Archive for December, 2008

Either Fight Islamic Terror Or Submit To It

December 29, 2008

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After seven years of bombardment from Gaza, the Israeli government finally took action to stop Hamas who were once a small terrorist group, but today a 20,000 strong, well trained army, with weapons supplied by Iran.

Before Israel hit Hamas, there were months – even years – of intelligent gathering in order to not hit civilians or as little civilian collateral damage as possible. “Israel is trying to avoid civilian casualties”, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told reporters Monday, while “Hamas is looking for children to kill. Hamas is targeting deliberately kindergartens and schools and citizens and civilians because this is according to their values. Our values are completely different. We are trying to target Hamas, which hides among civilians,” Livni said.

No other governments in the world that would try as hard as Israel to not kill civilians.
But when you have a terrorist group that hides in crowded populations and shoots missiles from back-yards, school-yards and mosques, it is not so easy to go after them without some collateral damage.

Yet, the anti-semitic world-news agencies are reporting that these terrible Jews are killing “Palestinian children” in Gaza. For seven years Palestinians have been targeting the civilian population with no out-cries from the world’s media. When Israeli children were blown to pieces and baby body parts were scattered across the streets of Israel’s cities there was no out-cry. – Is Jewish life so cheap that the world doesn’t care how they are treated or murdered?

Yesterday was a day full of explosions on both sides of the border. Tank fire and jets flying overhead can be a bit nerve-wracking, to say the least.

A friend wrote: “I am staying at a bomb shelter.….I realize more and more that I am not in control of my life and I am thankful that G-d is.”

After the air raids that have killed over 200 Hamas terrorists, Israelis are faced with the decision of going back into Gaza with ground troops, knowing that many lives will be lost as these blood thirsty terrorists have booby-trapped the side of roads and buildings throughout the Gaza strip.

The strikes have driven Hamas leaders into hiding and appear to have gravely damaged the organization’s ability to launch rockets, but barrages continued. Sirens warning of incoming rockets sent Israelis scrambling for cover throughout the day.

Hamas terrorists have shown no signs of surrendering their vicious, evil war against the Jews of Israel. On Monday, at least 50 rockets and missiles had been fired from Gaza at the Israeli towns of Sderot, Ashkelon and Ashdod. Israeli military forces, meanwhile, continue to pummel Hamas headquarters, rocket launching pads, and other military infrastructure.

The deputy chief of staff of the IDF is warning Israelis that, “We are just at the beginning of the battle, this will not be hasty. The worst is not behind us — it is still ahead of us, and we should be prepared for this. Our resilience will be determined by the functioning of the authority and the way the civilians are protected.”

Did you know that Hamas legislators marked the Christmas season by passing a Shari’a criminal code for the Palestinian Authority? Among other things, it legalizes crucifixion!!

Hamas’s endorsement of nailing enemies of Islam to crosses came at the same time it renewed its Jihad. Here, too, Hamas wanted to make sure that Christians didn’t feel neglected as its fighters launched missiles at Jewish day care centers and schools. So on Wednesday, Hamas lobbed a mortar shell at the Erez crossing point into Israel just as a group of Gazan Christians were standing on line waiting to travel to Bethlehem for Christmas.

There is a great deal of ignorance in the West about what the likes of Ahmadinejad and his colleagues in Iran, Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas stand for. But this isn’t their fault. They tell us every day that they seek the destruction of the Jews and the domination of the West in the name of Islam. And every day they take actions that they believe advance their goals.

The reason that the West remains ignorant of the views and goals of the likes of Hamas and Iran is not that the latter have hidden their views and goals. It is because the leading political leaders and foreign policy practitioners in the West refuse to listen to them and deny the significance of their actions.

Please pray for the half million Israelis living within rocket and missile range of Gaza. They and their children have no idea what today and tomorrow hold.

Keep in mind that this is not just a fight for Israel but for the rest of the civilized world, – for Islam has declared a Jihad against the non-Islamic world. It’s not just an ideology, but an evil spirit in the world today.

G-D requires us to fight against evil, and to resist it at all levels. Islam translated is (submission) and to not fight Islamic terror is to submit to it!

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Abbas: Hamas Could’ve Prevented ‘Massacre”

December 29, 2008

abbasDec. 28, 2008
JPost.com Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST
Hamas could have prevented the “massacre” in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday in Cairo.

“We spoke to them and told them ‘Please, we ask you not to end the cease-fire. Let it continue,'” Abbas said during a joint press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit. “We want to protect the Gaza Strip. We don’t want it to be destroyed.”

Abbas called on Hamas to renew the cease-fire with Israel to avoid further bloodshed in Gaza.

Aboul Gheit also attacked Hamas, saying the group had prevented people wounded in the Israeli offensive from passing into Egypt to receive medical attention.

“We are waiting for the wounded Palestinians to reach Egypt. They aren’t being allowed to go through,” he said.

Asked who was to blame for the dire situation in Gaza, the foreign minister replied: “Ask the party that controls Gaza.”

He added that the meeting of Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo Wednesday should call on Hamas to extend the truce.

Meanwhile, Egypt summoned the Israeli ambassador on Sunday to brief officials in Cairo about the Israeli military action.

Operation Oferet Yetzuka

December 28, 2008

The day I had to fly back to the USA, my husband said: “Israel will go into Gaza soon.” I asked him how he knew? He answered he could feel these things.

Sure enough, the war with Hamas began on Shabbat, December 27, – the sixth day of Hanukkah. The Operation was given the military name “Cast Lead” (Oferet yetzuka), referring to the leaden Dreidels played with on Hanukkah. These festive spinning tops were once made of molten lead poured into a metal mold, and a popular Hanukkah children’s song refers to a Dreidel made of “cast lead”. As G-D would have it, this war will be identified in the annals of Israeli history as the Hanukkah war.

Most Israeli wars are connected with certain Jewish holidays. On the “Ninth of Av” (Tisha b’Av) in 586 BC and 70 AD, both Jewish Temples were destroyed in Jerusalem. The “Yom Kippur War” of October 1973 began on the “Day of Atonement”. The First Gulf War ended in 1991 on the first day of “Purim”. The Second Intifada broke out on “Rosh Hashanah”, in 2000.

G-d is still speaking to Israel and the nations using His prophetic calendar and His feast days (see Leviticus 23:2, 4), including minor feasts like “Hanukkah” (see Daniel 11:29-35).

After Israel withdrew or retreated from the Gaza Strip in August 2005, that region was taken over by the Islamist group Hamas (‘The Islamic Resistance Movement’), a group linked with the Muslim Brotherhood. All these different Islamic Jihad groups are ideologically linked to Osama Bin Laden.

It is important to know that Hamas refuses to recognize the state of Israel and calls for Israel’s military destruction. Over the past three years it has fired more than 10,000 Qassam or Grad rockets and mortars against civilians only – towns, farms and cities within Israel. And during the past week it fired between 36 and 80 rockets per day into kibbutzim, small villages and large towns.

For the past three years the government of Israel tolerated a buildup of these rocket attacks. Though originally then-Prime-Minister Ariel Sharon soothingly promised Israelis that the disengagement from Gaza would bring peace, and if even “one rocket were fired” Israel would re-conquer the Gaza Strip, the 10,000 rockets fired starkly contradict the soundness and wisdom of his policies. Part of the recent tolerance is due to the fact that the Kadima party Sharon founded is still in office, and these officials owe their political positions to these failed policies. – Trying the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result!

Over the past few weeks Israel has repeatedly warned Hamas and surrounding countries that if the rocket attacks continue, it will decisively and powerfully respond. These Israeli warnings have gone unnoticed by the world’s media, as have the rocket attacks. No country that is worthy of the name would allow terrorists to rocket their civilian populations for so long without an overwhelming response. For both Israel and Hamas, that day of response has come.

That is why Israeli fighter jets and attack helicopters destroyed strategic Hamas sites. 95% of the hits were ‘alpha’, meaning exact strikes with no collateral damage.

Over 240 strategic sites have been hit in the past 40 hours. One site hit was the Hamas police compound, where 80 gunmen were gathered.

On Sunday Israeli jets struck and destroyed 40 underground tunnels used by Hamas to smuggle in significant amounts of weapons, explosives and anti-tank/anti-aircraft missiles in a 3 minute 20 second sortie. This area is called the Philadelphi Corridor, and was surrendered to Hamas by Israel due to significant U.S. State Department pressure in 2005. Over 700 tunnels have been dug, and most are still operative.

Up to this point Hamas rocket squads have managed to fire more than 70 rockets at Israel, and Israel’s Military Intelligence believes that Hamas has the ability and reserves to fire up to 200 rockets daily for quite some time.

On Sunday one Hamas rocket traveled 37 kilometers, hitting Gan Yavne a bedroom community east of Ashdod.

Despite the realities on the ground or how discredited the land-for-peace process has become after decades of futile efforts to push ahead with it, the so-called Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators let Israel know Tuesday that there is no going back, no way out, no turning around.

Efforts are going to be made to shoulder ahead with the process. And if it is in fact endangering the security and very existence of Israel, that’s just too bad.

A dictatorial statement released by the group said that “the bilateral negotiations process launched at Annapolis is irreversible and … these negotiations should be intensified in order to put an end to the conflict and to establish as soon as possible the state of Palestine.”

The land on which this “Palestine” is to be created has for nearly 4000 years been regarded by Jews as their national homeland, and houses the bones of Israel’s founding fathers.

US Secretary of State is Condoleezza Rice has been particularly keen to lock in the “progress” she has made at pushing, cajoling and strong-arming Israel into striking a deal with the Arabs.

With time running out for her – she has just a month left in her powerful position – a relieved Rice said the Quartet’s resolution had “put the international community on record in believing in the irreversibility of the Annapolis process.”

To placate the oil-wielding aggressive Arab states and uncompromising Muslim demands, the G-D-rejecting nations of the world remain determined to divide up the Jews’ divinely-given land.

According to the Bible – a day of reckoning is racing towards them.

Please pray for the IDF and the people of Israel:

“G-D, don’t remain silent! Don’t stay quiet, G-D or still; because here are your enemies, causing an uproar; those who hate you are raising their heads, craftily conspiring against your people, consulting against those you treasure.

They say, “Come, let’s wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!” With one mind they plot their schemes; the covenant they have made is against you – the tents of Edom (Jordan) and the Yishmaelim (Arabs). Moav (Jordan) and the Hagrim ( descendants of Hagar= Arabs), Gval (Lebanon), Amon and Amalek (descendants of Esau). Pleshet (Philistines =Palestinians) with those living in Tzor (Tyre). Ashur (Syria) too is allied with them, to reinforce the descendants of Lot (nephew of Abraham)…..Fill their faces with shame, so that they will seek your name, Adonai!

Let them be ashamed and fearful forever, yes, let them perish in disgrace. Let them know that you alone, whose name is Adonai, are the Most High over all the earth!” (Psalm 83:1-8,16-18)

May the Dreidel say again: נגהפ – Nes Gadol Haya Po—”A great miracle happened here”.

Terrorists Inflating Casualty Numbers?

December 27, 2008

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

——————————————————————————–
FROM WND’S JERUSALEM BUREAU
WorldNetDaily Exclusive

Terrorists inflating casualty numbers?

Media reports count of civilians dead
in Gaza airstrikes using Hamas totals

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Posted: December 27, 2008
6:00 pm Eastern

By Aaron Klein

——————————————————————————–
WorldNetDaily

JAFFA, Israel – The U.S. and international news media have largely accepted as fact Hamas-provided casualty counts following a series of Israeli surgical strikes today in the Gaza Strip, despite Hamas’ and the Palestinian Authority’s long and sordid histories of greatly inflating casualty figures.

Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, told WND, “The Hamas government in Gaza has instituted a Taliban-like regime and has systematically destroyed independent civil society, which makes it pretty difficult for there to be independent verification of these numbers,”

Regev continued, “One must kept in mind Hamas has a major propaganda interest in highlighting civilian casualties while at the same time minimizing the number of Hamas combatants killed.”

Still, the news media today reported as fact that at least 205 people had been killed in the Israeli strikes, which targeted dozens of Hamas buildings in a purported Israeli bid to clamp down on repeated rocket attacks launched from Gaza and aimed at nearby Jewish cities.

Most news reports failed to mention the casualty numbers were provided by Hamas, which claimed only 3 of the casualties were actual Hamas military leaders.

(Story continues below)

“Israeli air strikes killed more than 200 people in Gaza,” reported a widely-circulated Reuters article.

“Egypt condemned as ‘murder’ Israel’s Saturday air raids on Gaza that killed at least 205 Palestinians,” reported the AFP. Similar statements were parroted in over 4,500 English language reports today.

With somber music playing in the background, both CNN and the BBC have been airing continuous loops of what the networks claimed were Palestinian civilian casualties being rushed into a local hospital. Both networks aired the same footage, provided to them by Al Jazeera, which is openly sided with Hamas.

“Does hitting so-called Hamas institutions mean over 200 civilians killed?” Regev was twice asked today by a BBC anchor during an interview.

CNN interviewed a man identified as a Gaza-based doctor who claimed two-thirds of the “over 200 casualties” were women and children. The network also featured – without challenge – a man identified as a Gaza-based human rights activist, who accused Israel of deliberately targeting civilians and perpetuating a “massacre” in Gaza.

Neither CNN nor the BBC have thus far featured any footage today of the southern Israeli towns that have been battered by Palestinian rocket fire in recent days, killing one Israeli.

Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, claimed his group’s casualty counts were minimized.

“We’re talking about much more than 200. Every minute we get more information on more civilians killed,” Barhoum told WND, speaking by cell phone from Gaza.

“We call on the international community to condemn this Israeli massacre and hold Israel back from more war crimes,” he said.

The IDF tonight released a list of some of the targets hit: a Hamas headquarters and training camp in Tel Zatar; a “Palestinian Prisoner Tower” in Gaza City that was turned into a Hamas operations center and armory; a Hamas police academy, which Hamas claims was bombed during a graduation ceremony, killing 70-80 Hamas operatives; training camps in southern and central Gaza; the former office of late Palestinian Yasser Arafat in Gaza City that is now used by Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh; and the Izzadin Kassam Brigades headquarters in the northern Gaza Strip.

Hamas and the PA have been caught many times inflating casualty counts. In June, 2006, Hamas claimed the Israel Defense Forces killed over 20 sunbathers on a Gaza beach, but it was later determined seven were killed, and the cause of the explosion was not the IDF but a Hamas explosives booby trap intended for Israeli naval forces.

Following a 2002 Israeli antiterror raid in the northern West Bank town of Jenin, Hamas and the PA claimed hundreds of Palestinian civilians were murdered. Chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat claimed on CNN that “more than 500 people” were killed. He repeated the charge on CNN a day later, adding that 300 Palestinians were being buried in mass graves.

It was later determined 54 Palestinians were killed, mostly terrorists, while the IDF lost 23 troops it engaged in house-to-house combat – instead of massive air raids – in order to limit civilian casualties.

Israel claimed Hamas routinely labels as civilians its gunmen killed in Israeli anti-terror attacks.

In today’s air strikes, the IDF maintains it tried to minimize casualties. An IDF statement said its military strikes were predicated on precise intelligence amassed in recent months to target specific Hamas facilities.

Olmert’s office released a statement explaining the attacks were launched, “following the violation of the terms of the truce by Hamas and the unceasing attacks by Hamas authorities on Israeli civilians in the south of the country.”

The U.S. for its part squarely blamed Hamas for the Gaza violence.

“The United States strongly condemns the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and holds Hamas responsible for breaking the ceasefire and for the renewal of violence in Gaza,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a statement.

“The ceasefire should be restored immediately,” Rice said. “The United States calls on all concerned to address the urgent humanitarian needs of the innocent people of Gaza.”

Today’s strikes come after Hamas refused to renew a six-month truce with Israel that expired last week unless Israel met a series of conditions, including opening the country’s borders with Gaza and expanding the truce to the Fatah-controlled West Bank. In a show of force, Hamas in recent days launched hundreds of rockets from Gaza into nearby Jewish cities, including Ashkelon, which houses a power plant that provides the Gaza Strip with 75 percent of its electricity.

Lilo’s Pomegranate Cheesecake

December 26, 2008

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A few days ago I helped elderly friends to prepare food for a holiday party. They asked me to bake a coconut pie. I admitted that I had never done this from scratch, but nevertheless, I can follow recipes in cook books.

I started out with a pie shell:
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter
4-5 tbsp. cold water

With a fork, I blended flour and salt into butter until well mixed. Then I added cold water. Mixed it again with a fork, formed it into a ball, which I rolled out on a floured board.

After I had finally figured out how to open the coconut, I found a hammer to drive a large nail through its eyes. There are usually 3 eyes in a coconut. I drained the coconut milk into a glass. Then I placed the coconut on a cookie sheet and turned the oven on to 325 degrees for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes I removed the coconut from the oven to let it cool. Once cooled, I cracked it open with a tap of a hammer. – But oh – what a disappointment – the coconut was slimy and gray on the inside. It had a very foul odor and could obviously not be used for anything.

What was I to do with my a pie shell ready and no coconut filling? I prayed to G-D to give me an idea, and looked around the kitchen. There was a pomegranate sitting on the kitchen table.

The pomegranate is an autumn harvest fruit which grows in Mediterranean climates. Pomegranate seeds are said to number 613 one for each of the Bible’s 613 commandments. The pomegranate has always been revered for the beauty of its shrub, flowers, and fruit symbolizing sanctity, fertility, and abundance. – Depictions of the fruit have long featured in architecture and design. They decorated the pillars of King Solomon’s temple and the robes and regalia of Jewish kings and priests.

This fruit gave me the idea for a pie filling:
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
4 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup cranberry sauce
½ cup strawberry glaze
1 1/2 cups pomegranate seeds
½ cup powdered sugar
I baked it at 375 F° for about 30 to 35 minutes, and the pie turned out to be the success of the party.

Preparing For War

December 23, 2008

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I noticed in Israel that the IDF was training for the next war. We saw trucks moving, nights we heard airplanes flying.

In Israel, the people are focused and making preparations. Unfortunately these preparations are for war, thanks to the friendly neighbors in Gaza who keep threatening them or launching rockets.

Yes, you heard right, rockets from Gaza continuously land in Israeli towns and farms, but it is not reported on the news, except in Israel. The western media is not interested in reports about daily rocket attacks. They only start reporting, when Israel does something. Consequently the West thinks that Israelis are aggressive, and the poor Palestinians Arabs are “innocent” victims.

Yet, the truth is, that for the past seven years missiles have been flying out of Gaza into Jewish towns and Kibbutzim traumatizing everyone, sending children running for bomb shelters.

News came out of the Knesset a few days ago that we should expect an invasion by the IDF into Gaza some time soon. One would think it was about time even for this weak failed Israeli Kadima Government to do something. No other country in the world would endure rocket attacks like a sitting duck, without retaliation of some sort.

So, the next Middle Eastern war is just around the corner and undoubtedly will be broadcast live on all the major networks in prime time. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) will be attempting to destroy significant elements of the leadership and rocket squads of Hamas (the acronym of Harakat al-Muqawima al-Islamiyya, translated as ‘The Islamic Resistance Movement’. Hamas is just one of the many groups of Jihad warriors, who want to bring the West under submission to Islam. – Most people who know about Islam are aware of that, except for Jimmy Carter. He thinks because Hamas leaders wear business suits when they go to a meeting, they can’t possibly be terrorists! LOL!


We also note that Hamas receives much of its military and financial support from the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran – in turn – gets help from Russia.

Many are concerned, if the IDF masses a large amount of forces in the south, it will weaken our front in the north for Lebanon, Hezbollah and Syria to attack and we are told that they are ready and waiting. This gives Israel more than one front to fight on at the same time, not to speak of the possibility that Iran will join in with their missiles and possibly with nukes. And maybe even Russia extending help to the Islamic Jihad warriors against the west.

At the moment, the nations of the world are caught in molasses, responding to Iran’s actions without any great urgency. Some voices in the US are deeply concerned. But Israel’s concern goes way beyond deep. It is existential.

These Lights Are Holiness

December 21, 2008

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Today it seems that the forces of darkness are closing in on us again, just as the long night of 2000 years of exile for the nation of Israel seems to be nearing an end.

Israeli news announced today that we can expect an invasion by the IDF into Gaza some time soon. For the past seven years missiles have been raining out of Gaza on Jewish towns, causing children to run for bomb shelters, – and traumatizing everyone.

Because of the threat that Iran will join in with their missiles and possibly with nukes, many are concerned that military action will give Israel two fronts to fight on at the same time.

As we rapidly move into the shortest and darkest days of the year, the story of Chanukah reminds us how a miracle provided light in the dark.

In about 333 BCE, Alexander the Great and his armies had conquered the Middle East, including Israel, and went on to conquer additional land, even to the Indus River in India. Although Alexander promoted Greek religion, culture, and religion, he didn’t force it on his subjects. Alexander died at the early age of only 33, after which his huge empire was split into four much smaller empires to be ruled over by his four generals. Those who came after Alexander were much less tolerant of non-Greek cultures and religion.

Israel was on a “Land bridge” highly prized by the Ptolemy dynasty that ruled Egypt, and by the Selucid Dynasty that ruled the Syrian portion of the divided Greek Empire. Eventually, the Selucids gained the upper hand, and conquered Israel. In 165 BC the Syrian king, Antiochus IV, came to rule over Israel. He was an extremely cruel and intolerant king. He forbade circumcision, Sabbath observance, reading of Torah, or celebration of the Feasts. The penalty for observing the commandments of the Torah was death.
Soldiers made sure they obeyed these new laws. Antiochus forced them to sacrifice unclean animals to the Greek god Zeus.

When Mattathias, the priest of Modi’in and his five sons heard the bad news, they ran to the hills where they organized a small army. They were led by one of the brothers, Judah, and became known as the Macabees. For three years they fought against the Syrians. After three years, on the twenty-fifth day of Kislev, they were successful and pushed the Syrian army out of their land.

Hanukah is a holiday that was instituted after the Israeli victory over the Greek-Syrians in the Maccabean Revolt, when the Jews gained victory over their oppressors.

The Macabees rushed for their holy Temple. They removed the pagan altar, and all the unclean animals. The menorah, the eight-branched candelabrum that was always supposed to be burning in the temple (Ner Tamid – eternal light), was dark. They looked for special oil to light it. It would take eight days to make new oil. All they could find was one small vial of sanctified oil – enough oil to keep the menorah burning for one day.

The Maccabees lit the menorah and said special prayers of thanks to God. And then – a great miracle happened. The little cruse of oil lasted for eight full days. – Curiously, the story of the Ner Tamid burning miraculously for 8 days is not told in the books of the Maccabees at all. It is perhaps a later invention that was added to the story of the Hanukah story.

The light from the Hanukah candles, we are taught, is different than any other kind of light. Most light is just, well, light, an electromagnetic radiation of all wavelengths. But the light of Hanukah is the embodiment of holiness itself. It’s hard enough to understand light, let alone holiness. We speak of light and darkness, and darkness being the absence of light.

Holiness is even harder to understand. We know that God is holy, and that we are supposed to be holy. But, unlike light, most of us don’t think much about holiness. – Yet, light and holiness go together.

So, as we approach the darkest time of year and get ready to light our Chanukah candles, let’s remember that light came into the darkness when the Jews rededicated their Temple and their lives to the Holy G-D of Israel.

These lights of Chanukah represent the light of the future, for at the time of the redemption, all the forces that previously obscured G-D’s presence will fall away.

“These lights are holiness — haneirot hallalu kodesh hem”.

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What A Great Idea – Do You Know How To Knit?

December 18, 2008

hat

Chicks with Sticks Knit Stacks of Hats for IDF Soldiers

Cheshvan 17, 5769, 15 November 08 07:00by Aviva J. Woolf and Hana Levi Julian(IsraelNN.com) A project that started as a weekly knitting get-together has quickly transformed into a worldwide project to warm combat soldiers in Israel.

“Chicks with Sticks” is the brainchild of Channah Koppel, who described to Israel National Radio’s Eve Harow of the Judean Eve program, how she mustered a group of amazing handcrafters in Gush Etzion to help produce winter hats for Israeli soldiers who serve in cold places.

The mission of kindness, which began last year, has grown exponentially in the past twelve months from a simple desire to do something to give back to the soldiers of the IDF.

What better way than to make sure these soldiers had warm winter hats? With a son serving as a paratrooper, Koppel knew conditions can get mighty chilly around this time of year and downright cold in the winter – especially in the north. “The hats provide both physical warmth and emotional support, and we feel good knowing that somewhere tonight, a soldier doing guard duty in the cold will be wearing one of our warm, hand-knitted hats, made with love,” she explained.

Koppel decided to adopt the entire army and send all the soldiers black woolen hats. She sent out some emails and suddenly, hats started arriving from all over the world — mostly from North America, but also from places such as England, Australia and France. She personally delivered several hundred hats to combat units in the Golan Heights and Mt. Hermon, but realized the task was becoming overwhelming, and contacted Barbara Silverman, founder of “A Package from Home” for help in making sure the hats reached soldiers everywhere in the country.

The “Chicks with Sticks” enlisted Silverman’s organization for an extra bit of help from its wide network, especially in reaching the “chayalim bodedim” — soldiers without families in Israel — serving in combat units. Silverman’s group also helped get the hats to soldiers stationed in the north, where the crisp mountain air and winter winds cut straight to the bone, as well as to balmier climes in the state.

It’s “an intimate grassroots kind of thing,” Koppel says, the kind of “homegrown” personal support that comforts those who must fight to defend the homeland. “Alot of people who call me represent other groups, like senior centers and other organizations that have knitters, so it’s growing exponentially.”.

The “Chicks with Sticks” project has distributed several hundred hats so far, each with a special label sewn inside assuring its wearer in Hebrew that it was “Knit for you with love and warmth.” They’re also knit with special care: each hat must be knit to rigorous specifications set by the IDF that include a certain pattern due to the strict uniform regulations.

It’s a tough job, but there are plenty of people out there who are willing to do it. In addition to Israeli knitters, participants have joined the project from aaround the world. Most are Jewish, but not all. Most are women – but not all. Any and all hats that follow the pattern are welcome, says Koppel.

And when every IDF soldier has a hat, what then? Koppel laughs, and points out “There are a lot of soldiers in the army!”

Anyone interesting in joining the project and knitting a hat for an Israeli soldier can email Channah Koppel at: Channahk@gmail.com . Finished hats can also be sent directly to Koppel at POB 3081, Efrat, 90435, Israel.

For those who are savvy with the sticks (read: knitting needles), here are two patterns, one for a hat that can be knit flat on two straight needles and one for a hat that can be knit in the round on a circular needle and/or double pointed needles. The latter method is recommended because it requires less sewing up at the end and tends to look neater. The cost of the wool is approximately NIS 10 in Israel and $4 in the United States.

Yarn: You must use machine washable, plain black worsted weight yarn – this is in order to comply with both the soldiers’ requests and army regulations. Look for a yarn that is soft, warm and non-felting. Super-wash wool is best, although acrylic or a wool/acrylic mix is okay. You’ll probably need about 220 yds / 200 m. Gauge: 24 or 28 stitches=4 inches / 10 cm in K2P2 rib stitch. Needles: Use whatever size needle you need to get gauge. The 4 mm – 5.5 mm range is a good place to start. For circulars, use a small circumference, 12″ to 16″.

Pattern A: Knit on Two Straight Needles:
Loosely cast on 98 stitches and work back and forth in K2P2 rib as follows:
Round 1 (right side): K1, [K2, P2] until one stitch remains, K1.
Round 2 (wrong side): P1, [K2, P2] until one stitch remains, P1. Repeat these 2 rounds until work measures 9.5 inches / 24 cm, ending with a wrong side row. Shape crown:
Row 1: On right side, K1, [K2, P2tog], K1. 74 stitches remain.
Row 2: P1, [K1, P2], P1
Row 3: On right side, K1, [K2tog, P1], K1. 50 stitches remain.
Row 4: P1, [K1, P1], P1
Row 5: K1 {2tog), K1. 26 stitches remain.
Row 6: Purl
Row 7: K1, [K2tog], K1. 14 stitches remain.
Row 8: Purl
Row 9: K1, [K2tog], K1. 8 stitches remain
Break yarn, leaving a 20-inch / 51 cm length. With a tapestry needle, thread the yarn through the remaining 8 stitches (pull tight) and then sew up the back seam using mattress stitch (to see an example click on “mattress stitch”, scroll down to “Finishing” and then select “mattress stitch” for a short video demonstration.)

Pattern B: Knit first on a Circular needle and then on double pointeds (or, you can work the entire hat on double pointed needles if you prefer.) Loosely cast on 96 stitches. Join work, place marker, and work in K2P2 rib until work measure 9.5 inches / 24 cm.
Shape crown:
(Here you begin a series of decreasing rounds. When you find the hat getting too small to work on the circular needly, switch to double pointed needles.)
Round 1: K2, P2tog to end of round. 72 stitches remain.
Round 2: K2, P1
Round 3: K2tog, P1 to end of round. 48 stitches remain.
Round 4: K1, P1
Round 5: K2tog to end of round. 24 stitches remain.
Round 6: Knit
Round 7: K2tog to end of round. 12 stitches remain.
Round 8: Knit
Round 9: K2tog to end of round. 6 stitches remain.
Break yarn, leaving a 6-inch / 15 cm length. With a tapestry needle, thread the yarn through the remaining 6 stitches (pull tight).

Weave in the ends and admire your work! Please wash and dry your hat before mailing. Please include an email address so that you can be notified when your hat arrives.

Why Is A Busdriver With 22 Traffic Violations still Driving?

December 16, 2008

I was saddened to hear the news about the fatal bus crash that claimed 25 lives off Highway 12, just north of Eilat.

bus

In the deadliest traffic accident in Israel’s history, 25 people were killed and 33 were injured Tuesday afternoon, as a private bus carrying travel agents from St. Petersburg, Russia, headed to Eilat from the Ovda Airfield in southern Israel, plunged into a dry river bed about 1.8 miles north of the resort town.

The bus driver had reportedly attempted to speed past another tour bus on a twisting road in a no-passing zone, when he crashed through a guardrail and then rolled 80 meters down the slope, overturning again and again in mid-air before hitting the bottom of the desert ravine. Some of the passengers were flung out of the bus.

Emergency search and rescue teams were immediately dispatched to the scene of the accident, which was promptly declared a mass casualty event. Upon arriving, the team found the bus had plummeted down a 45-feet chasm, apparently flipping over several times, as it was found to be completely crushed.

Evacuating the injured from the bottom of the ravine took nearly an hour.

“We need doctors here,” was shouted over and over as first-aid was administered to dozens of injured people. The ground was lined with body bags.

Thirty-three people were hurt, including 23 in serious condition.

The 39-year-old bus driver, who sustained serious injuries, had 22 prior traffic convictions. While police officers said that was not unusual for someone who has been on the road for 20 years, they also said they believe he drove at a dangerously high speed for such a winding road.

As the gravity of the situation unfolded, the MDA sent paramedics to Eilat via plane to reinforce the local station. The Health Ministry called on medical personnel in Eilat to rush to the Yoseftal Medical Center in order to assist with the triage efforts of the victims; as did the Leumit Health Fund, which ordered 40 doctors and nursed attending a conference in the city to report to the hospital.

There was chaos at the scene of the accident, with the bodies of victims lying on the ground and debris scattered everywhere. Dozens of ambulances rushed to the site, which eyewitnesses said seemed like the scene of a massive terrorist attack or a combat zone.

The air force dispatched six helicopters to evacuate the seriously injured to hospitals across the country.
Michel Elkaslasy, the owner of the company which rented out the bus to the tourist’s travel agency, rushed to the scene as soon as news of the crash broke. He told Ynet that “the tourists arrived from Russia. “The sight was horrible. The bus is upside-down at the end of nowhere… The bus apparently lost control. I see bodies scattered everywhere.”

The more seriously injured victims of the crash were those who were thrown out of the bus, while those who were still inside were generally in better condition.

The steep road winding to Eilat is dotted with signs warning drivers to be careful.
An eyewitness said the bus was speeding recklessly when it veered off the road.

“The bus overtook in a reckless manner while speeding, went out to overtake another bus – I saw him and he almost overtook me – suddenly he turned left and then dropped,” the eyewitness told Israel Radio.

After the accident was reported, the Health Ministry called on doctors and nurses vacationing in the Eilat area to volunteer and help the relatively small staff of the city’s Josephthal Hospital in treating the victims. Dozens of medical staffers responded to the call.

Scores of soldiers and officers who were returning from vacations were the first to tend to the injured.
“I was in shock. I’m turning this over in my head – these things happen in the worst scenarios,” the eyewitness said.

President Shimon Peres spoke Tuesday evening with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, sent the country’s deepest condolences, and said “we feel as if this tragedy happened to us.” Peres said that while the accident was caused by the mistake of one person, “the pain is felt by all of Israel.”

I was just in Israel and witnessed myself how taxi drivers and Israeli citizens drive much too fast and too close together. They weave in and out of each others” lanes without using their blinkers.

More than 30,000 people have died in traffic accidents since the State of Israel was established in 1948, a number that is greater by 6,000 than the total number of people killed in Israel’s wars.

If someone asks me if it is dangerous in Israel, I tell them that my chances are greater to be killed in a car accident than by an Islamic Jihad warrior. Road accidents are among the most distressing daily occurrences in Israel.

My husband saved my life a couple of times holding me back, when I was trying to cross the road because the pedestrian light was green. I learned that in Israel, cars don’t necessarily stop at a red light.
In Kiryat Shmona children were trying to cross the street next to a school, when a driver almost hit them. He was shouting out of the car at the children. My husband shouted back at him, that he was the one who needed to stop.

Why is a bus driver with 22 prior traffic convictions still allowed to drive passengers for a private bus company? In most other countries his driver’s license would have been revoked a long time ago.

The Truth is, – there is no Truce!

December 14, 2008

When Islam is involved, a truce not a truce as we Westerners understand it. I tried to explain this concept in an earlier blog: https://lilo97423.wordpress.com/2008/06/20/truce-or-hudna .

The Arabic word “hudna”, is often translated as “cease-fire”, and has a distinct meaning to Islamic fundamentalists, well-versed in their history. The term comes from the story of the Muslim conquest of Mecca. Instead of a rapid victory, Muhammad made a ten-year treaty with the Quraysh tribe. In 628 AD, after only two years of the ten-year treaty, Muhammad and his forces concluded that the Quraysh were too weak to resist. The Muslims broke the treaty and took over all of Mecca without opposition.

Hamas uses a “truce” as a tactic aimed at allowing the party declaring the hudna to regroup while tricking an enemy into lowering its guard. When the hudna expires, the party that declared it is stronger and the enemy weaker. Whenever Hamas has acquired enough weapons, they use them again against Israel. – So, you see, in truth, – there is no truce!

The “hudna” began to unravel last Tuesday. Who started it? The Palestinians had used the time during the cease fire to build another one of their militant tunnels. When IDF troops discovered it, they entered Gaza to destroy it. That set off battles in which seven Palestinian gunmen were killed. The fighting sparked a wave of rocket attacks from Gaza at Israeli border towns.

It seems to happen every time Condolezza Rice travels to Israel trying to create “peace” according to the Saudi peace-plan. Hamas is either celebrating her arrival with rockets or trying to say: “That’s what we think of you!” – But she doesn’t seem to listen either way.

Gaza’s 10-day missile blitz has damaged homes and parked vehicles, forcing tens of thousands of inhabitants in the towns and villages around the Gaza Strip to spend hours in shelters or under cover.
Israel National News reported on Friday that Gaza terrorists aimed a barrage of Kassam rockets at the coastal city of Ashkelon, just a few hours after attacking Jewish communities in the Gaza Belt. They were not certain if the rockets were Kassams or the longer-range Katyusha rockets. One 70-year-old woman suffered shrapnel wounds in the attack and was taken to Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon. A number of people in the city – including children — were treated for emotional trauma and shock. Earlier in the day, Hamas terrorist launched ten Kassam rockets at Jewish communities in the western Negev. Seven of the homemade missiles exploded in the rocket-battered city of Sderot. Two slammed into areas close to Ashkelon, further to the north.

An eyewitness reported: “Here in Ashkelon we had today a barrage of missiles or rockets falling. I was shopping downtown for Shabbat when the siren start sounding, the store was with a lot of people and there was no place for shelter anywhere. We heard the bombs falling behind us, and I decide to go home right away, when I go out again the siren sound and people where running all over, crying it was awful then the bomb fell about a block of where I was standing, just midst to a huge school with thousand of kids there. Kids were let out and they were crying and running home. The traffic was stacked and crazy and everybody was shouting or crying. Finally I got home with a headache and the blood pressure very high. All the rockets fallen down near my home for I live in the center of the city. What else can I say it is hard to see all the people out of control and suffering. So far the economy here has been sustained but people had lost the jobs in the region and stores have no customers. Now it is 4 PM, they stop the Kassams, Baruch Hashem and we hope to have a peace full Shabbat….”

Yet, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, defense Minister Ehud Barak, and chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi decided at a special conference Friday evening, Nov. 14, to refrain from responding to the Palestinians’ 10-day missile blitz from Gaza.

Sderot Mayor David Buskila told reporters: “It is sad to be a citizen of a country that cannot deploy its army to give an immediate response to this phenomenon.”

How many more rockets will it take until Israel responds and defends its citizens?