Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Time to Act

Below is the petition I have written, with the guidance of two friends, which lays the reasons why Ehud Olmert needs to resign from his position as Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Please pass the link onwards - we must act now. This man is not fit to lead this country - it's time to make our voice heard. Let's change the future of this country NOW.

To: Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert

Dear Prime Minister:

After the mishandling of the Second Lebanon War, the non-stop flow of contradicting statements on various State matters & the pending criminal investigation against you, we the Undersigned, from Israel and all parts of the concerned international community, call on you to resign your position as the Prime Minister of the State of Israel.

Before the start of the Second Lebanon War, you made a passionate speech in the Knesset where you laid out the goals for the war:

“On the Palestinian front, we will conduct a relentless battle until terror ceases, Gilad Shalit is returned home safely and the shooting of Qassam missiles stops … We will do everything and make every effort to bring them home … We will defend all of them, on behalf of all of them we will fight, and with all of them before our eyes – the civilians in the line of fire, the kidnapped fighters and their families – we will continue, without hesitating, without capitulating and without fear, until our goals are achieved.”

There is no need to even dissect the ineptitude your government showed during the war as not one of your stated goals was achieved. The bottom line is your leadership failed miserably. Three Israeli soldiers are still in enemy hands, and the citizens of Sderot and other southern cities are still being traumatized by daily Qassam rocket fire. The responsibility for the war’s failure is yours, as is the failure to push for the complete implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. It has been over five months since the war ended, and the unconditional release of the abducted Israeli soldiers, as stated in the resolution, has yet to occur. As the leader of this country, that should be one of your main goals and yet you have not mentioned it directly at all while on any of your trips abroad. Have you forgotten which people you represent?.

Your leadership must also be called into question as you are continually making statements and then contradicting yourself shortly thereafter. Your unilateral ‘Realignment Plan’ was the major policy you wanted to push while in office, and yet only recently, you told the Chinese news agency Xinhua, "Under the existing circumstances, it would be more practical to achieve a two-state solution through negotiations rather than [unilateral] withdrawal." When Syria offered to discuss a peace treaty with Israel without any preconditions, you quickly stated, “Now isn’t the time to starts talks with Syria.” Yet a few days later, most newspapers came out with a story where you proclaimed, “I hope we will be able to arrive at dialogue with Syria.” A leader cannot be swayed back and forth. Doing that only shows how unsure you are of how to lead this country and what in fact is good for her.

On January 12th, Haaretz reported that the Justice Ministry was expected to announce the opening of a criminal investigation against you, mainly focusing on the state's sale of a controlling interest in Bank Leumi. Only five days later, Yaron Zelekha, the Finance Ministry's accountant general, commented that Israel is the most corrupt country in the West. This corruption, which has now become the ‘norm’ in the Israeli government, starts with you Mr. Olmert.

Besides the aforementioned failings, your actions are unbecoming of the Prime Minister of Israel. You are embarrassing the public, and lowering our faith in our country’s government bodies and the Israeli Defense Forces.

Please, for the sake of this wonderful country which you claim to love, step down. You were given a chance to push Israel forward after the difficulties of the disengagement, and you’ve failed miserably on every level. The future of this nation still glows brightly – please don’t dim it any further with your deficiencies as a leader.

Your Name

Please pass this along - Make your voice heard.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Super Bowl Champion to Dad's Champion

A really moving piece about Alan Veingrad's, a former Super Bowl winning offensive lineman, spiritual journey. A good read from

In 1992, Alan Veingrad, former offensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys, made all the right moves to protect the quarterback and ward off the other team's advances, helping to secure his team a Super Bowl victory. Today, he's taken that same sense of discipline and strength of will to focus his sights on what he considers a significantly more meaningful "end zone" - observant Judaism.

Born in Brooklyn and raised in Elizabeth, NJ and Miami, FL, Mr. Veingrad says he grew up like most Jews in America -- with a "very secular" background. "We lit candles Friday night and got together with family on Chanukah and holidays," he says. "The focus was mainly on the chicken soup, kugel and latkes." In order to ready their son for the required bar mitzvah celebration, his parents insisted on Hebrew school. "I just didn't connect," he remembers. "After my parents dropped me off, I'd walk in the building and go out the back door. I spent the time throwing stones into a lake."

By 14, he had fulfilled his Hebrew school obligation and devoted his free time to "hanging around with the wrong crowd." He noticed that his older brother, Steve, chose a different route, participating in football, wrestling, basketball, and the track team. "I realized I would get into trouble if I didn't start getting involved in after school activities," he says. Well aware of his then skinny frame, Veingrad promptly approached the school's training coach and asked him to instruct him in weightlifting. Soon thereafter, he went out for the high school football team.

One day, during track & field (discus) practice, Veingrad sensed a compelling need to flex his long atrophied spiritual muscles. "I was starving for inspiration," says Mr. Veingrad. "I sought motivation from tapes and books on winning, to find out how to improve myself, not only as a player, but as a person." That desire would follow him throughout his accomplished football career.

Veingrad went on to attend East Texas State University in Commerce, TX, with classmates hailing from the Bible Belt states -- leaving Veingrad the lone Jew on campus. "Most of my teammates had never met a Jew before," he says. "What little they knew they heard at home and in the movies." When he entered professional football, his teammates came to him with questions around the holiday time. "They asked me why Jews celebrate eight days of Chanukah and told me they read that Jews fast on a particular day and could I tell them why." Because of his limited background, he found himself hard-pressed to answer their inquiries. Throughout all the attempts at proselytizing and pre-game team prayer meetings, he never lost his sense of who he was and wanted to be. "I would say my own silent prayer," says Veingrad. "A Jewish prayer."

After he completed his undergraduate degree, the Green Bay Packers signed him on as a free agent. Upon hearing of the team's solitary Jewish Packer, a family in the Wisconsin Jewish community reached out to Veingrad. "I found a note in my locker that instructed me to phone Lou Weinstein, who turned out to be a local Jewish businessman calling to congratulate me for making the team and to ask if there was anything he could do to help me." The Weinsteins welcomed Veingrad into their home and brought him to their shul for Rosh Hashana. "When I heard the Torah, it connected to something inside me," he says. "Those experiences sustained me during my years with the Packers."

Over his seven professional ball-playing years, aside from some locker room ribbing, Veingrad says he rarely encountered overt anti-Semitism. However, he remembers one disturbing incident. A teammate informed him that he thought all stereotypes were based on truth. Veingrad asked him what he meant. "He said that Jews were cheap," recalls Veingrad. "I told him I'm a Jew so he's calling me cheap, when he knows I always pay my share. I didn't have a good answer for him. But, I do today. Jews are the biggest charity givers in the world. President George Bush recently told an audience from the Republican Jewish Coalition that American Jews single handedly saved the people hit hard by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans -- with all the money that poured in and the rabbis that came through in the crisis. When I speak around the country, I always talk about this [misconception]."

Prejudice never showed its face with the NFL's professional management. "The ownership and coaches don't care where you're from, what college you went to, or what religion or color you are," says Veingrad. "They only care about three hours on Sunday; that you perform on a level that helps the team win. I never experienced anything other than [the expectation to] work hard. I had to prove myself every single day."

After many months of relentless practice, pressure, meetings, and media exposure, winning the Super Bowl gave Veingrad and his teammates a hard-earned sense of relief. And the end-of-the-season team party offered them an appropriate forum for exuberant congratulations between team members, family and friends. Once the exultation wound down, Veingrad left the party and caught a flight home out of Los Angeles -- to start preparing for the rest of his life.

In 1993, a year into retirement from professional sports, he married and started a family. The Veingrads settled in the Fort Lauderdale section of Florida and soon welcomed Jeri Lauren, their first child, into their lives. "As we are her link to the Jewish past, she is our link to the Jewish future," wrote Veingrad about this joyous event, in a 1995 piece for The New York Times in a piece called, "What Being Jewish Means to Me." The local rabbis fortified that link with Shabbat meal invitations. Once again, the exalted Shabbat atmosphere and inspiring Torah discussions whet his yearnings for a more Jewish life.

Veingrad warily observed how many retired professional athletes fell into debilitating depressions. "All of a sudden they don't know what to do with themselves," he says. "I didn't prepare myself for life after football and went through four years of a difficult transition. One has a lot of energy as an athlete -- going from workout to a game to a practice to a meeting; he's in constant motion. When I stopped playing, I had all this downtime." He says he filled it with golf, fishing, and dabbling in real estate. On the golf course, he met up with a fellow ex-NFLer, Bernie Kosar, a former high-profile quarterback, who offered him a position as sales vice-president in a cooperate company that out-sources customer care. "I immersed myself in the industry," says Veingrad. "I learned the business; doing lots of traveling, preparation and attending meetings." Yet, a familiar internal nudge prompted him to seek out the true, deeper meaning to life.

His cousin and personal radiologist, Dr. Jonathan Rubin, who examined Veingrad's x-rays after each football injury, facilitated that goal with a friendly invitation to an "authentic Shabbat meal" at his Miami Beach home. "He showed me the power of reaching out to a Jew," says Veingrad. "My cousin asked me: 'Alan, will you come to my house for a Shabbos?' And I accepted. Then during the meal he asked me; "Alan, would you go to a Torah class?' I said okay, I'll go to one."

He informed Veingrad of a class given by a "traveling rabbi" who made a regular stop in his neighborhood. He attended the class and found the rabbi's topic particularly inspiring. "He spoke about envy and materialism," recounts Veingrad. "When I lived and breathed football, the guys made lots of money; I didn't relate to that aspect. I owned a pickup truck and lived in a one-bedroom apartment. It wasn't until after I retired that I lived around people who owned huge homes [and whose lives revolved around] vacations, boats, golfing, sports cars. I didn't like it. I realized I couldn't live in an environment in which everyone was a slave to materialism." He sees it as no coincidence that his first Torah class spoke directly to his core beliefs and gave him fuel to take him to the next spiritual step.

The Shabbat experiences and a telling article solidified some consequential decisions concerning Veingrad's life direction. He noticed a piece in The Fort Worth Star Telegram depicting the former NFL lineman's current milieu. "It spoke of my 'busy lifestyle' of kayaking, martial arts, biking, landscaping, and skateboarding with my children," he says. "I read it and thought: 'Something's missing.'" He decided to hold a family discussion about how they would be making some changes in their weekly routine together. "This Friday night, we are going to shul," he began. "And we are going to have Shabbat meals. My family was right behind me."

Veingrad's speaking engagements allow his family to experience Shabbat in communities around the country. When his daughter, Jeri, is asked if she misses the other life, she responds with a self-assured, "Not at all." Veingrad sees Shabbat as 25 precious hours to recharge. "We are pounded six days a week with email and cell phones. Shabbos is so important. I encourage people, who sit at home on Friday night, with the TV, to give themselves a chance to do a real Shabbos in a rabbi's home and compare the two experiences. I assure you they are going to change their lives."

His cousin continues to assist him in his quest to grow in Judaism by offering to learn with him. "He bought me a book and we learn every day," says Veingrad. "This is a very busy doctor with a family, who calls me from the hospital [during a free moment in his hectic workday] and asks me if I have five minutes. Then he says: 'Turn to page...and start reading."

The Veingard children, Jeri, Brooke, and Ryan, currently attend the Hebrew Academy Community School in Margate, FL and continue to admire their foremost mentor, their father. "My children watch me as I go to a corner of the house and quietly put on my tefillin," says Veingrad. "When I announce that it's time to go to shul, they wait at the door. They all feel this is a better life. I had a nice house one half-mile from the beach; I had all these things and didn't feel my life had much meaning. Living a Jewish life has so much more meaning. No one can argue with me; I've lived both lives."

His parents had only positive things to say about their son's turnaround. "Before he passed away, my father called and told me that he's prouder of me with the yarmulke on my head than with a Dallas Cowboy or Green Bay Packer helmet," says Veingrad. "This is a Jew who went to shul [a total of] ten times, all within the last year of his life, because I dragged him with me. He saw what it did for my family." When the Veingrads visit his mother, she gladly accommodates their kosher needs. His older brother, Steve, whose powerful example motivated Veingrad to pursue more productive after school activities back in junior high, is currently reaping the rewards for his favorable influence. He attends local Shabbatonim with his younger brother and has heard him speak. "He told me just a few months ago: 'I was never proud of being Jewish, but I am now.'"

Although Veingrad and his son participate in recreational sports, he doesn't encourage him to follow in his father's cleat-steps. "It is better to learn the Torah, to make something of oneself; not by using one's body," he says. "As a professional player, the body gets pounded. I can still feel its effects."

Veingrad readily admits that he developed his keen discipline and focus from his football days and applies it to Judaism. "Some of the rabbis laugh because I have to get to shul before they start, with tallis and tefillin on, ready to go" says Veingrad. "When Jimmy Johnson, the great football coach, called a meeting at 7:00 a.m., if someone walked in late, he would look at him and say: 'Is there something more important in your life than preparation for a football game? If one takes those extra minutes to prepare oneself, it gives a greater lift to one's davening."

According to Veingrad, when Jews, resistant to becoming more involved in their Judaism, hear his story, they surmise that he was able to change his life around because professional football players can more facilely go from 0 - 60. "I'm not suggesting that everyone should grow as quickly as I did," he says. "I felt this is what I wanted to do. I liked the way the waters felt, so I jumped in with both feet. I didn't like being in that in- between space of okay this week we'll go to shul and next week to Disney World."

In 2004, an Israeli friend from Veingrad's shul approached him and stated: "You're going to go to Israel with me this May." Before boarding the plane, Veingrad placed a yarmulke on his head. While in Israel, he bought tzitzit and davened three times a day. "I was a sponge," he says. "And I was growing." On the way back to Florida, the former football pro found himself tackling an unexpected dilemma. "I've got this yarmulke and tzitzit on me," he thought. "What am I going to do once I get back to the US?" For a few weeks, he tucked the tzitzit in and wore a hat. Feeling increasingly uneasy with that solution, he removed the hat and put his yarmulke back on. It hasn't come off since. "I said: 'This is it! This is who I am.'"

After that long-ago Super Bowl victory party, Alan "Shlomo" Veingrad knew he needed to return home to prepare for the rest of his life. And he did.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Brothers in Arms

In dedication to our great army, whose soldiers risks their lives on a daily basis to protect the civilians of Israel, here is a nice clip I found on YouTube. They are often slandered, even by their own, but nonetheless continue to do their job with the courage and devotion to the mission at hand.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Dissecting Warrior

Although I'm only up to 1965 in Ariel 'Arik' Sharon's autobiography, Warrior, the book has already given me such a different understanding of one of Israel's most controversial military and political leaders. From his tough upbringing in Kfar Malal to his rise in the Haganah and the IDF, David Chanoff narrates a fast paced book with Sharon's in-depth descriptions of some of the major battles and operations that shaped Israel's struggle to survive. I have found that as I progressed through the book, I have come to respect Sharon more and more but at the same time, it has also left me with many questions regarding the Sharon that led Israel over the last few years.

The book's first few chapters detail Sharon's upbringing in Kfar Malal, a small moshav near the modern cities of Kfar Saba and Ra'anana. The hardships he talks about are the 'usual' ones we read about from this era - difficulty with cultivating the land and the increasingly violent relationship with the Arabs. However, Sharon focuses more on how his father was always an outcast for try ing to grow new vegetables and fruits on his patch of land. Despite constant objections from the moshav, Samuil Sharon continued to follow his ideas and develop fruits, which nowadays are grown throughout Israel. Easy to see where Arik's ability to always stay true to his beliefs (be it the settlements or the disengagement) comes from. Sharon also candidly opens up about his relationship with Gali, the woman that would become his first wife and would tragically pass away in a car accident within five years of giving birth to Gur, their first son. Reading these chapters is always 'difficult' as the Israel Sharon describes is the Israel I would have loved to be a part of - a young, passionate, hard working and ideological people building a country from scratch.

From the moment Sharon turns 17, the book starts following Sharon's rise in the Haganah, his commanding of Unit 101 and his leading of the Paratroopers, who were responsible for every mission in those years. A few interesting things that are worth mentioning involve the Palmach and Latrun.
  • The Palmach was the premier force within the Hagnah and Sharon never even attempted to enlist with them. His reasoning was his father, who begged him to never join any group that betrays the Jewish people, as the Palmach did so proudly during The Season (handing over Irgun and Lechi fighters to the British).

  • The battle for Latrun was the most costly of all the battles fought during the 1948 Independence Day War. Sharon's unit was amongst those who were decimated during one of the numerous attacks launched on the Jordanian held fort. Sharon's unit was left alone, while other retreated, due to lack of communication between the units and the commanding officers (who were not on the battle field). With the help of others, the seriously injured Sharon managed to retreat with all his injured troops and the dead. Mostly due to his event, Sharon would stress, and rightly so, throughout his army career that the single most important element of the army is to never leave any soldiers behind. Any soldier who thinks for a second that he might be left behind during battle will not fight with his maximum abilities.

The above points raised difficult questions for me. If Sharon wouldn't join the Palmach due to his father's advice, why then when he decided on the disengagement did he not make the adjustment to life out of Gaza easier on the evicted? The harsh realities they're facing now have left many feeling as if they were betrayed by their government. What changed in Sharon that allowed him to at least not ensure that once their towns were destroyed, those that were moved would have a good opportunity to try and rebuild their lives wherever they were moved to? The next few questions have been bothering me for years. When 3 soldiers were kidnapped and killed by Hezbollah in 2000, why did Sharon not command the army to launch an operation to retrieve their bodies? Why did Sharon not take a document signed by 112 MKs (members of the Israeli Parliament) to George Bush asking for the release of Jonathan Jay Pollard? There are many more questions likes these that a man who stressed that 'a soldier should never be left behind' should have never left unanswered (perhaps they will be answered later on in the book)

As I've only reached 1965, I really cannot comment on other interesting aspects of Sharon's life. I'm looking forward to reading his take on the Six Day war, the Yom Kippur war (which Sharon is credited for turning around with his remarkable demolition of the Egyptian army) and the Sabra & Chatilla massacre (which Sharon has been blamed for till this very day). Until then, I will leave you with one quote that has struck out to me from the book. On his deathbed, Samuil Sharon told his 28 year old son, "It's a pity I'm going to die. You still need my help in so many ways." Sharon comments on his disbelief at the statement, and how later on in his life, he realized how right his father was. It's quite a simple lesson for all of us to really learn. Our parents are a fantastic source of information and understand us far better than most. We should take advantage of that while we have the chance ...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The End of Borat

After the incredible success of Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, Sacha Baron Cohen has decided to end the career of the fictional Kazakh report, Borat. Due to the movie's success worldwide, Cohen acknowledges that it would be "impossible to do Borat again." With his fame reaching such high levels, it seems that it would be highly unlikely for Borat to ever do something unscripted again. So unfortunately, it seems to be the right time to end one of the funniest characters I've ever seen ...

This is one of my favorite Borat moments:

Jak sie masz? My name-a Borat. I like you. Chenkwee!

Well I'll be 'Dan'ned

The aftermath of the Yom Kippur war (1973) forever changed Israel. Despite winning the war, the Israeli public had its self confidence severely shaken by an army that did not seem prepared for the war. With over 2000 dead and 4000 injured, there was major doubt cast upon the competence of the Labor elite, who had been ruling the country since 1948. Although the public was especially critical of defense minister Moshe Dayan, the Agranat Commission wrongly laid the blame on IDF Chief of Staff David 'Dado' Elazar's shoulders. This despite the fact that prime minister Golda Meir was warned by army intelligence of a potential strike, as well as also receiving a 'delivered in person' warning from King Hussein of Jordan days before the war. Golda Meir, who actually accepted full responsibility for the debacle (In her autobiography, Meir expresses extreme remorse for not authorizing a preemptive strike similar to that of 1967), would resign the next year and within a few years, Israel's political establishment would forever change with the Likud's Menachem Begin being elected as prime minister.

Fast forward to July/August 2006 and Israel is embroiled in a month long war with Hezbollah. Despite Ehud Olmert outlining the goals of the war as being the return of the kidnapped soldiers (2 from Lebanon and 1 from Gaza) and the ending of Quassam rockets from Gaza, neither target is achieved. The Israeli public again loses faith with its army and government. The government-appointed Winograd committee is set up to determine responsibility for the wartime debacle. And that brings us to today, where the headlines this morning finally read, 'IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz announces his resignation.' It's not that I'm happy, but I'm relieved that someone is finally accepting responsibility for the pathetic way our country was run during the war. This however, should only be the first stage of what needs to be a major shake up for this country.

Dan Halutz was the first pilot and non infantry soldier to be given the honor of being Chief of Staff. He was appointed by Ariel Sharon to replace Moshe 'Bugi' Yaalon, who was fired for rightly speaking out against the disengagement. It seemed to many that Sharon's reasoning for picking this decorated pilot were more due to political considerations than military ones. Halutz supported the disengagement and never spoke against it, despite the army's warnings of what would happen if we were to leave Gaza in the planned manner. In 2 years, he did little to improve the army and when confronted with the major challenge of war, it seems that he had no clear objective to help achieve the stated goals of the war. In his letter of resignation to Olmert, Halutz wrote:

"For me, the word responsibility has great meaning. My view of responsibility is what led me to remain in my post until this time and to place this letter on your desk today...Since the echoes of battle ceased, I decided to act responsibly according to the best traditions and values from home and from my service in the IDF. I feel proud that I completed what I set out to do. After these thorough processes, I am sure the IDF will be ready to meet the challenges ahead."

Exactly what he's proud of, I don't know. I just hope that a strong candidate replaces him who can reinvigorate our army, and prepare her for any potential future challenges that lie ahead of her. Halutz has made the right decision, and for the sake of the country, I hope Olmert and defense minister Amir Peretz follow in his footsteps ...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

... and on the Bus

The first bus I take to work is the #7, which is usually packed. Today was no different. However, half way though the journey, a seat became available. As I saw an elderly looking man standing, I tapped him on his shoulder and offered him the seat. Smiling, he refused the offer and said, "I am not old, I am just an adult." As we started chatting, he continued to explain why he preferred to remain standing, "I sit all day, so why not enjoy some time to stand up?" As he prepared to get off the bus, he told me his age ... 80 years young. Impressed to say the least, I thought to myself that if I get to that age, I hope to have that same positive attitude that he displayed in the brief few minutes our paths crossed ...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Flip Flopping, IDF & other thoughts

Gone are the days when I can use the word ‘surprised’ for anything Ehud Olmert, our bumbling Prime Minister, says. Olmert, whose disgraceful handling of the Lebanon war forced him to ditch his Realignment plan, has now stated that he thinks the Disengagement and withdrawal from Lebanon were failures:

A year ago, I believed that we would be able to do this unilaterally. However, it should be said that our experience in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip is not encouraging. We pulled out of Lebanon unilaterally, and see what happened. We pulled out of the Gaza Strip completely, to the international border, and every day they are firing Qassam rockets at Israelis.

If only Arik (and his chief backer, Olmert) had listened to the host of army and security officials who warned of the impending dangers of 2005's disengagement. Everyone saw what had happened with the potent guerrilla force on our northern border, why on earth would anyone want to create that on our southern borders? Sadly, it took two kidnappings and a ‘war’ to convince Olmert that unilateral moves are bad.

I sometimes get so frustrated with the stupidity of our elected officials. It was so obvious the disengagement would backfire – and both societies are still feeling the after effects of the catastrophic move. The Palestinian society rewarded us by electing Hamas to run their government, and besides the difficulties that that has provided for their society with the international community, it’s also put them on the verge of a civil war. Our society has suffered too. The faith in the government is at an all time low, and to make matters worse, the number of teens receiving draft deferments on the grounds of being full time yeshiva students has risen steeply.

It’s a very difficult situation religious Zionist youth find themselves in. As Eran Sternberg puts it, "This is a natural response for many young people who, on one hand, were raised to love the army, but on the other, are really horrified by what the IDF has become.” The disengagement has pushed away one of the most important contributors to our army. I am really unsure how to react to the news. On one hand, it is very disappointing and to a degree, infuriating. It is an honor and privilege to defend and serve this country and people shouldn’t find ways out of it. But on the other hand, I understand the move. It was an emotional blow for many people who lived the event, and their only reaction was to turn their back on the medium that caused the pain. Only time will tell how long this phenomenon lasts – but I’m hoping it’s short lived.

Quick Points:

* Ehud Barak will be in the running to be the head of Labor again. I’ve long said that I would seriously consider voting for this man if he was one of the candidates for Prime Minister. I sincerely believe he learned his lessons from Camp David (2000) and this country needs a leader with a strong military background to direct the next few years. I highly doubt there's anyone in the political scene with a background that can rival the former Chief of Staff and commander of Sayeret Matkal.

* Nigerian born Mushi Salem Jawher, the Bahraini citizen who won last week’s Tiberias Marathon, has had his Bahraini citizenship revoked. Jawher, the first athlete from an Arab country to compete in an Israeli marathon, was quoted as saying he was "’very proud’ to have run in Israel”. Is it really surprising that Bahrain's Athletic Union "deeply regrets what the athlete has done”? I mean just think of the crime he just committed! He did after all participate in a race in Israel. He got off rather lightly I might add too!

* In Bolton’s 4-0 demolition over Doncaster on Saturday in the FA Cup 3rd round, Iranian Andranik Teymourian and Israeli Idan Tal scored their first goals for the club (Teymourian bagged a brace). I wonder if any punishment awaits Tevmourian for congratulating and hugging Tal, a citizen of the Zionist entity, after his goals?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Ok I was wrong ...

Iran is actually doing it for peaceful purposes ... Arf!

Monday, January 01, 2007

'We' call it Sylvester

Although the day is just 'another day' here in Israel, people do get excited for it. However, instead of calling it New Years, it is commonly referred to as 'Sylvester'. Interestingly enough however, most people have no clue as to how the day (or event) acquired this name. Well, I decided to do some research on the name, and let's say, I'm slightly surprised at what I found out. The day is actually named after Pope Saint Sylvester I, a rabid anti-semite who labeled us Jews 'a perverse, dangerous and criminal sect'. Furthermore, Sylvester convinced Constantine, the Roman Emperor at the time, to prohibit Jews from living in Jerusalem. Wonderful ... Only in Israel, eh?

Coming soon to the world's only Jewish state, a day named after Pope Pius XII, the Nazi sympathizing pope.