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"It is better to take refuge in Adonai than to trust in human beings; better to take refuge in Adonai than to put one's trust in princes." -Tehilah 118:8-9

As if the event of today wasn't enough of a head's up...

President Bush to be Protected by Palestinian Terrorists on Middle East trip [Israpundit]
President Bush is going to be protected by Fatah-PLO terrorists during his brief visit to Palestinian President Abbas in “the rump Duchy of Ramallah”. His trip to the embattled region starts on January 9th. According to this report from Aaron Klein of WorldNet Daily’s Jerusalem bureau , approximately 6,000 members of the Elite Force 17 and the infamous Al Aksa Brigade will provide security along the transit from Israeli to Palestinian territories.

...The irony is that a number of those Palestinian security forces to be deployed were former Israeli prisoners ,convicted of terrorist crimes. who were recently released by benighted PM Olmert in a gesture of good will. You may recall that in 2003, three American security contractors were killed on another US diplomatic mission in Gaza. The US has never disclosed whether the Palestinians apprehended the killers of that bombing attack. Here are the facts of that 'hit', lest you have forgotten:

October 17, 2003, Gaza Strip, Israel, Three Americans were killed and another wounded on October 15, 2003 when an explosion tore through a van that was part of a diplomatic convoy traveling through the Gaza Strip. The killed and injured Americans were part of a security force for the diplomatic officials. The State Department identified the slain Americans as John Branchizio (36) Mark T. Parson (31) and John Martin Linde Jr. (30) all employees of DynCorp, a Virginia-based security firm.
Of course, the most insightful commentary comes from an Israpundit reader:
If anything happens to Bush, they’ll all blame Israel.
What a nightmare. May HaShem have mercy on His people.

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posted by Shoshana @ 8:46 PM

Mighty Fools

I haven't enjoyed FOX NEWS since the day after the 2004 election. It was almost as if a switch had flipped and they went from brilliant to boring overnight. A couple weeks later, I found out why: Saudi Arabia, excuse me, the House of Saud bought 5% of News Corp, the parent company of FOX NEWS. It's taken the rest of the pro-Israel world nearly 4 years to catch up, but finally they, too, have taken notice of FOX's subsequential change of heart:

Fox Guarding the Wolf House []
In September of 2005, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal purchased 5.46 per cent of Class B voting shares in News Corp, the company that owns Fox News and a number of other media and entertainment entities. This had replaced the three per cent stake in Class A non-voting shares bin Talal had previously held through his investment corporation, Kingdom Holding Company (KHC).

With his newfound voting rights, bin Talal stated his intention of supporting Rupert Murdoch, the principal owner of News Corp, helping Murdoch to stay in power and avoid hostile takeover by other interested investors. Some have said that this was like making a deal with the devil, as Murdoch has been left vulnerable to the whims of an individual that has been involved in despicable causes.

...Utilizing his position of power within Fox News (today, he is the second largest shareholder), bin Talal has worked to influence programming at the station. An infamous example of this was reported in a December 2005 article found in WorldNetDaily, stating:

During the violent street protests in France one month ago, the prince said, Fox News ran a banner at the bottom of the screen that said "Muslim riots."

"I picked up the phone and called Murdoch ... [and told him] these are not Muslim riots, these are riots out of poverty," al-Walid said.

"Within 30 minutes, the title was changed from Muslim riots to civil riots."

This incident was precisely the type of scenario that then-Mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani tried to avoid, when after the 9/11 attacks, he rejected a $10 million check from bin Talal for the renovation of New York, that was attached to statements made by the Prince critical of the United States’ relationship to Israel. The question now is how many more incidents, such as the one concerning the French Muslim riots, have occured without the notice of the American public? And how far has bin Talal’s influence been able to reach?
The number one question any good Jewish business person asks is, "How am I getting paid?" Now, we not only know how FOX NEWS is getting paid, we know what they're doing to earn their money.

And don't think they're the only ones. "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's"; more often than not, what belongs to Caesar isn't just someone's money, it is their soul. Independent media sources are the only way to go. Unfortunately, as more and more "independent" blogs grow in size and popularity, they become dependent on outside sources of funding-- donations, ad sponsorship, or otherwise-- to keep going. Never cease to seek out the small sources, the individual bloggers, the every day writers. They are the simple who will- and do- make fools of the wise.

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posted by Shoshana @ 8:55 PM

Happy Day Off

Stop wishing me a "Merry Christmas." I don't celebrate Christmas. I don't care about Christmas. I don't care that you celebrate and care about Christmas. There is a reason every Jew's favorite Christmas movie character is Scrooge.

I'm really sick of this anti-P.C. trend calling for bringing "Christmas" back into the vocabulary. It's like every Evangelical took the Bush win in '04 as a sign that they'd earned the right to speak about G-d in public, which of course meant that they needed to, first and foremost, re-instate the use of the word "Christmas". This political move was seconded, of course, by the ressurection of public nativity scenes. Yeah, way to go, die-hard Religious-Righters, for putting Christ back in the public square during the one time of year you can get Him for 20-50% off. Righteous.

Suddenly, the re-introduction of "Christmas" into popular vocabulary has given everyone from strangers to friends the right to wish me a "Merry Christmas." Even though they know I'm Jewish, people are wishing me a Merry Christmas left and right, like it's going out of style-- and, trust me, it is. One guy walked in to a book shop where I was the other day. My mother looked up and wished him a Happy Holiday, and the guy said: "Happy Holidays. Well, Merry Christmas. After all, that's not an illegal word now, is it? I work for the state and I've been saying Happy Holidays all day, when it's really Merry Christmas, right?"

Yeah, sure pal. Enjoy. Suddenly, I'm Larry David, staring at this huge pine tree in my living room and explaining to my in-laws that a tallis is really a scarf.

Israpundit, one of the largest right-wing, pro-Israel, Jewish blogs is a big proponent of the "Merry Christmas" business, and I understand it to a great degree. After all, there are a lot of gentile Christian supporters of Israel out there who feel the need to honor their Jewish Messiah by co-opting a pagan feast, eating unkosher foods, and putting sap-leaking bushes in their homes to remind them of the age when children used to be burned underneath the evergreen branches as a sacrifice to non-extant dieties. To them, I say good for you and don't forget that your holiday donations to your favorite pro-Israel charity are tax-deductable. But, please, if you feel like being nice to me at all during this holiday season, don't do it by lumping me in with that lot.

A lot of diaspora Jews celebrate Christmas by virtue of the fact that they live among gentile neighbors and, most likely, have experienced some level of intermarriage with the gentile world within their families. Many Messianic Jews celebrate Christmas because they feel the need to somehow honor Messiah's "birth" or, rather, His first arrival on this Earth, and they either have a relationship with a gentile Christian church or they just don't know how else to do it.

I, however, do none of these things. Faith is a process of aliyah, and the closer you grow towards G-d, the further away you get from the things He doesn't like. HaShem doesn't like Santa Claus, nor does He have a predeliction for celebrating a major event in the dead of winter. Nothing that is involved with the celebration of "Christmas" can be found in scripture, with the exception, of course, of the arrival of the Messiah prophesied about in numerous places in the Tanak (note: Isaiah 53), which most likely happened during the Feast of Sukkot, in accordance with HaShem's festivals, not the ones designated by some derranged pagan priest from some dead ancient culture.

Why would I want to worship my Messiah in a way that is not pleasing to Him? That's not how a relationship works. You don't wake up on your spouse's (or parent's or child's or loved one's) birthday and say, "Congratulations, we're celebrating your life today by doing exactly what I want to do." If you don't do that to them, why would you even think about doing such a thing to your Messiah? If your actions make absolutely no statement about who your Messiah is and how important He is to your life and to the life of your nation, how viable can they be-- how viable can you be to your people, your nation, and your G-d?

"Oh, wow, but what do you do on Christmas?" I can hear them say. You know what I do on Christmas? Nothing. I've eaten Chinese food, I've gone to movies, I've read, I've watched TV, I've done stuff most normal people do on a day off, because in America that's what it is-- a day off.

So, to all my fellow Jews, especially to the ultra-observant who don't even give a fig about January 1st, I wish you a Happy Day Off. And, to everyone else, have a great holiday, just keep me out of it.

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posted by Shoshana @ 6:01 PM

Time is on our we'd better start using it

The Most Pathetically Un-Jewish Comment of the Week:

When asked about Israel's ability to strike Iran on its own, [Minister of Public Security Avi] Dichter voiced doubt: Israel's status as the world's fourth largest defense exporter notwithstanding, he said, it is not a world power. "It is a state, and it can only be a power for a few hours. The fight against Iran has to be led by a world power."

-Dichter: U.S. Report Could Lead to Regional 'Yom Kippur' [Israel National News]

I make a habit of reading a lot of Israeli news and Israel-focused blogs every week, and I have to say, I'm getting really bored with this whole "point the finger" attitude I'm seeing here. John Bolton says George Bush needs to put Condi Rice in her place. Condi Rice needs to start respecting our friendship with Israel. Blah, blah, blah. When are we going to get off of our tuchuses and start acting on behalf of ourselves, instead of blaming others for not doing the job?

When Ezra and Nehemiah led a remnant of Jews back to Jerusalem, most of the exiled Judeans remained in Babylon, reasoning that the Messiah would eventually come and they'd all be taken care of miraculously, no effort required. Yeshua, on the other hand, informed His people--our people, literally speaking, "us," that He would not come again until we proclaimed, "Baruch haba b'Shem Adonai". Greeks think that time is this mysterious third person, but Jews know better. We know that time, zman is marked and measured by the actions we take, whether it is celebrating the feasts or fighting against our enemies, our time is measured by our choices, and as far as I'm concerned, we need to stop referencing a second-hand watch, lest we weep by the rivers of Babylon for yet another generation.

Somewhere in the peanut gallery, I hear one smartnik shouting, "Well, then, what do you suggest we do about it?" To him, as well as to all of those listening I suggest that you read the Torah and find out.

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posted by Shoshana @ 2:44 PM

Hitler and Mussolini Walk into a Bar...

...and order an atom bomb straight up, Chavez on the side.

By the way, the bar is next door to that Naval Academy in Maryland.

U.S. Intelligence suddenly "uncovered" that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program four years ago, rendering Iran a non-threatening entity, one that can, therefore, be approached in terms of talks rather than military action.

This discovery, of course, was made in exchange for Chavez's loss of the referendum vote that would have made him Venezuela's leader for life by two lousy percentage points. (And don't tell me that's because Chavez's people don't know how to stuff ballot boxes the way Putin's army does.)

It's amazing what can be won and lost in a friendly game of poker at Annapolis. Suddenly, the two greatest up-and-coming dictators since Hitler and Mussolini are rendered non-threatening entities in the same day. We have truly achieved peace in our time.

Just ask Vladimir Putin. If you can get him to crack a smile, there's an extra twenty in the pot for you.

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posted by Shoshana @ 9:22 PM

Annapolis and... America Has Fallen

Some good links:

Pajamas Media: Peace Fatigue: Israelis Watch Annapolis and Yawn
"For the first time, it looks like that the leaders attending a Middle East peace conference want – really, really want, truly, truly need this diplomatic process more than their people do," wrote another Yediot commentator, Sima Kadmon. "They certainly believe in it more than the millions of Middle East residents who sat there yesterday skeptically, if not indifferently in front of the television. As far as the Israeli and Palestinians are concerned its another fancy festival for leaders who are happy and relieved to get away from the burning realities in their countries for a couple of days. It's called escapism."
Caroline Glick in the JPost: Column One: Apartheid, Not Peace
Evident everywhere, the discrimination against Israel received its starkest expression at the main assembly of the Annapolis conference on Tuesday. There, in accordance with Saudi demands, the Americans prohibited Israeli representatives from entering the hall through the same door as the Arabs.

At the meeting of foreign ministers on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni called her Arab counterparts to task for their discriminatory treatment. "Why doesn't anyone want to shake my hand? Why doesn't anyone want to be seen speaking to me?" she asked pointedly. far as Rice is concerned, the Palestinians are the innocent victims. They are the ones who are discriminated against and humiliated, not Livni, who was forced - by Rice - to enter the conference through the service entrance.
Israpundit: The US is Selling its Soul to the Islamic Devil
The United Arab Emirates, a tiny enclave of a half million natives and no rule of law has purchased significant chunks of American banks (including Citibank), ports, and airport facilities.

Kuwait, the country we saved from Saddam’s clutch, is deploying a war chest of $300 billion as its Neanderthal Parliament strives to reinstate flogging and decapitation and to annul the recently granted right of women to vote.

Qatar, the proprietor of the anti-Semitic, anti-American Al-Jazeera network, is piling up $300 billion, buying stakes in Europe’s third-largest stock market, the London Stock Exchange, and pumping money into Carnegie Mellon, Cornell Medical College, Texas A&M, and Virginia Commonwealth University.

And the mother of Islamofascism, Saudi Arabia, where 200 senior royals of the ruling family are playing with several billion each and buying up stakes in strategic companies such as Disney and Apple, and Citibank, too, and using the rest of the oil bonanza to fund madrassas, militant mosques, and theological institutes across America and Europe.
Yesterday, it finally hit me: Why I'd been feeling so detached and out of it all week long. Even though I knew this had been coming for a long time, and I had prepared for it in a lot of ways, it was still a shock to my system to be required to let go of any vestige of my American identity. Gone. It's all gone now. Not by my choice, but by the choices of others. I cannot identify with a government or a people who seek to put Jerusalem on the carving table and Israel on the chopping block. Can't. Won't. I am a stranger in a strange land.

Is this how it felt to be Jewish in Europe in 1936? Is this what it felt like to read the newspaper and understand that my government leaders were taking glorious trips abroad, only to come back with false declarations of "peace in our time" while my cousins, brothers, and sisters were being shuffled around like sheep being readied for slaughter? Is this what it felt like to wonder, "Will I be next?" knowing that the question was not going to be answered with "yes" or "no" but simply, "when"?

If anything should make us re-think who we are, whether we are Ashkenazis in New York or Mizrahim in Beer Sheva, it is the clear and undeniable truths brought forth by the events of Annapolis. America does not give a whit about Israel, period. Not only do they not care, the government of the United States has made it perfectly clear in both policy and lack of propriety, that Israel (read: "the Jeeeeewwwws") is the slave, not the light of the world. And, like a slave, we are the scapegoats and whipping boys of the so-called masters at hand, a.k.a. the Arab nations who are acquiring control of the western economy at a rapid rate.

Of course, at this point I could dive into the cliches of apocalypse-ready mystics, hell-bent on half-witted exegesis and the preaching of self-important clerics who use the Word of G-d to fatten their own bellies and line their own pockets. What never ceases to amaze me is the Messianic believer's ability to fall long and hard for those Hollywood-esque approaches to daily horror. Perhaps that is why one Israeli documentarian I once saw interviewed cringed at the sound of Israel being called "The Holy Land." It wasn't that he denied the uniqueness of the place as much as he understood how unrealistic such an ethreal title is for a State so visceral that its daily life is nothing less than an expression of the very real battles of this very real world. Believers in America like to think of Israel as a nation whose point and purpose was fulfilled and recorded in the ancient past. Now that they are on the cusp of facing the same daily struggles, perhaps it is time for those who proclaim faith in the Jewish Messiah to do more than pay lip service to the idea that blessing Israel is a "good thing." Maybe it is time for these believers to put their heart, and not just their tongues into the harvest.

And, speaking of hearts, perhaps now would be a good time for Jewish Americans to stop approaching their inherited culture as marketable kitsch. Seinfeld may finally be making Israel laugh but, in this country, we've already had more than our share of the fun. We have to live our identity proudly, not just throw money at it out of guilt, if we want to survive and if we want our nation to survive. "The Word is close to you. It is in your mouth, it is even in your hearts, therefore, you can do it!" Being Jewish isn't about costuming for or pandering to the crowds: Being Jewish is about being who you were made and called out to be.

Sadly, it will take a war of G-dly proportions for us as a people to accept and embrace this fact. Right now, we have no right to petition governments or protest treaties. We have no right to seek any outsider support, because there is none to be found. And we certainly have no right to demand from G-d answers of salvation that our government is ready to negotiate away for promises more vague than thin air.

In six days in 1967, our G-d gave our city back to us. He gave us that contentious mountain, with its offensive domes and concreted gates erected to prevent the happening of an event that the whole world, both Jew and gentile, know to be true: the return and reign of Messiah Yeshua. In six days in 1967, our G-d sent us one magnificent calling card that read, "I'm coming sooner-- sooner than anyone thinks, and I'm telling you about it first, because I want you to be there when I arrive." And what did we do with that calling card? We stuck it in a scrapbook, stuck the scrapbook in the attic, and now we're debating on throwing it out with the spring cleaning.

No, we have no right to do anything but fall on our face in humiliation for what we have done to Him and His promises. We are a horrible, stiff-necked people and we should be filled with shame.

At the same time, we should also understand our responsibility to Him, to make things right. There is nothing we can do to save ourselves now--except, that is, to trust in His salvation. That's it. Because we have disarmed ourselves and we have no one in this world to turn to. It doesn't get anymore Biblical than this. Don't believe me? Just read Psalm 2 or Isaiah 63, or Zechariah 9, or the entirety of Jeremiah for starters.

As for the Messianic Jewish people, we have a responsibility to:

Stand up and speak out against the crimes of Annapolis.

We must demand a unified Jerusalem in the hands of the nation of Israel.

We must demand an Israel that includes the territories of YESHA--Judea and Samaria--as well as the reclamation of Gush Katif, the Sinai penninsula, and the ceded lands of southern Lebanon, along with the retention of the Golan Heights.

We must decry the United States Government's gross attacks against our nation, our people, and our very selves.

And, most importantly of all, we must beg, with our faces to the ground, for the mercy and action of Messiah that we may be saved for the sake of His throne in Jerusalem.

The prophet Amos ends with a promise from HaShem that we would be uprooted no more. In this, the 60th anniversary year of our modern re-establishment I pray for all of my Jewish people: THIS YEAR, AND EVERY YEAR, IN THE UNIFIED JERUSALEM, ISRAEL!

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posted by Shoshana @ 7:38 PM