Israel–an absolutely gorgeous land

Did I mention the landscape of Eretz Israel is absolutely gorgeous?

JezreelView

When I try to analyze what constitutes Israel’s magnificent physical beauty, I come up short–that is, I can’t say this hill is more beautiful by reason of X or that valley by reason of Y–except for one factor: the Beauty of the Lord is upon the Land of His Favor as it is upon no other. The Lord loves all of the good earth He made, but His eye is especially upon Israel.

I knew that before my visit, but now I have actually experienced it, and that makes all the difference.

Shalom, y’all!

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Israel: a Unity of Dichotomies

I returned yesterday from my first ever visit to Eretz Israel… impressions are beginning to coalesce in my mind… at the top, I will go out on a grammatical and semantic limb to say Israel is a unity of dichotomies. That’s not really logically possible, is it? Neither is Israel. It is truly a miracle, and is ultimately beyond intellectual comprehension.

On the tour bus the first day I noticed that this land which is so deep in historical and spiritual significance is also a normal, vibrant community… commuters on bicycles, hippies with backpacks….

As we ascended to Jerusalem from the east on the sixth day, our guide pointed out that the Holy City straddles two climate zones. He might as well have said it straddles two worlds, or two universes….

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The Hebrew word for desert or wilderness, is ‘midbar,’ and our guide pointed out that it’s based on the word ‘dbar,’ which is the Hebrew word for, well, word. It was in the midbar of Beersheva that Father Abraham most fully heard the word of the Lord. Most of the country we passed through from the north down along the western coastal plain and even into the Beersheva area itself was lush and green–absolutely gorgeous–but it became barren and forbidding further east of Beersheva, from Arad to the Dead Sea and Fortress Masada. The Word of the Lord sometimes comes to us in its most striking clarity in the most desolate places….

It appears that all of the most holy sites are under lock-down by deepest darkest religion — primarily Roman and Islamic. Why is that? Because they can. This present world is, apparently, given to the powers of darkness. Yet there is abundant, vibrant LIFE everywhere! Several of us in the group noticed that some of our chronic bodily ailments were put on hold the whole time we were there. Not a coincidence, methinks. It is written in the Book of the Prophet Zechariah, “Old men and old women will once again sit in the open places of Yerushalayim, each one with his cane in his hand, because of their great age. The city’s open places will also be full of boys and girls playing there” — and we were favored to see that with our own eyes, and it was marvelous!

Hopefully I’ll find time to post some more later, but I’ll admit my posting as been less than frequent these days.

Shalom, y’all!

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"We dare not let ourselves be blindsided again."

So writes author Joel C. Rosenberg toward the end of his new book Israel at War : Inside the Nuclear Showdown with Iran. Rosenberg gives this warning as an American, to his countrymen. We were blindsided on Dec. 7, 1941, by an enemy we did not perceive as a threat. And we were blindsided on Sept. 11, 2001 by a very different enemy, one who still exists and still threatens, and concerning whom the leader of a similarly threatened ally has been warning us, and pleading with us not to be so blind to the danger as we so willingly appear by our actions (or lack thereof) to be.

Rosenberg, a former advisor to Benyamin Netanyahu, uses his experience to offer insights into the decision making processes of the one man in the world who appears to most clearly perceive the threat posed by the Iran regime, and who is most heavily burdened with the need to discern a course of action to take.

ADJ_lvg_Warwick_NYCIt is often said that the U.S. President is the de facto leader of the free world. It is very unfortunate for all of us that our current head of state has cravenly abrogated that duty. It is even more distressing that his own behavior suggests he agrees with the diminutive Madman of Tehran that America is “the Great Satan” and ought indeed to be crushed underfoot.

And so it is amazing that the duty to stand up to Iran falls on the shoulders of the leader of one of the world’s smallest nations and the only free nation in the Middle East. Rosenberg explains how Netanyahu was born into the awareness that Israel must defend itself, with or without the help of other nations, and without regard to how loudly those nations proclaim their own righteousness. He goes on to give us a rundown of the events surrounding Iran’s reach for nuclear weapons, and brings us up to date on the current status, and on what may be going on in Israel’s secret councils.

He ends with a suggestion that we pray for Israel’s leaders out of 1 Chronicles 12:32, that they might be “men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do.” I couldn’t agree more.

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They say that life is what happens while you’re making other plans; I say that stuff is what happens while you’re just trying to live your life.

I might suppose that I owe my readers an apology for not having posted for over six months, but one thing about anonymous blogging is that you don’t really have a relationship with your readers, and apologies are for relationships.

But in case I’m wrong about that, I do apologize, and I’ll just say that a lot of stuff has come between me and blogging since last March. Nothing to write home about—just stuff.

But by the same token, it hasn’t seemed to me that there has been much new stuff going on with regard to Israel and its relations with the world, which is what I write about here. Not that there hasn’t been anything going on—just nothing strikingly new.

But maybe it’s all right to just keep reminding the world of what is going on.

The official IDF blog says that September was a busy month, with the usual rocket attacks and cross-border raids. But what nation should be expected to regard these kinds of things as normal?!

World media continue to do stupid little things like trying to deny Israel the right to designate its own Capital. And even the Democratic Party of the United States got in on the act last month, though I now read that they’ve reconsidered their inanity.

The big news this past week has been of course Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s UN speech, replete with a cartoon drawing of a bomb, as if to drive home the point that the world (or at least the UN) needs to be addressed at a level of less than adult intelligence in order to get the point across that Iran must be stopped. By way of contrast, the UN tirade by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas served mostly to call attention to his increasing irrelevance.

Also increasingly irrelevant are the Gaza “flotillas.” The latest one is reportedly somewhere in Italy and appears to be generating not much more than a collective yawn. Maybe I shouldn’t be too hard on myself for thinking there hasn’t been much to write about.

On the positive side, my co-laborers in promulgating the truth have continued to publish articles here and there laying out the facts of Mideast life, like this one from Front Page Magazine explaining in great detail why it is a lie to claim that Jewish settlers  are living on land stolen from Palestinian Arabs.

Or check out this video series from Zola Levitt Ministries on eight reasons why you need to support Israel. Yes — you.

 

TTYL.

lineman

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If one man’s meat is another man’s poison, is one man’s truth another man’s lie?

khuloodbadawi_tweet1_CRThe photo at the left was taken in 2006 by Associated Press photographer Adel Hana and is of a little girl in Hamas-occupied Gaza, Egypt who was fatally injured in a playground accident. This information comes from Associated Press and Reuters, neither of which are known for a pro-Israel stance, as cited in the leftist blog Little Green Footballs. As such, it represents a personal tragedy unrelated to the warfare being waged by Hamas and Islamic Jihad against Israel. And as such, it would likely never have seen the light of day in the international media.

That is, if we lived in an honest world. Which we don’t.

When I got to work yesterday, one of the first things I saw was a short article in israel today magazine which exposed an ongoing lie that the photo was less than two days old and was of a victim of Israeli military action.

The lie was being spread via Twitter, reaching a wide audience, but was caught and refuted by Avi Mayer. When confronted with the facts, one of the pro-Arab activists who had helped spread it at first maintained the untruth, but then began to backpedal under continued pressure from Mayer. By the time I waded into the fray she had acknowledged and apologized for the falsehood. I think she deserves credit for that, but we have not seen a similar acquiescence from the other primary prevaricator on this point. And considering that this other person is listed as an Information and Media Coordinator for an agency of the United Nations, shouldn’t we be looking for some sort of disclaimer from that august body?

y193013233321943Lest we think this whole affair was some sort of huge out-of-the-ordinary mistake, the very same day the very same sort of falsehood was being presented to the world using the same technique—by mislabeling and republishing a photograph taken at a different time of a different event.  Avi Mayer deserves credit for catching this one also.

And the list goes on, of course—such as another recent caught-ya, a photo of a 2009 event staged in Bahrain which was claimed to be of an IDF soldier abusing an Arab girl. But to explain my title for this post–if you’re reading this and you are already on the same side of the viewing fence as I am, then I’m just ‘preaching to the choir,’ as the saying goes. Or if you’re like Diana, then you’re likely to think I’m the one that’s blowing smoke. The Roman Procurator Pontius Pilate famously asked, “What is truth?” and then walked out without waiting for an answer.  And a close friend of mine got a poor grade on a college exam once by having an answer to that question knowing full well that the instructor’s intent had been to prove there was no such thing.

So why then are people like Diana, or her defender Haris so offended when they are accused of lying, even while casting the same stone at others? The answer is because there surely is such a thing as truth, or the truth, both on an eternal plane and in the plain sense of objectively verifiable observed data. And also because the knowledge of that is built into human nature. Ok, but so why am I pursuing this? The choir hardly needs preaching too, and the anti-choir will not be persuaded, so who am I trying to reach here?

My answer is simply that there are many, many good honest people ‘out there’ who do not have the information needed to distinguish the truth, and that if just one person can be helped by blogs like mine, well then, it’s certainly worth all these electrons I’m shooting out over the internet, isn’t it?

And also among the Dianas and even the Khuloods of this world there are honest people who just need to discover the truth. I’ll end this with a first person account of an Israel hater who went to Israel to fortify her hate but came face to face with the undeniable truth instead, and became an Israel lover: Nicky Larkin: Israel is a refuge, but a refuge under siege.

Am Israel chai – the people of Israel live.

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Will they or won’t they? Or when will they? Or will they say?

A friend asked me in passing a few weeks ago, “Well what do you think? A couple of months?” I told him, no, I didn’t think so, not in that short of time, anyway. Neither one of us had to ask the other what the subject was. It was about whether—or more exactly when—Israel would launch a military attack against Iran’s nuclear weapons infrastructure.

There has been a popular impression for quite a while that it has to happen, it will happen, and it could be any time now. I do not have an inside track, and I also tend to be wary of going with the flow. So lately I’ve been on the lookout for information that can fill in some of the missing pieces.

The first clearly presented article I saw as I began to watch for such things laid out several reasons why it was not about to happen just yet, written by Professor Barry Rubin at the beginning of last month. You can (and should) read it for yourself, but the effect it had on my understanding of the situation was that things are not as cut-and-dried as the media would like to think they are. Professor Rubin added some further comments on this just last week.

I’ve seen a few other places where similar observations were presented – that a simplistic view that’s it’s going to happen, and it’s going to happen soon – is just that, simplistic. I’ve been putting off this post, trying to get a more precise handle on this, with more names, dates, & figures, but it’s just too much of a moving target right now. So if my friend were to ask me the same question tomorrow, I’d have the same answer, but that’s just my two cents.

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BHOHeadCrop05March2012So I suppose you could say it was a safe for US President Obama to talk tough in his address to AIPAC on Sunday. Since nothing was going to happen any time soon, he had plenty of room (comparing himself to Teddy Roosevelt) to “carry a big stick.”

But—ah, well!—talk is all it was. Cheap talk, at that. And so transparently dishonest that I take comfort in being certain that the AIPAC delegates saw through it well enough. And that, by the same token, the gracious reception given the speech by Israel President Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu will be seen in the proper light. (As someone put it, “just doing their job.”)

I don’t mean to overwork Professor Rubin, but I’ll cite him again here as having written the clearest analysis of the speech that I’ve seen today. He titled his post, “Promise her anything but give her Arpege.” I think you get the idea.

As for all the support President Obama claims he has given Israel, take a look at this video from The Emergency Committee for Israel that puts things in a more accurate perspective:

Barack Obama ran for president as a pro-Israel candidate — but his record tells a different story

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In my last two posts I brought up the possibility that some of the more violent setbacks to Iran’s nuclear program may not be accidents or the work of Israeli agents (exclusively, anyway) either one, but clandestine efforts by loyal Iranians opposed to the Ahmadinejad regime.

I’ve seen some further comments along those lines, but one of the more interesting items was a piece in Haaretz saying WikiLeaks had released “intelligence” that Israeli special forces had indeed cooperated with Kurdish fighters inside Iran to destroy one or more nuke sites some time ago.

Lest we get our hopes up too high, we need to remember that just because we see it on the internet doesn’t make it so. Blogger Elder of Ziyon pointed out a few things in a post titled Tempest in a Wikipot that may help us to keep things in perspective.

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homs_CropBack in December I was also looking at the way the Syrian revolt against the Assad regime has become a dividing point between the various Muslim states and factions in the Middle East. So far Assad is still in, and things are not looking good for the rebels. It’s odd that the entire Arab world plus Turkey is lined up against the regime (including now even Al-Qaeda and Hamas) but nothing is moving. Russia and Iran are the only two entities that I’m aware are still behind Assad. It would appear especially that Hamas’ opposition is a radical move, given their position as merely a proxy for Iran. How can they get away with that? They’re cutting their own umbilical cord—or are they? The more I look at the Middle East, and Arab behavior in particular, the more I see that we make a mistake when we try to view things from our Western perspective of democratic principles and national republics.

I read an analysis by Daniel Greenfield this weekend which pointed out that Arab loyalties really are not to nation states nor even yet ideologies, but to the clan. At which point Syria becomes an excellent example of this: right now it’s the Alawite “splinter sect” in the persons of the Assad clan that’s desperately, brutally holding on to power. And if they fall, will we see a free, democratic Syria emerge? Not likely. We really should stop making such an asserted effort to fool ourselves.

LiebermanheadcropcloseAt least one person is taking away an important lesson from all this. Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman points out that the failure of the international community (and of the UN in particular) to protect the victims of state violence in Syria clearly shows Israel’s wisdom in not trusting international promises of such protection as a basis for allowing a(nother) terrorist state hard on its borders.

Nuff said?

TTYL. Lineman.

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Are Iran explosions an ‘inside job?’ (Or did I already say that?)

In my last post I linked to a column by Caroline Glick which laid out some reasoned speculation that the spate of recent explosions at military and military-industrial facilities in Iran may be due, not necessarily to covert operations by Israel or others as widely thought, but to activities by Iranians resistant to the regime.

Not that I want to take one side or another, but I think it’s significant to point out today’s news coming from inside Iran that may corroborate such a viewpoint. Even more striking is the report that those responsible (whether part of the resistance, or perhaps others within the regime seeking to seize power) may include elements of Iran’s military and even the Ayatollah’s own son.

It’s not at all for certain at this point, and tales of intrigue coming out of Iran are nothing new, but it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on—especially in view of the things Glick had written.

Can you say stay tuned?

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