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Monday, March 30, 2015

Please, please...

... read (and reread) the post below this one... and if you haven't already done so, please offer a helping hand to my son's classmate.

Here is an article from today's news with more details.

You (or someone you know) has the ability to remove the sentence under which this innocent young boy is suffering.

There are so many terrible things in the world over which we have no control.  This isn't one of them.  The treatment is known and effective.  It is just beyond the reach of this family to procure (and of the medical system to provide).

Imagine this was your child, and the drug that could help him/her fight off a life-threatening disease was available... but financially out of reach.

Please do what you can.

Posted by David Bogner on March 30, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Today is the day you get to save a life!

It isn't every day that an opportunity presents itself to save a human life.

Today is such a day.

The following is about a boy in our son, Yonah's fifth grade class:

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Noam Eliahu Benita was diagnosed in May 2014 with osteosarcoma; a cancer originating from the bones and situated above his right knee. Six months later, metastasis was found in his lung and he was once more operated on. A substance in his body prevents his body from destroying the cancerous cells, The drug Keytruda is the only solution that may save his life.

The child underwent 2 series of chemotherapy, but directly before surgery, it was discovered that the tumor had grown and that he must first undergo additional chemo.

The chemotherapy this time around was particularly aggressive and Noam Eliahu responded harshly to it. Shortly later he had an operation to remove the affected bone and was transplanted with a metal 'bone' that will be gradually lengthened when he grows.

After additional chemo, Noam Eliahu was released home on Passover eve of last year, clean of cancer.

Six months later, metastasis was found in his lung and he was once more operated on. A biopsy from the cancer was sent to a lab in the U.S., where it was discovered that the cancerous cells include a substance that prevents his immune system from attacking the cancer.

Only a drug called 'Keytruda' can neutralize this substance, enabling the child's body to attack and destroy the cancerous cells.

Currently, Noam Eliahu has several metastasis in his body and Keytruda is the only solution that may save his life.

The cost of every treatment is 52,000 NIS ($13,200 USD).

Noam Eliahu needs this treatment every three weeks!

 

HOW TO DONATE SAVE A LIFE:

Every penny counts.
Your generosity has a powerful impact.

For any question or request, contact us at: donation@haverim.org.il.

You can donate in one of several ways:

Direct money transfer:

Haverim Lerefua for Benita Noam Eliahu:
Bank Hapoalim, Branch: 681, Account number: 606045
IBAN: IL30-0126-8100-0000-0606-045
Name of the account: HAVERIM LEREFUA
SWIFT code: POALILIT

To receive your receipt, please fax transfer confirmation, together with your name and address to +972-3-5792223. Or via contact us

By check:

Check should be made out to “Friends for Benita Noam Eliahu”, to:
Haverim Lerefua, P.O.B. 6782, Ramat Gan 52167, Israel

By credit card/ PayPal:

From within Israel: 03-5777666 From abroad: +972-3-5777666
Or directly via this website.

Please note the name of the Fund destinee, in addition to your name and contact details, in order to receive a tax-deductible receipt.

For tax-deductible donations in the US:

Israel Family Services
Acc# 569363810
ABA# 021000021
Swift# CMASU533

JP Morgan Chase Bank
4901 13th Ave
Brooklyn 11219
T (718) 853-2710

You can also make a donation with a credit card or Paypal by clicking the button at the bottom of this page.

Posted by David Bogner on March 26, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Consistency Please

Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State called Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad "a brutal dictator"

For the people of Israel, this statement is of great concern and may require that we reassess our relationship with the U.S. in light of statements Kerry made this past week that "it would be necessary to negotiate with the Syrian President". [source]

While Israel remains committed to its close cooperation and security ties with the U.S., we can't be expected to ignore this kind of troubling inconsistency.

Israel expects the U.S. to live up to its previous commitments to engage with President Assad, and we find Mr. Kerry's recent statements both alarming and unhelpful.

If the U.S. expects Israel to continue with intelligence and security cooperation in the region, we may have to work behind the scenes to effect a change in the current make-up of the U.S. government.

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Seem's harsh, snarky and unreasonable?  

Turn it around and (for a change) hold the Obama / Kerry anti-Israel parade to realistic standards of behavior.  

Enough with the well-coordinated daily leaks and accusations from the White House designed to harm Israel and damage the relationship with the U.S..  

Enough with Obama trying to outdo the UN in disproportionate focus on the Middle East's only democracy while the rest of the region quite literally burns.

Enough with U.S. attempts to interfere with Israel's internal democratic electoral mechanisms.

Israel is a sovereign country whose elections and internal politics the U.S. has deliberately and overtly tried to subvert through direct funding and the deployment of political activists.  Luckily, the U.S. Senate has launched a bipartisan investigation into this unprecedented attempt to violate an ally's sovereignty. [source]

I think the best summary of the 'historic mistakes' made by the Obama administration was delivered by the Junior United States Senator from the State of Florida:

 And even in the White House Press Room, the current U.S. adminstration is starting to get 'uncomfortable' questions from the likes of the Associated Press:

Still here?  If you still think that Obama's blitz on Netanyahu's inconsistency is reasonable, perhaps we need to begin examining Obama's inconsistency regarding Israel:

Posted by David Bogner on March 26, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Monday, March 23, 2015

Baseless Hatred Once Again Rears Its Ugly Head

At the outset I will freely admit this post is childish, petty, and completely beneath the level of normal, polite discourse.  But I have decided that just as I advocate responding in kind to those who physically attack Israel and her citizens, I have come to realize that the only response to incessant ad hominem attacks from right wing lunatics and left wing moonbats alike, is to respond in kind.  

A couple of days ago, Israeli musician / songwriter Yehonaton Geffen caused a small stir when he said that the date of the recent Knesset elections would now be marked as a 'Nakba' for the peace camp, borrowing the Arabic word for 'catastrophe' that is used by our Arab enemies to refer to the founding of the State of Israel.  

Subsequently, Geffen was physically attacked by someone, apparently because of his 'Nakba' statement and/or his outspoken left wing political views.  

I must state emphatically that such an attack is a criminal act, and is completely beyond what can ever be tolerated in a free democratic society.  And I am pleased that it was loudly condemned by people from all across Israel's political spectrum.

But apparently another lefty Israeli entertainer was feeling left out of the spotlight, as Israeli singer, Achinoam Nini (AKA Noa to her fans) complained to the media that upon returning to Israel, she too was allegedly 'attacked' by a right winger because of her political views.

According to news reports, Nini said that she was subjected to "curses and insults" at the airport, upon returning from a trip abroad.  I guess when a a person holding left wing views says horrible things about someone on the right, it is an expression of free speech.  When the tables are turned, it is an 'attack'.

After all, I don't recall Achinoam Nini making any statements condemning left wing Israeli artist Yair Garbuz's speech in front of thousands of people in Rabin Square last week attacking more than half of Israel's citizens when he bemoaned the fact that, "Kissers of amulets, idol-worshipers and people who bow down and prostrate themselves on the graves of saints" were 'given' control over the State of Israel. [source]

I can forgive a doddering old fool like Garbuz for momentarily forgetting that control of the country is not something that is 'given' like some Bolshevik political favor.  It was / is won via the democratic processes of our vibrant democracy that has, much to his dismay, marginalized Israel's political left.  

In fact, many on the left are howling mad that the country has repeatedly used the ballot to unambiguously express their weariness with failed policies of appeasement and surrender; preferring to entrust successive right wing governments with the power to decide when we will have a viable peace partner with whom to negotiate.

But Achinoam Nini is neither doddering, nor a fool, and deserves no such forgiveness.  She gave full-throated voice to opinions that, in any other place or context, would be soundly denounced as bigoted.  

Here is a sample of her statements:

The best thing about the horrible election results is that we will now have a clear delineation of stances, with everyone coming out of their holes – including the ugly radical right wing victors, drunk from their victory, who will show off their ugly faces, along with the good people, like Geffen.

Really?!

Note that Nini didn't say that the positions held by the right wing voters were 'objectionable' or 'ugly', but rather that the right wing voters themselves were ugly (and presumably, bad), while those on the left are beautiful and good!

This sort of ad hominem attack is, IMHO, what's wrong with Israeli politics, and I, for one, am not going to sit idly by without responding in kind.

Achinoam Nini may have a beautiful voice and be an accomplished musician, but since she has decided to attack me and my fellow right wing voters on the basis of our physical appearance,  I have  decided to state that Achinoam Nini is ugly.  

This is not an opinion.  It is objectively provable.  

She has bugged out eyes, a long hooked nose, an overbite so pronounced that she could easily eat an apple through a picket fence, and hair that resembles a straw broom.

Noa

Ms. Nini, I may, indeed, be ugly.  But that cannot undo the fact that my political views are held by the majority of this democracy's voting public.  

My advice to Achinoam Nini is to stick to what she does best and to not try to invent an 'attack' in order to try to make herself relevant.  She is a talented musician, but an inept political pundit. 

And for the record, despite my earlier statements about Achinoam Nini's looks, I admit I was being petty and childish.  Truth be told, the whole of her beauty far exceeds the sum of her unconventional features.  

Sadly, it is her baseless hatred and bigotry that remain ugly and beyond redemption.

Posted by David Bogner on March 23, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Backfired!

This morning I woke up to election results that were, on the one hand unexpected... and on the other (at least in retrospect), predictable.

Unexpected, because for months the Israeli public has been exposed to a steady drumbeat of well orchestrated media reports, as well as carefully timed statements from Israeli and US politicians, containing one common theme:  Benjamin Netanyahu is what's wrong with Israel and the entire Middle East.  

Every day there would be a new batch of reports / statements:

  • Netanyahu is the obstacle to any agreement with the Palestinians.  
  • Netanyahu is the reason the Palestinians are trying to have the world legislate a state for them rather than negotiating one with Israel.
  • Netanyahu is the reason there is no affordable housing in Israel.
  • Netanyahu is the reason so many Israelis live in poverty.
  • Netanyahu is the reason Israel's ties with the U.S. are in tatters.
  • Netanyahu is the reason Israel is so isolated among the nations of the world.

But at the same time, the election results, at least in retrospect, should have been predictable to anyone with even the tiniest bit of insight into the mind of the typical Israeli:

Israelis don't like to be told what to do (and what not to do).  From traffic laws to the laws of physics, Israelis delight in finding creative work arounds... largely (IMHO) so they can say say, "You're not the boss of me!".

So, predictably, the carefully orchestrated smear campaign from the left-leaning Israeli media... the well planned snub campaign by the Obama adminsitration... the relentless blamestorming on the part of nearly every Israeli politician who would stand to gain by Netanyahu's defeat... all had the opposite of the desired effect.

In fact, it is my firm conviction that many of the people who voted for the Likud (and by extension, Netanyahu), might not have done so had they not been incessantly scolded for the 'sin' of having tolerated this monster for so long.  And many others, who in a less charged atmosphere might not have even voted; having opted to go shopping or hiking on the election day holiday, took a sudden interest in what they were reading in the press, and decided to find out for themselves.

What they found out was as follows:

The obstinacy and intransigence of the Palestinians during Netanyahu's tenure was no different from their behavior during the tenures of previous Israeli leaders and political parties.  While the Palestinians have been given ever greater recognition, legitimacy and privilege, for all intents and purposes, they have continued to adhere to the three 'nos' of the Khartoum Resolution of September 1, 1967; "no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it...".  Those who wish to argue this point should first check the current texts of both the PLO's and Hamas' charters, as well as the results of the last valid elections held by the Palestinians.

The recent trend of the Palestinians seeking to gain recognition of their state from the world, rather than from the only sovereign nation that controls the land on which they wish to create it, is also not Netanyahu's doing.  Just as with previous Israeli leaders, he has repeatedly tried to engage the Palestinians in negotiations that would lead to some sort of peaceful coexistence.  He has even done so to the consternation and outrage of the more conservative members of his own party, and offered something that even Yitzhak Rabin specifically stated he would never accept (a full-fledged Palestinian State alongside Israel).   In fact, in his last government, Netanyanhu gave Tzipi Livni - his harshest critic - the sole task of being Israel's peace negotiator with the Palestinians.  I don't know where you work, but in my job, if my boss gives me a task, I'm the one that has to explain if I don't get it done... not my boss.  On the one hand Livni has stated that Netanyahu tied her hands and wouldn't allow her to offer enough concessions.  But on the other, she held up a document (which she attributed to Netanyahu) that outlined concessions that she said went too far and showed Netanyahu to be a liar to his own coalition.  You can't have it both ways, Tzipi!  Which was it?!  No, the Palestinians have been seeking international recognition of their state lately for the simple reason that much of the international community has been holding parliamentary votes as to whether to recognize the Palestinian State.  I can't blame the Palestinians.  They'd have to be stupid not to court a consensus that the world seems willing - anxious, even - to provide.  But at the same time, that means you can't blame Netanyahu.

Netanyahu didn't ignore the social protest movement; you know, the one where a few thousand self-entitled students and young adults set up a tent city along Tel Aviv's Rothchild Blvd.  Bibi just had no power to meet their (mostly) unreasonable demands. Their central complaint was the lack of affordable housing.  But if you look closer, what they were really protesting was the lack of affordable housing in the most desirable areas of the central coastal plain.  For context, this would be like a bunch of American college students protesting the fact that, upon graduation, they couldn't find an affordable first apartment on Manhattan's upper West Side.  Rather than grasping the obvious; that they should be looking for housing in Israel's periphery; in the Galil or Negev where prices are quite reasonable, these young people decided that Netanyahu, and not the economic principle of supply and demand, was to blame for their 'plight'.  I'm sure if it was within his power to grant, Bibi would let everyone have a rent-subsidized apartment in North Tel Aviv or Herzelia Petuach.  But it isn't, so he has continued a reasonable policy of moving many of the IDF's bases from Israel's center (where build-able land is at a premium) to the Negev, freeing up a huge amount of new land for building housing.  But again, since many of these newly vacated tracts of land are in close proximity to Tel Aviv and other desirable communities, the chances that housing built there will be 'affordable' will be dictated by economics, not by the sitting Prime Minister.  

Poverty in Israel isn't something new.  Once upon a time nearly everyone in Israel lived an austere life that most today would equate with poverty.  What most people are pointing to today is not the fact of poverty, but rather the enormous economic gulf between Israel's 'haves' and 'have-nots'. To some extent this can be laid at the Prime Minister's feet, but not just the present one.  All Prime ministers - from the left and from the right - since the early '80s have presided over the steady privatization of many former state-owned enterprises and companies.  This process was handled so clumsily, and with so little forethought or oversight, that today nearly half of Israel's wealth resides in the hands of some 20 families.  And I have a little secret for you:  I doubt any of the scions of these families voted for Netanyahu yesterday, as Israel's elites tend to be extreme lefties.  Obama and the American Democrats made the mistake of simplistically equating the Israeli Likud with the American Republican Party.  But the fact is that the Likud came to power by representing and empowering Israel's economically-challenged Sephardim, and it has been members of the predominantly Ashkenazi left wing in Israel that have historically maintained control of much of the country's wealth, media and commerce.  Blame the last government for not doing more to dismantle the monopolies and oligarchies... but share that blame with all the Likud and Labor governments that went before.

This penchant, on the part of the Obama administration, to relate to Netanyahu and the Likud as if they were Republicans, is at the root of most of the dysfunction in the relationship between the two countries.  Partisan politics may be acceptable within the US government, but no sovereign country (or its leader) will long tolerate such overt condescension and open rebuke.  Yes, I'm sure Obama (like his predecessors) is deeply disappointed at not being able to have peace in the Middle East as the cornerstone of his legacy (maybe his Nobel Peace Prize was awarded based on a promise to deliver).  But by placing the blame for the lack of a negotiated peace agreement on the leader of the one entity that actually showed up made a lot of Israelis feel that the substance of the agreement was of no importance to the US, only the signed piece of paper.  It may sound trite, but WWII began mere months after Neville Chamberlain arrived home waving his signed piece of paper that was supposed to have assure a nervous world of "Peace for our time".

Despite strident claims to the contrary, Israel has been isolated from the world for most of its existence.  But it has been a pragmatic sort of isolation that has allowed both Israel and the rest of the world to continue to benefit from the exchange of economic and scientific lucre.  Think about it, where would the world be today without Israels contributions to medicine, computer technology, agriculture, etc.?  Where, for that matter would Israel be?  The bottom line is that until the oil wells run dry or an alternative source of cheap energy is found/developed, Israel will remain the fat easy girl:  Most everyone wants to be with us... but few want to be seen with us.  That isn't Netanyahu's fault.  That is a sad byproduct of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the economic/political loyalties that have resulted from it.

So in the end, the Obama administration and the Israeli media were able to profoundly influence the outcome of the Israeli elections.  But they were too foolish and heavy-handed to understand the backlash their meddling would engender.

Those in Israel and around the world who tried mightily to unseat Netanyahu woke up this morning to see that their efforts had backfired horribly. Because their entire case was based on ousting Bibi, and offered not a single concrete platform or idea as to how to solve any of the problems that they had placed at Netanyahu's feet... a sizable chunk of the Israel electorate - including many who may not have voted for the Likud, if at all - simply said 'no'.

Posted by David Bogner on March 18, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack