Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Israel at the Olympics - a Story of Hate and Bullying

Hat tip to the amazing folks at The Israel Project for this video.


Monday, August 15, 2016

Sometimes it really is that simple...

Some Advice for Donald Trump

Disclaimer: No, I'm not a political analyst; not an expert on any specific political system, government, world. I've never won a presidential election but if it helps, I can honestly say I've never lost one. What I am is a complex mixture of worlds and places and beliefs and these views are mine alone, my advice for Donald Trump on how to win the election...with no guarantees but plenty of hope.

An Open Letter to Donald Trump

Dear Donald,

I'm watching what is happening and I'm cringing. I am constantly correcting people - that isn't what he meant...no, that's not exactly what he said. What he means is...what he hopes is...despite what he said...

So, my first piece of advice is to shut up. I know I could be more diplomatic about how to phrase that but diplomacy right now doesn't seem to be a strong point of yours and you seem to take pride in that, so I'm going to give it to you straight. You can probably win the election if you just shut up.

Hillary is a walking disaster; probably the worst candidate since Jimmy Carter and she might even be worse because she's a lot smarter than he ever was. She will mess this up, but only if you let her and if you manage not to mess yourself up more.

So far, you aren't managing to do that. In some corner of my brain, I respect the fact that you think you can win by being honest and telling Americans what you think. You can't. They aren't used to that kind of honesty from a candidate. If you offer the logical opinion that it is insane to open America's borders without a system in place to protect Americans from the potential infiltration of thousands of terrorists, you are coming off as anti-Muslim.

Why? Good question and more than I can explain now but basically, Americans view politicians as used cars salesmen. Whatever you say is a fraction of the truth and so they've learned to filter a candidates words as either greater or lesser than the truth. Whatever direction will make you look worse - that's how they'll take your message and put it into that filter. If you say you don't plan to raise taxes, that means you'll raise them some. If you say you want to curb something, they'll take that to mean you plan to cut it entirely.

The reality is, all nations need to protect their citizens and today's greatest threat does indeed come from extremism. And yes, the most extreme nations in the world today are by an large Muslim nations - Iran, Libya, Syria, to name three. But Iran and Libya and Syria aren't just across the ocean to most Americans, they are on a different planet.

Americans are worried more about their economy, their health care and day to day issues. If you're going to talk - talk about what Obama has done to the military; speak about the proliferation of mass shootings - primarily in places where strict gun laws are already on the books. Gun control won't stop a terrorist - it never has; it never will. You want them to focus on who the terrorist is? Good luck with that. They've had 8 years of denial to damage their ability. It's a workplace accident; a man screaming "Allahu Akbar" as he guns people down somehow might not be a terrorist attack. Give that fight up, Donald, and move on. If you're elected, you can begin to correct that by immediately recognizing truth and maybe Americans will catch up to you, but not now.

Reality check, Donald. Half the people you need to vote for you are women. You haven't shown a lot of respect for women as equals in your life and the fact is, other than your daughter, your record with women sucks. So stop trying to defend it. Shut up. Hillary's got Bill on her side and most women find him and their relationship repulsive. So let your daughter speak on that issue or give up.

You want to make America great but you know what, Americans are asking me what you mean by that. I think they've forgotten or maybe they think America still is great. From my experience, most Americans have little understanding of the world outside its borders and despite eight miserable years of Obama, have yet to realize that much of the world thinks America's day has come and gone and this election is just proving them right. Shut up and maybe find a different slogan. After Americans swallowed "Yes we can" - they're tired of meaningless words.

Learn. Speak to foreign leaders and ask them to tell you what they think. But listen. Learn to listen. Show pictures of you in the newspapers being advised by military leaders; congressmen and women. Set up meetings; let them talk and you listen. In every picture they take, show yourself LISTENING, absorbing, interested. Not talking. Not telling everyone you know better.

Understand the differences between the 50 states. What is important to people living in Alabama? Missouri? Idaho? Oregon? Meet with people and sit and listen. Ask their advice and talk about them, if you are going to speak at all let it be to show that you've learned how much you need to learn. Time is short.

If you stop talking and start listening, you have a chance. Fact is, you've surrounded yourself with good people - show them off. You ran that TV show for years. Important rule in being interviewed is not to bad-mouth others. Stop talking about Clinton. Let her shoot herself in the foot. Now's the time to become Presidential...or lose. Show dignity because somehow Clinton is outclassing you in that area.

That's what's missing in this election - neither you nor Hillary strike us, the common people, as caring about us. You need us to vote for you but you've forgotten that we have brains, feelings, needs.

America needs you, Donald. Not because of who you are but because of who she is...at least, that is the general conception of most people who are currently thinking about voting for you.

If you want to win this election, you need to convince more Americans to be pro-Trump rather than just anti-Clinton. To do that, you need to do two things - listen to the people, Donald. Travel all around America and listen and secondly, shut up.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Hypocrisy of Israel

As a technical writer, I can tell you that the hardest part of documenting a product is when it is a moving target, when the parameters keep changing. As a parent, I can tell you that if your rules keep changing, you'll never really be able to get your children to listen to you. As a voter, I can tell you that the more a politician changes his/her position, the less likely it is that I will vote for him or her.

As an Israeli, I condemn any attempt to deny the followers of a religion access and the right to practice their religion on their holy sites. We as a nation would never enter the Bahai Temple in Haifa and remove all the Bahais. We have never attempted to close the Church of the Holy Sepulcher to Christians (and our police regularly enter only to stop Christian sects from killing each other (as told to me on three separate occasions by Israeli police).

We have only closed off the Temple Mount to Muslims after incidents of violence and even then, for very limited times and usually only restricting access to young males and not the entire Muslim population wishing to visit.

But when it comes to the Jews, our government rarely hesitates to block our access, restrict our rights, humiliate and insult Jewish visitors. And worse, the rules are arbitrarily enforced and constantly changing at the whim of the Jewish police and Arab WAQF who watches and waits to pounce because there is little more that can drive them to violence than the site of a Jewish man or woman whispering a prayer. Even moving one's lips is enough to get you thrown off the Temple Mount...if you are a Jew.

When you expect rules to be followed, but keep changing them, the less respect you deserve, the less likely it is that anyone will uphold them.

The Jewish people have been fighting for centuries, for millennia, to be free - free to live in our land, free to worship our God, free to raise our children and practice our religion. And we have been successful throughout the world. The Soviet Union has collapsed and the Jews can now freely come here and, for the most part, practice Judaism if they choose to be there. Such it is in most of Europe, North, Central, and South America.

Really, it is only in Arab countries, Muslim lands, where Jews are restricted. For the most part, they have left; only small pockets of Jews remain. Syria has no Jews; Afghanistan might have one Jew left. Egypt has less than 40 and Yemen less than 20. There are reportedly around 35 in Bahrain and less than 10 in Iraq.

Only in Arab countries...and Israel, are Jews restricted from where they can travel, where they can pray. And not just pray. In Israel, for Jews wanting to visit the single most holy place in all of the world, the list of what we are not to do is both arbitrary and growing.

Can you imagine a sign such as this one placed at the entrance to Jerusalem or Tel Aviv forbidding entrance to non-Jews?

And the list of things we cannot do...here it is...at least as of an hour or so ago...

You aren't allowed to pray, if you are a Jew, on the Temple Mount.

You aren't allowed to move your lips in silent prayer, if you are a Jew on the holiest site known to our religion

You aren't allowed to whisper, lest you actually be saying a prayer, if you are a Jew.

You aren't allowed to bless your people, your family, your children, if you are a Jew, unless you are a bereaved father who manages to "sneak" the prayer into a speech given during guided tour of the Temple Mount after your child has been brutally murdered, stabbed to death in her bed.

As of this past week, you aren't allowed to cry, even if you are overwhelmed with the holiness of the place and the amazing opportunity to enter this holy place.

And as of today, you apparently aren't even allowed to mourn up on the Temple Mount. You aren't allowed to rip your clothing up there, if you are a Jew, because the guards who honor Muslim sensitivities above all others are Jewish and they know that a Jew in mourning rips their clothes as a sign of their grief.

That's right. Can you imagine? A Jew is not allowed to whisper, cry, rip his shirt in grief. If he does, an Arab will come over and tell a Jewish policeman...look at him, look what he is doing. Get him out of here...and the policeman will.

This is what we have come to? This is the freedom we have in our land? That even our tears are considered enough of an insult to demand our being denied access to OUR Temple Mount?

(Video from 0404 News agency)

Jews Sing...and Mourn...and Pray

Sometimes, even if you don't understand the words, you can understand the emotions.

This video is from the Kotel, singing on Tisha B'Av. The next is from 11 years ago, as Israel stood on the edge of a unilateral destruction of the communities in Gush Katif and Northern Shomron. We knew, even then, it was such a bad idea...even the media, left and pro-expulsion, even they realized the depths of the faith it took for us to survive that horrible time.

First - at the Kotel - a united people begging God for the ultimate redemption, the coming of the Messiah and a true end to our wandering.

And young women praying in N'vei Dekalim days before the destruction. I have watched this so many times and I have not yet once succeeded in not crying with them, for them, for all of us.

Tisha B'Av...sometimes a video is the best way to explain

Number One Video from the Olympics?

Saw this on Facebook. Probably not the #1, but I think it should be...


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Israel Defeats Islam

No, really, we did!
Islam El Shehaby, Egypt's Judo entry, was easily and quickly defeated on Friday by Israel's Or Sasson and then, following the great tradition of the Lebanese and the Saudis, Islam then proceeded to show the world that hypocrisy is the great winner of the 2016 Olympics in Rio and that the glory of the Olympic spirit has never been more easily vanquished.
The world wondered if Islam would take part in the competition this past Friday, or if he would join the Lebanese and the Saudis in showing that they held the games in contempt. The Lebanese started the insults even before the Olympics had even begun, by blocking the Israeli team from boarding the bus to the opening ceremonies. The Israelis were asked to divide themselves up to fit on other buses and correctly refused. The Olympic team organizers scrambled and got them another bus but failed to punish the Lebanese team, setting the stage for all that has happened since.
Then the Saudi judo player refused to play in Israeli. And again, the Olympic committee failed to do more than pay lip service to the insult. Incorrectly, they treated the Saudi and Lebanese actions as insults to Israel when, in fact, what they were doing is mocking the entire games and all they stand for. And so it continued.
On Friday, the Egyptian agreed to fight, was quickly defeated, and then delivered what was to be his insult - a refusal to shake the hand of the Israeli. What happens next was wonderful. No, as yet no response from the Olympic committee, but the crowd responded by booing Islam off the mats.
The Israeli team has consistently shown respect in the face of abuse; decency despite attempts to shame them. Many nations will go home with medals; some will go home in disgrace. Few nations will have faced what the Israeli team is facing daily. 
Apparently Islam, the competitor, is know for his virulent anti-Israel feelings. It is both ironic and amusing that in the end, the disgrace is his, while the Israeli walks away not only with the medal but with the respect of so many.
Kol Hakavod to you, Or Sasson - we are so proud of you here in Israel. Beyond the medal you bring home to us, is the pride we feel. It takes a special kind of strength to defeat Islam. And you did it easily simply by putting out your hand, offering respect and accepting that his refusal says volumes about him.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Best Meme Ever...Really...Seriously...Totally...

What is a meme?

Glad you asked. Here's what it is...

And here's the best one yet!!!!

Flags of Lebanon (for their whining and blocking Israeli athletes from getting on the bus), Syria (for refusing to compete with Israelis), Saudi Arabia (for refusing to compete with Israelis), and the "Palestinian" flag (for lying about not having Olympic-sized pools to practice in).

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Lingering Destruction of Gush Katif

Eleven years...how could it be eleven years since that fateful, horrible summer when Israel acted unilaterally, stupidly, naively believing that if we made a grand gesture, peace would follow. No, to be honest, I really don't buy the "naive" part. No one believed, even then, that peace would follow. As to why, knowing what would happen, did we do it? I can't answer that.

With my husband and two friends, we ventured into the Jewish communities of Gaza in the wake of the forced expulsions. Our goal, our hope was probably naive. We thought that maybe we could save a synagogue, something precious from Gush Katif that would comfort the families, comfort us.

We went community by community. Our emotions were all over the place. Anger was there, pain, tears. We pushed on from community to community. My friend, Devra, wrote it down, place by place. I took pictures. Her words are here. Devra wrote about the stones I took from the synagogues. Here, Rachel Saperstein wrote about Paula's Stones.

Of all the songs that I remember from that time, there was one that I knew, even then, was our unavoidable future if we evacuated, destroyed, erased those amazing communities. We did...and the song has come true. We live the nightmare this song so correctly predicted.

Copyright Statement

Everything on this site is protected and copyrighted according to Israeli and international laws. Violators WILL be prosecuted.

For permission to use pictures or text from this site, please write to: info@paulasays.com.