Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Unreasonable Neighbors

After moving to Israel I find myself attributing everyday experiences far more significance than I ever have before. I have begun to consider many of my occurrences, mundane and exhilarating alike, as a microcosm of the country as a whole. Encounters are scrutinized in search of lessons, and a month ago I learned such a lesson.

I am a college student and I just moved into a new apartment building with two other friends. In the new apartment we have been very mindful of the noise emanating from our walls. As of today we are yet to receive a complaint from a tenant in our building. Unfortunately, as I would come to learn, one need not live in the building to make a complaint.

While watching football one Sunday night (American football of course and it makes me sad that I live in a place where that distinction must be made), there began a sudden heavy pounding on our front door.  I went to the peephole and spied two men, very broad and very tall, slamming their fists against the door and incessantly ringing the bell. I decided that at one in the morning it would not be prudent to open the door for two complete strangers, goliath-sized no less, who were already visibly peeved. After approximately fifteen minutes of listening to our front door being physically abused our power was cut (our fuse box being ingeniously located in the hall way).They waited in the hall for us to come restore the power but eventually tiered and went home.

The next day, at around ten at night, the knocks of wrath began again. This time I decided it was time to face the music. After opening the door I noted that the two men were even bigger than they had appeared in the peephole. The older one asked me in broken English if he could come in. I calmly informed him that I did not think that was a very good idea considering I had no idea who he was. He responded that “he lived in the apartment building diagonal from me” with an Israeli inflection that implied that he should  be granted access to my living room while I get him a beer and a sandwich.  Again I politely denied. He then abandoned his plan to enter and began calmly and collectedly explaining his presence. He complained to me that “his apartment suffers from a terrible echo.” He said that he can see that our apartment does not have a rug or enough furniture, and thus our voices, while not being loud, are echoing directly into his apartment across the way. He concluded thusly that we must keep our main window closed at all times. Israel was suffering from a brutal heat and humidity wave at the time and our front window was our main source of air. After simply informing him that he cannot dictate the window practices of our apartment his agitation began to rise to the surface. He threatened to call the police and I welcomed him to, since I had never heard of anyone being arrested for excessive echoing. He told me through gritted teeth that I “did not understand. I can’t sleep, and if I don’t sleep you don’t live.” After I was finished explaining the irony of threatening me with the police and then threatening my life the young one finally piped up. He told me, with his crazy Israeli short-tempered eyes burning holes into my forehead, “you are very brave now, let’s see how brave you are tomorrow.” Sick of being threatened I bid them a goodnight and tried to close the door. The young’n slammed it open and stormed into the elevator with his partner in crime.

They proceeded to terrorize us the next few nights by sending the police to our building. We finally ended it all after our landlord, who happened to also be a lawyer, explained to them that this could not and would not continue.

The events of those nights bothered me for a long time but not because I was scared or upset.  After some consideration I was able to ascertain what was eating at me. The story was a microcosm of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The unreasonable neighbors were a metaphor for Israel’s…well…unreasonable neighbors.

The cutting of our power was an unprovoked escalation of the situation. The next day they were back but with a smile on their faces. Anyone who has seen Arab MK Ahmed Tibi speak knows that he begins with a Cheshire Cat grin (that can transition into a scowl faster than a Porche goes from 0 to 60). The demand that our windows remain closed at all times was blatantly unfair and was never realistic. It was never mentioned that perhaps if THEY closed THEIR windows the echo would not be so bad. They never owned up to any responsibility on their part. The refusal to acquiesce to the outrageous demands led to threats of violence and eventually harassment.

With the impending collapse of yet another sad excuse for peace negotiations Israel is bracing itself for another avalanche of world condemnation for refusing to meet unreasonable demands and unwarranted harassment from their neighbors. The somber lesson I learned from this Israel adventure is that perhaps there are people in this world that are content to bully and harass others. They may hide behind a mask of calm and reason but underneath they live to badger their neighbors. The chances of making peace with people like that appears bleak to me. Luckily for us winter has finally arrived and we both have closed our windows. Sadly if Israel were to close its window the world would throw a proverbial brick through it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Lesson of Rabbi Uriel Malka

For a large number of people, our very existence in this world is a test. What exactly this test entails has always been a point of serious contention. While I would never assume to hold the answers to the universe (especially considering my struggles with Algebra 2) I do believe that one of the world’s greatest tests is our spiritual and conceptual response to tragedy. As Israel begins to emerge from its greatest natural disaster, the devastating fire in the North, a few public figures have already failed this test in my humble opinion.

I believe that as Jews we must strive to see G-d in all things, good and bad. However, we mustn’t blame him or interpret his intentions, no matter how tragic or unjust things may seem. It is no surprise that many “respected media figures” in the Arab world have attributed the catastrophic blaze to “G-d punishing Israel for occupying Arab land”. Likewise, it is hardly newsworthy that now that the fire has begun to subside the political finger pointing has commenced. However, it is incomprehensible that Shas spiritual leader Rav Ovadia Yosef proclaim with conviction that the fire in the North was a clear result of “the desecration of Shabbat”. While I respect Rav Ovadia for the Torah giant that he is, and while I am sure he means no malice in his statement, it must be emphasized that assigning tragedy to specific human actions is a treacherous practice. 

It is irresponsible and misguided to assume we as human beings can assume to know G-d’s true intentions. The Talmud in Avot (4:10) supports this concept stating, “Do not act as judge alone, for none judges alone except One”.  While this decree falls upon each and every one of us, the onus of this diktat sits far more heavily on the shoulders of our public figures and spiritual leaders.

I vividly recall a story I heard after the explosion of the Columbia Space Shuttle that killed the first Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, and the unsettling feeling the story left me with. A rabbi at the elementary school I had attended told his students that it was clear to him why the shuttle had exploded, killing the seven astronauts inside. He told his students that it was clearly because Ilan Ramon had brought a Torah scroll with him on the mission and since he was not religious the explosion was his punishment for desecrating the Torah scroll. The certainty with which the rabbi said this disturbed me equally as much as the content of his drivel.  An elementary school rabbi has the daunting task of molding a child’s early interaction with religion and G-d and to irresponsibly pass off crack-pot theory to impressionable children is beyond the pale.

I honestly believe that the correct response to times of tragedy is an admission that we understand nothing. What we must understand however, is that G-d’s hand guides these event and that he is just in doing so. It is his world to build or destroy, we are merely renting space. That is not to say that we should not cry out to him for mercy. On the contrary, it is G-d, and only G-d, who can truly console us in these harrowing times.

The tragic irony is that the world was introduced to a hero of these very principles after he was killed by the raging fire. Rabbi Uriel Malka, a 32 year old prison chaplain and former teacher at the Denver Academy of Torah, was killed among 39 others on a prison transport bus that was surprised by the spreading flames, sadly robbing the world of what surely would have been a profound and thoughtful response to this time of tribulation. Rabbi Malka came face to face with death a number of times while serving in the IDF during the Second Lebanon War. Many from his unit were killed. Although he faced many terrors, he was described as a “simple and warm person, full of happiness for life, and a spreader of optimism to everyone”.  His own brother recounted Uriel’s telling of his near-death experiences. “During his life he met death a number of times. G-d was always in front of him and saved him at the last moment.”  While he was surrounded by devastation he chose to see the good in G-d’s actions. Rabbi Malka was an educator, who put nothing before the importance of the future of the Jewish people. In direct contrast to the Rabbi who denounced Ilan Ramon, Rabbi Malka chose to spread the eternal message of finding G-d’s light in the surrounding darkness.  This is the way tragedy should be met with by members of the Chosen People.

Chief Rabbi of England Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks once wrote, “The beauty of Judaism is that it did not become traumatized by tragedy… It is that central affirmation of G-d as life, and therefore of finding G-d in the midst of the blessings of life, that we must not lose”.  Rabbi Uriel Malka personified this message to the letter and although he was introduced to us through his heartbreaking and untimely death  we should all strive to learn the immortal lesson of his life.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Empty Chair Syndrome

In America his face is hidden deep in the bowels of a high security prison. In Israel his face greets you as you enter Jerusalem. Jonathan Pollard remains not only locked away from his friends and family in a U.S. prison, but from the Jewish American subconscious as well.

In Israel “he is still alive” is a motto of optimism and urgency. In America it is an actual and sadly necessary reminder of his tragic situation. Gilad Shalit is the face that stares at Israelis from every bus, billboard, and newspaper but is as ubiquitous as a pager in America.

Pollard is sitting in an American prison, serving out a, some say incongruous, sentence of life in prison for being convicted of espionage on behalf of Israel (recently the deputy of the American Defense Secretary that helped incriminate Pollard has acknowledged that Pollard has been given a disproportionate punishment).
Shalit has been held captive by Hamas since his abduction in 2006. Hamas has all but refused to release any information as to Shalit’s condition and has repeatedly balked at negotiations for his return.

While Pollard and Shalit are two very distinct issues, each with its own complexities and opinions, they are both inextricably linked as the faces of the current Israeli political and cultural narrative. Not so in America.

While the world is no stranger to Jewish American apathy, indifference to their suffering brothers is no longer the gravest cause for concern. Apathy has given way to ignorance. The utter lack of dialogue on issues such as Pollard and Shalit in America is the American Jewish Establishment’s most alarming miscue. Many American Jews may feel torn between their allegiance to Israel and America over Pollard, but to erase it from the narrative altogether is far from the answer. The always maddening debate over whom and what would be acceptable to trade to bring Shalit home can bring the closets of friends to blows, but never should it be swept under the rug. No sane person would argue that Israeli society has reached a consensus on either Pollard or Shalit, however it is in dealing with these sticky issues that Israeli society truly distinguishes itself as a pluralistic and democratic entity in a region where such values are sparse. Jewish Americans are being trained to involve themselves in every human rights cause there is…that is except for the trials of their own people. The dismissal of Jewish issues such as Pollard and Shalit can only breed disregard and ignorance, two things no community is in demand of.

The solution to this daunting predicament is for Jewish American groups to adopt the Israeli mindset in relation to Pollard and Shalit. Israeli culture suffers/benefits from “empty chair syndrome”, the incessant awareness that there is a person missing when sitting down to the proverbial family feast. This cognizance of vacancy then leads to a discussion in every mini-mart, taxi cab, and Shabbat table in the country.  American Jewry is suffering from “crisis at the neighbor’s house” syndrome. Instead of making sure their own house is in order, they jump up from the table to fight their neighbors’ fights first. No attempts are made to solve the problem of the glaring empty chair. It must be asked: how can you run out to save your neighbor when an empty chair blocks your front door?

“Empty chair syndrome” is not a new concept in Judaism. During the Passover Seder we fill a cup for Elijah the Prophet, as well as open the door for him, in the hopes that he arrive and lead us to salvation. During the Succot holiday we invite different Biblical icons into our Succot. Their lack of physical attendance serves as our motivation to analyze our lives in the hopes of living more righteously the rest of the year. Israel has adapted this concept for Pollard and Shalit and American Jewry must do the same.

Hopefully, the Jewish American community can transform themselves into a community that confronts the issues of its own people first and foremost. While fighting against injustice in Darfur and women’s rights in Iran has true altruistic merit, Jews must first grapple with their own affairs if they hope to survive long enough to help the rest of the world. Hopefully, the American Jewish Establishment can right the ship so that they can move the empty chair away from the front door and be able to open it for Pollard, Shalit, and the rest of their stranded brethren when they come home to reclaim their seats at the table.

1st Moment Magazine Blog Article!!!

ObamaCare Turns the Tables on the Jewish Mothers

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Talks Stall Over Frozen Yogurt Demand

A number of sources inside the State Department told reporters late Sunday that the new round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority have screeched to a halt due to Israel's denial of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ demand for the establishment of a frozen yogurt chain, the latest craze in Western culture, in Gaza. Abbas released a statement admonishing the Israelis for their “denial of delicious yet low-fat, and thus, guiltless, dessert delight. I cannot sit at the table with the Israelis without this concession. Seriously. If I sit my pants will burst at the seams, I really need this low-calorie savior, and there are hundreds of other Palestinians suffering from this newest form of Israeli oppression. PLOGurt is not a luxury, it’s a necessity”.

This sticking point is certainly not immune to the plethora of cynicism that has surrounded these talks since the beginning. Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat has expressed his hesitations due to the probability that the Israelis “would promise a full assortment of yogurt flavors, but most likely only provide tart flavors. I know that tart is the popular choice in health-conscience Hollywood, but what about the children. Nothing would make Israel happier than watching our poor kids running around in the streets, toasting yet another successful suicide attack with some delicious froyo, quickly relegated to puckered faces and watering eyes. They are a cruel people to be sure”. On the Israeli side, Defense Minister Ehud Barak was pessimistic about “the current infrastructure in the Palestinian Authorities being conducive to responsible toppings choices. The system currently in place could lead to catastrophes as large as mango and M&M’s topped Strawberry Tart”. Barak then proceeded to throw up a little bit in his mouth.

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had stipulated that if the PLOGurt chain was to be established, the U.S. would join Israel in a joint-exercise that would aim to educate the Palestinian people on the benefits and pitfalls of the self-serve yogurt shop system.    

Right-wing activists in Israel have pleaded in an open letter to Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, “not to be tricked into merely trading one freeze (the soon-ending 10 month freeze on building in the settlements) for another. If you concede now, next they will ask for our secret way to get rid of brain-freeze quickly. You must say here and now, no more freeze of any kind”.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, an outspoken critic of the current talks being conducted by his own government, was again protesting against the Prime Minister Sunday night, preaching to a crowd of his constituents, “that the only positive effect establishing PLOGurt in Gaza could have is showing the world that the only thing Palestinians have less tolerance for than lactose is the Jewish State”.

Many in academia have credited this seemingly one-sided skepticism for the PLOGurt peace initiative on the Palestinian’s history of balking on large gestures made by the Israelis. Bar-Ilan Political Science Professor Ayal Brandiess told E-Tone that, “Israel cannot afford to look foolish with this yogurt request since they were caught with the pants down when PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat walked away from an offer to open 40 Wetzel’s Pretzel stores in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem in 2000”.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Building is Forever

[Disclaimer: Not Satire]
As a yeshiva student living in the old city of Jerusalem, I hated it. At the end of 2006 the decision was made to rebuild the Hurva Synagogue, the historic place of prayer at the heart of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, destroyed by the Arab Legion during the War of Independence.  The six a.m. drilling I awoke to every morning notwithstanding, I struggled to understand the reason for rebuilding.  There was still a small synagogue inside the ruins where many still prayed. Additionally, I had always figured that the fact that it was ruins was a large part of its tourist appeal. And come on, 6 a.m.!  Construction continued throughout my year and a half in yeshiva and I left seeing little progress in the rebuilding.

This summer I was a councilor for American high school kids spending six weeks in Israel. On the first day we took the kids to the Old City, and as we walked past the now monstrous, lavish, rebuilt Hurva, I quickly mentioned the story of the structure to my campers but lacking much enthusiasm. I still struggled to understand the symbolism of the restoration.

On the Ninth of Av, the day of mourning for the destruction of the Temple, we took the campers to one of my co-councilor’s yeshiva in East Jerusalem. From the hill the yeshiva was perched upon you could see the entire Old City. As I pointed out the different familiar icons from this new perspective to the kids, I was momentarily puzzled as I reached the new Hurva. I was not used to seeing a gigantic domed structure in the Jewish Quarter. Suddenly, I was hit with the understanding of the significance of the new Hurva. It dawned upon me, on that day of mourning, that in the aftermath of destruction Jews build.

Often times a society will react to destruction with retaliatory wrecking, such as the 1992 Rodney King Riots in Los Angeles. The Jewish people have always had the opposite impulse. Spiritually staggering in the desert, the Jews built the Tabernacle to bring G-d’s presence closer. From the ashes of the Holocaust, the Jews built up the previously desolate lands of Palestine. Retaliation by building sends a clear and strong message. No matter what you do to us, we are here forever. An establishment is the establishment of the people who built it, in the place they built it.

The four Israelis that were brutally slaughtered in the Hills of Hebron Tuesday lived a life that exhibited this message of eternal existence. They forwent a quiet and safe life to show just how important it was for the Jewish people to establish themselves in every corner of the land G-d gave us. Hamas stands for destruction but history shows that often times the merchants of destruction inevitably becomes its primary recipient. The four holy souls that were cut down in cold blood built their lives in Hebron, in response to all the destruction that has taken place there throughout history. The city is holy and of utmost importance to the Jewish people, and thus, building there is imperative, no matter the risks. It is essential to ensuring that the world know the Jews will be there forever.

Additionally, in response to the shameless slayings, the Yesha Council, the Jewish governing body in the West Bank decreed a de-facto end to the building moratorium, and announced that after the burial of the terror victims, a “construction party” of sorts was to commence. Their response to murder was not bullets and bombs but hammer and nail. They too understood that the best way to honor the fallen was to continue the underlying message of their lives.

The juxtaposition of this phenomenon to the Arabs would be comical if it did not have such terrifying consequences for Israel. The Friday edition of the Los Angeles Times featured a front page story warning that “Jewish and Palestinian extremists make [Hebron] a hot spot that might sink peace talks”. The article then elaborated on who these Jewish and Palestinian extremists are. On the Palestinian side was the acknowledgment that, “Hamas…renewed its campaign of violence this week with two drive-by shootings”.   The Jewish extremists were then described as, “Jewish settlers,” that, “demonstrated their contempt…by rolling out bulldozers and cement mixers to resume construction in defiance of Israel’s 10-month moratorium”. Whether or not you agree with building in the settlements and the defiance of the Israel government (which seems like a pastime bestowed upon all Israelis, left, center, or right, at one point or another), it is impossible to miss the drastic discrepancy between the extremism of Hamas violence and the “extremism” of Jewish construction.

Should Bibi Netanyahu walk away from the charade of peace negotiations currently playing out in Washington? Absolutely. These most recent attacks only re-enforce the point that even if one was gullible enough to believe PA President Mahmoud Abbas wanted to stop the murder of Jews in Israel he has absolutely no authority over the increasingly powerful Hamas regime in the West Bank. Additionally, it is clear that United States President Barak Obama has little, if any, faith in these talks. Noticeably, the State Department has taken the reigns as the American representative in the negotiations.  This has placed Secretary of State, and Obama’s number one inter-party rival, Hillary Clinton, in the direct spotlight for as long as these talks proceed. With a pivotal November mid-term election upcoming and an even more vital Presidential election looming, if President Obama had even a modicum of hope that these talks would be successful he would never allow for Hillary to lay claim to the credit. The White House’s decision to distance themselves from the talks demonstrates how cynically the Obama Administration views the negotiations. Bibi’s insistence in staying the course with these pseudo-negotiations, while needlessly endangering Israelis, does not endanger the Jewish people however. No matter the damage Bibi, Abbas, or Obama inflicts on Israel, the people will respond with building.

I recently saw a very thought-provoking question in regard to upcoming Rosh Hashanah Holiday, the Jewish New Year and Day of Judgment.  It began by observing that most people, when faced with a day of judgment, wear conservative clothing and eat modestly, nervous over the outcome of the judgment. Thus it wondered why on Rosh Hashanah, a day where each and every Jew is judged, do the people wear fancy new clothing and stuff themselves with elegant meals surrounded by friends and family? Shouldn’t they be more concerned?

The answer given was that while as individuals, we worry about our lots for the upcoming year, G-d chose us as his people, and we know, no matter what happens, the Jewish people will be on this earth forever. Thus, while as individuals we may be worried, as a community and as a nation we hold an annual celebration of this eternal decree of existence.

This is the message of the Rosh Hashanah celebration, the message of the Hurva, and the legacy of the four holy souls of the Hebron Hills. The Jewish people will be in their land until the end of time (and beyond). We must never abandon this truth. In recognizing this reality we take the senseless murder of four innocent souls and build something positive from it. We must honor their memory by continuing to build our communities, our families, and our belief that the Jewish people, come hell or high water (or nuclear warheads), will always be established in this world. Forever.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

In Light of Mosque Controversy Benihana Set to Open Long Awaited Restaurant in Pearl Harbor

With the highly controversial decision to build a mosque next to ground zero engulfing the nation, a party in a quieter conflict may be looking to take advantage of the distraction. With the nation’s attention elsewhere, Benihana, the extremely popular Japanese-style restaurant chain, is reportedly mobilizing to open a long-awaited restaurant in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

A source inside the Benihana organization leaked to reporters yesterday that the restaurant will have the same menu as all the other establishments including the potentially inflammatory “kamikaze baked potato”.

While there have not been reports as troubling as the anti-American rhetoric allegedly espoused by Feisal Abdul Rauf, Imam of the Ground Zero Mosque, Benihana busboy Daisuke Matahoto has been known to complain of the lack of American generosity as far as tipping is concerned.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, failing to stay uninvolved in yet another hot-button issue, has surprised many in her own party, coming out against Benihana. “I refuse to live in an America that allows the free flow of MSG without any form of regulation or oversight, I support a full investigation into the portions of MSG used in all dishes in all restaurants in this country” Pelosi told a reporter pool Tuesday afternoon, before delving into a fifteen minute diatribe against the evils of Coke a Cola and salty snacks. There have been a number of unattributed whispers coming from the Republican camp alleging that Pelosi’s hatred for MSG is actually linked to the number of times her plastic-surgery botched face has been mistaken for an allergic reaction to the popular East Asian cuisine additive.

Some political analysts believe the Benihana move was orchestrated by the Republican Party as a strategy to tear down President Obama’s credibility. The argument to be made would be that if the President devoted more time to the Ground Zero Mosque than the Benihana conflict (as would be expected), the “Birthers” movement would gain a key piece of evidence that Obama was, in fact, born in a Muslim country and not the Aloha state he is so clearly abandoning.

When asked for his opinion on the Pearl Harbor issue, Vice President Joe Biden told reporters that he has, “seen the movie, but doesn’t care much for historical fiction or Ben Affleck so it would not be right for me to comment at this time”.  When asked about Pelosi’s comments on MSG he responded, “that he hadn’t been to The Garden in a long time, but the Knicks suck, so who cares”.

Benihana is said to be reconsidering its initial intended ad campaign, bearing the tag line: “Prepare yourselves for a sneak-attack of flavor”. President Obama had apparently found the ad humorous and after he was informed that most of the people insulted were middle-class Americans he reportedly laughed harder.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Israel to Adopt Vampire Motif In Effort To Boost Teenage American Tourism

The latest in a list of increasingly predictable Obama Administration Mid-East blunders may have been resolved late Wednesday night. Following the now infamous flotilla-gate, the White House had demanded Israel ease the Gaza blockade on both land and sea. Then, after Israel’s compliance with the order, the administration issued a warning to Americans, cautioning them to avoid traveling to Israel because it’s dangerous now that the blockade is lifted (one must conclude that logic must not be one of the requirements for community organizing).

This completely rational and founded warning had put the Israeli economy, one that relies heavily on tourism during the summer (money from American kids and new citizens conceived on Birthright buses), at serious risk. However, an American image consultant may have found a way for the Holy Land to attract young tourists despite the government’s cautions.

Starting July 1st Israel plans to adopt a vampire motif, a seemingly unstoppable fad ravaging American youth, in an effort to bring the kids back to the Promised Land Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu appealed to the Israeli people in a television address Wednesday night to “trade in your entrecote steaks for wooden ones, you M-16 bullets for silver ones, and your chick-peas for garlic”.

The Israeli government has also put in a request for Sarah Michelle Geller, the Jewish actress better known as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to behead Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. President Obama, through his affirmative action program, had suggested Wesley Snipes.

In an attempt to yet again one-up the Netanyahu government, Kadima officials have announced opposition leader Tzipi Livini’s plans to have fang implants. Livini told her staffers Wednesday that “not only will the fangs help with the vampire thing, but it will also help me get an even firmer grasp on Obama’s ass”.

Efforts to temporarily rename Herzliya “Herzlvania” have been squashed due to public outcry as has the request to temporarily refer to every time of day in Israel as “twilight”. In a rare showing of unity, devout Jews and Muslims alike decried the “twilight” plan due to the confusions it would cause in prayer scheduling. “We think the unity shown by Haredim and Sunnis today is a true step in the right direction. The united and organized mobility of two incredibly influential sects in the Middle East can only been seen as progress. Who says we don’t understand the region?” White House advisor David Axelrod told reporters yesterday .

It remains unclear if this newest plan by Israel will end up a larger vampire disaster than ABC’s upcoming summer filler and near NBA Finals ruining television show “The Gates”...but it's doubtful.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

UN Demands Impartial Probe of BP for “Unlawful Attempts to Plug Oil Spill"

The United Nations, in a statement Monday, finally threw their hats in the ring regarding the BP oil spill, though it was not in the capacity many had anticipated. UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, at a press conference in New York, called for an investigation into the “unlawful attempts of BP to plug the oil spill”. 

“The oil rig has been in that ocean for many years. BP invaded it in 2008 and have been occupying it ever since. Instead of making sure they care for the rig, providing for it and protecting it, they have neglected it and are clearly suffering nothing more than the consequences of their actions. I heard they were considering building a wall around the leak, yes a wall, hey BP, South Africa called, they want their apartheid back. But seriously, the United Nations vehemently rejects the claim that attempts to plug the spill are in the interests of self-defense and self-preservation. The world has already seen too much atrocity in the name of “self-defense””.

A number of organizations have openly decried this newest UN condemnation as part of a continuous pattern of misplacing blame when dealing with international incidents. While BP has scrambled to prove it has done all that was expected of them to ensure the rigs wellbeing, a minority of voices have been accusing the US government, the true ruling authority over the rig, of being negligent. “The Obama regime has been the elected government, with authority over the Gulf Coast States for the past 18 Months. BP has afforded all available resources to the rig since they purchased it. If the rig decided to spill, it is due to the, "indifferent" at best, "damaging" at worst, treatment it has received from the Obama White House,” Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, told reporters Monday night. “Why would the expectations for fair treatment and upkeep fall on the shoulders of any other organization before it falls on the shoulders of the elected officials?”

Legislation, originating out of Turkey, has been rapidly passing through the various UN councils,. The resolution calls for the allowance of more oil to spill into the gulf, unimpeded by the “oppressive and apartheid-like rule of BP emergency officials”.

President Obama signed this soon-to-be resolution Tuesday morning, reportedly muttering to himself, “now where have I seen this before?” 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Flotilla Fiasco Update: Proctologists, Dinosaurs, and Female Flotation

Over a week has gone by since the flotilla disaster. E-Tone though it best to update you on the latest news stemming from the catastrophe:

Proctologist Tapped to Conduct Impartial Probe of Gaza Flotilla Incident
The United Nations, finally making a decision based on logic, have appointed the world’s best proctologist, Dr. Cosmo Azman, to conduct the flotilla probe.

Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu met with his cabinet Thursday to deliberate on a number of decisions, including how much cooperation Israel should afford Dr. Azman’s team, as well as whether they prefer a salty drink over a pill the size of a horse head for the pre-probe cleansing.

Dr. Azman, the UN has decided, will be probing with an old-fashion long-tubed camera (yowzer!), not the revolutionary new camera pill that a patient can simply swallow, sending it through the digestive system taking pictures along the way. The technology was developed by the Israeli company GivenImaging, and thus the pill has been deemed biased according to UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon.

Likud MK Benny Begin warned Dr. Azman that while probing the Turks, he should look out for the head of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.

Helen Thomas Seeks Sole Creative Control of "Jew-rassic Park" Movie
With her job now in severe jeopardy, White House Correspondent and newly outed anti-Semite, Helen Thomas, has sought the rights to a new movie she has been shooting called "Jew-rassic Park". After being told that this venture has drawn shock and appall from most people, Thomas responded, “What it isn’t like I was wishing death on the Jews in the film. Jeff Goldblum makes it off the island alive. Oh, and  sorry for that but if you needed a spoiler alert warning for a movie that came out in 1993 you need to get the hell out of your house…like the Jews”.

President Obama noted his reservations about the potential blockbuster but visited the set none the less. Allegedly, after a mechanical Dilophosaurus spit tar in his face (like Newman), the President told the robotic creature he forgave him for the “clear anger you have developed thanks to the Bush Administration. Here, try again; you missed a spot on my left cheek”.

Biggest Question Still Remains: What in the hell is a “Flotilla”?
While a myriad of questions from all sides of the political spectrum have been asked since the IDF boarding and subsequent “activist” attack aboard the Gaza Flotilla, one question, a question every expert in the field is too embarrassed to ask, is yet to be answered. Political Scientists as well as officials in the US State Department have told E-Tone, on the condition of anonymity, that experts in the field still have “no idea what the hell a “flotilla” is”.

One expert charged that the word was created as a Zionist conspiracy. “Think about it. If “flotilla” isn’t a word, than the IDF cannot claim they were attacked on one”.

While code-breakers have suggested that “flotilla”, an anagram for “fall toil”, may hold the key to when the Iranians will get their nuclear weapon (fall of next year), others are more skeptical.

Professor Kobi Levi of Bar Ilan University told E-Tone, “I know it’s crazy but all I can picture is an emasculated float. Like a raft with a purse and its hair done ” (pictured above).

Monday, June 7, 2010

Foreigner Lyrics Finally Explained!!!

"Feeling down 'n' dirty, feeling kinda mean
I've been from one to another extreme...
My double vision gets the best of me"
-Foreigner "Double Vision"

  Helen Thomas                            Rev. Jeremiah Wright

Really makes you wonder what exactly is he embracing???

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Being the Tank

[DISCLAIMER: This article is not a satire. Since starting E-Tone I have fought the urge on many occasions to write a serious straightforward opinion piece. I did it on Israel Remembrance Day for obvious reasons, but have otherwise tried to refrain from straying from satire. However, I have recently come to the conclusion that there are times when satire is not enough. The freedom to laugh and joke about politics is just that, a manifestation of our personal freedoms. Thus, when I feel that the very liberty that gives me the latitude to poke fun at everything from world leaders to seminary students is threatened by tyranny and injustice, I feel the need to set the record straight in a coherent and straightforward manner. .  I will try to maintain a common theme, that of my own personal experiences as an American-born young adult living in Israel, running throughout these posts in the name of uniqueness. The charges against Israel’s right to exist will not go uncontested. A bias international community and the media it worships must be matched word for word, and I willingly accept some of that burden upon myself with honor and humility.]

Being the Tank 
In high school I spent an insurmountable amount of hours at Pro-Israel rallies in front of the Federal Building in Westwood California, toting the classic “Americans for the IDF” posters and for some inexplicable reason, pleading with the Mexican-American gardener driving by in his dusty old pick-up truck to honk if he loves Israel. Who wouldn’t want to be on the same side of a picket line with the hilarious Larry Miller, a staunch pro-Israel advocate as well as hilarious comedian and actor? A true Jewish Angelino could never pass up on advocacy and Hollywood glitterati all wrapped into one.

This past Monday night, after the Israeli Navy had killed 9 extremists in self-defense on a flotilla off of the coast of Gaza, and was summarily condemned by the majority of nations in the international community, lead by Turkey, I attended a Pro-Israel rally at the Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv. To say that Israeli passion kicks Tinsel-town’s behind would be an understatement of epic proportions. My first Israeli rally was as much an emotional revelation for me than a conceptual one. People, young and old, were not chanting for Israel as if it were a team playing in the Superbowl (I guess World Cup would be more apt) that weekend.  You could genuinely feel people of all backgrounds chanting and singing in unison for their right to exist. Songs weren’t songs but personal anthems. Posters seemed more like enlarged I.D. cards than kitschy catch-phrases scrawled on thin paper.  This is a phenomenon Americans are privileged to not have to experience (yet), but that most certainly does not mean that they do not need to learn its lesson.

On Tuesday, my Professor fielded a question from a classmate of mine that in essence was the quintessential, “why has the world turned against Israel? Why is the only democracy in the Middle East always portrayed as oppressors and aggressors? ” question. My Professor answered slowly, “Do you remember that picture of the tank and the boy (above)?  Well, Israel used to be the boy, now we are the tank”.

While “being the tank” being the reason for the world’s consistent condemnation of the Jewish state is debatable, what is not debatable is that, in reality, every single person on this earth, if placed in that actual situation, would rather be the tank than the boy. Should Israel be a light unto other nations? Absolutely it should. However, this does not mean that it must take constant abuse and terror from its enemies lying down.  Going like sheep to their slaughter does the other nations Israel is supposed to be an example for no good whatsoever.  Being the tank is not just imperative to Israel’s survival, it is imperative to Israel fulfilling its role as a bastion of G-d’s good light in a world that’s bulb is quickly flickering out.

Israel should not have to apologize for the deaths of the extremists on the flotilla. Israel does not owe Turkey, Barak Obama, or the UN an explanation for preventing their young soldiers from being beaten to death in an ambush.  It must continue to protect itself as it has since its inception, with a moral mind and a strong fist.  Stopping those that wish you harm is not “stooping to their level”, as many have charged, it punctuates the statement that that “level” (i.e. genocide and terrorism) will not be tolerated.

Perhaps the tank/boy analogy has been interpreted erroneously. The boy in the analogy is cocking his arm, poised to throw a rock at the tank. He is a loner with his own story and his own ideas. As an individual this is commendable, however the tank/boy analogy is being used to compare nations not individuals. The boy as a nation is rouge, reckless, and irrational. Only such a person would go up against a tank. Courage is not a synonym for stupidity. Israel most certainly is the tank. The tank is a large machine built for the protection of the collective. The tank has a mechanical exterior, but relies on a human interior to operate correctly.  Israel is, and must always be, the tank of the Jewish people. It must always be a literal as well as political and ideological machine run by people who understand the responsibilities it was built for; to shield and propel the Nation of Israel and the good that it stands for.

This is what I felt at the Tel Aviv rally. The 500 plus protesters all understood that the tank must not be traded for the boy. They understood, and yelled as such, that the Israeli Navy were heroes on Monday, not war criminals. Turkey, in its alliance with Iran and Hamas, embodies the rouge reckless boy-nation. Israel stands for the heroic and just tank-state.

Israel must maintain its passionate and unbending identity, it is what separates it from all other nations, and must be a source of pride not shame. In America, a person carries an Identification Card (unless you are an illegal immigrant of course), in Israel it’s a Teudat Zehut, or a certificate of identity. Identity, not identification, is Israel’s keystone of greatness and it must be protected at all costs.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pro-Israel Protest Sign Ideas

In light of the many pro-Israel rallies against the Turkish Government bound to be organized in the next few days, E-Tone thought it would share a few ideas for creative protest signs! This is a group exercise, so please send in your own ideas and we will put the best ones up!




Sunday, May 30, 2010

Forget 443: New Road Would Be Built Exclusively for Palestinians; To Be Called J Street

As frustration mounts on both sides at the Supreme Court's decision to re-open Route 443 to automobiles with Palestinian license plates, the Palestinian Authority has forwarded a proposal aimed at a possible solution. Prime Minister Salam Fayyad unveiled a proposal he had received earlier in the week from a PAC, suggesting that a new road, named J Street, should be built exclusively for Palestinians.

Fayyad painted a picture for reporters that he believes will be satisfactory to Israelis and Palestinians alike. “The creation of J Street is first and foremost in the best interest of the Israeli people. In fact, the people who came up with the idea are Jewish themselves. How can Israel refute the legitimacy of something created for their best interest by their own people? One must conclude that the creation of this road is in alignment with the majority opinion of Israeli society. For the Palestinians, the end of the apartheid state’s apartheid highway is truly a victory. Until now the only contact our people had with this highway was when we were paid to do road work on it”. When questioned by reporters as to how Israel could be an apartheid state if it paid the Palestinian workers wages for their work, Fayyad responded, “I don’t know, I just read it in the J Street proposal”. 

Hadar Susskind, J Street Vice President of Policy, Strategy, and Traffic Congestion released a statement late Sunday that appeared to be more evasive than truthful. “First and foremost we aim to build a road free of those awful road reflectors. That constant click-clack sound drivers must endure on a daily basis is a type of terrorism we will no longer tolerate. We would rather have roadblocks”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, was not satisfied by this apparent smoke-screen put up by the brain-trust responsible for the J Street concept. The project’s President, Jeremy Ben-Ami, was more candid than his colleague when cornered by reporters on his way into his office. In response to a large portion of the Israeli government's demanded for an honest answer, Ben-Ami staunchly insisted that, “this is nothing more than the physical implementation of our long-standing policy. We at the J Street project always have and always will maintain that the best way to resolve any Palestinian-Israeli conflict is through the allowance of Palestinians to plow, drive, and walk all over Israel”.

Monday, May 17, 2010

TMZ Exclusive: Obama Auditioned for New Robin Hood Movie

A report by the popular celebrity news website released late Sunday has revealed that President of the United States Barak Obama auditioned for the new version of Robin Hood that was released on the silver screen this week. Obama reportedly auditioned for the lead role of Robin Hood, a role that eventually was given to Russell Crowe.

Reportedly, when asked by the producers as to his qualifications to portray the great child hero, the President boasted of his numerous current and planned policies. “My healthcare bill, the stimulus package, and planned tax increases make me more than qualified to play a character that steals from the rich and gives to the poor”.
The President apparently made a few suggestions as to how best revise the script. “Instead of Robin Hood just giving out his stolen money to the poor, how about he sets up a council of his merry men, crowning himself the supreme ruler, and in a very dramatic scene, the council can vote on what they think is the true definition of “poor” and who gets the money.  In an intriguing back-story, perhaps a councilman on the fence about the distribution can be promised or threatened (depending on how kid-friendly you want the movie) with the giving or revoking of prime forest real-estate by Robin Hood’s chief-of-staff Little Rham…I mean Little John”.  

The President apparently lost his chance to be cast after insisting that all members of Sherwood Forest have energy-efficient light bulbs.  The President also apparently challenged Robin Hood’s right to bear a bow and arrow. Director and Co-Producer Ridley Scott was upset that the President would not cede these points, feeling the film really could have benefited by featuring, “a President who is more celebrity than politician. I mean his celebration at the DNC in Denver’s Mile High Stadium was crazier than the Oscars.”

The President apparently had lost interest in the project himself when he was told he could not act out the scenes with a teleprompter behind the camera. 

Popular syndicated Radio Host Rush Limbaugh suggested on his show Monday that based on his policies, the President is more suited to play the role of Blinkin from Mel Brook’s parody Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

After Russell Crow was announced as the producer’s choice, the White House scrambled to issue a statement to refute the claim that Robin Hood was the President’s favorite cartoon growing up.  “The President had a particular affinity for Aladdin growing up in…err Hawaii…because of its inspiring story of a downtrodden…err Christian…beating the odds. And we can say with 100% certainty that Jafar was a Republican”.

The President did speak on one issue personally. On the lawn of the White House Sunday, in regard to whether or not he wore tights and how they looked, the President responded, "Can I still use that "don't ask don't tell" thing or did we get rid of that already?"

Thursday, May 13, 2010

American Jews Cancel Holiday because “Jerusalem Day Just Sounds Ridiculous”

Early Tuesday morning, a coalition of Jewish leaders in America, spanning from Reform to Ultra-Orthodox, unanimously announced the cancellation of the holiday that was to be celebrated later that night and Wednesday morning commemorating Israel’s re-capturing of Jerusalem in 1967. The American leaders canceled the joyous holiday, known as Yom Yerushalayim in Israel, because “Jerusalem Day just sounds ridiculous”. 

Ronald Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress told reporters, “In Israel at least they got the whole alliteration thing going for them. It rolls off the tongue. Jerusalem Day just sounds like the day in school your teachers tell you to show up dressed like our forefathers and mothers. I hated that day, you try wearing a homemade turban in the scorching heat for eight hours”.  It was later reported that Mr. Lauder’s view on the subject might have been tainted by the fact that his mother always insisted he dress up as Isaac, which inevitably led to the annual tie down and sacrificial ceremony of little Ronnie Lauder by the local bullies.

This is not the first time American Jewish pronunciation has put ancient tradition in jeopardy.  In 1983, the minutes of a meeting held by the National Council of Young Israel were leaked to the press. On the agenda for that meeting was a debate on whether or not to abolish the large loafs of bread, called “challah” in Hebrew, as an essential part of the Sabbath meal due to the American Jew’s long and perilous struggle with the sound “chhhh”. In the end, the potentially huge religious crisis was averted when the council approved the pronunciation “hallah” no mater how unbearably stupid it sounds.

When asked why the American Jewish Community did not seek a similar solution for the Celebration of the miracle of G-d’s returning of the single most important geographical icon in Jewish life, J Street Director Jeremy Ben-Ami answered astutely, “What’s the connection? This is American Jewish life; everyone knows hallah is an imperative staple of the Jewish conscience. Let me know when Jerusalem is considers as such”.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Judge Grants AG Holder 15 Minuet Recess After He Began Litigating for the Defense

United States Attorney General Eric Holder was granted a 15 minuet recess Thursday afternoon after his head nearly exploded. Apparently, while trying a case against an unrepentant Muslim terrorist, the AG continuously found himself drifting over to the defense table. When first questioned about this strange behavior by the judge, Holder claimed “I was sure I saw a Jr. Mint over by the table; you know they can be very refreshing”. It soon became clear, however, that Holder was engaged in a violent inner struggle. This is hardly the first time he has been suspected of sympathizing with enemy combatants (I sometimes wish all the things I write on this blog are a joke, but alas, this is not one of them).

While questioning the forensic specialist, the People’s star witness, the AG abruptly objected to his own questions on a number of grounds including leading the witness and being racist (like a bizarro Fletcher Reede).

Some feel that this crisis in representation could have been averted had the early signed been heeded. Apparently, during jury selection, Holder struck a perspective juror from the list because “it appeared as though he would agree with me, and come on, that’s not a fair trial”. 

Holder also spent most of his closing argument making a concerted effort to show the jury that though he was speaking with conviction, he did have his fingers crossed behind his back (like good ‘ol Groucho Marx, ehh old people, this blog is for you too!).

When questioned by reporters after the jury went into deliberations, a number of reporters called attention to some blue ink on Holder’s forehead. It was later discovered that when wiping sweat from his forehead (he did this every time his cross-examination was going too well) the ink had rubbed off of a note Holder had written on his hand that read “America=good”, a trick he credited to First Lady Michelle Obama.

Holder apparently requested that the judge hold him in contempt a number of times, and only withdrew his request after repeatedly being reminded that it would be a waste of tax dollars since the American people already have that covered.

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Monday, May 3, 2010

Senator Mitchell: Refugees are Going to Disney World!

Releasing a 3D animated video last week mocking the father of captured soldier Gilad Shalit, Hamas intended to intimidate and ridicule the Israeli government and its people. At first glance this move seemingly advanced Hamas’s ever-present efforts to impede the peace process in the Middle East. It now appears, however, that they have unintentionally advanced the process more than ever before.

In a press conference Monday, US Senator, and appointed mediator between the Palestinians and Israelis during this week’s upcoming proximity talks (named no doubt for their close proximity to failure), George Mitchell announced that the two sides have reached an accord on one of the negotiations most severe issues before the talks have even commenced. “In light of the video released by Hamas last week, and in anticipation of this week’s negotiations, we are proud to announce that we have solved the refugee crisis. With the Palestinians new found display of animation and imagination skills, the refugees in Gaza and the West Bank will now be transferred to the happiest place on earth. No not Chris Matthew’s room of self-portraits, no not Michael Moore’s kitchen pantry, the refugees are going to Disney World!”

A few hundred of the refugees will reportedly be assigned to various jobs at the Disney/Pixar studios in Orlando, Florida. Naturally, they will be given a course by Human Resources to help ease the always challenging transition from making films aimed at terrorizing and degrading human beings to making charming and intelligent flicks that leave kids and adults alike feeling warm and fuzzy inside.When asked by reporters what the remaining refugees were to do, Mitchell rattled off a number of other tasks to be offered to the newcomers, including portraying Aladdin and Princess Jasmine, as well as replacing the robot dolls in the Arabia section of the fan favorite “It’s a Small World” attraction.

In anticipation of the refugee’s arrival, Disney World staff has had all of those humongous and obscene, yet somehow incredibly popular, turkey legs, that are so viciously munched on around the park, Halal certified.

Hamas has expressed its reservations, citing their, “great anticipation for Ratatouille, and we all saw how that turned out.” Their denial of Pixar’s ability to still produce fantastic films, such as Up! and Wall-e, appears to be a page right out of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust-denying playbook. The plan has also drawn criticism from an unexpected source. When asked what his response would be if he was asked next year “you have just won the Superbowl, what are you going to do next?” 2009 Superbowl winner Drew Brees responded, “I’ll probably just take the family to Universal Studios or something”. Toy Story star Buzz Lightyear was more optimistic, quoted as saying he hoped this solution would put to rest this ever-troublesome issue for “infinity and beyond!”

This, of course, is not the first time the Obama Administration has attempted to contract the help of the Magical Kingdom for the purposes of transfer. The refugees would likely be house just feet away from the prison in the Pirates of the Carrabin ride, where Attorney General Eric Holder suggested the US transfer the prisoners of Guantanamo Bay.  The deal fell through after the dog with the keys that guards the jail apparently rejected the release of bloodthirsty murderers into his fictional population.  It is also rumored that to put himself through law school, the President once applied to be one of the carriages shaped like Dumbo on the ride bearing the same name.

Not all is sour between the Obama White House and Disney however. Disneyland officials in Anaheim California have announced that the president’s foreign policy will be on display this summer at the theme park's timeless themed land, Fantasyland.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Breaking News: Israel Avoids Wave of iPad Terrorism

Israeli officials announced Sunday morning that they had fixed all technical problems and were lifting the ban on the world’s hottest techno-toy, the Apple iPad, previously banned due to an apparent conflict with Israel’s internet frequencies. Israel’s dash to confiscate any and every iPad brought into the country earlier this month led many to believe that the damage the iPad could inflict may have been more serious than reported, including perhaps damage to the military sector. Though the Israeli government has denied any correlation between the iPad problem and the IDF, Israel’s enemies had deemed it worthwhile to gamble on what could have been a revolutionary type of terrorism.

According to reports, Hamas placed an order for 200 iPads nearly two weeks ago, roughly coinciding with Israel's announcement of the ban. Included in the order were a corresponding number of personalized iPad skins (that's those plastic covers you put on electronic things for all you old people). 100 were designed in the colors of the PLO flag, 90 with a picture of Yasser Arafat, and 10 emblazoned with a smiling Richard Goldstone.

Arch-terrorist Ayman Muhammad Rabi’ Al-Zawahiri lamented Israel’s alleviation of the problem, crushed by the crumbling of the prospect of a new frontier in terrorism. “It is egregious that Israel is allowed to continually decimate any advancement attempted by our people. We try to build a house, they bulldoze it down. We try to build a road, the roadblock it. Now, we try to make advancements in the field of our most successful export, terrorism, and again the Zionist pigs have impeded our progress and taken our hope. This is a Human Rights violation of epic proportions”. UN Chairman Ban Kai Moon agreed. His office released a brief statement saying, “we will be looking into this matter further as the details emerge. But for now I must wonder, how can Israel expect the Palestinians to build and sustain their own economy if they do not allow them to play to their strengths?”

Al-Jazeera Television interviewed 12 year old Ismael Jabrall, a student in the Hamas Day School for Terror and Technologies, who was absolutely crestfallen at the Israeli’s “vicious attempt to undermine the PA and President Abbas” as well. “I should have known better. I mean I’m pretty sure Steve Jobs is Jewish”. When asked by reporters what about iPad Terror was so promising, Ismael, a little verklempt (meaning "choked up" for non-Mike Myers fans…talk amongst yourselves), whimpered “My life could have finally been different. I grew up in a refugee camp and never had much fun. With the iPad, I could have traced my targets, communicated with my co-conspirators, activated my explosives, and download the most recent songs from this week’s episode of Glee all at the same time! I am truly heartbroken that all that promise has gone down the drain”.

Apple has not yet made a statement at press time, however there are rumors of a commercial being scratched from a lineup set to air in the Middle East later this week. The commercial allegedly featured the voice of former President Jimmy Carter narrating a new version of Apples now iconic commercials.“Say you wanted to spill the blood of the Zionists while distracting the world of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons…there’s an app for that”. 

NEWS BRIEF: Feed Two Birds With One Stone: Marzipan Bakery to Open Girls Seminary

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

INTERVIEW: New Study Claims Root of Arab Anger towards Israel due to “Birthday Party Snub”

Researchers at New York University claim to have made a breakthrough in solving perhaps the most troubling question in modern-day global history. The ever elusive root of Arab animosity towards the State of Israel and the Western World has puzzled generation after generation. No doubt, reasons have been suggested in the past, but even the explanations offered by the Arabs themselves are blatant fallacies they can’t possibly expect anyone to believe. I mean, seriously, no one is dumb enough to buy into the claim that they are “being oppressed and occupied” by Israel while concurrently holding Israel at rocket-point up and down its borders, right?! Conversely, it is unfathomable to believe that Hamas and Hezbollah are genocide-thirsty extremists who will stop at nothing short of Israel’s disappearance from the map, as some crazy Israelis might espouse. Come on, everyone knows Hezbollah is a government now. How can a government ALSO be a terrorist faction?! Who are you trying to fool Israel?!
The new report, published Wednesday morning, asserts that for one to understand the source of Arab-Israeli hostilities one need not engage in a century by century historical study of the Middle East, but merely a look at events that occurred no less than 24 hours ago. For a more in-depth analysis into this groundbreaking study, E-Tone sat down with the project’s lead researcher, Professor Christopher McGahan, Wednesday morning:

ET: So what’s the main finding of this report?

CM: Tuesday marked Israel’s 62nd year of statehood, and the country’s annual Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independence Day) celebration did not disappoint. How could this not breed deep seeded hate within the Arab community?

ET: I’m afraid I still don’t understand. How could Israel’s Independence Day celebration be at all connected to Arab hate?

CM: It’s simple. When I turned ten my mom threw me an awesome party. I had a mad scientist come over my house and he taught me and my friends how to make that green gooey stuff that ten year olds are so enamored with (Editors note: that “gooey” stuff is now the subject of many lawsuits due to its toxicity. If you have ever come in contact with the goo and have noticed strange hair-growth patterns contact a doctor immediately, as well as Larry H. Parker Esq.-”He’ll Fight For You!”). The next day everyone brought the goo to school, thus making my party the talk of the playground. I was feeling like pretty hot stuff until I ran into Little Ralphie in the hallway. Little Ralphie lived down the block from me but we were never close. He was a loner and a belligerent one at that. He did not enjoy outside contact of any form. So, when it was time to send out party invitations, Little Ralphie naturally got passed over. That turned out to be an error in judgment on my part. Little Ralphie (who if you haven’t guessed wasn’t all that little) pinned me up against the lockers and growled. He did some other things with some of the goo he had stolen from another kid but if I’m not ready to share it with my therapist, I am not ready to share it with you, but I digress. The growl was not half as frightening as the hate in his eyes. This was the same unadulterated hate I recognized last week while watching Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah speaking to a crowd calling for the murder of Israeli soldiers and the destruction of the evil Zionist entity. It was then that I made the connection.

ET: How can we know that this report is not biased?

CM: Come on, we are an American university, what’s bias got to do with it?

ET: You’re right, my bad. Please continue.

CM: Right well it is clear that PA President Mahmoud Abbas is sick of being picked last for kickball. It is obvious that Nasrallah is sick of sitting alone at lunch. Israel is the smallest country on the block; the Arabs are astounded that they would be excluded from the festivities. Additionally, it is common knowledge that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad LOVES bouncy castles. 

ET: So what are the proofs of this theory?

CM: A number of Arab actions in recent history indicate that our findings are on target. After the September 11th attacks, as well as the massacre at the Yeshiva of Rav Kook the Arabs took to the streets singing, dancing, and showering kids with candy. Whether this is an attempt to show Israel they can party like its 1999, or a slight for not being invited is unclear, but either way it’s compelling. Another example, the homicide bomber tactic, works two-fold. For the kiddies, the Arabs are showing that they can throw a great surprise party. For the adults, they exhibit their stripping skills. Furthermore, we all know that pinning a tail is the least of what they can do with a donkey. The most damning evidence is a tape sent by Osama Ben Ladin to Israel last week. He warned, “Either let us RAISE the roof, or we will RAZE the roof!” 

ET: Does this clear inferiority complex have an official medical name?

CM: Yes it is called International Traumatic Syndrome caused by Birthday Snub, or “ITS-BS” for short.

ET: So has this study led you to any possible solutions to the Middle East crisis?

CM: Well I don’t believe the “invitation got lost in the mail” move is going to work in this instance. Of course, I didn’t invite Little Ralphie to my next party or any other party after that. I would not expect the Israelis to invite the Arabs over any time soon. It is a problem with no clear-cut solution, however one truth is self-evident. Israel may as well send an invitation to Little Barak O. from the other side of town because he is going to show up whether he is invited or not. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Serious Post with a Serious Message for a Serious Day

Despite all the jokes, often times the substantially different life one lives in Israel, compared to any other place in the world, is for the better. Today, one day before Israel celebrates its inception with the raucously joyous Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independence Day), the country solemnly pays homage to the thousands who have sacrificed their lives for the Jewish People and the Jewish State. Yom Hazikaron, Remembrance Day, is a 24 hour tribute to all the brave martyrs of Israel, highlighted by ceremonies state-wide at the graves of the fallen and in the communities where their undying roots were cultivated.

I grew up in a Los Angeles Jewish community that was, and remains today, a staunch Zionist entity. I have attended Remembrance Day ceremonies of some shape or form all of my life. I had even spent the last three Remembrance Days in Israel. However, not until this year did I truly feel the awesome power of Remembrance Day in Israel as well as the message it represents both conceptually and emotionally. 

At 8 pm on the night of Remembrance Day (as well as 11 am the following morning) a siren wails across the entire state, signifying a moment of silence for the fallen fighters. Every Jewish boy and girl that grew up in America learning about this day has seen the pictures of men and women on the highway, putting their cars in park, getting out of their cars, and standing in somber silence and solidarity, traffic lights be damned. This year was the first time I was in a car when the siren went off and had the privilege to take part in this inspiring and unique act. Looking from the Ultra-Orthodox family to my left to the Non-Religious construction workers behind me, I could feel, for just a few seconds, the streets of Israel flooded, not with tires, but with the feet of the nation, as if to say we know more than anyone what “standing our ground” truly means.  This was my first indication that this would be a special Remembrance Day.

My second rousing experience came at a community ceremony I attended later that night. The community was not distinct in any way. They had lost their share of fathers and sons (as if any number is a considerable share) like most other communities in Israel, but the gathering itself was not unlike others I had attended in America. In fact, I believe the similarities of the ceremony to the ones I had participated in growing up in the US, were the reason I felt the exceptionality of Remembrance Day in Israel stronger than ever before. This sentiment was driven home by the reading of a letter that is read a great deal at Remembrance Day ceremonies all across Israel. The letter was written by 23 year old Gadi Ezra to his fiancĂ©e Galit in case the worst should happen to him after he was called into battle in April of 2002. The worst did happen, and Galit received the letter. Among many things one can point to in amazement and respect in the letter (full text can be read here), one paragraph resonated louder than the others as I stood in silence with a couple hundred other mourners. Gadi writes, “My beloved, on one hand I feel that there is nothing more that I want in this world than to be with you - to love you and to establish a home and a family with you. But on the other hand, there isn't anything that I want more than to be a part of this military operation and strike those terrorists a blow so strong, that they will never again even consider carrying out a terrorist attack. In order to do this, there is a price that we must pay.  I am willing to be that price. Don't be angry with me, my love, but at moments like this, your feelings for Klal Yisrael (all of Israel) is the feeling that is supposed to guide you right now - and you relate to this evil as if your private life does not exist”.  In these four simple sentences, Gadi encapsulated the essence of the State of Israel and its people, and carries a message that must be learned by the rest of the world. The message that we the people are responsible for our future, and every man and woman must take that responsibility upon themselves in order to succeed and survive.

No country needs to learn this message more than the United States of America under the Presidency of Barak Obama. While Obama continues to malign Israel and attempt to paint it as a misguided nation, he is exposing his very own off-kilter outlook for all to see. The underlying theme of President Obama’s policies, domestic and foreign alike, has been a diluted cocktail of socialism and stateism. The President believes that the government and the elite who run it should be in charge of who gets what and why. No self-responsibility is needed in Obama’s America, the government will sort out all the needs of the people and regulate your life accordingly. The will of the people is little more than a polling statistic for upcoming elections. The true test of a strong nation, in Obama’s world, is that of the government’s power to implement its programs come hell or high water.

For those of you still looking for a reason why this article would be on a satire blog, take note because here comes the irony. Israel, a state built mainly on the principles of socialism, now outranks the US in democratic value and worth. The essence of Israel, portrayed so purely by Gadi Ezra’s letter, is that of the power of the everyday citizen. While both Obama’s as well as Israel’s ideology stress the acknowledgment of a greater good, only Israel’s exhibits this sentiment in everyday life. The greater good in Obama’s world is the government. The greater good in Israel is the (chosen) nation as a whole, where every citizen must lead by example. Gadi was one of millions of Israelis who were and are willing to be the “price to pay” for every Jew on this earth to have a safe-haven and more importantly a homeland. Obama believes in dialogue and reconciling the international community at the cost of self-preservation. Israel knows it cannot afford that outlook or it will be wiped off the map in short order. Sometimes it is necessary to sacrifice the acclaim of “society” in order to do what is truly just.

America’s unending glorification of the individual is misplaced. The everyday American must learn from the everyday Israeli. Yes, individualism is important, but the unique individual has a responsibility to use his unparalleled traits for the good of the nation. The measure of a nation is not the strength of its leaders or government, but the strength of its people.

Remembrance Day in Israel, with its sorrowful siren and Gadi Ezra’s words of simplistic beauty, is a beacon of the ideology that every nation should predicate itself upon. The people of Israel do not sit around and wait for its government to do what is needed. The people of Israel go out and do what is needed themselves, and that is why it has survived lopsided attack after lopsided attack these past 62 years and will continue to. Hopefully, with G-d’s help and the growing realization of this truth, 2010 will be the last year names are added to the lists read on Remembrance Day.  

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

United Nations to Blame for Decrease in Omri Casspi’s Minuets

As the 2009/2010 NBA regular season winds down, one of its greatest mysteries may have finally been solved.  The seemingly unwarranted decrease in minuets for the first Israeli-born NBA player, Sacramento Kings forward Omri Casspi, had left many in the Jewish community wondering if this was yet another sign of an impending holocaust in the United States. NBA Commissioner David Stern put all concerns to rest Tuesday morning when he announced that it was not the U.S. that was responsible for Casspi’s benching, but the act of another nefarious acronym, the UN. The Commissioner revealed what was originally a covert demand by the UN Human Rights Council to King’s head coach Paul Westphal approximately two months ago to reduce Casspi’s minuets as a “punishment for Israel’s crimes against humanity and an act of reconciliation for the Palestinian people”. Rabbi, Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and its Museum of Tolerance (and more importantly a two time Academy Award winner), expressed his relief later that day that, “it was not some new-age American anti-Semitism. I was so happy when I learned that it was just plain old run-of-the-mill UN anti-Semitism”.  

UNHRC President Alex Van Meeuwen added in a statement yesterday, “that not only was Omri punished for the crimes of his government, but for the crimes he himself committed and continues to commit on U.S. soil as well”. When pressed by reporters as to specifics of these alleged crimes Meeuwen rattled off a long list of reported offenses. “We have received many confirmed reports of Mr. Casspi’s transgressions, the most basic being his unrelenting shooting and stealing. Other reports describe him as a highly-skilled slasher who knows how to cut. There have been accusations of him establishing an illegal defense, in which he sets up a zone for his opponents. It is also ironic that Israel accuses Hamas of using children as human shields since Mr. Casspi has used center Jon Brockman as a human screen on nearly a nightly basis. We are also investigating the allegations that he sometimes shoots bombs from downtown. All of these allegations and more have been confirmed by the highly respected organizations ESPN, Fox Sports Network, Marv Albert, and the Muslim Brotherhood”. 

While Commissioner Stern expressed the league’s official weariness of the report, a small number of active and retired NBA players have individually come out in support of the move, namely Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, and Dirk Nowitzki. Additionally TNT’s NBA analyst Charles Barkley deemed the Israelis and Casspi, “turrable, just turrable”.

While Casspi himself has not responded to the report as of yet, Israeli Prime Minster Bibi Netanyahu made a desperate plea to both the UN and the NBA yesterday. “I am thoroughly frustrated with the lack of even-handedness in the UN. Aside from the one-sided Israel bashing, why is the UN and the NBA wasting its time and resources investigating an innocent Israeli player when it should be putting all its efforts into solving the  ever-present Iranian problem? We must explore all possible actions that can be taken to stop Northern Iowa’s second generation Iranian, Ali Farokhmanesh, from entering next year’s draft”. As a side note Netanyahu suggested that” if Farokhmanesh must be allowed play in the NBA then he should at least be contained and exposed to as few people as possible”. In response to the Prime Ministers suggestion, the NBA is currently in the process of convincing the Clippers to draft him.