Archive for April, 2013

Last Thursday a drone (small plane without pilot, managed by remote control) was sent from Lebanon and entered Israeli air space near Haifa. Luckily it was observed by our forces before it could cause damage and was shot down into the sea. It is believed to have been sent by the Hezbollah terrorist organization, although they have of course not admitted doing so. This drone incident is a serious provocation and could have caused great  destruction.
But all is not quiet in the south either, and again a number of rockets were shot from the Gaza Strip. We don’t want another war there, but this shooting can not continue.
Israel has clear evidence that President Assad’s army in Syria is using chemical weapons against the opposition forces fighting to bring him down, and now the USA have seen this too. A short while ago this was regarded by America as “crossing the red line”, but so far it seems they don’t want to get involved there.
Yesterday we in Israel celebrated what is called “Lag Be’omer” which is actually a date on the Jewish calendar  and tradition has it to make bonfires (especially children do this) and roast potatoes, marshmallows and such, and it is believed that during the Omer  (from Passover till Shavuot) many years ago, every day, pupils of a certain Rabbi died, but on this day none did so. So it is a happy day, and nowadays the only day during this period when people can get married here.
We are going through a sort of unexpected heat wave just now, and this has caused a lot of wild fires all over the country, much damage, but luckily no one greatly hurt.
But the fire-brigades everywhere were certainly busy, also planes were used to put out the fires.
That’s all for today. Shalom from Irene
    The latest news here  is about the strike of the different Israeli air-lines, which ended yesterday evening, after the government had agreed to pay for
almost all their security services. The strike began because of an international “Open Skies” agreement with mostly European countries by our Minister of Transportation
which is believed to lower the price of airplane tickets, because of the competition it will cause. The two-day strike caused much suffering and damage to prospective travellers
and it will take some days till all those can fly again to their destinations.
Winter was here again  after a relatively warm period – cold, storms, rain, hail, thunder and lightning – most unusual for the end of April. But we hear that many European
countries also have uncommon weather this year.
Missiles have again been fired on our southern city Eilat from the Sinai direction, this is the second time in one week. If this continues, we’ll have to respond in some manner,
our military and political members say.
Evidently the USA is helping with arms to those in Syria fighting Assad’s regime. We only hope they will not fall into the hands of terrorist organizations.
But Israel has also been promised more and sophisticated weapons from the USA, and for that we are certainly grateful.
Now for a couple of more pleasant subjects. A group of Arab and Jewish children from East and West Jerusalem have been meeting every week to work together at a
popular nature and excursion center. Together they have grown vegetables and spices together in this “Peace Garden” –  got in touch with each other and
most importantly – got to know one another. Eyal Bloch, director of the Peace Garden project said,” Children who were hostile to one another have become
good neighbours who care for the environment together.”
And I’ll end my blog with sport. An Israeli gymnast won a gold medal . He is 26 year old Alex Shatilov who won the gold medal in the floor exercise finals at the
European Artistic Gymnastic Championships in Moscow. Netanyahu even phoned him and and told him that he had brought the country a lot of honour.
That’s all for today. Shalom from Irene

Yesterday We celebrated Israel’s 65th Independence Day, which as always was a joyous occasion for all. There were different ceremonies and even an international Bible quiz for teenagers, which this year was won by two, a 15 year old American boy and a 16 year old Israeli girl. Youngsters from 58 different countries took part.

But the day before was Fallen Soldiers’ Remembrance day, which is a sad occasion, with many visits to grave yards etc.  Many of us think that this day of sadness followed straight away by one of joy should be moved to a different date, it is hard to change so quickly from tears to laughter, but the official explanation for this date is that because of the death and sacrifice of the young soldiers, they enabled us to have our country and thus celebrate independence.
We heard about the terrible act of terrorism in Boston, three killed and so many wounded, it is dreadful to fear further acts too. Here in Israel unfortunately we usually live under such conditions. I want to send my condolences to all those hurt by these terrorists.
No more today. Shalom from Irene

Yesterday was Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel. It was a sad day for so many of us, especially those (like me) who lost their complete families during that era, but was felt all over the country.All forms of entertainment were forbidden, and the media, TV, radio and all, showed, talked about, wrote mostly about concentration camps, torture and death of 6 million innocent people. At ten o’clock in the morning a siren went off for 2 minutes all over the country – people stood still, traffic came to a halt.

Anti-Semitism has gone up this last year evidently by about 30%, mostly in Europe – but it has a new name now. It’s anti-Zionism, anti-Jewish State-ism, but the name hasn’t changed anything. There have been so many violent incidents against Jews lately in different countries, many but not all performed by Muslims.

There have again been rockets fired from the Gaza Strip without Israel retaliating so far – most countries would have shot back by now. And other news from Gaza is that UNRWA has had its headquarters there stormed by demonstrators after partly cutting down its annual “handout”, so in the meanwhile they have halted their work completely.

There have also been a number of days with much Arab violence in the West Bank, after a prisoner died of Cancer, and for what they call “The Day of the Land”.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, visited here and areas nearby. He was trying to find a way to get Israel and the Palestinians together for peace talks, but as they make so many demands before even starting, the chances for this don’t look so favourable. But what he said concerning Iran’s coming nuclear power pleased us. He warned Iran that his country would not hesitate to take military action if the diplomatic process failed. No option is off the table. No option will be taken off the table,” he said during a joint press conference with President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem. “But we will continue to seek a diplomatic solution.”

In Syria the fighting goes on and both sides now accuse the other of using chemical weapons.

Next week we celebrate Israel’s 65th Independence Day, and that will be a day of joy. Enough for today. Shalom from Irene