This is the right week to have photos of Jerusalem, isn’t it?

These are from Antohinson’s Flickr pages.

This is a three part post.


Jerusalem Cemetery, Absalom's Tomb

Jerusalem Cemetery, Absalom's Tomb

This was a hard week for Israel, but I think it came out of it okay there are harder weeks to come. The relationship with Obama’s administration in the US and Israel’s administration under Netanyahu will continue to be challenging.

I have a strange feeling that the Americans were acting as they did because they were acting on psychological profiling of Netanyahu. He caved in to American demands and heavy pressure in 1998, signing the Wye Accords without getting much in return. It was 12 years ago and I recall that at the beginning of the trip, Netanyahu attempted to get Pollard freed. It didn’t happen and still hasn’t happened but Netanyahu gave in at Wye.

In fact, some Israeli MKs asked Biden before the Ramat Shlomo announcement fiasco to release Pollard in time for this year’s Passover. Fat chance of Pollard getting out now. Then again, it would probably regain for Obama a lot of the goodwill he has lost in the past week with many Israelis and supporters of Israel.

Anyway, I wonder whether the American profile of Netanyahu indicated that he would falter under severe pressure. He was an officer in one of Israel’s elite commando units, so one would think this profile would be wrong, but I can’t imagine what else they would have been thinking.


Jerusalem View

Jerusalem View

One of our fine writers, Sarke, reminds us of the Sabbath Manifesto, which is a list of things people can do on the Sabbath to make that day special, um, like the sabbath. Once upon a time, we had one of our bigger debates here and I recall that I spoke about the Sabbath being a day of special time even if one treats that time without consideration for, say, keeping the car engine off. It looks to me as if the Sabbath Manifesto idea is exactly what I was talking about and it’s nice to see it make waves.

And then some Pharaoh’s Daughter makes everything go down smoother.


I’m not done. The music brings up more questions.

We have become so consumed by the political fight, that it’s hard sometimes to remember that there is beauty in our traditions, in our heritage. The poetry has been stolen by this bitter fight over land that has lasted longer than virtually any of us have been alive. It’s important to fight this theft and to keep our ability to see beauty; to understand that while there is much evil out there, it is tempered with good.

The war has always been, to some degree, a war of semantics: terrorist; revolutionary; war; intifadah. Today, it’s apartheid; war crimes; settlements; theft. Words that steal beauty. Words that indicate the opposite.

It is odd to watch as Israel becomes the accused even as ample evidence exists to show the other side has no desire for peace or compromise. How many times has Abbas been described as a “moderate?” Is there a publication out there which does not refer to him as a moderate? And yet, Olmert offered him peace and was rejected outright. Olmert was not called a moderate because he offered peace. A war of words.

A Palestinian commemoration of a terrorist who murdered over 30 Israeli civilians is glossed over this week, just like most of their anti-Israel rhetoric, but the announcement – one which was an admitted mistake – of construction in a Jewish neighborhood in an area that will clearly remain inside Israel in any deal, is treated as a breach of faith and exhibit A in the supposed Israeli attempt to stall peace. This after a year of stating over and over that Israel is ready to talk and being rebuffed time after time.

How did they – let’s leave “they” vague – manage to take a democracy and depict it as a worse offender than the dictatorships surrounding it? Whose rhetorical trick is that? Meanwhile some of the very same critics fight wars in far-away lands, killing innocent civilians in the process, and hold another country accountable to standards they violate when that country has actually been attacked, unlike the critical countries.

How have good intentions, ethical intentions, such as, for example, waiting years before responding with war to thousands of rocket attacks, or dropping “door knocker” bombs on buildings prior to attacks in a time of war, providing warning to BOTH residents and fighters (who you generally try not to warn) to leave, considered affronts to the ethics of war?

And how is it that the world is allowing a mad regime to develop technology that can wipe out entire cities with one or two successful rocket attacks, even as that regime announces over and over again its intention to annihilate another country?

You don’t need to answer. The questions are rhetorical.

The reason is that the world is insane.

In an upside down world, taking a day of rest and small pleasures may be the most sane thing one can do.

Shabbat shalom.

UPDATE: Haaretz and Ynet report that Netanyahu has indeed caved in to American pressure, promising to slow construction in east Jerusalem and beyond, agreeing to discuss final status issues in these negotiations and easing up the blockade on Gaza despite the absence of progress on Gilad Shalit and real signs that Hamas is in some trouble in Gaza.

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  • It crossed my mind while I was brushing my teeth this morning that, as a matter of etiquette, politics and religion are not subjects to be touched upon in polite company.

    In times where everything gets politicised, applying that rule wouldn’t leave us much to talk about, would it?

  • Would be problematic as Americans appear not be too comfortable talking about sex, and talking about money is considered rude in Germany.

    How about favourite songs from our youth?

  • As a Jewish blog that is also pro-Israel, I think guys you failed to adequately warn US Jews of the danger of voting for someone like Obama. Everything was out there for you guys to report on, but the Jewish leaders and blogs acted like ostriches. Now we see the results.

  • Froy: more Passover recipes!

    – have you ever heard of a flourless cheesecake made with low/medium fat cheese? It’s basically cheese and separated eggs – all the leavening is beaten egg whites?

    I read this in a cookbook of “Viennese Patisserie”. The original recipe has you line the springform pan with cookie crumbs, but I figure I can use ground nuts for Passover.

    Ring a bell?

    • Yeah, B-D, my father’s a type 2 diabetic, who keeps a very strict diet, so that’s the way I make cheesecake for him. (Works well with liquid sweetener.) I add real vanilla, and I put fruit on the top after baking (e.g. strawberries) as the sweetener makes the texture less fluffy than real sugar. A nice twist if you want to have a garden party and have got a supply of old, pretty coffee or tea cups (not necessarily family heirlooms 😉 ), grease the cups very lightly, sprinkle with chopped nuts, almonds etc., fill in the cheesecake mass. Bake for about 25 minutes, depending on your oven. Serve with fresh berry fruit on top.

  • Middle:
    Haaretz and Ynet report that Netanyahu has indeed caved in to American pressure
    – – – – – – – – – – –
    I wouldn’t take these outlets too seriously, since they piled on the Obama-ignited Bibi-bashing all last week. And they are still using that frame – today’s YNET headline is basically “Bibi being taken to the woodshed.”

    Paradoxically, it’s the American media that is reporting how nObama’s offensive has backfired – Bibi’s approval is over 70 percent here in Israel, and over 60 percent of Israelis think Obama was out of line. Jerusalem really is a consensus issue.

    In fact, I see Bibi setting up another rope-a-dope – this morning Bibi’s office stated that he will ask the Americans to sell Israel “bunker-buster” missiles.

    American restriction of Israeli arms purchases was published as a rumor/background story in all the weekend papers here.

    Now Bibi is making this story explicit. And he will do it during a visit to Washington.

    Which means that an already weakened Obama must come out of the shadows and show himself to be spineless against Iran.

    This is brilliant.
    It will also make the European pols who’ve started piling on Bibi stop in their tracks, and remember the real issues threatening the region. Once again, doors will open for Liberman across Europe.

  • Middle – I got some of the Israeli statistics from Glick’s article. She is focused on Obama’s motives, not Bibi’s counter-strategy.

    I’ve said before I think the Jersualem “mistake” was calculated. And if the story of the US denying Israel arms purchases is true, then Bibi may very well want to precipitate a showdown now, to drag that into the open. We all know the Iranian clock is ticking.