Archive for December, 2009


Bibi – The Real Deal

How cool is Bibi Netanyahu?

Seriously, how cool is this guy?

Cool. Way cool.

I mean, how cool is it, that when everybody thought a deal for Shalit was around the corner,

Bibi was working on the Real Deal?

Seriously, how cool is it, that when we thought that in just a few days we’d see Gilad hugging his parents,

Bibi was counting the days to the disintegration of Kadima?

I mean, just how cool is it, that when Gilad was getting slapped around in his cell (I hope that’s the worst he ever had to deal with),

Bibi decided it was time to slap Tzipi Livni around?

Tell me – just how cool is it, that when Aviva and Noam Shalit had to feel guilty once again for closing their eyes in bed when their son was still lying somewhere in Gaza,

That Bibi didn’t even have to blink twice before offering ministerial scrap metal to Kadima back-benchers?

You got to agree: How cool is it, that when Shalit was again given some unidentified slab of material on a plate his captors called “lunch”,

Bibi was looking at the Kadima list of MK’s and just couldn’t decide what to order?

Isn’t it cool, that when Gilad Shalit woke up and scratched day #1,280 on his cell wall,

Bibi was scratching his forehead, pretending that the Shalit deal was the most difficult decision he ever had to make?

And just how cool is it, that when Gilad heard, from the bit of Arabic he must have picked up, that he might be swapped for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners,

Bibi was thinking of a different kind of swap with Livni: “You give me 14 Kadima members, and I’ll give you Silvan Shalom”?

Wow. That is one cool prime minister we got here. Ice running through the veins.


And The Whores Like A Choir

I’m 19. Or 20.

I’m home for the weekend, from the navy.

All I want to do is forget about the navy.

All I want to do is not go back to the base on Sunday.

Don’t want to smell the diesel polluting the sea.

Let the weekend last forever.

It’s Friday.

We’re at the “Second City” (Ha’ir HaShnia).

Me and my buddy Shai.

We’re regulars.

It’s our get-away.

From the uniforms.

From the order.

The discipline.

“Citizens” (Toshavim) of the City, Haifa’s most famous alternative music club.

Sometimes Yoav joins us, sometimes it’s me and the guys from the boat.

We’re together, but each dancing in different places.

Usually as close to the speakers as we can get.

And we can never get close enough.

We’re sipping our big, half liter bottles of Goldstar.

We’ve just spent 5 minutes banging our heads to Rage Against the Machine.


But now we’re chilling to the smooth sounds of The The.

And when Nirvana finish sniffing their teen spirit, we suddenly hear Frank Black, calling out to us:


The Pixies are coming, The Pixies are coming!

I’ll be there.

And if I’m not – then I must have lost my



A Clear and Present Danger

Last week I saw an interesting interview on TV. It was Avri Gilad hosting Rabbi Dov Wolpe, an extreme right winger. Wolpe heads The Task Force to Save the Nation and the Land, who basically give money to soldiers who refuse to evacuate settlements.

The interview itself wasn’t that interesting, we’ve heard extreme right views a zillion times before, and even more extreme than Wolpe. But I thought the whole package was kind of unique in itself. This is semi-prime-time television, where people like Wolpe are rarely seen. They’re rarely given the spotlight. And if they are, it’s usually on the regular politics shows, not the family talk shows with fairly high ratings.

Gilad, an intelligent man but not the best of interviewers, took a different approach here as well: let’s listen to the guy, and hear what he has to say. No attacks, just a tad of being the devil’s advocate here and there, no more.

What you get is a quiet interview with a very dangerous man, with almost Hannibal Lecter-ish attributes. He’s cool and calm. He even gets the crowd to cheer once (of course, when he talks about how other nations push us around) – and notice how this crowd, as usual in Israeli talk shows, is made up mainly of soldiers. (I never knew why that was… guess they can’t sell all the tickets.)

It’s good insight into someone who really pulls strings in the Wild East. These are the kind of people behind the occupation, the settler movement.  You read about them once in a while in the papers, but never really put the face to the name.

Also, yesterday I saw a link to a Forward story about him (thank you, Lisa Goldman), claiming his organization might be in violation of U.S. tax laws. Again, another reason for my fellow Half & Half readers in the States to be angry, very angry.

So, that’s why I decided to spend a few hours translating this.

(Note: after you press play, if you don’t see the subtitles – press on the arrow button on the bottom right corner of the youtube frame, and make sure the “cc” button is on. Also, if your computer is a bit slow, like mine, sometimes it takes 10-15 seconds for the captions to actually show up. In that case, when they do – just rewind and go back to the beginning. And if anyone can recommend some good subtitle programs other than the youtube one itself – please tell!)


Izzie in Holyland – Part 5

Izzie: Hey Baracky!
Barack: Izzie? Is that you?
Izzie: Yeah! Baracky, guess what?
Barack: Izzie… how many times do I have to tell you, there’s a 7 hour time difference. It’s 3 am here… and,
Izzie: But Baracky! I had to call you, I just had to!
Barack: Michelle is right next to me Izzie, this is a bad time. Especially after the whole Tiger Woods thing, Izzie… Jeezus
Izzie: Tiger in the woods? Baracky! I don’t know what you’re smoking – but I want some!
Barack: Izzie, can this wait a few hours?
Izzie: Sure! I just wanted you to know: You’re the first person I called on my new iPhone!
Izzie: They just got to Israel!
Izzie: I stood outside the Malcha mall in Jerusalem with my bodyguards all night – I got the first one!
Izzie: How exciting is that, Baracky? Oh, you should see it. They were right, it really is sleek!
Barack: I’m going to bed. I’m hanging up now.
Izzie: OK sweety. Oh, and one more thing – I loved your speech in Oslo. Or was that Stockholm? Oh my G-d, I always get those two mixed up…
Barack: Thanks, Izzie. It was Oslo. Now, good night.
Izzie: So, when do I get my cut?
Barack: Your what?
Izzie: My cut. My part of the prize.
Barack: You want a cut of the prize.
Izzie: Well, yeah. Like, duh…
Barack: Why should you get a cut, Izzie?
Izzie: Well, it’s a peace prize, right?
Barack: Yeah, but –  
Izzie: And you got it for bringing the peace, right?
Barack: Well, yes –
Izzie: So, you got it for bringing peace to the MidEast, right? Am I right?
Barack: Well, actually it’s –
Izzie: So, come on – be honest with me: Could you have brought the peace without me?
Barack: What peace exactly are you talking about, Izzie?
Izzie: Exactly.
Barack: Exactly what?
Izzie: Exactly what I wanna know. Whatever you brought to the MidEast – I want a cut of it.
Barack: And how big a cut do you want?
Izzie: 50 percent.
Barack: What?!?!?
Michelle: Either you hang up that phone or I swear to G-d I’m gonna whip your ass with that golf club so hard you gonna wish you married a white girl.
Izzie: Tell her I heard that. And that I can tell who wears the pants in the White House.
Barack: That’s it! I’m hanging up!
(Slams phone down)
Izzie: Barack?!?! Did you just hang up on me?!?!?!
(Slams her new iPhone down. Shatters it to pieces)
Izzie: Sh-t! Last time I freeze a settlement for that guy, I swear to G-d! Ehud! Come in here, we have to go back to Malcha!

A Freeze? Maybe When Hell Freezes Over

Yo, Obama! You must be pretty proud of yourself for getting a 10-month settlement “freeze” from Bibi.
Well, if I were you, I wouldn’t be too happy. Putting the obvious aside (i.e. that a settlement freeze should be ETERNAL), do you honestly believe Bibi is doing this to achieve peace? To set the wheels in motion?
Come on…  really?
I mean, the first thing Bibi said after he announced the freeze was that it was “temporary, a one-off”. And what do you think he told hardliners in his government like Bogi Ya’alon and Benny Begin to make them shut up and go along with him? Man, I would have loved to be a fly on the wall in that room when he convinced them to play ball. What kind of magic did he work? I can only imagine it was something like: “Freeze? Come on, Bogi. You know me better than that! Don’t worry, it’s just words, we’ll keep building.”
And that’s just it – because they will keep building. And they’ll keep building in the most controversial areas of the territories. Not the large settlement blocs. Nope, on the mountain ridge, in the “Wild East”, where Israeli law enforcement has not dared to step for decades.
As Amos Harel says in Haaretz today:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu knows his control over the land of outposts is flimsy. He is not the one who will decide how many caravans will be placed on hill 725, or how many Palestinian orchards will be uprooted near Yitzhar.
A senior defense official told Haaretz: “Israeli law was never applied in these areas. Let us presume that the Civil Administration identifies more building violations at an outpost. What will they do? They will stick another warrant on the caravan wall, asking them to get out. They will not even bother ripping it down, and they will just go on with their business.
Not only will the building go on in the Wild East, but these extremists are also going to up the pressure inside Israel proper, too. It’s already started. They’ll be holding mass demonstrations, blocking roads and snarling traffic – just like they did before the disengagement from Gaza. And worst of all – they’ll get violent too. Violent against Palestinians who live nearby, setting cars on fire, burning houses, uprooting olive trees – and it will also probably spiral into beatings and maybe even killings too.
But in the States you won’t see images of that, of the ugly stuff. Nope. This is probably what you’ll see:
And this is exactly what Bibi wants you to see. It’s all part of the plan. Do you know what this whole commotion was about in that news clip? Do you see what those dozens of soldiers and policemen were doing there? All they were trying to do was let a few inspectors into a settlement to stick up pieces of paper on a handful of illegal construction sites.
(A side note: Notice the disgusting similarity between fundamentalists on both sides of the conflict: Look at these settlers using their teenagers, mostly female, to confront big burly Israeli police and border police. And look at how over the years Palestinian extremists have sent their young ones to the front lines, either as suicide bombers or to throw stones at IDF tanks.)
Those images aren’t only for Israelis. It’s what Bibi wants Obama to see. He wants him to see the huge pressure he’s under. And actually, the more violent the settlers get, the better it is for Bibi: “You see, Barack, you see what I have to deal with? You see how this freeze is tearing my country apart? My coalition is in danger! How will I bring peace with no government! Cut me some slack, will ya?”
And this, Barack, is where you come in and say “No. Nope, I’m not laying off.” This is where you come in and NOT make the mistake again of backing down from the freeze earlier in your term.
The U.S. should not be deterred by those pictures of internal strife Bibi knows you’re watching on CNN. It should not be deterred by a surge in settler violence.
Make sure a freeze is a freeze. Make sure nothing is being built – no foundations laid, no roads paved, not even closing off a balcony. Heck, if Israel can’t enforce the freeze because it only has a few dozen inspectors who are scared to enter the settlements, then get some interns at the State Department to watch Google Earth and do it yourselves!
It’s time to go all the way with these guys.
It’s time to get nasty. 

How Selfish Can I Be?

Just another day at the supermarket. Lately I’ve been wondering why they make me feel like a cheap, selfish bastard every time I pile up my goods.

Cashier: Would you like anything from our special sales?

Me: No thanks, just what I’ve got here.

Cashier: OK. Would you like to donate 5 shekels to children with cancer?

Me: No, but thank you.

Cashier: How about beaten wives?

Me: Nope.

Cashier: Rape victims?

Me: Nah.

Cashier: Severely autistic kids?

Me: Mmm, don’t think so.

Cashier: Severely retarded?

Me: Don’t think so, no.

Cashier: OK, how bout 5 shekels for cystic fibrosis, then?

Me: Nah.

Cashier: Multiple sclerosis?

Me: Nope.

Cashier: Lou Gherig’s?

Me: No Mam.

Cashier: Will that be cash or credit?

Me: Credit.

Cashier: Have a good day, sir.

December 2009

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