Thursday, August 31, 2006

looks to be hot next week

A number of generals are meeting with the chief of staff, Dan Halutz, to suggest that he mismanaged the war and it is time to "hang up his uniform."
If he doesn't have the confidence of his top people, it becomes almost impossible for him to run his office effectively.

While the general inquiry hasn't even started yet, meaning that nobody has been officially blamed for the screw up, Dan Halutz can take the fall for everyone by claiming that he was a screwball and is leaving military life, most probably to go into politics.
Amir Peretz, a guy who I generally don't agree with, has been lashing out at his predecessors, most notably Shaul Mofaz, who was the chief of staff and then the defense minister from the retreat from Lebanon until this recent election. While one problem might be that Peretz has no real military experience, he was given a rotten apple to sit on. I would pretty much exonerate him, unless the inquiry comes back saying that he actually tried making military decisions instead of trusting the army to do that.

Olmert is busy sticking his middle finger out at the Israeli public and every time he is quoted in public it sounds like a big "screw you." I was happy to see Lindenstrauss told him where he could go with the investigation request that he requested via the media.

This weekend it looks like we will be going fruit picking in the Golan Heights. Since Olmert's condensation plan has fallen through he has been looking for other things to give away and the Golan is ripe for picking. Some of his senior advisors have been talking up peace with Syria recently. We figured we should get the fruit while it is still Israeli.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

who set up Katsav?

When a public official, without any prior scandals, is accused of violantly raping a woman in his office more then once there is something strange going on. It seems that no one can get out of Israeli politics without having some serious dirt thrown on them. How Benny Begin made it out with people's respect will be recorded as one of life's unsolved mysteries.
Is a foreign country funding a scandal manufacturer in Israel, where Israeli politicians are being set up or put into situations where they will most likely fall? Or are Israeli politicians just stupid?

I think one of the key elements that we are missing here is to check into the complainants finances and see if there isn't something just a little bit strange going on.

In any case, if Katzav is forced to resign I think Sharansky would make a great President. Start preparing his nomination. He is already a highly respected statesman . There are no scandals to his name (that I know of). He is already seen as a national symbol of Israel. He quit the government when he felt that his conscience would not let him be a part of a bad government decision.
Sharansky is the man.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

ron arad

The mere mention of his name evokes such passion in your average Israeli and Zionistic foriegner (maybe we'll just call them expats). Is he alive and what have they done to him. Even if he comes home, will he be psychologically able to cope with freedom?

The big question, of course, is "what are the Lebanese up to"? Is this video to stick their tongues out at us and say, you can bomb our country all you want, but you can't find your pilot"? Is this video to remind us what will happen to the 2 soldiers who were kidnapped in Lebanon recently if we don't play ball with them?

Are they going to show us a video of a Muslim Ron Arad with his new Muslim family?

I sure hope not.
Whatever their reasoning, this is just a small part of the major psychological warfare initiative that the Lebanese/Iranians are putting together in their battle against Israel.

The media should consider that before printing reports which can further demoralize us.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Hizballah boosts Olmert

Nasrallah, the leader of the Hizballah terrorists, made a statement today to try and impact Israeli support of our prime minister, Ehud Olmert. He has been widely quoted as saying that if he would have known that there would have been a war then he never would have kidnapped the soldiers.

This statement is disinformation warfare at its best. It is meant to confuse the Israeli people and to make us think that we actually gained something from this war. One of the primary problems with not winning the war, as we could and should have, is that people feel that Israel lost its deterrence capability. There is mounting pressure on Olmert, Peretz and Halutz to quit because of their apparent incompetence. However, Olmert, Peretz and Halutz are the three best things that could have ever happened to Nasrallah and the Hizballah. Can you imagine a chief of staff who announced on the first day of the war that we already won? A month later and he's talking about how we won on points while everyojne else in the country knows how badly we lost.

Nasrallah wants to keep these people in power and confuse the Israeli people. He therefore makes a statement that says Israel has regained their full deterrence capabilities. They never would have started up if they thought Israel would attack them.

On the train this morning, I read right through what he was saying and thought that everyone else would too. I commented to train talk on what a snake that Nasrallah was. Then, two ladies sat down next to us, looked at the headline and said, see the war was worth it.

Yes, it looks like we have problems.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

still a couple booms left

I got home from shul on friday night and all of my children were still up, to my great surprise. My wife said that she was upstairs with the boys and she heard a big boom and the house shook. There were no sirens, no warnings, no nothing, so the kids stayed up for the entire friday night dinner (and behaved excellently) and there were no more interruptions so they went to sleep in their own rooms and we weren't sure what it was. The next day we ate lunch at our neighbors and in the middle of lunch there wasn't so much a boom as a rumble which caused the house to shake. We're still not sure what it was, but the general feeling is that an unexploded katyusha got exploded.

I was thinking about one of the big culture differences between the north and the center of the country, especially Jerusalem where we lived out the war. In the north, if you speak to someone in accented Hebrew, even in broken Hebrew, they will smile, help you out and reply to you in hebrew, probably slower then they would have spoken normally. This is true even for Israelis who speak perfect English. They like to help immigrants integrate and they even expect it of them.
In Jerusalem, if you speak to someone in Hebrew with an English accent they immediately switch to English. It doesn't matter how good your Hebrew is.

There are probably a lot of reasons for this, one of them being that big city life is just so busy that they don't have time for language issues.

Whatever the reason, I prefer the north.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

going camping

We may be going camping tonight at Achziv Beach or we may just have a bbq there in the evening or we may do nothing. Apparantly, this is what we agreed on with our friends who we discussed going out with. Achziv Beach is a very nice area. It was a Cananite village that was destroyed in the time of Joshua and later on it had a Byzantine church built on it that was destroyed, probably during the Ottomans.
There is a nice shallow inlet, blocking the waves with a row of rocks, that makes a very pool for the kids to play in. The tents are pitched on the grass and it is pretty comfortable. The main problem is that it is right next to the Banana Beach with is open all night, often playing loud music.

Anothre big advantage is it will probably be empty. Most people prefer to camp around the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) because of its fresh water. This palce is also very close to the hot zone. We're not expecting any conflagrations tonight. But if you hear of any booms, start to pray for us.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

protest at the technion

My taxi took me up to technion campus this morning as usual and the gate was closed. This was strange because we weren't expecting anything like this. So he drove me to the main gate and there was a large protest going on there against the Technion. There were some interesting signs up for example:
"A katyusha leaves point X at a speed of Y, how long will it take to injure a student"
"The Technion is an embarrassment"
"Give Students a break"

Apparantly, they are not happy with the way the Technion is dealing with the students in the aftermath of the war. Keep in mind that a large number of students are in reserve duty and were called up. They want tests to be postponed and to be given better benefits.

When we got to the main entrance, the taxi driver asked me to do him a favor and walk the rest of the way to the office because he had to take his father in law to chemotherapy. The main gate is much farther away from my office (a 15 minute walk at a decent pace), but I agreed because I wouldn't want someone to miss a chemotherapy appointment just because of a little protest.

There was one small gate open for traffic this morning, but from what I understand there is such a backup it is taking a long time to get in.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

life goes on

The problem with war, or at least one of the problems with war, is that there is so much to write about and talk about. As soon as you are out of the conflict everything else seems so mundane compared to what you wrote about over the past month.

I could continue talking about the public inquiry, the chief of staff's stocks or the movement to topple the government. There are plenty of other Israeli scandals to go around as well. Yair Lapid, a journalist who I enjoy reading and don't agree with in general, said that the media carries a lot of the blame for the way they covered this war. (Kudos to my wife for giving me that article)

Maybe I'm just tired because my littlest didn't sleep well last night. I'm getting the feeling that he is having anxiety attacks. Also my email address was stolen, sort of. I didn't renew my domain (I was busy dodging a war) and someone else picked it up. Anyone who was trying to send me emails, please let me know and I'll send you my new address.

The kids got their school supplies yesterday and they were very excited about that. It looks like school will actually start on time, though the building needs a lot of work. There was a family moving to our village from Canada this summer, and they had raised some money to help fix up the school, but then because of the war they decided to move to Beersheva. She told me she was still getting the money for us, but I haven't heard from her since they arrived.

I had a religious discussion about this war with Jameel when we visited him last week, and I'm planning on sharing that with you in the coming days.

Monday, August 21, 2006

comission of inquiry

Israelis are very focused. They like to have one issue and talk about it for some time and then find another issue and forget about the first one.
Nobody cares about the chief of staffs stocks anymore, now we are talking about commission of inquiry. This will last 3 days until it is time to talk about some other scandal or problem with society here.

The question is what will a commission of inquiry tell us? Will it say that the Prime Minister and defense minister had no clue what they were doing? If it does will they care? Will it condemn government ministers for not going to the north to show support while the northern residents were in their bomb shelters?

The stories that you hear are that everyone was disorganized, the orders didn't make sense and the commanders didn't know what was going on. I've never been in a war before, is this common?

The only positive that everyone agrees on is that the soldiers themselves were very motivated and displayed a high degree of professionalism. It's too bad the politicians and upper echelons of the government thought that they were toy soldiers meant to be thrown around at whim.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

This is an awesome video clip.

Everything is getting back to normal. My parents were with us for shabbos and they are leaving Israel tomorrow morning. Yesterday, we got together with a bunch of friends who we haven't seen in a while. A couple of them had been called up in the reserves, both of them paratroopers, so there was a lot of army talk going on. It seems like everyone agrees that the war wasn't run very well. I try to stay out of army talk because I was never in. We are thinking about going camping this coming weekend with a couple friends, though some people think it's too early for that.

I figure if its quiet now then we can consider it quiet until it gets noisy at which point we should consider it noisy until it gets quiet. Deep thoughts, but that way we don't let the uncertainty run our lives.

My daughter went out to a youth activity yesterday and my wife asked if I told her what to do if the sirens went off. I laughed and said, no but I know exactly what she'll do. She'll start shrieking. The truth is there really isn't anything you can do, but I will make a point to let them know to lie on the ground next to a building.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Good Morning Israel - Part IV

Been back since Thursday and morphed back into a private person. Its nice to be home and its nice to daven in your own shul. Its nice to see friends. Its amazing to see how much your friends' kids
have grown in one month. Its amazing to find your own grapes matured, sweet and ready to eat before the bees get them. Its distressing to find out about all the things that went wrong and its distressing to note that the only real consensus is the hope we will all be home for a while. Its distressing that the real cost of corruption is something like the national budget without even factoring in the human loss, agony and despair it causes directly or indirectly or the future cost of renewal. Its encouraging the good will of people who care and its encouraging the resilience of getting up to begin a new day.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

no pool

Yael Dayan, daughter of the late Moshe Dayan, feels that " is unacceptable that as I can buy shawarma someone can buy a woman." I also don't feel that it should be as easy to buy a woman as a shawarma. That being said, I don't feel it is that easy. There are shawarma kiosks all over the place and I have never seen or heard of a place to buy a woman. I've heard that it is possible, but more in theory then an actual woman store. Maybe I just don't hang out in the same kind of places as she does.

We had a nice BBQ last night and I tried to put up the swimming pool for the kids, but it didn't work. The ground was too slanted. I'm probably going to dig up the ground and make a flat surface. There's a lot of that kind of work that I have to do before the winter comes. I have a strong feeling that I am not going to get most of my summer work done this year because of the war. It will take a little while before things get back in order.

Today there was a siren malfunction and it went off in areas northeast of us. Completely freaked people out. I heard stories of people jumping out of windows, though that seems a bit exaggerated to me. If you jump out of your window that doesn't do anything for you. A moving target is only harder to hit if they are aiming at you. If they are shooting randomly, a moving object is just as likely to be hit as one standing still.

It was good to sleep in my own bed last night and it is good to be home.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

we're home

Just wanted to let everyone know that we're home.
Posting should continue as usual

inside trading on a national level

Well the family is on their way home, they just left Ramat Bet Shemesh where they said good by to our sister in law. We're hoping for a long lasting peace and quiet and I may even fill up the new swimming pool when I get home so they can enjoy it for the last month of summer. Last night we ended our last day as refugees by going to the big Arts and Crafts fair in Jerusalem with my brother, his wife and my sister. A nice time was had by all, though the concert sucked. We experienced what Joe Settler termed "synchronous clapping," though one girl who was trying to get it out of herself for about 20 minutes finally got up walked into the aisle and danced.

A lot of Israelis don't understand what the big fuss is about the chief of staff selling his stocks right before the war. I'm not sure if they just don't understand how the stock market works or they aren't sure exactly what is wrong with this. The way the stock market works is someone can only sell shares if someone else is interested in buying them. That's how the share price is worked out. The higher the interest the more people will pay.
If someone knows something that other people don't know he can buy shares from someone who wouldn't have sold them if he had know that information or sell shares to people who wouldn't have bought them if they had known the information. If you know specific information about a company then it is called insider trading.

But lets say you own shares in a company and you are the head of the army and you know that we are about to shoot rockets at their world headquarters. If you own stock in that company you know the stock price will go down and you will want to sell it. But if you sell it someone who doesn't know it is about to get blown up will buy it because he thinks the company has a good chance of earning a higher profit. Selling shares in that company is therefore harming other people.

An hour before you order troops into Lebanon is the wrong time to sell your shares. It says that you are not the person who should be entrusted with privileged information because you are using that information to make a profit.

I think he should get fined and/or fired.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

shabbos at home

It looks like we'll be going home on Thursday. My wife missed her first ultrasound appointment in Nahariya hospital last week. Her next appointment is in Jerusalem on Wednesday night. The next one available was in Haifa next week. So we didn't want to risk missing all of them due an an unplanned escalation early next week.

The kids really want to go home, as do we. Being on a forced vacation hasn't done them much good, though psychologically it is much better then the option of staying there and listening to the constant boom.

We're planning shabbos at home with my parents.

We may be going home Wednesday as an ultrasound appointment has opened up in Haifa on Thursday morning.

dissolving and solving

I was in town as I have been once a week since we were away. The bird was fine but the grass was drier. From Haifa and northwards, though less in Nahariya and Maalot, people and cars were visible and it was quiet with people smiling and taking first steps back to normalcy. The first morning after the cease fire, there were not enough people travelling out of town in the morning to fill up the sherut and bus service was still not back to normal just yet. But I saw a passenger train on its way north of south Acco and there was an announcement that bus service will be free for residents moving back home upcountry. I felt tears coming to my eyes as I was looking over some vital mail relating to the school year and catching some sense of belonging as I was on the bus as though sharing a movie in the old style movie theatres. And I heard stories about bedrooms for 250 shekel a night in Tel Aviv and 500 shekel a night hotel rooms in Eilat. The regular Mercedes taxi driver wanted to take 20 shekel instead of 9 for the ride to Nahariya. From macro us and them, its back to micro dog eat dog. The town is remarkably clean and inviting looking and few really trust that savescreen but certainly prefer it (or not) to the others they have come to know this past month. Or as CSN&Y used to sing - I am yours, you are mine, you are what you are....And you make it hard. ("suite: judy blue eyes")

Monday, August 14, 2006

Ceasefire is good for israel

Its been a very quiet day. No running down to the bomb shelter, no loud, annoying air raid sirens and no booms. There are actually people out on the street walking around and enjoying the hot weather. Last week you wouldn't have seen a soul walking around. Hopefully we'll even be able to go home soon.

Everyone is saying that Israel lost this war big time. We didn't accomplish any of our goals. The terms are demeaning and humiliating. The war will probably break out again in another 6 months. We, as would all the other refugees and bomb shelter dwellers, would prefer to keep our status for another couple weeks if that's what it takes to actually win.

Why would I say that the ceasefire is good for Israel? You have to look at the reason why Israel lost this war to understand that. Israel has no leadership. The prime minister has said on more then one occassion that he is "tired of defeating our enemies." He was a reporter in the army and has no fighting experience. The defense minister worked in the supply chain and has spent the past number of years holding Israel hostage as the head of the labor union. This is like a beevis and butthead movie, though we certainly don't want to insult beevis or butthead. The fact is that as long as Olmert and Peretz are running the show the Israeli army is fighting with both arms tied behind their backs and clear instructions not even to try and spit at their enemies. It would be a complete massacre to try and actually win this war without leadership.

Lets thank God that we were only humiliated this time, throw out the crappy politicians and put some people in power who are not tired and who want to win.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

I saw the rocket

This time I actually saw 2 rockets land in the Haifa Bay. As I was
walking downstairs I saw first one big splash and then the blur
following it and another big splash.

That's it for the day. Back to Jerusalem.

my brain is fried

I have learned that "my brain is fried" is not an Israeli expression. 2 sirens later, and this time we actually heard the booms, I am finding it incredibly difficult to actually think. I spent most of today doing more hardware oriented things where I don't need a lot of concentration. I decided that would be best after spending a number of quality minutes trying to figure out why in the world I would want to do what I just did. I know there was a good reason, I just can't figure it out yet.

Tomorrow will be a better day.

knitting donations

My apologies to Safranit for taking so long in putting this up.

Safranit has donated and is organizing more donations of knitting materials for peopole stuck in the bomb shelters. There are a ton of people just sitting there with nothing to do and they appreciate the effort.

busy day at work

It's been busy today at work. We spent an hour running up and down the stairs as the Hizballah figured out that if they shoot rockets at 15 minute intervals it will be sure to tire us out. It worked, by the 3rd siren our pregnant (8th month) secretary didn't even bother to get up and by the 5th one they didn't even break up a meeting. I went downstairs for each one with my zalzel backup in hand.

A zalzel backup is a special onetime backup that protects the company in case our building gets hit by a zalzel missile and all our data gets fried.

Supposedly we are having a cease fire on Monday so the Hizballah wants to empty its current stock so they have room for the more advanced stuff the Iranians and Syrians will be passing to them on the unsecured border starting on Tuesday.

The cease fire includes humiliating terms for Israel. We will have a new multinational force on the Lebanese border to protect the Hizballah. Remember when they took a video of a kidnapping about a year ago and "forgot" that it existed for a couple months. This new force will include French and Lebanese troops (you don't have to laugh when we use French and troops in the same sentence). That the Lebanese and the French will protect us against Hizballah is ridiculous.

The soldiers that were kidnapped were not even put into the cease frie text, rather they were included in the introduction that the hope is that there will be a prisoner exchange.

Not only that but Israel is expected to give some territorial concessions.

The only good part is that we'll be able to return home, no small matter. The obvious question is when we'll be forced to flee again in the face of a more advanced Hizballah.
Getting rid of this government with its complete lack of military experience or competence is an absolute must in this day of military threats against our country.

Friday, August 11, 2006

shabbat in the shomron

I'm standing here at Jameel's computer deep in the shomron where we are for shabbos. We're actually staying at our neighbor's parents house with his wife and kids. Our neighbor himself has been called up to serve and protect our country by wiping out the bad guys in Lebanon. He is part of a special paratroopers unit. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. For reference this is the niurse's husband. His wife, the nurse, is kind of stressed out right now so pray for her too.

In interesting news today:

Rav Meidan, a 70 year old rabbi from Gush Etzion volunteered to hand out food to residents of Nahariya. He feels that it is the least he can do to help and wants to set a personal example for his students. Kol Hakavod.

Our friend's sister's neighbors house in Nahariya was completely destroyed by a katyusha hit today.

Next week they are planning to evacuate the weaker sector from border communities. There are no hotel rooms available in the country so we're not exactly sure where they're going to put them.

Have a good shabbos. I'll be at work on Sunday and I'll be able to let you know of a new initiative to help out the northern communities who have a factory that manufactures Judaica and Jewish Art items that are really hurting right now because they can't work.

Docs Wife

Its me again, had two cups of coffee and was thinking about rules of war, are there any? Yesterday was a day that one little boy with big eyes will remember for the rest of his life, it was the day that a katushya landed beside his house and killed his brother and his Mother wounding him, removing a limb. He is Arab from Deir el Asad and under the rules did not deserve it to happen to him, I made aliya and made a concious decision to live here do I deserve it? No I don't either.


Hi this is Docs Wife
There are rules and there are rules and having a warning siren BEFORE seven is definately not in the rule book!!! Now my miklat is a mess, I have 12 years of National Geographic,three bed matresses, a beanbag chair, knitting for a sweater, and two beach chairs and a phone system made up of wires, and if Hetzballah expect me to have a coffee machine too I could do that too but I do need time to gather myself together and if anyone messes with me before that cup it means war.......
I hope they get rid of all the katushya rocket launch sites before they make a cease fire, I would like this to be done but done cleanly and finally? before they stop. Good?? Morning!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

third siren

This exercise is doing me good, that and I'm eating a salad for lunch.
Peres thinks that we should delay the ground action for 48 hours to give diplomacy a chance. I think if he had his choice he would be French, because he is so good at working against his country's best interest and surrendering.

We're BBQing tonight in Nof Ayalon, near Shalavim (out of range) and I am trying to figure out how to get their. It looks like the best option is train to Lod or Ramle and then get picked up from there.

intangibles and fragrances

The most wonderful thing about our temporary residence is the fact that it has a penthouse-type exposure to the elements. Now in even the hottest summer days, there is a light breeze. I can forget about superficial things like furniture and wonder consumer appliances and the bank account and I can ride the breeze. Right now I prefer that to surfing the net. Its going to be our fourth week away from home and its time to buy new spray cans for freshening the air in the bathroom so I make a point of buying the same fragrances we have in our Real House. I met a housepainter who is incensed with the operation/action/hostility and would love to experience the home front battlezone. That was after listening to a Pek'in Druze who works in a high tech telecom firm who brought two busloads of neighbors to stay in a hotel. His house was hit twice. It was nice hearing the Arab bartender giving him advice and some pointers. They left together. This wasn't the collective chatter of the follks you know and live with but after a bit of Guinness and a bit of abstraction and distraction it could just as well have seemed to have been.

the agreement

2nd siren of the day. One of my co-workers is in her 9th month now and she only made it down 3 flights of stairs before giving up. The problem with the sirens is that they are like the boy who cried wolf. At least at home in the middle of the siren you hear them crashing down so you have some sense of reality. Here, they fall somewhere but it doesn't impact you as much as a big boom.

So my boss and I yelled at each other for about an hour this morning. He apologized for what he wrote and blamed it on the language, because he wrote it in English. I don't buy it but I do the same thing when I speak in Hebrew, so I accepted it. We ended up agreeing that we disagree with each other in principle.

Starting Monday, I will start coming in to the office 4 times a week and Tuesdays I will work from Jerusalem. They won't give me a car because they think the bus is fine.

I'm not happy, but they're not happy either and that makes it even.

I'm not looking for a new job yet, mostly because I like this company, and that's what counts.

back at work

The morning started off with a siren at 9:05 AM. We all walked down to the bomb shelter, waited 5 minutes and came right back up. I arrived at work at 8:40, so I had time to sit down at my desk before running downstairs. We didn't hear the bang so I don't know where it hit.

Interesting News.
The house of the mother of Mayor Krumla of Maale Yosef got a direct katyusha hit. She is fine, though a bit stressed out.

According to a source in paratroopers, the UN is actively helping the Hizballah transfer weapons. We assumed this, but apparantly they actually know it.

The Rav of Moshav Strula, a known Kabbalist, said that Nasrallah was going to die last night at 10. So far they haven't reported this.

A grandmother who is a shepard in a border community who won the Israel prize lost one of her sheep across the border and she is requesting Hizballah to return it safely.

In the middle of a gunfight, one paratrooper yelled out that if they make it out alive he would have a bbq at his house in Jerusalem. The rest of the firefight the other soldiers were trying to get exact directions to his house from the different places they would be coming from.

A camp was organized for kids (aged 9-15) from the North in the center of the country. The only glitch was that the parents who had already left would have to take their kids back to the north so that they could be evacuated.

We had a refugee bbq last night with some friends and they announced that within 2 weeks we will be back home.

A divorced father yelled at a social worker for allowing his ex-wife to take refuge in a city in the center with his child because it ruins his visitation rights.

A woman just complained that she is forced to buy her meat for shabbos at an Arab store because she was afraid that the Jewish store in the village right next door was going to get bombed.

I have a new source for actual stories from the north.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Docs Wife

Have not written for a whle because I have been a little down, We are still being pounded, to-day it started at 11:00 which was later than usual, what do we do? do we protect our soldiers by letting them fire at Lebanon from a little distance or do we risk our boys and send them in by foot to clean out the places that are pounding ME...maybe they should send in Mothers and Grandmothers (me). to slap Hetzballah up the side of their heads. I am still visiting the hospital every evening to visit the Doc who is staying there just in case...Just spent the worst five minutes of my life trying to remember Tefillas HaDerech stuck between my village and Naharya with the radio telling me there are sirens I get out and hide or just put the foot down and drive faster but still safely, I opted for speed.


I sent my boss an email that it wasn't plausible for us to move back up north right now. We have 2 options, 1 is to fix the telecommuting problem and the 2nd is for me to come in 3 or 4 times a week.

He responded with an email basically saying that I put work on a very low priority and he wasn't happy about it. The examples he gave made me rather angry. He was on vacation when the war started and missed a lot of the story. I came in to work and requested permission to telecommute. I was given that permission by my other boss. I told him I would come in once a week to take care of things and he agreed. I was in twice before my regular boss came back. He wrote in this email that I only came in after he urged me to, and that everyone else came in and let them know their special situations and they helped them out. They provide a nanny for one family and special transportation for another. He said I didn't even bother to come in to discuss it.

Tomorrow I'm going back in to discuss this with him. One of the problems is that he doesn't like the fact that I live an hour away from work (on the border) so he does put some of the blame that I can't be at work on my shoulders. I'm just so frustrated right now, that it's hard to get anything done.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Discussion at work

I came to work today in Haifa (only one siren so far) as part of my come to work once a week program. My boss wanted to discuss the situation with me and told me that he was not happy with the telecommuting and I told him that I also wasn't happy with the telecommuting.
He offered to rent me an apartment in one of the nearby villages so that it would be easier for me to come to work every day. I even went to look at a couple places in Kiryat Tivon.

I don't think that's going to happen, but I did my part of looking at it.

There are a bunch of options that we discussed, so I'll see what the
best is for them family.

Monday, August 07, 2006

my day up north

Sorry it took me so long to post this, I don't have Internet in the apartment where I am staying.

Uncle Mike came in from the US with a suitcase full of gifts, clothes and money for northern families. Also, the teddy bears that my sister and her friends made for her bat mitzva 3 years ago for Israeli children finally arrived. We decided to go to Maalot and distribute the items to kids in bomb shelters. I also got cash donations from a couple other people to bring up and had some new donations from the blog donors to hand out.

My dad, Uncle Mike and I left early Sunday afternoon to head on up.
We were taking a rental car up so we didn't want to go on highway 6, because it is a lot of extra money and the thought of going through Tel Aviv was very unappealing at that time, so we took the 90 (Kvish Gandhi, named after the assassinated tourism minister) on the way up and then cut across after we hit Tiberias. It was a pleasent drive up, Tiberias was a ghost town, there was absolutely no traffic and the beaches were completely empty. There was one boat on the Kineret (Sea of Galilee). My first thought was, what a perfect time for camping.

It was a quiet ride, until we arrived in Maalot. I explained that the rules were that if the siren goes off you get out of your car immediately and wait on the side. You have within 20-30 seconds from the moment the siren goes off until they land and you don't want to be in your car if it hits nearby. As we entered Maalot, the siren went off and we weren't 20 seconds from anything, so we got out and sat in an open field. The security people came by to ask what we were doing and then thought about it and told us to just stay there for 10 minutes. We heard the katyushas land (we didn't see them) and then got up and got into the car and the siren went off again. So we waited for another little bit and and after it was quiet we headed on to the house. We got into the house, I got the stuff I needed (I had left my shaver because it was the 3 weeks) and the siren went off again. We went down to our little bomb shelter and there was a pretty close boom. The whole shelter shook. After it was quiet I went outside to check the damages. The air smelled burnt, but our house and the neighbors houses were all ok, it probably hit the open mountainside, on our side of the mountain.

We then went to visit Doc's Wife for a little. We got to sit in her bomb shelter as well. Their grapes are almost ripe and they have a great view from their roof, so we looked over and saw the smoke from one of the hits.

After that we got together with the head of our local charity organization who took us to the public bomb shelters. We went to 5 shelters and met with approximately 40 children, who were very excited to get the gifts. The money and the clothes went directly to the organization who will give them out in an appropriate manner. The kids got to pick from the barbies and crayons and puzzles, aside from each kid getting a teddy bear. When we walked in we announced that people from the US had brought gifts for children in the shelters, so nobody was embarrassed about taking. The kids were so excited and the parents gave us lots of blessings and thanked us for coming.
One family from the US had sent an envelope that was addressed to any Israeli child. As we walked out of the shul (synagogue) I saw a family that I knew with young kids, so I gave it to their 8 year old. I thought he would be perfect to get this gift. The letter was in Hebrew, it said "We know that you are sad and we hope that this will make you a little happier" and it included $15. The kid smiled like you've never seen a smile before.

It is very hard not to be home during this time to be a part of the community, but it is impossible to stay with little kids. At least we got to participate in making them smile, at least for a little bit. During the next sirens, they can hug their teddy bears and know that people out there love them and care about them.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

going up

Today I am taking a couple people up north to give out toys in bomb shelters. They also brought up clothing and cash, but our local charity organization said it would infringe on the self-respect of the people to hand out the clothing and cash to people. The organization already has a method of giving that stuff out in a nice way, we will probably just give the stuff to them to hand out.

Giving charity is tough to do correctly, if you embarrass people when you give to them then it isn't charity. We aren't talking about people who are walking around the old city asking for handouts, we're talking about people who still have their self-respect and are suffering in silence.

Docs Wife

Had a great Shabbat, I went to the hospital with all the stuff, four boxes of stuff including a warming plata, the food was great ..I made it all...the company was great Doc and I, but the scenery was not so good, we went out a couple of times to feed the cats our leftover soup and cholent, they were starving.
The hospital is READYand working. They have taken over most of radiology for a big emergency, they have 20 stretchers where the waiting area was and a crash room that could accomodate 6 and a room for slightly injured people, what a lot of planning had gone into this! they even built a road in ONE HOUR to give access for the ambulances. Doc took me on a tour of the underground hospital which is something else, people in wards mens or womens with nursing stations and computers and people all over. The air conditioning is good and the patients are safe and very well looked after. Every Doctor who is the head of a unit had to stay all Shabbat and more, so they made rounds a few times a day and spent a lot of time with the patients. The walls are unfinished concrete apart from the childrens wards, they are painted with stensils and beautifully painted.
I don't want to go into the greif and pain of the people who came in on Shabbat I feel for them all, Arabs, Beduin, Druzim and Jews.

Friday, August 04, 2006

heating up

The doctors in Nahariya Hospital were put on alert for the next 3 days as the situation is expected to seriously heatup. Accorsing to earwitness reports, it has already started heating up and it was quite loud in our village today. Our friends are staying in the hospital for shabbos, where it is a bit safer??

We took the kids to kiftzuba again today, which kept them nice and busy for the betyter part of the day. It looks like I might
be going home for a couple hours on Sunday. This time I'm hoping to take someone up with stuff to give out to the poor unfortunate who are living in bomb shelters or worse.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

a bad hour

This is turning into a Tisha B'Av Tisha B'av.

3 people were just killed in Maalot and 2 in Acco from Katyusha hits. There is no electricty and there is no word on when the electricity will be turned back on. I haven't seen any news reporets about what exactly was hit or where in Maalot the rockets landed.

The doc and his wife are ok, thank God. They can't blog themselves because of the lack of electricity.

Haifa is currently in the bomb shelters, as is the rest of the north.

9th of Av

Today is tisha B'Av, the 9th day of the Jewish month of Av, the saddest day in the Jewish calendar. This is a day of hopelessness, a day when all we can do is cry. This is the day that the gates of prayer are closed, and God gives us the cold shoulder.

This year we have been feeling the 9th of av more then usual.

not so live

Yesterday, I didn't have access to a computer in the afternoon so I couldn't keep you updated.
The north got completely shellacked yesterday. The nurse reported that she thought she would be able to get used to the sirens after a while and then a rocket crashed into the building behind her and she decided that she would never get used to it.
The new sirens work very well. From the time the siren starts you have 30 seconds or less to get into your bomb shelter. When the siren goes off that means that we for sure get bombed. When the guy drives around and tells you to go into your shelter that means that someone else is getting bombed and you should be aware.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Jenin hit by rocket

It looks like the fake Kfar Kana massacre wasn't enough for the Hizballah. They then sent a rocket to Jenin to see if they could blame the Israelis for another fake Jenin massacre.

In bad news, Afula was also hit. It looks like the long range missiles are getting longer :-(.

A man was killed in kibbutz Saar from a rocket attack. :-(

the drive home

I have a great powerpoint of the attack on Nahariya hospital, but I don't have a web account to host it on. If anybody would like to host the file so I can put it up here, please let me know.

Yesterday on my way up, I told the welfare agency that I was coming and I would have about an hour to volunteer if there was anything that I could do. They turned me down but asked if I could bring 2 teenagers back with me to Jerusalem. I said of course and told them I would pick them up around 6:30 PM.

Dinner with the doc and wife was excellent, as usual (even though it was pareve), and the apple pie was beyond delicious. I loaded up the car with such neccessities as scooters, a computer and other things we can't live without (I actually went to get some important paperwork, not just stam) and went to find my teenagers. I found a kid wearing a tanktop, gold necklace, sunglasses and a baseball hat and his little sister. He loaded his stuf and got in the car and we started talking. He showed me his drivers license and told me if I get tired he can take over, so I shouldn't worry. He was a driver in the army. He didn't look like he was old enough to have done the army, but I didn't say anything. He just got out of the hospital, where he is being treated for cancer. He asked me to stop on the side of the road just after we left because that's the best place to say tefilas haderech, the travelers prayer.
We talked for a long while, the family is not religious, but he is looking for a "pure girl" (bechora tehora) so he may go to yeshiva. He was very northern sefardi and his language reflected that. He called people neshamale, for example. He brought a lot of music with him and said he used to be a DJ. We drove with the windows down and loud music playing the whole way. When we entered Jerusalem I turned on some Jewish music for the soul and he loved that.
I dropped them off at the hotel that their mother was staying at and he said he would call me sometime. I invited him for shabbos when we're all back home.

we got sirens

For the first time (at least in this war) we got sirens in our village. Before this a guy would drive around announcing "All residents go down to their bomb shelters" and then sometimes we would hear a loud boom and sometimes we wouldn't. IO had explained to the children that that is more of a warning system so that when we hear the booms we'll be expecting them, but that they don't always come.
Now that we have forced the Hizballah back far enough from the border they actually have time to give us a warning before the rockets hit. From what I understand, if the siren goes off there is a very good chance that you'll be hit and with the loudspeaker guy, it is just a potential.

I had a very enjoyable drive back last night, I took two (new) refugees with me and I'll write about that in my next post.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

in the zone

If you thought the politicians were just yakking it up about the upcoming ground offensive, think again. On my drive up north I saw a hell of a lot (approved by the Jameel censorship authority) of tanks coming this way. For those who are curious, tanks only drive themselves when they want to destroy things, when they are just going from place to place they get a ride on a truck. In Israel we call this tremping.

I arrived in the hot zone and first did a quick tour to make sure that everything was still standing. I didn't see any more damage then I saw the first time I returned. Right now we have a consistant boom/rumble, which I understand are "outgoings" which means that they are good booms. (I don't believe that they are all outgoing because some of them sound closer then others, but I'm an untrained ear)

I also went over to the people distributing charity and gave them another wad of cash to hand out. Thanks to all of you for the donations you've sent in. Keep them coming, there are a lot of good people here who need them.

I'm taking a couple more people out with me when I leave, this time a couple teenagers. It's hard to live in the bomb shelter and the instructions for our area are not to leave your shelter unless you need to.

I'm eating dinner topnight with the doc and his wife and I'll keep you updated if things get exciting.

still unreported

Eyewitness reports say that 4 katyushas fell in Maalot today and it is still unreported. The reports were that yesterday there were mortars that fell, but today was definitely Katyushas.