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Mar 1, 2015

Facebook Status of the Day





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The destructive nature of elections

This elections is a perfect example of how destructive elections can be to a society. Instead of each party showing what they can do better, most of the discourse is based on attacks and negative , argumentative, speeches.

There is very little positive in this current election cycle.

Perhaps the greatest example of this can be seen when looking at Shas and UTJ. Funnily enough, in the general press one hardly hears anything from UTJ, and they have barely even started any public campaign, yet they and Shas have found numerous opportunities to bitterly fight with each other.

UTJ and Shas have worked together very nicely for a very long time. Even though they do not work out a block to run together as one party, they have had a very close working relationship. They are well-coordinated with each other, usually in elections as well but especially after the elections.

Yet now they are fighting. Fighting over ovters. While UTJ generally sticks to its natural voter base, this time they have agressively campaigned to people outside their natural base - those who are thought to be in Shas's natural base. For example, Gafni and his people have been going to the towns on the periphery - normally considered Deri and Shas's home court.

It has already led to a few verbal spats. Deri accused Gafni of stealing his voters. Gafni said UTJ helps all these people and communities and they are naturally turning to people and communities they have helped and asking for their vote. And vice versa.

The latest is Gafni commenting in a UTJ meeting abotu Shas's claim of having created a "revolution" in the peripheral towns. Gafni says "what revolution? maybe they created a revolution in the jails".Gafni was commenting on the fact that he went to a community and Shas had no presence there yet everyone says Shas turned things around.

Deri responded, after Gafni apologized, by saying Gafni was his assistant in southern Israel, and basically said Gafni is lying and knows very well about Shas's revolution.

The Yachad party is another sore point. UTJ has not been clear on its position on Yachad, even though they have clearly supported Shas. If this fighting continues, and if Yachad is deemed stable in its expectation to pass the electoral threshold, I can envision a scenario in which UTJ also supports Yachad, and further upsets Deri.

bkitzur, my point is, these two parties that until now have worked closely together, are now fighting.

The question is if their coming campaign of daas torah, that always happens at the last minute before elections, will resolve all this. Also, will they be able to work together afterwards, if they create all this bad blood now?

This is a great example of how divisive this election season has been. Even two parties that are really natural partners and have worked as partners for so long are now fighting with each other.




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Quote of the Day

What happened on the Irair flight (regarding the women who screamed at the fight steward over a bar of chocolate) is a result of the division and the rifts that Bibi is bringing us to.

  -- Labor chief, and PM candidate, Yitzchak Herzog at Sharbatut event

Herzog must be crazy, blaming Netanyahu for what happened on the Israir flight..



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Picture of the Day

PM Benjamin Netanyahu makes a stop at the Kotel to offer some prayers before leaving on a trip to the United States to speak before Congress against the deal with Iran

the one thing I took from the hassidim is Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev..



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election campaign broadcasts (video)

Likud
if Levi Eshkol had done what the US wanted, would we be here today?


Habayit Hayehudi
nostalgic Purim broadcast


the true story, part 1


the true story part 2


the true story, part 3



Hamachane Hatzioni
Herzog compares himself to David Ben Gurion, Levi Eshkol, Albert Eintein and Menachem Begin


Kulanu Kahlon
Michael Oren - House of Cards  (this is a weird, and poorly done, clip, in my opinion)


Aleh Yarok


what happened in Colorado?



and the non-party anti-Netanyahu campaign videos

V15
what didn't you understand?


Bibi's scare tactics
(this one, in my opinion, was surprisingly poor compared to the high quality videos they've been putting out until now)


people behind V15



Commanders for security of Israel
I like these videos.. especially when they say they are non-political yet go on to make a political statement






MyIsrael
what is Dr. Left planning for us now?




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Feiglin talks about his new party (video)








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election debate 2015 (video)

the debate was kind of pointless, as I expected it to be. Not because Netanyahu, Herzog and Livni weren't there, but because the format was not good. It wasn't productive for any real debate.

For a real debate, I would have liked to see the same question presented to each party head and to hear how his/her party would deal with that issue. Then we could get the differences clear.

Pitting one against one is good for an interview, but not good for the debate this was supposed to be. I mean, are Bennet and Galon really fighting over the same potential voters? Lieberman and Aida?Do we really have to have a debate include whether Maran is happy with Yishai or Deri?

That being said, there were good moments..

At one point Yonit Levi mentions that only Herzog and Netanyahu didn't agree to come.. that is not entirely true - the head of UTJ, Yaakov Litman also did not agree to participate.




Overall I think Bennet did well, I think Lieberman did well despite his monotonous tone, Uman Aida did well... Kahlon was ok. The rest could have skipped the debate entirely.



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Hakol Shafit S01E04 (video)

pretty funny




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Hang 'Em Low (video)







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Feb 28, 2015

Rebbi-Talmid Niggun // Rav Ari Waxman, R' Dovid'l Weinberg, R' Ari Yablok & R' Shlomo Katz )הןגקם(







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Feb 27, 2015

Shlomo Katz Nigun of the Week (video)








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Feb 26, 2015

Facebook Status of the Day





Aryeh Deri is talking about what he is fighting against. He points as an example to the City of Tel Aviv that just awarded 14 women with the title of "Yekirat Ha'Ir" - valued resident, or something of the sort. Among the 14 women selected, in the second largest city in Israel, not a single one of them is mizrachi (sefardi). Deri goes on to say that they are transparent, and when you are transparent you get responses like "there were no worthy candidates" (which was the response of the head of the selection committee). Deri goes on to say how upsetting it is, and that he is going to submit a law guaranteeing full equality to mizrachim, etc. etc.

Deri may be right. I don't know what happened in this selection. Maybe no worthy mizrachiyot happened to be nominated this time. Maybe last year there were mizrachiyot awarded. Maybe it is discrimination. I don't know. Deri might be right.

But is this really a fight for Deri to wage. Are there women, mizrachi or otherwise, in his own party? Were women selected to lead Shas? Could no worthy women be found? In his own party it is a halachic or social problem but in Tel Aviv it is ok? Can Deri really talk about the mizrachi women who might have been slighted, when he slights the mizrachi women on a daily basis?


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influencing Israeli elections

The White House claims to have been against Netanyahu's trip to speak in front of Congress because of not wanting to interfere with foreign elections. Even after the trip was set and it was clear it was not being changed, Obama said he won't meet with Netanyahu, so as not to influence the Israeli elections..

The issue of not influencing the elections hasn't stopped Oabam and his people from publicly saying all sorts of nasty things about Netanyahu in the past few days. Yesterday John Kerry said Netanyahu has poor judgement on the Iran issue. Now they are saying that Netanyahu is the greatest threat to a possible deal with Iran.

What happened to avoiding influencing the Israeli elections?

Or maybe that was not really the reason....


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Book Review: Touching History, by Rabbi Sholom Gold

NOTE: I was not paid to review this book. It is an unbiased and objective review. If you have a book with Jewish or Israel related content and would like me to write a review, contact me for details of where to send me a review copy of the book.

Book Review: Touching History, by Rabbi Sholom Gold


I am honored to having been given the opportunity to write a book review for Touching History by Rabbi Sholom Gold, though I don't know how I can possibly do the book justice with my review.

Touching History is perfectly named. This book is history. It is the history of Rabbi Gold and his family, and it is the history of Judaism in North America - Canada and the United States of America, and of Israel during the second half of the 20th century and early 21st century.

Rabbi Sholom Gold is one of those rare people who has the skill to tell a story and keep you captivated, and enchanted. Rabbi Gold is one of those rare people who were perfectly positioned to witness history in the making and recognize the significance of events as he witnessed them.

I don't know if he kept a detailed log every time he experienced events throughout all his years, even as a young man, or if he just has a phenomenal memory and remembers his life so vividly. Either way, Rabbi Sholom Gold lived through the most fascinating of times, and was aware enough, cognizant enough of what he was seeing and what he was part of, and retells it masterfully.

I have had the opportunity, more than once, to meet Rabbi Gold, and more often to hear him speak in public, whether in his shul or elsewhere. Rabbi Gold is passionate - about his shul and his congregants, about life, about his family, about Judaism, and needless to say, about Eretz Yisrael. That is true in real life, and it comes through perfectly in his book, Touching History. The book reads as if he is talking. I was able to close my eyes and hear his voice, hear his passion.

Touching History should be read by all. Rabbi Gold retells the most amazing experiences, of Eretz Yisrael in the early days from when he spent some time learning in yeshiva, of growing up in Jewish New York - Williamsburg, of his connections and experiences with the greatest of the rabbonim of America, and of Israel, and other leaders. He had the opportunity to meet, and have relationships with, Rav Kaminetsky, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Brisker Rav, various Chassidic Rebbes, Rav Ruderman, Menachem Begin, Rabbi Yosef Mendelovitz, Rav Herzog, Rav Elyashiv, Rav Pam, Rav Feinstein, Bibi Netanyahu, Mike Tress, and many many more.

Rabbi Gold was part of major experiences of Jewish life - he went to Russia to meet with refuseniks, as a spy. Rabbi Gold was arrested in Israel during protests against giving land away in peace deals. Rabbi Gold went to Oslo to protest the outside the Nobel Prize ceremony. Rabbi Gold went to the wilderness and founded yeshivot and shuls where they didn't exist, and then grew them where they did, and created Torah programming for adults.

Touching History is a fascinating, and mesmerizing at times, look at recent Jewish history.

In the book Rabbi Gold retells many stories that he experienced in his life. Some of them are humorous, some historic, some full of insight, some sad.. every emotion is played out while reading this book. I think the two that impacted me the most were:
1. when he was debating the timing of making aliyah and was unsure what to do. Rabbi Gold retells how he came to his decision. His decision was influenced by a dog. You'll have to read it to get the story.
2. Rabbi Gold muses about the role of the community rabbi, and what he does for his community. In a beautiful tribute to the community rabbi, Rabbi Gold recalls that back in the day, in the earlier portion of his career in the rabbinate, the rabbinate in the USA was dominated by rabbis that were all clean-shaven, with American names, "like Harry, Steven, Robert, or George". He describes how these men, these rabbis, went out across America and built day schools and mikvaot, and taught and did what they could to ensure the continuity and growth of the Jewish people. They were persistent, and they were passionate. And today's Judaism that we live is largely due to the valiant efforts of those "more American" rabbis. Today's rabbis, who are almost all bearded and have names like Moshe, Chaim and Yankel, are all functioning based on the efforts and successes of those earlier rabbis. Rabbi Gold writes beautifully "how much reward will be waiting for these unsung heroes who built shuls, day schools, and mikvaos across America."

Those are two pieces that impacted me more than the others, but the others, the entire book, all the experiences related, are all captivating.

Rabbi Gold brings modern Jewish history to life. At times in the book I thought to myself how fortunate he was to experience all that, and to recognize the magnitude of what he was experiencing, and to be so passionate about it for so long. And how fortunate those around him were, to be around such passion and verve.

buy Touching History on Gefen Publishing

buy Touching History on Amazon.com



NOTE: I was not paid to review this book. It is an unbiased and objective review. If you have a book with Jewish or Israel related content and would like me to write a review, contact me for details of where to send me a review copy of the book.



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Arab Head of Opposition

An interesting scenario popped into my head after seeing the latest poll results published.

It seems from the latest polls that Hamachane Hatzioni is projected to win 24 seats, Likud 23, the United Arab Party 13, Habayit Hayehudi 12, etc..

In the event that this would be the final results on March 18, and if, as some suspect, it is highly likely the elections will bring about a national unity government of some sort, it is theoretically possible that the Arab party could end up as the largest party in the opposition. Being the largest party in the opposition gives it the right of appointing its leader as head of the opposition.

Head of the opposition is a position that comes with status, privileges, and responsibility. For example, Head of the opposition gets briefed on security issues more, and on a higher level, than any other MK, more similar to the Prime Minister.

So, if the head of the United Arab Party, Aimen Udah, would become the Head of the Opposition, I'd like to see how Israel treats him. Will the Knesset, the Shabak, or whoever, trust him with state secrets and the regular high-level security updates?Would they find a way to ensure that this does not happen? or would they allow Udah to take this lofty position that he earned and give him the updates as defined by the job?

I wonder.




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should Israeli expats be allowed to vote absentee?


Here is a news report about an organization run by, and for, Israeli expats. The organization is in the process of being formed and their goal is to liaise with the State of Israel on behalf of Israeli expats, help them keep a connection to the State, get fundnig for educational programs to keep the kids connected, etc.

I enjoyed watching how the new report tried to focus on one issue - the possibility of absentee voting for Israelis abroad.

Currently, Israelis residing abroad cannot vote in their host countries, except for a few exceptions of those living abroad in service of the State. Any random Israeli that wants to vote in Israeli elections must travel to Israel to do so.

According to the report, this organization is supposedly demanding, or pushing for, a change in the law to allow Israeli expats to vote absentee. The reporters keep asking about it even though the representatives say they have never requested such a thing, and the organization has, at this time, no opinion on the matter - the members are as of now divided on the issue.



Personally, I think there should be no absentee voting. They chose not to live here, even though they do remian somewhat connected to the State, and they don't pay taxes to the State of Israel. Why should they have the right to affect the lives of those of us living here? If they want to, they can travel to Israel for the elections. If they are willing to pay the cost of a visit, they are citizens and can vote. I assume the cost of a trip will deter many of them. Voting just is not that important for most people.

I do vote absentee in US elections. USA expats have to file taxes in the USA, so we are affected, but that is not why I vote. I vote absentee because the law allows me to. I happen to think the law should probably be changed, but as long as the law allows it, I have no problem voting.


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