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Documenting the very personal process of making Aliyah (immigration to Israel) by one very atypical Israeli-American girl. Aliyah on 17, August, 2005. Roadmap: What do you mean there's no roadmap?! Hang on, we're in for a bumpy ride! Ole!
I've moved to olehgirl.com --Please come visit me in my new home!
I guys and gals,
I am seriously looking forward to the New Year because this coming year (please g-d) has got to be better than the year that has passed for this country. From where I'm sitting, personally, though, this past year has been the best in my life (and the upcoming year is looking kinda, like, hectic and unfun but not to worry, the year after that will really be Krazed with a capital K for me. LOL, so much (blah) to look forward to! :) This past year was a banner year for me because I just completed by first year in this country. So as far as my personal life goes, this year will always be extremely special.
Israeli-Arabs protested in front of the Egyptian embassy today, calling out for Egypt to "Learn from Israel what human dignity means. Human dignity is a primary value in Israel." They were protesting the bus accident in the Sinai that killed 12 Arab-Israeli tourists. Egypt refused to allow our (Israel's) ambulances and medical personnel that were standing by just a few miles away to come to the scene to aid the victims and to evacuate them to Israeli hospitals despite the fact that they were not equipped to deal with the scope of the accident nor had a hospital in the vicinity to which critcally injured patients could be taken. At least one victim died simply because evacuating him from the scene to a place where he could receive medical care took them so long and the clinic injured patients were taken to did not have even the most basic equipment for emergency needs (e.g. blood supplies, operating room or equipment, beds --it was a walk-in clinic for everyday minor illnesses). Rather than in ambulances with medics, the victims were taken from the scene on the backs of vegetable trucks.
Some analysts in Israel long have warned of Palestinian anti-Egyptian sentiment, pointing in particular to Hamas, which was founded in 1987 as a military offshoot of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood seeks the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's regime and the creation of an Islamic theocracy throughout the Middle East.
Hi guys and gals,
I thought the whole thing was good enough to post. This op-ed from the New York Post:
September 12, 2006 -- WELL, here it is, five years late, but here just the same: an apology from an Arab-American for 9/11. No, I didn't help organize the killers or contribute in any way to their terrible cause. However, I was one of millions of Arab-Americans who did the unspeakable on 9/11: nothing.
The only time I raised my voice in protest against these men who killed thousands of innocents in the name of Allah was behind closed doors, among the safety of friends and family. I did at one point write a very vitriolic essay condemning their actions, but fear of becoming another Salman Rushdie kept me from ever trying to publish it.
Well, I'm sick of saying the truth only in private - that Arabs around the world, including Arab-Americans like myself, need to start holding our own culture accountable for the insane, violent actions that our extremists have perpetrated on the world at large.
Yes, our extremists and our culture.
Every single 9/11 hijacker was Arab and a Muslim. The apologists (including President Bush) tried to reassure us that 9/11 had nothing to do with Islam, but was a twisting of a great and noble religion. With all due respect, read the Koran, Mr. President. There's enough there for someone of extreme tendencies to find their way to a global jihad.
There's also enough there for someone of a different mindset to find a path to enlightenment and peace. Still, Rushdie had it right back in 2001: This does have to do with Islam. A Christian who bombs an abortion clinic in the name of God is still a Christian, at least in his interpretation, and saying otherwise doesn't negate the fact that he has spent a goodly amount of time figuring out his version of the one true and right thing to do.
The men who killed 3,000 of our citizens on 9/11 in all likelihood died saying prayers to Allah, and that by itself is one of the most horrific things to me about that day.
And, while my grandparents never waged a jihad, their attitudes toward Jews weren't that much different than Mohammed Atta's. No, they didn't support the Holocaust, but they did believe that Jews were trouble in many different ways, and those sorts of beliefs were passed on to me before I'd ever actually met a Jew.
I'm sorry for that, for ever believing that anything that my grandparents or other relatives had to say about Jews or Israel, for that matter, had any real resemblance to truth. It took me years to realize that I'd been conned into believing the generalizations and stereotypes that millions around the Arab world buy into: that Jews, America and Israel are our main problem.
One look at the average Arab regime should alert us to the fact that the problem, dear Achmed, lies not overseas or next door in Tel Aviv, but in the brutal, corrupt despots that we have bred from country to country in the Mideast, across the span of history. That history and its corresponding economic devastation is the main reason I reside on New York City's West Bank - New Jersey - not the one near Jerusalem. On my worst day, I'm happy about that fact. I'd rather be here than there, and experience the freedom and boundless opportunities that were mostly unknown to so many generations of my family in the Mideast.
For as long as I live, the image of those towers falling, as I watched in horror and disbelief from the corner of 40th and Fifth, will be for me my Pearl Harbor, for in that instant I recognized that not only was our city under attack - so was our freedom.
It still is. And will continue to be for years to come. And the threat is not from within, but from Islamic fascists who desperately want to destroy the freedom and opportunities that millions the world over still seek.
Five years after that awful day, it's time for all Arab-Americans, and Arabs around the world, to protest against Islamic fascism, to raise our voices - and, where necessary, our arms - against these tyrants until their plague of terror has been driven from the face of the earth forever.
Emilio Karim Dabul is a freelance writer and PR consultant living in New Jersey.
Syrian forces have sealed off the area. Smoke and fire coming from embassy. Sounds of heavy gunfire.
Below is a picture someone took from an apartment located not too far from where I used to live. My view was so much better.
Something I've noticed: when you dress in the long skirts and three-quarters length blouses that the religious girls wear people treat you nicer. They are more polite. They open doors for you, speak to you more gently, and sort of give you an all-around better treatment.
The Sandmonkey brings to light another case of the media lying to the public. The media ran a series of pictures of a young boy crying with his "dead" mother in his arms (Lebanon of course). It hit all the news sources and the pictures of him and his mother were used in protests all over the place. So what is the problem?
Claiming that pets are an evil western influence, the religious police have banned the sale of dogs and cats in Saudia Arabia.
After an exceptionally bad week, the pinnacle of which was last night (yes the post was deleted --thanks A for the suggestion, though at this point I'm seriously considering other career options at any rate so I'm not sure I care) I had a very nice day. I met with my little cousin for lunch, treating him to the best kosher hummus place in town, which just happens to be down the street from where I live. He's been in ulpan for a month and speaks nearly as well as I do and far more confidently. I've been consoling myself, however, with the fact that he attended an intensive hebrew and jewish studies after-school program for years for modern orthodox kids (since he was 7) and so he does have a bit of an advantage. Still! He is a really neat kid though and very mature for his age and so it was fun to spend time with him.
So last night while I was on the search for the brown skirt I encountered a very cool sight. Coming out of a side entrance from Dizengoff Center I saw a cluster of maybe 18 cats all milling around on the little strip of green with some of them being quite verbal. Seeing large quantities of street cats milling around is, sadly, not a very unusual sight here. But these cats were gathered together for a reason. And these cats did not have the guant, haunted and hunted look of the average street cat. I didn't notice at first the balding man in his early 50s with the bicycle and small set of newspapers in front basket. The cats were certainly noticing and, as more streaked across the street to join the throng I took a glance back to my left. From a large plastic trashbag this man was pulling out big handfuls of long strips of cooked meat and carefully laying them in piles on equally carefully laid out newspaper on the ground. The cats were in ecstacy. I had to go back several steps in order to tell this mensch thank you for his good deed.
So today I went to sign my lease. At the office the lawyer started trying to change around the agreement even as I was putting my initials on the first page. "Well you know since you are paying with checks every month I am concerned and feel that you need to double the guarantee you have with the bank." Me, "no." He continues in this vein and so I put down the pen, looked at him and said, "Apartments in Beer Sheva are an eighth of the cost, they are four times as big, my university will cover 80% of my rent if I live there, and they are plentifully available. I am willing to sign this agreement as it is or move to Beer Sheva. Which will it be?" Un_f*ing-believable. Of course he backed down, I signed, she signed. Then I was stuck having coffee with the landlady and hearing about how lonely she is. At that point I was very uncharitably thinking, "there is a reason for that" but I do feel sorry for her. She spent half the time in the office with the lawyer trying to get him to do something to prosecute the people in her building who are trying to stop her from feeding the cats outside and who have been taking up the food as soon as she puts it down, dumping out the water she leaves for them and who planted wall-to-wall cactuses on the grounds to keep the cats away. So she is a pain in the tachat but she does have a good heart.
An excellent article that appeared in The Irish Times begins:
Conflicts in the Middle East frequently pose awkward questions. Rory Miller and Alan Shatter ask some more ...So nu find out what the answer is and read the rest of this extremely good article!
Now that a ceasefire in Lebanon has been agreed there will, no doubt, be numerous inquests and questions asked about the month-long Lebanon war. So here's some we would like to ask.
Which country invaded its neighbour in mid-2006 in order to, as they put it, “crush” Islamists threatening regional stability?
Which country killed an estimated 500 people in a week when its artillery began bombarding its long-time guerrilla enemy in late July 2006, causing mass displacement and suffering?
If you think the answer is Israel, you guessed wrong.
I should just have stayed in bed after Shabbat. I thought yesterday was bad but today managed to be worse. If tomorrow continues this trend I am just going to climb back into bed and stay there til next week.
Many thanks for all the kol ha'kavods on dealing with the landlady and the landlady's lawyer. Here are how things stand so far (we'll see how they still stand on Wednesday...): my rent is not going up, I can pay monthly, and (because the bank wouldn't give it to me til after I sign the contract at any rate) I can wait to extend the bank guarantee until after I sign the contract. She is not fixing anything. Alas. But on the other hand, the shekel to dollar ratio has, of course, changed since I first paid out the rent and if I were to pay the U.S. rate in shekels today my rent actually would go up by about 20 bucks a month compared to where it was --so they are going to divide the amount of shekels I paid last year by 12 and that is what I am paying each month. So I actually do kinda save :)
I am supposed to renew my rental contract on Wednesday for another year. The lawyer just called and said that since I want to pay by the month (you know like a normal person) instead of in cash up front for the whole year that the rent is going to be an additional $50 a month. He tried to give me some song and dance about how I was getting a discount by having paid in advance and I called bullshit on that because I am paying what it was advertised for. He tried to tell me that paying the full year in advance was the norm and I called bullshit on that too. I got very Israeli agressive and yelled and bitched about everything from the broken refridgerator to the broken air conditioners and broken oven and told him fine, I'd be glad to move out and moving out is not a problem for me in the least so let's just cancel the meeting for Wednesday ...He did not expect that. He suggested I call Chava and talk to her. I did. She said oh because she loves me so much she's willing to keep it the same...she is talking to the lawyer. I am going to call him back. If it stays the same, fine I will stay here (I really really don't want to move but I ain't telling them that). So we'll see what happens...
Waiting for the rally to begin. It started about 45 minutes late. We got there right on time (7:30) and easily made our way to the very front. Hordes of people were hanging out in cafes and such waiting for it to start before coming, however, as when the first speaker, Rabbi Meir Lau (the youngest child survivor of the Buchenwald Concentration camp) began to speak a veritable flood of people began streaming up Ibn Givrol into the Square and packing the broad avenues around it. We at the front were soon packed in like sardines. All the pictures below, save the last were taken prior to the start because I'm short and I was too squished to get good ones during the speeches and the musicians who performed in honour of Gilad, Eldad and Ehud. I should note that Ron Arad was also not forgotten in the calls for the release of the soldiers.
If you haven't seen this video yet, it is seriously worth a watch. Lisa of On the Face has this 25 minute video of the Nahal brigade as it goes into a village at night and encounters terrorists from Hezbollah there. The journalist who took the video was imbedded with the unit and you can see how difficult the conditions are for the Israeli soldiers --the terrorists are hiding in a house filled with ammunition and explosives and worse, the terrorists are dressed in full Israeli uniforms. As members of the unit go into the house they are unaware that "anyone is home" until they are attacked inside. It is one of the most nerve-wracking 25 minutes I've spent as I was watching this.
I have to much to write about and am so tired! So tomorrow I'll fill everyone in on the big rally held tonight to show support for and to demand the release of our kidnapped soldiers. I'll have a bunch of pictures too if any of them came out. I love my little digital camera but it doesn't deal with night scenes but some of them should have come out (hope hope!). They announced on the stage that there were 50,000 people in attendance --I think it was less than that, more like around 40-45,000 but then again it is hard to tell when you are "in the crowd."
experts from Inkas Armored Vehicle Manufacturing and First Defense International Group, both armored vehicle manufacturers, told the Confederate Yankee blog that photographs of the damaged jeep were not consistent with the Reuters claim.Read the Ynet article here and the Confederate Yankee post here.