Sunday, January 7

Israel: The Accidental Tourist

In a first-time visit to Israel, a man finds his faith -- and his father, in a place where "nothing's left to chance."

A moving read.

The poison within

Damn, I wish I had written this*. A healthy dose of Hell, fire and brimstone from former JPost colleague Shirley Zauer, excoriating the appalling corruption reeking from every level of the elected government and "leadership" of the State of Israel:

Just what we needed, another major scandal, this one involving the Taxation Authority, the institution whose call can make the toughest quake in their shoes, even if they are as clean as the driven snow.

What is it about this country?

Why is that just about every institution is tainted with corruption: from the prime ministership, to the Knesset, to government ministries and authorities, to the police, and to local authorities, which can't pay their workers, because they've already used up the money they've been given to pay them?

Read it all.

*Last week as this story first broke, a video editor and I were translating, editing and voicing the main Channel 2 TV news for JerusalemOnline. Between recording cuts, we both noted with disgust the stench emanating from almost any public office you'd care to mention...

Good on you Shirley for beating me to the punch.

'Dark Side of the Moon' (The Sequel)

And for all those who thought the report of Israelis buying up the Moon was something - well - a ways, ways, ways further out there:

...we have learned that there is life on Mars—but not the kind that had been anticipated.

The first indication, based on the current U.S. space mission, came when the small roving vehicle called Sojourner spotted a sign on the rocky terrain of the Red Planet that read, "Welcome to Chabad House—Bring Moshiach Now."

The sign, in English, thrilled and confused NASA scientists back in Houston, who had no idea what it meant. Only after thorough research did they learn that it revealed the presence of a dedicated and particularly hearty group of Lubavitch Chasidim, kinown for their tireless efforts to reach Jews in the most remote regions, urging them to perform mitzvot.

"We’ve been here for some time now doing our work," said a cheerful Rabbi Lou Steinwalker, captain of the spaceship, "Enterprise 770", in an exclusive phone interview. When asked how long he’d been on Mars and how he got there, he would only say, "Where there’s a will, there’s a way." He then excused himself, explaining that it was time fro prayer and he was looking for a minyan. In a subsequent phone call, the Rabbi noted that in recent days, another synagogue has been formed on Mars—A reform Congregation that he would not set foot in.

Pakistani writer comes out swinging for Israel

I can't decide what impresses me more: the fact that the writer signed this ringing paean to Israel with what's apparently his real name and email, what I assume must be the amount of his insurance policy, or his cojones...
Facts cannot be denied: The state of Israel now has six universities ranked as among the best on the face of the planet. Hebrew University Jerusalem is in the top-100. Technion Israel Institute of Technology, Tel Aviv University and Weizmann Institute of Science are in the top-200. Bar Ilan University and Ben Gurion University are in the top-300. The Arab League does not have a single university in the top-400 ( One in two Arab women can neither read nor write (remember, "If God were to humiliate a human being He would deny him/her knowledge").
You go, girl - both you and The News...

1,000 hyperlinks campaign

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Iran + Nukes: What Could Go Wrong? (UPDATED)

(Back after a few days of taking care of affairs. As John Lennon said: Life is what happens just when you were planning something else. Like the following, for example...)

As you've no doubt noticed "The Yammersphere" is all aglow over the Sunday Times' purport of Israeli plans to lay a warm golden glaze on parts of Iran. Well, damn good thing we didn't toss those gas masks moldering in the back of the closet from the last conflagration from the east...
Israel has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran's uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons.

Two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear "bunker-busters", according to several Israeli military sources.

are useful link dumps.

Update 1: Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev denied the report, saying that
Israel wanted the issue of Iran's nuclear program resolved through diplomacy.
Update 2: But Iran quickly spat back:
"anyone who attacks will regret their actions very quickly."
Them's fightin' words, Clem... But remember: It ain't over, though, till the Dinner Jacket sings.

And speaking of glazing hearts and minds, Ynet News reports on a presumed Jewish group with a website and at-ti-tude, outing the "Jews" who took part in Teheran's recent HoloFest:
"I am sure Iran will welcome them with open arms" the statement continued..."
True, true. If the Times story is accurate, too bad the self-styled observanti didn't just go, umm, whole hog and share the SP 10,000 skin guard with the mullahs.

But before we all start getting all a-jitter an' headin' fer' th' hills, HonestReporting's Media Backspin, quoting colleague Allison Kaplan Sommer, reminds us:

Iran's "point of no return" -- at least according to Mahnaimi's sources -- was supposed to be last March.

Previous Level Ground entries on this story. Read em' and weep - or rejoice. Depends on your address.


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