Friday, July 21

Lebanon: When a 'Good Fence' made for good neighbors

From Wikipedia:

The Good Fence
is a popular term for Israel's northern border with Lebanon during the period following the civil war in Lebanon during which southern Lebanon was controlled by the Maronite Christians, friendly to Israel.

...The Good Fence ceased to exist with Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000.
From The Jewish Agency:

In 1976 Syria and the PLO systematically began to slaughter the Christians in Lebanon. More than 75,000 people were killed. Many fled to southern Lebanon near Israel's border. Israel supplied them with equipment to protect them from the Syrians.

Beginning in June 1976 Israel permitted Lebanese to cross into Israel at Metullah to receive medical care.

Considering the fact that Lebanon and Israel remained in an official state of war, this humane action was unprecedented. From June to October 1976 Israel treated more than 11,000 wounded Lebanese who crossed "The Good Fence" into Israel for medical care.

In May, 2000, after Israel's evacuation from Southern Lebanon, more than 6,500 Lebanese fled into Israel through the Good Fence.
Globetrotting journalist Michael J. Totten has en excellent personal view of the area, it's history, and interviews from buth sides of the fence (and story):
Lisa and I followed Israeli Defense Forces Spokesman Zvika Golan as he led us in his jeep to the kibbutz of Malkiya right on the Lebanese-Israeli border, within immediate striking distance of Hezbollah’s rockets and bombs.

Zvika pulled off to the side of the road and pointed out a UN base just over the fence on the Lebanese side. He yelled something at the UN soldiers in Hindi. They waved and hollered back at him in Hindi. By happy coincidence, both Zvika and the peacekeepers are from India. Theirs is, perhaps, the only verbal communication that ever crosses that fence.

The Good Fence (Photo: Lisa Goldman)

IDF reinstates Gulf War-era Sabbath 'Quiet Channel'

The IDF has just announced that it is reinstating the "Quiet Channel" broadcasts, that were used during the 1991 Gulf War to make emergency messages available to religious Jews.

The channel broadcasts "dead air" throughout the Sabbath and holidays, when listening to radio is religiously proscribed.

One is to turn on the radio to the proper wavelength (see list below), and set it at a moderate volume before the onset of the Sabbath or holiday. The station will remain silent in order not to cause a disturbance, only coming on-air when an emergency announcement is necessary.

Senior rabbinic leaders throughout Israel (and abroad), including the Chief Rabbinate accept the need for the network, due to its lifesaving aspect ("Pikuach Nefesh doche' Shabbat" - "Saving a life precludes the Sabbath"), and have given it their official Halachic (Jewish Law) seal-of-approval.

That hard-headed, hard-learned, commonsense practicality is the difference between Judaism and, well, those trying to kill us. On the other hand, it's also been said that:
"Jews have the accumulated wisdom of the ages, enabling them to get out of difficult situations no sensible gentile would have allowed himself to get into in the first place." (anon)
The bandwidths are:

Haifa area: 98.5 FM
Tzfat and surrounding areas: 95.7 FM
Carmiel: 95.2 FM
Tiberias: 100.2 FM

May it remain silent.

(Apologies for the typos - I was too-sharply reminded of the Gulf War)

A Little Good News Today (UPDATED)

Can't decide quite where to begin blogging this morning:

"Et Tzara hee l`Yaakov" — "It is a time of travail for our people,"
(sigh) and yet, and yet, and yet Israelis and supporters worldwide are coming together to aid and assist; colleague Alan Abbby, and others cover the arrival of some 250 North American immigrants (just saw two on an Israeli tv morning talk show; their Hebrew was excellent both were a true inspiration; DaledAmos reminds us of how we can help one another, as Abbagav explains why (and hosts a family from the north in his own home).

Elder of Ziyon
dares all us bloggers to put our money where our mouth - or keyboards are, and Serandez has several page badges showing where the next rally for Israel is coming down, and J-blogosphere has a "mother of all lists" on how to help.

UPDATE: And, of course, make sure you go over to

UPDATE: Colleague Judy Lash Balint has several ways to help out, and moving testimonies, and Brian Blum has an excellent post covering the situation
I got great responses to the post about the Dylan song, "Neighborhood Bully," last week (feels like last year...) and in that spirit, humbly offer Anne Murray, as a foil to CBS's incoming anchor,"perky-as-a-button-and-half-as-clever," Katie Couric, who, while hundreds of colleagues are risking life and limb to directly report what's happening here, decided she would not venture into the Middle East hot spot, averring:

"I think the situation there is so dangerous, and as a single parent with two children, that's something I won't be doing."
Sorry Katie, but What. A. Wus. (that's an ancient Hebrew term for "cowardly airhead")

A Little Good News Today

I rolled out this morning
Kids had the mornin' news show on
Bryant Gumbel was talkin' 'bout the fighting in Lebanon
Some senator was squawkin' 'bout the bad economy
It's gonna get worse you see, we need a change in policy

There's a local paper rolled up in a rubber band
One more sad story's one more than I can stand
Just once how I'd like to see the headline say
"Not much to print today, can't find nothin' bad to say", because

Nobody robbed a liquor store on the lower part of town
Nobody OD'ed, nobody burned a single buildin' down
Nobody fired a shot in anger, nobody had to die in vain
We sure could use a little good news today

I'll come home this evenin'
I'll bet that the news will be the same
Somebody takes a hostage, somebody steals a plane
How I wanna hear the anchor man talk about a county fair
And how we cleaned up the air, how everybody learned to care
Whoa, tell me

Nobody was assassinated in the whole Third World today
And in the streets of Ireland, all the children had to do was play
And everybody loves everybody in the good old USA
We sure could use a little good news today

Nobody robbed a liquor store on the lower part of town
Nobody OD'ed, nobody burned a single buildin' down

Nobody fired a shot in anger, nobody had to die in vain
We sure could use a little good news

FIRST REPORT: 2 IDF helos collide, crash in north near Lebanon

An awful update from Ynetnews:

Witnesses report seeing aircrafts losing altitude then crashing in Ramot Naftali area, south of Kiryat Shmona; casualties reported; circumstances of incident unclear at this time, but IDF believes crash caused by accident

Two Apache (Cobra) combat helicopters crashed in the Ramot Naftali area, near the Koach junction south of Kiryat Shmona. Rescue forces have been mobilized to the scene and casualties have been reported.

The circumstances of the incident are unclear and are currently been checked. The IDF believes the crash was caused by an accident.

Read more here.


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