Seeing Amalek in Reality

Parshas Zachor

תִּמְחֶה אֶת זֵכֶר עֲמָלֵק מִתַּחַת הַשָּׁמָיִם לֹא תִּשְׁכָּח
Devarim 25:19

"Wipeout Amalek + DON'T FORGET" -Are people forgetting something?

בשם גר''א זכר רב טובך בסגול תחת הזיי''ן כדעת הרד''ק וכן בפרשת זכור את זכר עם סגול
In the name of the Gr'a ''זכר רב טובך'' with the segul [the 3 dot vowel] under the זין like the da'as of the Radak, and thus also Parshas Zachor ''et zecher'' [with the segul].

Interestingly, "זין" means "weapon", fitting for the Mitzvah of Wiping out Amalek!

Chofetz Chaim: Chilchos Arbah Parshios

The laws of the four parshiot - Mishna Brura 685:18
"Be careful to read the words in their tune and their melody when you read parshas Zachor''

"know, that there are those who say [Gr'a], that you need to read "zeicher" Amalek
with a צירי tzeiri and those that say that you need to read ''zecher'' Amalek with a segol
Source: ועל כן מהנכון שהרורא יקרא  שניהם לצאת ידי שניהם - Mahril

"Therefore, it is fitting that the reader should read both of them to "go out" by means of both ways" - the emphasis is on "read" and not "say".  Sfardim "read" both and say one; Ashkenazim have the minhag to literally read and say both versions aloud.  However, the best way to do it, is as the Mishna Brura says:  "read".  With both ways, have in mind two and vocalize one - thus the entire mind is focused on the mitzvah.

Amalek is classified by the Gr'a as Erev Rav and the Erev Rav Amalek is deemed "baalei machlokes", thus it is of baalei machloket to consider this a "machloket" - this is simply a kavanah of two kavanot.  Ironically, if one were to ask, what is the machloket based on, the answer one would find is "I dont know!" (...due to the obscurity of the sourced Vilna Gaon) And if "learned" the response would be, "I forget." (...interestingly enough, many are not taught or even aware of the source being this obscure Vilna Gaon) The irony is, it isn't a machloket at all, it's a kavanah from the Gr'a from the Radak and brought down by the Chofetz Chaim as a tool of weaponry in the kriah to defeat Amalek. Thus to "forget" the source of the machloket is indeed ironic since the mitzvah in the psukim clearly says "you shall not forget!"  So when we read Parshas Zachor the ikkar kriah is to vocalize the tzeiri and have in mind the segol at the same time.  With this, one is definitely "yotzie" the mitzvah to read both while vocally pronouncing one; two single attempts is an expression and manifestation of sufek; sufek is the gematria of Amalek.

To beg the question: are you yotzie at all? Did you declare war on Amalek?  Thus the spiritual war in the mitzvah is brought down by the Radak, the Gr'a, and brought to light by the Chafetz Chaim.

This is the one mitzvah where it would be a Chilul Hashem to find sufek and machloket surrounding it. The objective is and must be understood clearly to wipeout Amalek.

The basis of the Gra is to show that two separate "parts" or ideas can actually be fashioned into one harmonious being as it is said in Navi: "they will become one in my hand".  From schism we find the repair of schism.  God forbid that Divine Schism should lead to disunity.  May the mitzvah of Parshas Zachor weigh heavily in the merit of bringing achdut to Am Yisrael.

May we witness the full wiping out of Amalek and eliminate sufek and baseless machloket this year with the fall of Erev Rav and Amalek...leading us to a Geulah Shleimah speedily in our days of 5772.

Doors & Windows (2): Kilkenny, Ireland

Photo: Patrick Comerford

This pair of beautiful Georgian doors is at 42 and 43 Parliament Street in Kilkenny, Ireland. They have individual rather than shared door casements but they do share three steps leading up to them. The Gibbsian (after James Gibbs, a Scottish architect largely responsible for the 'look' of Georgian architecture) surrounds are characteristic and the fanlights above the doors are original. However, the brightly painted doors are typical in Ireland but would be unusual in England where they are more likely to be the original black or white.

I have featured them purely for their classic splendour and I love their looks!

Erev Rav: Securing Amalekite Exile

Get Ready To Live With Amalek; Heil Bibi! (Where Zionism Went Wrong)
[ Erev Rav Seeking Eternal Galus China - Tumat Ain Sof]

Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said deepening trade ties with China could pay off by helping leaders of the world’s second-biggest economy better understand the Jewish state’s policies toward Iran and Syria.

“China is a growing economic power,” Steinitz said today in an interview in Beijing, where he traveled to sign a $300 million financial protocol aimed at boosting trade. “We do hope that if we are able to improve economic ties and connections between Israel and China, it will help us also to explain our positions with regard to the Iranian nuclear threat, with regard to the events in Syria.”

While Israeli exports to China have more than doubled over the last two years, the level is “not enough yet,” Steinitz, 53, said. “It’s far from being enough.”

His push for greater economic ties comes as China, the biggest buyer of Iranian oil, refuses to support international sanctions over the Islamic republic’s nuclear program. Israel says Iran intends to build atomic weapons and hasn’t ruled out military strikes to prevent it, escalating tensions in a region that holds 54 percent of global oil reserves.

Iran, which says its enrichment of uranium is only for civilian energy purposes, last week refused to let United Nations experts investigate a suspected nuclear-related military base. The risk of a military conflict was highlighted the same day when an Iranian general said his nation would consider pre- emptive action if it is threatened.

Steinitz, a member of the Likud Party, said he leaves diplomatic discussions mainly to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.

China’s UN Veto

The Chinese government joined Russia this month in vetoing a United Nations Security Council resolution supported by the U.S. and Israel calling on Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to cede power over his crackdown on protests that have killed thousands. China opposes trade restrictions against Iran and said sanctions on its oil exports aren’t “constructive,” state-run Xinhua News Agency reported Jan. 26, citing comments from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Israel and China established full diplomatic relations in 1992. Israel is seeking to boost sales to fast-growing economies such as China and India as Europe struggles with a debt crisis and global trade slows. Exports account for about 40 percent of Israel’s gross domestic product.

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer in October 2010 said the global economy’s “center of gravity” is moving to Asia and that the region will dominate growth in the future. In an interview last week, Fischer said “it’s too early to tell” if the worst of the international economic crisis is over.

Israeli Exports

Israeli exports to China include electrical equipment, precious stones, fertilizers and medical equipment. Chinese exports to Israel include machinery, chemicals, apparel and furniture.

The protocol Steinitz is signing will help exporters of Israeli water technology for agriculture, Israel’s Finance Ministry said in an e-mailed statement on Feb. 27.

Steinitz visited China in May 2010 with Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan to help promote economic ties. Erdan said at the time that Israeli companies have “endless” possibilities to sell technology to China, specifically in the areas of water recycling, desalination and solar power.

Galus China is the dream of an Elitist Rule to turn Judaism into Pax Judaica,
( a period in history marked by the absence of major wars, usually imposed by a predominant nation)
and turning the Land of Israel into the ultimate Socialist Kibbutz-Run State.

The premise is Erev Rav rule from Zion, using Egyptian slavery tactics of the Israeli captives and Jewish leftovers while filling the World with the Tumah of the Orient - making unprecedented levels of Amalek in the World.

-The worst type of Erev Rav are Amalek Proper - "Gra"

Pax Judaica would begin following World War 3 - In Torah terms this is the fall of Armilos, Gog V' Magog, and the advent of Moshiach. (Thank God)

The threat is real, but Galus China / Erev Rav Rule won't happen: as it is an eternal exile, their preparations are also eternal; By the [theoretical] time of Dominion, the World will disintegrate by the seams...and we will welcome the Geulah Shleimah.

Does the World fall apart and stop to take in Shabbos first in 5772?
(Thus averting Amalekite Hell)

We don't need a Kibbutz...
We need the Beis Hamikdash!

Where's your...?

Giggles amongst the rain drops!

Had to go to Bligh Street today, so I opted for 'brolly-walking' primarily because it was way too humid to wear my Danish mac & 'Carnaby Street' hat (usual 'tried & true' bicycle raingear of choice).

Notwithstanding being on foot, 'street communication' was still available!!!!

Above the swooshy wet Redfern traffic noise, someone wanted to know:

'Where's your bike?'

- I burst out laughing, and they thought they were pretty funny too!!!!

I ♥ Sydney!!!

Making Of The Nuclear Amalek

ENERGY In our little Matrix of Society called Olam HaZeh.

"Man is a Small World; The World is a Big Man."

God has and gives you your number!

[...As They try to find and call God's Number]

 ...Better luck and making more sense to find "Pi."

You could call it the high-energy physics version of racing to meet a deadline.

CERN, the renown Swiss research lab, plans to shut down its famous $9 billion underground Large Hadron Collider for maintenance next year. Unfortunately, the physicists who are searching for the elusive Higgs boson at the Geneva facility need the device to help them in their hunt.

17-mile drive: The LHC runs under Geneva in a 17-mile long loop.
To increase their chances of spotting the enigmatic subatomic particle before the bosses take away their toy, they’re cranking up the “beam energy” at the collider to 4 trillion electronvolts (TeV). It’s part of “a strategy to optimise LHC running to deliver the maximum possible amount of data in 2012 before the LHC goes into a long shutdown,” a recent CERN press release states.

The Higgs boson, postulated by Emeritus Professor Peter Higgs of the University of Edinburgh, is believed to give mass to matter. Physicists have described it as the capstone to Standard Model of physics, which explains electromagnetism and strong and weak nuclear forces. CERN said last December that it’s close to discovering it. But researchers say that the LHC experiment could also conclude that the Higgs particle does not exist, which would be equally valuable as CERN approaches put up or shut up time on Higgs.

And darn it if CERN doesn’t think that the extra jolt will get them there this year.

“By the time the LHC goes into its first long stop at the end of this year, we will either know that a Higgs particle exists, or have ruled out the existence of a Standard Model Higgs,” says Sergio Bertolucci, CERN’s research director. “Either would be a major advance in our exploration of nature, bringing us closer to understanding how the fundamental particles acquire their mass, and marking the beginning of a new chapter in particle physics.”

Not that they were pussyfooting around before. They’ve been operating at 3.5 trillion electronvolts. An electronvolt, by the way, is a unit of energy, and is not the same thing as a volt, which is a unit of electric potential. But still, we’re talking some serious power consumption.

“When we started operating the LHC for physics in 2010, we chose the lowest safe beam energy consistent with the physics we wanted to,” says Steve Myers, CERN’s director for accelerators and technology. “Two good years of operational experience with beam and many additional measurements made during 2011 give us the confidence to safely move up a notch and thereby extend the physics reach of the experiments before we go into the LHC’s first long shutdown.”.

The LHC will power down in November.

If by some chance 4 trillion electronvolts doesn’t do the trick, then the Higgs scientists can look forward to an even greater boost. When the LHC re-opens in late 2014, it will operate at at 7 trillion electronvolts, or double its 2010 and 2011 level.

I know what the eco warriors are thinking: At all these trillions of electronovolts, how green is the hunt for Higgs? Tree huggers can rest assure that CERN is doing its part to cut its environmental impact. As we reported here last October, CERN and other labs have been comparing notes on how to save energy on large machines like particle colliders, wind tunnels, cryogenics gear and fusion tokamaks.

We have yet to hear back on any of their plans. But for starters, the two-year shutdown might make a difference in the electric bill.

Why is every sector of the World running a mad dash to finish 2012 with a [Big]bang?
How am I supposed to be a 2012 skeptic when all I see is 2012 material?

-Every source of Wisdom points to 5772 as our year; Don't discredit North Korea from joining the party...if the Geulah works Achishena (with haste), it will happen before our very eyes.

Hell in Hebrew is written like, "Seoul."
And any country (I consider Korea one evil entity: Rosh Amalek of the East: Galus China) that learns Talmud, is in God's Plan.

Korea learns Talmud.

Will the Collider hit the Global Haywire button this year?

Prophecy Being Fulfilled!

The Brewing War Of The End As Told In The Talmud:

Persia vs. Edom

Yoma 10a:R. Joshua b. Levi in the name of Rabbi said: Rome is designed to fall into the hand of Persia, as it was said: Therefore hear ye the counsel of the Lord, that He hath taken against Edom; and His purposes that He hath purposed against the inhabitants of Teman: surely the least of the flock shall drag them away, surely their habitation shall be appalled to them. Rabbah b. ‘Ullah demurred to this: What intimation is there that ‘the last of the flock’ refers to Persia? [Presumably] because Scripture reads: The ram which thou sawest having two horns, they are the kings of Media and Persia. But say [perhaps] it is Greece, for it is written, And the rough he-goat is the king of Greece? — When R. Habiba b. Surmaki came up, he reported this interpretation before a certain scholar. The latter said: One who does not understand the meaning of the passage asks a question against Rabbi. What does, indeed, ‘the least of the flock’ mean? The youngest of his brethren, for R. Joseph learnt that Tiras is Persia.

Rabbah b. Bar Hana in the name of R. Johanan, on the authority of R. Judah b. Ila'i, said: Rome is designed to fall into the hands of Persia, that may be concluded by inference a minori ad majus: If in the case of the first Sanctuary, which the sons of Shem [Solomon] built and the Chaldeans destroyed, the Chaldeans fell into the hands of the Persians, then how much more should this be so with the second Sanctuary, which the Persians built and the Romans destroyed, that the Romans should fall into the hands of the Persians. Rab said: Persia will fall into the hands of Rome. Thereupon R. Kahana and R. Assi asked of Rab: [Shall] the builders fall into the hands of the destroyers? — He said to them: Yes, it is the decree of the King. Others say: He replied to them: They too are guilty for they destroyed the synagogues. It has also been taught in accord with the above, Persia will fall into the hands of Rome, first because they destroyed the synagogues, and then because it is the King's decree that the builders fall into the hands of the destroyers. Rab also said: The son of David will not come until the wicked kingdom of Rome will have spread [its sway] over the whole world for nine months, as it is said: Therefore will He give them up, until the time that she who travaileth hath brought forth; then the residue of his brethren shall return with the children of Israel.

This is looking like a/the definite scenario!

When President Obama sits down face-to-face with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week to discuss Iran, he will be staring down the greatest challenge on Israel he’s faced during his presidency.

It is the first time Obama has met Netanyahu since last spring, when the Israeli leader appeared to lecture the president on his country’s history in front of cameras at the White House.

Whatever tensions exist could be exacerbated by the looming crisis that provides a backdrop for the election-year meeting.

Israel believes time is running out for a military strike against Iran that would prevent the Islamic republic from developing nuclear weapons, something Israel sees as an existential threat.
Administration officials acknowledge the Iranian nuclear issue is coming to a head, but U.S. officials have cautioned Israel against a strike that would threaten stability in the Middle East and the global economy.

It’s possible the Obama-Netanyahu meeting next week could determine both countries’ course of actions for Iran.

“The relationship between and Obama and Netanyahu is going to be tested like never before,” said David Makovsky, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “It doesn’t have to happen on March 5… but if they don't see eye-to-eye, the prospect of Israel going off on its own dramatically increases.”

Iran has been defiant in the face of economic sanctions, threatening a pre-emptive strike against countries that would attack, moving uranium operations underground and not allowing nuclear inspectors access to a military site.

Both Israel and the United States have said they want stiff economic sanctions imposed on Iran to convince the country not to pursue nuclear weapons.

But the two countries view the threat of a nuclear Iran differently, and Israel has less capability than the United States militarily, analysts say, giving the Israelis a shorter potential window to intervene.

“Israel sees this as a very stabilizing significant event, and Israel also lacks the capacity to be able to deal with it in an effective way with diplomacy or economic measures,” Gen. Wesley Clark, a former Democratic presidential candidate, told The Hill.

“The United States sees it as part of a broader counter-proliferation strategy. Certainly it’s well aware of regional risks imposed by Iran… It also has other tools for dealing with it. So, some differences in perspective are inevitable.”

An Israeli strike against Iran has the potential to upend Obama’s presidency — and his reelection campaign.

Iran presents both a real world and political conundrum for Obama, who must balance the threat of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon against the upheaval in the oil market and larger economy that could be a repercussion of a military strike.

“No one’s naïve about what the consequences would be,” said one administration official. “Are we well aware of what would be at stake if a strike occurred? Absolutely.”

A potential Israeli attack risks undermining the U.S. argument for sanctions and pushing Iran to expedite its nuclear production, analysts say.

Senior administration officials maintain the relationship with Israel is “rock solid” and coordination between the two countries is as good as it’s ever been.

And while Obama and Netanyahu do not have a good relationship, one source who has been active in U.S.-Israel relations said personal tensions won’t necessarily harm their ability to work together on Iran.

“It’s not FDR and Churchill,” said the source. “But it doesn’t need to be. The fact that they can disagree is a strength of the relationship.

“Nobody wants a fight here,” the source added. “A fight is in nobody’s interest.”

Obama’s potential Republican opponents have hammered the president on both Iran and Israel.

Mitt Romney said at Wednesday’s presidential debate that Iran would obtain nuclear weapons if Obama is reelected.

“We must not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon,” Romney said. “If they do, the world changes. America will be at risk. And some day, nuclear weaponry will be used. If I am president, that will not happen. If we reelect Barack Obama, it will happen.”

Republicans have also been critical of Obama’s stance toward Israeli negotiations with the Palestinians, after the president called for the 1967 borders to be the starting point for peace negotiations. That led to the chilly meeting between Obama and Netanyahu at the White House last year.

Yehuda Ben Meir, a former Knesset member and senior research fellow at the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies, said that relations between Netanyahu and Obama seem to have improved in recent months, particularly when Obama rallied against the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN last year.

Ben Meir said public opinion in Israel is virtually split on whether Israel should attack Iran.

Administration officials stressed that even if Israel goes its own way on Iran, the United States will still support Israel.

“At the end of the day, there’s no closer ally than Israel,” the administration official said. “We’re never going to abandon Israel, that’s unwavering.”

                      5772 - The Year Of Prophecy

Don't Look Now, But We're Probably There

The Planning is a foregone conclusion by now...for now its just a test of cunning, patience, and timing; Objective: how, when, where, etc. the winners will pick up the pieces, and glue them back together into a conglomerate operative entity that will govern the World without the luxory of being able to openly call it a NWO.

The World calls it WW3...I call it the fate, destiny, and free will choice of the ruling power called the Erev Rav...Pax Judaica.

(...the 3 largest ruling powers the World ever saw: British - American - Amalek; WW1 - WW2 - WW3)

None of the people who, correctly, fear an Israeli attack on Iran and the war that would follow have considered the fact that "the next war" is already here. It has been entrenched in our consciousness and that of our leaders so deeply and for so long that most of the tension concerns its timing, not its probability. What was it that Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz was quoted as saying this week? "The operation is always ready, the orders are always there, and if necessary we can carry it out." He was referring to a war in southern Israel, admittedly, but it's the intention that counts, being mentally prepared for the fact that "the next war" will indeed come - whether by necessity or by choice; if not from the east, then from the south, and if not from the south then from the north.

There are civilizations where the word "war" is uttered with fear and trembling, where it is seen as a total human catastrophe. But not in Israel, where "the next war" goes to sleep with us at night and drinks coffee with us in the morning. Its actualization is almost a mere technicality of how, when and how much.

We have experienced a few brief bursts of awareness during which "the next war" was absent for a few historic moments. There have been times when it was even replaced by a spark of hope for that illusory thing, so despised today, called "peace." But we recovered quickly from these stumbles, thanks to the combined efforts of both parties to the conflict. And when the day was won by the idea that the conflict cannot be solved, only managed, the "next war" resumed its natural role as a permanent fixture in our lives. With little sadness and even an occasional sigh of relief, the fact that we are a war that has a country sank in.

Many good people are once again trusting to the next war - dangerous, insane but "worthwhile" because it will "eliminate the Iranian threat," after which the land will be undisturbed for 40 years. They must be reminded not only of the sad consequences of the previous wars of choice, aimed at "eliminating" putative existential threats, but also of what all Israelis are nearly born knowing: that an "existential threat" of one kind or another has always hung over our heads, whether genuine or existing only in our own, or our leaders', tortured, Holocaust-traumatized consciousness: Ahmed Shukairy of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the "Egyptian despot" Gamal Abdel Nasser; Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and anthrax; PLO chairman Yasser Arafat and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah; and now, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the apocalypse. Each of them, in turn, like Hitler; each of them, in every generation, rose up to destroy us. Each of them, in turn, was justification for war.

But before plunging "out of necessity" into the next war we should ask: What if there were no Tehran? And were the "Iranian threat" somehow eliminated, would another not spring up immediately to take its place, at least in our consciousness? Also: What did we do prior to the "Iranian threat" besides worrying about the future?

Preventive wars are sometimes necessary - as the Bible says, "If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first." But as the current Israeli government demonstrates, the very fact of being permanently psychologically prepared for the next war and of accepting the absence of any chance to make peace can themselves blind and atrophy all alternative thinking and all diplomatic skills. Like the native inhabitants of America who did not see the Spanish ships approaching because they had no word for "ship," Israel may no longer be capable of identifying diplomatic options and nonmilitary measures even when they are being blasted into its ears by so many sirens.

May the point of it all be an entrance for Moshiach; a stage to step onto.

in 5772...the Year of Chesed (72).
We Need It.

Purim and Soul Mazal

Adar is the Month of Mazal - Put Your Soul Into It!

Help Spread The Light Of Torah Into The ZMan Geulah!

Jewish and Noahide Names!
(Converts and Babies Too)

What's HR?

On Thursday (one of my sick days) I popped over to see Julie in Hataitai. I told her that everything had kicked off at work and that I'd soon be having an HR meeting on Monday. She asked me what HR was. I wished I didn't know what HR was either. In her day it would have been called Personnel I suppose. I wasn't particularly chatty; all I wanted to do was fall asleep.

I went to work yesterday; the meeting (HR manager, head of department and myself) was brought forward to then, so I didn't get much chance to prepare or make a case for myself. I did mention the chronic depression but their reaction was more "so why did you apply for this job?" than "so that must be hard for you." I'll be moved out of my role pretty soon, maybe into something else, maybe into nothing else. They put out an advert for a replacement a fortnight ago. This feels like 2009 all over again but it's actually quite a bit worse.

I had dinner last night at my cousin's place. Friday is their takeaway night so it was Big Macs all round. It was ten years since my previous McDonald's (although I've had a fair few Burger Kings and Wendy's in that time) and now I know why I avoided it. Soggy bread and just not enough food - I'd feel hungrier after a McDonalds than before.

Tomorrow morning Wellington has its Round the Bays run. I put my name down as part of the work team - I thought I should participate in something at work - and I'll still do it tomorrow, even though I'm feeling like crap, but I'll probably just walk it.

I still haven't got over my cold. I've still got a sore throat and I'm coughing up thick chesty gunk in a variety of greens, yellows and browns. My skin complaint isn't going away in a hurry either. It feels like I'm falling apart.

I played my last complimentary games of Countdown today. I had an interesting chat during my game with an Irishman whose show(s) had just been filmed and who would be appearing on TV next month. My last game was against another previous TV contestant. In a mad scramble I got the final numbers game to take the lead for the only time but she then untangled PEAVERING in a very swift three seconds to beat me. Overall I had 15 wins and 10 losses. Two of my wins needed two tie-break rounds, although I did have my fair share of close losses.

Will see how the run/walk/ramble goes tomorrow.

'Brinks' of global importance

(Photos: Carlos Latuff, 'Netanyahu+Obama+America Israel Public Affairs Committee')

Whilst we play 'julesie-kevie-i-dunno', beyond our cosy borders the stakes are much higher.

Chanuka 2.0 - Haredi IDF Taskforce

Bechina Moshiach Ben Yosef?


(Reuters) - Israel's top court struck down on Tuesday a law designed to encourage ultra-Orthodox Jews to join the military and the workforce, saying it had backfired by "entrenching" their blanket draft exemptions and protracted seminary studies.

The ruling was welcomed by Israel's secular majority but could set off rifts in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's conservative coalition government, which includes powerful religious Jewish parties.

The 2002 "Service Deferral Law" offered the ultra-Orthodox, who make up 10 percent of the population and are often welfare dependant, a choice, upon reaching draft-age, between studying in seminaries or working. The latter option entailed first enlisting in the military, with the possibility of serving in technology units where soldiers can learn a trade.

But by a vote of 6-to-3, the Supreme Court declared that the law, which was subject to review, was unconstitutional and ordered it not be renewed after it Expires in August.

"As time passed it became clear that the law had not realized the objectives that lie at its foundations, and that it in fact entrenched, for the most part, the arrangement of service deferral that had existed prior to its enactment," the court said in a summary of the ruling, citing the low military enlistment of ultra-Orthodox candidates.

"The law was enacted with a hope that it would ignite a societal process which would lead to a situation in which, even without imposing any duty, ultra-Orthodox people would wish to serve, or to perform civil service. However, the hope that accompanied the law was dashed."

The black-coated, ascetic ultra-Orthodox were a fringe sector when Israel's founding prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, exempted them from the armed forces, which championed the mixing of men and women and whose commanders were mostly secular.


But the growing cultural and electoral clout of the ultra-Orthodox, many of whom question the authority of the Jewish state, has spread calls among other Israelis for a fairer distribution of national burdens.

Conscription is a core issue, given Israel's constant war footing in a combustible Middle East and the military's traditional role as melting pot for socially disparate Jews.

Sectarian tensions have been stoked by the occasionally aggressive gender segregation practiced by ultra-Orthodox in public places. Some pious mores have taken root within the armed forces, such as ultra-Orthodox soldiers requesting, in the name of sexual propriety, to stay away from compulsory events where women singers perform.

Netanyahu said after the ruling that the Service Deferral Law -- which is also known as the "Tal Law" -- could not continue in its current form and that the government would prepare a new law to "bring a more just change to the burden on all sectors of Israeli society."

Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman proposed providing perks for Israelis who enroll in national service, whether as conscripts or -- in the case of the ultra-0rthodox or Arabs, who are also exempt -- as volunteers.

But there were protests among religious coalition partners.

"I dispute that the Supreme Court has authority to decide what is and is not constitutional," Israel Eichler, a lawmaker with the United Torah Judaism party, said in a radio interview. "They are people who were not elected by the public but were political appointees."

Shas, another party run by rabbis in the coalition, said in a statement that its leader, Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai, was to confer with Netanyahu about the ruling.

Political sources said that the religious ministers were planning to lobby the Supreme Court to back a new arrangement that would replicate, at least in part, the expiring law.

(Writing by Dan Williams)

London Monopoly (6): Pentonville Road

Pentonville Road is number six in my series working around the 'London' version of the monopoly board.

Top of 210 Pentonville Road

Pentonville is a small local area of north London. The name is most famous for it's prison which is actually in Caledonian Road, a little to the north in Barnsbury. Pentonville Road links Euston to The Angel at Upper Street.

It is named after Henry Penton who developed many local streets in the eighteenth century when it was largely open countryside. Since 1965 it has been part of the London Borough of Islington. 

The philosopher, John Stuart Mill was born there in 1806 and in Dickens's Oliver Twist the kindly old book-seller lived there. (But in the film Oliver they moved him to the more fashionable Bloomsbury. Pentonville Road is only in the 'Blue' set in Monopoly.) 

Apparently Lenin lived there in 1902 and that's where he first met Trotsky.

The photograph above shows 210 Pentonville Road, a new building that recycled much of the material from the former property, known as Webb House, on the site and is entirely lit by roof-mounted solar panels.

In the distance, looking towards Euston Road, you can see King's Cross Railway Station.

Israel: The Great Gas Giant

Is Israel on its way to becomming the next ruling power in the World?
It's Mazal would indicate yes. Israeli attitude would express likewise.
The Moshiach / Erev Rav dynamic looks to have its path paved.

Pax Britannica
Pax Americana
Pax Judaica (Erev Rav-icana)

Notice the obvious similarities between the Great British Empire and that of Israeli Erev Rav reality. (size, goals, "location", etc.)

A large pocket of offshore natural gas could shift Eastern Mediterranean geopolitics on its head. As the threat of war looms between Israel and Iran, the newly found gas could add extra friction between the two countries.
Last year, Houston-based Noble Energy discovered vast tracts of natural gas off the coast of Israel and Cyprus. It had been exploring for 13 years.
So far, the find has been a bonanza, especially for energy poor Israel. Noble has found 35 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas. By September, this offshore find could yield as much as 100 million cubic feet of gas a day.
"It is a great advantage for Israel," Dilshod Achilov, assistant professor of political science at East Tennessee State University, said in an interview.
Investors have taken notice: the Tel Aviv 100 Index has gained more than 4 percent so far this year. Shares of Noble Energy have nearly doubled over the past year and are trading around their 52-week high of $105.
Meanwhile, the price of a barrel of oil was $105.95 Wednesday as fears of conflict in the Middle East continued.
For the first time since its founding in 1948, Israel could become self-sufficient in energy and even an exporter. Israelis for years joked that God made a mistake leaving them contemporary Israel as a "promised land" when it was surrounded by oil-rich neighbors like Saudi Arabia.
But now, Israel's government is debating whether or not to set export quotas, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported. The country of 7 million is also considering setting up a sovereign wealth fund for its citizens.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad in his repeated denunciations of Israel has never mentioned this potential competition. Instead, he's focused on Iran's plans to develop nuclear energy, which Israel fears would lead to atomic weapons to threaten its security.
Possible Pipeline to Greece
Jerusalem expects to have an oversupply of natural gas which Israel could use to forge international agreements within the Mediterranean and with energy giants like China and Russia, Haaretz said. Israel now enjoys excellent relations with both countries.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Cyprus last week to talk about energy. He met with Cyprus's ethnically Greek President. The island nation is planning to build a natural gas treatment plant that would be jointly operated by Noble Energy and Israel's Delek Group.
Last year, Netanyahu flew to Greece for discussions about possible construction of an undersea pipeline. Now that the Athens government has fallen as a result of the euro zone crisis, the status of any tentative deal reached with former Prime Minister George Papandreou remains unclear.
Delek, the Tel Aviv-listed vehicle of Isaac Tshuva, 64, a Libyan-born immigrant to Israel who made his first pile in real estate and later bought New York's Plaza Hotel, is Israel's biggest energy company. Delek has energy investments worldwide. Its prominence has received attention.
"The new findings do not only shift the geo-strategic balance in the region, but also send a major strategic blow to Tehran," said East Tennessee's Achilov.
Iran has the world's largest known natural gas reserves, second only to Russia. As of January 2011, the country was said to have 1,046 tcf of gas, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated.
Iran now exports just a small fraction of that natural gas to Turkey and Armenia via pipeline. If these countries start importing natural gas from Israel, or decide to get in on the gas play themselves, Iran's natural gas exports could become irrelevant.
Israel enjoys excellent trade ties with both Turkey and Armenia.
Huge Undersea Gas Potential
The U.S. Geological Survey in March 2010 published its assessment of the Levant Basin - the region offshore Israel, Lebanon and Cyprus - and determined there is a 95 percent chance at least 50,000 billion cubic feet of natural gas could yet be discovered. The USGS estimates there could be as many as 227,430 billion cubic feet of natural gas and 483 million barrels of oil offshore.
"In bigger context, this may instigate a large-scale regional competition to search for oil and gas in the Eastern Mediterranean as Lebanon, Cyprus, Syria and Turkey, may launch their own search missions," Achilov said. "Iran's proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah, will probably act fast within the Lebanese government to push hard to seek its share of the pie."
Lebanon has technically been at war with Israel since 1948. So in the wake of the Israeli finds, the country could stake a claim to some of the Israel strike. The Israeli gas finds could very well extend into Lebanese territory, but so far Noble Energy has not entered the area for exploration.
Meanwhile, Iran would be shut out of the new gas bonanza. After years of successive sanctions, Tehran hasn't been able to fully develop most of its natural gas resources.
Israel, which imported 40 percent of its energy from Egypt in 2008 and continues to obtain it despite last year's fall of longtime ally President Hosni Mubarak, will become energy independent, East Tennessee's Achilov predicted.
Israel could also sell its new gas to Iran's traditional customers, especially in Asia, like Japan and South Korea, which enjoy excellent relations with the Jewish state.
Still, as with anything in the Middle East, there are wrinkles.
Potential Obstacle to Development
First, history teaches the Eastern Mediterranean is historically earthquake prone. Noble Energy, Delek and other offshore drillers may have to install extra precautions. Israel's very active environmental movement might sue to enjoin drilling on these grounds.
Next, Israel's neighbors in the Levant Basin, Lebanon and the Palestine Authority, might challenge Israel's rights and demand their own share.
Achilov warned that Israel might risk possible conflict with Lebanon.
"In terms of energy politics, Israel will probably compete with Iran indirectly. To be more precise, Israel will have to compete with the Hezbollah-dominated Lebanese government," Achilov said.
One reason is that Israel discovered gas close to the Lebanese border, triggering conflict over undersea rights. "A possible conflict between Israel or Hezbollah should not be discounted in the near future," the energy expert said.
Indeed, Israel and Hezbollah fought a 34-day war in 2006, which saw Hezbollah's rockets fall into Haifa and other cities as Israel Army units invaded parts of southern Lebanon. The Israel gas search had begun before that conflict.
But in general, Achilov said he is unsure that Iran could respond in any direct fashion to stop Israel from exporting natural gas.
In the end, it all comes back to this: good neighbors promote good business.
Israel could be just the alternative needed for other regional exporters to become more agreeable to Western powers, said William Martel, associate professor of International Security Studies at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
Western powers could be more enticed to purchase natural gas and oil from a democratic Israel, Martel said, potentially being the catalyst needed for certain regimes in the region to change their tone, or lose business.
"I can only imagine that the competitive pressures will be exacerbated in the region," Martel said.
An energy exporting Israel could actually have a stabilizing effect on the region. That's because customers would buy from a democratic supplier rather than an aggressive or totalitarian regime, the Tufts expert said.
Of course, all bets are off should there be war between Israel and Iran, Martel said.
"If this nuclear issue gets resolved," said Martel, "[The natural gas in years to come] will increase Israel's regional geo-political footprint."

Where will the pieces fall in 5772 after it all comes down?
Pax Judaica vs. Pax Moshiachana: Marketing and Propaganda vs. Light of Torah to the World.


Dying, divorcing --
Friends' lives are unraveling.
My heart aches for them.

In the first few years after Nick's death I would have punched anyone in the face who mentioned death and divorce in the same sentence.  Or at least chewed that unsuspecting soul out -- and, in fact, I did.

But now, with the tenderness of years, I just grieve with and for my friends whose marriages are coming apart. No, death and divorce are not the same, but the English language doesn't have quite enough nuance to set the experiences, which seem to overlap and yet are quite distinct, apart. And yes, it is crass to compare the two.

But a broken heart is broken. Pain is pain. Loss is loss. Suffering is suffering. 

I have several friends whose lives have been shattered, some because of recent deaths, some because of impending divorces. My friends are hurting: Does it matter why?

♫ No, no they can't take that away from me ♫

Nope; he doesn't belong to me - just dropping by to cheer me up!

...& neither can 'they' take any kitchen or bedroom furniture nor 'tools of the trade'

Sigh...I suppose what 'they' can take will be revealed all too soon

Guard Your Eyes! Amalek: A False Light

Eyes: The Window to the Soul

Guarding your eyes is one of Torah's "Biggest Deals."

To even be obligated in Shema, one can not be blind.

Are people going spiritually blind today with all of the artifical light - leading to even greater "eye insanities" with the likes of [looking at] Smartphones, etc?

With such emphasis of Tikkun Within the Eyes, is this a sign that we are in the End of Days? If everyone is going "blind," then it is our responsibility to strengthen our eyes, guard our eyes, and find our way back to Torah, its yoke, and its Light.

There is so much opposition for the eyes today - is this one of our final tests?

It seems Amalek wants our eyes glued to everything but Torah [again, smartphones, movies, texting, etc].

This article is just one glimpse of eye conditions of today; it is being realized that this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of medical conditions stemming from eye conditions.

(one example of another eye condition is the inability to metabolize light in the retina - leading to a problem with Circadian Clock issues as well)

It is understood in Torah, that everyone must fix their eyes, thus begging the question to one's self, "what is 'my issue' with 'my eyes?'"

The two remaining questions are: why the eyes and what do we learn from correcting our eyes?

Eyes are major, which is evident today more than ever, for Amalek is going specifically for the eyes when you pinpoint the the point of attack.

The New York Times:

The aging eye filters out blue light, affecting circadian rhythm and health in older adults.


Dr. Martin Mainster and Dr. Patricia Turner, University of Kansas School of Medicine.

For decades, scientists have looked for explanations as to why certain conditions occur with age, among them memory loss, slower reaction time, insomnia and even depression. They have scrupulously investigated such suspects as high cholesterol, obesity, heart disease and an inactive lifestyle.

Now a fascinating body of research supports a largely unrecognized culprit: the aging of the eye.

The gradual yellowing of the lens and the narrowing of the pupil that occur with age disturb the body’s circadian rhythm, contributing to a range of health problems, these studies suggest. As the eyes age, less and less sunlight gets through the lens to reach key cells in the retina that regulate the body’s circadian rhythm, its internal clock.

“We believe the effect is huge and that it’s just beginning to be recognized as a problem,” said Dr. Patricia Turner, an ophthalmologist in Leawood, Kan., who with her husband, Dr. Martin Mainster, a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Kansas Medical School, has written extensively about the effects of the aging eye on health.

Circadian rhythms are the cyclical hormonal and physiological processes that rally the body in the morning to tackle the day’s demands and slow it down at night, allowing the body to rest and repair. This internal clock relies on light to function properly, and studies have found that people whose circadian rhythms are out of sync, like shift workers, are at greater risk for a number of ailments, including insomnia, heart disease and cancer.

“Evolution has built this beautiful timekeeping mechanism, but the clock is not absolutely perfect and needs to be nudged every day,” said Dr. David Berson, whose lab at Brown University studies how the eye communicates with the brain.

So-called photoreceptive cells in the retina absorb sunlight and transmit messages to a part of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (S.C.N.), which governs the internal clock. The S.C.N. adjusts the body to the environment by initiating the release of the hormone melatonin in the evening and cortisol in the morning.

Melatonin is thought to have many health-promoting functions, and studies have shown that people with low melatonin secretion, a marker for a dysfunctional S.C.N., have a higher incidence of many illnesses, including cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

It was not until 2002 that the eye’s role in synchronizing the circadian rhythm became clear. It was always believed that the well-known rods and cones, which provide conscious vision, were the eye’s only photoreceptors. But Dr. Berson’s team discovered that cells in the inner retina, called retinal ganglion cells, also had photoreceptors and that these cells communicated more directly with the brain.

These vital cells, it turns out, are especially responsive to the blue part of the light spectrum. Among other implications, that discovery has raised questions about our exposure to energy-efficient light bulbs and electronic gadgets, which largely emit blue light.

But blue light also is the part of the spectrum filtered by the eye’s aging lens. In a study published in The British Journal of Ophthalmology, Dr. Mainster and Dr. Turner estimated that by age 45, the photoreceptors of the average adult receive just 50 percent of the light needed to fully stimulate the circadian system. By age 55, it dips to 37 percent, and by age 75, to a mere 17 percent.

“Anything that affects the intensity of light or the wavelength can have important consequences for the synchronization of the circadian rhythm, and that can have effects on all types of physiological processes,” Dr. Berson said.

Several studies, most in European countries, have shown that the effects are not just theoretical. One study, published in the journal Experimental Gerontology, compared how quickly exposure to bright light suppresses melatonin in women in their 20s versus in women in their 50s. The amount of blue light that significantly suppressed melatonin in the younger women had absolutely no effect on melatonin in the older women. “What that shows us is that the same amount of light that makes a young person sit up in the morning, feel awake, have better memory retention and be in a better mood has no effect on older people,” Dr. Turner said.

Another study, published in The Journal of Biological Rhythms, found that after exposure to blue light, younger subjects had increased alertness, decreased sleepiness and improved mood, whereas older subjects felt none of these effects.

Researchers in Sweden studied patients who had cataract surgery to remove their clouded lenses and implant clear intraocular lenses. They found that the incidence of insomnia and daytime sleepiness was significantly reduced. Another study found improved reaction time after cataract surgery.

“We believe that it will eventually be shown that cataract surgery results in higher levels of melatonin, and those people will be less likely to have health problems like cancer and heart disease,” Dr. Turner said.

That is why Dr. Mainster and Dr. Turner question a practice common in cataract surgery. About one-third of the intraocular lenses implanted worldwide are blue-blocking lenses, intended to reduce the risk of macular degeneration by limiting exposure to potentially damaging light.

But there is no good evidence showing that people who have cataract surgery are at greater risk of macular degeneration. And evidence of the body’s need for blue light is increasing, some experts say.

“You can always wear sunglasses if you’re in a brilliant environment that’s uncomfortable. You can remove those sunglasses for optimal circadian function, but you can’t take out the filters if they’re permanently implanted in your eyes,” Dr. Mainster said.

Because of these light-filtering changes, Dr. Mainster and Dr. Turner believe that with age, people should make an effort to expose themselves to bright sunlight or bright indoor lighting when they cannot get outdoors. Older adults are at particular risk, because they spend more time indoors.

“In modern society, most of the time we live in a controlled environment under artificial lights, which are 1,000 to 10,000 times dimmer than sunlight and the wrong part of the spectrum,” Dr. Turner said.

In their own offices, Dr. Mainster and Dr. Turner have installed skylights and extra fluorescent lights to help offset the aging of their own eyes.

What are we looking at Today?
What is 5772 Showing us?
Will we see Light come from Darkness?

It's all too much

Things have gone from bad to worse I'm afraid. The last few days have been pretty trying all round, and especially at work. My attempt to meet that work deadline last Thursday by putting in some extra hours was all in vain. I'd got work done alright, but it was all wrong. I'd based everything on the eighth version of a previous spreadsheet - the supercharged V8 - when there was a V9 I should have used that I hadn't even noticed. Then I'd updated the figures using a file with dodgy data in it. My boss asked me how confident I was of having everything correct by 3pm the next day; when I said fifty-fifty he promptly took the task off me.

On Thursday I picked up a cold which got worse during the night. I'm not sure if it was flu or just a bad cold, although I did have a slight fever. I hadn't slept much and the next morning I wasn't in any state to go to work. I listened to the eight o'clock news on the radio in bed. About the tenth news item was the horrific prison fire in Honduras that killed 359 people. Because they were prisoners that nobody cared about in a country that nobody cares about, the NZ media weren't going to care either. The Guardian however did that horrific event justice. I needed to call in sick but I didn't know any of my colleagues' desk phone numbers, couldn't get through on the big boss's mobile, and couldn't email (I had no internet). I found the reception number in the White Pages and got through to my boss (it is a bit crazy that I don't know any of those numbers but I never thought to write them down or commit them to memory).

I had a doctor's appointment booked (for my other problem) and somehow made my way over to Brooklyn. It felt swelteringly hot outside that day but it was probably only 20-odd degrees. I saw a woman doctor this time; from experience (small sample size) female doctors are more understanding of mental health issues. It perhaps helped that on Friday I also looked sick. After I rambled for a bit (I can't remember what I said), she increased my dose of Efexor from 300 mg to the maximum 375. I said I could probably take the whole packet and it wouldn't make any difference. She then wanted me to see a psychiatrist next month; she thought my bipolar diagnosis in 2009 was a load of tripe (I happen to agree). She also mentioned Asperger's without any prompting from me, although I must have given her a few clues.

I picked up my extra pills from the pharmacy near the surgery; they had a set of scales which still measured stone and took two-cent coins which haven't been in circulation since the late eighties. I didn't happen to have any obsolete coinage handy but the scales weighed me anyway. I was twelve stone two; the scales agreed exactly with my digital ones at home. That's a perfectly fine weight for my height (nearly six foot) but it's where the weight is that I need to watch. I've now got a spare tyre which I didn't have before I came to Wellington. My new place has a gym and I need to start using it. Realising my food stocks - and petrol - were low, I went to Pak 'n' Save. After buying a few groceries I tried using their totally unmanned petrol station. It was bad as trying to figure out some of the spreadsheets at work. I felt completely washed out by the time I got home. That day I really just needed to rest. Then one of the new tenants at my old flat - she's Indian and eight months pregnant - came round to look at my fridge. I ended up with two fridges and she wanted to buy the older one off me.

I was able to recharge my batteries over the weekend. I worked on the PowerPoint presentation for the business idea my cousin has for me, read large chunks of Tony Attwood's book on Asperger's, but best of all didn't see or get phone calls from anybody. Not having the internet had its advantages too. The most strenuous thing I did all weekend was pick up some fruit and vege from the market. I still have a whole load of boxes that I've yet to unpack.

I felt far from 100% on Monday but went into work because after what had happened the previous week, and the whole Friday/Monday thing, I didn't want them to think I was skiving. I still didn't have a phone in my flat then - Dad rang me at work having returned from his not-exactly-a-holiday. I went to the Asperger's group that night. Nine of us were there. We decided to make a list of all the subjects covered in the meeting. I started off writing on the blackboard but I couldn't keep track of all the topics, such is my memory (or forgettory) at the moment. Tracy, who has an almost photographic memory, took over and put me out of my misery.

Tuesday was a bad day. I slept through my alarm and got up just before eight. I still got to work at an acceptable time but felt quite disoriented. I was functioning on 10% of capacity, knowing that I'd need to be at 200% to keep up with my boss. He got me to do what I thought was just a copy-and-paste job but ended up being a lot more. I was doing my absolute best to get it done but I couldn't remember where things were and it was like I was running uphill backwards through treacle. There seemed to be a lot more noise than usual and of course so much Mandarin. The incessant talk from the three women in Finance about the Big Four accountancy firms was becoming repulsive. I feel more and more isolated with each passing day in that place. I also feel exceptionally stupid the whole time I'm there. I had to come home at lunchtime to get my phone connected. In the afternoon I asked my boss something about the job I was trying to do. He asked me when I'd have it finished. I told him I really didn't know. "But you've already spent four hours on it!" "Look. Just coming to work is a success for me at the moment." "WHAT!" I spent the next few minutes in the toilet, then calmly said to him that I really wasn't that well and that I was going home. He just laughed at me. "What about work?" "I could be here all night. I won't make any difference. As I said, I'm not very well." Again he laughed. "If you don't understand that, you're obviously very ignorant." Then I went home. He gave me a sarcastic wave.

As soon as I got home my bloody mobile rang. It was an 09 number. Phew. It happened to be Vodafone, not my boss or anybody ghastly like that. Five minutes later it rang again. This time it was my boss, or rather the big boss. I ignored it. Then he rang again. I picked it up. He was a bit more sympathetic than my other boss. He told me to take two days off work and even asked if I had anyone in my apartment block I could talk to. I wish I did. After dinner my other phone rang and it was Julie, hoping that my number hadn't changed. She said she was in a bad way. I tried to listen and agreed to meet her on Thursday. I managed to end the conversation, then my mobile rang again. Who can this be? I'd totally forgotten about the people coming to pick up the fridge. Three blokes came round, gave me $170 (I think they got a good deal), and would somehow lug the fridge the 500-odd metres back to my old flat. They had only just hauled the fridge into the lift when Mum and Dad rang me. I didn't mention work.

Many organisations offer an external counselling service; I was advised to make an appointment which I had at 12:30 today. My cousin rang me at about 11:15 to talk about the business idea but I couldn't take in half of what she said. It was quite a long phone call which meant I was running late for my meeting. I did make it on time but must have looked quite dishevelled. It was a useful meeting if only to get one or two things off my chest. He did say I need to learn to say a particular two-letter word. This afternoon was a bit of a write-off although I did send a useful email to my cousin saying that we need to back off from the business thing because I'm clinically depressed and struggling to cope. Tonight I went to the tramping club. I met Danielle and signed up to a day trip next month but there were hordes of people there and it was good to get home.

The Rains Will Come In Their Time

The Kinneret is 13 feet away from being fixed after a record January!

The month of January saw the highest number of rainy days in one month on record in Israel, according figures from the Israel Meteorological Service.

Rain fell on 29 out of 31 days in January, defined by the Meteorological Service as registering at least 0.1 millimeters of rainfall.

After a careful comparison of January statistics from measuring stations across Israel, the Meteorological Service found that in most of the northern part of the country there were at least 26 days of rainfall, compared to the previous record of 25 in January 1947.

In Nahariyya, and in the Galilee region, there were 29 rainy days. This is higher than past records. January 1969 saw 24 days of rainfall, as did February 1992. These years saw some of the highest levels of rainfall since records began.

Measuring stations in Nahariyya and the Galilee registered a new record in the number of rainy days in a row, with rain falling for 27 days in a row, from January 5 to 31. The former record was held by the Druze village of Yarka, where rain fell for 23 days in a row in February and March 1987.

According to Dr Amos Porat of the Meteorological Service, there was 250-250 milimeters of rainfall in the north of Israel, 1.5 to 2 times greater than the multi-year average for rainfall in January.

This was despite the fact that in the central region rainfall was close to the multi-year average, and rainfall in the Negev region was lower than usual for the time of year.

“These figures are interesting in a statistical sense,” said Porat. “But we should not conclude anything regarding climate trends from them.”

The rains have raised the water-level of the Kinneret by 55 centimeters in January. Currently it stands at - 213.11 centimeters, which is 11 centimeters below the Kinneret’s red line.

February has been the rainiest month in recent years, and this year it is likely that , for the first time in almost a decade, February rainfall levels will bring the total rainfall for 2012 above the multi-year average. An dry February, however, would change the balance and lead to a disappointing winter in terms of the precipitation balance.

Storming the Temple Mount! The Final Intifada

This is an Intifada ready to happen - of Crusade proportions? Some Right-Winger is dying to make this thing ignite; and only now its not Ariel Sharon.

The Zohar says in the final wars, the arena and players involved will be Jerusalem and Yishmael.

With everyone looking to Iran or Syria to start WW3, or even North Korea, maybe its some radical from the Shtachim?

Muslim Propaganda?

The Muslim News:
Dozens of Palestinian residents foiled, on Sunday morning, an attempt by dozens of fundamentalist Israeli settlers to break into the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem.

Local sources reported that the settlers gathered near the Al-Magharba Bridge, that leads to the Al-Magharba Gate, west of the Al-Aqsa mosque, while dozens of Israeli policemen were deployed in the area.

The police allowed the settlers through and prevented all Palestinians, aged 45 of under, from entering the area while on their way to pray at the Al-Aqsa mosque, an issue that led to clashes between the Palestinians, and the Israeli soldiers and settlers. Initial Israeli reports stated that three soldiers were mildly wounded.

It is worth mentioning that a number of extremist settler groups recently called for attacking the Al-Aqsa mosque on Sunday “in order to maintain Jewish sovereignty on the temple”, according to the settlers.

The Al-Quds Media Center reported that some extremist settler groups, including extremist members of the “Trustees of the Temple”, called on their followers to break into the Al-Aqsa Mosque in order “to affirm the Jewish control and sovereignty on the mosque” a first step towards “rebuilding the temple”.

Last week, Israeli policemen prevented dozens of settlers from entering the mosque area, especially due to the fact that dozens of Palestinians gathered at the mosque to stop any potential attack.

Meanwhile, Hamas spokesperson, Fawzi Barhoum, stated that the settlers are trying to wage a religious war against the Muslims and the Palestinians, and called for a massive revolution to protect Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Palestine amidst ongoing attacks by the settlers, and repeated calls for breaking into the mosque.

All Roads of War Lead to Jerusalem In The End
 [This would be the straightest path]

Run Silent, Run Deep

Yes, it's a great movie, but I'm not talking about submarines!

Today is Forgiveness Sunday, the day on which the Melkite Church and other Byzantine/Eastern Catholic churches begin Great Lent. (The Orthodox Churches start next Sunday, while the Roman Catholics begin with Ash Wednesday.)

I mentioned a while ago that I've been more intentional about taking time to read and pray, to be quiet and listen.  It's been so long since I've taken that time, carved that space out, that mostly what I hear is myself, babbling and burbling and jumbling.  But there have also been moments of true silence, of hearing the still, small voice.  Great Lent is for me a time of listening, of ignoring the wind and the earthquake and the fire. It is a time of exposing myself and saying, "Here I am, Lord ... speak, for your servant is listening."

Fasting is a key piece of the Eastern churches' observation of Lent: The discipline gives us strength for the journey.  This year, our household is adding an electronics fast to our usual abstaining from meat and dairy. We won't be shutting down our computers entirely, but the time between dinner and the boys' bedtime will be screen-free. We are constantly assaulted by the media; just having a little break from that will, I think, be good for us all. It will be game-time, reading time, talking time, quiet time -- time spent anywhere but in front of a tv or computer screen.

I personally am adding a "Facebook fast."  No, I won't be completely off Facebook: Given that it is my primary place for interacting with friends and family, that would feel too oppressive and ultimately counter-productive. I will maintain contact with people through messages and playing Scrabble and the like -- actions that are true interactions. But I am blanking out my News Feed. I will not be reading all the inane status updates -- I won't even be seeing them. I won't be "Liking" posts or commenting on links. I won't be getting caught up in the brouhahas and kerfuffles.  I won't be sharing news items that have my blood boiling or posting funny quotes.  I don't think I'll be posting much of anything at all.

I'm not announcing this on Facebook, because in all honestly, most of my 293 "friends" won't notice. But I'm putting it here, because those friends who would notice will also read it here. If you need me, I'm available. If you put something on Facebook that I really need to see, send me a message or tag me. Otherwise, I won't see it. If you have my email address, use it.

I will be running silent and, hopefully, running deep.

The Yetzer HaRa Let Loose

Oddly, I can relate to this; and not just because I grew up watching "Saved By The Bell."

Do we really need anything more?

Ynet News:

Rabbis of the extreme Eda Haredit faction have waged war against a new technological enemy: Smartphones in general, and Apple products in particular.

Pashkevilim (religious ads) published in Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods last weekend, claim the iPod, iPad, Blackberry and iPhone may deteriorate children's education to "bottomless pits".

According to the ads, the rabbis are lashing out at the devices as they allow people to connect to the Internet, which they believe contains "a great amount of destruction".

An Eda Haredit source told Ynet's local portal, Mynet, that the new battle was launched due to the smartphones' growing popularity in the haredi sector.

"We have a problem," he admits. "The different iPhones are no longer just phones, but computers for all intents and purposes, and some of the people have become accustomed to buying them.

"Therefore, we decided to issue ads against their possession, call on the public to avoid using them and warn against the spiritual danger they conceal," he explained.

This isn't the first time Eda Haredit leaders rise up against technological innovations. In the past, they have called on their public not to purchase MP4 and other portable media players.

Faction members even launched an all-out war against stores selling the "forbidden" devices within the Mea Shearim neighborhood.

Israel's Kosher Phone -  Keeping People Sane In 5772

The Last Mishna in Sotah: [speaking of the End of Days]

-Men of deeds enfeebled. Men of arm, and tongue prevail
-Nobody examines, and nobody intercedes
-Scholars= School teachers
School teachers= Synagogue attendants
Synagogue attendants= Common people
Common people= Increasingly enfeebled

-Insolence will increase
-Expensiveness will soar
-Vine will yield fruit, but the wine will be costly
-The Government will turn to heresy
-There will be no rebuke
-The House of Meeting will serve immorality
-Galilee will be destroyed. Gavlan desolate
-The frontier people will wander from city to city, and will not be pitied
-Wisdom of scholars will denigrate
-Those who fear sin will be despised
-The truth will be absent
-Young men will humble elders
-Elders will rise before youngsters
-A mans enemies will be the members of his household
-The face of the generation will be the face of a dog
-A son will not be ashamed before his father

Sounds like 5772, No?