Saturday, August 26, 2006

Where will the 3rd Beis Hamikdash be built?

This sounds like a stupid question, the answer is obvious, in ירושלים on הר הבית.

However, the מלבי"ם and the רש"ש point out that the simple reading of the pesukim in יחזקאל פרק מ"ח is not that way.

The מלבי"ם in his commentary (יחזקאל מ"ג,ז) states that we see from the pesukim in פרק מ"ח that the Beis Hamikdash will be 25 mil from ירושלים on a different mountain. The רש"ש makes a similar comment (בבא בתרא קכ"ב). The Gemara there is discussing the חלוקת הארץ that will be when moshiach comes. The רש"ש points put out דרך אגב, that the simple reading of the pesukim in יחזקאל פרק מ"ח is that the Beis Hamikdash will be on a different mountain 25 mil from ירושלים and that this understanding can explain additional Pesukim in other places in נ"ך as well.

This opinion is clearly against the Rambam and I don't know of any earlier source who says like them.

The Rambam in (הלכות בית הבחירה (א,ג writes:
כיון שנבנה המקדש בירושלים--נאסרו כל המקומות כולן לבנות בהן בית לה', ולהקריב בהן קרבן; ואין שם בית לדורי הדורות אלא בירושלים בלבד, ובהר המורייה שבה--שנאמר "ויאמר דויד--זה הוא, בית ה' האלוהים; וזה מזבח לעולה, לישראל" (דברי הימים א כב,א), ואומר "זאת מנוחתי, עדי עד"

Once the Beis Hamikdash was built in Yerushalayim, it was prohibited to build a house for Hashem anywhere else and to bring sacrifices anywhere else. The only eternal house of Hashem is in Yerushalayim and on Har Hamoriah ...

Hopefully we will merit to see the resolution of this question very soon when Moshiach arrives.

Friday, August 25, 2006

European airline crews won't stay overnight in Israel

I just flew back to Israel from Europe on a European airline and we wasted an hour and a half in Cyprus changing crews. It seems that the crews are to afraid to stay overnight in Tel Aviv.

This is so silly it is laughable. These same airlines fly to places like Kinshasa, Entebbe, Lagos, Johannesburg etc. (I picked these places at random from their African route map) not exactly paragons of peace and stability (and in fact all places where you can't drink the water and need anti-malarial drugs).

Here are some interesting facts about these places.

The Economist writes the following about Lagos

Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria, has a reputation as one of the world's most uninviting cities.

Bribery is most visible at police checkpoints (usually at big junctions), where armed police may demand “a little something for the weekend”.
Street crime in Lagos is high and those who can afford to do so live behind walled compounds protected by barbed wire, with iron bars at the windows.

The US State Department writes about Congo and Kinshasa

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in light of recent unrest following the first round of the presidential elections. On August 21-22, there was sustained gunfire in the Gombe neighborhood of Kinshasa where many expatriates reside.

South Africa in general and Johannesburg in particular are facing an incredible crime wave. A serious crime is committed every 17 seconds in South Africa and Johannesburg is the epicentre of the crisis.

Yet, the crews have no problem staying overnight in these wonderful inviting places, only in Tel Aviv are they so terrified. Just amazing.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

What is the role of the King in the Torah?

The Ran in his derashos (derasha 11) addresses this point directly. The Ran writes that the King's role is תיקון מדיני, we would translate this as civil law. The Ran writes about the Torah laws אין ענינם תיקון מדיני כלל. The purpose of Torah laws has no relation to תיקון מדיני (although it may accomplish that as well). Rather, the purpose of Torah laws is לחול השפע האלוקי, to bring down the heavenly influence.

The Ran's postion can be summed up by this quote:
ומפני זה אפשר שימצא בקצת משפטי ודיני האומות מה שהוא יותר קרוב לתקון מדיני ממה שימצא בקצת משפטי התורה ואין אנו תסרים בזה דבר כי כל מה שיחסר מהתיקון היה משלימו המלך
Because of this we might find that some of the gentiles laws are closer to perfection in civil law then what we find i sone of teh Torah's laws, however we are not missing anything because of that because what ever is missing from the Torah the King completes.

This Ran clearly conflicts with the current Charedi hashkafa about Torah. The Ran clearly and unequivocally states that Torah is not complete (the purpose of the King is to complete things) and that the laws of the gentiles may be better/more complete then the Torah laws.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The second Lebanon war has not changed anything

This is not just me this is Haaretz. ANALYSIS: The second Lebanon war has not changed anything

In practice, it has been ordered not to confront Hezbollah and not to collect arms - neither from individuals nor from storage sites.

The directives came following negotiations conducted by Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and Parliament Speaker Nabih Beri with Hassan Nasrallah: The three agreed that the issue of Hezbollah's disarmament would be debated at a later, undetermined date during confidential discussions between the government factions.

The sides in Lebanon are thus upholding only a small portion of Siniora's seven-point plan, and even a smaller portion of UN Security Council Resolution 1701: Siniora's commitment to a single army will have to wait; and Hezbollah's dismantling will take place, if ever, voluntarily and not by force.

At this stage, Hezbollah is prepared to promise that southern Lebanon will be free of military activity, but not devoid of its arms.
At this stage, and in this regard, Hezbollah will continue to call the shots - for the Lebanese government too. As such, the pre-war situation remains in place: Despite its mandate to defend the country, the Lebanese Army will still not be able to respond to an Israeli breach of the cease-fire agreement.

The question is what will the Israeli government do? My guess is nothing.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A challenge to all the Left Wing Peaceniks

What would you have advocated in 1941-42 with regards to Germany (and Japan)? Would you have advocated peace? After all, according to you, war solves nothing, at the end of the day you need to sit down and negotiate. Would you have rallied for Peace Now in 1941? Would you have pressed for a cease fire and negotiated settlement? Would you have agreed to unconditional surrender?

If you would not have negotiated with Germany and/or Japan, and agree that unconditional surrender was the correct approach, please explain why and how the situation today with the Palestinians (Hamas, Jihad, etc.), Hezbollah, Iran, etc. is different. All of these groups are publicly calling for the destruction of the State of Israel. All of them believe that all the territory from the Jordan river to the Mediteranean is Arab/Muslim territory and that there is no room for a Jewish state.

Should the US negotiate with Osama Bin Laden for the same reasons? If not why not?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

What world is Amir Peretz living in?

Today he declared Peretz: Negotiations with Syria may be possible

The conflict with Hizbullah may have created a new opportunity for renewed dialogue with the Palestinians, and potentially also with Syria, Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Tuesday afternoon.

Speaking at a bar mitzva party, Peretz said that he believes every war generates the possibility to further the greater diplomatic process, and that in this case that could mean conducting negotiations with Lebanon and creating the conditions for negotiations with Syria.

Did he somehow miss Assad's speech today? Assad all but declared war on Israel and said that he believes he can get the Golan heights back by force.

Avigdor Lieberman said the following in response.

"It is just this kind of obliviousness to reality that brought the country to the present conflict," Lieberman said.

"After Assad announced that the Golan Heights would be liberated by Syrian soldiers and that Hizbullah won the conflict, Peretz's call for negotiations with Syria will be received as a weakness and an invitation for another attack," he said. "It is preferable that the defense minister focus on preparing the army for the next unavoidable conflict rather than unrealistic wishful thinking."

Lieberman is absolutely right. It is amazing how blind the Left is. They are so full of themselves they forget that there is someone on the other side.

The slogan "Peace Now" is a very stupid slogan. It assumes that we (Israel) can make peace now no matter what. It fails to take into account that to make peace you need someone on the other side who wants to make peace as well. Unfortunately, that someone is not there on the Palestinian side, on the Lebanese side, on the Iranian side, etc. They do not want to make peace with Israel, period.

I am sure that if the Israeli leftists had been around in 1941 they would have called for negotiations with Hitler. Unconditional surrender? Of course not. Violence never solves anything. You make peace with enemies not friends. When we apply all the vacuous slogans of the Left to Hitler we see how ridiculous they are. They are just as ridiculous when applied to the Palestinians, Hezbollah, Iran, etc.

The Israeli leadership: Simply an embarrassment

The Police recommended today that the Justice Minister, Chaim Ramon, be indicted for sexual harrassment.

On the day the war broke out, 3 hours after the kidnapping, the Chief of Staff, Dan Chalutz, found the time to sell his whole stock portfolio, it would seem in anticipation that war would break out and the stock market would fall.

Avigdor Yitzchaki the head of the coalition, and previously head of the Prime Minister's office (Kadima MK) is under investigation for tax fraud.

Tzachi Hangebi a high ranking Kadima MK, (head of the prestigious, Foreign Affairs committee) has been indicted for political corruption. Let us not forget that this is the same Hanegbi who after authorizing the emergency callup of reservists in the middle of the war went to the US on vacation.

Let us not forget that the architect of Kadima, Omri Sharon is sitting in jail for the crimes he committed for his father.

Last but not least are Olmert and Peretz who while doing nothing illegal, made every possible mistake in the war and over the past month showed their absolute incompetence for the positions that they hold.

As the saying goes, the people get the leaders that they deserve. We must be pretty underserving to get this pathetic cast of leaders.

The Lebanese government is openly violating the ceasefire agreement

What will Olmert do now? Will he stand up and try to make sure the agreement is upheld or will he less then a week after the war fold? Will he admit that the war achieved none of it's goals and that the UN Resolution isn't worth the paper it is written on?

I have a feeling that he is going to say well, the weapons will be hidden, not used, the Lebanese army is there, this is not cause for war and let things slide. Of course, as soon as you let that slide, Hezbollah will understand that the Israeli governement has no backbone and try something else. They will continue with salami tactics, each step only they take will not be a cause for war, and in a short time we will be back to where we were July 12, 2006.

Lebanon government compromise would allow Hezbollah to keep hidden weapons in south

A compromise agreement now being hammered out between Hezbollah and the Lebanese government would allow the Shi'ite guerillas to keep hidden weapons in south Lebanon, the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported on Tuesday.

While Hezbollah would need to keep the weapons it possesses south of the Litani River hidden, an agreement for areas north of the river would be "left to a long term solution," the paper reported.

If the proposed compromise is accepted Tuesday by the Lebanese government, it would violate the terms of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 ending the war in Lebanon. The resolution rules that the Lebanese army and UNIFIL may be the only armed forces in the territory between the Litani River south to the Israeli border.

Some very encouraging poll numbers in Israel

It is clear from the numbers that the public has rejected the Olmert's government spin on the war and knows exactly who to blame for the war's failure.

52% feel that the Army failed in it's objectives
Only 3% are buying Olmert's spin that we won
60% of Labor and Kadima voters would not vote for them again
62% gave Olmert a failing grade for his handling of the war
65% gave Peretz a failing grade for his handling of the war
49% gave Chalutz a failing grade for his handling of the war

A direct consequence of Israel's defeat in Lebanon: Syria is threatening war

Assad: Chances of peace with Israel low, Syria will 'liberate' Golan

Syrian President Bashar Assad has said that the chance of achieving a lasting peace with Israel is low, adding that Syria planned to "liberate" the Golan Heights, which the Israel Defense Forces captured in the 1967 Six-Day War.

Syria seeing how poorly the civilian and military leadership of Israel performed is starting to think that they can retake the Golan Heights by force.

Monday, August 14, 2006

How the ceasefire may play out

This is one scenario of what may happen.

Nasrallah will stop shooting Katyushas into Israel, however, Hezbollah will not disarm and will not stop attacking Israeli soldiers. Nasrallah will claim that he is fighting to liberate Lebanon from the occupiers. What will happen is the following:
  1. Hezbollah will refuse to disarm and the Lebanese government will do nothing

  2. Hezbollah will attack Israeli troops who are in static positions and cause a few casualties a day. Analysis The IDF must leave Lebanon at once

    Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah's position is clear: He will comply with that element of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 only after the Israel Defense Forces withdraws from south Lebanon and the Lebanese Army and UNIFIL take its place. Until then, he is willing to accept only the 1996 Operation Grapes of Wrath understandings, under which both sides will keep fighting, but will not target each other's civilians. In other words, Hezbollah will not fire rockets at Israel if Israel does not bomb Lebanon, but the ground war in south Lebanon will continue and if Israel's bombing continues, so will Hezbollah's Katyushas.

  3. Israeli troops will defend themselves but not break the ceasefire with massive attacks

  4. The UN forces will not deploy to South Lebanon because there is still fighting

  5. After a period of time, the 4 mothers will get up again and say why are we sitting in Lebanon? I was too optimistic, already today Israeli troops are starting to withdraw, and within the week most of the troops will be out of Lebanon. It goes without saying, that this means that the IDF will not be conducting searches for Hezbollah fighters or arms caches in the areas that it has captured over the last few days, which the army defined as "the heart of the operational campaign" against Hezbollah. How fast things change.

  6. The pressure will cause Israel to withdraw unilaterally with assurance that after the withdrawal the UN and the Lebanese army will move South This is already happening.

  7. The UN and Lebanese army may actually move South but Hezbollah is already there armed and ready and neither force has the stomach to fight Hezbollah

  8. The situation in Southern Lebanon is basically back to where it is on July 12th

A depressing scenario, but unfortunately a very realistic one. Number 1 has already happened, Nasrallah has announced that 2 is going to happen, the rest follow logically.

The questions about the ceasefire have already started. What will Israel do if Syria starts rearming Hezbollah? Will the government have the courage to break the ceasefire?

IDF to uphold 'fragile' cease-fire

But the question of will Israel do if Syria sends weapon convoys into Lebanon to help rehabilitate Hizbullah remains unanswered. "This is a serious question that requires a decision by the diplomatic echelon," the officer said. "We need to prevent the Hizbullah from rebuilding itself. The question is how far are we willing to go to do that."

Further ceasefire concessions???

The ink on the ceasefire has not yet dried but according to some on the Left, Israel already need to make further concessions to help the "weak" Lebanese government (where have we heard this before).

Although the UN Resolution explicitly calls for the Lebanese Army and UN troops to deploy before the IDF leaves, Haaretz is already writing the following:

Analysis The IDF must leave Lebanon at once

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah's position is clear: He will comply with that element of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 only after the Israel Defense Forces withdraws from south Lebanon and the Lebanese Army and UNIFIL take its place. Until then, he is willing to accept only the 1996 Operation Grapes of Wrath understandings, under which both sides will keep fighting, but will not target each other's civilians. In other words, Hezbollah will not fire rockets at Israel if Israel does not bomb Lebanon, but the ground war in south Lebanon will continue and if Israel's bombing continues, so will Hezbollah's Katyushas.

In Hezbollah's view, there is no point in discussing disarmament now, because it believes it currently has the only force capable of expelling the IDF and protecting Lebanon's citizens. And the Lebanese government has trouble rejecting this view, because it knows that its army cannot deploy until the fighting stops. Otherwise, it is likely to become embroiled in a fight with the IDF itself. Therefore, the cabinet decided to defer discussion of Hezbollah's disarmament until it becomes clear how the cease-fire takes shape on the ground.
Therefore, it is vital that the IDF leave Lebanon quickly. The fate of Resolution 1701 depends on it.

In other words, because the Lebanese government doesn't have the courage and/or strength to deploy it's troops to South Lebanon when the IDF is there, let's just run away again and hope for the best. Just like Oslo, just like the Hitnatkut, let's ignore reality and live in our fantasy world that the Arab world will love us if we just "stop the occupation".

Of course this will just allow Hezbollah to return to their previous positions and turn the clock back to July 12th, but Olmert doesn't care, he already declared victory.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Is the ceasefire DOA?

The Lebanese cabinet meeting which was supposed to discuss the implementation of the cease-fire was postponed indefinately (Lebanese Cabinet meeting indefinitely postponed). This means that the Lebanese army is not going to be deploying in South Lebanon any time soon.

Debka is reporting that Lebanon is backing away from their acceptance.

After Israel`s government approves ceasefire, the Beirut government begins to backtrack from its acceptance - pulled back by Syrian and Iranian warnings

Iran is now demanding assurances from the Siniora government that the Hizballah will not be disarmed after Lebanese troops and 15,000 peacemakers are deployed, calling the step “illogical.”

This makes a lot of sense. They can have their cake and eat it too. Israel has already accepted the ceasefire which means that it will be very hard for the government to back out now. This means that Israel will stop it's attacks and withdraw, while Hezbollah will not be disarmed and will in fact be rearmed.

In Israel the political infighting has begun. Shaul Mofaz the only minister not to vote for the cease fire had fierce critiscism for the ceasefire agreement (השר מופז, שנמנע היום בהצבעת הממשלה, ביקר בחריפות את ההחלטה 'שצידה היישומי לא ברור' (Hebrew only)

His basic point which is absolutely correct is that Israel is getting a worthless piece of paper. The agreement does not address the following 2 crucial points:
1. Who is going to disarm Hezbollah?
2. What about the 2 kidnapped soldiers?


Debka is reporting the following:

Hamadi information minister, a Druze, said Sunday night that Nasrallah had broken his word to order Hizballah fighters south of the Litani to hand in their weapons to allow Lebanese army troops to be deployed there. DEBKAfile reports: Amid heavy fighting across the entire Lebanese front, Israeli field commanders await directives for Monday 0800 hours when the ceasefire deadline goes into force.
DEBKAfile has learned that Tehran has meanwhile ordered Nasrallah to keep Israel engaged in combat for another 3 to 4. As a result of which he suddenly backed away from his pledges to France and the Siniora government Saturday to accept a ceasefire and a UNIFIL force in south Lebanon.

Nasrallah said he would wait a month to see how Israel’s retreat from the disputed Shabaa Farms was progressing.

At five minutes notice, the thunderstruck Lebanese ministers called off their meeting to discuss the deployment of their forces in the south and the disarming of Hizballah

A government of cowards

The vote for the ceasefire today was 24-0. Not a single minister voted against it. Only 1 minister, Mofaz, abstained. After reading his fierce criticism (that the agreement is a worthless piece of paper, השר מופז, שנמנע היום בהצבעת הממשלה, ביקר בחריפות את ההחלטה 'שצידה היישומי לא ברור' (Hebrew only)), I don't understand how could he only abstain, how could he not vote against? You would think with one of the largest governments in history (25 ministers) at least 1 would have the courage to say the emperor has no clothes and vote no. Who needs 25 ministers if they are just a rubber stamp for the Prime Minister?

This tidbit from Debka, shows the depth of the spinelessness of the ministers.

DEBKAfile’s Jerusalem sources reveal that Friday night, when the prime minister accepted the ceasefire resolution, none of his key ministers were willing to second the decision. Olmert ran solo with the announcement without consulting his cabinet or the high military command.

No one was willing to even second the decision 2 days ago and yet today it is accepted 24-0.

Olmert and Peretz are sacrificing soldiers to save themselves

This is a very serious charge but I see no other explanation for why Friday night they authorized a massive ground attack after the Security Council had already accepted a ceasefire resolution. This is clearly an attempt (as even the NY Times wrote: to conclude the conflict with something that could be called a victory for an Israeli government under domestic pressure.), to try to fool the public into believing that we won the war.

Just last Wednesday after the "dramatic" cabinet meeting in which the offensive was approved, the government ministers said that the offensive was on hold to give the political process a chance. They said, why should we endanger our soldiers if there is a political solution. Does it make sense that now that there is a political solution (after all the Israeli government has accepted the ceasefire proposal) that we should suddenly start a massive ground offensive for only 60 hours? Why then was the offensive put on hold on Wednesday if it is going on anyway after there is a political solution?

This insane race with a strict deadline is no doubt causing more casualties as the army tries to beat the deadline.

Ironically, the offensive seems to be working, yesterday only about 60 katyushas fell instead of 150 It looks like I was too optimistic given the limited amount of time. Of course, this begs the question, why didn't this offensive happen weeks ago? If it had started 3-4 weeks ago, we might have actually already won the war and stopped most of the katyushas.

The Ceasefire: Unconditional Surrender by Israel

At the beginning of Israel's war with Hezbollah, Israeli Premier Ehud Olmert vowed to return kidnapped IDF soldiers, to dismantle the terror army over Israel's northern border, and to ensure that it would not return to carry out cross-border attacks and have the capacity to terrorize citizens of the north.

After passage of the U.N. Security Council resolution Friday night, we can see clearly that none of Israel's aims were met.

  1. The Hezbollah government ministers stated at yesterday's cabinet meeting (in Lebanon) that Hezbollah will not disarm

  2. No one is actually tasked with disarming Hezbollah which means it won't happen

  3. Both the question of an arms embargo and Hizbullah's dismantlement are put off to some future date

  4. The power to oversee an arms embargo against Hizbullah in the hands of the Lebanese government, of which Hizbullah is a member

  5. The resolution makes no operative call for the return of the 2 captured soldiers. This is so bad, that one of the government ministers claimed on the radio that there must be a secret agreement about this.

  6. It reopens the Shaba Farms dispute and lets Kofi Anan be the arbiter

  7. Unifil, which has been in Lebanon for the past 28 years will continue to be there and will be the force to see that the ceasefire is carried out. Anyone who believes that Unifil will actually do anything to Hezbollah, I have a bridge to sell you

Ehud Olmert said the following in a June 2005 address to the Israel Policy Forum in New York:

We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies, we want to be able to live in an entirely different environment of relations with our enemies.

It is no wonder that with a leader like Olmert we lost the war.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Now Olmert starts to fight?

Does anyone understand the latest government move? The UN passed a ceasefire resolution on Friday with the ceasefire probably going into effect on Monday morning. On Friday late afternoon, suddenly Olmert decides it's now time for a big ground operation. As the NY Times writes:

... to conclude the conflict with something that could be viewed as a victory for an Israeli government under domestic pressure.

In other words, the latest move is pure politics to save Olmert's political future.

The biggest joke is Amir Peretz's latest statement. Olmert and I will get tremendous credit for the way that we handled the war. I guess we should take this statement as seriously as his statement at the beginning of the war that Nasrallah will rememeber the name of Amir Peretz.

Friday, August 11, 2006

UN Ceasefire resolution: Defeat for Israel

This isn't me saying this, all the newspapers even Haaretz are saying this.

Though to some extent, Israel will have to admit defeat, this is preferable to expanding the Lebanon offensive.

ב"אל-מנאר" כבר משדרים קליפים של ניצחון

ההסכם המתגבש להפסקת אש הפיח רוח ניצחון בחיזבאללה. ברשת "אל מנאר" החליפו קליפים עליזים של ניצחון את הרוח הלוחמנית. "ניצחנו את הצבא הבלתי מנוצח", טענו

On Al manara (Hezbollah TV) they are already showing victory clips. The agreement that is being worked on gave Hezbollah an air of victory. On Al Manara they are showing victory clips. We defeated the undefeated army

Here is what the army is saying:
Military chiefs strongly opposed to truce terms

However, the Defense Ministry and the IDF General Staff are fiercely opposed to the emerging cease-fire, and senior defense officials accused Olmert of blocking the proposed advance to the Litani, thereby denying Israel a significant military achievement.

The officials charged that the emerging resolution is very problematic for Israel, because it makes no provision for the immediate return of the kidnapped soldiers (it urges their return, but this is not one of the resolution's operative clauses), includes no stringent supervisory mechanism to prevent a renewed flow of arms to Hezbollah, and does not guarantee the organization's disarmament. "[Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah will continue to mock us, and in the end there will be another war," said one.
"We understand that the leadership wants to do everything possible to save soldiers' lives, but too much is in the balance here," added another. "We must continue."

The defense officials argued that the cabinet should have allowed the expanded operation approved on Wednesday to start immediately, thereby creating military pressure for a cease-fire more favorable to Israel. By delaying the operation, they said, this opportunity has apparently been missed.

There is no doubt about it. After a month of fighting the bottom line is that Hezbollah is still shooting 150+ rockets a day into Northern Israel and is still in Southern Lebanon near the border fighting with the army. The ceasefire does not require the disarmament of Hezbollah nor does it return the 2 kidnapped soldiers. It also reopens the Shaba Farms discussion. In short, it reinforces the idea that the only way to get anywhere with Israel is violence and that violence definately pays.

The government and Olmert in Orwellian fashion will declare victory. The only bright spot is that even the press realizes the idiocy of this claim and that the emperor has no clothes. See for example this article in Haaretz.

OPINION: Olmert cannot remain in the prime minister's office

Ehud Olmert may decide to accept the French proposal for a cease-fire and unconditional surrender to Hezbollah. That is his privilege. Olmert is a prime minister whom journalists invented, journalists protected, and whose rule journalists preserved. Now the journalists are saying run away. That's legitimate. Unwise, but legitimate.

However, one thing should be clear: If Olmert runs away now from the war he initiated, he will not be able to remain prime minister for even one more day. Chutzpah has its limits. You cannot lead an entire nation to war promising victory, produce humiliating defeat and remain in power. You cannot bury 120 Israelis in cemeteries, keep a million Israelis in shelters for a month, wear down deterrent power, bring the next war very close, and then say - oops, I made a mistake. That was not the intention. Pass me a cigar, please.

There is no mistake Ehud Olmert did not make this past month. He went to war hastily, without properly gauging the outcome. He blindly followed the military without asking the necessary questions. He mistakenly gambled on air operations, was strangely late with the ground operation, and failed to implement the army's original plan, much more daring and sophisticated than that which was implemented. And after arrogantly and hastily bursting into war, Olmert managed it hesitantly, unfocused and limp. He neglected the home front and abandoned the residents of the north. He also failed shamefully on the diplomatic front.

We can only hope that Lebanon/Hezbollah is stupid enough to reject the ceasefire and victory and that in the end the Army is actually allowed to fight.

So far the Lebanese are following Abba Eban's dictum The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Army sources: Decision to freeze attack could be deadly

Not only is the government endangering civilian lives by not acting now, it is endangering soldiers lives as well.

ביקורת בצבא: התוצאות הקשות לא יאחרו לבוא

בצה"ל נשמעה ביקורת קשה על ההחלטה, שנתקבלה עקב לחץ אמריקני, וגורמים בצבא הזהירו כי הכנסת כוחות גדולים לשטח והקפאת תנועתם מזמינה התקפות מצד המחבלים.
"הדבר האחרון שצריך לקרות הוא שישאירו את הכוחות עומדים בשטח ללא משימה מהותית שתכליתה תנועה", אמר גורם צבאי. "זה מזמין התקפות גרילה והתוצאות הקשות לא יאחרו לבוא. הדרג המדיני צריך לקבל החלטה לאן פני ישראל. כשאין אופק מדיני צריך לתת לצבא לפעול כדי להשיג אותו".

My translation
In the army there is heavy criticism on the decision that was made because of heavy American pressure, and sources in the army warned that the introduction of large forces into Lebanon without allowing them to move, invites guerilla attacks.
"The last thing that needs to happen is that the troops should stand still without any meaningful goal that requires movement" said an army source. "This invites guerilla attacks and tragic results will follow. The government needs to make a decision where Israel is going. When there is no diplomatic process they need to let the army operate to achieve the goals"

Just when you thought the government couldn't get worse ...

it does. Yesterday, there was a 6 hour cabinet meeting with a "dramatic" decision to expand operations in Lebanon. I, along with many others thought, better late then never. Today it turns out that the "dramatic" decision was a sham. All the papers are reporting Cabinet suspends Lebanon offensive to give UN time to end the crisis (Haaretz). In other words, there is no new offensive just more of the same. Soldiers being killed for basically no reason in Lebanon and 150-200 missiles a day falling on the North.

In addition, now of course the US is opposed to any further military moves that Israel makes. The US has no faith in Israel that anything positive will come out from this given the government's complete incompetence so far.

I don't know what else I can say that can express my anger and frustration with the government.

Uri Dan has a good column in todays Jerusalem Post. He writes:

This is the first war waged by Israel during which at least part of the cabinet is talking as if it hopes an imposed cease-fire agreement will end the war.
In every previous war Israel did its best to fight up to the last moment, up to the cease-fires that were forced on it.
How pathetic, in comparison, that today some cabinet ministers appear like beggars on the street - pledging that they will allow the IDF to advance north to the Litani River, "only if no diplomatic solution can be found."

He writes the following about the leftist "nuts" as well.

One just has to read the delusional drivel produced by Israel's "literary elite" - A.B. Yehoshua, Amos Oz and David Grossman. True, they write, the war in Lebanon is justified - but we must stop it immediately.

We have to talk, explains the daydreaming Yehoshua. We must extricate Hizbullah from the madness of suicide. Yehoshua and his ilk do not learn anything from history. That is how they sold us on the idea that Arafat was a "peace partner" - and it is what they are doing now with Hizbullah.

These intellectuals - who would have the Jewish state commit suicide - pose a real danger. Their views should be discarded.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Today's Cabinet decision: Mind Boggling

Cabinet okays wider ground operation in Lebanon, but chance will be given first to diplomatic efforts

The cabinet authorized Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz to widen the offensive and to determine its timing. According to the decision, however, the two are not obliged to implement the decision.

The offensive would not begin for two or three days so as not interfere with ongoing efforts to broker a cease-fire at the United Nations, said one minister in the meeting.

Labor Party Ministers Shimon Peres and Ophir Pines-Paz, who abstained from voting, said all diplomatic channels must be exhausted before the war is expanded.

This is just mind boggling. What planet are they living on? Diplomatic channels must be exhausted???? Determine it's timing??? Wait another 2 or 3 days???? Why not right now? A month of rockets is not enough? From this decision you would think that we have all the time in the world. Don't they understand that every day that passes means another 150 rockets, more civilians killed or injured, more damage done, more people not working, more damage to the economy? Can anyone explain the logic here?

The pathetic leadership of Israel

The leadership of Israel has become absolutely pathetic. I don't know where to start, and I will probably ramble on here. This has been building up for days so I hope it is coherent.

The war has been completely mismanaged. At every stage, the government has approved the minimum, this has led to unnecessary casualties and lousy results. There has been a role reversal here. The army is supposed to protect the civilians. In this war, the civilians are protecting the army. The political leadership has so far refused to send in enough troops to at least minimize the number of rockets fired because they are worried about troop casualties. What this means is that over 1 million residents in the North are exposed to 150 rockets daily putting their lives and property in danger.

It is 30 days since the fighting started, 150 rockets a day have been falling all this time and only now is the government debating whether to mount a full scale invasion. What has the government been doing for the past 30 days?

I have 1 question for all those who are against expanding ground operations, how do you stop the rockets on the North? Give a realistic alternative to a ground invasion, nobody has and nobody will because there is none.

On Sunday, Amir Peretz declared, if the diplomatic efforts don't work I will tell the army to try to go full out to stop the rockets. Can you believe what you are hearing? What have we supposedly been doing for the past 30 days?

Why did the government wait until Wednesday to have the security cabinet meeting when already on Sunday everyone heard that the army was pushing for a scale invasion? The government is acting like nothing is going on and we have all the time in the world.

Talk about Orwellian speech, for 30 days, rockets have been raining down on the North, over 100 a day, but according to Olmert we already won.

Olmert's comment that Lebanon's call to send 15,000 troops is "interesting" was an idiotic comment. In the middle of a war where civilians and soldiers are being killed, rockets are falling, and the press around the world is hanging on your every word, you call the offer "interesting"?????

Olmert's refusal to fight a real ground war is very simple. If he does, he admits that territory and boots on the ground actually means something, something that he has denied for the past 2 years. The whole theory of the hitnatkut was that we don't need to be in Gaza, we can maintain security from the air. The same goes for the convergence plan. This is exactly what the army and Olmert have been trying in Lebanon and have failed miserably. Air power and limited ground incursions have utterly failed to stop teh hezbollah rockets. Territory and boots on the ground do count and therefore this spells the end to the convergence plan.

Tzachi Hanegbi, that great corrupt political opportunist who fled the Likud to Kadima showed his true colors again. he is head of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee of the Knesset, a pretty important post in wartime. Yet, he went on vacation to the US last week. 1 million people are either homeless or sitting in shelters, thousands of miluimnikim have been called up, and he can't even do his cushy job in the Knesset.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Israel's right to exist is being called into question

The war in Lebanon has led to a spate of articles calling Israel's creation "a mistake" created "on Arab land" here are links to 2 of them: Truly Inconvenient Truths, Just where does the solution to the Mideast crisis lie?. The current war is not only dangerous in the short term that Jews are being killed, but has also led to a very worrying phenomenon, the legitimization of the view that there should be no State of Israel. It is no longer just the President of Iran, the head of Hamas or other Arab leaders making this call. It is people like Richard Cohen (who is Jewish) in the Washington Post, NY Magazine and other respected publications.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The media war aginst Israel

The media war aginst Israel

Large sections of the international media are not only misreporting the current conflict in Lebanon. They are also actively fanning the flames.
From the way many TV stations worldwide are portraying it, you would think Beirut has begun to resemble Dresden and Hamburg in the aftermath of World War II air raids. International television channels have used the same footage of Beirut over and over, showing the destruction of a few individual buildings in a manner which suggests half the city has been razed.

A careful look at aerial satellite photos of the areas targeted by Israel in Beirut shows that certain specific buildings housing Hizbullah command centers in the city's southern suburbs have been singled out. Most of the rest of Beirut, apart from strategic sites like airport runways used to ferry Hizbullah men and weapons in and out of Lebanon, has been left pretty much untouched.

From the distorted imagery, selective witness accounts, and almost round-the-clock emphasis on casualties, you would be forgiven for thinking that the level of death and destruction in Lebanon is on a par with that in Darfur, where Arab militias are slaughtering hundreds of thousands of non-Arabs, or with the 2004 tsunami that killed half a million in Southeast Asia.
But one senior British journalist, working for another company, last week let slip how the news media allows its Mideast coverage to be distorted.

"CNN senior international correspondent" Nic Robertson admitted that his anti-Israel report from Beirut on July 18 about civilian casualties in Lebanon, was stage-managed from start to finish by Hizbullah. He revealed that his story was heavily influenced by Hizbullah's "press officer" and that Hizbullah have "very, very sophisticated and slick media operations."

When pressed a few days later about his reporting on the CNN program "Reliable Sources," Robertson acknowledged that Hizbullah militants had instructed the CNN camera team where and what to film. Hizbullah "had control of the situation," Robertson said. "They designated the places that we went to, and we certainly didn't have time to go into the houses or lift up the rubble to see what was underneath."

Robertson added that Hizbullah has "very, very good control over its areas in the south of Beirut. They deny journalists access into those areas. You don't get in there without their permission. We didn't have enough time to see if perhaps there was somebody there who was, you know, a taxi driver by day, and a Hizbullah fighter by night."
Another journalist let the cat out of the bag last week. Writing on his blog while reporting from southern Lebanon, Time magazine contributor Christopher Allbritton, casually mentioned in the middle of a posting: "To the south, along the curve of the coast, Hezbollah is launching Katyushas, but I'm loathe to say too much about them. The Party of God has a copy of every journalist's passport, and they've already hassled a number of us and threatened one."

We all knew this, this article just gives us confirmation. Everyone who can needs to try to fight this in any way that they can. I am trying with this blog and other postings that I make.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Olmert: Victory in Lebanon will allow us to disengage in the West bank

'Victory to impel pullout'

...The prime minister also predicted that the outcome of the Lebanon fighting will create "new momentum" for Israel's plan to separate from the Palestinians by withdrawing from much of the West Bank.

This is completely unbelievable. How blind can he be? It is obvious to anyone with half a brain that the pullout from Lebanon and from Gaza is what caused the current war. The Palestinians say it openly on Israeli radio. The pullout from Gaza has been an absolute failure. Is there quiet? Is there peace? All there is is Kassam rockets on Sderot and Ashkelon. What can Olmert possibly be thinking? Does he want Kassams on Tel Aviv, the airport, etc.? The only good thing is that if you look at the article in Hebrew, there are over 400 responses and the overwhelming majority of them feel the same way as I do. Hopefully this means that the average person in the street is waking up and realizes that the disengagement would be an absolute disaster for Israel.

From when can one do laundry, shave, take a shower, etc.?

The Rama writes that the strictures of the 9 days extend to until חצות on the 10th of Av. However, because this year the 10th of Av is Friday the din is a bit different.

The Mishna Berura writes that when the 10th of Av is Friday you are allowed to do these things earlier לכבוד שבת. There are 2 questions:

1. When does the heter start?
2. What exactly can you do?

The Shaarei teshuva and others write that washing clothes is permitted in the morning of the 10th when it is on Friday. It sounds like, the night of the 10th would be prohibited. However, many contemporary poskim are matir even on the night of the 10th. They explain as follows. When the acharonim wrote the morning of the 10th it was because in their day, these activities simply were not done (and could not be done) at night. Therefore, they wrote "morning", but really it is mutar from the night before.

The Poskim discuss what exactly is permitted. They point out that the acharonim (including the Mishna Berura) write that it is permitted to do these activities לכבוד שבת. Therefore, the only activities permitted are לכבוד שבת. In other words, you would not be permitted to wash weekday clothes Thursday night or Friday morning as that is not לכבוד שבת. Likewise, if you plan on taking a shower right before Shabbos (like most people do), it would be prohibited to shower on Thursday night because again, it is not being done לכבוד שבת.

There are acharonim who disagree and say that since these things are only prohibited מדין מנהג, the מנהג was never accepted on Erev Shabbos and therefore showering, doing laundry, etc. is permitted even not לכבוד שבת on Thursday night or Friday morning.

The contemporary poskim point out that there is no heter whatsoever to eat meat on Friday and there is no heter to listen to music or go swimming as these things are definately not לכבוד שבת and therefore according to everyone are prohibited.

As always ask your LOR any questions that are halacha l'maase.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Great Double Standard

The Muqata has a link to a worthwhile article which decries the double standard imposed on Israel.

Edward Morrissey: This is the soft nihilism of low expectations

...We want to see civilians spared the horrors of war, and we push combatants to take all possible steps to achieve that end. The Geneva Conventions have that explicit mandate, and the world should remain constantly — and consistently — vigilant.

Unfortunately, the global community has failed miserably at this task, and this war not only highlights that failure, but springs from it. While the world holds Israel to this standard, things become curiously silent when it’s time to hold Hezbollah responsible for its conduct of war. Hardly a word has escaped from the U.N. or Europe on the 2,500 missiles that have rained down upon Israeli civilians, deliberately targeted by Hezbollah. Those attacks have displaced more than 300,000 civilians, a fact the global community and the mainstream media ignore.

Those who argue that Israel has occasionally violated the Geneva Conventions in its attacks casually ignore the blatant violations of Hezbollah, whose combatants wear no uniform, deliberately hide in civilian populations and fire weapons from residential areas. Hezbollah conducts none of its operations within the rules of war — and yet world leaders and the media never mention it.

Why? Because no one expects terrorists to follow the rules. This is the soft nihilism of low expectations.

This creates an impossible double standard for Israel and political victories. In order to defeat terrorists, Israel will have to engage them when they attack, wherever that happens to be. In their effort to zealously apply the rules of war to only one side, the global community doesn’t act to reduce the tragedies of civilian casualties, it increases them by encouraging Hezbollah’s tactics. The terrorists counted on precisely this response, which dictates their tactics and strategy to this moment.

The Lebanese caught in this vise should seek redress in Beirut. Unfortunately, the same global community that castigates Israel for unintentional collateral damage has let the Lebanese government off the hook for failing to disarm Hezbollah, as demanded by Security Council resolution 1559. Had the Saniora government done so, this war would never have started. And while the Lebanese Army would have difficulty with that task, Beirut never asked for any assistance in meeting its obligations.

If the world wants to live without terrorism, it needs to stop enabling terrorists with disproportionate criticism of civilized nations that wage war within established limits. This soft nihilism of low expectations encourages non-state actors to engage sovereign nations, knowing that the world will not allow the nations to fight terrorism effectively.

More Kfar Kana discrepancies

Wondering more about Qana and 30-foot banners

This morning, I posted some speculation that the 30-foot banner of Secretary of State Rice that miraculously showed up in Qana yesterday was probably prepared in advance, leading to questions whether the entire event was staged. Tonight, reader Postermaker made the following comments about that blog post:

Since I do banners like this for a living, I can tell you it take more than a few hours depending on the equipment. A banner that large can be done one of two ways. With a grant format printer. It would probably take about 3-4 hours to print, then hours more to sew and grommet so it could hung. It would have to be Made of heavy duty material or one that was reinforced or the sheer weight would rip it apart.

The other way it to use a smaller series of machines all color calibrated and produce sections. At that point they would have to be stretch the length of the banner ( read large facility) and sewn together. Additional support would go on the tops and bottoms.

In short if it was related Qana and went up within two hours- four hours, it was done prior to the bomb hitting. No other way. Just putting an image together that large on a computer with Type would take a few hours.

Then color tests, proofs and finally printing. That would be an all day affair for most print houses even with a grand format printer. The cost would be in the thousands.

Then you would have to transport it.

When you start adding everything up, the elapsed time between the attack and the collapse, the odd state of the building, the way the bodies and the rescuers look, the "heroic" rescuer in the green helmet who is everywhere, the banner, etc. it becomes more and more apparent that this was a staged for propaganda purposes.