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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in A Step To The Right's LiveJournal:

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Friday, August 4th, 2006
10:35 am
This blog has now moved to blogspot.
Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006
9:24 pm
With permission from the author
These I Remember - April 30, 2006
This week, Israel celebrates 58 years of independence for the Jewish nation. This is not just a celebration of Israeli independence, but of Jewish independence around the world. And the celebration every year takes on a uniquely Jewish perspective, since it is immediately preceded by remembrance – of those who were slaughtered because they were defenseless Jews left to the devices of a hostile world, and of those who died in defending our newfound independence.

Last week, we stopped for two minutes as a siren blared out its plaintive call of remembrance for those who were murdered in the Holocaust – the culmination of two millennia of world-wide anti-Semitism.

And this week, those same sirens will blare two more plaintive calls of remembrance for Israeli soldiers who have been killed in the line of battle, and for Israeli citizens and our friends who have been killed in terrorist attacks – the work of those who believe the Holocaust's job is not yet done.

For every one of the people taken from us by our enemies, for every life cut short, for every life deprived of its full meaning through the loss of a loved one, we stand in honor and in memory.

And then, with the honor and memory of the fallen still fresh in our minds and our hearts, we celebrate what they gave their lives for us to have – our own independent, strong, vital, powerful, productive, spiritual identity and a place to let all of that blossom forth.

Israelis know better than any other nation how to celebrate – with strength, with vigor, and with a heart dripping with tears over what our celebration has cost. And those tears give our celebration that much more meaning, because we are also celebrating for them – for those who can't be here to celebrate with us.

This year, for the first time since I was old enough to drive, I am not displaying an Israeli flag on my car or on my home. This is not because the celebrations are any less meaningful to me, for they are not. The State of Israel in the Land of Israel is no less miraculous, no less powerful, no less a manifestation of the return of the Jewish nation to our G-d-given homeland, than it has been in previous years. And certainly I will join in the celebrations in my community and across the nation.

But for me, this year's Remembrance Day is far more powerful than it has been previously, for there is far more to remember.

This year, I remember 1118 people who have been murdered by our terrorist enemies in the past five years. I stand with their families in mourning over the incredible loss their lives represent.

This year I remember 24 communities that a year ago were flourishing outposts of humanity in a region of inhumane animals bent only on killing. This year, those communities no longer exist – torn out of the ground by a Jewish government in an action that, had it been committed anywhere else in the world, would have been condemned as an anti-Semitic pogrom. 8000 people were left homeless by a Jewish government pledged to their protection. Most of them remain without new jobs. None have permanent housing, many do not even have adequate temporary housing, and few have been given the promised compensation, nine months after the lives they had worked so hard to build were destroyed.

The places where those homes once stood are now used by terrorists as training grounds and as launch sites for missiles aimed at other Jewish communities, as the murderous campaign of our terrorist neighbors continues unabated.

This year I remember a time when the Israeli government represented an end to such pogroms around the world. When the thought of Israeli military reprisal was enough to scare off potential attackers and when the use of that military meant certain defeat for anyone not wise enough to be scared off. Now, the IDF is hamstrung by inept leaders and cowardly politicians more interested in appeasement than in victory.

Last month, though, Israel elected a new prime minister – a man quoted within the last year as saying, "We are tired of fighting. We are tired of being courageous. We are tired of winning. We are tired of defeating our enemies."

Ehud Olmert should listen very carefully to the sirens this week. The kind of attitude he described to a group in New York last June raises some serious questions: If he is tired of fighting, what would he rather have us do, simply give up and be killed? If he is tired of being courageous, what would he rather have us do, return to the meek and powerless existence that resulted in our deaths at the hands of pogrom, inquisition and Holocaust? If he is tired of winning, what would he rather have us do, lose? If he is tied of defeating our enemies, what would he rather, that they defeat us?

As one of the primary driving forces behind last summer's expulsion plan, Ehud Olmert has already set in motion policies to achieve exactly these aims. And last month we elected this man prime minister. He is liable to think that his election means a public mandate for him to achieve the further return of the Jews to an oppressed and degraded nation. That is not something I can wave from my car or my home.

The sirens we hear this week are plaintive. They are the entire nation – the very land itself – crying over what we have lost. They don't exist anywhere else in the world. But this year, they have another reason to cry. They are crying out a warning that it can happen again. And as long as that is true, we have not truly won anything.

Copyright 2006. All rights reserved. Yehuda Poch is a journalist living in Israel. Reproduction in electronic or print format by permission of the author only.
Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006
4:47 pm
Memorial Day for Israel's Fallen Soldiers
At 11 a.m. the sirens went off.

I stood and prayed to the memory of those who fought so I could live where I live.

I stood and prayed that the men my daughters marry, should they be soldiers, never be on the list of fallen that is played for 25 hours on Israeli TV.

I stood and prayed that sons I have with my husband live in a time of peace.

I stood and wept for the coming firestorm the government will ignite should they carry through with their plans to empty the West Bank.

I stood and wept for the terrible knowledge that it will be brother against brother. Father against son.

I stood and wept for Gush Katif.

For Amona.

Israel memorializes her fallen one night and day and the very next night and day is spent celebrating her statehood. Never before has the contrast been more pronounced for me as it is this year.

To be able to seperate the soldiers from those giving the orders. And despite following orders they may feel contradicts everything they stand for, they still put their lives on the line.

Agree or disagree with the government. Celebrate statehood or not.

But stand for the fallen soldiers.
Sunday, April 2nd, 2006
2:09 pm
Yesterday at lunch, D2 mentioned that a friend of hers told her that her parents were talking about moving back to the US should the government go through with emptying the Yishuv they live in.

I told the girls that Zach and I had discussed that as a possibility, but were instead going to start looking at alternative places in Israel. For now, we have two places in mind - the Karnei Shomron area ( like Neve Aliza ) and the Modi'in area (Hashmona'im and Modi'in proper). I also asked them if their dad and step-mother have discussed the possibility of having to move with them and they said no.

Which personally I think is a huge mistake. While the final descision will be between myself and Zach, having the girls' input, and more importantly, letting them feel like they're part of the planning instead of just told to pick up and move is vital. If the government forces us to move, it will be traumatic for everyone and having them at least participate in planning will go a long way towards healing.

Personally, I think I'll be more comfortable in Karnei Shomron. I'm sensitive to the weather and I think I'd be more comfortable in the Karnei Shomron area (with is in the northern, mountainous part of the country) as opposed to Modi'in, which is much closer to the coast and therefore hotter and more humid. Besides.. They have a POOL!!!!!!!

During the women's class yesterday, one of the women said she doesn't want to start thinking about the possibility of moving until the government comes knocking on her door. Which personally I think is really quite foolish. I mean, thinking about it, or not thinking about it won't have any impact on the whether or not it will happen. It will just make a difference in regards to how prepared one is if the time should come. It also doesn't mean we stop praying that it won't happen...
Friday, March 31st, 2006
7:39 am
Been a long time...
I'm still here. I haven't posted because well... it was SSDD... nothing new, same garbage.

Well, that's not true. There WAS that little thing called the disengagement in August, but quite frankly, I didn't have the emotional strength to go down there and protest with everyone else. Run through fields at 3 a.m.... Shout at police and soldiers.

The Rabbis did us a great disservice. Throughout the planning, the Rabbis kept telling us to pray, and it will all be fine. No one really believed that the Israeli government would force Jews from their homes. Not once did anyone say that we might not be deserving of Divine Intervention.

Well, we learned.

And more recently, was Amona.

A greater Chilul Hashem (Desecration of God's Name) than Gush Katif...

I'm glad my children weren't involved. I know people (kids) who were and... it wasn't good. For anyone.

Fast forward to today (well, a few days ago, really) and we now have a far left government who has stated that my settlement... hell, the ENTIRE AREA is on the chopping block... not to be given over to PA control... just EMPTIED (that's what they say anyway).

So there's no more avoiding. The next round of protests will be in my backyard, down the road, across the hill. The next fields to be run through at 3 a.m. will be in the valley below me. And this time, we're not as deluded into thinking that it just couldn't happen.
Sunday, July 18th, 2004
9:57 pm
New View
Well, the wedding is 2 weeks away and now I can start stressing over wedding stuff. Not having a finished gown, a list of things that need to get done on Tuesday...and of course there was the move to a bigger house last week, so now there's unpacking to do.

I have to say, the view from the new house is breathtaking. Much better than what I had previously, which, while subject to magneficent sunrises, was an Arab village and a valley. Now, my view is grander. There's really no other word for it. The view spreads out across the mountains, we have a straight on sighting of Shiloh (where the Tabernacle rested for a few years before the Temple in Jerusalem was built), the settlement of Eli (named for one of the high Priests who served in the Tabernacle) and then straight on past to the hills of Jordan. The valley, right now, are plowed fields.

I don't have any gas for my stove and my fridge is basically empty, so it was with much relief that invitations for the Sabbath meals came. While enjoying the company of my new next-door neighbors and their 9 kids (with number 10 on the way) Friday night, the beeper went off.

What is the beeper?

About 4 months ago, the settlement secrity installed these message alert things in all the houses. It would send out SMS emergency or FYI type of things from a centralized (the office) location. Now, because it is the Sabbath, and generally, things like that are forbidden, you know that when the beeper goes off, it's serious.

The alert told people to close the window blinds, lock their doors and stay inside.

The next day, I asked one of my neighbors what the alert was all about. She said that there was shooting on her side of the settlement. Apparently more than usual and apparently the Army was looking for someone in the hills. An Arab someone heading for a settlement.

That almost made me forget the 6 inch black scorpion I found in a bag I was wrapping during packing. The sucker fell out onto the couch as I was retaping it for moving. I was able to kill it, but man, did that leave me with the shakes for an hour or so.
Saturday, April 17th, 2004
10:08 pm
Special Sabbath Prayer for Judea, Samaria and Gaza
Special Sabbath Prayer For Yesha
Leading Israeli rabbis have agreed that a special prayer on behalf of the Jewish settlement enterprise in Judea, Samaria and Gaza should be recited tomorrow, and every Sabbath, following the public Torah reading. The prayer was composed by Rabbi Chanan Porat of Kfar Etzion, and has received the blessing of Rabbis Chaim Druckman, Yaakov Ariel, Shlomo Aviner, Tzfaniah Drori, Dov Lior and others.

The Hebrew text of the prayer:
"אבינו שבשמים צור ישראל וגואלו!
ברך את בניך אהוביך היושבים בכל מרחבי ארץ קדשך,
ומחוננים את עפרה, מנגב ועד גולן ומירדן ועד ים,
ובהם בניך היקרים הנאחזים במסירות ובהתמדה –
בחבלי יהודה, שומרון וחבל עזה.

אבינו מלכנו, השב
שבות עמו ומשיב בנים לגבולם!
אנא חזק את רוחם ואמץ את לבם, לעמוד איתן,
נוכח אויבינו הקמים עלינו לבקש את נפשנו.
וכל החושבים עליהם רעה ומרימים ידם לעקור בנים מגבולם,
מהרה הפר עצתם וקלקל מחשבתם,
למען יחלצון ידידיך וישבו לבטח בארצם
רבונו של עולם, הודע שיש לך אהובים בעולמך!
וקיים בנו את הדבר שהבטחתנו ע"י עמוס נביאך:
'ונטעתים על אדמתם ולא ינתשו עוד מעל אדמתם'
מעתה ועד עולם".

An abridged English translation of the prayer:
"Our Father in Heaven, Rock of Israel and its Redeemer, bless your beloved children who dwell throughout Your holy land, from the Negev to the Golan, and from the Jordan to the Mediterranean - including your precious children who cling with dedication and perseverance to the lands of Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
"Please strengthen their spirit and fortify their hearts to stand strong in the face of our enemies who wish to destroy us. All those who wish to harm them and try to uproot children from their borders, speedily incapacitate their counsel and impair their plan.
"Master of the Universe, make it known that You have loved ones in Your world! Let Your promise spoken by Your prophet Amos be fulfilled: 'I will plant them on their Land and they will never be uprooted.'"

Rabbi Porat explained that the prayer is designed primarily to express the Jewish tradition that "Repentance, Prayer and Charity will cancel the evil decree," but also to "help us internalize that the struggle for the settlement enterprise in the Land of Israel is not only a diplomatic and military one, but chiefly a spiritual effort for that which is sacred to our People and the fundamentals of our faith."

"It's possible," Rabbi Porat said, "that the public recitation of this prayer will help imbue the recognition that uprooting Jewish communities from their Land harms not only those who live there, but also Jewish tradition and the longings of generations for the fulfillment of the Biblical promise, 'the sons will return to their borders.'"
Friday, March 26th, 2004
10:28 am
One of my favorite places in Jerusalem is the Machane Yehuda Shuk (market) off Yaffo Street. If allowed one word to describe the place, it would be...”zoo”.

The place is an assault on your senses.

The smell of cinammon danishes fight with the scent of fresh mint and basil.

The merchants try to out-shout each other, selling their wares...from fruit to fish, dishes and diapers, clothing and candles. All claim to have the best, all claim to have the lowest prices.

The place is a riot of color. Peppers in 5 colors next to the greens of fresh herbs and leafy greens, next to bright Jaffa oranges. Red radishes the size of baseballs fight for your attention among the white anise and cabbage.

Steamy, chewy pita, fresh out of the oven, are juggled and eaten carefully, the smell too much of a temptation not to eat immediately. Creamy cheese, flavored, unflavored..snowy white, golden yellow. 15 different types of olives and another 20 different types of pickeled vegetables, the smell of brine and vinegar competeing with the smoked fish.

Fresh roasted nuts and seeds, sitting in warmers. Dried apricots, papaya, dates, candied and not. Pineapple, crusted with sugar.

Housewares, clothing, shoes.

The prices for most of these items are fantastic. Fruits and vegetables are inexpensive. Th experience is priceless.
10:16 am
They rapidly walk down the street, almost afraid to run and expend some of their precious energy in physical activity when it should be better spent learning the holy words of the holy Sages.

They are serious little men, carrying briefcases, rather than backpacks. Many wear shoes a size two big and their pants are too short. Their heads are shaved, save for the sidelocks, which flap in the wind, either curled neatly like sausages or hanging stick straight down past their shoulders. Those with their sidelocks curled, will often engage in the quasi-masturbation of curling and recurling and smoothing and recurling the sidelocks many times throughout the day.

The garb is varied, depending on the sect you ascribe to. Caps and vests looking more like the wearer stepped out of a photograph from 1930’s Poland or Russia. The younger ones will even wear shorts. Those who are over 13, considered Men by the Brotherhood, often wear fedoras or homurgs, knee-length coats and a black sash around their skinny hips.

They are on their way to school, waiting to be crossed in the middle of the street by the old gentleman from the school. Like a mother duck walking her brood across a busy street, this man stops traffic and waves the children across. He then returns to his spot, repeating this process until all the children are safely in class.
Wednesday, March 24th, 2004
2:49 pm
Conversations With...
I wrote this almost 2 years ago, but wanted to repost this and add to my memories. I apologize to those of you who are friended in both my journals and will get this twice.

I find it terribly ironic and not the least bit hypocritical when I get emails, notes or instant messages from people living in America who tell me that they think it's terrible what Israel has done to the poor Palestinians. They wonder how I could DARE live on land taken by force.

Forgive my laughter...but...you DO live in the United States, do you not? So what...is there a statute of limitations on when people can forget land was taken by force?
I generally get a question mark, I can just picture the blank look on the face of the person on the other side of the screen.

Tell me something...do you really think that the Native Americans all got up one day and told the white folks that they were going to give up all the farmable, herding or grazing land and move to arrid, desert land, fenced in...with little education, little employment, little economy, little health care....oh and thank you SO much for influenza, smallpox and alcoholism and for totally destroying our cultures, our languages, or heritage.

Here in Israel, I'M the one fenced in. And no one has said anything about destroying a culture.

Do you think that every year, the Aborigines send the Queen of England a letter thanking her and her ancestors for sending their tired and poor, their huddled convicts hoping for a stay of execution?

Or, has the statute of limitations ran out...how long is it? 100 years? 200?

Oh, the wonderful hypocracy of the United States...oy.
Tuesday, March 23rd, 2004
9:16 am
Things will be terribly tense over the next few weeks. More attacks, more attempts and more tension.

This morning while heading into Jerusalem, there were more than the usual roadblocks set up. The car I was in turned right onto the main road from the road leading up to the settlement. We had paused to allow a large yellow Arab taxi to pass before making the turn and meters from that turn, was a roadblock.

There was an Arab taxi already stopped and it looked like the taxi just ahead of us....was going to run the roadblock.

The soldier standing there swung his M-16 up, towards the taxi and thankfully, the driver had enough sense to stop. We had slowed, but were still behind the taxi.

We passed to the left of the taxi, driving very slowly, making sure the soldiers saw us.

Yet another really scarey moment on the road.
Thursday, November 27th, 2003
2:31 pm
Panic Attacks
The other day, I went into Cafe Hillel and had dinner. Yes, THAT Cafe Hillel. (http://www.jr.co.il/terror/israel/ter3029.jpg)

I have to admit to a momentary ping of panic halfway through my salad. I don't like this feeling.

Of course...I don't feel panicky walking through the shuk, getting on busses or driving to and from home every day in a car, as opposed to an armored bus.

Going to NY in a few weeks will do me a world of good. Then all I have to think about are muggers, druggies, rapists..yanno...normal homicidal maniacs.
Sunday, September 7th, 2003
9:32 am
Riding on Buses
I’ve been living here for 6.5 years now and terrorists blowing up buses is unfortunately nothing new. Bus lines that I’ve ridden before have been targeted and French Hill, where I wait for a ride home has seen bloodshed of friends and neighbors.

But for some reason, it’s really gotten to me lately. A few weeks ago, I was riding on the 14 bus and all I could think about was Al, killed in the 14A suicide bombing in June.

The other day, I was on my way to French Hill, and this older man was sitting across the aisle from me. He had this small shopping cart, the kind that has a large plastic box-like bag over a metal frame. An older woman got on, dressed in the traditional robe an headcovering of a Muslim woman and the two started talking in Arabic. Now, French Hill is right next to Shuafat, which is an Arab section of Jerusalem.

Listening to the two, it made me very uncomfortable...and scared. God knows what this woman could have under her robe. What sinsister things lurked next to the apples and grapes in this old man’s shopping cart.

I hate this feeling of fear and apprehension in going shopping and traveling to and from work. I hate looking at people and seeing ‘potential terrorist’ and I hate feeling like a potential victim.

Two weeks ago, I made a Bat-Mitvah (12 birthday, when a young girl officially becomes a 'woman' in Judaism) party for my oldest daughter. She had a choice. Either a party for all her friends on the settlement, with pizza, ice cream and arts and crafts, or she could invite 4 friends, we’d go to the Wetsern Wall to pray, and then go to a fancy restaurant. She chose to go to the Wall and restaurant. This was almost a week to the day of the bombing of the number 2 bus, which killed children, on it’s way back from the Western Wall.

When I told a co-worker what our plans were, she was a bit surprised and wanted to know how I could go, wasn’t I scared?

Her question was so sad....and...frustrating. I told her that first of all....if ever something prevented me from davening at the Wall...I would probably move back to the US, because without it, what would be the point? I also told her that the minute I started changing my schedule, stopped going somewhere or stopped doing something because of the Arabs...my NOT doing or going would mean they had won.

We all had a lovely, if hot time at the Wall. While we were there, we saw the Mayor of Jerusalem and the Mayor of NYC there. After praying at the Wall, they got on to a number 2 bus and drove off. I think I got a photo of them...
Thursday, June 12th, 2003
2:22 pm
A series of near misses
Think about the positive aspects. It's the only way one can retain their faith when tens of people are killed and dozens more injured.

It makes you analyze your day. The near misses. The 'it could have been me'. The 'I was supposed to be there'.


It makes you rethink so much. Powerful for such a tiny word. Like a breath.


If I didn't have special plans, I would have been there. Maybe not right there, but much closer, mere moments from the terror.

If the special plans had gone through as planned, with a slight change, I might have been on that bus.

Wednesday, June 4th, 2003
10:04 am
Well, at least he's learning from history...
" Powell: Palestinian state not viable on 'chopped up' patches of land
The Jerusalem Post Internet Staff Jun. 3, 2003

US Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters Tuesday after the US-Arab summit in Egypt that Israel must offer the Palestinians a viable, contiguous piece of land for a state.

"It can't be chopped up in so many ways... that it cannot be seen as an honest way to provide a state for the Palestinian people," Powell said.

Powell's remarks followed a statement from US President George W. Bush in which he pressed Israel to "deal with the settlements," and to yield "continuous territory that the Palestinians can call home." "

Unlike the British Mandate of 1948 which chopped up the land of Israel like a checkerboard?
Tuesday, April 29th, 2003
9:41 am
Two Minutes
Before moving to Israel, Yom Hashoah was...well, it was basically just another day. When I was still in Yeshivah, we had assembly, classes were usually geared around discussion about the Holocaust and I remember one year, 10th grade, I believe it was, bringing in a Nazi flag my grandfather had taken when he came with the United Stats Army, to help liberate a concentration camp.

It shocked my classmates and teacher. I mean, it's one thing to see a swastika on TV, or draw one one paper, but to see an actual regimental flag that was flown in the Nazi Austria, was mindboggling to a bunch of sheltered Jewish girls.

Since moving to Israel though, I've discovered what it is to mourn on a nationalistic level. On Yom HaShoah, the air raid siren goes off, the radio and tv stops broadcasting and everything just STOPS. For two minutes.

Even the most secular taxi drivers stop in the middle of the street. The busses, the motorscooters. Transactions mid-sentence just comes to a halt for those two minutes the siren wails.

In those two minutes, you remember your loved ones, or your loved ones-loved ones. Stories run through your head and you can only imagine. And you pray. God frbid we should forget. God forbid it should ever happen again.
Sunday, April 13th, 2003
9:39 am
Just what the truth is, who can say anymore...
"British activist Thomas (Tom) Hurndall, 21, was critically wounded in the head Friday by IDF gunfire as he tried to push two young Palestinian girls out of the line of fire from a nearby IDF watchtower in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip.

He was one of nine activists from the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement acting as human shields in the area.

"Tom was wearing an orange fluorescent jacket and went to help three young children who were caught, placing himself in the line of fire in order to get them out. He pulled a little boy out and was coaxing two young girls to leave when he was shot," ISM member Allison Phillips told The Jerusalem Post.

Hurndall is the second ISM activist to be seriously wounded in the head in the last eight days. A third member, US college student Rachel Corrie, 23, was killed in Rafah last month.
Hurndall was declared brain dead after arriving at Rafah Hospital, said Dr. Ali Musa.

A spokeswoman for the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba said, "The wound almost severed the back part of his head from the front. There is no hope of recovery, very little of his brain is functioning," she said.

ISM spokesman Tom Wallace said that Hurndall's parents will arrive in Israel early Sunday morning. A report by the IDF gives a different story of the incident. "At about 5 p.m. yesterday an IDF post on the Israeli-Egyptian border in a Israeli-controlled security zone identified a man who appeared to be approximately 20 years old, wearing a combat uniform and carrying a weapon."

"The man opened fire at the IDF post and IDF forces returned fire using one bullet, and saw that the person carrying the weapon was wounded by IDF gunfire. It should be noted that this was the only shooting incident reported in the immediate area."

The IDF stated that hostile fire has been frequently directed at IDF troops from this area, including sniper fire, with explosives and grenades also hurled at IDF forces. It was in this area where Hurndall was thought to be wounded, the report concluded.

ISM spokesman Tom Wallace said of the IDF report, "The lying in this case is so blatant and so obvious that they should be discredited once and for all." ISM members accused the soldiers of deliberately targeting Hurndall and described it as a deliberate "shoot to kill" incident.

ISM activist Raphael Cohen, also of England, said the group was worried about an area of Rafah called Yibna, close to the Egyptian border, which was frequently targeted by IDF gunfire.

Hurndall, with other ISM members and locals, was planning to set up a peace tent on one of the nearby roads to block the path of an IDF tank and to prevent firing. The group had notified the British Embassy of their presence in the area.

As the ISM activists walked toward the area at about 5 p.m., they saw children playing on a mound of dirt, said Cohen. Then the IDF started shooting from a nearby IDF watchtower, said Cohen.

"A group of about 30 children stood on a rubble barrier in front of a house. Gunfire was directed at the wall fairly high over their heads, causing the group to split and scatter," said Phillips.
However, a few of them went down the wrong side of the barrier so that they put themselves in more danger, said Cohen. He added that Hurndall ran to get a few of the children who were trapped by gunfire. It was then that the bullets were shot lower, at the height of his head, said Phillips.

In an article on the ISM Web site, US activist Joe Smith, 21, who was also present, wrote: "I heard the shot, I heard a scream, and turned to see the fluorescent orange lump lying on the ground, blood coming from his head. The Palestinians lifted him to move him from the area...Finally we got him down on the pavement. I had my safety pads out and was trying to stop the bleeding. Blood was pouring out of the back of his head. I couldn't get it to stop."

Phillips recalled Hurndall as a "gentle, concerned, quiet, humane person."

Smith said that Hurndall had been in the Gaza Strip for only a week. "He'd just spent a week doing refugee work in Jordan, before which he'd spent two weeks in Iraq doing human shield and relief work," he said. Smith described him as a photographer, passionate about documenting human rights violations.

Earlier that day the two had gone around Rafah taking pictures. "The children here love a camera and would crowd us endlessly," he said."

Why I have a difficult time believing ISM's version:

1. In the 50+ years Israel has been living with terrorism, the IDF has never opened fire on a group of children for no reason.
2. The ISM's track record so far has been less than glorious.
3. Anyone willing to be a human shield in Jordan, Iraq and Gaza will take unnecessary , unhealthy and often times provocative risks.
4. Media skew. Case in point, the photo a year ago that ran in the NY Times, supposedly of an Arab boy being beaten bloody by an IDF soldier.
Friday, March 28th, 2003
9:38 am
Email Someone Sent Me
Many of us will encounter "Peace Activists" who will try and convince us that we must refrain from retaliating against the ones who terrorized us all on September 11, 2001, and those who support terror. These activists may be alone or in a gathering.....most of us don't know how to react to them. When you come upon one of these people, or one of their rallies, here are the proper rules of etiquette:

1. Listen politely while this person explains their views. Strike up a conversation if necessary and look very interested in their ideas. They will tell you how revenge is immoral, and that by attacking the people who did this to us, we will only bring on more violence. They will probably use many arguments, ranging from political to religious to humanitarian.

2. In the middle of their remarks, without any warning, punch them in the nose.

3. When the person gets up off of the ground, they will be very angry and they may try to hit you, so be careful.

4. Very quickly and calmly remind the person that violence only brings about more violence and remind them of their stand on this matter. Tell them if they are really committed to a nonviolent approach to undeserved attacks, they will turn the other cheek and negotiate a solution. Tell them they must lead by example if they really believe what they are saying.

5. Most of them will think for a moment and then agree that you are correct.

6. As soon as they do that, hit them again. Only this time hit them much harder. Square in the nose.

7. Repeat steps 2-5 until the desired results are obtained and the idiot realizes how stupid of an argument he/she is making.

8. Remember there is no difference in an individual attacking an unsuspecting victim or a group of terrorists attacking a nation of people.

It is unacceptable and must be dealt with. Perhaps at a high cost. We owe our military a huge debt for what they are about to do for us and our children. We must support them and our leaders at times like these. We have no choice. We either strike back, VERY HARD, or we will keep getting hit in the nose.

Here endeth the lesson.
Thursday, March 20th, 2003
9:37 am
So, It's Begun
The war is now about 10 hours old. I was listening to the BBC on the internet radio for a little while, but they don't have much to report yet.

Last night I celebrated the Jews overcoming the evil decree of a Persian advisor a couple thousand years ago. My costume was that of a Hesder Yeshivah Bochur (a boys school (for 18+) that is half education (secular and religious) and half Army service). These guys tend to wear large kippot srugot (crochetted yarmulkas, as opposed to velvet), longish hair, their tzizit hanging out, tshirts under half-buttoned shirts...I ended up dancing with a woman who, it turns out, is from Nazareth. During the party, she donned a kafiyah someone had brought (in bad taste IMHO)like the terrorists wear, wrapped around their head and face. When she started dancing, I put my arms around her shoulders and we danced together. Folks got a kick out of it...

This morning on my way to work I saw the beginnings of the attempted destruction of yet another evil Persian leader. I saw a few people with their gas mask boxes either slung over their shoulder, or in a plastic bag, the bags making a uniform rectangle shape in shopping bags.

I saw a family leave their house and get into the car. Father, mother and three children, at least 2 were too young to remember the Gulf War. They each had a box, along with their briefcase, pocketbook or bookbag.

I wanted to weep. And this is just the beginning.
Friday, March 7th, 2003
9:36 am
Purim Stuff
I'll post next week the history behind the Jewish holiday. Suffice it to say, this is a holiday where we get dressed up in costumes, eat and get shit-faced. FUN!!!

This year in the girls' school, they made a rule that for the holiday month, there is no homework, or tests. If the class phone rings, the teacher has to sing a song, or tell the class a personal story about something embarrassing. I think it's cute. D1 told me the other day, her teacher came in with a baby bottle and every now and again, would drink from it.
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