Monday, April 08, 2013

Soldiers in Our Midst

You know all those famous cool pictures of soldiers davening that always get passed around Facebook, etc?
Today I saw it for real!!
I was just driving along to work and noticed a number of patrols along the side of the road. As I pulled to a stop by a red light, I saw an army jeep, and 2 soldiers. One of them had his siddur in hand and was davening (praying) away. It was very inspiring. I love being protected by an army that includes many people with a strong belief and connection to G-d. I love watching that connection of a soldier thanking G-d for our land. The land that he is protecting. It gave me a good feeling.
What did not give me a good feeling was seeing the patrols out at all. You can either feel safer when you see lots of soldiers or less safe because you know there is a reason they are there. I feel sad. This is right near Ariel, my home turf and I hate having to see soldiers there. Because it means there is some kind of situation going on that they have to protect us. Granted, they are always protecting us but when it's more obvious like this, you wonder what sparked it. Not sure if it still has to do with the rock throwing that injured little Adelle bat Adva. or if it is something more recent. Whatever it is, I hate it.
We have family and friends who refuse to come to Ariel because they feel it is not safe. We laugh at them, we plead with them, we try to explain to them that they have the wrong impression. And that we actually feel THE safest in Ariel - more so than north, south, central. Shauli had a conversation with someone and was trying to get them to come visit us in Ariel. We assumed that she didn't want to come because she was nervous about the drive but she said that she was nervous about actually being in the city. It was SO strange for us to hear that being the reason. So foreign to us! What could a person possibly have to fear in Ariel that they wouldn't fear in other bigger cities here? He said to her, "But you went to Chevron and spent Shabbat there! How can you possibly feel less safe in Ariel??" She answered, 'But in Chevron, there are soldiers every few feet and there aren't in Ariel......"
That's because in Chevron you NEED soldiers every few feet and in Ariel you don't.
So when I do see soldiers around (though they were not in Ariel), despite what she thinks, I don't take comfort in their presence. It just makes me sad.....

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Gilad Shalit

Jonah asked me yesterday while eating a snack of grapes if Gilad Shalit is still alive.

I said, I believe so. He said how do you know? I said, because as far as Israeli intelligence is aware, he is still alive. He told me that he sees lots of signs and stickers that say "גלעד עדיין חי". Translation: Gilad is still alive.

Jonah: "Do they give him food in jail?"
Natalie: "Yes."
Jonah: "Why?"
Natalie: "If they didn't, he would die."
Jonah: "Do they give him water to drink?"
Natalie: "Yes. If they didn't, he would die."
Jonah: "Is it kosher food?"
Natalie: "Probably not. However, Arabs also don't eat pig like Jewish people. So they keep a certain kind of kosher. So at least they don't give him pig. And in these circumstances, Hashem (G-d) understands. It is more important for Gilad to eat and drink whatever they give him and stay alive than for him to keep kosher."
Jonah: "But they hate Israel. So why do they keep kosher?"
Natalie: Who hates Israel?"
Jonah: "Arabs."
Natalie" "Not all Arabs hate Israel. We've talked about this before. Not all Arabs hate Israel and not all Arabs are bad. Some of them live in Israel. And some of them would rather live in Israel with an Israeli government than live in a place with an Arab government. But yes, the ones that have Gilad Shalit are bad."

Jonah: "I hope he comes home soon."
Natalie: "Me too. I really hope so. He has been gone for 5 years. On Shabbat, it is 5 years. That's a long time. He needs to come home."
Jonah: "I hope he comes home tomorrow."
Natalie: "Me too. Wouldn't that be great news to wake up to? Gilad Shalit came home!! Everyone would be so happy! And his family would be so thankful."
Jonah: "If I could, I would rescue him. I would take a big tractor or something and drive right over there and just take him out and save him. I really wish I could do that. I wish I could save him....."
Natalie: The best thing you can do right now is daven to Hashem (pray to G-d) and tell him how much you want Gilad Shalit to come home and how everyone is waiting for him. Right now we can't do anything to save him, but Hashem is in charge so tomorrow when you go to school and daven, say and extra special prayer for Gilad to come home."
Jonah: When we go see Bubbe and Zayde in Jerusalem, can they take us to the Kotel?
Natalie: Maybe.
Jonah: Oh good, I really want to put a petek (note) in the wall asking Hashem to bring Gilad Shalit home. I was really sad because I forgot to do that at my siddur party. I meant to bring a petek to put in the wall but I forgot and I had a paper but I didn't have a pen. My friend Ili reminded me, because he brought a petek from home. But I forgot.... so maybe I can go back and remember to do that next time."

Intense.... may we all wake up to the fantastic news that Gilad Shalit was brought home safe and sound.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Oh, the things they say...

2 Funny Kid Comments

1 - I was talking to Sammy (4 years old) about summer vacation. I asked if he would like to have a sleepover with Jonah at his grandparents in Jerusalem. He was thinking about it and wanted to know what they would do. I said during the day maybe they could go somewhere fun, like the zoo. My kids are CONSTANTLY asking to go to the zoo! He responded, "Maybe to the zoo.....or maybe to Mitzrayim" which translates to Egypt. I said "Maybe... but I don't think so". He said, "There really is an Eretz (land) called Mitzrayim. And they talk like Aravim (Arabs) there!"
Not sure where that entire comment came from but I was amused.

2 - We were sitting at the dinner table and had the following conversation:

Natalie: We have to call moving companies
Jonah (6 yr old) - You should call Hovlot Yossi
Natalie - Why?
Jonah - Because they are the best!
Natalie - How do you know that?
Jonah- Because it says so on the sign....

:) So apparently their advertising works. When I call for a quote, I'll have to relay the conversation and maybe I can get a discount. Hehe!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

This Week's Thought - From the Koby Mandell Foundation

This Week's Thought
From The Koby Mandell Foundation

Last week, at a memorial service for Koby his brother Daniel read the following:

Who wants to write to a brother who was murdered?

It’s difficult to write to you,
It’s been years since we spoke.

Your physical absence has been replaced with an empty space in our lives. In another month you could have been 24.

You could have been married with a child or two, you could be traveling in South America, you could have been studying at university, you could have been a computer expert, you could have been a stand-up comedian, you could have been so many things.

I remember how I would whisper to you at night, asking you where you are, asking you to watch out for us. I begged you to come back, to make everything the same as it was before.

I remember how I used to think that it’s all just a big joke, or a nightmare from which I will wake up, that I’ll just get up in the morning and you’ll be there...and everything would continue as it was.

But today I do not whisper to you any longer. I’m not asking you to come back.

Today the pain is not only the pain of death, but also the pain of loss. Not a burning pain, but like a hand that grabs the inside of your stomach and turns it.

Today I realize how small you were, how really cruel they were.

Please click here to make a contribution to The Koby Mandell Foundation.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Land Day"

I hope today is a quiet day. I hope not to hear any news. I hope I won't get any phone calls, IM's, SMS's, or have any conversations relating to the current situation in Israel. Just a quiet day. I hope my son won't come home asking more questions about the murders in Itamar or the bomb in Jerusalem. He stumped me today.

On the way to school he said, "Mommy, if Jerusalem is a walled city, how did the person who put the bomb there get in?" I really didn't know how to answer it. On one hand, was I supposed to make it sound like they came in from the outside? But that will destroy his feeling of safety that we have a security fence around our city. Was I supposed to tell him that somehow they got past the security guards and soldiers? That will ruin his faith and secure feelings from the army and police. He then asked, "Did they live there?"
All I could say was that they don't know who did it yet so they don't know how they got in. And I said it was a very good question.

When I got home, I saw an article Shauli sent me about "Land Day". The article can be seen here:

Here are a few excerpts from the article that really got to me. "The boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, an umbrella network operating worldwide to boycott Israel as part of a delegitimization campaign, has called on anti-Israeli activists around the world to hold solidarity activities with the Arab “Land Day” which is scheduled for Wednesday....
The notice calls on “people of conscience” to join the boycott of Israel....
U.S. events focus on Washington, DC, but are also expected to be held in Seattle and at the University of Arizona, where a model of the Israeli security fence (which organizers term “the apartheid wall”) will be erected..... "

People of conscience......people of conscience.... I'd like to meet these people of conscience and take them by the shoulders and shake them really really really hard. CONSCIENCE???? For example the woman that I previously blogged about who was proud to be a "Jew but a Palestinian sympathizer". CONSCIENCE???? Where the hell was your conscience when murderers snuck into Itamar, entered a families house, and brutally murdered the Fogels. Where the hell was your conscience when they slit the throats of Udi Fogel and his 3 month old daughter, Hadas. When they cut her throat so bad, she was nearly decapitated?? Where the hell was your conscience when Ruth Fogel came out of the bathroom to find her family being slaughtered? And she fought for her life and for the lives of her family? And she was cut up so badly, they couldn't even include the pictures along with the others from the murder scene. What about when they killed 11 year old Yoav, reading in his bed? Or when they stabbed 4 year old, Elad right in his heart?

I think you don't know what a conscience is. Conscience: The awareness of a moral or ethical aspect to one's conduct together with the urge to prefer right over wrong.
Conscience: motivation deriving logically from ethical or moral principles that govern a person's thoughts and actions .

Morals? Show me their morals. Right over wrong. Not wrong over right. Not even wrong over wrong. Logic. Is there any logic in any of this? I don't see any on either side.
Israel gives land for peace. Palestinians destroy that land, elect a terrorist government, shoot rockets at innocent civilians, and brutally murder the very same people whose houses they now inhabit (unless they destroyed them because they belonged to "filthy Jews".

We are fighting a losing battle. Not because I believe Palestinians are bad people as a whole. I don't. But there are a lot of bad Palestinians out there. And these are the ones with the loudest voices and actions. These are the ones who are somehow running their people. I watched a video yesterday from Palestinian TV. It was a kid's program. While my children sit and watch Bob the Builder and Mr. Maker and Zoboomofoo, Palestinian children are watching this:

Our children watch Clifford the Big Red Dog or Barney singing "I love you, you love me" and poor Ahmad and his sister Fatima watch a rabbit vowing that "I, Assud, will finish off the Jews and eat them, Allah willing."

There are countless videos out there showing the programming these kids sit and watch. So how can I ever hope that my children will be able to sit in peace with their children? They are being taught pure hatred of the Jews from before they even enter school.

Back to the article. A "model of the Israeli security fence" (which organizers term “the apartheid wall”) will be set up. I wonder if they are going to set up some ridiculous huge, scary looking wall. Along with signs saying NO ARABS allowed? Spreading more rumors and lies about Big Bad Israel.

Let me tell you about the "apartheid wall". It's a security fence. That's exactly what it is. It was set up to keep the bad guys out (or attempt to). That's what a country needs to do when there are people constantly trying to enter into your cities and blow them up. In most areas it's a little fence with perhaps some barbed wire on the top and hopefully cameras and sensors along it. The purpose is to defend ourselves against a people who only want to wipe us out. They don't even hide that this is their goal.

As for apartheid. "a social policy or racial segregation involving political and economic and legal discrimination against people who are not Whites" or in this case - I guess not Israelis? And Israelis does not mean Jews. There are plenty of Arabs who live in Israel and have Israeli citizenship. And reap the benefits of a normal life. We have no problem living side by side with Arabs. As long as they do not want to kill us. Rather, as long as they don't act on it.

I know I have mentioned this before but if this 2 State solution ever goes through and there is an Israeli state and a Palestinian state - where will apartheid be practiced? In Israel or in Palestine? Israel will continue with it's many immigrants of all different races, nationalities, and religious. Palestine will consist of Arabs. No Jew will be allowed to live there and if somehow they did, I don't imagine it would be long before they are murdered. So who will have the apartheid State?
Do you know what the signs say in Israel before you enter Palestinian controlled areas? I can't remember the exact phrasing but among the wording is any Israeli who enters is endangering their life!

Um, there are no signs like that going into Canada. There are no signs like that going to London. And sadly, it's true. It is dangerous to enter these areas (although most likely we would be stopped before we happened upon Ramallah). I am sure crazy terrorists would just love to get their hands on some Jew who wandered into their city. Remember the Ramallah lynchings in 2000? Two Israelis accidently drove into Ramallah. They were detained by PA policeman and brought to the police station. Word got out and a crowd of more than 1,000 Palestinians gathered at the station, calling for the death of the Israelis. The 2 men were beaten, stabbed, had their eyes gouged out, and were disemboweled. At this point, a Palestinian appeared at the police station window, displaying his blood-stained hands to the crowd, which erupted into cheers. One of the soldier's bodies was then thrown out the window and stamped and beaten by the enraged mob. One of the bodies was set on fire. I believe their bodies were dragged by car to the center of the city for a victory celebration. Wow, that's frightening.

Shauli and I almost drove into a small Arab city near us by accident too. It was the night after the Fogel murders and we were going to visit some friends who live in nearby Pedual. We took a wrong turn and were driving on a small, dark street (following our GPS.....). We both had a bad feeling which was confirmed when we saw a sign written in only Arabic. We hightailed it out of there!!

So for now, we have one State of Israel. We let peaceful Arabs live, work, and go about their business in our country. And we try to keep the bad ones out. WE are not an apartheid state, just a state trying to survive. If a Palestinian State is established, then you'll see an apartheid, Judenrein state.
But at least if there are 2 states, maybe we can actually defend ourselves and our borders.

Thanks for reading. I don't mean to depress you. I owe you a positive post soon about all the reasons that it's great to live here. :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Triple Blog

I've had so many blogs floating around in my head over the weekend but just haven't had time to sit and write them down. Let's see if I can try to sort out a few of my thoughts.

1. On Friday I read a cousin's post supporting Israel and someone else commenting about how she (the commentor) is Jewish but a Palestinian sympathizer. I can't stop thinking about it. I am torn between wanting to respond to her and telling myself to move along. She has already made up her mind, she has already decided I must be some big bad, Israeli who came in and stole their land, and probably she feels that those "crazy settlers got what they deserved." It's sickening and it makes me want to cry. Anyone who can justify the murder and decapitation of a 3 month old, a 2 year old, and an 11 year old, makes me can we ever make peace with our enemies if even our own kind hate us? Doesn't she realize that they would kill her too in a heartbeat? And then celebrate her death by handing out candy in the streets? Sorry, is that just for the death of a child?

I am a "Palestinian" sympathizer too. I sympathize with any normal, humane Arab who just wants to live their live. I am sure there is an Arab mom out there, with 3 little kids just like me, who just wants to send her kids to school and go out and buy groceries, and live a full, and meaningful life. I am sure she was horrified by the murder of the Fogel Family. I am sure she fears for her children's life and what will happen when they get old enough to go out and become martyrs. Doing this by giving up their own lives. If she is someone who moved into the beautiful Israeli homes in the Gaza Strip, I am sure she is also completely terrorized by her own terrorist government, Hamas. Whose motto is "We love death as much as the Jews love life." But this woman doesn't have the freedom of expressing her fears on the Internet. She is not allowed to disagree with her government. Because she could be killed and tortured for it. I sympathize with you, fellow mother.

2. Jonah said to me today, "Mommy, did you know there was a bomb on a bus in Yerushalayim last week. My friend told me about it". I said "Yes". He said, "How does that happen? Was there a bomb inside the bus?" I told him "no, the bomb was next to the bus". He said "But how did it get there?" I said, "Someone put it there." He said," Wouldn't someone notice a bomb?" I told him they put in a briefcase and explained that we always have to be aware of the things around us and if we ever see a bag or a package sitting on the ground with no one around it, then we need to tell someone. I explained how in Israel, they are always SOO careful and people are always watching to make sure there are no bombs and to keep us safe. He didn't seem terribly concerned, he seemed very matter of fact about it. I was worried about him because he is my "scaredy cat" kid and also the only one old enough to really understand the danger. He somehow jumped back to the Fogel murder in Itamar and asked how they did not know that the terrorists came in. I explained that there was a problem with the security there in that, there were no cameras along their sensor fence. We talked about how it could not happen in Ariel because we do have cameras and we can see anyone and anything at anytime along the fence. I told him we live in a very safe city. I asked him if he was scared and he said "No". I told him what helped him to not be scared and he said "The policeman who lives next door." We have a neighbor policeman (who was actually on duty the night of the Fogel murders and was called to the scene since they are in our jurisdiction, I guess). When I was asking around for someone that Jonah could talk to (as per his request), the policeman among many others volunteered. Jonah has yet to speak to him but is extremely reassured by the fact that we have a neighbor who is a policeman and by the fact that he is willing to talk to him and explain the security in Ariel.

Jonah has decided once again that when he grows up, he would like to be a soccer player, a policeman, and a soldier. So that he can protect everyone from the bad guys.

3. One more and then I am off to bed. There is a Facebook page calling for the 3rd Palestinian Intifada. It's listed as a "cause". 335,621 people "like" this. The page's administrators posted a quotation of a Hadith (Islamic tradition) that is popular with radical groups, which reads, "The hour [of redemption] does not come until the Muslim fight the Jews and even the stones and trees say, 'O Muslim, a Jew is behind me, so kill him.'"

Despite many people reporting this page and many personal requests to Facebook and the creator, Facebook has decided not to remove the page. They want it to be a place where people can openly discuss issues and express their views, while respecting the rights and feelings of others.

"While some kinds of comments and content may be upsetting for someone – criticism of a certain culture, country, religion, lifestyle, or political ideology, for example - that alone is not a reason to remove the discussion."

I am sorry but has the world gone MAD????? Expressing their views by calling for a march into Israel to destroy the Jewish state? "O Muslim, a Jew is behind me, so kill him?" Since when is this OK??? Freedom of speech is one thing but open calls for annihilation of the Jews - a 3rd Intifada? We all know what the 3rd Intifada will be about. Same as the 1st and 2nd. KILL THE JEWS! And this is "ok" due to freedom of speech???

What would happen if The Jewish Agency posted a group called Kill the Arabs. Or decided on May 15th, 2011, they are going to reclaim the land that is rightfully ours. Would the world be quiet then? Would everyone be ok with that? Hard to imagine but mostly because it's so absurd. We don't do things like that.
What about if someone posted a page about Killing all Mormons. Or all African Americans? Kentans? French people? Would that cause some uproar? Yah, I am pretty sure it would. How can people just sit back and watch as open calls for violence are being posted right and left? Is it because so many are crazy leftists and feel the "Settlers" deserve it? It is because they think it's not their problem?
Is this how people felt before the Holocaust? That there was total madness going on around them and the rest of the world was strangely silent?

Don't you get it? WE WANT PEACE!!! We gave you the Gaza Strip in hopes of peace. And what did you do? You elected a terrorist government, Hamas. Whose only purpose is to kill and destroy all Jews and the State of Israel. You took our beautiful homes, gardens, farms, and greenhouses and destroyed them. Acres and acres of land, you destroyed the fruit trees because it was planted and cared for by Jews. Oh, and the peace we talked about? You shoot rocket after rocket into Israel, filling the rockets with pins and nails to maximize the casualties.

Two quotes by Golda Meir sum up my feelings perfectly....

"Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us."
As long as they continue to teach hatred in their schools, it's a losing battle. We can't make peace with those who have taught to hate us since they first learned to read and write.

"We can forgive you for killing our sons. But we will never forgive you for making us kill yours."

And like Dennis Prager says in this Middle East Conflict video ( What would happen if Israel laid down its arms and promised not to fight anymore? And what about if the Arab countries and the "Palestinians" laid down their weapons and promised not to fight anymore.

In the first scenario, Israel would be destroyed.
In the second scenario, there would be peace the following Wednesday.

Thanks to my loyal blog and Facebook note readers. Please continue reading and COMMENT so I know at least a few people are reading.....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How would YOU feel?

Today I had a meeting with a rep from the Jerusalem Consulate. Apparently, he has a unique position - he is the only person in the Jerusalem Consulate who has anything to do or any contact with Jews (rather, Israelis) living in Judea and Samaria. Everyone else works with the Palestinians. Which is why if you check out the website, you will not see a single thing about Jews/Israelis living in the "West Bank" or Judea and Samaria - Yehuda and Shomron. It is as if we don't exist.....

The meeting was odd. It was cut short and none of us (the few Ariel Olim who were there really got a chance to talk) and the rep did not have a chance to ask the questions he said he had for us.
We started off introducing ourselves. When it got to my turn, I gave my usual shpiel about how we ended up in Ariel and he interrupted me and said that sounds familiar, he thinks he read about me in the Jerusalem Post. A couple months ago I was interviewed for an article which is what he was referring to.
He said that he actually had a specific question for me because he remembered me saying that I did not move to this area for political reasons or to make a stand. And then he went into this long drawn out roundabout way of asking "What would I do if/when Ariel loses it's status as an Israeli city and becomes part of a Palestinian State?" I was totally thrown off. It's not that I was exactly surprised that he asked this question. It just came on so suddenly, I guess. And it was directed at me. And the way he made it sound was as if he truly believed it would happen.
I did not know how to respond. Looking back, there are a lot of ways I could have answered. But at the time I said "Listen.....I am just a regular person trying to live my life. I want to raise my children in a place we call home, where we feel comfortable, and where we belong. In a place that I feel safe. I'm just trying to live my life in peace." I said that I do my part, on a small scale, to work towards peace. We have Arab workers that do landscaping and clean up in the city and I make a point to say good morning and smile to them. Because I am only one person living my life and that is what I can do. I just want to live peacefully and happily.
The problem is how can we do that with so many people that don't want that? They have no interest in living peacefully with us. They want to push us into the sea and wipe us off the face of the earth..... As far as giving them Ariel, it would be complete suicide. In terms of a defensive point of view (and I began rambling at this point and just forgetting my words in general), it would be crazy. And I don't believe it will ever happen. If G-d forbid, it does, we'll see.

I think how I should have responded is as follows:

Tell me this. What would you do? How would you feel if you were living your life, trying to be a good person and raise your children the right way and terrorists began trying to kill you off one by one? What if your friends were stabbed to death and their children's throats were slit by monsters? Their hearts stabbed?
And then what if your government let them win? And gave them your house, your city, and your life? How would you feel?