Friday, January 9, 2009

Hamas admits it uses human shields

Hamas admits it uses human shields

A Hamas representative in the PA legislative council, takes pride in the fact that women and children are used as human shield in fighting Israel. He describes it as part of the "Death Industry" at which they excel, and explains that the Palestinians "desire death" the same way Israelis "desire life".

The following is the full text:

For the Palestinian people death became an industry, at which women excel and so do all people on this land: the elderly excel, the Jihad fighters excel, and the children excel. Accordingly [Palestinians] created a human shield of women, children, the elderly and the Jihad fighters againset the Zionist bombing machine, as they were saying to the Zionist enemy: We desire death as you desire Life.

© 2008 YouTube, LLC

A List of Names of Wounded Soldiers and Civilians to Pray For Share

Activists from the chassidic Chabad group have gathered
the Hebrew names of several wounded soldiers. The soldiers and their
families have asked the public to pray for their speedy recovery.

The names are: Noam ben Aliza, Liel Hoshea ben Miriam, Ben ben Nativa,
Yosef Chaim ben Ziva, Dvir ben Leah, Refael ben Dina, Nerya ben Rivka,
Oren ben Chaya, Ronen Chai ben Leah, Ron ben Havatzelet, Eitan ben
Sara, Gal ben Hedva, Ran ben Merel, Idan ben Nadi, Yitzchak ben Nava,
Ohad ben Bracha, Netanel ben Nava, Maxim ben Olga, Yisrael ben Ilana,
Yoad Ido ben Freida Rivka, Idan ben Liora, Nadav ben Maria, Shagay ben
Osnat, Omer ben Dorit, Lior ben Mazal and Yivgeni ben Elisabeth.

The names of civilians wounded in recent rocket attacks are: Gavriel
ben Sara, Yaakov ben Rivka, Bat El Hila bat Phoebe and Gila bat Odelia.

Thank you for your prayers.

A Thank You Note to all ‘Eged’ Bus Drivers

A Thank You Note to All ‘Eged’ Bus Drivers (Eged is the name of our public bus system)

In these days, when the threat of the dreaded suicide bus bombings is so high, I think our public bus drivers deserve some kind of award for bravery. Some plaque to hang in their living rooms or some badge of fabric to pin to their collar, or tuck into their lapel. Something that says ‘I’m willing to risk my life everyday so that the people of this country can live their lives in normalcy’.

Eged put out this announcement last week:

“Also in these hard times, we continue providing our services in the areas adjacent to the Gaza Strip. Eged’s busses are incessantly moving along traffic arteries all over Israel to fulfill transportation needs of the country’s entire population. We are doing our utmost to meet the routine schedule. However, due to the reasons beyond our control, the present situation brings about certain delays and timetable changes, as well as longer waiting times for the customer support representatives’ responses.
We are asking for your understanding and patience and hope to renew our regular services when the peace is restored – as quickly as possible.

We are sorry for the possible inconvenience.”

Sorry for the inconvenience? Can you imagine this being put out by the Marta Transportation System in Atlanta, or the MTA in New York?

Sorry that you had to wait a little longer for the bus, but someone tried to bomb us on Lavista Road…. And sorry that you have to wait a little longer to get on the train while the security officer checks each persons bag and swipes you with a metal detecting rod… Sorry.

Thanks to Eged and their brave drivers, life goes on. We’ve got work to go to, birthday parties to attend, doctors appointments to go to….

I was standing on King George Street in Jerusalem waiting for my husband to pick me up. I had just said goodbye to a good friend and was making a mental note of what it was that I had ordered for lunch. It was so delicious. There were people from all walks of life standing, chatting, laughing, all waiting for their busses to take them to their next destination. Arabs, Jews, Christians, Druze. All of us standing and waiting. I was sitting on a stoop a few yards behind the bus stop, the suicide bombings have taught me not to stand so close to the stop.

I love to watch people. My attention was on a tall Russian lady with short chic hair fixing her make-up in a tiny mirror, and a small boy eating an ice cream cone and letting it drip onto his left shoe. I reached into my pocket and walked over to hand his mama a tissue. She looked down and gasped, thanking me. I turn to see that my stoop had been taken.

In the crowd was an Arab man standing on the edge of the side walk standing tall and erect, he was wearing a clean white blazer and perfectly shined shoes. I wondered how I hadn’t noticed him before. His hair was slicked back and his brow was furrowed, he was staring straight ahead. Other people were looking at him also. A few moved away. He stood still. I began running through my head all the signs of a suicide bomber, clean clothes, shined shoes…. He wasn’t carrying anything. I was looking for a soldier, an armed security officer, anyone…. when the bus pulled up. The man stepped off the curb and the doors opened. I stayed put. As the bus driver caught sight of the man coming toward him, reaching his hand into the inside of his blazer, he squinted and looked him up and down. Immediately the doors closed and the driver stood up, gun pulled and was yelling through the closed doors, waving his gun, motioning for the man to open his jacket and show his hands. The man stepped back frowning, opened his jacket and put his hands out. The driver anxiously checked the mans torso from behind the closed doors. No bombs.

The driver composed himself and sat down, returned the gun to it’s holster, ticket puncher in hand. The doors opened and the man, along with the rest of the busy crowd entered the bus. The driver punched his card, looked him in the eye and smiled apologetically. The man nodded and sat down at a window seat and looked out the window, fixing his hair and jacket.

Our bus drivers, hundreds of men with wives and babies, risk their lives every day so that we can live normally, even under threat of attacks. Dozens of these brave men have been murdered in suicide bus bombings in the past years, and still, hundreds of bus drivers report to work each day. For us, for Israel, for the sake of living our normal civilian lives.

You don’t have to apologize to us Eged. We know what you do for us everyday, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your bravery and unwavering contribution in sustaining normal civilian Israeli life.

May Eged and its employees stay safe in the coming years.

A Day at the Park

As the daily family life of booboos and bandaids, runny noses and lego cities continues here in our homes, the war on terrorism in Gaza continues and the threat of the dreaded suicide bombings and civilian murders seeps deeper and deeper into every grain of our happy existence here. The fact is that it’s been a part of our lives for… ever since I can remember really. We go about our days doing what families do, carpool, birthday parties, playing in the playground, smiling, laughing and living, all while subconsciously taking in our surroundings and analyzing and assessing for danger. Our eyes dart to every Arab street worker, every personal bag left a little too far from its owner, and we make cautious eye contact with every Arab stranger we pass. That’s life under threat. Where suicide bombers kill us while we ride the public bus, where a bag left unattended could be a bomb packed with screws waiting to explode in a playground.

A couple of days ago I took my kids to the playground, my four youngest dollies. Moshe was heroically standing on the seesaw with his arms out as it went up and down, up and down, with my four year old daughter ZC on the other side, giggling innocently, looking up at her big brother. I sat on a bench nearby, squeamishly peeking from the corner of my eye, holding my breath. I told him to sit down before he hurts himself. The baby was sitting on a spinning toy which makes me dizzy to look at, with my 7 year old daughter Peanut (yes, we call her peanut, what can I say) slowly turning, smiling proudly at her baby, saying, “Yaldah gdolah! (Big girl!)” in her usual sing song voice. I was chatting with other mothers; there were about six of us in this tiny little playground. Everything in Israel is tiny; there is not a whole lot of space here in a country the size of New Jersey.

I was scanning the park as I usually do, keeping track of where each of my kids were, and listening to the other mommies talking about their brothers in Gaza and husbands in the reserves, who a few days ago received their orders to report to the bases. They were passing out little scraps of paper with the full names of their soldiers so that we would know who we’re praying for. The scraps were landing on my lap as my attention was on a white plastic grocery bag sitting in the corner of the park. I pointed and asked calmly, “Shel mi ze hasakit? (Who’s bag is that)?” Everyone turned and squinted to see the bag sitting up against the wall, looking ordinary in every way, except that it was not connected to us or anyone around us. The mothers were frowning now, eyes darting from one to another, everyone asking at the same time, “Who’s bag is that? WHO’S bag IS that????” Some were calling their kids over, away from the threatening bag. We discussed the bag for a few seconds, which looked so average, and the lump inside it, and what we thought could be in it. Nobody though, was willing to look inside it.

The kids were by our sides now and to our great relief, the armed security guard from the little mall behind us was walking casually our way. We flailed our arms and pointed at the little bad bag. He glanced over in the direction of it and instinctively reached for his gun which was swung over his back and pulled it more within reach, darting his eyes in all directions… He was motioning for us to back away while asking not-so-calmly, “Who’s bag is this?” Then a little louder… “WHO’S BAG IS THIS??!!”

Behind him, running down the path, we could see a young mother waving and smiling, and yelling, “It’s mine! It’s mine! Don’t diffuse my eggs!”.

She was smiling, embarrassed. It was her groceries, she had been there just a few minutes before with her chubby toddler and had forgotten her bag. The guard swung his gun to his back again and we were all laughing. The kids had regained their positions on the playground and it was as if nothing had happened just a few moments before. The guard looked at her with relief and smiled, wagging a finger at her. He walked on. We said thank you in his direction but he didn’t even turn around. It was all run of the mill, just a day at the park.

When we arrived back home and I sat in the bathroom waiting for the bath to fill, my Peanut walked in and began getting ready to get in. She asked why everyone was so relieved today at the park, after all this sort of thing happens all the time. I looked at her as she answered her own question. She slipped into the warm water. “The Arabs are angry now. They will probably try to hurt us more soon.” I nodded.

Then she said, “I need toys in here Mommy.”

What I'm Learning from My Israeli Children

Sunday, January 4, 2009 at 3:25am

On Tuesday evening as I scrambled to bathe and put my 6 children to sleep, the news announced that the ground troops were getting ready to enter the scene in Gaza and that we were considered under high alert once again. As the force in Gaza continued we could hear the rumbling of explosions in the air and under our feet as my children looked up at me from their cozy beds. With trusting smiling faces, they said Shema and cuddled up to sleep. I felt I should somehow address the “matzav” or “situation” (as we call it here) even for just a minute, as everyone was quiet and comfortable at that moment. I whispered to them, “Do you know why we say Shema?” They nodded sleepily. “Because we want to remember that G-d protects us, all the time, no matter what is going on around us…. G-d will always be there for us, right?”, I said. I smiled and looked for clues as to how they were feeling emotionally. My 4 year old just barely awake, nodded and yawned and whispered, “Always.” If only we had the faith of these little children, I thought to myself as I left the room.

Distracted with worry for our troops, I made my rounds in the bedrooms and kissed each one on the cheek and went instinctively to lock the front door. My husband was out, having important meetings in Jerusalem with his Israeli partners, after all, they had much to discuss, as most of them would be leaving for their reserve duty in the next few days. Business would grind to a halt once again, and my husband would be left to handle the American side while the Israeli side fights for their lives. I make a mental note that I will need to be very supportive in the coming weeks. Before he left tonight he asked me if I remember how to use the gun in the safe that sits atop my sewing machine table in our office. I nodded yes of course and thanked him, even though I don’t, nor do I have any desire whatsoever to find out.

As I settled down on the couch to read some Psalms, my eldest 10 year old daughter, Sara, peeped her head out from the doorway. “Mommy, I forgot to tell you something…” she said with tired eyes, “my friend and I would like to make a surprise birthday for our friend in Jerusalem on Thursday, and if Tatty can’t drive us, we’ll just take the bus together. Goodnight Mommy.” Confusion and worry, along with some amusement that my baby feels old enough to do that, all seeped into my thoughts at the same time. “But wait,” I told her, “doesn’t that mean that you will need to take a city bus from here, and then get off in Jerusalem, and board another bus in Jerusalem to the correct neighborhood, and then find her house after getting off in her area?” She looked at me, slightly annoyed and said, “Well yeah. Are you worried?” She looked me in the eye and sensed my position. She plopped herself down across from me on a large beanbag with the attitude of someone who was just hit with an unpleasant trivial task… “Well let’s talk then, what are you worried about?”

I felt myself preparing for battle as I rattled off all the potential dangers of such a situation….
- The ride from our settlement in the West Bank into Jerusalem.
“The busses are bullet proof, Mommy. Remember?...”
- I’d be much more comfortable if your father drove you.
“You do it all the time, and besides, Tatty’s car is not bullet proof…”
- Well, what about getting off in Jerusalem at the right place?
“We know which Street to get off on, and if it makes you feel better we will ask a Mommy on the bus to tell us when to get off…”
- What about getting the right bus to her neighborhood? What if you get on the wrong bus?? There are routes to very dangerous Arab neighborhoods…
“We are taking the number 11, we will make sure to ask someone if it is going to the right neighborhood…”
She looked bored at this point and was examining her nails. I persisted.
- What if something happens and she isn’t there or something? What if something happens and you need to evacuate the bus and find a shelter? Times are uncertain now sweetie, and I don’t know what will happen?
She got up now and came to sit next to me on the couch. She looked into my eyes and said, “Then we’ll go with everyone else and we’ll get through it with everyone else. And we’ll pray.” I stared at her and wondered when it happened that this baby grew up, and how she developed such a strong sense of faith and security in G-d. I wondered if I was about to make a monumental mistake in letting her go. I asked her if she was even just the teeniest tiniest bit afraid of the “situation” now. She answered, “Yes. But my hishtadlus is my prayer, and I know that G-d doesn’t want me to stop my life and stop serving Him. He wants me to keep doing what I need to do to be a better person no matter what is happening around me. Giving up to the Arabs is like killing OURSELVES, because then we’re not really alive.”

I told her she could go. And for two days until the big day when my baby would leave my secure embrace and enter the wild world outside, armed with her Psalms and a good friend, I worried a little once in a while and recalled her words often. I glanced at the young lady looking all cute holding the little birthday present for her friend in Jerusalem, standing by the door, waiting to leave. I wanted to finish listening to the news before I kissed her goodbye. It was announcing that the risk for terror was high and that sometime in the next few hours there would be a war siren drill, and we would all need to do a test run to our sealed shelter rooms. I flicked it off in the middle, and kissed my baby goodbye and handed her a cell phone. I told her what she already knows, that G-d is with her and that He will always love her, and said, “bye” with a smile. She turned and said, “Not ‘bye’ Mommy, ‘Shalom, v’Lehitraot’”, the Israeli way of saying goodbye, meaning ‘Peace, and until I see you again’.

Tamar's Kid Friendly Raw Ginger Tonic

1 piece of raw ginger root about 2 inches long by one inch wide (unpeeled)
6 cups spring water
1 1/2 cinamon sticks (you can cut these the long way with kitchen shears to make it easier on your blender)
1 tiny pinch raw grey sea salt
1/2 of a raw vanilla bean
6 tablespoons fruit sugar or honey

Blend everything except for the fruit sugar in your blender on high speed for at least 3 minutes. If your blender is less than awesome, you'll need alot longer to break up the ingredients. Strain using a sprout bag or a tiny holed strainer, pour into pitcher and add the sugar and more water to taste. This is a great winter drink and good for digestion.

Tamar's Very Own Tasty Granola

6 cups crushed raw oats (by this I mean the quick cooking kind)
2 cups raw rolled oats
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 1/2 cup almonds
1 cup pistacios (how do you spell that anyway??)
1 cup pecans
1 cup walnuts
1 1/2 teaspoons raw grey sea salt
1 cup shredded coconut
2 cups banana chips
1/2 cup fruit sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup honey
3/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups raisins/ cranberries/ or your favorite mix of dried fruits

First put all ingredients from sunflower seeds to banana chips into a food processor and process untill everything is broken up and blended. We like it to be almost completely ground. Then put together with all oats in a HUGE bowl and put aside for later. Put all ingredients from fruit sugar until vanilla extract into a heavy sauce pan and boil while stirring. When boiling, pour into bowl of oats and nut mix and mix completely. Place on cookie sheets lined with paper in oven on 350 degrees for 20-ish minutes, mix once in the middle of baking.
After baked, add dried fruits and enjoy with milk or even better, almond milk!