Monday, September 22, 2014

Followup to "Correction Requested From The Boston Globe"

After receiving no response from The Boston Globe to the September 15 request for a correction and seeing no correction in the newspaper itself, the following, along with the text of the original request, was sent to the editor of The Boston Globe on September 22. If a response is received and it is appropriate to do so, the response will be posted here.

Dear Mr. McGrory:

It's possible that The Boston Globe has issued a correction about the factual error I pointed out in an email a week ago and I somehow missed noticing it, but I suspect this issue simply fell through the cracks during the changes relating to the resignation of Peter Canellos from his position as Editor of the Editorial Page.

Under that assumption, I am including the original email I sent to you and again request an appropriate correction be issued, both in accordance with the ethical standards of professional journalism and your responsibility to your readers.


Alan Stein

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Correction Requested From The Boston Globe

The following letter was sent by email to the editor of The Boston Globe on September 15, 2014. Copies were sent to Peter Canellos, editor of the editorial page; Dante Ramos, deputy managing editor of the editorial page; Matthew Bernstein, letters editor; and Lawrence Harmon, editorial writer. If there is a response, it will be noted and, if appropriate, posted here.

Dear Mr. McGrory: 

The September 6 editorial, "Israeli seizure of 1,000 acres is wrong move at wrong time," and three letters published today, September 15, all included the same, basic factual error: they all falsely stated that Israel had seized land in the disputed territories. 

Israel did not seize any land. Rather, after appropriate investigation, Israel concluded the land in question was not privately owned. In keeping with its open and democratic nature, Israel did not keep that conclusion secret and is even providing the opportunity for anyone who believes its conclusion was incorrect to come forth with evidence. 

The Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists stipulates journalists should "acknowledge mistakes and correct them promptly and prominently. Explain corrections and clarifications carefully and clearly." 

I request that you act in accordance with that code and issue an appropriate correction. 


Alan Stein, Ph.D. 

Founder, PRIMER-Massachusetts
President Emeritus, PRIMER-Connecticut
Promoting Responsibility In Middle East Reporting

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Oded Revivi, Mayor of Efrat, Writes to The New York Times

P.O.B. 1022

PHONE: 972-2-9939310
MOBILE: 972528443663

Letters to the Editor
New York Times

In response to your article "Israel Claims Nearly 1000 Acres of West Bank Land Near Bethlehem," Aug. 31, 2014, and the allegation that the land is privately owned by Arabs, I would like to clarify the matter with the following factual information:

In 1967, Israel became the sovereign authority in Judea and Samaria. Preceding Israel was Jordan, who replaced the British in 1947.  Before the British, the Turks ruled over the land of Israel and controlled the land that over time had passed from one nation to the next.

Today Judea and Samaria is being held by the Israeli government which has inherited all the legal property rights. (Jordan occupied Judea and Samaria between 1948 till 1967, but their occupation was only recognized by Britain and Pakistan).

According to the Turkish land registration, there are essentially two types of land =96 private land and State-owned land. The government of Israel is very careful not to make any use of private land, and as for State land, there is a long and complex public procedure that the government undertakes before making use of State lands, and this is to make sure not to harm any private person by depriving him of his rights.

The declaration publicized in the New York Times is proof of this very public procedure and allows for anyone who feels himself harmed to come forth and prove his rights to the land.

I would like to use this opportunity to make an additional comment. In English it is customary to term the areas of Judea and Samaria as "occupied territories". To those using this term, I would like to ask, occupied from whom?

If we go back to the registration of rights from the time that the Turks ruled, it is clear that there are private lands that were registered as such and which the State of Israel does not dispute and does not touch. On the other hand, to who do the State lands belong to? The Turkish government does not claim their ownership and neither do the British. The Jordanians, in their peace treaty with Israel, declared that they are relinquishing any claim of ownership to the lands of Judea and Samaria.

If we examine the declarations and decisions of the United Nations and other bodies that preceded the UN, it can be proven that these lands were designated for the State of Israel and as such, the State of Israel is permitted to make use of these lands.

As pointed out above, the State of Israel exercises extreme caution before making use of these lands (even though these lands have been part of the historical Jewish State from Biblical times), and it would be proper if those that attack and criticize her would have knowledge of the legal foundations of the issue before voicing condemnations.


Oded Revivi, Esq.
Mayor of Efrat

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Boston Globe Has a Sense of Humor

The Boston Globe showed it has a sense of humor. It published a letter from me today (Sunday, September 7, 2014) in its magazine section. Actually, it published half of a letter I sent.

This is what it published:
Debating Debates 
I couldn't help but be puzzled by H.D.S. Greenway's August 17 Perspective, "How We Talk About Israel," that suggested free-flowing exchanges about the Arab-Israeli conflict were "off-limits" in the United States and implying that criticism of Israel was essentially being squelched. My observation has been almost the opposite, with disproportionate opportunities given to anti-Israel (a more accurate description than "pro-Palestinian") vitriol. For example, I've actually tried to keep track of the "dialogue" in The Boston Globe, and since the beginning of May, I've counted 17 pro-Israel opinion items being outnumbered by 20 anti-Israel opinion items. 
Alan Stein
Founder, PRIMER-Massachusetts
Promoting Responsibility In Middle East Reporting

This is what it cut from what I submitted:

Given that public opinion polls generally show three to four times as many people sympathize with Israel than with the Palestinian Arabs, if anything this seems to indicate that the media, or at least The Boston Globe, stifles the pro-Israel voices. 
Also curious are his assertions regarding anti-Semitism. The reality is that supporters of Israel are extremely reluctant to charge anti-Semitism, but the current outburst of shameless attacks on synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses and the blatant anti-Semitism in online postings by "pro-Palestinians" make undeniable what was shown by studies years ago: there is a high correlation between anti-Semitism and attitudes towards Israel.
It reminds me of Archie Bunker in All in the Family, saying “stifle it, Edith.”
The Boston Globe simply stifled the part where I pointed out it stifled pro-Israel voices, and for good measure also stifled the part where I brought up the connection between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, the latter being the modern, socially acceptable way to express one's anti-Semitism.

You just have to laugh!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Letter to United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon

This is a copy of a letter sent to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon by Gila and Doron Tregerman, the parents of the late Daniel Tregerman, who was killed in a Hamas mortar attack on his kibbutz (Nahal Oz).

For UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon

Dear Sir,

My name is Gila, I am an Israeli citizen, and I am a resident of Kibbutz Nahal Oz, near the border with Gaza.

A week ago, we lost our elder son, Daniel 4.5 yrs old, which was killed by a mortar shell, fired from Gaza into Israel deliberately.

I address you after your announcement to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to establish an international investigation Committee to investigate "Israel's crime" in the recent fighting in Gaza.

About us: Doron and I were married five years ago and we have three amazing kids: Daniel 4.5 yrs, Yoval 3.5 yrs and Uri 4 months old. We were a happy family. We lived in Kibbutz Nahal Oz near Gaza, and found ourselves constantly debating whether not to abandon Nahal Oz and move to another location, quieter, safer, far from rocket fire from Gaza, and far away from the alarms.

Then came the threat of terrorist tunnels, which Hamas members dug from Gaza to Israel under our home to hurt us. At night we heard noises and voices digging beneath us. Thus, in the last six months our children slept with the window closed and locked. We were afraid that they will be kidnapped from us.

Can you imagine our life, Mr. Secretary-General? How do you live in constant fear of mortar shell and terrorists emerging from tunnels?

Then, last Friday [August 22], Daniel was killed. All the precautions that we have taken have failed. Daniel, 4.5 yrs old, was killed in our House, while playing with Yoval in a tent built indoors and not outside, because it's dangerous. He was killed from a mortar shell that was shot by terrorists from Gaza, he died in our hands. Daniel died in front of his little sister and his best friend Yoval, 3.5 years old; he died in front of Uri, only four months old and right before our eyes, his mother and father.

We failed. We couldn't protect our beautiful and talented baby. Daniel was killed from a mortar shell that was fired by Hamas members from an elementary school for boys in Gaza City. It wasn't a stray shell. It wasn't accidental death. From that school terrorists fired deliberately to the kibbutz to murder civilians — children, women, old people. This time they also achieved the goal. Daniel was killed almost immediately. Daniel's father, Doron, covered him with a blanket while crying bitterly and we escaped from home with two small children, leaving our precious son behind, in order to protect them from bombings who continued to explode around the house. Yoval, Daniel's sister saw the terrifying sight and understood that something terrible happened. It is unbearable to watch that little child staring at the wall, in overwhelming silence with teardrops from her eyes.

This week, while the "shiv'ah"(Jewish ritual of mourning) at Doron's parents home, we heard of your decision to appoint an international investigation Committee to investigate "Israel's crime" in the recent fighting in Gaza. You informed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu half an hour after our Daniel was killed, perhaps while he was lying dead in our living room, covered in a blanket.

The investigation Committee will examine the "crimes of Israel" during the fighting. The investigation Committeeis not asked to investigate how terrorists shoot out of U.N buildings and schools.

The Committee is not asked to investigate how inside buildings of the United Nations and in hospitals in Gaza terrorist infrastructure flourish and maintain over time, or how from these places terrorist left for activity aimed against innocent people.

It wouldn't investigate how Hamas is abusing the Palestinian people, and how its members impose on residents of Gaza, even on children, digging tunnels aimed only for terrorism against Israel.

It wouldn't investigate how after these excavations carried out under duress and in slave-like conditions, the Hamas murdered the diggers, even the children, just to be sure they won't be able to pass information to Israel.

Why are you silent? Does your silence indicate consent with the abuse of the Palestinian people and the Israeli people?

The answers to these questions will remain unknown.

And I want to ask you, Sir:

Are you and the U.N does not see the links that make up the global terrorism picture?

The terrorists units, fully equipped and full of hatred that attacked us in our homes, are the same units that kidnapped 43 UN observers in Syria; They are the same units that decapitated innocent people in Syria and Iraq; those unites crashed aircrafts into crowded buildings in 2001 in New York; those unites threaten the essence of democratic life, and life itself, in Europe, in the United States and anywhere on the plant.

Let me tell you some more about the history of our lives here, on the border with Gaza. My husband's parents, Doron, also live near the border fence and three and a half years ago a Qassam rocket exploded and destroyed their home.

Up until a few years ago they had good relations with the residents of Gaza. They hired workers from Gaza to work in their fields and Paulina, Daniel's grandmother, drove them home – to Rafah, every evening after work. They use to invite each other for weddings and other celebrations and often traveled to Rafah or Gaza to enjoy life at cafes there.

All that ended when Hamas rise to power and ordered the civilians who worked in Israel, to kill their Israeli employers; otherwise, Hamas would hurt their families. Daniel's grandparents used to tell us this, longing and hoping that the good proximity will resume. They even found ways to maintain contact with their friends from Gaza during the mortar shell. Like the parents of Doron and their friends from Gaza, we want to live in good proximity, in peace and security. It is our hope that our neighbors, the people of Gaza will be able to live peacefully in their homes and build and develop their beautiful country. We believe that the vast majority of the people on this plant do not want to see the sights of blood, tears and fire of the radical Islam movement, but to live peacefully, enjoy kid's laughter, wait for a better tomorrow.

We do not seek the people responsible for our Daniel's death.

We only wish your response and your voice against this crime and the crime Hamas committed against their own people.

Gila and Doron Tregerman
Parents of Daniel (RIP), Yoval and Ori
Nahal Oz, Israel

Monday, August 25, 2014

Questions Asked and Answered

By Arnold Pinsley

Posted with the permission of the author.

If it's acceptable for the glorious leader of Turkey to propose that all thing in his state be "Turkish," the House of Saud to insist that all things in their domain follow Wahabi, the Vatican to insist that it is a Catholic state and for the mad mullahs ruling the Islamic Republic to insist that all things in Iran follow their interpretation of Sharia, why can't Israel insist on being "Jewish?"

Next a question posed by a friend's son to his father which I pose to readers: should I kill a person who is coming to kill me or die?

Leftists might claim that since my life is not worth any more than another, I can claim some moral high ground by letting him kill me, thus not sullying my morality by taking my assailant's life.  8 million Jews, 2 million Gypsies, and more than 12 million others were held to that forced morality during World War II; the high ground they occupy was created by a mound of human remains, ranging from ashes, to soap, lampshades, mattress and coat linings of human hair, and partial or full skeletal remains of more than 20 million people slaughtered in killing camps and more than 42,000 forced labor camps throughout Europe.

One might ask, what if a hundred came to slaughter me, or a thousand, or a million - at what point do I allow my need to exist to be subsumed by the weight of numbers or the world opinion opposing me?  Should I fight and kill to avoid having my family, neighbors, or nation enslaved?  Should I submit when submission means being a slave or being sacrificed on the altar of someone's opposing religious belief?

Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005 and the rockets began raining upon the residents of southern Israel - many of them have had to live their lives in bomb shelters since the rocket rain became virtually a daily occurrence in 2007.

Israel expanded bomb shelters built in the 1950s and its warning systems give its citizens only 15 to 30 seconds advance warning of incoming, yet Israel even gave a five minute warning to the residents of the 12-story Zafer Tower in Gaza.  Hamas has no early warning system for the residents of Gaza nor are bomb shelters available to any but the Hamas elite.

Question to those who support Hamas - at what point do you give in?  Let me guess - it will be when Hamas has released the very last rocket in its arsenal. That will be the downbeat for Hezbollah to start again with much better and longer range rocket attacks directed at Israel from Lebanon.

It should be obvious that Israel is faced with an existential threat and that the choice of whether or not to oppose that threat and how to oppose it has faced every one of its governments since the re-establishment of the country after the United Nations General Assembly passed the partition in 1947 and the Israeli Declaration of Independence issued May 14, 1948.

All governments have resisted the force applied against the country. The Israeli left wing has raised a voice to counsel whatever government was in power as to what the international response would be to the Israeli government's obligation to defend its citizens if it was deemed to be going too far.  The last serious result of that thought as an expression of national policy and practice was in opposition to Operation Litani which began in 1978 and ended with the exit of IDF troops from a "security zone" in Southern Lebanon in 2000.

In 2005, rocketing from Lebanon was of intensity and frequency to necessitate the development of an underground bombproof facility at Rambam Hospital which can be fully operational in 10 minutes with a capacity to serve 2000 patients including a state of the art series of operating rooms - the hospital sustained several direct hits in addition to those sustained by several other communities in the north of Israel during this conflict.

The current conflict has sounded the death knell of the Israeli left; even Amos Oz is calling for the IDF to finish Hamas once and for all. Elie Wiesel's full page ad in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and others showing that Hamas military operations guide ordering that Gazans be used as human shields to the maximum extent possible to assure the most PR play in western media is equivalent to pagan human sacrifice prevalent amongst polytheistic religions competing for adherents with Judaism. (The Torah refers to this as the practice of "passing children through fire," i.e. child sacrifice, and all the Prophets abhor the practice.)

Somehow the radical left in the United States, Canada and Europe hasn't gotten the message. Hamas has practiced human sacrifice from the very beginning of its preparation for conflict with Israel; it freely admits that more than 160 children perished digging out tunnels for its "combatants" and have screamed at all Western media "look at the dead baby;" said media isn't permitted to report that quite often the dead baby had been placed in situ by Hamas or might have been killed by a force other than Israeli.

The Associated Press insists on taking casualty figures at face value from Hamas or the United Nations, which has lost all credibility in this affair.  Rockets were found under a UN facility and then given back to Hamas; rockets found under another UN facility mysteriously went "missing," and so the UN bleat goes on.

The BBC, not known for its warm and fuzzy feelings towards Israel, has presented a much clearer delineation of Gaza casualty figures; lo and behold more than 50% of the casualties are combatants, often clothed as civilians, a violation of the Geneva Convention. There are several media videos depicting Hamas missiles being fired from instillations near a school, hotel, mosque, hospital or apartment building, all war crimes in blatant violation of the Geneva Convention.

The message that the AP and the radical leftists obviously love is that if you are a member of a terrorist group you don't have to play by any rules; why do they insist that the rules that a civilized individual or nation lives by be applied when dealing with terrorists who engage in the slaughter of innocents to gain propaganda advantage?  The argument about moral high ground thus loses all logical support - if someone wants to kill me don't ask me to stay my hand in defending myself; don't castigate me when I fight for my existence which he wants to eradicate.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Letter to President Barack Obama

Dear President Obama:

I am distressed by the reports that, in the midst of Israel's trying to defend itself against Hamas, a common enemy, your administration changed long-standing procedures to slow down the process of resupplying our only reliable friend and ally in the Middle East.

Israel is on the front lines in a battle between the liberal, democratic Western world and revanchist forces trying to destroy us. We need to stand solidly together.

As you know, Hamas strategically places itself in the midst of populated areas, including schools, hospitals, mosques and private homes, using civilians, including women and children, as human shields. For Hamas, every civilian death is a victory.

As you also know, Israel, even more than us, does whatever it can to avoid harming civilians. The proportion of civilian casualties in Gaza has actually been far lower than that in either Iraq or Afghanistan. Given the way Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah and the other terrorist groups in Gaza use civilians as human shields, this is truly astounding and deserves our praise.

Especially given this reality and the nature of our common enemies, criticism of Israel's actions is unjustified and harmful, not just to Israel but to America, to our other friends and allies and even to the people of Gaza, since it encourages Hamas in its use of civilians as human shields. Because of this, in the long run, it effectively condemns more, nameless but innocent civilians to death.

I urge you to reverse policy and stand firmly with our friends and against our enemies. It's critically important that the mistakes of the past, fatally flawed ceasefires, each of which enabled Hamas and the other terror groups to rearm and resume terrorism with even more powerful and lethal weapons, not be repeated.

It must be assured that in the next ceasefire, Gaza be de-terrorized. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah must be disarmed and their terror infrastructure permanently destroyed. Anything less will be a bad ceasefire and will be even worse than no ceasefire.


Alan Stein

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Truth About Hamas

I received this from a cousin living in Beersheva. Although I don't have the source, the content is consistent with stories I've been told by others.

The truth about Hamas
True and heart breaking story

By Itzik Azar
Translated by Moshe Mekler

July 2014

A letter from Ahmed, son of a friend of mine from Gaza.

Background: I knew Ahmed's father, Mussah, who worked many years ago at a metalworking shop in south Tel Aviv district. A very nice man who used to leave Gaza  every morning at 04:00 am and start working at 6:30am at the metalworking shop in the Tel Aviv.

Mussah worked hard in order to provide for his family to buy an apartment in the city of Gaza.

Ahmed, Mussah's son used to come once in a while to help his father with his work.

Today Ahmed, a is a 30 year old father writes:

"Many years ago when my father had to leave his work in Tel Aviv he started to work in a small metalworking shop in Gaza.

Economy was hard and I used to help him work in order to provide for our family.

A minute after Israel had to leave the Gaza strip at 2006, Pickup trucks started driving around the city with thugs from Hamas raged the streets of the city, They were shooting everywhere and hitting every person that looked like he was against their agenda, people were afraid to walk the streets, my father banned my family to leave the house for a few days.

After a few days only me and my father went outside to the metalworking shop in order to provide for our family, every time we heard a vehicle we would fear and look for a hideout at the shop.

One day a pickup truck filled with Hamas thugs stopped by the shop, they went in and took the owner, two days after he came back with his face down and talked to my father, I sat aside and listened.

I understood Hamas notified him that from today his shop will work for Hamas, and Hamas only.

They set the prices and the demand that was ordered from the shop.

Since that day every morning an armed Hamas member used to come to the shop and give us orders to make winged metal pipes and straight ahead I understood that they were used to launch rockets.

One day a pickup truck drove by and stopped, the Hamas members came down and took my father from the shop, we never saw him again, later I understood they killed him and threw his body to a pit.

Life became harder and harder, work wasn't easy, we got a small allowance that barely was enough for bread and milk.

One day a friend of mine offered me to come with him to do some work, since I needed the money I went with him.

We came to an apartment in Gaza, we were six guys, they put us at the back of a truck, we sat in the dark and couldn't see where were going, we drove for an hour and finally they stopped and we come out of the truck standing in a closed building, we didn't know where we are.

They showed us a whole in the ground and told us to go down, the slope was scary and we found ourselves inside a tunnel, we walked for a few hundred meters and we got to the end where two Hamas members waited for us, they gave us working tools and explained us what to do in order to make the tunnel longer.

Work was hard, we were suffocating from lack of air, we used to work 8 hour shifts and then 4 hours of rest, we stayed in the tunnel for 10 days.

The Hamas members changed every day, they used to scream on us and hit us when they thought supply of work was low, after 10 days they took us out, put us in a truck, gave us little money and drove us back to someplace in Gaza.

We didn't know where we've been, what tunnel we dug, the pay was low but they did pay, I never came back to do that work.

I went back to try to get some work at the metalworking shop but I found that it was closed, I asked the neighbours what happened and they answered with fear that Hamas moved the shop to another location and nobody knew where, they told me that every morning a truck with Hamas members comes, picks up the workers, puts them at the closed back of the truck and drive them away and bring them back late at night.

I found my self working in temporary jobs in order to provide for my family.

We live in constant fear, once in a while a truck full with armed Hamas members comes by and attacks civilians.

We see in Gaza the rich Hamas members living in glamorous houses, driving new cars, sending their children to universities abroad while most of Gaza's citizens living fear and poverty, without the ability to work.

Sometimes the kids are telling that Hamas giving away free candies in different locations around Gaza, the kids go to get the sweets and right after we hear that rockets were launched from the same location.

Israel retaliates to the same location and kids get hurt.

I write you this letter because the situation is very bad.

Luckily for us we are living in the city of Gaza but we have families that live in other parts of the Gaza strip, the Hamas runs a war against Israel, shooting rockets constantly on your communities and we the people of Gaza suffer the consequences, we just have no place to hide.

The members of Hamas are hiding in their bunkers under ground, some of them are not even in the Gaza strip, they are protected and they have no problem to continue to fight.

There were many families that rented Hamas rooms and yards at the back of their homes, the Hamas gave them money to put food on the table and now they fire rockets to Israel from those people's homes, many of the homes get blown by your airforce strikes.

We suffer so much, we're afraid of the Hamas, we're afraid of your bombings, there are huge explosions all the time, we hear the sound of Hamas launching their rockets and we know that a minute their will be another sound of blast from your rockets.

We heard about the tunnels that Hamas dug and I understood that I helped them, what I don't understand is why Hamas is doing everything possible to hurt Israel instead of developing the Gaza strip to make the peoples live better.

I hope everything will end and me and my family will survive, but I lost hope, I know that Hamas will take all the money that the world gives to restore Gaza and use it to build more tunnels, buy more weapons and build more villas for the heads of Hamas.

Hamas's thugs will continue to drive the streets and hurt the civilians.

The only thing I can say is that some of Hamas leaders are hiding in bunkers under hospitals and schools because they know Israel won't hurt them there and that's a shame.

We part that the world will help to free us from the fearful and cruel Hamas rule in the Gaza strip.

I'm sure that if you'll spread this letter you won't expose my fathers real name who was your friend and neither my name.

I pray for death to all Hamas members and that we will get freedom and a chance to live a normal life for our children in Gaza.

I wish we can go back to the days my father worked in Tel Aviv with his good friends in Israel
Inshalla! مرحبا - ‏עם

יולי 2014...

מכתב מאחמד , בן של חבר מעזה
בדרך לא דרך הגיע אלי מכתב מאחמד המתגורר בעיר עזה
אני הכרתי את אבא של אחמד, מוסה, שעבד לפני הרבה שנים כמסגר במסגרייה בדרום ת"א.

איש נחמד שהיה יוצא כל בוקר מעזה בשעה 04:00 ומתחיל לעבוד ב-06:30 במסגרייה בת"א .

מוסה עשה לעצמו פרנסה טובה והצליח לקנות למשפחתו דירה בעיר עזה ...

אחמד בנו של מוסה היה מגיע מדי פעם עם האבא לעזור לו בעבודה .

אחמד , שהוא כבן 30 היום ואב לילדים כותב .

"לפני שנים כשאבא נאלץ לעזוב את העבודה בת"א הוא התחיל לעבוד במסגרייה קטנה בעזה ...

הפרנסה הייתה קשה ואני הייתי עובד איתו על מנת לעזור בפרנסת הבית ..

בשנת 2006 שיצאתם מרצועת עזה , דקה אחרי התחילו להסתובב בעיר טנדרים עם חבורות בריונים של החמאס שהשתוללו ברחובות .

ירו לכל כיוון , הרביצו והרגו כל מי שנראה להם שהוא נגדם והיה פחד לצאת לרחוב .

אנחנו ישבנו כמה ימים בתוך הבית , אבא לא הרשה לאף אחד לצאת .

לאחר כמה ימים יצאנו רק אבא ואני לעבוד במסגרייה ולהביא קצת פרנסה .

כל פעם ששמענו רכב מתקרב היינו מתמלאים בפחד ומחפשים מקום מסתור .

יום אחד נעצר טנדר עם חבורת בריונים מהחמאס ליד המסגרייה , הם נכנסו למסגרייה ולקחו איתם את בעל המסגרייה ...

אחרי יומיים הוא חזר עם פנים נפולות ודיבר עם אבא , אני ישבתי בצד והקשבתי ...

הבנתי שהחמאס הודיע לו שמהיום המסגרייה שלו תעבוד עבור החמאס , ורק עבור החמאס ...

הם קבעו לו את המחירים וגם את ההספק הנדרש ממנו ...

מאותו יום כל בוקר היה מגיע בריון חמוש מהחמאס , מתיישב במסגרייה ואנחנו היינו מייצרים צינורות עם כנפיים ומתקנים שהבנתי לאחר מכן שנועדו לשיגור רקטות ...

יום אחד הגיע טנדר עם בריונים מהחמאס , התנפלו על אבא שלי ולקחו אותו מהמסגרייה ...

יותר לא ראינו את אבא שלי .

בעל המסגרייה ביקש ממני לא לבוא יותר לעבודה , שאלתי מה קורה עם אבא שלי והתשובה שקיבלתי הייתה שהחמאס גילו כי אבא עבד בת"א וחשדו שהוא משתף פעולה עם ישראל והעבירו אותו למקום של החשודים כמשתפי פעולה ...

מאוחר יותר הבנתי שפשוט הרגו אותו וזרקו את גופתו לבור ...

החיים נהיו קשים יותר ויותר , עבודה לא הייתה ,קיבלנו הקצבה קטנה של כסף כל חודש שבקושי הספיקה ללחם וחלב .

יום אחד הציע לי חבר לבוא איתו לכמה ימי עבודה מיוחדת , מאחר והייתי זקוק לפרנסה הלכתי איתו ...

הגענו לאיזה דירה בעזה , היינו 6 חברה, הכניסו אותנו לארגז של טנדר סגור ישבנו בחושך ולא יכולנו לראות כלום , נסענו כשעה ובסוף הורידו אותנו בתוך מבנה סגור .

לא ידענו איפה אנחנו .

הראו לנו חור באדמה ואמרו לנו לרדת למטה , הירידה הייתה מפחידה ומצאנו עצמנו בתוך תעלה , הלכנו בפנים כמה מאות מטרים והגענו לקצה .

שם חיכו לנו 2 בריונים מהחמאס , נתנו לנו כלי עבודה , הסבירו לנו מה לעשות והתחלנו לחפור ולהאריך את המנהרה ...

העבודה הייתה קשה , האוויר מחניק , עבדנו במשמרות של 8 שעות עבודה ו4 מנוחה .

נשארנו במנהרה כ- 10 ימים , בריוני החמאס התחלפו כל יום , הם היו צועקים ומרביצים לנו כשחשבו שקצב העבודה נמוך.

אחרי כ- 10 ימים הוציאו אותנו , נתנו לכל אחד מאיתנו קצת כסף ושוב לטנדר הסגור והורידו אותנו במרכז עזה .

לא ידענו איפה היינו ואיזו מנהרה חפרנו וגם השכר היה נמוך , אבל היה .

לא חזרתי יותר לעבודה הזו ...

חשבתי לחזור לעבודה במסגרייה , הלכתי לשם והמסגרייה הייתה סגורה ...

שאלתי את השכנים מה קרה והם בפחד אמרו לי שהמסגרייה עברה למקום אחר ואף אחד לא יודע לאן .

הם סיפרו שכל בוקר מגיע טנדר עם ארגז סגור , כל עובדי המסגרייה נכנסים לארגז ורק בלילה מאוחר הם חוזרים.

מצאתי עצמי עובד בעבודות זמניות על מנת להביא אוכל למשפחתי .

כל הזמן אנחנו חיים בפחד , ברחובות מפעם לפעם מגיע טנדר עם בריוני חמאס חמושים , עוצרים תוקפים אזרחים מרביצים יורים הורגים ומסתלקים ...

אנחנו רואים בעזה את העשירים , אנשי החמאס גרים בבתים מפוארים , נוסעים במכוניות חדשות , שולחים את הילדים ללימודים בחו"ל ורוב תושבי עזה חיים בעוני , בלי עבודה ובפחד מבריוני החמאס .

לפעמים הילדים מספרים לי שהחמאס מחלק ממתקים לילדים במקומות שונים ברצועת עזה , הילדים הולכים לקבל ממתקים ומיד אחרי זה אנחנו שומעים ששיגרו משם טילים ורקטות לעבר ישראל ...

ישראל משיבה אש למקום השיגור וילדים נפגעים .

אני כותב לך את המכתב מכיוון שהמצב קשה מאוד מאוד ...

אנחנו למזלנו גרים בעזה אבל ש לנו משפחות שגרות במקומות האחרים ברצועה , החמאס מנהל נגדכם מלחמה כל הזמן יורה טילים על ישובים שלכם, ואנחנו תושבי עזה נפגעים כל הזמן ואין לנו היכן להסתתר ...

אנשי החמאס מאורגנים בבונקרים שלהם מתחת לאדמה , חלק מהם בכלל לא נמצאים ברצועת עזה , הם מוגנים ולא איכפת להם מהמשך המלחמה בעזה .

היו הרבה משפחות שהשכירו לחמאס חדרים או שטח בחצר הבתים שלהם , זה נתן להם פרנסה ועכשיו משוגרים טילים לעבר מישראל מהבתים שלהם . הרבה בתים מופצצים לאחר מכן ע"י מטוסים שלכם ...

אנחנו כל כך סובלים, מפחדים מבריוני החמאס , מפחדים מההפצצות שלכם , כל הזמן פיצוצים גדולים , שומעים שריקה של ירי רקטה או טיל ויודעים שמיד אחרי זה יהיה פיצוץ של פצצה שלכם ...

שמענו גם על המנהרות שהחמאס חפר לישראל והבנתי שגם אני עבדתי בבניית מנהרה כזו , אנחנו לא מבינים למה הם עושים הכל לפגוע בישראל במקום לפתח את הרצועה ולשפר את חיי התושבים ...

מקווה שהכל ייגמר אני ומשפחתי נהיה בחיים .

אבל אין לי תקווה , אני יודע שהחמאס ייקח לעצמו את כל הכסף שהעולם ייתן לשיקום עזה , יקנה עוד נשק ויבנה עוד וילות לבכירי החמאס .

בריוני החמאס ימשיכו לנסוע בטנדרים שלהם ולפגוע באכזריות בנו בתושבים .

אני יכול להגיד לך שאנחנו יודעים שחלק ממפקדי החמאס יושבים בבונקרים מתחת לבית החולים ובית ספר בעזה . הם יודעים שאתם לא תפגעו בהם שם וחבל.

אנחנו מתפללים שהעולם יעזור לנו להשתחרר משלטון הפחד האכזרי של החמאס .

אני בטוח שאם תפיץ את המכתב שלי לא תחשוף את השם האמיתי של אבא שלי שהיה חבר שלך ואת השם שלי.

מתפלל למותם של כל אנשי החמאס ושנזכה לחופש וחיים נורמאליים לילדנו ולנו בעזה .

והלוואי שנחזור לימים בהם אבא עבד בת"א עם החברים הטובים מישראל
אינשאללה مرحبا

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I Don't Get It!

This was posted to the CoHaV (Coalition of Hasbarah Volunteers) mailing list by Harris Zvi Green and is reposted here with the permission of the author. Find out more about CoHaV by visiting its website

I am now 68 years old. I am probably slowing down a bit so please bear with me as I share some of my frustrations with you. I just don't get it.

My parents and teachers of blessed memory taught me to distinguish between right and wrong. It wasn't very difficult. Most of it was actually straight forward, even intuitive. The principles I learned as a kid provided me with the tools to overcome the moral and ethical challenges I faced on my journey through life. I was taught to love, not to hate. I was taught to tolerate what I didn't like. I was taught to respect my fellow man and made aware of my duties to society. I was taught the sanctity of human life.

It seems that not everybody was as fortunate as I was. Too many people, even those who claim to be intelligent, thinking and progressive, were born to different parents and taught by different teachers. They have been taught to hate and that tolerance is not a virtue. For them, human life is merely a commodity. Their distinction between right and wrong is dramatically different to what I was taught.

I read that Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, has condemned Israel for not sharing its life saving Iron Dome air defense system with those who fire missiles at Israel's civilian population with the sole intention of killing and maiming as many Israelis as possible. Does she require that my tax dollars be spent on protecting those committed to killing me? I don't get it.

In the same way that capital cities around the world compete with one another to host quality marathons and gay parades, so do they strive to host increasingly violent anti-Israel demonstrations supporting Hamas aggression against Israel. Self-styled leaders of the International Community use hate speech to condemn Israel's actions to defend herself. This hate speech provides the legitimacy for the racist slogans used on the banners at these demonstrations. I don't get it.

The death toll in Syria is rapidly approaching 200,000. Surely that's enough to warrant a demonstration in at least one of the world's capitals? I don't get it.

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan uses the most disgusting inflammatory and blatantly anti-Semitic rhetoric against Israel. Who would have believed we would be subjected to this abomination less than 70 years after the Holocaust? The International Community condones his comments by its deafening silence. Has anti-Semitism become politically correct? Surely not.

I don't get it.

Qatar finances state of the art Islamic terror infrastructures. I would have thought this is wrong but Qatar was chosen to host the 2022 World Cup.

I don't get it.

After finding missiles stockpiled in their schools, UNWRA advises Hamas this is against the rules. Either store them elsewhere or use them now! A UN clinic was booby-trapped and claimed the lives of Israeli soldiers entering the building. Shouldn't UNICEF be concerned about the Hamas use of children as human shields? I thought UN agencies had humanitarian responsibilities. I don't get it.

The UN hasn't missed an opportunity to claim there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. If there are shortages of food and medical supplies and the housing, education, transport and social service infrastructures are sub-standard, how did the Gazans manage to construct such a sophisticated network of terror tunnels? The video footage now available has to be seen to fully comprehend this. How were they able to stockpile more than 9,000 missiles and other military hardware? I don't get it.

Whatever steps Israel takes to defend her civilians are considered by the International Community as being contrary to International Law or, at best, disproportionate. How does the International Community expect Israel to defend the lives of its citizens against missiles and terror tunnels? I would have thought that proportionate was what it takes to achieve the objective. I don't get it.

So many NGOs have been established to promote human rights. Why do many of them support movements like Hamas whose charter is genocidal and advocates ethnic cleansing? Surely that's wrong. I just don't get it.

Am I missing something? Is it because we are Jewish?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Rabbi Ervin Birnbaum: Don't Allow Your Spirit To Collapse

My Dear Friends,

I just heard the news of the capture of Cptn Hadar Golden by Hamas, by means of a tunnel that was dug be them into Israeli territory, on a day that was designated as a period of cease-fire.

It should be clear to all of us that this war is taking on a brand new coloration. It should be clear to all of us that no matter what Pres. Obama and the UN leadership would say, Israel cannot allow ANY Hamas tunnel to remain functional. It should be clear to all of us that our enemy is a bloodthirsty enemy who has no concern for its own civilians, puts them up as a purposeful shield for its own rocket launchers and arsenals, and is totally dedicated to Israel's destruction. Above all, it should be clear to all of us that Hamas is convinced that after the last shot will be fired, the world will hasten to pour billions into its territory to rebuild it nicer and better and stronger than they were before the conflict started, whereas Israel will stand isolated and condemned before the tribunal of mankind for its so-called "disproportionate" reaction.

This is turning into a war of endurance and nerves. So, as we are about ready to wring our hands in the face of Hamas' temerity, arrogance and -- yes -- unexpected strength, DON'T ALLOW YOUR SPIRIT TO COLLAPSE!!! Bite your lips, shed a tear (by now we shed gallons of them in Israel), lift your chin up and straighten your back. You must be fortified by the conviction that we, the People of Israel, are entitled to our sovereign Land in the Land of our Fathers, no matter what the world says, and no matter to what an extent the world is ready to throw us into the sizzling fires built by Quatar's petro-dollars.

Sisters and brothers, be proud of our unparalleled army. Embrace our wonderful boys and girls who are fighting our battle of survival. Embrace the bereaved families and show them that their pain is our collective pain and the memories of their loved ones are etched in our minds forever. Buy the products of our men and women who -- despite all the dangers -- remain in their border settlements to maintain a Jewish productive presence, though they have no market, no buyers, no backers. I am deeply thankful to you and infinitely proud of you who came today to our absolutely fantastic sale of flowers at Shearim, delivered to us with the generous last-minute help of "Soda Stream" from settlements in the South. As so many of you requested, if the conflict continues we shall repeat this extraordinary experience in the near future.

However, even if the conflict ends very soon -- which is beyond my expectation at this moment -- please join us this coming Monday in our demonstration of solidarity at the holiest place of our People, at the Kotel in Jerusalem, where we shall stand arm in arm and hand in hand, united with the Jewish Past and praying for a Jewish Future of Peace and Security in our one-and-only beautiful Jewish Homeland.

With fervent prayers for Peace, for consolation to our bereaved families, for the wellbeing of our brave soldiers I wish you and your loved ones a Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Ervin Birnbaum