On Yom Ha’aztzmaut/Independence Day yesterday, some 800,000 people visited JNF parks, forests, and campsites throughout Israel, with 450 tons of garbage being collected.

I wonder how many tons of meat were barbecued.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)?

8:40PM: Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on the Obama administration’s pressuring of Israel on Jerusalem.

Interesting aside: According to Wikipedia:

Ros-Lehtinen’s maternal grandparents were Sephardic Jews from Turkey who had been active in Cuba’s Jewish community. Her mother later converted to Catholicism.

5:10PM: Brian of London has more on Israel’s iPad ban.

3:48PM: Yet another sign of tension between the US and Israel.

United States administration officials have voiced harsh criticism over advertisements in favor of Israel’s position on Jerusalem that appeared in the U.S. press with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s encouragement. The authors of the most recent such advertisements were president of the World Jewish Congress Ronald Lauder and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel. “All these advertisements are not a wise move,” one senior American official told Haaretz.

In the advertisement, Wiesel said that for him as a Jew, “Jerusalem is above politics,” and that “it is mentioned more than 600 times in Scripture – and not a single time in the Koran.” Wiesel called to postpone discussion on Jerusalem until a later date, when there is an atmosphere of security allowing Israeli and Palestinian communities to find ways to live in peace.

And if that was too subtle for you, former US Ambassador to Israel (and former Australian) Martin Indyk is more explicit.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk said on Wednesday that if Israel is a superpower that manages alone, then it can make decisions alone.

In an interview with Army Radio, Indyk said that if Israel sees itself as a superpower that does not need any aid from the United States, then it can make its own decisions. However “if you need the United States, then you need to take into account America’s interests,” said Indyk.

Indyk, who is currently the vice president and director of Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution, and also serves as an adviser to Mideast envoy George Mitchell, emphasized these interests in a New York Times op-ed published on Monday.

“This is no longer just about helping a special ally resolve a debilitating problem. With 200,000 American troops committed to two wars in the greater Middle East and the U.S. president leading a major international effort to block Iran’s nuclear program, resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has become a U.S. strategic imperative,” wrote Indyk.

“Given Israel’s dependence on the United States to counter the threat from Iran and to prevent its own international isolation, an Israeli prime minister would surely want to bridge the growing divide. Yet the shift in American perceptions seems to have gone unnoticed in Jerusalem,” he continued.

Speaking to Army Radio, Indyk also said that Israel’s main problem isn’t Interior Minister Eli Yishai or Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, but rather the issue lies within the Likud party.

“The shift in America’s Middle East interests means that Netanyahu must make a choice: Take on the president of the United States, or take on his right wing. If he continues to defer to those ministers in his cabinet who oppose peacemaking, the consequences for US-Israel relations could be dire,” wrote Indyk in the New York Times article.

12:55PM: Ma’an News reports that PA President Mahmoud Abbas is reportedly very ill.

Mahmoud Abbas sickPresident Mahmoud Abbas is in poor health, an Arabic-language newspaper reported Tuesday.

The London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported that Abbas visited a private hospital in Jordan several times in recent weeks.

According to the report, Abbas has received treatment in a special wing and has asked that doctors keep his illness under wraps.

Fatah Central Committe member Azzam Al-Ahmad dismissed reports of any serious illness, but confirmed that doctors had indeed asked the Palestinian leader to rest for a few weeks.

Last month, Abbas was lightly injured after falling in his hotel room in Amman, Jordan.

No doubt if this report turns out to be true, the “mystery illness” will be blamed on the Mossad.

6:15AM: In this report on Hamas smoking burning recreational drugs smuggled into Gaza, the AFP can’t help blaming the popularity of such drugs amongst palestinians on you-know-who.

palestinian burning drugsThe drug’s popularity in Gaza has grown in recent years as the quality of life has plummeted. Hamas seized the territory from forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007, and Israel and Egypt imposed a strict blockade in 2007, causing shortages of many basic goods.

In late 2008, Israel launched a three-week offensive in Gaza to stop militant rocket fire on Israeli towns. The war killed about 1,400 Gazans and left vast swaths of the Strip in ruins.

The violence and hardship only increased demand for Tramadol, which Gazans who take it recreationally say takes their minds off their worries. Other say it delays ejaculation, enhancing sex.

Notice how the sex-enhancing qualities of the drugs are mentioned at the very end, almost as an afterthought, even though it might be the main reason for the drug (we already know the palestinians have a huge problem with premature explodation).

Meanwhile, this BBC report indicates that the UN is also blaming the drug use on Israel.

The United Nations in Gaza says many people are taking drugs because of the trauma and stress caused by a major military incursion by Israel last year.

Besides the sex benefits discussed, who’s not to say many people in Gaza are taking the drugs due to the stress caused by Hamas’s strict imposition of Islamic law, as well as honor killings. But I guess mentioning that would not fit the UN’s agenda.


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22 thoughts on “The Day In Israel: Wednesday April 21st, 2010”

  1. Michael Zvi Krumbein

    I saw the International Bible Quiz for the first time yesterday. (For those unfamiliar, kind of like the Spelling Bee in the U.S., as spelling in Hebrew is not too hard. Although Obama doesn't give the last word in the spelling bee.)

    I saw the second hour. The questions seemed pretty easy, considering that these kids has to know every last verse in Iyov (Job) to get there. It seemed more set to get viewers, having little clips of intersting people (like a lady who helped in Haiti) who then asked questions.

    One American kid got a hard question, which the MC used to make a poitical joke. (About how the kings of Judah and Israel were together, but neither woudl give up his crown to the other, and of course today that would never happen – a reference to Bibi and Tzippy, which got a lot of laughter.) At which point, the reigning champion, Bibi's son, came in. You could see the PM and his wife "kvelling" as he answered. Really cute. (He didn't repeat, but no matter. For one day, at least, Obama receded into the background.)

    1. The questions were easy for you. For me it would be like being on "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?" Was Alex Trebek the host?

      1. Michael Zvi Krumbein

        Is there such a show? What a great idea! If I want to know something, I try to ask someone who just got out of High School.

        The PM asks the last question (slighly modiifed because of conflict of interest). Former President Yitzchak Navon (I think he was the first to speak in Egypt – and he spoke in Arabic.) did at least some of the scoring.

      2. Alex Trebek is doing Colonial Penn Insurance commercials these days.


        Michael Zvi Krumbein · 2 hours ago:

        I saw the second hour. The questions seemed pretty easy, considering that these kids has to know every last verse in Iyov (Job) to get there.

        Some thoughts.

        1. Michael Zvi Krumbein

          OK, but Art Fleming was the Real Thing.

          Look, the kids get so many hours in the day. A religious school has more to teach, same hours. A boy's religious school, even more. Something has to give.

          If you have the background, you fill in your Tanach when you get older. This is what I did.

          In the states, they just increase the hours. But it's getting harder and harder to afford.

          1. The "something" that should give is Mishna and Gemarah (Talmud). It is pathetic that Nach is viewed as "nice-to-have". So that's why the Ribbono Shel Olam gave us Nevi'im and their prophecies to be recorded for time immemorial.


            No. Very sad.

            1. Michael Zvi Krumbein

              Well, I will just say I strongly disagree and leave it at that. You can get nice coverage in grade school; so you don't know every line in Iyov. How much of the Talmud can you cover?

              Of course the girls will always know more, unless the boys have double the hours.

              1. Well, I will just say I strongly disagree and leave it at that.

                But you didn't……

                You can get nice coverage in grade school; so you don't know every line in Iyov.

                "Iyov" – do you have a one track mind? Have you forgotten a few?

                Joshua (????? / Y'hoshua)
                Judges (?????? / Shophtim)
                Samuel (I & II) (????? / Sh'muel)
                Kings (I & II) (????? / M'lakhim)
                Isaiah (????? / Y'shayahu)
                Jeremiah (????? / Yir'mi'yahu)
                Ezekiel (?????? / Y'khezqel)
                The Twelve Prophets (??? ???)
                a. Hosea (???? / Hoshea)
                b. Joel (???? / Yo'el)
                c. Amos (???? / Amos)
                d. Obadiah (?????? / Ovadyah)
                e. Jonah (???? / Yonah)
                f. Micah (???? / Mikhah)
                g. Nahum (???? / Nakhum)
                h. Habakkuk (????? /Havakuk)
                i. Zephaniah (????? / Ts'phanyah)
                j. Haggai (??? / Khagai)
                k. Zechariah (????? / Z'kharyah)
                l. Malachi (????? / Mal'akhi)
                Psalms [????? / Tehillim]
                Proverbs [???? / Mishlei]
                Job [???? / Iyov] *********** You get 2 points for this one *********
                Song of Songs [??? ?????? / Shir Hashirim]
                Ruth [??? / Rut]
                Lamentations [???? / Eikhah]
                Ecclesiastes [???? / Kohelet]
                Esther [???? / Esther]
                Daniel [????? / Dani'el]
                Ezra-Nehemiah [???? ?????? / Ezra v'Nechemia]
                Chronicles (I & II) [???? ????? / Divrei Hayamim]

                How much of the Talmud can you cover?

                What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? There is simple 0%-5% Nach verses 95% Mishna/Gemara.

                Of course the girls will always know more, unless the boys have double the hours.

                What does this have to do with girls? Who said anything about the boys dropping Talmud?

                1. Michael Zvi Krumbein

                  1. Nice list. I think I know it. I said Iyov because I think of it as more esoteric. I suppose the Writings in general, except the Megilot. Nevi'im Rishonim you usually cover in grade school.

                  2. You probably cover a smaller portion of the Talmud than you do of Tanach. I ttakes a lot more time to get the base knowledge that will let you contniue for the rest of your life. I really didn't "get it" until my fourth year post-High School, but I knew enough in High School do study Nach on my own.

                  3. The winner was a Dati Leumi girl. The article implied the religious girls were getting it but not the boys. (And maybe the boys were to busy for competitions?)

                  BTW, in my first year at Y.U., one of the guys in my Shiur was working on the Chidon. I think he may be a Rosh Yeshiva there now.

                  1. Michael Zvi Krumbein

                    BTW, the fact that those questions were easy had nothing to do with what those kids knew. They clearly knew the stuff cold. It seemed to have more to do with having interesting people ask them. Ratings, more or less, even though it's government TV.

  2. Michael Zvi Krumbein

    OK, this is getting really sick. First Obama, now Indyk. We are being actively threatened. And there is no U.S.S.R. to provide an excuse.

  3. By all accounts I have read, Martin Indyk has always been considered to be a friend of Israel. Ambassador Indyk seems to be saying what seems to me to be the obvious current reality of our relationship (maybe a bit overstated). Notice how in the midst of our relationship being in the worst crisis in 25 years, a huge military sales agreement was just completed between the US and Israel. I assume that Israelis care much more what the American government thinks of the actions of their government than Americans do of the Israeli government's views of ours. I would say if there is a need to narrow our differences, efforts need to be made disproportionately by Netanyahu, not Obama.

    1. Michael Zvi Krumbein

      I believe Obama recently canceled an arms shipment. I’m sorry he’s bought into the standard “Israel is hurting us in Iraq” narrative, which one would expect from Novak or Buchnnan.

      Perhaps Israelis care, but their reaction is the opposite? Isn’t that what Americans would do? We are more alike than different, after all.

  4. Israel may not be as dependent on the U.S. as people might think. It pulled out of the worldwide recession after only two quarters while the U.S. still flounders, and has become a world leader in defense, cyber, medical and agricultural technology, producing goods in demand by the rest of the world. Everybody might be surprised, pleasantly or otherwise, when Israel discovers it can walk without an American crutch.

      1. Michael Zvi Krumbein

        I don't know if we did officially, but we did for all practical purposes. My company let several people go, cut benefits, and I think we still have frozen wages.

  5. Michael Zvi Krumbein

    I have to say that this really is getting me sick. Obama just gets worse and worse. He used to sound like Bush I. Now he sounds like Robert Novack or Henry Kissinger without the excuse of the Cold War.

    After ignoring the War on Terror, he now thinks it’s so important that he needs to grab Israel by the throat. He is repeating the standard anti-Israel narrative.

    Ironically, Netanyahu HAS been trying to take Likud to the Left. He wanted to delay the primaries for this purpose, and the crisis with Obama enabled him to do this.

    You don’t think Emmanuel did this for that reason…. (This time I’m serious.)

    1. The War on Terror is a joke and is half the reason the US is moving towards bankruptcy.

      I think my drop in support for Obama has reached its trough for the time being. What else can he do really at this time? Hes flipped off Israel and flipped off his base. Unfortuntely, I am one of the few "lefties" that sees this. Although even I am somewhat staying with a little support for the same reason they are all showing a lot of support. *sigh*

      Anyone know Lou Dobbs's position on Israel?

      1. Michael Zvi Krumbein

        I will ignore the first line for the sake of the rest. Perhaps you missed my point – after saying it wasn't important, he uses it as a reason to attack Israel. Whether it in fact is or is not important is not the issue.

  6. Ivan Chernyakhovsky

    The irony is that only ISRAEL, only the dealing in the subject of Israel, is what makes Martin Indyk to MR. INDYK. Without Israel he was another Jewish emigrant in the U.S. Where are the gratefulness and gratitude? Only "another Jewish emigrant" can intervene in interior issues of other sovereign country in such insolently and only "another Jewish emigrant" can speak in such arrogance. Am I surprise? NOT AT ALL.

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