Friday, March 28, 2008


The Gedenk Movement (Gedenk means "remember" in Yiddish) is a humanitarian campaign dedicated to raising youth awareness about genocide through art and education.

Subliminal, an Israeli rapper, & Miri Ben-Ari, a grammy award winning Violinist, perform in this powerful song for Gednek:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Future ... today?

I've blogged in the past about some of Israel's rising footy talents, only to feel let down by their inability to take the next step in their careers. Although Toto Tammuz, Yuval Sphungil & Ben Sahar are all still young, all three have failed to take the next step in the game. Be it due to a lack of playing time or poor form, the aforementioned threesome have seemingly regressed after strong 2006/07 club & international campaigns. Only Amit Ben Shushan, the speedy Beitar striker, has managed to have a solid campaign, contributing 7 goals to what will most likely be Beitar's second consecutive league championship. Their lack of impact on the international stage however was one of the low points of an otherwise strong Euro 2008 qualifying campaign (Israel tied for 3rd place with England).

With the preparations already beginning for the 2010 World Cup, Dror Kashtan has surprised the fans with the selection of one of the hottest properties in European football: Barcelona's 16.5 year old Guy Assulin. I have known about Assulin for the past year and a half after I 'discovered' him on Football Manager 2007. Having tried to follow his career as best as possible, it seemed quite obvious that he was highly regarded not only within Barcelona, but also within Spain as the Spanish FA tried to entice the youngster to play for Spain. However, from day one, Assulin stated he wanted to play for Israel and tomorrow, he'll hopefully get the opportunity to strut his stuff with the blue & white. With a relatively 'easy' World Cup 2010 qualifying group, a team with hungry and gifted youngsters like Assulin, Maor Bozaglo, Lior Rafaelov, Tammuz & Sahar may surprise and help Israel qualify for her first major tournament appearance since 1970.

For anyone interested in watching some live footage of Assulin playing for Barcelona C & Barcelona B, click here, here, here, here, here or here.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Pattern Emerges

It seems that every time I have my ticket booked to the US to visit my family, the IDF requests my presence for reserve duty. Three years ago (2005), I booked a ticket to surprise my mom for her 50th birthday. I was called up and used it as my 'excuse' for not being able to make the event in New York, knowing that the call up was voluntary due to it being less than a year after my discharge from normal service. The next year (2006), during the Second Lebanon War, I was called up for duty and cancelled my ticket willingly to serve. Last year, a trip to the US for my engagement party was predictably followed by a call up to serve during the planned vacation. For that stint, I served a weekend but still traveled to see my family. Fast forward to today ... Another call up for the day after I am supposed to leave with Talya for a 10 day trip to the US. Luckily it's only a day long stint and my commander has no problem with my absence ...

4 tickets booked in the last 3 years, 4 call ups during the anticipated time of travel ... hmmm ... perhaps the army should coordinate these call ups with me! :)


Purim ... Anyone else get the feeling we're living through the modern day Purim with Hamman replaced by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Booing the Dead

In today's Bnei Sachnin-Maccabi Netanya game in Sachnin, there was a minute silence before the game to honor the 8 who died in the horrific terrorist attack in Jerusalem this past Thursday. During the minute of silence, a lot of the Sachnin, Israel's best Israeli-Arab team, booed and screamed curses. This sickening act of disrespect was thankfully not accepted by all Sachnin fans, who tried to quiet them and in some instances, also started physical confrontations with them. It's worrying times ...

For those who read Hebrew, the incident is mentioned here.

For an update on the killer and the investigation, click here.

Lastly, a short clip about the attack ... Please pass it on:

Friday, March 07, 2008

It was one of our 'own'

I wanted to write this last night but struggled to put my feelings into words.

We all knew this would come. When you live in a sea of hatred, it's not a matter of 'if' but 'when'.

8 students, of which 7 hadn't even reached 20 years of age, were butchered by a lone gunman, who burst into the Yeshiva's library firing off rounds at students. Witnesses reported he went by each injured kid and shot him in the head. He was only stopped by the brave actions of a 40 year old citizen, who shot him from distance to end the massacre. The perpetrator of this crime is being reported as a East Jerusalem resident, one of our 'own'.

I strongly believe that most Israeli Arabs will not condone the actions of this 'human being', but the fact is some do and push for these actions. A few days ago, in a heated rally led by Arab MKs (Members of Parliament), crowds shouted the following:

Stop the Zionazi

Rest, O martyr, we will complete the task

With blood and spirit, we will redeem Palestine

Now I have no issues with Israeli Arabs wanting an independent Palestine for their brothers, but the chants by these crowds crossed a line. Once you start talking about killing your 'fellow' citizens, you're inciting hatred and something needs do be. It should start with these Arab MKs ... They want to 'represent' Israel and then start chanting about continuting the 'Struggle'? No wonder Avigdor Lieberman's party continues to grow ...

Update on the Killer:

Several residents of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber have named the attacker as Alaa Abu Dhein, 20, and said he had worked as a driver at the seminary.

His family set up a mourning tent Friday and hung green Hamas flags outside their home.

Abu Dhein was arrested by Israeli authorities four months ago and then
released two months later, they said. The residents would not give their names because the family had not authorized them to release the information.

Below are the 8 boys who died studying about their religion. Their talits (prayer shawls) & books were stained with their blood. May their memories be forever blessed:

Yochai Lipschitz, 18, of Jerusalem
Yonatan Yitzchak Eldar, 16, of Shiloh
Yonadav Chaim Hirschfeld, 19, of Kochav Hashahar
Neriah Cohen, 15, of Jerusalem
Roey Roth, 18, of Elkana
Segev Pniel Avihayil, 15, of Neveh Daniel
Avraham David Moses, 16, of Efrat
Maharata Trunoch, 26, of Ashdod.