Tag Archive | Hamas

Bibi: Listen to My Boy’s Simple Logic

I wrote this post on Tisha B’Av.

On Tisha B’Av, I was watching Gush Katif videos.  It’s a fitting activity, music or not, because the expulsion of 8,600 Jews from their homes, and literally cutting off a limb of Israel, is one of the tragedies that led to tragedies of our time.  (You can watch the videos, too.)

On the one hand, this is not exactly an activity for children.  On the other hand, these are his brothers, this is his country, and he will probably grow up friends with some of the expellees’ siblings.  The children who were expelled from their homes were traumatized much worse than this video will ever traumatize Shlomo.

On the one hand, this is not a video for children.  On the other hand, how can I tell him it is only for adults?

I let him watch with me.  The first one he saw with me, last night, he thought was hilarious.  I’m not sure why, but it could be a combination of the hour, the music, and the lack of narration.  He thought that the menora on top of a roof was a plane.  Today, when Shlomo watched with me, he told me halfway through, “I don’t want this video, I don’t like it.”  I told him that he didn’t have to watch with me, but that this is what I was watching.  He stayed.

And I felt like it was inappropriate to simply let him watch, without giving him any explanation for what was happening and why.  After all, one of the sentences that he had heard, and repeated, was, “How can you take children out of their homes?”  He needed to know why and how it had happened, at least so that he would not live in fear of it happening unexpectedly to him.

I told him that the place where the woo-woos come from is called Gaza.  That the person in charge of Israel right now is called Bibi (he thought that was a funny name), and the person in charge when the video was taken was called Ariel Sharon.  All these people, the imas and abbas and children and teenagers, lived in beautiful homes in Gaza.  They protected us from the woo-woos even though they sometimes got hurt.  They went to gan and played and are nice people.  But the bad people kept trying to hurt us, and one day Sharon said that the bad people had told him, that if we gave them all of Gaza and took all these nice people out of their homes, then they would stop hurting us and we would have shalom (peace).  Sharon believed the bad people, and that they wouldn’t hurt us, if we took these people away from their homes.  So that’s what happened.  They took the people out of their houses.

Shlomo thought the soldiers were hurting people, and I told him that the soldiers tried very hard not to hurt anyone, because they are our brothers and they love us.  Just like Jack is Abba’s brother, and he loves us.  Just like the nice soldier who shared her falafel with him.  The soldiers are nice.  I pointed out that the soldiers were also crying, that they didn’t have a choice.  I told him that all of the woo-woos (air-raid sirens) have come from Gaza, because the nice people aren’t in their homes anymore, protecting us.  Now that bad people are using their homes to make woo-woos and hurt people.

And my beautiful, smart boy said a single, brilliant sentence: We need to put them back in their homes.

I told him that many, many people agreed with him, and praised him for his creative, clear thinking.  I told him that we also want that to happen, but that Bibi and the other people in charge don’t want to do it.  I told him that now that the bad people are using the land, it’s very hard to get it back.  I asked him if he thought it would be safe or dangerous for soldiers to go to where the bad people are and take the land back.  He said dangerous.  He said that Yitzchak, Tova, himself, and I, should get into fighter planes and fight the woo-woos and break the woo-woos so that we will be safe.  I told hiim that Yitzchak and I aren’t soldiers, that he might be, but that I hope that he won’t have to be.  He didn’t care, he wanted to get into a fighter plane and fight.  And then the nice people could go back to their homes and there would be no more woo-woos.

Bibi, I think you should take Shlomo as your advisor.  All you need to do is give him cookies, cereal, and building toys to make planes, buses, and trains with, and he will tell you how to keep Israel safe.

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What Would YOU Do?

This video allows you to take the pilot’s seat and decide whether to continue the mission that the IDF sent you on, or to abort it.  I ask each of you to watch the video and try to decide what you would do, if you had been the pilot in that particular mission.

Israel has the most humane army in the world.  We go beyond the letter of the law, putting ourselves at risk, so as not to hurt Muslim women and children, and any other innocent civilians, who are being used as human shields to protect the very terrorists who aim to kill us – and who have killed hundreds of innocent men, women, children, and babies.

What would YOU do?  Would you be as humane as Israel?  Or would you do the logical thing, and kill the terrorists while you had the chance, regardless of who they were hiding behind?

Hamas: Hated by Gazans and Israelis Alike?

Let’s forget for a moment that Hamas’ major goal is not independence and a good life for themselves and their brothers, but the destruction of Israel and the murder of all Jews.  We’re not getting into that at the moment, true as it may be. Today I want to look at Hamas from a different perspective – that of Gazan citizens.  Or, in other words, the very people that Hamas is supposed to be working to protect and help, to defend and build for.  What do Gazan citizens think of Hamas?  What do they think of Israel?  If they had to choose between Israel and Hamas, who would they choose? I think the answer is obvious, but evidently, it’s only obvious if you know the facts, something which most people today seem not to know, or perhaps are simply unable to see.  Let’s take a look: Mudar Zahran writes,

“While the world’s media has been blaming Israel for the death of Gazan civilians during Operation Protective Edge, this correspondent decided to speak with Gazans themselves to hear what they had to say. They spoke of Hamas atrocities and war crimes implicating Hamas in the civilian deaths of its own people. Although Gazans, fearful of Hamas’s revenge against them, were afraid to speak to the media, friends in the West Bank offered introductions to relatives in Gaza. One, a renowned Gazan academic, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that as soon as someone talked to a Western journalist, he was immediately questioned by Hamas and accused of “communicating with the Mossad”. “Hamas makes sure that the average Gazan will not talk to Western journalists — or actually any journalists at all,” he said . . .”

And according to the Algemeiner, most Gazans want a permanent ceasefire:

A recently released poll published by the Washington Institute of Near East Policy corroborates Perlov’s view that Hamas has been losing support within Gaza. The study, which notably was conducted prior to Israel’s July 18 incursion by a respected Palestinians pollster, demonstrates that the majority of Gazans are unhappy with Hamas governance – for myriad reasons.

The Way,’ also spoke to Mudar Zahran:

“Not a single Gazan that I spoke to supported Hamas,” said Zahran, who came to the “West Bank” to cover the conflict in and around the Gaza Strip.
“Come on, do you guys think we are animals? That we would love seeing Hamas terrorists hiding among our crowds just to have Israeli F–16’s bomb us so we can get the sympathy?” he asked in an interview with JerusalemOnline. “Please understand, yes, Gaza elected Hamas, but people make mistakes. Didn’t the Germans elect Hitler? Were the Germans still in favor of Hitler when Russia and the Allies were marching into Berlin and bombing the hell out of it?”
Of course, that doesn’t mean most of the population in Gaza is ready to ally with Israel or even return to Israeli rule.
“We have to be clear; Palestinians hate Israel,” Zahran reminded his Israeli readers. “This might change in thirty years or so, but they hate Israel. So Gazans hate Israel, but for sure and I can authoritatively say this, they hate Hamas even more now.”
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So, where does that leave everyone else?  Is it aiding civilians when we give Gaza food and building materials, or is it aiding Hamas and hurting the innocent?

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:

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.

Wow, Obama! Your Revenge is Stunning!

Seriously, Mr. President?  Grow up.  You’re acting like an elementary school kid.  I should know, I’ve taught them.  What was your point in letting the world’s worst-kept secret out of the bag?

Israel is not a nuclear power.  We have no nuclear reactors, no nuclear bombs.  We never always have.  What’s your point?

I mean, of course we don’t have a reactor.  Well, duh.  Why would we?

Why would we?  Because, if you will recall, we are the only democratic, free, state in the entire area.  We are surrounded by hostile nations, and we need to keep them in fear of us, for survival’s sake.  That’s something that you seem to like to forget, with your two-state solution garbage and refusal to let us kill terrorist murderers.

Yay, so you proved that Israel does have nukes.  Wowee.  We are all impressed, Mr. Obama Bin Laden (or, as Grunt likes to call you, OBozo).

Obama, I believe that you are worse than McCain, by far.  I would’ve loved McCain for president, and I voted for him, despite Palin.  I believed that you were better than Romney, though I didn’t get to vote in those elections.  But now, I’m not sure.  Because however bad Romney may be, he’s not a ten-year-old out to get revenge on Netanyahu, and all of Israel, simply because we didn’t vote the way he wanted.  Boo-hoo, Obama.  A democratic state didn’t vote the way you wanted.  Would you be taking revenge on Romney if he had won the elections?  Would you be taking revenge on America?

Get over it.  And leave Israel alone.  It’s enough that you tried to interfere with our democratic elections.  We beat you, because we don’t believe, justly, that the “Palestinians” want a two-state solution.  If they did, we would sign a deal with them.  They don’t.  All they want is to push us into the sea.  In their words, not mine.

Now, please explain: What was your point in declassifying only the section on Israel, in this report from 1987?

By the way: We have a Fisher-Price plane that comes with a luggage thing, a skateboard, and two people: a white kid with a helmet, and a black captain.  The luggage thing is used as a podium.  The black captain stands on the podium, and Shlomo says, “I’m Obama-rama making a speech.  Pchhh,” and pops “Obama” off the podium.  He learned this from us, with our warped sense of political humor, obviously.  I think I started doing it because I was frustrated with his kvetching and wanted to distract him.  But right now, I feel like it’s really appropriate.  Obama-rama, stop making speeches; get off the podium and stop trying to run Israel.  You’re president of America.  Not prime minister of Israel.

But I promise, if anyone pushes you off the podium, we will make sure that they go sit in the corner.  Pushing isn’t okay, and it counts as violence.  We just ask you to step down, of your own accord.

To Bibi Netanyahu: A Message from Israeli Nationlists

Do not think that we voted for you, and gave you such a huge margin over Hertzog, because we like you.

We do not necessarily like the way you lead.

But we voted you in, because the thought of Hertzog leading a leftist government, that possibly included Arabs, sounded like the beginning of Israel’s demise.

And we love Israel.  We love our country, and would like to celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel Independence Day) knowing that unless someone nukes us, or the sun blows up, we will probably still be around to celebrate next year’s Yom Ha’atzmaut.  We do not want to celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut, in about two months, knowing that by next year, Israel will be no more, because half will be given away and the other half will be so bombarded with rockets that normal life will become completely impossible.

And therefore, Bibi, we voted you in, to lead a right wing government that gives us a chance at a future; a government that does not mean complete suicide by giving in to terrorists, murderers, by pretending to be their friends.

Bibi, you owe the religious, and nationalists, a lot.  Because so many of us wanted to keep you strong, to ensure that you would lead the government and not Hertzog; because of this, you lead the biggest party by far, and the rest of us are small in comparison.

You would not be this powerful without it.  We gave you our votes, and we did it happily, because we love our country – and not because we love you.

Bibi, if you prove that you love our country less than we love it, you will be out of office.  We ask that you stick to your word and keep a two-state suicidal solution off the table.  Stand tall, let us defend ourselves, stick up for what we, as nationalists, know is right.  And do not give in to world pressure.

Because otherwise, you will soon find yourself with no coalition, headed for primaries that you will not win, and another election that you will definitely not win – because we helped you out, in our communal time of need – we helped you, because you were the one who had the power to help us – and you cheated us, by going back on your word and becoming a leftist, and by compromising our integrity, our identity as a Jewish State, and our security.

Stick to your word, and do not cheat us, the nationalists, millions of whom are religious nationalists, who voted you in.

Election 2015 – Preliminary Results

We won – and we lost.

Likud came out six mandates ahead of Avoda ((Labor;) or rather, Hahitachdut HaTzionit (Zionist Union)).

Hertzog, unless Kulanu (“Together”, headed by Moshe Kachlon) will sit with the Arabs, will not be able to form a coalition.

In order to form a coalition, you need 61 mandates.

Hertzog has 24; Yesh Atid has 11; Meretz has 4.  24+11+4=39

If he takes Kulanu, which has 10 mandates, he will get 49.  The Arabs have 14 mandates; if Hertzog takes them in addition to Kulanu, then he will have 63 mandates, or, in other words, a coalition.  If Kachlon doesn’t agree to sit with the Arabs – and being a former Likud member, and whose voters are right-wing, he very possibly may not agree – then Hertzog has no coalition.  Yay!!

The chareidi parties, Shas and Aguda (UTJ) will not sit with Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid), because he is the one who spearheaded the campaign to force chareidim into the army.  Technically, the chareidim are more worth it than Lapid, because together, they have 14 mandates, while Lapid has only 11.  But Hertzog’s natural partner is Yesh Atid, and he will take the chareidim (some of whom will probably agree to sit with Arabs, some of whom will probably not) only as a last resort – unless a miracle occurs and they agree to sit with Lapid, which is highly unlikely.

Let’s take a look at Bibi.  I was right last time, and maybe I will be right this time.  Last time I said, why not just take Lapid and Bennett?  With Likud, Lapid, and Bennett, we already have a coalition, and because it is only three parties, it was expected to be stable (less demands, less zigzgging, less chance of it toppling over stupidities; Lapid proved stupider than I thought and therefore the potentially stable coalition was very unstable).

At any rate:

Bibi has 30 mandates; Bayit Yehudi has 8; Shas has 7; Yisrael Beiteinu and Aguda (UTJ) have six each. 30+8+7+6+6=57.  It’s still just short of a coalition, but if Kulanu joins them, then they will have 67, which is a good coalition.  Will it happen?  Actually, it’s very likely.

What does it depend on?  A few things:

1. That Kulanu refuse to sit with Arabs, and agree to join Bibi.

2. That the chareidim not insist on changing the draft law, and agree to sit with Bibi without making completely unreasonable demands.

3. That no one else on the right make completely unreasonable demands or refuse to sit with each other.

4. That Netanyahu and Hertzog not agree to a unity government.

If any of the first three happen, we are headed for new elections.  If the last one happens, we are in big trouble.

I am also very frustrated that 3+ mandates of right wing votes went to trash.  Like in previous elections, a lot of right wing votes went to a start-up party that no one was entirely sure would pass the threshold.  Last time, it was Otzma L’Yisrael, and 66,775 votes went down the drain.  This time, it was Yachad, and 118,368 votes went down the drain.  Also remember that last time, the minimum was 2 mandates; this time, the minimum was raised to 4 mandates.  Especially during these elections, when every right wing vote mattered, losing that many votes is a huge frustration and loss.  Wherever you would’ve put them – Shas, Aguda, Bayit Yehudi – they would have done something.  If they had all gone to Bayit Yehudi, then they would have 11 mandates instead of 8.  Let’s say some were taken from Shas and some from Aguda, as well as those from Bayit Yehudi – Bayit Yehudi would have 9, Shas would have 8, Aguda would have 7.  And possibly one of those would have gained two extra seats, because it’s not just 3 mandates – it’s 3+, which means that Yachad’s extra, plus someone else’s extra, might’ve added a second mandate to one of those.

Remember we said that a right-wing government, without Kulanu, had 57 mandates?  If we had those 3+, we might very well have had a coalition right there, even without worrying about who Kachlon will join.  Isn’t that a shame?  I, and many other right wing voters, think it is.

Dang It, Elections – Again!

Again, because we had elections two years ago (I think).

It’s good, because Lapid and his party[-ruiners] have caused a lot of upheaval, and a lot of problems.

It’s bad, because the reason for these elections is that Lapid stepped over the line and got kicked out of the Knesset – toppling the government.  In other words, the prime minister toppled the government with his own hands.  And after Tzuk Eitan was stopped prematurely, a lot of people are disillusioned with the right.  Which is stupid, because it’s Obama’s fault that we stopped Tzuk Eitan, not Bennett’s or Bibi’s. At least, not directly.

On the other hand, the left is even worse.  Arabs in the Knesset?  Peace process?  Dividing Israel up?  Give me a break.  Why?  So that there will be no place in all of Israel that has more than 30 seconds to run to the bomb shelters?  Thanks, guys.  Herzog as prime minister is the beginning of Israel’s demise, or rather, suicide.  Ugh.

For the first time, though, Yitzchak and I debated what we should vote.  In the past, I voted Ichud Leumi (National Union); when they joined with Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home), I voted for Bayit Yehudi.  Yitzchak, too, voted Bayit Yehudi, simply because it was the obvious choice for both of us.  We care about security, and we want a party whose members have heads on their shoulders, and will take care of our security concerns, along with all the other issues (like economics, religion, education).

But Bennett made a few mistakes in Tzuk Eitan and afterwards; I think he let the power go to this head.  On the other hand, he’s a good guy, and he listens to his rabbanim (rabbis) when they tell him that he’s being stupid.  He also listens to the public.  And he’s a pretty good economics minister.  He also is STILL head of the only party except for maybe Yoni Chetboun (Yachad) who cares about security the way I do.

I considered voting Yachad because I really like Yoni Chetboun (he used to be in Bayit Yehudi, and many people, myself included, think that it is a real loss to Bayit Yehudi that he left; again, mistake of Bennett’s).  But I just can’t bring myself to vote for Eli Yishai, who is number 1 on Yachad’s list.  I just can’t.

And while Bibi is a better option than Buji (Herzog) for prime minister, I can’t stomach voting for him, either.

So I am sticking with Bayit Yehudi, and after weeks of debating, I am finally happy with my choice.

Yitzchak is voting Likud, because he is afraid of what will happen if they don’t get enough votes.  I can’t say I blame him,

And the left?

They are underhanded.  The way you vote in Israel is that you show your ID card, they give you an envelope, and you go to the stand and choose a piece of paper to put in your envelope.  If you put two pieces in, your vote is discounted.

The left has been putting up signs and advertisements everywhere, “We are stronger together!  Vote for both [Machal (Likud) and Tav (Bayit Yehudi)]! Place two slips in the envelope.” There is also a picture of both notes in an envelope.

left wing, right wing, bibi, bennett, netanyahu, israel, elections 2015, elections, middle east, peace process, security, trickery, underhanded tactics, advertising sins, deception, advertising deceptions, unity government, arabs, coalition, government, politics, votes

This is the banner that the left is using to try to disqualify right wing votes.

 

In other words, if right wing votes are discounted because we misguided them, then the left will win.  The reason this desperate, underhanded tactic may work is that there were a few times when there was a direct vote for prime minister AND a vote for which parties – meaning, two slips in the envelope.  And I think that when you vote in municipal elections there are also 2 slips of paper.

And that’s not even mentioning the fact that many polls that show Likud as stronger than Avoda (Labor) aren’t shown to the public . . .

All we can do at this point is pray.  There is a good chance that if Likud and Avoda are close, even if Avoda gets more, Bibi will be given the first chance at a coalition, simply because he has more people willing to work with him.

Just.  Pray.

Soldiers Are Just Kids in Uniform

This is a post I wrote in the middle of Tzuk Eitan (Operation Protective Edge, this past summer) and never published.

The first time I came to Israel, I was twelve; I came for my cousin’s wedding and it doubled as a bat mitzva trip for me.  When I saw soldiers they were cool and practically grown up.  Definitely with a lot of responsibility.

The next time I came, I was post high school, studying in a one-year program that would count as part of my degree when I got back.  I remember looking at the soldiers and thinking that we were the same age but living in completely different worlds.  I wasn’t sure which world was preferable; I did know that I owed them a lot and in many ways they were more mature than I was.  I remember thinking that we were so different, but still so much alike.

I’m not the same age as the soldiers anymore; I have a brother who, if he lived in Israel, would be just starting, or about to start, his stint in the army.  I see soldiers, I see high school boys and girls – and I see kids.  Young and innocent, immature, sweet, kids.  I wonder what they want to do with their lives.  I wonder what they’ve been through already.  I wonder, especially when I see soldier couples, if they were neighbors or met during their service, and if they will marry when they get out of the army.  I wonder who will go to Thailand to find himself and who will start studying for a degree.

I look at my youngest brother in law, a year and a bit older than me, and think about what the army has done for him.  Maybe he’s chronologically older than me, but he’s still just a kid.  And being in the army has matured him – a lot.  He’s not all for fighting, like he was at first.  And there are other changes, but I won’t write them.

I look at the kids finishing high school and know that in three years, when they finish army, they will be different people.

Unfortunately, thanks to Tzuk Eitan (Protective Edge), I’ve seen way too many pictures of soldiers on the internet.  Most of them, if not all, were of soldiers who are no longer with us.  Smiling faces of kids, young and innocent.  Kids who were engaged, kids who were two weeks before their weddings.  Kids whose younger siblings are still in grade school and asking the prime minister why this had to happen and why there was a ceasefire.

Kids who had plans for the future, who had their whole future before them.

Of course, some of those killed weren’t kids.  Some of them were career soldiers, or reservists; officers with wives and children.  Some of these career soldiers left behind children who will never know their father – because their father was killed a short while before they were born.

I’m not sure what’s worse – a dead kid soldier or a dead soldier who leaves a wife and five orphans.

I do know that when I see the faces of these kids, smiling faces full of life and hope, I can’t help but smile.  And then I remember that they’re not here anymore.  And I have to ask why.  They were kids!  Kids barely out of high school.  You see it in their jawlines, in their attitudes, in their crooked pubertal smiles and disproportionate noses, in their optimism, in their barely-there facial hair.

Kids.

Like any other kids.

High school kids in uniform.  That’s what they are.

Why did they have to die, and why can’t we respect their deaths, and their families, and make their deaths worthwhile?  Those are questions I don’t have the answer to.

I wish I did.

And I hope and pray that by the time Shlomo finishes high school, we won’t need to fight anymore, because we will have quiet.  Peace – probably will never come.  King Solomon didn’t have peace – the countries were afraid of him.  We don’t have peace with Syria – Syria is afraid to start up with us.  With Egypt we don’t have peace, either – they just hate Hamas, and so do we.  When Jacob’s sons fought and killed all of Sh’chem (Nablus?), they didn’t make peace with their neighbors.  No one came to kill them, because everyone was afraid.  That’s not peace.  But it is the only way we’ll have quiet.

I know that this hope, and prayer, may very well be in vain.  Those who fought in 1948 had the same hope and prayer for their children.  It didn’t happen.  Those who fought in 1967 felt the same way, and prayed that their children would never have to wear an army uniform.  That didn’t happen, either.  Every parent in this country, every soldier in this country, every reservist, hopes and prays that the fighting of today, that the soldiers of today, will be enough, and that the next generation, my generation’s children, will not have to wear uniforms and will not have to fight.

This is what we hope.  This is what we pray.

But as Golda Meir said, “We will not have peace until Hamas loves their children more than they hate us.”

Hamas hasn’t gotten there yet.  And as long as they turn their children into suicide terrorists, we will have to fight them, and so will our children.

I hope, I pray, that the world will wake up, that we will wake up, and that no more innocent high school kids will have to die.