Wednesday, August 30, 2006


"As The World Turns"

When I left you two weeks ago to go fishing - so to speak - we were still at war and Israel was being bombarded with Katyushas and Qassams. In the two weeks since ---- the war has ended - or at least Lebanon War II has ended - I think Lebanon War III is yet to be fought - Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig from FOX News have been kidnapped and released - there is a cease-fire of sorts - our President, Moshe Katzav, is being investigated for sexual harassment - Haim Ramon, Head of the Ministry of Justice, has resigned over charges of sexual harassment, Tzachi Hanegbi is under a cloud for hiring cronies, Ehud Olmert is being charged with everything from taking bribes to mismanagement of the war and wearing that terrible comb-over hair-do -- and the world turns.

I have much to say about the way the war was fought and ended. Those of you who read this who live abroad know that I never disparage Israel
(it's sort of like, I can criticize my child but you can't) - the rest of the world does that for us. Those of you who live here know that I have a big mouth and can't keep quiet about our politics. (Actually, one of the big reasons for my making Aliyah was that it was time to put my money where my mouth is. It's not fair to criticize the government if you are not willing to stand up and be counted. {Have I used enough cliches for one day?}) I will say, however, that the way the cease-fire was conducted was a big big mistake. It will only pave the way for a third Lebanon War to be fought. And who is foolish enough to believe that while we are ceasing to fire that Hezbollah is not re-arming?

And the biggest question of all - where are our kidnapped soldiers? Have I lost something in the translation? Wasn't the reason we went to war in the first place because our soldiers were kidnapped?

There are many newspaper articles calling for the resignations of Ehud Olmert, Amir Peretz and Dan Halutz. Just where do you think I stand on this issue? You're right.

Anyway - I'm back and have so much I want to write about. I want to tell you about my little holiday and about what's going on here - aside from the Monday morning quarterbacking about the war. But now, I'm off to one of my many meetings - after waiting all morning for the dishwasher repair man who never showed up - but at least he called to say he wasn't coming - never mind that he called after he was due here - now, that's progress in our country.

Stay Safe.


Saturday, August 12, 2006



Well, not really fishing - but I will be away from my computer from Sunday 13 August 2006 through Monday 21 August 2006.

Please visit my Blog after 22 August. I look forward to writing for you again.

Stay Safe.


Thursday, August 10, 2006



Some years ago I lost the friendship of someone whom I thought was a good friend. I had written to her warning her of the threats of terrorism and wondering why the rest of the world was not as worried as we were.

She replied that she could no longer be friends with me beacuse she had other things to worry about - her job, her new fiance, planning her wedding - and she did not want to be disturbed by my "foolish and alarmist" writings. She said that I lived in Israel and made a big deal about every terrorist threat and she just couldn't be bothered. After all, she lived in New York and none of that would ever touch her!

And then came The World Trade Center bombings - right in New York where she lives. I have no idea what she thought at that time as we were no longer in touch. Her attitude was very hurtful as we had been friends for a long time - but how right I was and how short-sighted she was. And much as I like to be right......

And then came the Madrid bombings.

And then came the London bombings.

And then came the Mumbai bombings.

And then came countless other terrorist warnings and attacks.

And even as I sit writing this I am listening to SKY News and FOX News who are reporting the attempted terrorist attacks on six planes out of Heathrow Airport in London. Not in Israel. Right in the middle of the Western World. Terrorists who had liquid explosive devices in their hand baggage - in an attempt to create havoc to rival 9/11.

Why didn't the world pay attention before? Because it was "only" Israel and the Middle East? Today, Israel is in a fight for its life with Hezbollah - and Syria and Iran - against a violent and evil terrorist organization with no regard for human life. Who is to guarantee that "your" country won't be next? Sit up and take notice - today Israel - tomorrow the World.

Try to stay safe.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006



The television sets - yes - two at any given time - are always on. I have three TVs - one in my bedroom, one in my study and one in the sitting-room that opens on to my kitchen and that I can watch while I am cooking. The bedroom and sitting-room ones are "digital" - (pronounced dee-ghee-tal) - which not only means that I can get a whole range of channels in addition to the regular ones - but it also means that the reception is a split second off the ordinary cable TV so that if I have the one in the study on too I can have a serious nervous breakdown trying to hear what is going on. And that's not counting the sound that comes through the telephone when I'm speaking with someone who also has the TV on.

Which is by way of telling you that when we are at home the TVs are always on. Day and night. Awake and asleep. The TVs are on. We have become TV junkies - actually, news junkies. I read two newspapers each morning, check for news online, watch TV - and just in case I've missed something there is always the telephone with a friend at the other end asking "Did you just hear that on the news?".

Of course, we don't sit at home all day listening to the news. We go out and do our things - errands - lunch - dinner - meetings - shopping - and the minute we come home, on go the TVs. What did we miss? What happened while we were not monitoring the news? As if watching the news could have any bearing at all on the War. As if watching the news could have saved the twelve "miluimnikim" (reservists) who were killed at Kfar Giladi. As if watching the news could have stopped the drone heading toward Tel Aviv.

Since the war began I haven't been able to watch "recreational" programs - no patience - no interest. Only war news. A friend called me late last night and, very apologetically, told me she had turned off the War and watched her favorite programs. And why not? Why apologize? A psychologist wrote in one of the papers last week that watching only news programs was actually very unhealthy. Why do we do it? Because we feel so powerless - so frustrated - so unsure. Because we have to know.

So, dear Oprah, when this War is over I'll go back to watching you - watching your changing hair styles - your make-over programs - maybe even Mel Gibson groveling - but until then - I'll go on watching the news.

Stay Safe.


Sunday, August 06, 2006



Yesterday was Shabbat - a perfect day to stay at home - relax - catch up with my reading - snooze a bit - you know the kind of day.

In the afternoon one of my friends in the media called to chat - and in the course of the conversation my friend (I won't identify him/her further than that and in a moment you'll see why) mentioned that "those in the know" think - just think mind you - that Hezbollah might - just might - send one of their "zalzel" bombs to Tel Aviv! There was an "oops" right there. "What should I do?" I asked, very calmly I thought. My friend said "Do nothing - just make sure you have some water, a flashlight, a portable radio and when you hear the sirens go to the "miklat"" (shelter). If the bomb was going to be sent to Tel Aviv - what did we here in Jerusalem have to worry about? "Just in case - the sirens would be set off in Jerusalem, too."

I have my big flashlight - prepared from the last Gulf War - and the batteries are up-to-date. I have water. I don't have a portable radio - so that was easy. What to do now? Can't call anyone as I received information that was "classified".

So this is what I did. I took a shower - changed my clothes and put on trousers and a shirt that I thought I'd be comfortable in for a few days - if need be. Then I did my hair - can't go down to the "miklat" with un-done hair. Then came the first big decision - make-up or no make-up? I compromised with no make-up but Royal Jelly Creme on my face to stay moisturized! The second big decision was - contact lenses or eye glasses? No one - and I mean no one - OK, my very closest friends - ever sees me with eye glasses - bifocals, no less. So I decided on eye glasses - in case I had to be in the "miklat" for several days and couldn't clean my lenses. And then I sat down to watch TV and wait for the sirens - which thank G-d never sounded and the bomb was never sent.

Which reminded me of the time, several years ago, when I was on my way to New York and the plane had just taken off when there were two loud explosions and - as I was in Business Class and thus in front of the engines - I could see fire coming out of the engine. The flight attendant announced that we would have to circle - unload all our fuel - and then try to land back at Ben Gurion Airport. No one could tell whether our landing gear was affected - or not - and whether we could land properly - or not. It is said that when a person "knows" he is going to die his whole life flashes in front of him. Not this girl. All I could think of was that - as I was going to New York for six months - I had all of my jewellery with me and it would go down to the bottom of the sea or be burned up when we crashed - and no one would ever see my beautiful jewellery again!!

Now I ask you - how shallow am I? But - I was very calm throughout both crises - so maybe it pays to worry about "shtuyot" (stupid things) - and let everyone worry about the important things. Me - I'll continue to worry about "shtuyot".

I came home from my weekly Sunday lunch with the girls, and as I had a lot of work to do I sat down at my computer and got straight to it. I just received a phone call asking me if I know that eleven people had been killed today at Kfar Giladi. So, now I'm going to watch the news and catch up on everything. It never ends - does it?

Stay Safe.


Friday, August 04, 2006


Life Goes On....and On....and On....

I woke up this morning to hear someone on the TV in New York ask a reporter in the North of Israel, who had driven down to Tel Aviv, what life was like in Tel Aviv these days. The reporter said that as far as she could see life was going on as usual, and and from the Tel Avivians you would hardly know that there was a war going on. Wrong answer.

I don't live in Tel Aviv - I live in Jerusalem - so I can only speak about life here in Jerusalem. Never mind that door-to-door - and I live on the far side of the city from the entrance to the Jerusalem/Tel Aviv Highway and you have to factor in the time it takes me to get to the highway - it still only takes me one hour to drive to Tel Aviv. (But in that one hour you've changed cultures completely - they have fun - we're farklempt.) So back to life in Jerusalem. On Friday mornings I go out to breakfast with my friends - it's a tradition going back years and years. It's not about the food - after all - what's so different about an Israeli breakfast from cafe to cafe? Juice - two eggs, any style, - bread and butter - salads and coffee. That's breakfast. It's never about the food - it's about celebrating the end of the week and getting together with your friends and "yentivating".

Yentivating is my Mother's word - she made it up - it's sort of Jewish gossip - and it's a great word. No matter who else joins us - it is always with Marallyn and/or Rosaline. Today, Marallyn couldn't make it so Ros and I went to breakfast at what is my favorite place in "The Moshava" (the German Colony - an old section of town not far from my house that has been gentrified - with lots of shops and cafes and restaurants).

We went to "Caffit" - arguably my favorite cafe in Jerusalem. We met at 9:30 - because to go after that on a Friday means there is no parking and you have to wait for a table. And never mind that there are other cafes which always have room at whatever time you go. "Caffit" is my place and that's where I go. So I got there - and the place was almost empty - not one or two tables empty - almost completely empty - inside and out - and only began filling up when we left a few hours later - and fill up it did. We sat outside in the patio and I could see the street -the main drag - and that was almost empty, too - and only began to be crowded later. But then again - maybe it's not the War - maybe it just the "Hofesh HaGadol" (the big summer holiday/break) and people are away.

It's not that people are afraid to go out - it's just that we don't have the "heshek" (desire) to go out. All we talk about is the War - and the civilians and soldiers who have lost their lives - did you see this or that TV program - did you hear what so-and-so said? Do you really think a bomb will reach Tel Aviv?

I have a number of friends and some family in the Tel Aviv area and on up the coast. We speak on the phone regularly - and let me tell you - they are just as worried as the people in Jerusalem are. I am in constant touch with my friends all over the country - believe me - we worry. It's only normal to worry in these times. So the reporter was wrong. Believe me - we all know that there's a War going on - Tel Avivians - Jerusalemites - Eilatis - all of us all over the country. But we're strong - we're Israelis - and we'll win against those who hate us and wish us dead. Didn't we do it before - and before - and before - and before.........

And just because I haven't mentioned the soldiers and civilians who were killed yesterday and today - don't think for a minute that they aren't in my mind and my heart - and in the minds and hearts of all of us. Now it's time to go and light my Shabbat candles. Pray for us.

Stay Safe.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006



So there I was minding my own business, worrying about the war, worrying about our brave soldiers, worrying about all the people who have been affected by this War With No Name - to digress, someone gave it a name, viz. "Milchemet Ein Breira" (War of No Choice) - actually just worrying about things in general - I'm Jewish aren't I? I worry. Anyway along comes Mel Gibson. And why is Mel Gibson someone to worry about? Because he is an anti-Semite - and gets a lot of publicity - and what he said when he was arrested for drunk driving got great play in the media - and confirmed to other anti-Semites out there that their feelings are validated. If the big, hot shot movie star Mel Gibson feels that way - why, so can they. He spewed his venom all over he place - and then apologized for what he said - and then had the "chutzpa" (chutzpa!) to ask the Jews to help him get over his alcohol addiction. We didn't make him an alcocholic - I should worry about him? I don't ask his help for my food addiction - do I call him when I have to go on a diet? "Ma pitom" (there is no real translation for this - take it to mean "what are you talking about?").

And then to make everything just hunky-dory - Abe Foxman, the head of the Anti-Defamation League - forgave him. I ask you - does that make any sense? I remember that when we were kids we used to say "sticks and stones can break my bones but namess will never harm me". Well Mr. Gibson - and Mr. Foxman - names can harm me - and all other Jews - and I, for one, will not forgive Mr. Gibson. And he was going to make a mini-series for ABC on the Holocaust? This from the son of a blatant Holocaust denier? It is to laugh. But we have the last laugh - the series was cancelled. So there.

Life in Israel? It goes on. A rocket hit Beit Shean today - well past the 30 miles that were the range of the original Katyushas. And people are still homeless, and without jobs in the North - but our Army and Air Force are doing a great job and - literally - putting their lives on the line for us. And for that we say Thank You and Amen.

Stay Safe.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006



I awoke this morning to the sound of my television - which I hadn't turned off last night - to hear someone (I don't know who the "someone" was as I was still half asleep) saying that Israel is losing the War in terms of PR. He was right. Why are we still saying Mea Culpa for Qana? Why are we apologizing for each and every injury and death in Lebanon? This is war, guys - and we didn't start it.

Bad PR? We are past-masters at bad public relations. In fact - our "hasbara" (PR) is almost non-existent. We make good hummus. We pull together as one when the going gets rough. We have the best, most dedicated soldiers in the world. But PR? However - this time we are really lucky. President Bush is on our side. FOX News is "fair and balanced". And the photograph, smuggled out of Lebanon by the Australian journalist, showing Hezbollah posing with their rocket launcher in a residential neighborhood in Lebanon is worth the proverbial thousand words.

I am absolutely amazed at myself these days. I actually like Bush. Or maybe I just like the fact that he is on our side. (Don't we tend to like people who like us?) As for FOX News - I used to watch them because I hated CNN and BBC - by default. But when I hear Neil Cavuto and Bill O'Reilly and Shep Smith - and, indeed, all the rest of them at the station standing up for us - I just want to cheer. And now I choose to watch FOX News. Of course, the Muslims will say they are biased - but as long as they are getting the word out that we are not the ogres the world makes us out to be - let's hire them to do our "hasbara".

As I am writing this there is a report on the TV that says Gilad Shalit is due to be released soon. Dare I hope? Dare we let our collective breath out? Is it real this time?

And yet - life goes on. Last night I went out to yet another birthday dinner - this one in honor of my friend, Marallyn's mother's 83rd birthday. Marallyn, two of her kids and I took Bubbie out to dinner. Lest you think this was some gourmet extravaganza - Bubbie had her favorite meal - a hamburger. Not just an ordinary hamburger in some joint - a delicious, big, juicy hamburger - with all the trimmings - in one of our favorite restaurants. The weather is so gorgeous these days that we sat out in the garden. Usually the weather in Jerusalem in the summer is too hot during the day to sit outdoors and too cool in the evenings. Yesterday was just right - as if to tell us that despite the War and the worries and the problems besetting us - life can be beautiful.

I've heard this several times in the past few days and I want to share it with you -

If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no violence.
If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no Israel.

Stay Safe.

Rena's Blog

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?