Good and Bad in the Land of AZ

April 1, 2017

Hanoch Ne’eman 4 Nisan 5777 Scottsdale AZ

I have been going a lot to the CVS Pharmacy here on Miller Road to pick up drugs for my parents. They have a lot of nice people working there at the pharmacy department, very courteous and helpful. (By the way, remind me to tell you about the most pleasant experience I had yesterday getting a State of Arizona driver’s license.) I am embarrassed for them, the intelligent, helpful, and hard-working people who work in the pharmacy, that they have to stand behind a counter bedecked with all these ridiculous magazines. You know the ones I mean. With the stupid headlines and pictures? Also in the supermarkets, the same clown shows appear. It is demeaning to those folks working there, in my opinion. They must have gotten used to it, like the smell in a barn for one milking the cows. I must say, for some reason, that is one stupidity we suffer less from in Israel, at least in the supermarkets I go too. Of course we have many garbage tabloids, maybe most of our papers in fact, but thankfully they are not shoved in your face at the check-out counter.

Oh yes, thank you for reminding me… the Motor Vehicle Office. What a pleasure! Since I have been renewing my NJ Driver’s License for the past twenty-two years, I thought of doing it again, as it runs out in June. But now my parents are stuck out here in AZ, so I thought – why don’t I try to get an Arizona license? So I check online with the AZ Dept. of Transportation, and learn that there are DMV offices and also alternative authorized service providers scattered around the state. I find one close to me and go there. There is no line. I sign in and two minutes later someone comes out and says “May I help you?” I give them the form I printed out online with my info, they take my US passport and NJ Driver’s License, and say okay, this will take 5 or ten minutes. They take my photo against the wall. I sit down to wait. While I am reading, the manager comes over to me and says, “Sir, pardon me, are we taking care of you already?” I assure him yes, Javier is on my case. I wait ten minutes and they come out with a temporary license, the real one will be mailed to my home in coming weeks. I pay forty dollars. It is good for fifteen years.

In NJ, you have to go every four years, show four types of different ID, which are often not quite right and you have to go back to your bank to get new ones, pay like $24 for just the four years, etc. My cousin in California told me much worse stories. Why is AZ different, logical, pleasant and normal? Must be all the Mormons and Republicans out here.

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message to you

March 19, 2017

Motz. Shabbat, Ohr l’21 Adar, 5777 Hanoch Ne’eman, Scottsdale, AZ

On Wed., the 11th of Adar, I took a hike up and over Camelback Mt., starting on Invergordon Road. When I got back to my car, there was another car parked behind me. On its hood were metal letters which said “Trust in G-d”. On the back of the car were more hood ornament letters saying “keep pushing forward”.

This was for me a personal message, I felt, as during my hike I was saying to myself, as a mantra, “push your self to accomplish”, not regarding the hike but as a general admonishment. Coming at the end of the hike, it was like a confirmation.

Welcome to the Game!

March 1, 2017

3 Adar 5777, H. Ne’eman, Israel

The US Special Forces do a raid in Yakla, Yemen (not well known tourist spot), during first week of Trump Presidency.

Kill some fourteen terrorists, some twenty civilians (much higher ration than IDF operations), lose one American soldier, and a 70 million dollar aircraft.

Capture enemy cellphones.

Local women surprise US forces by taking guns and shooting at them also.

Terrorists hide in clinics, schools, and mosques. Use women and children as shields.

Baruch HaBah…  (Welcome to the Game).

 

 

Diplomatic failure

February 17, 2017

21 Shevat 5777 HAnoch Ne’eman, Jerusalem

The fact that the outgoing US administration led a coalition to criticize Israeli settlements with a Security Council resolution, is of course, a tremendous diplomatic failure.

One could say it is all the Obama Adm.’s fault, but I differ with that view somewhat. I think that fact that our PM and our Ambassador talk about a Palestinian State contributes to the ability of a President to do that. Because the President can say – “look you admit you are wrong, you talk about a Pal. State, you agreed to settlement freeze, etc. You are just being stubborn and dragging your feet.”

Maybe I am wrong, maybe there is nothing to stop a President on the loose, but I believe it would be much harder for them to do that if our diplomats said clearly – there is only one state here, where all Arabs who are loyal and good citizens enjoy full civil rights.

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Now this week, with a new US President, we have this ridiculous meeting between our PM and him, were the new President says “I don’t know, one state, two states, what you folks want!” Not that I expect an American President to know what is going on here much, I expect him to say stupid things, but that our PM keeps playing that game is disheartening and disappointing and sad. These people live in their own world, not the world of reality.

De French are coming

February 2, 2017

6 Shevat, 5777 Jerusalem, Hanoch Ne’eman

Went to the new super, Osher Ad, yesterday, to buy some cookies and other items. Everyone meets at Osher Ad; Jews, Arabs, soldiers, civilians. It’s peace in the Middle East! And good cheap cookies.

At the checkout, and older French gentleman was my cashier. Facing him in the check out opposite was a French religious woman with a head covering. They spoke French with each other and Hebrew with a French accent to the customers. Yes the French are arriving, and they are even in the supers as cashiers! Ingathering of Exiles in real time! And you are there!

Wearing white

January 28, 2017

2 shevat 5777 HAnoch Ne’eman Jerusalem

My friend told me that the woman who lost in the American Presidential election two months ago attended the inauguration. He said she wore white to express her solidarity with the Suffering Women’s Movement. Well that’s nice, but I couldn’t help thinking that if she had won, there would be not only a lot of women suffering, but a lot of men too. Certainly a lot of both men and women here in Israel would have been suffering because of her.

Perhaps if she really wants to help alleviate suffering, she should have gone into nursing or medicine, not politics. Then she could have worn white every day (though maybe not Ralph Lauren), and really helped people.

Like the old Indian chief used to say, “Beware of wolves dressed like sheep”.

It’s no secret

January 10, 2017

12 Tevet 5777 Hanoch Ne’eman, Jerusalem

On Sunday of this week, which was the fast day of the Tenth of Tevet, some of my fellow Israelis were killed up the road. I heard tons of sirens going by, but it wasn’t till my roommate told me later in the afternoon that I knew what happened. An Arab drove his truck into a group of soldiers at the Tayelet.

The dignitaries showed up to survey the scene; the Police Chief, the PM and DM. Later the PM said: we are taking actions, we’ll defeat this, we’re taking action, including some things I can’t say what they are.

Gimme a break. Thanks for your public palliatives. Now, as always after things like this, we see more police cruising around for a while. It doesn’t help anything. As far as the things which “we can’t say what they are now”, I have about as much faith in them as in garlic toothpaste. Perhaps the mossad is going to sneak someone into Mahmoud Abbas’s bedroom and tickle his feet with a feather while he is sleeping? Is that your covert action? It has nothing to do with Mahmoud Abbas. That illusion is part of the problem. The truth is that there is no need for covert action. In fact, what is really needed is overt action. But that is what we fail to do.

When I ride my bicycle through the neighborhood where the terrorist came from, which is also close to the Tayelet, Arab teenagers tell me to get out, and Arab youngsters throw rocks at me. The Police have to be working to change that reality. With a real presence. With sting operations. All legal, responsible, non-covert things.

 

Vegetarian at 105

January 8, 2017

10 Tevet, 5777 Hanoch Ne’eman, Jerusalem

Recently a Frenchman by the name of Robert Marchand set a record: at age 105 he bicycled over 22.5 kilometers in an hour. Now you are probably thinking like me, how many 105 year olds can two wheel bicycle at all, let alone for an hour? So good for him for being an example for fitness. But what I was also impressed with was that his trainer said, (with disapproval) that Robert had recently stopped eating meat, and that she thinks he could have done better if he was eating meat. The reason he stopped was because he felt animals were often mistreated in the meat industry. Bravo. That is part of why I started eating vegetarian also years ago. And in general, is it nice for us to eat animals?

The question is why this man just started doing this at 105? I in any case applaud it, but I can also suggest a possible reason. Many years ago a friend once suggested to me that perhaps I was a vegetarian because I was afraid of death. Well I think there may be something to that. We all fear death somewhat. Perhaps that aversion translates into not wanting to be the cause of death of other creatures too. So, perhaps, when you are 105, you are more sensitive to death too?

In any case, Hashem should help us all to stay both fit and sensitive to our fellow creatures.

Maj. Hagai Ben Ari

January 8, 2017

10 Tevet, 5777 Hanoch Ne’eman, Yerushalayim

Last week a dear Israeli named Hagai Ben Ari passed away. He had been a commander of a Paratrooper Brigade during the war in Gaza two and half years ago. He was wounded in the head by a sniper, and was in a coma until last week.

He came from a wonderful religious moshav on the Golan Heights called Nov. He was a husband and father to three children. He was in his young thirties.

What hurts me most about tragedies like this is the feeling that they never should have happened. The anger about surrendering Gaza to terrorists. The anger about how troops were sent in to ground combat, instead of using our air force to its capacity, or more capacity.

I care about innocent Gazans too, but they are the responsibility of the Gazan government, Hamas, to protect by not starting wars with us. My brothers like Hagai Ben Ari, of blessed memory, are more important to me than Gazans.

Game Over (SC Res. 2334 no surprise)

December 27, 2016

27 Kislev 5777 Hanoch Ne’eman, Jerusalem

When my grandfather was a little boy in Russia, the Jews of his town would lock themselves in a warehouse on Christmas to protect themselves from their christian neighbors, some of whom were then quite drunk and prone to attack Jews.

This year erev Christmas proved to be a rallying time for the gentile nations of the world, or more specifically the members of the Security Council, to come together on the only thing which unites them: blaming Jews.

But it should come as little surprise, since when you don’t tell the truth yourself, you should not then expect the gentiles to do it for you. For our PM, our ambassadors, and many of our ministers, have for years played this game of talking about a Palestinian State, about negotiations, about housing freezes. One thing Obama and Sarkozy were right about, our PM does have a lying problem. It was only a matter of time before the UN would say with one voice that we don’t have a right to our land.

It’s our job to teach the world why it is important and best for everyone that Israel control all our country, including Judea and Shomron. Time to roll up our sleeves and start doing that, not playing the lying game anymore.