depends on whether both sides want it, and not necessarily are both sides interested right now.

I like Obama as a person.  I was not sure that I liked his policies towards Israel last time, but I knew that Romney would undoubtedly be worse.  This is also Obama’s second term, which means that he can do whatever he wants without worrying about re-election and the political consequences.  The only – and scary – question for me, during the elections, was what exactly Obama wants, and what he truly believes in.  Was he being nicer to Israel than he would like to be, to get re-elected?  Or was he being nicer to the Arabs to get re-elected?

Now I breathe a sigh of relief that I looked at the other aspects of his relationship with Israel, and trusted that it would only get better with time.  Obama seems to be the most reasonable, intelligent American president that Israel has seen in a long time.

His friends are Jews, not Arabs.  He wants his children to grow up in a safe world.  And he can do whatever he wants, because he is not running for re-election.  I hope he continues to be a true friend of Israel.