Hi all. As of now, I’m sorry to say that Solomonia is on an indefinite hiatus.
After over eight years of fairly consistent, almost always daily blogging, I’ve decided to sample what it would be like to just exist without reading and looking at everything with an eye to posting. It’s time to take back some of the time I spend here and see what else I can do with it.
There are a number of other reasons, but I’m not in the mood to philosophize about the whole thing at the moment. I wanted to put this post up rather than continue to only sort of update the site properly. I like to do things right or stay home, so here it is.
Thank you to the many, many people who have made this site a regular and even daily stop. Thank you to the many people who have donated or used my Amazon links. (BTW, if you gave recently and feel shorted, let me know and I will be happy to refund your donation.) Thank you to everyone whose acquaintance I have made, either in person or electronically and who has made this site worth running all this time.
I would suggest keeping yourself subscribed in a reader or by email, since I may decide in a short while that this should just become an Emily Litella moment. Some habits are hard to break. (Besides, I already know I filmed an appearance by Andy McCarthy last night in Stoughton, and will be posting the video as soon as I process it.)
I am not dropping off the grid, merely doing a strategic repositioning as it were. See you around. ttfn
After a week of listening to and reading too many responses to Terry Jones’s burning of the Koran and the murderous rampages in Afghanistan that used it as an excuse, I have a few thoughts of my own on the subject, and they don’t happen to mesh with too much else that I’ve read or heard.
I’ll start by getting this out of the way. Although I continue to believe that Terry Jones is a certified nutcase (for any number of reasons), I simply do not find myself outraged, sickened, disgusted or even dismayed by his burning of a copy of the Koran. I’m frankly tired of everyone prefacing their comments on the event by declaring that they are. But, of course, it’s their right to be, and to say so. It’s just that you have to wonder exactly why. Read More »
School bus struck by laser-guided antitank rocket fired across Gaza border
When I heard that Hamas had fired an antitank missile across the border directly at an Israeli school bus, wounding the driver and critically injuring a child — only the fact that the bus was otherwise empty prevented an even more horrendous outcome — I thought: they want a war. The fact that the attack was accompanied by a barrage of at least 50 rockets and mortars fired at Israeli towns and cities reinforced that assumption.
You can easily imagine their thinking: if a bus full of Jewish children goes up in flames, Israel will have to take the bait. But the last war was painful for Hamas. Why would they want another go-around? Read More »
According to the New York Times, a 16-year-old boy was critically injured while riding on a school bus, which was hit by laser-guided missile launched by Hamas. The Times reports that in addition to claiming responsibility for the attack, Hamas said it intentionally chose the its target in revenge for an Israeli attack that left three “holy fighters” dead.
By calling its dead “holy fighters,” Hamas obliquely acknowledges that the Israeli attack was on a legitimate military target. And by stating that that it intentionally attacked a school bus, which is clearly a civilian target, Hamas has admitted to committing a war crime.
Hebrew inscriptions on the ceiling of the Yefren synagogue
With thanks: Avril
A 2,000-year old synagogue in the Libyan town of Yefren is said to have been destroyed in the fighting now raging between President Gaddafi’s forces and Nato-supported rebels.
This BBC report yesterday quotes a rebel fighter named Aydress. Aydress claims that Colonel Gaddafi’s forces used rockets, missiles and anti-tank weapons to bombard the town of Yefren. They destroyed a mosque and a ‘Jewish place of worship’, 2,000 years old, he says. Read More »
Guest-Crosspost|By Anna Geifman|Source: Solomonia Exclusive | Published: April 8, 2011
Terrorism today is not what it was a century ago—or ever. Its patterns changed—from assassinations aimed to punish specific targets to what perpetrators called “motiveless terror” against civilians. Presently, unnoticed by most, they focus on the creation of “fear zones.” They do so by intentionally targeting children.
In a cross-border raid from Lebanon on May 15, 1974 gunmen from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), affiliated with the PLO, took 102 students and their teachers hostage in the northern Israeli town of Ma’alot, which the children from Safed visited during a school trip. Some managed to escape by jumping out the windows, but when the IDF special unit assaulted the building, the terrorists detonated hand grenades and sprayed the 14-16-year olds with machine-gun fire, killing 21 and wounding 66. On June 1, 2001 an Arab suicide bomber blasted himself and yet another 21 Israeli teenagers in the “Delphinarium” disco in Tel Aviv. In 2002 the Chechen terrorists have chosen the Moscow Dubrovka theater as their site during the “Nord-Ost” musical based on the novel The Two Captains by Veniamin Kaverin, a favorite travel adventure story for the young audience.
On September 1, 2004, amid the “Day of Knowledge” festivities, at least 32 heavily-armed, masked terrorists held hostage 1,200 children, their relatives, and their teachers inside School No. 1 in the town of Beslan, North Ossetia, in the former USSR. This terrorist act yielded at least 334 dead, among them 186 children; over 700 were wounded. Violence against children soared to a new level. Read More »
Events in the Middle East have moved so quickly that one almost needs a daily scorecard to keep up. This article will try to give a basic picture of what has, and hasn’t, changed.
Have Iran and revolutionary Islamists gained in recent months? Yes, since Islamism is advancing at the expense of declining Arab nationalism as well as other reasons.
From the Muslim Brotherhood’s perspective gains have been made for its branches and allies in Egypt (which also helps their ally Hamas), Jordan, Libya, Syria, and Tunisia.
That doesn’t mean they will take power now but these groups are all stronger than they were at the end of last year.
Iran has benefited by gains made in Bahrain (though Saudi intervention blocked its clients from taking power), Lebanon, and Yemen along with indirectly in all of the other places except Syria. Moreover, Tehran can take satisfaction in the removal of Egypt, its most important Arab foe, from the anti-Iran and pro-U.S. category to, at best, a neutralist stance. Read More »
A new state-funded synagogue in Baku has just opened to much fanfare. The opening in the presence of the Israeli ambassador and distinguished state officials, is indeed cause for celebration – where Jews in other Muslim republics are dwindling fast, the Jews of Azerbaijan are thriving:
BAKU, Azerbaijan — The opening of the new synagogue building for Mountain Jews of Azerbaijan, built with government funding in less than six months, took place on April 5. The crowd of attendees was so large at the opening ceremony in central Baku that the police had to block traffic.
Before the ceremony, the chairman of the Mountain Jews community in Azerbaijan, Semyon Ikhiilov, welcomed the distinguished guests. He gave a brief tour of the building, which was built in the historic Jewish district of Baku. Everyone was awed by the sanctuary, with its high ceilings and windows, an ornate ceiling, a luminous chandelier, comfortable seating, and an impressive Aron Kodesh (Torah ark).
Spain: The “Most Anti-Semitic Country in Europe” – ‘Spain emerged as one of the most anti-Semitic countries in the European Union in 2010, and the Spanish government has done nothing about it, according to the authors of an annual report that tracks anti-Semitic violence on the Iberian Peninsula. The “dangerous” and “extraordinary” rise in anti-Semitism comes at a time when Spain is mired in the worst economic recession in its modern history, and the authors of the report conclude that Jews are increasingly becoming a scapegoat for the economic and social problems facing Spain…’
Human Rights Watch (and Amnesty International) on Goldstone Retraction – ‘…Amnesty issued a press release claiming that “Amnesty International has not argued that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) targeted Palestinian civilians ‘as a matter of policy’, but rather that IDF rules of engagement and actions during the conflict failed to take sufficient precautions to minimize civilian casualties.” Forgive me if I find the accusations of launching indiscriminate attacks against civilian targets and killing civilians with precision weapons to be rather more serious than “failing to take sufficient precautions to minimize civilian casualties.” Indeed, it’s hard to read the earlier accusations as anything but a claim of deliberate policy…’
I just got off the phone with an IDF Spokesperson who confirmed, via a special briefing for bloggers, that the bus which was hit by an anti-tank missile less than two hours ago in the Sha’ar Hanegev Region was clearly marked as a civilian vehicle (a school bus), and there was no way the Palestinian terrorists who fired the rocket could have mistaken it for a military vehicle.
The Spokesperson noted that this represented a severe escalation of terror emanating from the Hamas controlled territory.
We also now know that a teen severely injured in the attack was 13 years old, not 16 as we previously reported.
“Hanania Reich, a paramedic who arrived on the scene, recounted the horror. “We were first to arrive together with soldiers. On the road lay a young victim, unconscious and bleeding. We began to resuscitate him and eventually MDA came and evacuated him by helicopter,” he said.
An hour later the fire from Gaza continued, with 15 mortar shells launched at Israel. One of the shells exploded inside a town in Eshkol Regional Council.
There’s a new peace initiative in town. It is similar to the Clinton-Barak proposals of 2000, with the Golan Heights thrown in. It is framed as an Israeli response to the Arab (or Saudi) Peace Initiative. My feeling is that although it was officially created by a group of Israelis, including former security officials and relatives of former PM Itzhak Rabin, it is in essence the Obama Plan. And it is much worse than the Clinton-Barak proposals because of the influence of the Arab initiative.
Some things I noticed:
It begins thus:
Reaffirming that Israel’s strategic objective is to reach a historic compromise and permanent status agreements that shall determine the finality of all claims and the end of the Israeli Arab conflict…
This principle will not be a part of any permanent agreement signed with any Palestinian Arab faction, because it contradicts their national goals as set out in their founding documents — the assertion of Arab (and in the case of Hamas, Muslim) control over the entire area from the Jordan to the Mediterranean. Read More »
In A Strategy for Settlements, Part I, we articulated the need for an intellectual, factual and interest-driven approach to developing a medium to long term strategy for Jewish communities in Shomron and Yehudah. The second in this continuing series focuses on the core priorities of the settlements themselves, and those of their residents.
When speaking about the interest of the settlement movement, we must make a number of necessary distinctions. First, we are not discussing ideology, theology, or the various other motivators which give the movement its inertia. Whether settlement residents moved to the West Bank out of a desire to fulfill a perceived divine commandment to settle the Biblical Land of Israel, a need to obtain affordable housing, or even if they were born in the territory, the personal beliefs and aspirations of hundreds of thousands of people matter less than their general intent and commitment to stay and grow their communities, along with their practical ability to do so. Read More »
A video uploaded to YouTube on Friday shows the broken tombstones and desecrated graves. The Jewish cemeteries that were desecrated are located in the Damavand region of Iran. There are two Jewish cemeteries in the area, one in the village of Maranak and the other in the village of Giliard. Read More »
As of the time of this writing, there have been two responses to the famous Goldstone op-ed on the Huffington Post. One is by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and the other is by MJ Rosenberg. As you might expect we are talking about the latter, titled “Goldstone’s Edit Changes Nothing.” Of course not. Heaven forbid Mr. Rosenberg concede that Israel might be right for once. We’ll begin by his rage at everyone who thinks Goldstone was right to apologize:
“This ‘exoneration’ of Israel’s behavior has Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and their defenders in Israel and the United States crazily dancing in the end zone. You see, they shout, Goldstone lied all along. We didn’t kill all these people on purpose. Hooray for us.
These celebrations tell us infinitely more about the Israeli government and its cutouts here than Goldstone’s column does about what happened in Gaza.”
Oh my. Sounds like someone’s upset. Let’s contrast that with what he had to say about the Itamar killings and then move on, as he desperately tries to backpedal and engage in damage control: Read More »
CAMERA: Churches for Middle East Peace Invoked Goldstone Then – Says Nothing Now – ‘…CMEP invoked the Goldstone Report in its calls for investigations by both Hamas and Israel into their actions during Operation Cast Lead. According to Goldstone, Israel has investigated its behavior. But Hamas? Goldstone puts it bluntly: “Hamas has done nothing.” Good luck finding any acknowledgement of that reality in CMEP’s statements about the Arab-Israeli conflict.’
Everything has been so predictable. Designated “moderate” and U.S.-backed Egyptian leader Muhammad ElBaradei has made a profoundly shocking statement that should change U.S. policy overnight, show how disastrous Obama Administration policy was, and mark the beginning of the coming electoral defeat for the president.
But presumably nothing will change.
ElBaradei, a presidential candidate, said the following:
“If Israel attacked Gaza we would declare war against the Zionist regime.”
An Israeli spoof becomes the ‘anthem’ of rebels trying to change Libya. Now a song written two years ago by Israeli singer Bezalel, the son of Tunisian Jews – all curly locks, bulging triceps and eyeliner – has found favour with Tunisians.
Its name? Tunisia – of course.
The pop video (above) shows a romantic encounter between a Jewish boy and a Muslim girl. He wears her necklace charm together with his Star of David in symbolic fusion of the two cultures. Read More »
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