Maccabee's Wars

A venting rage against the ills of our society with some hopeful observations.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Kidnappers Delight

Jennifer Griffin, Fox News reporter, of their Jerusalem bureau, literally took her life into her own hands when she was an adamant force in the release of reporter Steve Centanni and cameraman Olaf Wiig from “unknown” terrorists in Gaza.

After much investigation, she and her Israeli bureau chief met with leaders of Fatah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad et al in the darkened back streets of Gaza while an Israeli drone flew overhead.

It was an excellent opportunity for Israel to take out a cabal of ‘Mafioso’s.’

Luckily for the Fox team, it did not take place.

Griffin, in her discussions, realized that these ‘helpful’ leaders were taking her for a ride. They insisted they were doing everything they can for the Fox newsman.

At that point, Griffin, pointed out the name of the family who were heavily involved in the kidnapping and she demanded why they had not been arrested. With guns drawn by bodyguards on both sides, she realized she was in great danger and that the ’dons’ of the Palestinians were all in on the same game.

To this author, it’s time that the world understands that every Palestinian excuse is just an excuse. Every one involved in the War against Israel is in cahoots with each other. Hamas, Fatah etal are all on the same page. Not one of them is better than the other. There is no one to deal with now nor will there be in the future.

There is one thing, however, to be thankful for. Ever since the kidnapping, reporters in general have been unwilling to cover the Palestinian ‘story’ in Gaza.

Maybe Orla Guerin of the BBC will give it a shot with her anti-Semitic claptrap -- though I doubt it. She was nowhere to be seen in Lebanon or Gaza during the fighting. Now with Kofi Anon’s visit to Beirut, she resurfaces in the war zone.

Then again, if she were to be kidnapped, the Stockholm syndrome would probably turn her into another homicide bomber.

Oh, how I long for the years gone by when we only find out about the ‘news’ years after it happens.

Then again, I wouldn’t have anything to write about.

See below for the related Fox news story,2933,211097,00.html

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Life in the War Zone

After much jetlag, I can finally report on my recent trip to Israel.

The trip was taken with much anticipation and trepidation.

On Tuesday evening August 8th I received a call from a friend telling me about a volunteer mission to Israel sponsored by an ad hoc group named CareforIsrael. Morey Kellman was the energetic leader of this group.

About the first of August he began to plan a volunteer mission to help in the war effort. Less then 2 weeks later 100 people were on their way on Saturday evening August 12th to help in whatever way they could.

As I mentioned, I only found out about the mission a few days prior to departure. My flight was only confirmed on Thursday the 10th 2 days prior to departure and I packed my bags only hours before Shabbat. I ran out of the house minutes after Shabbat was over to be on time for the flight.

Except for the fact that the flight left in a timely fashion and that I had been without sleep for days, the flight was uneventful.

We arrived Sunday evening August 13th to Israel. Buses took us to Jerusalem to the Kings Hotel where we met with a trauma expert who advised us on how to deal with the citizens of the North whom we would be spending our time with in the next few days.

A ceasefire had been tentatively agreed to on Friday to take effect on Monday at 8:00 AM but the war continued to rage.

I could not sleep well that Sunday evening. Consequently I rose at 5:15 AM and headed to the Kotel for Vosikin minyan. Despite the fact I couldn’t catch a taxi, I found someone who stopped to give me ride. He was also heading for Vosikin, so he took me back as well.

I always find the silence that takes place at Neitz at the Kotel an eerie feeling, yet at the same time invigorating.

After heading back to the hotel for breakfast, I grabbed some clothes for three days and a sheet to take with me. I wasn’t going on a camping trip. Ten of us were heading up north to be in the shelters for three days.

It was bit nerve wracking, not knowing what would await us. Yet I had little to worry about.

As we were about to leave, Morey received a phone call from Lev Achad. They were our coordinators for what we would be doing up there and they told us not to come that day. I assume it was because the ceasefire had taken hold, but I can’t be sure.

So instead of heading North, new plans were made for the 10 of us.

We were whisked off to a soup kitchen called Hazon Yeshaya. When we arrived we were put on KP duty peeling hundreds of potatoes. If I had stayed home I wouldn’t want to peel even one, yet here I felt comfortable putting in the hours. After a few hours, we served the locals who came in for a meal. We also tried to give them Chizuk. One of the members of our group, Arnie, had a guitar. He started playing some lively music, so we joined in to dance with some of the patrons. It was uplifting to see the smiles on so many faces.

This particular soup kitchen which serves Jerusalem with some 2500 meals a day, also serves 3000 additional meals to other areas of Israel. Additionally, they made 4000 more meals to be taken up North. The head of Hazon Yeshaya shown on a video visualized to us the horrors that were taking place in the North. As they were driving through some Northern Town trying to deliver food, an air raid siren went off. They hurried off their transport and tried to head towards a shelter. The shelter however was closed, so they had to stand on the outside of it until the ‘all clear.’

Later, they delivered to shelters where one woman said they had not left it for 17 days. No one, she said had come to visit them or to bring food until Hazan Yeshaya had at that moment.

But the shelters were not the only places that needed food. Climbing up 4 stories to a top floor, the soup kitchen crew delivered food to an old couple who could not leave their home, despite the fact that shells were raining around them.

It was extremely troubling to see that the government had abandoned these people. The Israeli papers quoted government officials that they were not delivering food because they did not want the Northern population to become dependent on the State. It’s interesting that this is coming from a State that is dependent on the US, the Jews of the Diaspora and new Olim. It was quite despicable.

Following our time in the soup kitchen, we went to donate blood at Magen Dovid Adom. They took blood from most of group, but I was so weak from the trip, they told me to wait a week. Oh well, I tried.

The next day I was still jetlagged so I woke again for Vosikin. This time I found a cab. After davening which ended about 6:15 AM I walked back through the shuk. It was eerily empty except for 3 or 4 old Arabs who were opening up their stores. It was a quick walk, however, rather then going through the Armenian quarter.

That morning we headed towards an Army base in Tzrifin which is south of Ramle. We were there to pack food packages which were to be airlifted to the remaining troops in Lebanon. If only much of these packages were sent earlier. Stories of soldiers having to take water off the dead Hizballah fighters, breaking into stores for a morsel of food or eating at the local Lebanese populace homes were the stories we heard time and again.

The food was packed on an assembly line. Sixty people placed products such as tuna, canned vegetables and the lot in boxes which were for 4 Meals in a 24 hour period. Each box weighed about 4 pounds and were stacked 180 high on a gurney to be fork lifted away and then parachuted to the troops. On that Tuesday, I had to place canned chocolate in the boxes. First I was placing them gently, but the conveyer was moving so fast at times, I began throwing them in. It was almost like the famous “I Love Lucy” episode where Lucy had to wrap chocolates arriving on a conveyer belt. The belt, however, was moving so quickly that she had to eat most of them just to keep pace.

Later we headed to Sderot which for some time, along with Gush Katif, had been hit by thousands of Kassam missiles. We met with the deputy mayor and saw the extensive damage. We also met with some children of the town who at first said that everything was alright. Then one of them said he was so scared that he needed his father to stand outside the toilet to hum to him, so that he knew he was safe. At all times he knew where the nearest shelter was, so that he could go there on a moments notice.

On Wednesday, the 16th, we headed up North. We met with soldiers stationed in the Golan, who had just come back from the fighting and had lost four men in the last days of the ceasefire. One of their fallen comrades Uri Grossman was the son of a leading novelist and “Peace Now” activist. The father had just been at a protest against the war prior to his son’s death.

Soldiers were now crowding around a newspaper which discussed the funeral and eulogy for their fallen comrade. Mr. Grossman said that Israel will have to ascertain what it lost during this war. He does not have time for that. He is busy with what he and his family had lost, the loss of his son.

Some of the soldiers eventually started talking of their experiences. One, tank commander, told us of the anti-tank missiles which were being shot from kilometers away. They never saw them coming. When they tried to return fire, the Hizballah terrorist surrounded themselves with children. They could not return fire.

Later that day we went to Kiryat Shemona. I was surprised by the lack of destruction. Kiryat Shemona had almost 1000 missiles fall in the center of the city. I saw only mostly blackened fields.

We went to the Hesder Yeshiva on top of the city, sitting directly on the border. One of the ‘bochorim’ showed us the blackened windows of the Beit Hamidrash, the apartment buildings which received a direct hit, and the remnants of Katyushas.

We next headed to the mall in Kiryat Shemona. It wasn’t quite as busy as the ‘Kanyon’ in Jerusalem but people were there. I didn’t notice any damage.

We next met with an officer of the ‘Home Front’ in a forest on the outskirts of Safed. He emphasized that this war was not over and that we were only at the ‘halftime’ break.

That evening, in Jerusalem, we met with Yuli Edelstein. Though he was reluctant to criticize the Olmert administration, he made it quite apparent that Israel was not in a good situation.

The next morning, we met with Natan Sharansky who basically reiterated the same trepidation as Edelstein. He also mentioned that when he resigned from the government last year, he told Sharon that he hoped he was wrong about the Disengagement from Gaza. Unfortunately, he was not.

That Thursday morning we headed back to Tzrifin to pack some more food. This time they put me in charge of the assembly line. It might sound like a piece of cake to press an ‘on’ button and then an ‘off’ button but if you have to watch people getting their fingers caught in machinery, people dropping heavy boxes coming at them at top speed, boxes getting caught in the taping machine and all sorts of problems, I felt like I needed five pairs of eyes.

That evening we heard from an IDF spokesman who said that we can look at this war as a glass half-full or as glass half-empty. It wasn’t a great analogy but it’s all I came away with.

Later that evening most of the mission went back to New York. I stayed for Shabbat to recuperate.

All in all, it was a worthwhile trip, though I am afraid that we are trailing badly at halftime. Moreover, even if we win ‘the game’ our losses which are heavy already will be far worse unless there is major change in leadership.

May this coming year be one of Guela Shlaima, a homecoming from our exile, and a healthy and happy one for one and all.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Leaving On a Jet Plane

I am, G-D willing, leaving for Israel this Saturday night for a week to volunteer with the organization known as I hope to be able to report back while I am there. If not, I will try to give a full report once I’m back.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Leftist Morality

The following is an excellent article regarding the perversity of the left.

Thanks to Friedlam again for the submission:,20867,20062213-7583,00.html

J’ Accuse!

Headline: Washington Post reporter Thomas Ricks accuses Israel of moral equivalency.

Left-wing anti-Semitism continues to rear its ugly head.

It’s bad enough that Israel must suffer through moral equivalency where Hizballah is considered on equal moral ground as Israel. Now ‘reporter’ Ricks has taken this one step further. It is now Hizballah and the Arab world with the moral high ground. It is now Israel who is undermining morality by failing to wipe out Hizballah, by letting the battle move slowly, by allowing the populace in the north to be continually bombarded and killed, so that people will pity ‘poor’ Israel and consequently give it favorable PR.

What unbelievable nonsense!

Israel is always receiving horrible PR no matter how moral they try to behave. Despite the pride taken by the Israeli military in being the most moral army in the world, despite the losses they took in Jenin and now in Lebanon and Northern Israel, the world looks disdainfully at the Jewish state and twists and skews the moral equivalency in favor of the Arab world.

Further, it is Hizballah, Hamas and the Arab media who manipulate photo ops to distort the truth. It is Reuter’s photographers who ‘doctor’ images to manipulate the masses.

What’s more, the liberal media allows these manipulative tactics to be shown as truth rather than true fiction.

See below for Ricks’ asinine comments on CNN and a partial acceptance by the reporter interviewing him.

See also the moral equivalency as 30,000 Muslim protesters in London held banners saying “We are all Hezbollah” and screaming out the same unashamedly.

Also see the following report by Harold Evans from the Guardian. Thanks to Friedlam for the submission:

'We are all Hizbullah now.'

Harold Evans August 8, 2006 05:04 PM
"We are all Hizbullah now," proclaimed one of the banners at the Stop the War coalition's London march<> . Really? Is it possible that more than one person has taken leave of their senses?

It was a sign either of profound ignorance or a depraved indifference to human life. Either way, the moral idiocy of the sentiment betrayed the higher purpose of the march.

If we are all Hizbullah now, who are we? Are we the violent hijackers of the state of Lebanon who started this war without provocation and without reference to the elected government?
Are we the "democrats" who hold hostages for years and murder political opponents?

Are we the suicide bombers, Hizbullah's contribution to civilization, randomly murdering innocents in the thousands - Muslims, Jews,Christians, Buddhists, for this cause or that, it makes no difference?

Are we Hassan Nasrullah, the latest pin up boy of terrorism, who competes with Iran's mad Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the most dedicated to kill Jews? He makes no secret of Hizbullah's genocidal ambitions. "If they [the Jews] all gather in Israel," he says, "it will save us the trouble of going after them on a world wide basis." Big joke. Are we the puppets of our paymasters in Iran?

Are we the cowards condemned as such by the UN humanitarian chief, JanEgeland, for hiding our fighters and rocket launchers among women and children?

Are we not the cleverest of tacticians? If the human shield works, we are free to attack, and if it fails, Israel will bear the odium. What does it matter that our cruel deceit violates Article 58 of the Geneva Convention?

Are we the renegades who have for six years shown what we think of the Geneva Convention, international law (and UN resolution 1559) by regularly launching rockets across the border into Israel loaded with ball-bearings to shred human flesh. Yes, people died, six in a school bus, but they were only Jews and did you see the world take any notice? Nobody marched in London.

Are we the fiends who over two decades of Islamic terrorism have kidnapped, tortured and killed numerous peacekeepers?

Yes, we are all these things and we are Samir Kuntar

<> .

Perhaps the London marchers do not know of Samir Kuntar. He is locked up in an Israeli prison. It was to secure his release by blackmail thatHizbullah guerillas crossed into Israel and kidnapped two Israelis, triggering the conflict. Samir Kuntar is emblematic of Hizbullah's values, their highest priority in any prisoner exchange, so let us hear about him from a woman who opposes his release. She is a social worker in Israel called Smadar Haran he met in 1979.

"It had been a peaceful Sabbath day. My husband Danny and I had picnicked with our little girls, Einat, 4, and Yael, 2, on the beach not far from our home in Naharyia, a city on the northern coast of Israel. Around midnight, we were asleep in our apartment when four terrorists from Lebanon landed in a rubber boat on the beach two blocks away.

"Gunfire and exploding grenades awakened us. Desperately we sought to hide. Danny helped our neighbour climb into a crawl space above our bedroom. I went in behind her with Yael in my arms. Then Danny grabbed Einat and was dashing out of the front door when the terrorists came crashing in. They held Danny and Einat while they searched for me and Yael.

"I will never forget the joy and the hatred in their voices as they swaggered about hunting for us, firing their guns and throwing grenades. I knew that if Yael cried out, the terrorists would toss a grenade into the crawl space, so I kept my hand over her mouth. As I lay there, I remembered my mother telling me how she had hidden from the Nazis during the Holocaust.

"The terrorists took Danny and Einat down to the beach. There, one of them shot Danny in front of Einat so that his death would be the last sight she would ever see. Then he smashed my little girl's skull in against a rocket with his rifle butt. That terrorist was Samir Kuntar. By the time we were rescued from the crawl space hours later, Yael, too, was dead. In trying to save all our lives I had smothered her."

We are all Hizbullah now.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

They Might Be Giants

The Israeli cabinet is again meeting to decide whether to launch the second phase ground offensive. Whether this is the way to go is a matter of debate, though this author feels it should have been part of the first offensive.

But one item should be absolutely clear to all.

There should be no debate regarding Lebanon’s offer to move troops into Southern Lebanon. Olmert should not call it an interesting offer with hesitation that it may be a subterfuge.

It is a fool’s game and Olmert wants to play.

His spinning the wheel as if this was the game of Life will only bring more death and destruction. It will end up being a true ‘win’ for Hizballah and the Arab world.

Moreover, all of Israel’s soldiers and populace lost so far will have certainly died for nought.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Four Musketeers

It may be early to put blame on who is responsible for the death and destruction in Northern Israel and the failure to obliterate Hizballah, but four names come into fruition.

First is Dan Halutz. The Chief of Staff and Air Force Lt. General in proceeding with a pinpoint air campaign instead of sending in ground forces allowed Hizballah to drop thousands of missiles and kill and injure so many. His limited war has cost and will cost Israel dearly.

Second is Amir Peretz. With no experience for the job of defense minister, he has shown nothing to prove that he has the wherewithal for the job. His greatest success is appearing in as many photo ops as possible with the troops. Their smiling faces belie what awaits them as they go out to war.

Third is Ehud Olmert who brags about the success of the Israeli armed forces with hundreds of Hizballah/Iranian/Syrian missiles killing troops and the populace. Olmert dared to even say that this war is the precursor to the removal of settlements in Judea and Samaria, almost causing a revolt amongst reservists from those areas.

Finally, let us not forget former Prime Minister Ehud Barak who allowed the mass removal of Israeli troops in 2000 from Lebanon. The move emboldened the Arab world. No intelligence seemed to remain in the area to recognize what Hizballah was doing and the resulting war is the consequence of that action.

These are the Four Musketeers.

I would prefer to call them the Four Sons but there isn’t a wise one among them.