Wednesday, November 26, 2014

James Baldwin's Hyberbole

Dear the late Mr. Baldwin,

Your reference to the Holocaust in your complaint that Angela Davis was photographed for the cover of Newsweek in 1970 that the New York review of Books saw fit to republish

You look exceedingly alone—as alone, say, as the Jewish housewife in the boxcar headed for Dachau,

was probably dealt with adequately at the time.

Slavery was and is evil.  It endnagered lives for sure.  But it wasn't certain death.

Why NYRB saw fit to highlight your letter now is one matter (hint).  That your hyberbole is repeated is the problem.


Britain's Avishai Raviv

I read this and Avishai Raviv* came to mind:

Bob had been a member of the Special Demonstrations Squad, the domestic-intelligence-gathering arm of the Metropolitan Police. The S.D.S. was established in 1968, after the Grosvenor Square protests against the Vietnam War. Conrad Hepworth Dixon, the squad’s first chief, when ordered by his superiors to do something about the protests, is said to have replied, “Give me a million pounds and ten men, and I can deal with the problem for you.”

The unit’s mission—to provide “sufficient and accurate intelligence to enable the police to maintain public order,” according to an internal document obtained by Evans and Lewis—was as broad as its techniques were particular. Officers, known as “deep swimmers,” transformed themselves into facsimiles of their targets, taking on new identities that they inhabited for years. They got perms and new passports; they acquired tattoos, accents, and, if necessary, drug habits. “For the whole time they were undercover they would never wear a uniform or set foot in a police station, unless, of course, they were dragged in, kicking, screaming, and handcuffed,” Evans and Lewis write. “They would find flats or bed-sits, preferring those at the back of houses in case fellow activists went past at night and noticed the lights were off and no one was in. They would take up jobs with flexible working hours and travel, such as laborers or delivery van drivers, so they could disappear for, say, a day with their family without arousing suspicion.”
...In October, 2011, Bob was a speaker at a conference organized by anti-racist groups in London. In front of an audience of four hundred people, he delivered a lecture on extremist political violence. During the question-and-answer session, a man stood up and raised his hand. When called upon, he spoke:

“I have one question from the floor. David Morris, London Greenpeace. Is he going to apologize for organizing disgusting undercover police infiltration of campaign groups including anti-fascists and my own group, London Greenpeace, for five years as Bob Robinson?”

The lecture’s moderator tried to quell the mutiny. Morris, who had come with a group of activists, continued to shout from the floor, pressing Bob to apologize. He added, “We want to ensure that you are not informing on groups that are here today.” According to “Undercover,” “Lambert sat impassively, giving nothing away. He sipped from a glass of water.”

...The revelation of the extent of the British police’s spying, and the dubiousness of some of their tactics, caused a scandal that has yet to be resolved. Reporters and activists have confirmed that at least nine police officers—including one woman—conducted sexual relationships with unsuspecting citizens during their undercover deployments. At least twelve women, including Jacqui, are suing the Metropolitan Police for deceit, assault, misfeasance in public office, and negligence. Those whose relationships began after 2000 are also bringing suit under the Human Rights Act, arguing that the Met’s “systemic abuse of female political activists” breached Articles 3 and 8, which forbid inhumane treatment and guarantee the right to private life. Jacqui has said that she feels as though she were “raped by the state.”


"Avishai Raviv was an agent of Israel's Shin Bet or Shabak, Israel's domestic intelligence service whose mission was to encourage and fabricate activities of right-wing extremists. His code name was 'Champagne'.
Raviv was a student at Tel Aviv University and was expelled for violent behavior. He was later a student at Bar Ilan University.
Under orders from the Shin Bet Raviv created Eyal to perpetrate acts of violence to discredit the Israel right wing. Raviv recruited Yigal Amir, a religious law student from Bar-Ilan University, who fiercely opposed the Oslo Accords.
At one protest, Raviv was filmed with a picture of Rabin in an SS uniform prior to Rabin's murder. Raviv allegedly knew of Yigal Amir's plans to assassinate Israel's prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, based on a controversial classification of handing over Jewish land in the category of "din rodef" ("law of the pursuer"). According to Jewish law, anyone who is classified as a pursuer, must be killed immediately...Uri Dan, a journalist close to Ariel Sharon, wrote that witnesses heard Raviv tell Amir: "Be a man! Kill him already!"
After Rabin was assassinated, the journalist Amnon Abramowitch revealed that Raviv was an agent of the Shabak.
Raviv was brought to trial in 2000 for not preventing Rabin's assassination. Raviv mounted a successful defense on the grounds that he had just been doing his job and events had spun out of control.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Democracy and the Police Commandant

The 'wisdom' of a police officer, the most senior in the force:

It's a mistake to allow right-wing MKs on Temple Mount, Police Chief Danino says
 “Anyone who wants to change the status quo on the Temple Mount should not be allowed up there,” Police Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino said Tuesday, criticizing Attorney General Yehudah Weinstein for enabling right-wing politicians to incite Arab unrest by visiting the disputed holy site.

...Citing an “extreme right-wing agenda to change the status quo on the Temple Mount,” Danino made his position clear: “We say leave the Temple Mount alone.”

The police chief, whose force has been beleaguered by months of rioting and terrorist attacks, added that declarations by politicians, such as Moshe Feiglin, to change current policy does little more than incite the “Muslim world.”

First, he clashes with another government official.

Second, he misunderstands democracy.

Third, he forgets parliamentary immunity.

Fourth, he points an accusatory finger at the victims of violence hwo only seek what the law guarantees them.

Fifth, he is perceived as letting off the Muslims despite their violcnce. 

Will he resign or be forced to do so?


Entirely Predictable

Did this appear in print?

What transpired in the West Bank last night was entirely predictable, widely anticipated, and, yet, seemingly inevitable. 


But this did:

What transpired in Ferguson last night was entirely predictable, widely anticipated, and, yet, seemingly inevitable. 


The Amir Benayoun "Ahmed" Song and Lyrics

The song

The words

Salaam Aleikum, my name is Ahmed.
I reside in Jerusalem, I study at the University a thing or two.
There's no one like me that enjoys both worlds
Today I am moderate and smiling
Tomorrow I'll fly up to Heaven
Sending a Jew or two to Hell.

It's true I'm just a plain slimy ingrate
It is true but I'm not guilty as my childhood was loveless
It's true that moment you turn your back to me
Then I'll bring down on it a sharpened hatchet.

My name is Ahmed
I live in the country's center.
I work right next to a kindergarten
And behind it some cooking gas balloons.
There's no one like me that enjoys both worlds
Today I'll be me
And tomorrow they'll be not,
Many many of them will not be.

It's true I'm just a plain slimy ingrate
It is true but I'm not guilty as my childhood was loveless
It's true that moment you turn your back to me
Then I'll shoot straight into it.

The reaction as communicated by the President’s Spokesperson:

Tuesday, 25 November, 2014 / 3 Kislev 5775President's Residence Cancels Invitation to Israeli Singer Amir Benayoun The office of the President of Israel has announced that following the release of his song this week, it would not be possible for Israeli singer Amir Benayoun to perform as planned as part of events scheduled to mark the exile and expulsion of Jews from Arab Lands and Iran, due to take place at the President's Residence this coming. Director General of the President's Residence Harel Tubi stated in a letter to the event organizers, "Against the background of the release of Amir Benayoun's latest song yesterday, I wish to notify you that we will not be able to allow him to perform at the President's Residence.  Amir Benayoun is a renowned and exceptional artist, and his talent has greatly contributed to Israeli music.  However, his statements made at this time of conflict and tension, even if uttered out of frustration and pain, do not, to say the least, help bring calm to the streets, and are inconsistent with the responsibility required of the President's Residence, and of all institutions with influence over the public discourse, to work to alleviate tensions, and promote cooperation rather than division in Israeli society." 



Minister for Senior Citizens, Uri Orbach (Jewish Home) issued a response to the move shortly after the announcement was made, saying that he would cancel his own appearance at the upcoming event out of deference for Benayoun's rights."The cancellation of singer Amir Benayoun's concert at the President's house, marking the expulsion of Jews from Arab Lands and Iran, contradicts our position," Orbach stated. Orbach added that while he respects Rivlin, he views the cancellation as an infringement on freedom of expression. "Punishing artists due to their opinions is an impermissible act, so unfortunately I cannot attend," he said. "If Benayoun isn't singing, I won't speak." 

And over at Ayelet Shaked's FB (Hebrew).

This reaction

In an interview Benayoun gave to Army Radio, he lashed out at host Yael Dan and at legal scholar Prof. Kremnitzer from the Israeli Democracy Institute, after the latter stated that this song could lead to charges of incitement against Benayoun. Benayoun refused to apologize for his lyrics, adding that “according to your criteria you are a murderer yourself since you just incited people against me. Your words have consequences and I don’t buy your stories.” When the host tried to restrain him, Benayoun asked: “If someone commits a murder near my house will you take responsibility? Enough with this hypocrisy, I get my inspiration from the latest murders. You’re murderers yourselves, your words lead to murder - you should be ashamed of yourselves!”


My translation of  the lyrics:

To the Memory of those Murdered in the Lethal Attack in Jerusalem


Another day, yet another sorrowful day in Jerusalem,
Another day in which Jewish blood has been spilled like water
In a synagogue of yours, Father.
Until when?
They only wished to pray to You
That all should be well.  That if only it would be.

A day of sorrow in the Holy City
Another day that Jewish blood has come to be spilled
Before your very eyes, Father.
In front of the Holy Ark.
In front of the Holy Ark - until when?

More unfortunate orphans, additional weeping widows,
More young children whose dreams have beem cut short
More suffering orphans who again wait for the Devil to burst out in dance.

Is to be Jewish to die every day anew,
To renew death every day again?

Monday, November 24, 2014

An Example of Academic Bias

This is Hebrew University's Dr. Hillel Cohen addressing last Tuesday an intimate conclave arranged for his year-old book, "1929 - The Zero Year of the Jewish-Arab Conflict" (in Hebrew: "Tarpat: Shnat Ha’efes Ba’sihsuh Hayehudi-Aravi").

The session was, unfortunately, quite characteristic of the sorry state of academic scholarship on issues of the Arab-Israel (or Jewish-Muslim) conflict. The moderator, Dmitry Shumsky and the three other discussants - Israel Bartal, Vered Vinitzky-Serussi and Raef Zarik - were all of one persuasion, to the left in varying degrees, and cheered and applauded the book.  It's not that because I am at an opposite ideological pole that I criticise this lack of balance.  The fact is that the book came under sharp criticism by Anita Shapiro, Benny Morris, Avi BeckerEliezer Schweid, and others.  These are not lightweights. And yet, the people at the Hebrew University who organized the event seemingly could find no one who disagreed with the book's scholarship, methodology or conclusions to speak?  Were they cowed or are they of a special frame of mind that tolerates no deviation from the 'line'?

As for the book, to provide insight, one reviewer noted last January

Cohen realized that from a Palestinian perspective, the story of Tarpat is different from the one he knew. And this is what interested him: How did it happen that the Arabs perceived reality so differently from the Jews?

Another reviewer sums it up so:

he presents information not known before or not sufficiently highlighted. That the Arab attackers felt provoked by Jewish moves to change the prevailing arrangements in the Western Wall prayer space, that rumors of atrocities committed by Jews against Arabs fueled the wrath of Arab rioters, that Jewish attacks on Arab pedestrians in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv preceded or coincided with the Arab attacks, that Jews also murdered Palestinians in the course of the events, though not on a large scale, that many Palestinian residents helped their Jewish neighbors by standing up to the attackers and preventing them from harming Jews, that no solid evidence exists that the Palestinian leadership – especially Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the grand villain of Zionist historiography – incited the rioters, let alone that they operated on its instructions, that the British forces did not facilitate the attacks and usually tried to stop them but were not always quick enough, and so on. 

In short, Cohen's book seeks to even out the playing field by turning events on their head, which doesn't bother Haaretz's Uri Misgav.

Is all that not really known?  Of course not.  That narrative was and has been the Arab version since before 1929.  It's all been published.  Almost nothing in his book has not appeared in previous books although for sure there are additional research elements that he brought to light and for that, history is enriched, especially his readings from the Arabic both contemporary accounts and others.

His book does lack a full review of sources.

For example, this article, "The "Western Wall" Riots of 1929: Religious Boundaries and Communal Violence" by Alex Winder in the Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. XLII, No. 1 (Autumn 2012), provides additional background and information and while sympathetic to the Arab cause, it also affords an insight into the element of the integration, or not, of the Oriental Jews within the Arab majority, a theme highly prominent in his book.  It does not fully support Cohen's narrative and even undermines it.

Hillel, who is a friend who I have known for over 30 years since he was a teenager, I think, is quite sincere but his paradigm in unchageable no matter what he says of his ability to be both a Zionist and its critic, an unfair critic to my mind.  He almost cried when he said that today's situation parallels to an extent the 1929 period and he foresaw, if nothing appropriate is done, hundreds of dead in the near future.

His book, I found, on one level, is very detailed and tells the story is an absorbing fashion and, indeed, Hillel informed the attendees that he purposefully wrote it for the younger generation, those who do not know the history.  On another, there are no maps. too few pictures, no replication of newspaper headlines and the such.

There are also minor matters. On p. 190 he mentions a desecration of a mosque, the Awkashi mosque (it's located behind Yeshayahu St.), 

but no picture of the desecration although one would think that there would be one.  It indeed happened but too what extent?  Today, it would be no more than a 'price-tag' incident, serious but not equal to hacking off people's limbs.  By the way, incidents like this were not unknown in the British empire.  In August 1913, there was the Kanpur riots in India.

Seems incendiary situtations were not unique to the Arab-Zionist struggle.

On p. 124, he notes a bomb having been set off near the house of a sheikh involved in inciting against Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall but writes "On one of the nights of 1927...".  It took me less than an hour to find out that that incident occured on the night of August 31/September 1 and I have a scanned newspaper clipping.  Oh, and it was a Hagana operation.  Am I a better researcher than a Doctor who lectures at a University?

My copy is fulll of notations.  He deals with the attack on the Georgian Quarter  opposite the Damascus Gate

and positioned on this modern view (the two views are in opposite directions)

and attempts to suggest that Hews first attacked Arabs there rather than Arabs who poured out of the Damascus Gate, incited by immams at the Temple Mount, who began to sweep up the street heading for Meah Shearim.  He also tries to re-time events that also there attacks on Arabs preceeded attacks on Jews.  It's as if he's a conspiracy theorist.

The book is invidious and the conclave was an embarrassment.


On another of his books.


A Matter of 'Perception'

According to an anonymous "Former Commander", Israel Made a 'Strategic Mistake' last summer.

But be that as it may, what caught my eye was this:

Given rising regional tensions over Israel’s perceived plan to alter the delicate status quo governing the holy Temple Mount in East Jerusalem, any minor tactical action could spark “a religious war of strategic proportion,” the retired commander warned.

“The Temple Mount is a game changer, and any attempt — or perceived attempt — to alter the status that has more or less kept the peace since 1967 will insert God into this conflict,” he said.

“If Israel doesn’t change its behavior and strategic thinking, we’ll face much more than a third intifada. We’ll face a Holy War that will ignite all the regional fanatics in solidarity against us.”

I do not dispute the thinking there but by problem is with the "perceived plan" bit.

If the Arabs can perceive reality which isn't, assume a truth which isn't, what is the use of doing anything rationale?  In this situation Israel can declare morning-to-night that the status quo wil not be altered by the government but the masses won 't believe that and will, perhaops, escalat the violnce.

What then?  What is the strategic perparation for that?  The defense against that? 

How we prevent "regional fanatics" from starting a Holy War if they want to?

And if he insists upon being anonymous, I don't perceive him as an expert.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Stuck on the Temple Mount

I had uploaded Arab caricatures and cartoons with anti-Semitic themes earlier this year.

Another now:


Before Jerusalem, There Was Shiloh

Otto Eissfeldt


(found here p. 89)

Original German


Hanukah is the Temple Mount Holiday

Here is Josephus on the First Hanukkah (December 164 BCE) from Antiquities 12.7.6-7 316-325  (1 Maccabees 4:36-59) 

...The generals of Antiochus's armies having been defeated so often, Judah Maccabee assembled the people and told them that after the many victories which God had given them they ought to go up to Jerusalem and purify the Temple and offer the appointed sacrifices

But when he with the whole multitude came to Jerusalem and found he Temple deserted, its gates burned down, and plants growing in the Temple of their own accord because of the desolation, he and those with him began to lament in their distress at the sight of the Temple. 

So he chose some of his soldiers and gave them an order to fight the men that guarded the upper city until he has purified the Temple. When therefore he he had carefully purged it he brought in new vessels -- the menorah, the table and the incense altar, which were made of gold, and hung up the veils at the doors and restored the doors themselves. He also took down the altar and built a new one of stones that he gathered together, and such as had not been hewn with iron tools. 

And on the twenty-fifth day of  the month Kislev...they lighted the lights that were on the menorah, and offered incense upon the altar, and laid the loaves upon the table, and offered whole burnt offerings upon the new altar. 

...And so Judah and his fellow citizens celebrated the festival of the restoration of the sacrifices of the Temple for eight days, and omitted no sort of pleasure, but everyone feasted upon very rich and splendid sacrifices; and they honoured God, and delighted themselves with psalms of praise and the playing of harps. Indeed, they were so very glad at the revival of  their customs and, after so long a time, having unexpectedly regained their right to worship, that they made it a law for their posterity that they should keep a festival celebrating the restoration of their Temple worship for eight days...


Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Western Wall, the Kotel, Is ... Al-Buraq



Jodi Ruderon Fits the News

A fair if brief wrap-up on the Temple Mount ends with this:

But in recent times, radical Right-wingers have refused to be satisfied with this [being allowed to visit the site under supervision but not permitted pray thereand have begun clamouring for prayer rights inside the compound itself. This has led to an increasing number of visits to the mount by Israeli activists, some of whom are said to have prayed surreptitiously, triggering clashes between Palestinians and the security forces.

This in turn has fuelled Palestinian accusations – refuted by Benjamin Netanyahu's government – that Israel is intent on overturning the status quo on the compound, which forbids Jewish prayer and cedes administrative control to Jordan. Yet the idea of Jewish prayer on the site is anathema even among many religious Jews. Many refuse to visit the site lest they enter an area where the Holy of Holies once stood, the most sacred part of the ancient temple and the place where the high priest – who entered only once a year on Yom Kippur (the Jewish day of atonement) – is said to have communicated directly with God.
According to tradition, ordinary Jews were forbidden to go to the Holy of Holies – whose precise location is unknown – because they were ritually impure.
Jews are at fault because we stand on our rights?

The New York Times published an analysis by Jodi Ruderon, Mistrust Threatens Delicate Balance at a Sacred Site in Jerusalem, which includes this relevant passage:

The real struggle over the site, however, is...between two peoples who seem unable to find a way to simply share. After triumphantly seizing the site during the 1967 war, Israel quickly turned back all but security matters to the Palestinian religious authorities, the Islamic Waqf. Now, as more and more Jews challenge Israel’s prohibition on their prayer in their religion’s most sacred space, many Palestinians fear that what they really want is to take over the entire compound and replace its Dome of the Rock with a third temple...“Enough is enough,” Rabbi Benny Lau, a renowned modern­Orthodox figure who had previously opposed Jewish visitation to the site, said recently. “It can’t be that Muslims stand on the Mount, pray as they wish under the Waqf rule, and the Israeli nation will be degraded to the depths.”

As for this bit in there - "The site has been a flash point since the advent of modern Zionism. More than 100 people on each side died in a week of rioting in 1929 over access to the Western Wall below" - see here

But, again, the onus is placed on the Jews.

Arab intransigence, unwillingness to compromise or agree to arrangements of coexistence, their fanaticism and violence are ignored, downplayed or excused.

She quotes Yitzhak Reiter who tells her

“The extreme factions within both the Israeli and Palestinian communities realized that holy place is a symbolic asset, so to speak, in consolidating support for their struggle.”

The Arab terrorists are only a faction or has the entire "struggle" of the Arabs-who-refer-to-themselves-as-'Palestinians' been mainly extreme throughout all levels of the population?

She quotes one Ali Qleibo, a cultural anthropologist, who also composes poems, who tells her:
“The Israelis try to force it — it’s not through negotiation, it’s not through discussion, it’s not through any rational means: They use the police, they come in a brutal manner to take over the place...It becomes political when other people try to take the symbol.” 
And here is another example of his thinking:
Until the early twenties, before the massive influx of European Jewish immigrants, both Christians and Jews were ethnic minorities. Whereas the Greek Orthodox Christian indigenous population maintained its own class structure and social position through the centuries, which was deferred to by the Muslims, the Jewish community, because of the transience of its members, was less rooted.
Transience?  Less-rooted?

She quotes another Muslim, Mustafa Abu Sway, dean of Islamic studies at Al Quds University and a member of the Waqf council, who continues the prevarications:

Islam does not prohibit outsiders from praying at Al Aqsa. The problem, he said, is that Parliament members have declared rebuilding the temple as their real goal.
No non-Muslim can pray there or read from the Bible.  That includes Christians.

And this is the posterior prayer position of Muslims there:

Their rears directed towards the sacred rock under the Dome since they turn towards Mecca.

All the news that fits the NYTimes' agenda.


A NYT/Jodi Ruderon Equivalency

"More than 100 people on each side died in a week of rioting in 1929 over access to the Western Wall below."

"On each side died"?

In 1929, after an incident at the Western Wall during Yom Kippur of 1928, following almost a year of vicious Islamic propaganda, intentional violent attacks of Jewish worshippers, passing donkeys through the small courtyard after opening a doorway in an Arab house, playing clanging Dervish music and more, the Mufti Amin El-Husseini organized murderous riots throughout the country in mid-August 1929.

The number of Jews murdered were 135, some of the victims raped, dissected and otherwise put to a horrible death.  The riots lasted almost three weeks.  A few Arabs were killed, seemingly, in revenge attacks, but the vast majority of the 116 Arabs who "died" were killed in self-defense by Jews but actually mainly by British police and troops while trying to restore order and protect the Jews.

The blood dripping down the stairs

The Jews did not die.

They were murdered.


Hacked to death.(*)

Zvi Yosef Kizelstein, his daughter Chaya (18) and son Yeshayhu


Babies crushed against doors, being swung by Arabs.

Limbs chopped off.

There is - and can not be - any moral equivalency in this matter.


In Jerusalem the Government published a refutation of the rumors that the dead Jews of Hebron had been tortured before they had their throats slit. This made me rush back to that city accompanied by two medical men, Dr. Dantziger and Dr. Ticho. I intended to gather up the severed sexual organs and the cut-off women's breasts we had seen lying scattered over the floor and in the beds. But when we came to Hebron a telephone call from Jerusalem had ordered our access barred to the Slonim house. A heavy guard had been placed before the door. Only then did I recall that I had inadvertently told a fellow newspaperman in Jerusalem about our gruesome discoveries.

from EOZ


Friday, November 21, 2014

Oxford Has Nothing on Jerusalem

Bill Bryson, in his Notes from a Small Island, wrote.

I am constantly filled with admiration at this – at the way you can wander through a town like Oxford and in the space of a few hundred yards pass the home of Christopher Wren, the buildings where Halley found his comet and Boyle his first law, the track where Roger Banister ran the first sub-four minute mile, the meadow where Lewis Carroll strolled; or how you can stand on Snow's Hill at Windsor and see, in a single sweep, Windsor Castle, the playing fields of Eton, the churchyard where Gray wrote his 'Elegy,' the site The Merry Wives of Windsor was first performed. Can there anywhere on earth be, in such a modest span, a landscape more packed with centuries of busy, productive attainment?

My response - Jerusalem.

Patriarchs and Matriarchs.
Kings. Queens. Princes.
Prophets.  Isaiah. Jeremiah.
Freedom fighters and liberators.
Two temples.
The Western Wall.
Torah. Talmud.
The Knesset.
Shmuel Yosef Agnon.
Uri Tzvi Greenberg.
Hebrew University.
Mir Yeshiva.  Porat Yosef Yeshiva.
Israel Museum.
Meah Shearim.  Rechavia.

And on, and on, and on.


Working at Jam'a A-Sattin

Jam'a A-Sattin (the 'Friday Hangout' Mosque) is just outside and south of the main Tel Shiloh area.  It was a Roman period building that was converted to a mosque when the Arabs invaded, conquered and then occupied the Land of Israel.

I've blogged about it before.

Recently, it has been undergoing a cleaning out and the walls are being strengthened and the site is being extended to the fullest of its boundaries.

I visited this past week and here are some photographic evidence:

More here.

Here is what piqued my interest as an amateur archaeologist.  What was the purpose for what seems to be a large outside courtyard?  We can observe that the soil was raised by having the west side (to the right in the picture below) level to the eastern side of the structure:

The work being done to strengthen the walls:

The inside of the main room:

You can discern the added exterior support wall:

An additional room added on:


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How Safe Are Police Helicopters?

I was walking along a thoroughfare yesterday and passed an Arab house and its backyard vineyard

and then I looked ahead and saw an artificial mound

and when I moved passed it, I realized it was a landing pad for police helicopters

and how close is that Arab house?

Can you see the roof there?

So, how really safe are those helicopters?


Jabotinsky Won But Lost His Place on the Wall

I was at the Hebrew University yesterday for a conclave on Hillel Cohen's book on 1929 but that will be dealt with in another post.

On the way in, I walked over to observe this new wall

It commemorates the founding fathers of the university:

The simple fact is that in the period prior to World War I, someone else prominent not included was involved, Ze'ev (Vladimir) Jabotinsky:-
The horrors of the1903 pogrom against the Jews of Kishinev had the profound effect of spurring Jabotinsky's Zionist pursuits. He became a pivotal force in organizing self-defense units and fighting for Jewish minority rights in Russia. Jabotinsky was elected as a delegate to the 6th Zionist Congress, the last in which Theodor Herzl participated. During this period, Jabotinsky championed the spread of Hebrew language and culture throughout Russia, as well as the establishment of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

To be specific, Jabotinsky was a member of the 'working committee' appointed following the 12th Zionist Congress of 1913 (it was actually the 11th Zionist Congress that adopted the first operative decision to proceed with the establishment of a university in Jerusalem).  That committee of five was supplemented by Jabotinsky along with Weizmann, Ussishkin and Wolffsohn. Jabotinsky was right up there with the rest (see Shmuel Katz's "Lone Wolf").

However, in the spring of 1914 he had a falling out with Weizmann who had had a change of mind (he groveled for Rothschild money) and preferred a research institute model rather than a university with a medical school, science and, as Jabotinsky urged, a school of commerce.  His letter of April 20th caused Weizmann to distant Jabotinsky from the project.  On June 7, the Working Committee met and Jabotinsky, who summed up the argument as between "a decisive revolutionary act and a plaything" lost the vote.

However, in early 1928, the university's own board of governors as well as its Academic Council admitted that due to "Revisionist agitation', they were opening the school year.  He had written in 1925 after the groundbreaking ceremony that the university was in danger of becoming a bluff if it did not seek to aid the Jewish students of Europe rather than becoming a show-case ivory tower.  In fact, during 1927-28, he had organized a campaign among those students to write to the university officials and Zionist leaders urging the idea that Jabotinsky had been promoting a decade earlier.

In the vote, Weizmann opposed the Jabotinsky idea but it won they day.

Nevertheless, as it appears, he lost his place on the wall: