Sunday, May 1, 2016

Givati

Elie was drafted into Artillery. It was a soft landing for me...or at least I thought it was at the time. Elie's commanding officer, Ohr, came and told me that Artillery soldiers always fight on the periphery. In war, he explained, they need to be many kilometers behind the front lines; in non-war (no, I can't write peace) situations, they hold the lines outside while Golani and Givati and Paratroopers go into the villages...Arab villages. It was a lie. But I bought it and by the time I realized it wasn't true, I had settled into a better understanding of the army.

Shmulik was drafted into Kfir but before he could finish the advanced training, he was moved into a combat support role, rather than combat, because he was experiencing terrible migraine headaches. He was given an amazing commander and role model and completed his service with that officer. While he could easily have been in dangerous situations (and I know he was in dangerous places), there was no advance warning that there was danger or that tensions were rising.

Now Davidi has been drafted - into Givati...Givati is one of the units of ground forces. Once, there was Golani, which focused on the Golan; Givati, which focused on the south; Paratroopers...I'm not sure where they focused...and now there is Kfir, which focuses on Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). Only, that's not really true - Golani can often be found in the south; Givati can be in the most dangerous places up north.

But for my family, Givati is where we started - our first real encounter with the army; and Givati is where we will end - God willing when Davidi turns 40-something and finishes with miluim. It's a circle, in a way, perhaps several of them. Yakov went into Givati and was a sharpshooter; Chaim went into another division of Kfir at the same time as Shmulik and was also chosen to be one of the unit's sharpshooters...and now Davidi has been chosen to go into Givati and like his two adopted brothers, given the task of sharpshooter.

Givati scares me to a depth I can't admit to David. I didn't know enough when Yakov was in to be scared and truthfully, back then, we didn't seem to be going to war every two or four years. I started to cry when I heard David was going in to Givati; worse, I did something no mother should do...I cried in front of my son and told him if something happens to him, I'll die. I will. I can't go on
without him. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. And so he was comforting me, saying words that we all know are meaningless - but what else could he say to a mother whose eyes are filled with tears. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

I don't want Givati. I think they are amazing, brave...I don't want my son to be amazing and brave. They are strong. I don't want him to be strong either. I do...I know I do...but Givati. They don't hold the perimeter...okay, Artillery didn't either; it was a lie. Elie came home one time and told me, "Ima, they have some really tall buildings in Kalkilya."

"Why do you know that?" I asked him; knowing the answer already. Ohr lied to me.

But with Davidi, I knew from the beginning. There is no pretense. Givati goes in. Givati doesn't hold the perimeter...ever. Davidi's commanding officer came to visit us. He was actually Davidi's commanding officer's deputy commanding officer and his name is Shaked. Shaked didn't lie...not exactly. He told me that if there will be a war this summer, David's group will be sent to a checkpoint to relieve other Givati soldiers so that they can go into Gaza, if needed. He said Davidi's unit wouldn't go in. Not this summer. I don't know if it is a lie yet but I know under certain circumstances, it could be.

And even if it is the truth this summer, what of next summer? And the one after that?

The tune for Givati's "anthem" goes through my brain at the strangest times. "I have heard the sound of the wind," Givati soldiers sing. "It is the spirit that is named Givati." My son hears the sound of the wind. My son dreams Givati; he breathes Givati.

Years ago, Elie's unit was involved in a terror attack. He wasn't there but more than 20 boys were wounded, some seriously, when a young Arab got mad at his family for not allowing him to marry his cousin and so, to express his disappointment and anger, he rammed the family vehicle into Elie's unit. Even knowing that Elie had been "busy" doing something else and so wasn't with them at the time of the attack, I found little comfort. As I sat alone in the middle of the night with tears running down my face trying desperately to find some balance before facing others, I heard, for the first time in my life, my heart screaming.

I looked around wondering why others couldn't hear it. It was so loud but it was a sound only I could hear. That was what I realized as people came over and asked me silly questions. I'm the only one who can hear my heart screaming. Then...and now, sometimes, my heart screams...David is in Givati doing well. He meets each challenge...next week, they walk more than 30 kilometers over a few hours; he is climbing, scaling, shooting...and my heart screams. I didn't want Givati; I want to believe the lies and Shaked didn't really lie.

By son now dreams Givati; my son now breathes Givati.

Givati "Anthem"

Facing the light of dawns and spring sunsets 
I have heard the sound of the wind [also spirit]
It is the spirit that wanders around 
It is the spirit that is named Givati 

Those who dream Givati, those who breathed Givati 
Those who walked with us down the paths 
They repeat the name Givati 
And again they recite the name Givati 

With Givati we continue forward 
And today they return and carry with them the comradeship I swore upon 
They return to the map from desert and sea 
 And carry the spirit of Givati 

Those who dream Givati, those who breathed Givati 
Those who walked with us down the paths 
They repeat the name Givati 
And again they recite the name Givati 
With Givati we continue forward


Bombs and Stuff

My youngest son is on his way back to base. We were very blessed this year to have had him home for both the first and last days of the Passover (Pesach) holiday. He went back to base in between (armed with his rifle and 18 home-made cupcakes). They weren't enough to keep him from starving, apparently.

There are many things that I can accept as a mother of a soldier. But the two things that break me are the thoughts that my son is either cold or hungry. Last week, it was hungry. He came home on Thursday. I arranged to pick him up midway and have him join us for a brief visit with my parents. For the first time that I can remember, he asked me to bring food.

Each week I ask him what he will be doing. He's finished the basic training and is now qualified to guard and go on a checkpoint. He's in the middle of the advanced training. Last week, it was very hot in Israel, a taste of the summer that is fast approaching.

The Israeli army is very aware that hard training and hot weather don't mix well. Sometimes, they train in the middle of the night - war, after all, is not just a day time affair. Sometimes, they can't train at all and so where possible, the army switches the schedule of training around. Israel does not just teach a soldier to fight; it teaches him (or her) many other things - information about our enemies, the region, the terrain. More, it teaches them about our country and why they fight, why we have no choice.

Many of the places where they have taken David are sites that he has visited, sometimes several times. But not all soldiers attended religious high schools, not all learned close to Jerusalem. He has been to Yad Vashem, the national Holocaust Memorial (and research) Center. He has been to the Western Wall (the Kotel), more times than he can count, even as an infant, as a young child, with his youth group, after his trip to Poland, and with the army.

The army often uses the holidays as a chance to ease up on the training and give the new soldiers "culture" days. This time, Davidi's training continued. There is a special training base for ground forces - units have to sign up well in advance; a sudden opening is not to be wasted, so last week, David's group went there.

As seems to be the custom, his phone was off for most of the week. The one chance I got to speak with him was via WhatsApp. He recorded me a message - often faster than writing.

I asked him what he was doing on the excessively hot days. He responded that they were learning.

What are you learning? I asked him.

"Bombs and stuff."

Bombs. And. Stuff. I can't think of many mothers in Israel who would want to hear that, or feel totally calm once they did. Bombs and stuff. All I can think of in response (which I didn't say) was that once you are learning about bombs...what other stuff is left to worry about?

The weekend came and went, with a lot of fun. The holiday is over; back to school, to work, to the army...what he's learning about this week...God knows.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

An Open Letter to King Adbullah II

shofar_1967In 1948, King Abdullah the First of Jordan, joined in a war to push the Jews into the sea after he and his fellow Arab leaders rejected the UN Partition plan that would have divided the remaining 1/3 of Palestine (2/3 of which had already been pilfered to form his government), into two states - an Arab one and a Jewish one. In the land grab that followed, Abdullah I took all of what is known as the West Bank to some, Judea and Samaria to others. He took the Old City of Jerusalem as well; the Jews gained land in the north, south, and kept Western Jerusalem, widely known as the New City.
For 19 years, Jews were denied any chance to visit the Old City, the Western Wall, the Mount of Olives. Over 40,000 headstones were vandalized, latrines built from the tombstones. In 1967, in a preemptive attempt to head off attacks by Syria and Egypt, Israel responded to the mobilization of Syrian and Egyptian troops, the closing of the Straights of Tiran, and the mounting and increasingly threatening rhetoric. As Israeli jets flew to cripple the Syrian and Egyptian air forces at the outbreak of what was to be called the Six Day War, Israel sent a very clear message to King Hussein, son of Abdullah I. Stay out of the war, Israel said. We will not attack you.
Hussein answered back that he would fight with his brothers, as he sent his forces on the attack. His motives were not nearly as noble as his words. In reality, he anticipated - incorrectly - victory for the Arabs and was afraid he would miss out on another land grab like the one that brought his father east Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Hussein's forces were pushed back beyond the Jordan River. Lost was Judea, lost was Samaria and lost was the Old City...which was, once again, reunited with the newer parts of the city, which had been under Israeli control from the beginning. And then, in a landmark move of monumental stupidity, Israel's Moshe Dayan handed over the keys (figuratively speaking) to the Temple Mount and the game was on.
The Western Wall was clearly returned to the Jews who could once again pray before the last remnant of a Temple that was destroyed 2,000 years earlier. The Temple Mount was given to the Muslims, who have spent the last 45 years attempting to return to the 19 years of Jordanian intolerance.
Slowly over the last few years, Jews have become more and more aware of the absurdity of our being denied the right to simply whisper a prayer at our holiest site. Would worlds really fall if a Jew were to close his eyes and ask God for peace, safety and health for his family? Apparently so.
Over this Passover holiday in Israel, hundreds of infidels Jews and Christians have visited the Temple Mount. Today, two young men lowered themselves to the ground of the Holy Temple Mount and as they attempted to...yes...pray...they were attacked, beaten, arrested. In response, the Jordanian government, under the leadership of King Abdullah II issued a demand that Jews be banned from the Temple Mount.
In the past, the Jordanian government demanded cameras be installed and then when Israel welcomed the suggestion, knowing what violence there is up there is mostly not started by the few Jewish visitors, Jordan announced that it has canceled the plan and no cameras would be installed.
As I contemplated the demand by Jordan, I wondered if perhaps the Israeli government would be willing to appoint me as the temporary spokesperson to respond. I know exactly what I'd say to Abdullah.
Dear Abdullah,
In response to your government's threat that there would be consequences if Jews were not banned from the Temple Mount, please note that 45 years ago, when Jordan last threatened Israel...they lost the Temple Mount and all of Judea and Samaria. If the consequences involve an attempt to bring this holy site under your control, I have to say, bring it on...but this time, Abdullah, this time we don't give it back. This time we won't let another idiot like Moshe Dayan hand over the keys.
Bring it on....you want no Jews on the Temple Mount...try it...and quickly find that we have learned much since you last held our holiest site and we will not return to those days. It was ours long before your precious Mohammed ever lived; it will be ours long after you are dust.
Arabs pray on the Temple Mount because WE allow it, and in our utter stupidity, rather than insisting that we TOO have a right to pray, we catered too long to an unfair and impossible situation. The site is holy to Christians, Muslims and Jews. Either everyone is free to pray there, or no one is free.
No, you will not keep it from us entirely, not now. Not ever. Your threat shows that 68 years after the 1948 war, your nation still fails to understand the Jew. We will tolerate much to avoid what bloodshed we can but if you insist on attempting to take the Temple Mount from us...there will be war...because this time, we will insist that the Temple Mount be open to all religions - as we have kept it for the last 45 years, and as you refused to do for the 19 years it was in Jordan's hands.
You kept us from the Temple Mount for 19 years...we'll take full control if you dare to think the consequences to be paid will be ours. We will never forbid Muslims from praying there, but nothing says the WAKF has to be in charge; nothing says that Jews who go up to Har Habayit have to be beaten and abused and if your religion is insulted by seeing Jews pray, that is your problem, not ours.
If the problem is so insurmountable that the mere sight of Jews whispering in prayers sends Muslims into rioting, I suggest we initiate a rotation plan. There are three great religions. Each can be given the Temple Mount for 8 hours a day. Each can choose to share it with others. For the record, we will allow Christians up during our 8 hours and will seek permission in return such that Jews and Christians, tolerant and accepting of each other, will be allowed 16 hours per day. Muslims may have the Temple Mount, alone and unbothered for eight hours. What eight hours would you like?
Also, I recommend that each religion be given a specific number of days in which the Temple Mount will be closed to all other religions for a period of 24 hours. How many days would you like and which ones? I recommend 10 days, as we do in the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
Please note that you'll need to remove your prayer rugs during the 16 hours that the Temple Mount is not in your control and on the full days as well. We can build three separate storage units (perhaps Keter would donate them, but if you prefer a Jordanian brand, that's fine too). You can store your holy stuff in it and we'll store our holy stuff as well. Not sure what the Christians have, so we'll need to check with them as well.
Please note that you will also no longer be allowed freedom to build additional mosques up there unless we can build up there as well and I suppose we'll have to let the Christians build up there too if they want. It might be a good idea to tell the teenagers that they can no longer play soccer up there as well, as access will now become fully equal and balanced for all. Domination of the Temple Mount has come to an end. Your people have occupied this historic and religious site for too long, abusing it by storing rocks and fireworks, endangering the infrastructure by illegal excavations.
You are correct; it is time to implement a true status quo based on equality; and there must be consequences for those who riot and refuse to accept the sanctity of the place.
Let us know when you want to begin implementing the 24 hour cycle - I suggest we do it quickly as Israelis would really love to have the Temple Mount to ourselves this coming Independence Day in a few weeks.
Sincerely,
Israel

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Today In My Little Country

Today in my little country, Israelis are coming out of their homes to hike, to swim, to picnic, to laugh, to eat, to play. Today we celebrate a miracle that happened...yes, about 3,000 years ago because, well, that's what we are.

Thousands of years ago, and seventy years ago, we were slaves. Slaves to the ancient Egyptians, slaves to dozens of nations who tolerated our living among them but didn't really want us. And God took us out of Egypt and made us free; and God gave us back the land He had promised to us long, long ago.

It took us 40 years to reach the Promised Land...and another 2,000 to return to it after the last exile.

In a land too often plagued by violent neighbors, today, for just a short while, our biggest problem is getting the barbecue going, finding a parking spot, or waiting for our spot in line.

We are crowding the beaches, hiking the mountains, playing in the rivers and springs, kayaking down the Jordan. We are sitting in cafes, walking the streets of our cities.

In short, today we are normal. Deep down, we are praying that nothing explodes; that no one will die today as a result of violence. Today, we just want to be normal.

We want to think about what we are going to make for dinner, who will be joining us for the second part of the holiday that begins tomorrow night.

Davidi is coming home from the army and I find this week harder than most. When I am working and he is in the army - it's like that's his job, his task. When I am on vacation, I feel guilty. I swam in the Sea of Galilee, barbecued on its shores. I watched as my oldest, Elie, joined my two adopted - Yaakov and Chaim. And in the most gorgeous picture that I cannot post, the three men...because yes, they are men now, held four little girls. Elie's daughter refused to let him hold her - she wanted to be with Chaim, and so Yaakov held one of his daughters, Elie held another, and Chaim got to hold one of Yaakov's and Elie's little Michali against the backdrop of the beautiful sea.

Aliza insisted that I take a picture that I had taken a few years ago...this was from a little over a year ago on the same beach...three of my boys...now men...two who are fathers...two who are brothers...three who were soldiers...three who are brothers...



And these were taken two days ago...

Aliza tried to remember who was standing where and so she made them switch places a couple of times...we forgot about holding up the meat!
The funny part is that we didn't get it right...

But we laughed, we smiled, we enjoyed, and the day was perfect...and normal. So normal.

Normal is a gift here in Israel and when we get to the end of the day and can say "well, today was normal" - it is a celebration.


This week has been filled with normal days...it's almost scary to say that because immediately comes the fear of jinxing it.

But the gift was given and so I embrace it. Memories were made. Little girls giggled and played, another generation growing up in the beautiful sunshine of our land...and this time, we were blessed with a new baby - Yaakov's youngest - little Leora, their first sabra - Israeli born - child.

And that too reminds me of my first sabra - David.

We ate, we swam, we played, we laughed. And I missed Davidi so much. And I remembered a picture from the last time we were there...it was before he went into the army.
When I looked at the pictures from that last time, I noticed this one - Yaakov was sitting on one mat, Chaim lying on another.

And then I saw David and wondered what he was doing.

And so, with the wonders of Photoshop, I blew up the picture and laughed. Then I sent it around.

Davidi insists he was not pulling out the plug of Yaakov's raft, but it seems to me that he was...and I love the expression on his face.

So, today in my little country, some soldiers took a wrong turn and their car was stoned in an Arab village but thankfully they found their way out to safety; and our ever-alert soldiers captured three armed terrorists before they could launch the attack they were planning, and tens of thousands of Israelis got stuck in traffic jams on their way home.

And David was in the army, as he has been for months. But he'll be home tomorrow...and for now, as we think about what we'll do today, we stop for a moment and thank God for the beautiful land in which we live, the sunshine that covers the land, the seas and the river and the springs that provide us places to play, and we thank God for normal.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Vacation Day in Israel

There is nothing like Chol Hamoed in Israel. There are two major holidays in Judaism that have what is considered a "holy" day at the beginning and a "holy" day at the end, with what is referred to as the "intermediary" days being considered as...wait for it...half-holy. What this means is that the first and last days are like the Sabbath - we don't drive, use electricity, phones, computers, etc. and have special prayers. These two holidays are Sukkot and Passover (Pesach). The intermediary days are called Chol HaMoed and while you are allowed to drive, use electricity, phones, etc. it is considered holiday-like and hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, of Israelis take vacation and take to the parks, the beaches, the streets.

It isn't about shopping; it's about just relaxing. Some families go different places every day; others use the time to catch up on resting and just doing nothing. Yesterday, we went north.

For once, I'll use pictures to speak, rather than words. It was an amazing day...









Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Are bus bombings because of the occupation?


Not according to Isreallycool:



A Depressing Image

 I love Google. It tells you, shows you, everything you want to know...or nearly everything. And it helps you, more than you can imagine. So you search for something. I wanted a picture of the bus bombing in Jerusalem a two days ago.

And so I typed in "jerusalem bus bombing" and even before I finished, my attention was diverted. It didn't even get to 2016. It listed five others, but really, each listing can represent a single terror attack or, in most cases, many bus bombings not just one.

Then I thought of something...what if I just typed "Jerusalem bus" and so I did. And while the Google search didn't return a whole list of years in which Arab terrorists blew up buses, it was still the top return.

Is the whole world like this? No, not at all.

 Search for New York bus, Brussels bus, London bus, even Istanbul bus and you get what you'd expect to get - maps, tours, stations...

But search for Jerusalem bus and Jerusalem bus bombing comes right there.

Yes, it could be because we just had one, our first in thankfully a relatively long time, but it is still disheartening, especially given the absurd response this horrible attack had on the international media. Oh, they were quick to report the bus fire. After all, the pictures were quite dramatic. They even reported that 21 people were injured.

The only thing they forgot to mention, forgot being a euphemism here for a much more sinister reality, is that it was, indeed a bombing and so, for that at least, I thank Google.

Now, the reality is that I likely caused these results myself by doing previous searches but I searched for Istanbul bus bombings and that didn't change the results, so who knows...

And then, despite the depressing search results, I changed the outcome to pictures and got these offerings...yes, it's a sad time in Israel. For those of us who lived here when buses were exploding pretty much every week, it's a time when we cringe and pray it isn't happening again. We're hoping the knife and rock and ramming intifada doesn't turn into the explosions intifada as it was back then.

So, mission accomplished - I found more pictures than I needed...and a bit of depression as well.


An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton

Part 2 of a series:
I have decided to write to each candidate because I have the right to express my opinion, my concerns, my fears. Because as America contemplates and prepares to go to the polls, my nation has a stake as well. If you have a different opinion, I celebrate the freedom we have to express it. This is my opinion, nothing more…and perhaps equally as important, nothing less.
The first open letter went to Bernie Sanders
Dear Hilary,
You seem like a bottom line type of person. So let me start with the bottom line. Oh. My. God. No. There is no way in hell that I would consider voting for you, not for a single moment. Perhaps that is too blunt in the diplomatic world in which you live, but I don't live in that world and so I will express my feelings and thoughts and hope you will listen. I don't know if American Jews will vote for you - as they voted for Barack Hussein Obama. They were wrong then...many of them now admit that. IF they vote for you, they will be wrong again. Of all the candidates, you are the easiest to dismiss; the first to fall as even a possibility.
I grew up in a liberal family, strong on social issues, strong on civil rights, focused on believing that we lived in a nation of opportunity - opportunities that must be open to all. The success of America, back then, was that from all over the world, people had come to create a better place, a better world. America was the great melting pot where you threw in immigrants from all over the world and out came proud, grateful, dedicated Americans. It was, it turns out, a lie, but we didn't know it back then.
So my mother served in the Democratic party and to my mind, in my formative years, the Republicans were all male, white businessmen who understood nothing of life outside Wall Street. On a key issue in my life - Israel - they were neutral; and on all the other issues such as social justice, the rights of the individual, they were on the wrong side. It was so clear back then. Only, that was a lie too.
Your husband was the last Democrat I voted for, the last time I came close to trusting the Democratic party. He was young, enthusiastic, energetic. He was, we all thought, the answer to what America needed. That was him and that was the time...now it is you, and you bring nothing of that charisma to the playing field.
Over the years, the truth about your husband...and you...came to the forefront of America. Honestly, I felt bad for you back then. Who would want to be married to a man like that? But you don't vote for someone because you pity them or are embarrassed for them. And after 30 years of marriage I have learned the one great truth of marriage is that it is what both husband and wife put into it. 
My memory of you as the wife of the President is overall, one of failure. Gracious, you were not. Intelligent, you certainly are but despite what you think, you actually are not smarter than everyone else. You have been blessed in your life - at least in some things. Perhaps not in love, but certainly financially and yet, you insulted millions of Americans who worry how they will pay their mortgage or dream of financing their children's education by trying to gain points by claiming you too were impoverished. Whatever your roots might have been, you have been a governor's wife, a president's wife, a US Senator and Secretary of State...there is nothing in your life for the last 40+ years that comes close to enabling you to claim that you know poverty and helplessness from a firsthand point of view.
As a woman, I question how you could take donations for your Clinton Foundation from nations that have notoriously poor records on women's rights - for example, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Algeria and the United Arab Emirates. My God, women can't even drive in Saudi Arabia. In many of these places, an unaccompanied woman is considered one with loose morals. Are these really the people you want to claim as supporters of the causes you champion?
As a Jew and as an Israeli, I can tell you that I don't trust you. Honesty seems to be rather low on your scale of priorities. You sat there as Suha Arafat slandered my country, my sons. You smiled as she said we poison the air they breathe; the food they eat. You nodded your head as a polite listener should, while that vile and stupid woman spoke and never bothered to point out that the only poison that could be confirmed was what was coming out of Suha's mouth.
You have shown no respect to Israeli leaders, and little respect for the real issues that face my homeland. You would think someone with your intelligence could understand the facts and the challenges we face here. And yet, consistently, you choose to pressure Israel to make concessions while giving the Palestinians a free pass. For those who care about Israel, you are not the answer for the 2016 presidential elections.
And finally, as an American, I just can't get past the image of four brave Americans waiting to be rescued in Benghazi while you played politics. Under your watch, these men were abandoned and left to face a brutal death when rescue, for at least some of them, was close enough to become reality.
And as an American, I am disgusted with the idea that you can think Americans are so stupid as to believe the nonsense you told about using a non-secure email account referencing classified information. You consistently play by your rules believing yourself to be higher than others. But worse, when caught, you believe that any lie you tell will automatically be accepted, as if it were your due.
I don't believe a Black man or a Jewish man, a Chinese man, for that matter, would inherently make a better president simply by virtue of his race or religion or gender. Perhaps I am biased when I say that I do believe that a woman could bring great character traits to the office of the White House. A woman's perspective is often different from a man's. We are often more compassionate, slower to anger, more open to listening to others. Some day it will happen...but that day won't come in November with the elections (or January, 2017 and the inauguration ceremony). And when it does happen, I hope she will be the best women have to offer, not some senior politician who has spent her life playing the game.
As I write to each candidate, my thoughts become more clear...I can explore their stand, the good things they could bring to the office of president of the United States, and the bad things that would come with it.
For you, Hilary, I have the least to say. I don't trust you. I don't like your politics. But most of all, Hilary, I believe that you would sell out anything and anyone. You sold out those men in Benghazi; you'd sell out Israel without the slightest hesitation but the fact is, Hilary, you'd sell out America too.
No, Hilary - even if you said world peace depended on your becoming president, I would deem you lacking. At this point in your career, my suggestion for you is retirement. Let America be governed by someone with less of a history, less errors and misjudgments. Let America move forward without all the tremendous baggage you bring with you. Retire, Hillary. 
I feel bad for African Americans who will always have to look at Barack Obama as their first foray into the presidency. I would wish more for American women than you. When there will be a woman in the White House, let her be a true representative of women - compassionate, honorable, focused on what is best for America. Till then, we'll have to settle for the best man for the job and you, Hillary, are not that.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Terror's Greatest Accomplice

I write in anger... Not a good thing to do at all.

I write in astonishment, in pain.

Yesterday a bomb went off... No, that's wrong. It didn't go off. That is a ridiculous, passive way to describe a completely avoidable event.

Yesterday, a Palestinian terrorist set off a bomb. I don't know all the details; I know the result. Twenty-one people (or perhaps it is 20 people and a terrorist...at this moment, as I think of the suffering, I find it hard to credit the terrorist as having enough humanity to be human), were injured - two critically. One is likely the bomber...the second...the second breaks my heart and calls forth my anger. In so many ways, this could be me.

A mother and daughter - her's 15, mine 16 - got on a bus. The daughter went to the back of the bus to get two seats; the mother went through the line to pay for her and her daughter. The bus exploded. The terrorist was in the back of the bus. The daughter, Eden Dadon, had already made her way there. Her mother, Racheli was in the front of the bus when it exploded and flames tore through the bus.

The sound of the explosion is deafening...so too is the silence. It is the sound I hear this morning as I sit in Israel, afraid to check the news. And so, in anger, I write. Not to everyone but to those who have family living in Israel, to those who claim to love this land. To those who should know the price of silence, if they no nothing else of our history, our people. I tell you with all honesty, if you didn't take two minutes of your precious time to condemn the latest terror attack...you are part of the problem.

If you take the time to come on Facebook and post the latest picture of your children, what movie you just saw, your latest vacation pictures...swimming, skiing...whatever, but didn't take two f******g minutes to tell others that they blew up a bus in Jerusalem, injuring 21 people, including several children...shame on you.

I have no words to describe our justifiable anger at your silence.

And I will leave you with one last thought - silence is as great a crime as the terror itself. One ignites the bomb...the other enables its power and success.

Monday, April 18, 2016

I Promise I’ll Still Love You

The great thing about the Passover holiday is that you get to clean everything, find everything. It’s a journey of discovery…at a time when you really have no time or patience for it…and yet…there you go. Years ago, faced with the fact that my oldest son was going to be coming home very close to the start of the holiday (and I was just grateful he would be home to share it with us), I realized that I had to go clean his room. And so began an adventure for me and Elie’s 8 year old sister (Bullets, Buttons, and Batteries).

David went into the army 5 months ago, which was probably the last time I cleaned his room. Since then, I’ve asked, suggested, whatever, but mostly left him to his own unless someone was coming over to sleep (and then I go with a quick straighten and mop but ignore the cabinets and under things). Like his oldest brother, he is comfortable in the chaos of his own making and so his room suffers tremendously when he comes home, only eased a bit by having guests stay over. For the last two weekends, I’ve reminded him…for the last two weekends, he’s told me he’s “working on it” which is, as any mother can tell you, another way of saying…”it ain’t getting done” or “it’s a work in progress” that will, if left to him, always be in progress.

Days left, I have no choice but to enter the lion’s den. I’m prepared this time, having cleaned his room many times in the past. I have large garbage bags for all the wrappers; I have another for the laundry I knew I would find. I took old plastic contains, as I did years ago with Elie, to begin organizing…batteries, and pieces of phones, coins, and the like. The books go back on the shelf, the clean clothes back in the closet. The extra sheets left from the last time we used the room for guests goes into the laundry. A bullet…yes, there’s a stray bullet on his floor. And a remote control car…and a gun that looks too real, but isn’t, and a broken water gun, long since abandoned.

Dishes…and I knew I was missing some forks…and a certificate for the course he finished long ago for the Magen David Adom first aid training. There are pieces to the new shaver we bought him last year and the blanket that I knitted last winter…I was wondering where that went.

And socks…more laundry if I can only find the second one…but there’s still time and what to clean. Another dish…another spoon. How many times have I told him not to take food upstairs. And some candy bars that his older brother and younger sister quickly grabbed…he’ll come home too close to the Passover holiday to be able to eat them anyway.

And as I clean the room and think of how many times I asked him to clean it, and how he’ll apologize and really be sorry that he didn’t…and how I’ll tease him about the missing fork and those dishes, I thought of a child’s book I have. The child asked the parent in many ways, “will you still love me if” and each time the parent says, “I’ll love you even if you…”

I'll love you even if I can't find the matching pair to your NEW and expensive New Balance sneaker.

I'll love you despite finding four plates, 7 utensils and two cups upstairs.

I'll love you despite finding that you brought home those great plastic boxes that I use to send home-baked goodies with you to the army...and two of them were crushed.

I'll love you even though I had to pick up all those wrappers and try matching up all those socks.

And my Davidi, I promise I’ll still love you – even if the rest of the room is as bad as the first half was…


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