19 August 2017

Like everyone - with a dollop of blood


Igor Guberman - a writer, a poet and a superb storyteller, with an irresistible true story, one of myriad he tells so well.

One day in Berlin, my friend was asked to talk to a certain woman who insisted that she was Jewish and therefore the [Jewish] community should help her. He agreed to talk with her and, first of all, asked, naturally, why was she sure that her mother was Jewish. Because my mother always baked Matzos on Easter [sic!], the woman answered.

"And how did she bake it?" asked the friend.

"According to the law, like everyone else," the woman answered, "she kneaded the dough, added the yeast ..."

My friend straightened up in surprise, and the woman hastily continued:

- And a little blood ...

Yup.

18 August 2017

My dear soulmate...


Benny Ziffer (Hebrew: בני ציפר‎‎; born 1953) is an Israeli author and journalist.
The text below was posted by him on his Facebook page. August 10, 2017

My soulmate, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (and I certainly feel that I can address you by this title, "a soulmate"). You were revealed to me yesterday at the conference in support of you in the full glory of a great leader, who brings comfort to his people in times of trouble. Your speech was just as ingenious. There was no unnecessary word or word missing. You chose the simplest words to convey a profound idea - just as the classical speech theory of Cicero's school required. You did not shout but completely dominated your baritone voice. In this respect you are the greatest speaker of our time. Recently, the writer Leonid Pakarovsky wrote that you compare with Begin and Jabotinsky, if not surpassing them, as a speaker.

Your deep idea was not that the left and the media were chasing you - it was just the visible part. The deeper subject of your speech was actually the issue of love. And if one day they will study this speech in schools - and I strongly recommend that the art of speech be taught in schools, in order to teach the people of Israel to speak out properly - your speech will be entitled "Greatest Speeches on Love."

Because first and foremost you cried out for your love for your wife Sarah - and with what authenticity and honesty! You actually said that the man's first job is to take care of the honor of the woman he loves. I do not recall many other people in Israel who expressed so powerfully and publicly their love for their own woman. And turned their private love into a kind of allegory for the leader's love for his people.

And here is the greatness of the speech Netanyahu delivered last night at his support conference. He told the Likud crowd that just as his wife is being humiliated, they are humiliated as well. And just as he will not let anyone humiliate his wife, he will not let anyone humiliate them. And all this is because of one thing: that he loves her (Sarah) and loves them (the people).

And because this speech was entirely based on the theme of love, it was so strong. And so effective, as shown by the applause of the audience in love with Netanyahu. This is the audience who feels that he is being constantly scorned and despised and that his judgment is doubted. This is the audience for whom I feel so much because I, too, can say what I feel, from the moment I join him: the contempt for me, my talents and my judgment and even my sanity. I, too, feel the chilly and quiet contempt of those who see themselves as aristocrats of this country.

My soulmate, Netanyahu. When these aristocrats trampled me with their feet, you held out a loving hand and let me feel again that I was worth something. And that's exactly what you did yesterday to your wife, and also to the people who came to greet you at the support conference. You told them you loved them.

***

I wouldn't call it nauseating or anything else, for that matter.
Just saying that even the man in the picture above would have him shot.
And that man purely loved his backside licked...

The Hebrew original:

ידיד-נפשי, ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו (ואני בהחלט מרגיש שאני יכול לפנות אליו בתואר הזה, ״ידיד נפש״). אתה נגלית לי אתמול בכנס התמיכה בך במלוא היפעה של מנהיג גדול, המביא נחמה לעמו בעת צרה. נאומך היה גאוני, לא פחות. לא היתה בו מלה מיותרת או מלה חסרה. בחרת במלים הפשוטות ביותר כדי להעביר רעיון עמוק- בדיוק כפי שדורשת תורת הנאום הקלאסית מבית מדרשו של קיקרו. לא צעקת אלא שלטת לחלוטין בגווני הקול הבריטוני שלך. מהבחינה הזאת אתה גדול הנואמים של ימינו. וכבר כתב על כך לא מכבר הסופר לאוניד פקרובסקי , שאתה משתווה אם לא עולה על בגין וז׳בוטינסקי כנואם.
הרעיון העמוק שהבעת לא היה שהשמאל והתקשורת רודפים אותך- זה היה הרעיון רק למראית עין. הנושא העמוק יותר של נאומך היה בעצם סוגיית האהבה. ואם יום אחד ילמדו את הנאום הזה בבתי הספר - ואני ממליץ בחום שבכלל יילמד מקצוע הנאום בבתי הספר כדי ללמד את בני ישראל להתבטא נכוחה - ייכנס הנאום שלך תחת הכותרת ״גדולי הנאומים על האהבה״.
כי בראש וראשונה זעקת בו את אהבתך לרעייתך שרה - ובאיזו אותנטיות וכנות. אמרת בעצם שתפקידו הראשון של הגבר הוא לדאוג לכבודה של האשה שהוא אוהב. איני זוכר עוד הרבה אנשי מדינה בישראל שהביעו בכזאת עוצמה ובפומבי את אהבתם לאשה הפרטית שלהם. והפכו את אהבתם הפרטית הזאת לכעין אלגוריה לאהבה של המנהיג לעמו.
וכאן הגדולה של הנאום שנשא אמש נתניהו בכנס התמיכה בו. הוא אמר לקהל אנשי הליכוד שכשם שמבזים את אשתו, כך גם מבזים אותם. וכשם שהוא לא ייתן לאף אחד לבזות את אשתו, כך הוא לא ייתן לאף אחד לבזות אותם. וכל זה משום דבר אחד: כי הוא אוהב אותה (את שרה) ואוהב אותם (את העם).
ועל שום שהנאום הזה היה מבוסס כולו על נושא האהבה, הוא היה חזק כל כך. ואפקטיבי כל כך, כפי שהראו התשואות של הקהל המאוהב בנתניהו. זה הקהל שמרגיש שמזלזלים בו ומבזים אותו בלי הרף ומפקפקים בשיקול דעתו. זה הקהל שאני כל כך חש חלק ממנו כי גם אני חוזה מבשרי מה שהוא חש, מרגע שהצטרפתי אליו: את הזלזול בי, בכישרונותי ובשיקול דעתי ואף בשפיותי. גם אני מרגיש כמוהו את הצינה והבוז השקט של אלה הרואים את עצמם כאריסטוקרטים של המדינה הזאת .
ידיד נפשי, נתניהו. כשהאריסטוקרטים הללו רמסו אותי ברגליהם, הושטת לי יד אוהבת ונתת לי להרגיש מחדש שאני שווה משהו. וזה מה שעשית אתמול בדיוק גם לרעייתך, וגם לאנשים שבאו לחלות את פניך בכנס התמיכה. אמרת להם שאתה אוהב אותם

03 August 2017

Is our Knesset barking? Kaya Netanyahu bill, Alan Dershowitz etc


There are lots of law proposals being in process of lively debate, modification and sometimes quiet death on someone's shelf. Some of them outlandish, some reasonable and some (like the hotly debated recently law on state assistance to disabled people) vital for thousands of citizens, eagerly awaiting tangible results.

Meanwhile, the first family which, for reasons* of its own, decided to add to its roster a first dog two years ago, has experienced a few domestic upheavals due to the said canine's tendency to bite all and sundry.
The dog, Bibi assured his constituents, was “gentle and of a good disposition.”

Kaya herself must not have gotten the memo: five months later, during a reception at the Prime Minister’s Residence, she bit a member of Knesset who leaned in to pet her. Three months after that, she struck again, biting one of Netanyahu’s secret service agents. Eventually, she also bit the prime minister himself.
Since Kaya is the first dog, I don't even try to argue that this behavior is unseemly or should be in any way restricted. The first dog sees, the first dog bites. As it should be. There is a small catch, however: if a dog bites somebody inside the Israeli borders, the dog should be quarantined for a period of time (ten days) required to ensure it (the dog) isn't rabid.

Which might be good enough for a regular dog, but not for the first one, apparently. Bibi wants Kaya to stay at home, with its loving family. So, to accomplish this, the Knesset members were yanked out of richly deserved summer break. To vote on an amendment to the law which... you guessed the rest. Yep, Kaya the serial biter will stay at home, thanks to our suddenly proactive lawmakers and the appropriate legal beagles. So much for lawmaking and lawmakers.

Kaya, meanwhile, got more exposure in our media, paired with another member of the first family, Yair Netanyahu, Bibi's son.

According to a Facebook post by Talila Amitai, one of the Netanyahu family's neighbors, Yair Netanyahu took the family dog Kaiya for a walk in one of the local dog parks but failed to pick up her waste. Amitai wrote that when she pointed this out to the Israeli leader's son, who was accompanied by a bodyguard at the time, he stuck up his middle finger towards her in response.
There are different versions of the event (or non-event), but as far as Kaya concerned, it is a moot point. She poops, the rest is history, with its different versions and interpretations of thereof.

But what is the connection between the canine poop and the illustrious legal man, mentioned in the headline, one of the more eloquent supporters of Israel and all around brilliant person?

I happened to hear a summary of an interview Alan Dershowitz granted to Israeli radio and his views on the ongoing investigations into alleged Netanyahu's financial and other misdeeds frankly surprised me. To start with, he somehow concluded that Israeli police, on its own, persecutes Bibi. Of course, the usual culprit that motivates the police is, according to Dershowitz, the leftist media. But curiously, he has decided that police pursues our poor Bibi using its free will and free initiative.

Not to mention the inherent absurdity of the idea of our police being politically motivated, professor Dershowitz obviously doesn't know much about the local police, its authority and its betters, which are not that different from those in US of A. The attorney general here is the person whose authority it is to open (or to close) any police investigation, much as it is in US. Blaming the cops in the various investigations plaguing Bibi lately is missing the point by a mile (or 1.6 km).

I have googled up other opinions on the subject by professor Dershowitz and was surprised to find out that he expressed his deep dissatisfaction by this state of affairs quite a lot of times. Here is one example, from January 2017:
...Dershowitz took aim at the Israeli left and media outlets for what he described as attempts to use ongoing police investigations into the Netanyahu family to hobble the Prime Minister.

"[T]hey can't beat him through democratic means, so they're trying to use these investigations and the media to push him out of office. That would really undercut democracy. He's been elected by a proper method of election in Israel and he should be left to complete his term without interference. If there are issues they should be pursued after he leaves office.”
So, the Prime Minister, according to this, should be granted immunity while in the office. And the reasoning behind the idea is:
"The Prime Minister in this case has to work 24/7 particularly now, between now and the time when President Obama leaves office, to respond to the U.N. Security Council resolution, to the Kerry speech, to try to prevent another Security Council resolution - the idea that the Prime Minister is now going to have to be questioned about what appears to be relatively trivial incidents, really undercuts democracy."
So, Bibi works 24/7 and couldn't be bothered. I would agree if it were not widely known that he spent 5 years fighting the Israeli Broadcasting Authority, which, according to him, is (was) a part of that much hated leftist media that destroys the country and him personally. If the relentless fight for the freedom of canine quarantine described above (2 years only) wasn't so widely know, etc. A good part of these 24/7 isn't spent worrying about the fate of the country, but about the fate and the chair of one Benjamin Netanyahu, unfortunately.

Another poor argument used by Alan Dershowitz in the interview was "this is not how things are done in United States". Really? Kenneth Starr vs William Clinton and Robert Mueller vs Donald Trump - how is it exactly different from investigations of Bibi? Aside of multi-million budgets unseen in Israeli police cases?

In another article (Hebrew), professor Dershowitz went even further:
When asked what he thought of Israel's former prime minister [Olmert] behind bars, he replied, "First of all, the prime minister was sent to prison for things that were done before he was prime minister, and he was not sent to prison during his term of office, only after he left. Attorney general said unequivocally that the issue under investigation was not similar to what was being investigated in Olmert's or Sharon's case, and that suspicions in their cases were much more serious."
First of all, the chief reason Olmert decided to quit was the ongoing investigation. Then, to prejudge the seriousness of the cases against Bibi, when the final conclusions and relevant materials haven't been passed by the police to the attorney general seems to be out of character for a famous legal mind.

Anyway, logical or not, I can already see a bill granting immunity to the incumbent PM being pushed through the Knesset by Bibi's faithful, whose number is legion. And I sincerely hope this attempt will fail.

Besides - wouldn't now be too close to the Kaya Netanyahu bill?

One member of the family at a time, please.

(*) The reasoning is a bit outdated, since the current POTUS, unlike his predecessors, isn't known for his love of four legged beasts.

01 August 2017

A curious case of BBC that forgot to bark in the daytime


What with the unrelenting flow of news coming out of the White House these days, the media is overwhelmed. Their journos are too busy trying to catch up with the stream.

Well, this is the only explanation I have got for the most curious omission in BBC reporting from their favorite corner of the world, I mean the Middle East. In their reporting of a sad case where a British man has been arrested as part of an anti-terror operation while on holiday in Turkey, they have missed an important clue. Not that the clue is relevant to the fate of Joe Robinson, the British man in question. But let's put the things in order. The man first:

Mr Robinson, who is originally from Lancashire, spent five months fighting as a volunteer with the YPG against the so-called Islamic State group and has previously spoken about his experiences in media reports. Although the YPG is not a proscribed group in the UK, Turkey views it as the extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
I can hardly add something to the quote. Possibly a plea to the British government to intervene more forcefully and to save the British subject from an almost certain incarceration by the friendly and oh how democratic NATO member and its leader going from mad to crazy. But it is hardly my business.

The other thing, though, the writing on the wall (no pun intended) is somewhat different, being totally in the domain of the Elders. The fact that not a single BBC employee got even remotely curious about it...

נַ נַחְ נַחְמָ נַחְמָן מְאוּמַן‎‎

This text adorns many a wall and a fence in Israel, being a part of the local lore. A curious person with access to Google could have easily deciphered the meaning, available in English in Wiki:
Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman (Hebrew: נַ נַחְ נַחְמָ נַחְמָן מְאוּמַן‎‎) is a Hebrew language name and song used by a subgroup of Breslover Hasidim colloquially known as the Na Nachs. The complete phrase is Na Nach Nachma Nachman Me'uman. It is a kabbalistic formula based on the four Hebrew letters of the name Nachman, referring to the founder of the Breslov movement, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, along with a reference to his burial place in Uman, Ukraine.
But the text evidently was mistaken by the BBC editors for Arabic, most probably related to Daesh/ISIS and not a single man/woman of BBC has caught on the possibility to explore this golden lode of a Zionist plot  - obviously of some import.

Opportunity lost...

Hat tip: P.V.

Update: The mystery resolved, thanks to Gilead, whose comment includes this article:
Timothy Paul Jacobs Wordsworth, speaking to The Jerusalem Post from northern Syria on Monday, said he was inspired to join the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria because he was instilled with the desire to do everything he can to help people.

In the 1990s, he was a soldier for the British military and served as a NATO peacekeeper in Bosnia and Kosovo. However, his life took a different direction as the horrors of Islamic State continued to mount.
And, most important for this post:
Wordsworth has been spray-painting a popular hassidic slogan in places that the Kurdish forces recapture, former Islamic State bases and mosques around Syria. Sometimes the slogan appears alongside the Islamic State flag.
So there:


Many thanks, Gilead!