Friday, June 30, 2006


I was so excited at first to walk Gus, a pedigree cocker spaniel we were given by my lil bro's futbol coach. I remember walking him on the Heathcote sports field, refusing to allow my sister and her friend to share in my fun. Eventually though, I lost interest in the walking part and just enjoyed playing with him. However, in order to pay insurance on my car, I was required to keep Gus company daily on two 15 minute walks. At the time, I hated it. But looking back on it, it was a wonderful way to take a break from homework or the TV or the Playstation or other distractions. Throughout my 4 years at university, I absolutely loved to see Gus' reaction to me when I returned home. He would get so excited, shivering wildy and start anticipating his belly being scratched. Words can't truly describe how wonderful of a dog he was ... Sadly today, my mom had the unfortunate task of telling me that this inseparable part of our family had sadly passed away.

As I type this out, a smile crosses my tear stricken face ... I can just remember so many time where he made me laugh so much - be it his summer hunting of cicadas, his constant battles with the blue devil (a pump), his crying during Shabbat waiting for Challah, his crying during Pessach not understanding there was no Challah, and his eagerness to protect Eitan when we used to play fight. Such a special part of our family ... but now, just a memory, a very fond warm memory ...

You were one in a million gus buster ... You'll be sorely missed ...

"I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive."
Gilda Radner

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Holocaust Mentality needs a changing ...

I wrote this a while back - but after today's events, I just feel it needs to be reiterated. A recap of today's events from Haaretz:

Two Israel Defense Forces soldiers were killed and another was reported missing when Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups attacked an IDF post within Israeli territory near the Gaza Strip border, in the pre-dawn hours Sunday.

Now granted, Israel has gone into Aza to find the missing soldier but something needs to be done. Something major. In the last month alone, we've allowed over 200 quassam rockets to hit Sderot and other Israeli cities with little retaliation. What message are we sending the terrorists? Are Olmert's preventative measures & 'Realignment Plan' really going to make a difference? Sometimes I wonder what our leadership really strives for ... American dollars and positive world opinion or the safety of her citizens?

Things are as usual heating up in Israel and no, I'm not talking about Ariel Sharon bolting the Likud to form his own centerist party. I'm talking about yesterday's border incidents with Lebanon and the upcoming confrontation with Iran. Yesterday, a few groups of Hezbollah terrorists crossed the Israeli-Lebanese border with the intent of kidnapping/killing soldiers. Their crossing was accompanied a heavy barrage of LAU missiles. Luckily for us, only 11 Israelis were injured (amongst them, a few civilians in Metula) and 4 Hezbollah terrorists were killed by a soldier (who's only been in the army for 8 months - remarkable) How do we react? We state that if Hezbollah don't escalate the border tensions, we won't take any further action. Escalate? I mean what are our leaders smoking?!?!? Imagine any country in the world taking that stand after yesterday's flare up? To make matters worse in the region, Iran is coming close to the 'point of no return' with regards to completing their nuclear reactor. With their wonderful president (Ahmadinejad) declaring, "Israel must be wiped off the map," it seems that Israel must be ready to act. But seeing how we react to Hezbollah attacks (or terrorist attacks in general nowadays), can the citizens of Israel truly expect our country's leadership to take the necessary steps to protect us?

In my opinion, this all comes down to this holocaust mentality we have re-acquired in the last 20 or so years. It goes without saying, Israel from 1948 to the mid 1980s acted as it saw fit when it came to the protection of her citizens. From border raids of the famous 'Unit 101' in the 1950s, to the preemptive strike in the 1967 Six Day War, to the Entebbe and Sabena Raids, to the famous attack in 1981 on Iraq's nuclear reactor to the assassination of Abu Jihad in Tunis, Israel always made protection of her citizens it's main priority. Where did it change? I wish I knew the answer, but I think irreversible damage was done during the first Gulf War where the US forced Israel to not protect her citizens despite Iraq's continuous launching of scud missiles at our territory. And today, as we approach extremely difficult situations with the aforementioned Hezbollah and Iran, not to mention Hamas and the other Palestinian terror organizations, our leaders (& nation in general) must change their mentality. This Holocaust mentality that for some reason dictates that us Jews succumb to world pressure (or not act like any other normal independent nation) and not protect our citizens is threatening our very existence. The onus is on us to educate the upcoming generation of the importance of remembering that this country was founded after the ashes of 6,000,000 Jews were scattered across Europe and that we have a right to defend our birthright as we see necessary. Let the youth of this nation be proud of our amazing history, both before and after Israel's rebirth in May 1948. Stress the Zionist beliefs and values that inspired generation after generation to stake their claim to this land, and do whatever it would take to 'plant their roots' here. This will take time, but it's a necessity if this dream, which was hatched in 70 CE with our expulsion from the land by the Romans, is to remain a reality. Perhaps no one says it better than Menachem Begin, who 'upset' the whole world in 1981 when he had the Israeli Air Force destroy the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq, "Believe me, the alternative to fighting is Treblinka, and we have resolved that there would be no Treblinkas. This is the moment in which a courageous choice has to be made. The criminal terrorists and the world must know that the Jewish people have a right to self-defense, just like any other people."

"Let his cry and his plea come before You to transform a valley of gloom into a doorway of hope"
Hosea 2:15

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Instantaneous Hero

The 2006 World Cup is now in full swing. For whatever reason, I have not really been as excited about this World Cup as I was during the previous 3. Perhaps not having it on my TV screen without the ludicrous 492 NIS charge has something to do with it. But that all changed Saturday evening. No, I'm not talking about the highly disappointing Italian performance (Their 1-1 tie with the United States left me feeling that the Azzurri will yet again fail to lift the trophy they last won in 1982). I'm talking about Ghana, the next country in a long line of African surprise packages (with European stars like Stephane Appiah and Michael Essien) producing a stunning 2-0 demolition of tournament dark horses, the Czech Republic.

What caught my eye in the highlights was that after every goal, John Pantsil, Hapoel Tel Aviv's right back, celebrated with an Israeli flag. Yes, an African Christian, showing unity with a country that he has called home for almost 5 years. He said he'd do it, and boy oh boy, did he ever deliver. That flag waving took him from being a practically unknown player in Israel to being on the cover of every single Israeli newspaper. After the game, he told an Israeli reporter that he wanted to make Israel happy because he loved the country. Johnny boy, not only have you done that, but you've become our representative in the World Cup. You, and your 2 other countrymen (George Owu & Emmanuel Pappoe), that play their club football in Israel have just become our heroes - Come on Black Stars!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Osirak - 25 years later

Below is a really awesome 40+ minute special on the bombing of Iraq's nuclear reactor back in 1981 by the Israeli Air Force. Quite an amazing story, with one particular quote standing out:

"I felt that Ilan Ramon, who was my wing man, and myself were gonna be killed and couldn't share the information with my wife or anybody else. I remember that I came to peace with myself on the day of the mission because I'm named after my grandfather, who had died in a concentration camp. And I felt that I'm flying for him, and there's some calm in it that you know that there's a meaning to whatever happens to you"
Lt. General Relik Shafir

"Let the world know that under no circumstances will Israel ever allow an enemy to develop weapons of mass destruction against our people. If ever such a threat reoccurs we shall take whatever preemptive measures are necessary to defend the citizens of Israel with all the means at our disposal"
Menachem Begin - minutes after the IAF destroyed Osirak in 90 seconds on Erev Shavout, 1981 (25 years ago)