Monthly Archives: January 2014

International Holocaust Memorial Day

Shalom Y’All:

Yesterday was International Holocaust Memorial Day, a day established by the United Nations in 2005 to mark the liberation of the  Auschwitz-Birkenau camp on January 27, 1945.

Israel, in 1953, designated the 27th of Nissan, which is a few days after the end of Passover, as its Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day. Other countries have designated other days. 

With all these Holocaust Memorial Day celebrations, is the world any closer to ending anti-Semitism? Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding NO.

In the years since the Holocaust, Jews have been physically attacked for no other reason than their Jewishness, in such countries as Poland, France, Germany, Austria, England, Sweden, India, Bulgaria, Australia, etc.  Jews in Europe are now afraid to publicly display their Jewishness.  This past year alone, there were anti-semitic incidents in North America, South America, Asia, Europe, Australia, and Africa. To date, only in Antarctica here have been no reports of Anti-Semitism.

In many parts of the world and, in particular, the Middle East, anti-Semitism is often disguised as anti-Israel sentiment. However, the Arabs cooperated with the Nazis during World War II and the Palestinian Arab leader, Mufti Haj Amin al- Husseini, who is still venerated by many Arabs today, was the first non-European to request admission to the Nazi party. He was one of the initiators of the plan for the systematic extermination of European Jewry and appeared regularly on German radio broadcasts to the Middle East to spread his anti-semitic hatred to the Arab masses. Today, the PLO charter still calls for the “liquidation of the Zionist presence,” a euphemism for the State of Israel.

So, it appears that the end of World War II and the liberation of the concentration camps was merely the end of one chapter. Unfortunately, the book of anti-Semitism is still being written.

 

Categories: Anti Semitism, Holocaust, International Holocaust Memorial Day, Jewish, Jewish Blog | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

It Happened In Israel The “Stolen” Car

Shalom Y’All:

Here’s another It Happened in Israel story:

Since Stan and Fran like to explore all parts of Israel, they decided to rent a car for entire six month period of their stay in Israel. They had previously rented cars In Israel and found the cars provided by most of the major car rental companies were not well maintained, both cosmetically and internally.

This year’s rental began the same way with the first car returned because the idler was too weak. The next car they got had lots of miles under its hood, was not particularly clean, but ran well initially, before it started shaking.

One Thursday evening Fran and Stan decided to go out to eat in Jerusalem and then go to a comedy club with an English-speaking show. They decided to go again to a restaurant they had been to earlier in the week because the food was good and the service fairly quick. The restaurant was located off a major intersection.

They found a spot close to the restaurant, and had another enjoyable meal. They left the restaurant and set out to retrieve the car to proceed to the club. Since the car did not have a remote control, they were unable to signal it. So they walked to where they remembered leaving the car, but alas, it was not there. They walked up and down the block several times and looked across the street. The car was nowhere to be seen.

Slightly panicky, Stan called the car company from which they had rented. The car company told them to get to a police station, which was about 20 minutes away by car, right away. A police car happened to driving down the street on which they were standing, so they flagged the car. The officers told them to call 100 to report the theft and drove away.

Stan called 100 and told them the details of the theft. They instructed him to go to any police station within the next 12 hours to file a report, but they assured him that the theft was now in the computer.

Stan called the car company and told them he had reported the theft to the police and that it was now in the computer. The car company took his phone number and assured him they would call him back.

So Stan and Fran waited. Luckily for them there was a shopping mall just across the street, so they waited there. While they were waiting, Stan compiled a list of all the things that had been in the car. Fran was especially upset about her bridge camera which she had foolishly left in the car. Stan bemoaned the loss of the fresh fruits he had purchased earlier in the day, especially the strawberries. They also called their daughter, Sarah, at whose house they were staying, who advised them to go to the comedy show and take the bus home afterwards.

Stan and Fran decided not to go to the show, but to wait for the car company’s return call. They waited and waited. After about two hours and no word from the car company, they decided to give it up and return to Bet Shemesh, the city in which they were staying, which is about 35 minutes by car from where they were.

First they called their daughter, Sarah, in Bet Shemesh. Their son-in-law, Danny, offered to pick them up, but by the time he would get there they could already be home. Sarah recommended a car service which, for 150 NIS, ($43), would take them door to door. Stan called the company, but it had no cars available. So they decided to take a bus to the central bus station and from there catch a bus to Bet Shemesh.

The bus to the Central bus station came after about 15 minutes. That cost them 7 NIS. They had to cross over a grassy area to catch the next bus and noticed a homeless man warming himself next to a fire he had constructed in an area close by. That was heart warming.

The bus to Bet Shemesh came about 10 minutes later and cost 16 NIS. While on the bus, Stan decided to call the car company to ask why he had not heard from them. They responded that they were unable to do anything until they got a copy of the police report. When Stan told them the Police said the report was in the system, they explained that they needed a physical copy of the report filed at a Police Station. So Stan and Fran decided to go to the Bet Shemesh Police station immediately after arriving at their daughter’s house. (Incidentally, in Israel all police officers are part of the same police force-i.e. the police are a national force. So the report does not have to be filed in the same city where the crime took place.) Shortly after this conversation, Stan’s phone died. It had heard enough.

Stan and Fran arrived at Sarah’s home about 10:30 P.M. Danny volunteered to take them to the Bet Shemesh police station to help with the language barrier. The first officer they encountered was very rude, but he directed them to an office to wait for another officer who would prepare the report. A young lady appeared, took them all into an office, and prepared a hand written report of the theft and the possessions left in the car, including the strawberries.

The officer was incredulous that Stan and Fran had come to the Bet Shemesh Police Station to file the report, since there was a police station about a minute’s walk from the block from where the car had been stolen. She was also puzzled that the theft occurred on a well lit block full of people. She was efficient, personable and had a good sense of humor. She explained that, although she was preparing the report, it still had to be entered into the computer and sent to the Jerusalem Police Station close to where the car had been stolen. This would probably happen overnight.

When they got back home,Danny urged them to call the car company to let them know the police report would be in the system early the next day. When Stan called using Fran’s cell phone, the woman on the phone shouted, “We found it. We found it.” They said the car had been found very close to where it was reported stolen and asked Stan to pick it up then. It was now 11:30 P.M. They said they had tried to call Stan’s phone earlier, but there was no answer.

Danny offered to drive Stan to Jerusalem to pick up the car, but Danny had to go to leave for work early the next morning. Since the round trip to Jerusalem would mean coming home well after midnight, Stan explained to the car company that he could not pick up the car now, as he was in Bet Shemesh. The car company said they would send an employee to Sarah’s house in Bet Shemesh to pick up the keys and that employee would then drive the car to Bet Shemesh early the next morning.

After a night spent reassuring each other that the car really had been parked where they thought it had been, Stan got up early to await the arrival of the car. Meanwhile, the car company’s office in Bet Shemesh called to say the car was parked at their office and would be delivered to Sarah’s house within the next half hour. Stan waited and waited.

After about an hour, he called the car rental company’s headquarters office at the Tel Aviv airport and was told,” The car’s at our Jerusalem office. Come and empty it. We’ve cancelled your contract and will pay you any money due.” They claimed it cost them too much in manpower (5 employees) to investigate the”theft” and find the car and that Fran and Stan were no longer welcome as renters. They also said they could not empty the car themselves and send its contents to Bet Shemesh since that would make them open to charges of stealing some possessions. Furthermore, since it was Friday, the car rental office in Jerusalem was closing at 1:30 P.M.

Stan quickly took a cab to a small car rental office in Bet Shemesh and rented another car. He returned, picked up Fran and together they drove to Jerusalem to empty the car. When they finally found the car rental office (the address given did not match the actual location), they discovered that the car’s contents had already been emptied into bags which were waiting for them in an office. They searched the car anyway and found a few additional items which the rental company had missed. They also obtained the address where the car had been found.

Like perpetrators returning to the scene of a crime, Fran and Stan drove to the place from which they thought their car had been stolen.  They then walked from there to where it had been found. Lo and behold, it was just across the main intersection from where they thought they had parked it. It turns out they were so sure where they had parked that they had checked only two of the four intersecting streets.  They had never bothered to check the other two.

They drove home a bit chagrined and wondering if they were”losing it.” But they decided the problem was that they had recently eaten at the same restaurant and simply remembered the previous parking spot, rather than the current one.

This story bothers me. Distraught tourists in a foreign country call their car rental company and report their car stolen. Shouldn’t the company’s first response be to tell the tourists to check all four intersecting blocks to make sure they did not simply forgot where they had parked? Shouldn’t the police have told them the same thing? Since most Israeli rental cars have LoJack like sensors, why didn’t the car company activate them immediately? Why didn’t the car company tell them a Police station was just up the block , instead of advising them to go to a far away station? Finally, I am amazed at the rude behavior of the rental company. I would reveal the name of the company, but Stan and Fran are still deciding whether to write to its Chief executive to file a complaint.

Incidentally, the strawberries were still good.

The morale of this story: Always write down or photograph where you park your car, especially when you’re in a foreign country. Don’t call the cops unless you’ve checked all streets intersecting the street on which you thought you parked. And finally, don’t eat in the same restaurant twice in the same week unless it has its own small parking lot.

To express my appreciation to the manager of the car rental company for a job well done, I’ve decided to dedicate this t shirt design to him:

If Only You Had A Brain Shirts

Just think, if only you could.

 

Categories: Israel, It Happened In Israel, Jewish, Jewish Blog | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

It Happened In Israel The Restaurant Tip

Shalom Y’all:

With this post, I am starting a series called, “It Happened In Israel.” This series will feature events which actually happened to an American couple who decided to spend six months in Israel to see if living in Israel would be an option once they retired. All the events are real. Only names have been changed.

I’ll call the male Stan and the female Fran.

Stan and Fran have just finished eating in a new Mexican restaurant in Efrat, a restaurant so new that it doesn’t have printed menus yet. The menu selections and prices are written on a chalkboard on a restaurant wall.

An English-speaking couple with their daughter is sitting a table away from them. The husband, a big burly guy, is wearing an Israeli Police Officer’s uniform and a holstered gun.

The waitress brings Stan and Fran the bill. As they are looking it over, the waitress returns and takes the bill from them, saying it is not their bill. She then brings another bill. This one is for about 20% of what the charge should have been. They call the waitress back and explain that this too is not their bill. The waitress takes the bill and finally returns with the correct bill.

Stan hands her his credit card for the charges. He also tells her to put her 20 NIS tip on the card. “I can’t do that,” she says.

So Stan hands her a 50 NIS bill. The waitress responds, “I don’t have any change.”

Stan and Fran start looking in wallets and pocketbooks. They don’t have any smaller bills and between the two of them only manage to find 8 NIS.

“This is not fair,” Fran says loudly. “We can’t leave such a small tip.”

“It’s OK,” said the waitress. “Don’t worry.”

Suddenly the Police Officer walks over to Stan and Fran’s table, hands them 8 NIS, and tells them to return the money to charity.

So Fran and Stan end up leaving the waitress 16 NIS, less than the 20 they had intended to give her, but double the amount the waitress would have gotten had the Officer not contributed.

Only in Israel.

Categories: Israel, It Happened In Israel, Jewish, Jewish Blog | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Pardon Pollard Now

Shalom Y’All:

It’s been a while since my last post and I’ve been doing some thinking. I know most people are not really interested in reading just about new Jewish t shirt designs. So I’ve decided to turn this blog into a forum for discussing issues,  especially those of interest to Jews, and for showcasing interesting Jewish stories, books, pictures and personalities. Of course, if I create a design relating to a post, I’ll feature it. But that will just be the icing on the cake.

Today’s topic is a serious one- the continued incarceration of Jonathan Pollard  (he’s currently in his 29th year of imprisonment) for passing classified information to an ally a crime for which most people serve 2-4 years. He was NOT convicted of treason-which is passing classified information to an ENEMY!

Let me put this another way. Jonathan Pollard, despite his  plea deal with the government, is the only person ever to have received the maximum punishment for his crime- life imprisonment

The United States recently asked Israel to release over 100 prisoners in its jails, many of whom are guilty of having murdered Jews, as a sign of good will towards the Palestinians. These criminals murdered people, but they are being set free and receiving a hero’s welcome when they return to their homes. Obviously, family members of their victims, as well as other Israeli citizens, are very upset at the release, since not only have these men committed murder, but they will try to kill additional Jews if they can. It’s like releasing those convicted in taking part in the 9/11 massacre as a good will gesture towards Saudi Arabia or Iran, except of course neither of these countries have sworn to destroy the United States.

However, Pollard, whose crime did not kill a single person, is still being held in prison.

Recent disclosures show a pattern of US spying on Israel, including surveillance of former Israeli Prime Ministers. Of course countries spy on each other. That ‘s part of the international game of intelligence. However, usually those caught spying for an ally are given short sentences of 2-4 years and then released.  Pollard is the only one ever to have received a sentence of life imprisonment for spying for an ally. The sentence for this crime is currently capped at ten years, showing that the government does not think this crime deserves life imprisonment.

Pollard agreed to plead guilty to one count of passing information to an ally to avoid life imprisonment. However, the judge, in violation of the plea agreement, sentenced Pollard to life imprisonment. Totally unbelievably, Pollard’s lawyer never appealed the sentence, thus sealing Pollard’s fate.

The list of those recommending Pollard be freed include: former CIA Director James Woolsey, Angelo Codevilla- a senior staffer on the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee at the time of  Pollard’s arrest in 1985,  former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, former CIA Director James Woolsey, William Webster, who headed the FBI at the time of Pollard’s arrest, etc.

Let’s summarize. Obama pressured Israel to free prisoners convicted of killing Israelis and Obama had the US spy on Israel, an ally. Pollard has expressed regret for his actions, which did not kill a single American,  and has been in jail about seven times longer than those convicted of spying for allies and longer than others convicted of spying for such countries as Saudi Arabia, home of the 9/11 hijackers, and China.

The continued incarceration of Jonathan Pollard is not only wasting taxpayers money, but is a blight on the American justice system. Enough is enough.  Pollard’s more than done his time. Now’s the time to set him free.  Free Pollard now! 

If you agree, please call the White House at: 202-456-1111, or 202-456-1414, or write a letter toPresident Obama at:

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

You can email if you want, but emails are not very effective.

Thanks.

UPDATE: An Iranian engineer who worked for a U. S. defense contractor was recently given a 10 year sentence for spying for  Iran, an ENEMY. Yet Pollard is serving his 29th year in prison for spying for an ALLY. Is this just?

Free Pollard now!

Categories: Jewish Blog, Jonathan Pollard | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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