Jewish stuff at ChaiSpace!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Home for Elections

Last Thursday I was told that this week I didn't have to go back to Gaza for disengagement stuff and so I was really happy. Then Saturday night at 12:30 am I get a call saying that there's a call up and that I have to come in Sunday morning. I was pretty pissed, cause this meant I had to go home and pack for the next week. I was in the middle of watching The Machinist, (which I quite liked although the others didn't like so much and were kinda pissed at me for picking out) and the news left me annoyed for the rest of the movie. Anyway, I got to come home last night because today are the elections for the new mayor. I'm not entirely sure who to vote for. I had been really torn between Broida and Hofri, but the two of them have done so much mudslinging this election that I think I'm just going to vote for Uzi Cohen. They're all corrupt politicians anyway but at least Uzi hasn't been mudslinging and he has been vice mayor for 17 years and on city council for at least as long. Plus, he hasn't screwed up Ra'anana yet in the past few months since he's been the default mayor so he can't be that bad. My only real other option is to write in Ficus.

Heading back to Gaza in an hour or two, so in the mean time I'll leave you with these pictures I took there on my cellphone.

"Caution! Tank Crossing"
"Barrier Ahead"- Just before Kisufim Crossing, and entrance into the Gaza strip.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Blog of the month

Check it out people- I got blog of the month last week. Also check out Talli's blog. It always has interesting posts and great photographs. Tomorrow are elections for mayor which is why I am home, but more on that tomorrow after some sleep.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Willy Wonka

Twice in the past two days I was reminded of this movie. Once when I looked at my friend Mark's blog and a second time when I was flipping channels tonight and there was a show on about the movie on MTV. I saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Imax when I was away in Halifax a few weeks ago. I gotta tell you that I enjoyed it but thought it was a little creepy. First you've got the issue of the 4 grandparents sleeping on the same bed then you get a bunch of dolls going up in flames and seeing their faces melt. Throw in a few quotes like: "Don't touch that squirrels nuts!!" and "Everything in this room is edible. Even I'm edible. But that is called cannibalism, and it's frowned upon in most societies." and you get a somewhat scary children's movie. Just imagine seeing all those Umpa Loompas on a Imax screen! I still thought it was a pretty good movie and as a kid I always liked the idea of the movie.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Faith in humanity

Every once in a while my faith in humanity gets somewhat shaken. Recently I've felt pretty strongly about disengagement and the surrounding topics (read about them in my previous post). A lot has happened in the past week and a half. I haven't really been home to write anything but a lot of thoughts have run through my head. I haven't been in contact with any newspapers, but every once in a while I could find a group of people mesmerize by a TV tuned in to the news. Some of the thing I saw truly shocked me.

What were these protestors thinking?! Throwing acid on soldiers and cops?! These people are their brothers and sisters! They're their fathers and their sons! What runs through someone's head as he throws acid or even paint for that matter on his neighbor!? It makes it very difficult to support that side, even in a civilized discussion when I see what they have resorted to. I've heard first-hand accounts of people getting they're tires slashed simply for being there. I've seen soldiers get punched, their water bottles torn away. It hurt me to see what some of those people did to their boys (and girls) in uniform. Not to mention the psychological damage some of them sure caused to their small children when they had to be physically removed from their houses kicking and screaming. While I feel for these people, the end surely doesn't justify the means!

It's important for me to state that most of this isn't done by the residents themselves. It's mostly teenagers and young adults that sneak in to protest and do these horrible things. Many of them are my previous classmates. They are the ones defiling the holiness of a Synagogue by causing fights in them. But who do we blame? If Palestinian terrorist are snuck into Israel's borders by Israeli Arabs or even by Jewish Israelis (such as what happened in the recent attack in Natanya) surely the smuggler is partially responsible. Then too shouldn't the residents who sneak these anger-filled teenagers past the checkpoints using their children's IDs and passes, be held partially responsible for the havoc and chaos caused in recent weeks?

Every once in a while my faith in humanity gets shaken, and every once in a while it gets strengthened. Bellow are two links to stories I stumbled on that restored at least some of my faith in humanity and made me smile. If your faith needs a little strengthening, check them out.

Homeless women returns lost purse
Judge returns bribe

Friday, August 19, 2005

I Don't Sleep Enough

I just was looking through some posts and realized that almost all of my post are done after midnight when I should most definitely be sleeping. I just got back from disengagement shit tonight and have to go back Saturday night....It's 4 in the morning and I should be sleeping but instead I'm writing this. Someone remind me why. Went to Mike's Place tonight with Katz and Nadiv. Had a good time. Well this is just substance-less writing so I'm going to spend my time more wisely and catch some sleep before my room is flooded in light in a few short hours. Good night...Or morning.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005




Disengagement. Expulsion. Retreat. It's been called a lot of things. Which is the correct term? I'm not quite sure.

I've recently stuck to my story of "I'm a soldier, I have no political opinion or stance." The repression of my opinion worked well until my mind realized that I really did have one. There is Ben the soldier and there is Ben the civilian. It was only recently that the two had a chance to meet, when Ben the soldier looked in the mirror and saw Ben the civilian looking back at him. Staring back with eyes that didn't understand.

Until this encounter I had thought of the disengagement as a decision made by a democratic government. Nothing more than another mission chose for the IDF. This decision is well within the governments power to make. So why shouldn't it be carried out? I had asked myself several times, hypothetically, what would I do. My job as a soldier is to listen to legal orders made by my government. So why wouldn't carry out those orders given to me. I had no answer and so always responded to myself that I would indeed carry out those orders.

It was only this past week when I was called up to take part in the disengagement that this hypothetical question became a reality. Ben the soldier still had no conflict, but Ben the civilian suddenly was having trouble with it all. Who am I to forcefully remove people from their home?! We put them there to begin with! But I wasn't called up to actually remove people. Only equipment. And how would I feel if this was done to me? I then realized that it doesn't matter. Or at least it shouldn't. The fact that I can put myself in their position is more of a reason, but not the reason not to do it.

As horrible as it is to say, I was reminded of the Holocaust. I was trying to justify it to myself. "I'm just following orders" I would say. Or, "It doesn't affect me." It shouldn't have to!

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing"-Edmund Burke

Was I one of those good men allowing evil to triumph?! Was I just another Canada not wanting to get involved in a war that didn't concern me?! Should I disobey orders because of me political opinion?

The answer is no. While I may not necessarily agree with what is going on, it isn't evil. And it is a completely legal order. To disobey orders is to spit on democracy. It is saying I like democracy when it works for me, but when it doesn't-I vote anarchy. This double standard is the true evil. People should not be inciting soldiers to disobey orders or desert simply because they don't like the hand of cards that democracy has dealt. Not everyone can get a royal flush in the same turn. It just doesn't work that way. Someone will always be unhappy.

In summation, while I may not agree with everything my government is doing, it can't interfere with my duty to uphold my government's orders. I have to believe in democracy. Ben the civilian understood Ben the soldier. While you too may not believe that disengagement is the right thing to do, please don't incite soldiers and police officers to disobey. You are just making a hard task even harder. And finally I wish everyone strength in this very difficult time.

Monday, August 15, 2005


So there was a drive by shooting tonight...On me street. I live in one of the safest neighborhoods in one of the safest cities. They shot up my next door neighbor's BMW. 3 shots I think. Maybe he isn't really a glass importer/exporter. Lots of cops around now. Lots of people too. Not really paying all that much attention to it although I did snap a few pictures which I hope to post later. Going to sleep.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The TSA and other annoying things about air travel


I was just thinking about certain annoying things about air travel as the subject has plagued my recent posts...

I think the TSA is probably the most annoying thing about air travel these day. For those of you who don't know who the TSA are, they are the really annoying airport security people in American airports. The one that don't "force" you to remove your shoes before walking through metal detectors, the simply "highly recommend" it. As stated on their web page, they don't force you to remove them, they simply "encourage" you and won't let you walk through until you head their encouragement. "Sir, I HIGHLY recommend you remove your shoes before passing through the metal detector." "Are you sure sir, it is highly recommended."

Their website also states that some shoes may require a "thorough screening". This "thorough screening" is the same thing they do to all shoes that they have encouraged people to remove- run it through the x-ray machine.

I'm really worried about security in airports outside of Israel. I feel we pretty much know what were are doing. We've been doing it for a long time and have gotten good at it. Ever since 9/11 The Americans (and other countries) think that simply calibrating the metal detector to a more sensitive setting, and randomly checking bags for various residues, they will protect their citizens. I think it's a load of crap. I never beep on Israel metal detectors, and that's with watch and belt on and snaps in my pants. I have never not beeped in a foreign metal detector without getting mostly naked. I think they have it calibrated so that anyone with a filling in their tooth will beep! As politically incorrect as it may sound, racial profiling is an essential part of security. There is no reason the little Swedish grandmother, who is to frail to walk without a cane, should be strip searched because her metal hip set off the metal detector and the Arab 20-something guy who just came back from visiting Syria and Saudi Arabia, should walk through with ease because he so willingly removed his shoes!
Like I said, I think racial profiling is one of the most powerful and important in tools and security personnel's arsenal. If universities and corporations can practice affirmative action, and accept people based on race and culture then why shouldn't similar practices be used in security?!

"Why do remove are shoes anyway?" you may ask. Simple. One would-be terrorist once decided to put some explosive in his shoe. I want to know what that means for women when some lady decides to hide explosives in her bra. I mean, if it has a wire it's gonna beep with a wand stile metal detector, and may very well set off the big ones with the way they have them calibrated in the US. Will that mean the end o bras on airplanes, in which case you may have some male advocates. Or will women simply be "encouraged" to remove them in public and place them on the x-ray conveyor belt for a more "thorough inspection". Time will tell I guess.

Don't think I'm only angry about the security. The airlines execs piss me off too. If you read my some of my previous posts, you know I've done some interesting (for the lack of a better word) traveling recently. I would like to commend the Air Canada Execs for the way they handled the delay in my flight on the way home-even if they did loose my bags. They apologized multiple times and couldn't have been nicer. The continental Airlines people on the other hand, were just asses! I don't think anyone apologized even once. And they make inconsiderate decisions...Actually, they're considerate to their pockets. Want an example? Well you're gonna get one anyway. When I was traveling to Halifax from Newark and got diverted to Maine, the airline could have just canceled the flight in the evening and saved everyone the aggravation of getting there and turning around and coming back. We could have all gotten some sleep. But that sleep would have been on their dollar, they would have had to put us all up at hotels. It was a full flight, that's a lot of rooms. It's cheaper to pay the jet fuel and when we can't land and it's 4 in the morning, it's the weather that did it and they'll get us a flight out in the morning.

Well, I think that's enough ranting for now. I'll leave you with this interesting map. Check it out, I thought it was funny, or at least interesting. (Similar link)

Thursday, August 04, 2005


I got my luggage back! YAY!

If you are as excited as I am, please join me in the ritualistic luggage conga line song and dance.
Please note: this should be done alone in your room, preferably in your underwear to show solidarity with our luggage-less brethren who have still not received their luggage.

To the tune of "that conga line song that people sorta chant"....Here we go:

Luggage, luggage, lugg-AGE!
Luggage, luggage, lugg-AGE!
~~repeat until too tired to continue or you get embarrassed to see yourself dancing the conga by yourself in you underwear in the mirror~~

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The plane ride from hell-Part II

Just when you think you've been through the worst traveling experience ever, the travel Gods, who hate me, decide to have a little fun.

I left Halifax yesterday at 8am to leave for Toronto at 11am. All went fine, although we left about 20 minutes late, which is no big deal. We land in Toronto pretty much on time but the tell us the airport is on a "red alert" because of an incoming thunder storm. What that basically means is because of the incoming thunder storm, no ground crews are allowed onto the runway because, in the past, crew members have been hit by lightning and killed. So there we sat, not 10 meters from the jetway but unable to enter the airport. The pilot said it should only be about 20 minutes till they lift the red alert. When after 2 hours, the flight crew decided to start playing Madagascar (the movie, which was quite entertaining actually) I wasn't very optimistic. After about 4.5 hours of sitting on the plane, the alert was lifted and we moved the 10 meters forward to the jet way. I ran to my gate for it was now way past boarding time and I in fact got there 5 minutes after the plane was scheduled to takeoff. Because of the alert, my plane was delayed, which was lucky I guess. A hell of a lot luckier than the Air France flight that apparently crashed not long after we landed. When we were sitting on the runway, the person next to me pointed out a plane on fire which at the time I assumed was not a big deal as we could only see smoke. Afterwards when I heard what happened I assumed that this was the plane in question (although I had heard it had been struck by lightning). After seeing pictures on the net though, I don't think that was what we saw. Maybe we saw a different plane and the smoke in t he distance coming up from behind. I don't remember what airline the plane we saw was from. We eventually left about 4 hours delayed. I slept well on the plane. Didn't watch any movies. Just slept almost the whole way. Definitely the way to do things. Because so many planes were diverted away from Toronto because of the storm our plane wasn't full. That gave me an extra seat next to me to spread out into, so I got almost comfortable.

We arrived home in Israel 4 hours later than the original time scheduled, which would be expected after leaving 4 hours late. I wasn't very pleased when I discovered my bags along with all my clothing and things I bought while away, hadn't made it. It seams the same thing happened to many other people on the flight who had connected from another place (before Toronto). I filled out the form, caught a cab and went home.

Ahh, it's good to be home. All in all it wasn't the worst flight in the world. We were one of only 3 flights as far as I know to get out from Toronto from 1330 that afternoon until this morning. (For example, the Rome flight that was supposed to leave from our gate after us was canceled.) I guess you just have to be optimistic. Thank god I'm not stupid enough to fly Air France. I guess the travel Gods don't hate me that much after all.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Heading Home

Tomorrow, I guess today actualy, I head home. I'm flying via Toronto. I'll be home wednesday at some point. I hope this flight will be better than the last. More info to come.