Sunday, November 12

So, maybe size really does matter after all...

Jerusalem neighbor, media colleague, professional videographer and tour guide Ross Culiner has a beautiful take of a chopper's-eye view of Israel at the Canadian Jewish News:
I’ve had several opportunities in recent months to journey the length and breadth of Israel by helicopter. Helicopter flights are becoming an increasingly popular component of the tourist experience for those who can afford them. Not only is it possible, by economizing on travel time, to squeeze more into a single day, but there’s simply no better way of getting a real feel for the lay of the land.

The big vistas from overhead give a very different picture from the one gained through incremental, sideways-looking eyefuls of Israel at ground level. And speaking for myself, I was astonished, despite my close familiarity with this country, at the incredibly rich and compressed diversity of landforms, land uses, climatic zones, and historical treasures that unfolds before your gaze.

Here, for example, is a photo I took from a helicopter flight over Jerusalem this season last year:

The Malha mall is at the bottom right, along with Teddy Stadium; the capital's southernmost neighborhood of Gilo is the ridge immediately above it, and Bethlehem and neighboring Beit Jala - both in Palestinian Authority areas, are right behind.

And finally, for those who like to compare sizes, here a brand spankin' new website that shows Israel's size - West Bank included - in comparison to major cities abroad.

Pretty revealing, after all.

(HT: Backspin)

Israel & Iran: Reaching For The 'Big Button'

From Haaretz:
Iran filed a complaint Saturday to the UN Security Council over remarks by Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh that Israel must be ready to prevent Iran's nuclear program "at all costs."

(...) Sneh suggested in comments published Friday that Israel might be forced to launch a military strike against Iran's nuclear program - the clearest statement yet of this possibility from a high-ranking Israeli official.
Which then prompted this ripost from Teheran:
"If Israel takes such a stupid step and attacks, the answer of Iran and its Revolutionary Guard will be rapid, firm and destructive and it will be given in a few seconds," he said.
And finally (umm - so to speak), from The Jerusalem Post:
Israel has to prepare for a full-scale war, in which Syria will be an important player, an Israeli military official told the British Sunday Times. "The challenge from Iran and Syria is now top of the Israeli defense agenda, higher than the Palestinian one," another official said.
For perspective, here are a few recent Iranian comments about Israel:
  • "Israel must be wiped off the map of the world…and God willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism."

  • "the establishment of the Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor against the Islamic world"

  • "the Islamic Umma (Nation) will not allow its historic enemy to live in its heartland"
and more recently:
  • "All the conditions for the removal of the Zionist regime are at hand."

  • "Nations in the region will be more furious every day. It won’t take long before the wrath of the people turns into a terrible explosion that will wipe the Zionist entity off the map."

  • "The basic problem in the Islamic world is the existence of the Zionist regime, and the Islamic world and the region must mobilize to remove this problem."
(HT: Daled Amos)

More on this further down.

Kinda' makes you wonder if the preceding, bucolic "Field of Dreams" post, is fast morphing into a field of fused glass.
Ahh, and I wouldn't hold my breath on this
one, especially after the US midterms...

Baseball in Israel: 'If You Build It,' 'Ein Zo Aggadah'

From Bangitout (gotta' love that name...), something I wrote about back in September:
If your reason for not making aliyah was not having your kids be raised on baseball, you had better pack your mitt on your next trip as may have found it's new favorite pastime (assuming they have the patience for nine innings). Sure, Israelis think baseball is a Hollywood sport and ranks on the popularity charts next to sunflower-seed-spitting, but Israel's first baseball league held tryouts this week, and apparently, they didn't suck as badly as they thought they would. Their goal: to teach Israelis that headbutting a 95-mile-per-hour baseball hurts, and to be invited to the 2009 World Baseball Classic.


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