Friday, 25 June 2010

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem


25th June 2010.

We are in the middle of a serious crisis, not with Obama, not with Turkey and not even with Iran; the crisis is within ourselves. We are losing confidence in our right to exist and in our faith. Just as the Germans dehumanized the Jews to ensure the world would not rise up as they systematically cleansed the world of our presence, so the Islamic world tries to convince us of our own malevolence and they appeal to the foulest emotions which lay dormant beneath the surface for 60 years.

We are at a turning point and we need great motivators and leaders, men and women who will convince our young people that they are valuable and their identity is sacred. Jews and Christians alike. We need to choose leaders who care little for their own popularity and fame – or how they appear on camera; we need leaders who are aware of the fragility of our situation but equally of the strength of our resolve and are able to motivate our young people to care if we are in this world or not. We need someone who will find the common denominator rather than tear us asunder. Leaders give their followers a common goal with which they can fully identify and contribute to.

Sadly, the choice of our leaders is made by a very few and for the wrong reasons. Instead of choosing leaders for their honesty, conviction, skills and ability to motivate unity we choose leaders of the Jewish world for their titles. Shame on us for allowing such shallow ethics at a time when we need great men. It is time that we took fate into our own hands and create an entity which can be a viable vehicle for our needs and demands; one without bureaucracy and excessive expenses.

My beautiful friend Arlene came to Israel with her family ensuring that her grandchildren understand the deep importance of Israel in their American lives. They travelled from the northernmost point to the southernmost at Sderot and everything between as at least one family provides our world with fine ambassadors. The boys stood in Israel and looked at Gaza City thereby understanding the implications of terror. Zvi's determination that nobody leaves Israel without learning of her history and future fell upon the Guttin family of Mexico and Houston who are in the Herzl Museum and Yad Vashem as we speak!

Khaled Abu Toameh is an exceptional journalist, Arab Israeli, proud of his heritage and unafraid to speak the truth writes of the hypocrisy of a women's flotilla which sets sail against a liberal country in support of a tyrannical one which encourages female circumcision where "honour killings" are an everyday affair and women suffer diabolical oppression.

Maybe the flotillas are going in the wrong direction?

Turkey, life expectancy is 72.23 and infant mortality is 24.84 per 1000 births:

Gaza Strip life expectancy is 73.68 and infant mortality is 17.71 per 1000 births.

Literacy Rates: Turkey - 88.7% while Gaza's is 91.9%

GDP: Turkey $3,167, Gaza $2,900 which puts Gaza higher than many European countries and most of Africa who get 1,000th of the aid.


The Jewish Agency Board of Governors meeting took place this week with heated discussions as to the direction the Agency must take. Many points of Zvi's plan for the Agency were adopted into the major plan. His outspoken determination to bring about change for the better was clearly noted and at least here deeply appreciated!

Humour has succeeded where facts have failed. First with "We Con the World" which had over 3 million hits on Youtube before they closed it and now from the Latma group The Three Terrors "No Laughing Matter" produced the very droll Hamas video and now the UN video

The secular versus religious debate in Israel is best explained by Rabbi Jeremy Rosen

Australia underwent a huge change this week when Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was ousted and a new Prime Minister came in. Her name is Julia Gillard and she was born in Wales! Ms. Gillards resume is far more impressive than being Welsh and one thing she made very clear in her last visit to Israel that she is a great supporter of Israel and stood by Israel throughout, irrespective of popularity. I was deeply impressed by the woman and her clear minded approach; she is an initiator not a follower. In a speech in Jerusalem she said "When a vote was called in 1947 on United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181, to establish separate Jewish and Arab States, the Australian delegate was the first to vote. The first to vote in favour of Israel’s right to full independent nationhood and its right to live securely within defined borders."

Finally but most importantly today marks 4 years since Gilad Schalit was kidnapped and two of his fellow soldiers murdered. I would not demand from our government that they make any deal that endangers lives, but, I want to know why there has never been a military attempt to bring him home. Why haven't the French demanded his release when he is also a French citizen, why haven't the USA, UK, anybody demanded is release and the Italians who made Gilad an honorary Italian still do nothing but fine gestures. I believe it is the price for is freedom which no-one is willing to pay.

I will put a yellow ribbon on my car and I will say a prayer as I light my Shabbat candles tonight and weep for his parents whose hell is unimaginable but I will not show weakness to his captors whose cruelty is condoned by a world of double standards. There is little we can do but please take just a few moments to fill out the form at and forward this message to your friends! Dudu Fisher sang our prayers in "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserables. Please G-d bring him home safe and sound to the arms of his family without harm to Israel.

Shabbat Shalom, Peace, Salaam, Pax, just a little, and some justice would be good too, please G-d.

With all our love from Jerusalem, centre of our world, City of Peace Ir Shalom, Ir Shalem.


Friday, 18 June 2010

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem


18th June 2010.

Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve. George Bernard Shaw

How does one choose a Jewish leader? Does one open it up to the highly talented and connected people who have given their lives to Israel and heed the opinion of world Jewish leaders or do you choose anyone with a title who is willing to take on the position? Despite the clear fact that youngsters are leaving their communities and organisations in droves…… apparently it is always the second choice – second best. Details upon request!!!!

We don't always get it right – but this is a country of innate self-analysis. The official inquiry into the resettlement of Gush Katif has announced what we already knew – that we did a lousy job of resettling the people who left Gaza for peace. The country was unprepared and the people of Gush Katif were not given land to restart their lives and to this day some are unsettled. We failed them.

Can you imagine the difference in world reaction to the Mavi Marmara et al if those marines had been American and the USA saw their soldiers being beaten within an inch of their lives by Afghanis? Where was the outcry when Maggie Thatcher's Britain sank an enemy ship. Enemy in waiting: why we sank the Belgrano - Times Online As the HMS Conqueror closed in on the Belgrano, the Argentinean Cruiser was well outside the British-imposed Total Exclusion Zone of 370 km radius from the Falklands and was in neutral international waters. USA embargo on Cuba has extended for decades and it was only after hardening the embargo that Clinton chose to allow humanitarian aid in.... but the US coastguard still sinks refugee boats in international waters

Politicians who risk their position are rare but this week we saw several. Members of Parliament David Amess and Nick Boles both questioned the Foreign Minister concerning the double standards applied to Israel when human rights are non-existent in the Gaza Strip and PA.

Congressman Mike Pence speaks on the House floor. "Mr. President, Whose Side Are You On?" A short but powerful one-minute message from the Congressman sowing is anger at Obama for not supporting Israel's clear right to defense against the terror organization of Hamas in Gaza. WeJew Jewish Video Sharing Megasite - US Congressman To Obama - Whose Side Are You On? And former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar. Support Israel: if it goes down, we all go down Anger over Gaza is a distraction. We cannot forget that Israel is the West’s best ally in a turbulent region

The Haredim (ultra-orthodox) are demonstrating in Israel. There are a number of issues for the sometimes violent demonstrations. One is the continuing argument about digging roads, hospitals, homes because when you dig you may find bodies – albeit ancient pagan remains; recent riots are because Haredi schools do not allow Sefardi/Mizrachi students to come to their schools and the Supreme Court ruled this as racist and the parents chose to go to prison rather than allow their daughters to learn with Eastern Jewish girls and their cohorts are rioting in protest. This problem must be solved in Israel, not only of Haredim who believe themselves above the law but also of Israeli Arabs; they must become an integral part of society. Rights demand obligations; to become part of the defence of this country and to become part of the taxpaying public- one must be a participant and not an aggressive bystander. If we are not careful the backlash will cause our children to hate Judaism and then we will lose our ancient rights to this land.

Iranian "AID" ships are on their way to Gaza and despite the fact that Egypt is our partner in the embargo she had to allow the ships into the Suez Canal; ironically due to an international law instigated to protect Israel's right of passage!!!

I have often spoken of our friend Dr Gabby Barkay and his brilliant decision to recover the remains of the earth removed from beneath the Temple Mount by Raeed Salah – yes the same Raeed Salah who was on the Mavi Marmara. This was not refuse but rather sacred soil – every grain of it is our history. The Temple Mount was violated by the WAQF yet although the soil was extracted illicitly we are learning so much from the sacred soil they discarded.

My niece Sophie is a brave young woman!! She not only teaches in an inner-city London school but on September 5th 2010 she will be supporting Meir Panim by abseiling downs Earls Court building! She will enjoy panoramic views across London from the top, before abseiling 20 metres / 66 feet to the bottom. Meir Panim is the largest supplementary welfare services agency in Israel. For more information or to donate, please visit

And now the latest song from the LATMA stable, The Three Terrors. Lets make it a hit!

Our dear friend Saul Same is here in Israel again all the way from Melbourne Australia. Saul is one of the finest people I have ever met, loves Israel, loves Australia, reached the top in all fields yet remained a mensch. Saul, who is over 90, brought his little sister Julie with him and we took them to the Mamilla Mall and walked along to see the incredible lights in Old city, along with hundreds of thousands of people from all over Israel and the world. Huge tulip-like likes filled the Jaffa Gate entrance and holographic bells rang on the tower of the Dormition. Eleven o'clock at night and the streets were heaving with a Jerusalem rainbow of people of every sect, cult, religion, denomination, origin and belief…. Oh how I wish that CNN and BBC would show that side of our life; the utter freedom of movement for all. I'm sorry I don't have this years video but this is amazing too

I am so excited!! My beautiful friend Arlene is coming today with all family and we get to spend Shabbat Dinner and tomorrow with her and her husband Milty. Sorry Fegie….. my turn!!! I am not sure we will go anywhere since tomorrow promises to be HOT! I love it when the air-conditioned newsreaders announce that it will be hotter than usual for the season…… How hot is hot? Anyway we decided to spend the day out on our veranda, looking at Jerusalem; maybe sip a cocktail or two and talk about our love of Israel. Arlene will cry when she sees that I haven't taken down our big Israeli flag since Yom Haatzmaut (Independence Day) and neither have most of our neighbours! I already see her sitting and quietly smiling as she looks out over Jerusalem, the whiteness of the buildings sparkling in the searing heat and the green of the myriad of trees which intersperse the white. We will hear children playing in the quiet streets and fabulous aromas will rise up to our veranda from the entire neighborhood beneath us. The cuisines of Moroccan, Tunisian, Polish, Kurdish, Iraqi, Romanian, Anglo-Saxon and French cooking blend into one mouthwatering mélange – Israeli cooking – the culmination of the dispersion is a truly wonderful epicurean delight!!!

I am late today and so I can already sense Shabbat's approach. The bride of Shabbat always wears white in Jerusalem and she seems to smooth herself out and look up to the heavens in preparation for her visit to our homes. The shopping mall is closing its gates and the offices ended their work day. The buses race, resoundingly empty, to the nearby terminal to give themselves and their drivers a day off.

Shabbat, we all need a day of rest, Sabbath, Sabbatical, to recharge our spiritual batteries, to reconnect with our families and think over our week.

I wish you Shabbat Shalom, sweet recollections and joyous promise.

With love from Jerusalem, centre of our world.


Friday, 11 June 2010

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem

10th June 2010
If the media does not inform us we must inform the media

Break the big lie – Helen Thomas eat your 90 year old, mean spirited, heart out. DNA has proven that we are the locals!!! Yup we came from this tortured and mistreated land and all the stories of being exiled by the Romans of being slaves in Italy, of the dispersion and the coming home…all true!!!

My quote of the week is from a speech to the General Assembly of the United Nations in May 1947 by Arab historian, Lebanese-born, Prof. Philip Khuri Hitti of the Institute of Arab American Affairs

"Sir, there is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely

Another wonderful quote from the Scottish Friends of Israel site

"David Cameron has announced spending cuts for us all yet is apparently giving away £19 million to Gaza. Perhaps our elderly, disabled and all our children should all move to the Gaza to get a crumb of Cameron's empathy."

David Frankfurter lives in Jerusalem and upon the statement “Obama calls for new approach on Gaza blockade” I think most Israelis agree with him. New rules need to be formulated, which are simple, straightforward and easy to understand. Here’s a suggestion: Whatever Gilad Shalit has free access to is allowed into Gaza. Whatever he is denied will also be denied. That includes visiting Red Cross staff; and access to medical care in Israel. And guns. And bullets…. Let Hamas draw up the list.

Please listen to these revealing interviews with the crew of the Mavi Marmara on the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center website. Chief Officer Gokkiran Gokhan and Captain of the Mavi Marmara Mehmut Tuval,

Humour works where opining and deriding Hamas doesn't. The shock factor and the humour win through every time! "Con the World" has gone viral with over 2 million hits and are now selling T shirts! One of the best PR campaigns I have seen for Israel is through clever satire! Hamas unplugged- and finally Israeli graphic designer Dan Reisinger came up with a wonderful poster "The Erdogan Sandwich"
Two weeks ago we attended a dinner in honour of Dr. Malcolm Hoenlein, a man I have long admired for his leadership, rare humility and quiet diplomacy. Malcolm's speech brought me to tears in its brilliance and now that speech and more are in the Jerusalem Post. The esteem in which Malcolm is held allows him access to U.S. and world leaders.
Hanin Zuabi is a Member of Israel's Knesset. She chose to be one of the passengers on the Mavi Marmara and is facing anger from her fellow MK's. I believe she should be stripped of her privileges if not her position for abusing the democracy which she decries. A dear friend, Margalit Talgan, Israeli, daughter of Holocaust survivors married to a 7th generation Israeli wrote to Ms Zuabi expressing her views
David Efron comes to Israel frequently (especially for our Seder each Pesach) and is very involved with AIPAC and his friend Alan Dershowitz but now he has an even better reason, his youngest daughter Lauren has been studying in the Tel Aviv University for this semester and is now in the IDF for a month! I am so proud of Lauren, David and David's pride in Lauren! This week David came back to Jerusalem with an impressive group of Puerto Rican participants in the Jerusalem Conference of Hope . 200 dignitaries from Latin America joined the Conference, organized by Amisrael, including Puerto Rican Speaker for the Majority Roberto Arango, Senator Carmelo Rios Santiago, Chief of Staff to President of the PR Senate, Katherine Erazo. David is a busy lawyer but always finds time to work for Israel – and represent Puerto Rico in the over 50's basketball world championships! Zvi entertained and explained our case to the Puerto Rican delegation- he never stopped representing Israel proudly and his Spanish is outstanding along with his other 6 languages!!!
We went to Nabucco! The performance under the baton of Maestro Daniel Oren, beneath the desert skies with Massada as the backdrop was breathtaking. The lighting of the historic mountain, the setting, the libretto, the rise and fall of the music all came together to make a once in a lifetime experience. "By the Rivers of Babylon" held so much relevance in this place, when they sang of Jerusalem burning at the hands of invaders flames engulfed Massada - and when they sang the Hebrew Slaves Chorus the entire audience was on its feet – at the fourth encore we were instructed to sing along!!!!
Zvi's cousin Ilana came to Israel with her delightful friend Tanya and told me that after my descriptions of Mahane Yehuda they had to go there! Since I had a date with my grandchildren in Givat Ze'ev, Zvi took them but it gave me a taste to go too – so yesterday I went with my wonderful friend Judith. There is something so Israeli about the market. Not just the cornucopia of herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables, the welcome tasting of juicy watermelons, melons, cherries and halva of a thousand flavours amid cries of "Sweet, sweet you never tasted anything so sweet"… it is so much more. The flavours and aromas that fill the air with redolence match the variety of bustling people. I never tire of the myriad of ethnicities and religious affiliations. As I chose my fresh purple garlic a black clad Nun asked me which were the best herbs! The Arab costermonger responded before I had a chance to open my mouth and the Moroccan woman next to me disagreed with his choice and gave her one she felt was better! I love it! Of course, after shopping, Judith and I stopped for a coffee and delicious cold yoghurt soup with fruit.
To end I feel I must comment on the lauding of South Africa as the host of the World Cup. Poverty is rife; inter and intra-tribal strife is uncontrolled; crime is unbearable; corruption and murder are rampant – yet South Africa is held as an example of freedom to the world. What happened to our sense of proportion? Here in Israel I, indeed everyone, can go for a walk near my home or in the centre of Jerusalem day and night without fear and violence is minimal yet we are held as oppressors and violent. Pop stars are "dissuaded" from performing here yet it is our neighbours who oppress and kill gays, Jews, Christians and women! Thank G-d for Sir Elton John and Rod Stewart – maybe their advanced age allows them to understand what their younger counterparts do not. You do not give in to threats!!!!
I wish you Shabbat Shalom and a clear mind of your heritage, your history, your identity and your rich and beautiful traditions. We have undergone worse and we always survive……. We just have to stand up straight and be proud of who we are.
With all my love

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Margalit Talgan's letter to MK Hanin Zuabi

A letter to Hanin Zuabi – an Arab Israeli Parliament Member who was aboard the Marmara flotilla ship.

Written by Margalit Tal-Gan, an Israeli, daughter of Holocaust survivors, married to a 7th generation Israeli.

Miss Zuabi,

First and foremost “chapeau” for a very effective P.R. I must admit: I didn’t know of your existence until the flotilla provocation. In fact I still don’t know anything about you but almost everyone in the country knows of you and that is quite an achievement!

Please allow me then to ask you:

Besides of fame, what were you trying to achieve? You know as well as we all do that there is no shortage of food in Gaza, or any other commodities for that matter. Yes, Alas, there is a constant shortage of ammunition or materials that could be used in the production of weapons, and so it should remain! Gaza needs no protection! Gaza is not under attack! On the contrary, Gaza is a nasty aggressor who for years has been rocketing civilians on a daily basis! (never heard you comment on that!).

Let’s be honest: You did not truly believe that the flotilla was going anywhere! So, what were you thinking when you saw all those hooligans armed with knives and clubs and hatchets, that kept your company aboard the ship? That it was a masquerade ball? Did it occur to you that, as Israel’s Parliament Member you should have warned our army of what awaits our soldiers aboard? Did you try to stop that outburst of violence? What did you expect would happen? That maybe like the “Sarajevo Assassination that ignited 1st World War, your flotilla will ignite the Middle East? And then what? Let’s try to understand your logic:

You feel frustrated, bitter, discriminated, you believe that the regime in Israel is oppressing and ruthless and should be overthrown. Do you have any idea at all what awaits you personally should your aspirations God forbid, realize? Do you think that in a regime controlled by Hamas or Hezbollah or Elkaidah or Taliban women have any rights? Particularly independent ambitious women? What about nine year old girls? You may not have children of your own, how about little nieces? Can you imagine life in a regime where any dirty old man can purchase himself a nine year old girl and penetrate her vagina? And appalling as it may sound it would be legal and lawful and even encouraged !!! Did you think of that Miss Zuabi? Do you have any idea what oppressing tyranny is really like?

Did you know that the Islamic revolution in Iran was enthusiastically supported by the intellectuals? Who, like you, considered the Shah’s regime an oppressing tyranny that should be overthrown? Try to find out what they think today (Those who survived. Most of them didn’t !!). Ask them about life in the Islamic Republic. About freedom. About human rights. About women’s rights. I suggest you read “Reading Lolita in Teheran” by Azar Nafisi. or “A thousand Shining Suns” by Haled Husseini, or “Not Without My Daughter” by Betty Mahmudi.

Did you ever wonder why all the so called Arab countries in which live over a billion Muslims are all defined as “3rd world countries”?

Did you ever wonder why although the Shiite leaders condemn western culture as blasphemous and decadent, for their billion subjects the “west” is a desired immigration target?

Did you ever wonder why all those who apply for Family Reunion wish for it to be in Israel and not in Gaza, or “palestine” or Syria? Is it because of our standard of living? Or our human rights and freedom? Or our social and health security? So maybe, after all, we are not that evil?

Mentioning Palestine and Palestinians: Have you ever wondered whatever happened to the hundreds of millions (yes! Hundreds of millions!!!) refugees scattered all over Europe during and following 2nd World War? Entire cities were bombarded and destroyed! Dozens of millions of homes ruined! About fifty million lives lost, twice as many wounded and crippled! Hundreds of millions found themselves away from home, out of their countries! So, where are they? They couldn’t have vanished! No! they did vanish! They were rehabilitated!!! That is the answer of the “blasphemous” “decadent” west to refugee issues! Any refugees! And indeed the “west” poured incredible amounts of money in order to rehabilitate the Palestinian refugees, not knowing or refusing to acknowledge that the Palestinian leaders had no interest in solving the refugee issue! On the contrary, they did everything within their power in order to p r e s e r v e it! At the same time, they did like the idea of the money, so they preserved that too! Very carefully, in their (not so little) own private bank accounts!

In other words, Miss Zuabi , The solution does not lie in destroying Israel and replacing its free democratic regime with an extreme Islamic one.

Should that, God forbid, happen, you may enjoy, for a split second, the sweet taste of profound satisfaction, and the next split second you will watch not only your privileges taken away from you, but all your basic human rights! The Shariah Law does not acknowledge human rights, let alone women’s rights: Women are men’s property to be treated as they please! But you must know that ….

No, Miss Zuabi, destruction is never a solution! Your solution lies in Edjucation, and more education!!! Not brain wash!!! Not that childish nonsense about Paradise with it’s seventy virgins (In any event not meant for you …) Real free plural western - yes, Western - education that will raise free, moral decent human beings, capable of standing up for their rights without the use of knives and clubs, aware of their duties and place in society.

Miss Zuabi, I so much hope that the day will not come, when from the depth of an open grave into which our bodies would be thrown, I will whisper to you: “ I t o l d y o u u u u u …..”

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Gaza Strip Humanitarian Analysis


Gaza Strip: A Humanitarian Analysis

Written by Daniel Schloss– please keep reading – I promise you will be surprised and informed.

My friend Jordan Birenbaum posted some very interesting facts on my Facebook wall yesterday with regards to quality of life indicators in the Gaza Strip. It got me thinking, and I've done a little bit of research to show that, qualitatively, there is absolutely NO humanitarian disaster in Gaza, let alone one caused by Israel. This Flotilla and world outrage directed at Israel are entirely political and artificially conceived.

Israel, has an OBLIGATION, in keeping with their blockade of Gaza under international humanitarian law, to ensure that the Gaza Strip is provided with the basic necessities to ensure life. While Gaza's unemployment rate is 40% (and despite the claim that this is the worst in the world, again, it is not. There are 13 countries worse, mostly MUCH worse, than Gaza), and as much as 70% is below the poverty line (once again, roughly a dozen countries are worse in this subjective category too), Israel's responsibility is to ENSURE A BASIC QUALITY OF LIFE (medical, food and water, and so on). As many anti-Israel forces will argue, it doesn't. However the statistics simply point to another reality, as you will soon see. Despite the high unemployment rate and abject poverty, basic aid, as per international humanitarian law, is provided to see that a basic quality of life is ensured. Another point concerning this issue is that all that needs to be done in Gaza to lift the blockade is for Hamas to accept Israel's right to exist and to put down their arms. Furthermore, Israel has no legal responsibility nor even an ability to control the monetary or fiscal policies of the Gaza Strip. That responsibility falls under Hamas, as does the distribution of food, water and medical aid (as well as the UNRWA). The corrupt and cruel leadership becomes starkly evident when one considers that there is an Olympic-sized swimming pool, regular windsurfing competitions and rather lavish middle-upper class restaurants (’t-report-about-gaza/). If there are people starving in Gaza, while others live high off the hog eating chicken cordon bleu, swimming in olympic-sized swimming pools and ripping it up with their windsurfing boards, that is absolutely an internal issue of aid management and not Israel failing to provide necessary aid.

This is not to downplay the suffering, unemployment and very problematic conditions of the Gaza Strip. It certainly exists, though more than ever after doing some basic research, I'm convinced that it is Hamas & the thuggish feudal oligarchical system which exists under Hamas rule in Gaza:

So, some basic statistics which can be used to qualitatively analyze the quality of life in Gaza:

Infant Mortality Rate

According to the CIA World Factbook, "this rate is often used as an indicator of the level of health in a country."

Infant Mortality Rate is recorded as deaths per 1000 live births.

As of available 2010 statistics so far, there are 108 countries/areas of governance in the world which have higher infant mortality rates than Gaza.

GAZA STRIP sits at 17.71 deaths per 1000 births. Also worth noting is that Gaza's life expectancy rate IMPROVED from 2009 to 2010. In 2009, the infant mortality rate was 18.35 deaths per 1000 live births.

Other areas with higher infant mortality rates (not all, but a select sampling of some)?

Mexico- 17.84
Albania- 17.96
Philippines- 19.94
Libya- 20.87
Honduras- 21.04
Venezuela- 21.07
Vietnam- 21.57
Tunisia- 21.75
Brazil- 21.86
Romania- 22.09
Turkey- 24.84
Kazakhstan- 24.93
Dominican Republic- 25.04
Egypt- 26.20
Algeria- 26.75
Peru- 27.74
Morocco- 28.61
Trinidad and Tobago- 28.90
Indonesia- 28.94
Iran- 34.66
Bolivia- 43.41
South Africa- 43.78
Turkmenistan- 43.84
India- 49.13
North Korea- 50.15
Azerbaijan- 52.84
Cambodia- 53.04
Yemen- 56.77
Morrocan-occupied Western Sahara - 61.97
Pakistan - 65.34
Highest in the world - Angola with 178.3

Source: CIA World Factbook 2010

You will also note of these countries, Pakistan, South Africa, Iran, Turkey, Venezuela, Libya and Philippines have all condemned Israel. Further to that, you'll note that a large number of Arab states (who largely refuse to deal with Israel in any capacity) also have higher numbers. Finally, TURKEY, the country where the Mavi Marmara was organized, and has routinely been sabre-rattling against Israel and the "humanitarian disaster" in Gaza has a HIGHER infant mortality rate itself!

Life Expectancy at Birth

According to the CIA World Factbook, "Life expectancy at birth is also a measure of overall quality of life in a country and summarizes the mortality at all ages."

As of available 2010 statistics so far, there are 114 countries/areas of governance in the world which have lower life expectancy at birth than Gaza.

GAZA STRIP life expectancy at birth (in years) as of 2010 is 73.68. Like Infant Mortality Rates, this has also IMPROVED since 2009, albeit meagrely up from 73.42 years.

Other areas in the world with lower life expectancy (in years) (this is once again, a select sampling of countries):

Malaysia- 73.55
Jamaica- 73.48
Bulgaria- 73.35
Estonia- 73.08
Romania- 72.71
Latvia- 72.42
Egypt- 72.40
Brazil- 72.26
Turkey- 72.23
Nicaragua- 71.78
Iran- 71.43
Philippines- 71.38
Moldova- 71.09
Indonesia- 71.05
Belarus- 70.92
Honduras- 70.51
Iraq- 70.25
Ukraine- 68.46
India- 66.46
Russia- 66.16
Pakistan- 65.62
North Korea- 64.13
Yemen- 63.36
Cambodia- 62.52
Morrocan-Occupied Western Sahara- 60.74
Kenya- 58.82
Sudan- 52.52
South Africa- 49.20
LOWEST IN THE WORLD, Angola- 38.48

Source: CIA World Factbook 2010

Interestingly, once again, the among the countries with a lower life expectancy than the Gaza Strip, ones to strongly condemn and/or criticize Israel include Pakistan, India, Honduras, Philippines and the ship to arrive in Israel yesterday, the MV Rachel Corrie, was co-organized by Malaysia, also a lower life expectancy than Gaza.

Literacy Rate

A constant claim by Israel's detractors is that children in Gaza don't get a proper education. In addition, it's claimed that Israel will not let in school supplies to the blockaded strip. While the veracity of these claims is not verifiable, the literacy rate of the strip suggest a different story.

The CIA World Factbook describes literacy rate as, "the ability to read and write at a specified age...Information on literacy, while not a perfect measure of educational results, is probably the most easily available and valid for international comparisons."

Unfortunately, the CIA World Factbook does not compile comparative data on literacy rates, however as of 2010, it reports the GAZA STRIP literacy rate to be at 92.4%. The most recent comparative data on literacy rates across the world I could find are from the United Nations Development Programme Report in 2009. As of this report, there are 92 areas of governance in the world with lower literacy rates than Gaza out of 179 countries with available data.

Areas with literacy rates the same or lower than the Gaza Strip:

Malta 92.4
Indonesia 92.0
Malaysia 91.9
Jordan 91.1
Ecuador 91.0
Sri Lanka 90.8
United Arab Emirates 90.0
Brazil 90.0
Peru 89.6
Lebanon 89.6
Turkey 88.7
Bahrain 88.8
Libya 84.2
Saudi Arabia 82.9
Iran 82.4
South Africa 82.4
Oman 81.4
Syria 80.8
Honduras 80.0
Nicaragua 76.7
Tunisia 74.3
Egypt 71.4
Algeria 69.9
Guatemala 69.1
India 66.0
Sudan 60.9
Yemen 54.1
Morocco 52.3
Pakistan 49.9
LOWEST IN THE WORLD, Burkina Faso 23.6

Sources: CIA World Factbook 2010
United Nations Development Programme Report, 2009

Once again we see a very high incidence of country's expressing condemnation of Israel in addition to a high proportion of Arab and Islamic countries expressing dismay over the "humanitarian crisis" in Gaza.

Another interesting comparison: Women's Literacy Rate

As per the CIA World Factbook, women's literacy rate at last calculation in Gaza was 88%. There are 87 areas of governance in the world with lower female literacy rates, 109 with higher female literacy rates. These statistics are not as impressive as the previous ones I have posted, however one must also consider Gaza's religiosity and Islamic dominion under Hamas. As far as Muslim areas of governance go, Gaza is among the very highest in female literacy.

Areas of governance with lower female literacy rates:

Zimbabwe: 87.2%
Indonesia: 86.8%
South Africa: 85.7%
Malaysia: 85.4%
Bahrain: 85%
Jordan: 84.7%
Lebanon: 82.2%
Peru: 82.1%
United Arab Emirates: 81.7%
Bolivia: 81.6%
Kenya: 79.7%
Turkey: 79.6%
Albania: 79.5%
China: 78.8%
El Salvador: 77.7%
Honduras: 76.3%
Zambia: 74.8%
Syria: 73.6%
Oman: 73.5%
Iran: 73%
Libya: 72%
Saudi Arabia: 70.8%
Nicaragua: 67.8%
Tunisia: 65.3%
Cambodia: 64.1%
Algeria: 61%
Egypt: 59.4%
Sudan: 50.5%
India: 48.3%
Morocco: 39.6%
Pakistan: 36%
Yemen: 30%
Iraq: 24.4% (as of 2002, prior to the war)
LOWEST FEMALE LITERACY RATE IN THE WORLD, Afghanistan: 12.6% (as of 2000, prior to the war)

Sources: CIA World Factbook 2008

Once more, the hypocritical anger and condemnation at Israel is startling, given the record of many of these countries.

Also worth noting is that TURKEY falls behind the Gaza Strip in EVERY SINGLE set of comparative data I have posted to this point. Of all of the hypocrisy in the world, theirs in this Flotilla fiasco is the most ridiculous and ill-founded. It becomes clear that it was ALL politically contrived.

School Life Expectancy

Another measure of basic decency of life, education, and a direct fact to disprove claims that Gazans have little to no access to education is that the GAZA STRIP school life expectancy averages 14 years. 13 years for males and 14 years for females.

While not as valuable qualitatively as literacy rates, it is valuable to see how it is consistent with the rest of the statistics available to show basic standards of life in the Gaza Strip.

Of the comparatively limited data available (only 110 areas of governance), Gaza sits at 29th in the world with 81 areas/countries with lower school life expectancy.

Areas of governance with lower school life expectancy than Gaza:

Uruguay: 13.7 years
Hungary: 13.6 years
Bahrain: 13.5 years
Czech Republic: 13.5 years
Chile: 13.5 years
Tunisia: 13.5 years
Malta: 13.4 years
Luxembourg: 13.1 years
Qatar: 13.1 years
Lebanon: 12.8 years
Bulgaria: 12.7 years
Cuba: 12 years
Lithuania: 11.6 years
Romania: 11.6 years
Algeria: 11.5 years
Mexico: 11.5 years
Malaysia: 11.5 years
Croatia: 11.4 years
Iran: 11.3 years
Latvia: 11.2 years
Philippines: 11.2 years
Georgia: 11 years
Thailand: 10.8 years
Cyprus: 10.8 years
United Arab Emirates: 10.7 years
Azerbaijan: 10.6 years
Egypt: 10.3 years
Costa Rica: 10.1 years
Syria: 9.5 years
Turkey: 9.5 years
Jordan: 9 years
Saudi Arabia: 9 years
Oman: 8.8 years
Kuwait: 8.7 years
Yemen: 8.5 years
Morocco: 8.2 years
Cambodia: 7.3 years
LOWEST IN THE WORLD, Mali: 2.1 years

Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics

INDEED, IN EVERY SINGLE QUALITY OF LIFE STATISTIC I HAVE LOOKED AT, TURKEY FALLS USUALLY WELL BELOW OF THE GAZA STRIP! Their criticism of Israel over the "humanitarian disaster" in Gaza is the absolutely quintessential example of "the pot calling the kettle black."


As per research undertaken by my colleague, Noah Shack:

The Gaza blockade has been enforced by Israel and Egypt since Hamas’ violent takeover of the Strip in 2007, with the goal of diminishing Hamas’ capacity to produce and procure weapons.

Blockade is a legitimate tool under international law used as an effective naval measure by several Western countries, including the NATO blockade targeting the former Yugoslavia from 1993-1996. According to section 7.7.1 of the US Commander's Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, the “right of blockade is intended to prevent vessels and aircraft, regardless of their cargo, from crossing an established and publicized cordon separating the enemy from international waters.”

Section 67A of the San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea clearly states that a country has the right to intercept vessels that are “believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture.”

Maritime blockades are often enforced in international waters. In fact, section 7.7.4 of the US Commander's Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations states that a vessel is considered to be in attempt to breach a blockade from the time it leaves its port with the intention of evading the blockade.

Since the blockade of Gaza began in 2007, Israel has continued to ensure adequate delivery of humanitarian supplies via multiple land crossings on a daily basis. However, Israel is not legally obliged to allow any goods into Gaza that would give Hamas a military or economic advantage.


As per research conducted by my colleague Steve McDonald:

The facts put these charges to rest – just take a look at how much aid Israel regularly delivers to Gaza, and what it means in real terms for Gazans:

Over one million tons of humanitarian supplies were delivered by Israel to the people of Gaza in the past 18 months – that’s equal to nearly one ton of aid for every man, woman and child in Gaza.

In the first quarter of 2010 alone (January-March), Israel delivered 94,500 tons of supplies to Gaza. It’s very easy to miss what that actually means for the people of Gaza. The breakdown includes:

40,000 tons of wheat – which is equal to 53 million loaves of bread;
2,760 tons of rice – which equals 69 million servings;
1,987 tons of clothes and footwear – the equivalent weight of 3.6 million pairs of jeans; and
553 tons of milk powder and baby food – equivalent to over 3.1 million days of formula for an average six-month-old baby.

This reflects a long-term effort on the part of Israel to deliver a massive and comprehensive supply of aid to Gaza’s civilians, while restricting the ability of Hamas to import missiles that have been launched at the cities of southern Israel. In 2009 alone:

During the Muslim holy days of Ramadan and Eid al-Adha, Israel shipped some 11,000 head of cattle into Gaza – enough to provide 8.8 million meals of beef;
More than 3,000 tons of hypochlorite were delivered by Israel to Gaza for water purification purposes – that’s 60 billion gallons of purified water; and
Israel brought some 4,883 tons of medical equipment and medicine into Gaza – a weight equivalent to over 360,000 260-piece mobile trauma first aid kits.


There is absolutely NO humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip. While Gazan Palestinians suffer under fascist Hamas rule, poverty, unemployment and certainly do not live desirable lives, Israel does provide more than adequate amounts of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. This is perfectly evidenced by the fact that despite having higher amounts of poverty and unemployment than most places in the world, by all quantifiable statistics usable to determine quality of life, Gazans live a life better than the average human being in the world. In fact, in comparison to other Arab and Muslim nations with similar values, governments and beliefs, the Gaza Strip is actually a leader in quality of life indicators. While suffering and unfortunate aspects of life are not necessarily quantifiable tangibles, statistics truly determine the MOST objective view of how Gaza's citizens live by comparison to the rest of the world.

Furthermore, one must consider the fact that if Israel had no blockade on Gaza, rockets would hit Israel and psychologically terrorize (despite a low incidence of death caused by rockets) civilian populations to the point that life would be unliveable as it was in Sderot, for example, before Operation Cast Lead.

On the other hand, if Hamas and Gaza renounced violence and accepted Israel's right to exist, the blockade would be IMMEDIATELY lifted (as we stand right now, world opinion is divided on the blockade, because Israel legitimately does have major security concerns). If Hamas accepted Israel and stopped firing weapons, Israel would have absolutely ZERO argument to the international community for upholding the blockade-- let alone to Israelis concerned with the lives of their soldiers, the amount of expenditure to uphold the blockade, and OF COURSE, the basic, human morality Israelis express loudly and frequently. The blockade would be ended by the government or Israeli and the international community's (justified this time) outrage would necessarily cause Israel to lift it.

The world is absolutely being DUPED into believing that there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza and this is not the case, at all, as I have shown. We need to use basic logical arguments and statistics as I have provided above to explain this rationally. The world's excessive focus on Israel and Gaza are a red herring and while the world expends its limited protest capital on a difficult situation with no easy solution in the Middle East, there are dozens, even hundreds of areas around the world where there IS a dire humanitarian situation. The wrong-headed international focus on Israel effectively shifts pressure and resources away from these humanitarian situations, where, if not tackled soon (like in Darfur or the DR Congo, to name a couple), there won't be a dire humanitarian situation anymore. Unfortunately, there won't be any more humanity at all in such places.

The real issue at hand is that the Hamas government in Gaza and the totalitarian leaders in most Arab states put international opinion as a priority far and above their civilians lives and livelihoods. Israel, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. It clearly puts the lives and livelihood of its people much higher than it does international opinion. Unfortunately, the world seems to be blind to these obvious facts and prefers the evil deception inherent in the governing styles of Hamas and other dictators around the world.


To put life in Gaza in perspective with visuals, as well, here's a couple of links you may find helpful:

Am Yisrael Chai!

Please feel free to use this, share it, spread it around as widely as you can/like.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Shabbat Shalom facts on Gaza flotilla


3rd June 2010.

Shabbat Shalom to everyone.

If you are confused and think Israel was in the wrong to intercept the Mavi Marmara then you are not only a confused but far more susceptible to media manipulation than you thought!!!

Let's begin with a few facts most of which are backed up with relevant videos below

YES this was a legal operation on Israel's part according to international law

NO our soldiers did not start the violence – armed with paint-ball guns are you serious?

YES the "peacenik terrorists" were violent and highly prepared with gangster weapons under cover of humanitarianism.

YES they did throw a young soldier off the side of the ship while pummeling others with chains, truncheons and chains

YES They held a special prayer meeting for the downfall of the Zionist Entity (that's us) and for Shuhada (suicide in the name of Alla)

YES this was a carefully orchestrated attack by supporters of terror

NO Gaza was not in need of any of the items on those ships because each and every day Israel is providing them with hundreds of truckloads of essential food and medical supplies.

YES the medical supplies on the boats were out of date and some illegal!!!

NO we didn't harm anyone on the other boats ( or most of those on the Mavi Marmara) They were taken to the port of Ashdod, passed through immigration (passport control) and were taken to a holding area and then flown – at Israel's expense – back to their countries.

YES there are currently two major cases before the Supreme Court – one brought by the left who didn't want us to act and one brought by the Marines who want the people who beat their men arrested and tried and not sent home. Such is democracy.

YES There was a lot of shouting in the Knesset yesterday – when an MK who participated in the flotilla got up to speak.

YES the Arab Media Reported that the Flotilla Participants were Writing Wills; Preparing for Martyrdom; Determined to Reach Gaza or Die. Many of the "protesters" had thousands of dollars in their pocket….they were paid antagonists!

NO -We cannot begin to understand their mindset. One of the "martyrs" - Ali Haydar Bengi's daughter Senanur Bengi, said “I love my father very much. I miss him a lot. He asked me if I want something. I replied him that I hope he would become a martyr.”

YES THE HUMANITARIAN TURKS ARE THE SAME ONES WHO KILL KURDS AND ARMENIANS -helping the humanitarian Hamas (the media is so keen to publish the story they neither check their facts nor notice the paradox!)

Information links

IHH (the organizers) Links to terror

The Knesset yelling

Do not lose heart though…. Some excellent reports

Minister Yuli Edelstein on Fox
and most surprisingly Delightful to see Jon Snow flummoxed by the facts!

Israeli aid to the Gaza Strip

Last but far from least in this section. Vice-President Joe Biden allowed himself to tell his truth. I spent a week with this man and this is the real Joe Biden! Obama eat your heart out!

And now to lift your heart…..
14 year old Daniel Peleg lives in Los Angeles. When he heard there was a demonstration against Israel he didn't think of his own safety, he was not cowardly, he did not rant and rave and spit venomous hatred like the pro-Gaza demonstrators – this 14 year old simply walked into the snake pit (I refuse to say lion's den for lion's are noble and only kill for food) with one large Israeli flag. Brilliant - one lone high-school kid who was willing to stand up to the Palestinian demonstrators in LA. Daniel you are my hero!!!
This is the truth of Israel, not the hypocrisy and cant of the UN and too many nations who should know better. Who could possibly want to be on the same side as Chavez? An IDF reserve officer, who is a heart surgeon in real life, saved the life of a little Palestinian girl after Palestinian terrorists threw a boulder at her family's car. I love the mother's honesty when her husband wanted to ask the help of the IDF and she expressed fear of the soldiers

Incredibly we have time for fun too – Rihanna gave a concert – we had supper at Yosi Pekin with Batya and Bernie, we are going to have Shabbat lunch with our lovely Australian friends Robert and Anita Simons to celebrate Roberts 70th birthday- birthday parties, bar mitzvahs, movies and food, food food!

The Schalit family and supporters held a rally in Jerusalem's Independence Park and released white doves and balloons in honour of Gilad. It is phenomenal to think that the world couldn't care less about one beautiful young man who is held without the minimum of human rights whose release could have prevented the entire Mavi Marmara affair. Incidentally – did I tell you the translation of Mavi Marmara to Hebrew? "Brings bitterness".

I hope this missive has informed you and cleared your minds. Please please please send it on to everyone you have on your list and use the information in arguments and debates.

With much love from a very troubled Jerusalem. We know that the title of "Neighbourhood Bully" ill fits this wonderful, innovative, generous, giving country which is the first to run to anybody's aid and wonder when the world will wake up to it.


Bob Dylans Neighborhood Bully original words

Neighborhood Bully redone amazing Israel