Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Ramla and Lod; the neglected twin cities in the heart of Israel. A trip on December 30th the last day of Chanukah and An Egyptian official on Palestinian TV denies Jewish history in Israel and Can free Amazon shipping to Israel...... lead to inner peace? By ALAN ROSENBAUM and a Star Wars Chanakuh

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works  with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money,  and spiritual engagement

Love Yehuda Lave

Ramla and Lod; the neglected twin cities in the heart of Israel. A trip on December 30th the last day of Chanakuh

Ramla and Lod; the neglected twin cities in the heart of Israel.

 Straddling the main road between Yerushalayim and Tel Aviv yet they remain an urban backwater and suffer from a  reputation as a center of social, criminal, ethnic, religious problems.
The history of these cities is fascinating as is their current struggle to reinvent themselves. Poor immigrant Jewish communities were the bulk of the population of these towns after the birth of modern Israel.  Hostile Arab populations of Ramla and Lod mostly left in the 1948 struggle for Jewish independence and survival.  Subsequently, Jews were forced to flee pogroms in Arab lands( where the Arab governments and population avenged the Arab defeat in "Palestine" by murdering their Jewish neighbors These Jewish refugees fled to the new Jewish state and were housed in towns like these.
 Not all the Arabs fled in 1948. The  Arab minority in these towns were at first rather docile, happy to be alive and in their own homes after they and their people tried to kill all the Jews just recently.They, who were smart enough not to leave "knew their place". in the new constellation and reality.
However with time, they realized that the Jews were not threatening and in fact, they began to be seen as objects of their criminal and bullying behavior.There were no consequences to be paid.The Arab pockets of the population soon became havens for drug dealers and other crimes.  Generations of old clan blood feuds and honor killing stained the area between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in the midst of an Israel that was developing and progressing. Jews that we're able to flee the spreading blight and crime did so.The weaker Jewish population and the elderly could not flee as the situation went from bad to worse. Arab crime clans were now the dominant presence.
Some Jews from outside the towns saw this development and realized that we were on the way to losing two Jewish cities in Israel.Scores of synagogues and schools were closed and abandoned.Arabs were expanding into many of the poorer Jewish neighborhoods, terrorizing the elderly inhabitants and expanding their crime bastions.A small number of idealistic Jews with a strong sense of national responsibility decided to leave their comfortable middle-class communities and move to the dangerous poor neighborhoods of  Ramla and Lod, giving hope to the beleaguered  Jews.
These are the urban Jewish pioneers of the "Garin Torani".Their parents bravely settled the wilds of Judea and Samaria for the Jewish people and now they are redeeming neglected urban Israel for the Jewish people.
We will be hosted by these marvelous idealists in these cities and be exposed to a world and an ongoing drama that most are not aware of.
Won't you join me for an eye-opening experience on the last day of Chanukah as we witness the spreading of the light by the modern Maccabees redeeming our beloved land today?
In addition, we will visit the amazing Latrun IDF Armored Corps museum and memorial site overlooking the beautiful and Biblical Ayalon Valley. This was the site of ancient and modern battles for the road to Yerushalayim.

Monday, Dec. 30
Departure from the Inbal Hotel at 9:00 Return 5:00
 Cost: 200 shekels.

Egyptian official on Palestinian TV denies Jewish history in Israel

The appearance was part of a wider narrative by the Palestinian Authority, which insists that archaeological evidence of a continuous Jewish presence in Israel is a forgery. By DONNA RACHEL EDMUNDS

An Egyptian official has accused Israeli Jews of falsifying Jewish links to the land of Israel. Speaking in an interview on PA TV, Egyptian Foreign Affairs Council member and former Foreign Minister's aide Raja Ahmed Hassan claimed that Jews forged historical artifacts in a bid to construct a false narrative over Jewish ties to the land of Israel, a claim which was upheld by the program's hosts claim came during the program The Cause in the Egyptian Halls, aired on Official PA TV on October 7, 2019. According to Palestinian Media Watch, which monitors Palestinian media output and translates the Arabic language into English, Hassan said: "If they allow Israel to, it will attempt to change the situation on the ground, to change the cultural sites. It changes some of the existing archaeological findings and writes on them in Hebrew. It takes control of a large number of-"The program's host interjected: "A forgery of history."Hassan agreed, saying: "A forgery which contradicts the UNESCO decisions. UNESCO has determined that neither Israel nor the Jews have any heritage in Jerusalem."The claim is part of a wider narrative surrounding supposed Jewish falsification of history, which the Palestinian Authorities allege is designed to sever Arab ties to the region in order to replace them with a colonialist Jewish population

The claim has been aired widely on PA TV by Palestinian officials and archaeologists alike, and was recently repeated by the PA Minister of Foreign Affairs, Riyad Al-Malki, at UNESCO's general conference.In a speech to the conference, Al-Malki said: "Palestine is the cradle of civilization and the religions, and its capital is Jerusalem on whose walls is engraved some of the Palestinian people's past, heritage, and history. Israel, the occupying power, is striving to destroy this heritage, take control of it, and falsify the history that is witness to our people having been rooted in its land for over 10,000 years, which negates the settler Israeli colonialist narrative."The speech was reported in the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, December 1, 2019.In 2016, UNESCO passed a resolution referring to the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site, as "Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif," which it presented only as a "Muslim holy site."The resolution condemns "escalating Israeli aggression" and Israeli "violations" at the site, and calls on Israel "to respect the integrity, authenticity and cultural heritage of Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif… as a Muslim holy site of worship."


The Rise of Maccabee- A Star Wars Channakah



"DO, OR DO NOT -- THERE IS NO TRY." Little known fact: though Baby Yoda's cousin delivered this sage advice to Luke Skywalker, he took his inspiration from the Maccabees. Like the Jedi years later, against all odds (never tell us the odds!) they fought off a great empire who sought their destruction.

Today, we celebrate the miracles of that time with presents, dreidels and latkes -- and our tribute to the music of one of the greatest film franchises of all time. CHAG SAMEACH... may the force be with you!

Can free Amazon shipping to Israel... ... lead to inner peace? By ALAN ROSENBAUM

'Life is good... So much joy... I have never been so happy... I'm so happy I could cry!" These glowing comments were not spoken by new parents expressing delight in their newborn child, nor uttered by newly minted college graduates who were just hired for their first job. Rather, they were said by Israelis reveling in the joy of having placed orders with Amazon in the United States and receiving them in Israel without being charged for shipping. In mid-November, Amazon initiated a promotion offering free international shipping to Israel on qualifying orders of $49, with no VAT assessed if the order does not exceed $75, in accordance with Israel Tax Authority rules.

As Amazon began ramping up its special holiday deals featuring sale offers for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and as Hanukkah approaches, expatriate Americans – especially recent arrivals who have fond recollections of ordering a wide variety of goods from Amazon, ranging from laptops to toilet paper, during their pre-aliyah lives – have responded enthusiastically to the promotion with a flood of orders that shippers are having difficulty filling. According to multiple sources, the Israel Postal Company has been inundated by thousands of brown cardboard boxes displaying the famous Amazon logo and the curved arrow underneath, which begins at the "A" of Amazon and ends at the letter "Z," indicating that the multinational company truly sells everything from "A to Z."The reaction to the free shipping promotion among former Amazon shoppers living in Israel has been so strong that a number of Facebook groups have sprung up, where members have shared reports of special savings and their experiences in receiving their orders. Israel "Izzy" Rouimi, formerly of Montreal, who has been living in Israel for 11 years, decided to form a Facebook group soon after the promotion was announced."When Amazon announced they were going to start shipping to Israel, I thought a whole bunch of people would want to take advantage of this, and I decided to make the group to help others share their ideas and what they found on Amazon," says Rouimi, a Modi'in resident. By morning, Rouimi says, there were numerous requests to join the "Amazon Israel-Best Deals" group. Membership in the group has swelled to 4,000, and it is filled with lively reports and questions daily.

So close, yet so far away - analysis quick glance at reports of orders from the Amazon Israel group illustrates the wide variety of products that Israelis have ordered. While many have been for toys, clothing and books, some have ordered smaller, less expensive items such as Ziploc storage bags, Scotch Brite scrubbing sponges, windshield wiper blades, dog waste bags, baking soda, Vaseline, screwdriver bits and hand cream. Rouimi says that he purchased toys and board games for his children because of the substantial discounts Amazon was offering.
"People are buying a lot of crazy things," he admits. "Odd things that no one might order." Is it because these items are substantially cheaper, or because they just want to be able to buy it from Amazon? Rouimi says that it could be a little of both."Someone ordered toilet paper, which is really funny. But, if it is the same price, and you're getting the quality that you know of, and the comfort, why not?" He adds that sometimes, people will go to extreme lengths to reach the magical $49 shipping number."People say, 'I'll buy paper towels from Amazon because it is the same price as in America. Now I need to add to an order to reach $49 to get free shipping.' Then you are getting to a point where you are just adding things."Rouimi says that for the most part, Israelis are ordering from Amazon because of the vast differences in price, especially when free shipping is considered. "People are talking about aluminum foil, and bed sheets and pillows – literally anything you can buy – and the reason is because you can generally assume that for brand names that you're getting in America, you're getting far better quality there than you're getting here." One woman on the Facebook group wrote that every three months she orders soap, cleaning materials, shampoos and deodorants from SuperSol. After comparing the prices for the same items on Amazon, she was shocked to find that Amazon's prices were 63% less than what she is paying for the same items in Israel. Rouimi says that toys in particular are less expensive."The holidays are coming, which is great for Hanukkah. Jenga stackable wooden blocks are $6.50 on Amazon, and NIS 100 in Israel. That's insane," Rouimi said.Shifra Friedman, a Beit Shemesh resident, is planning on utilizing the free shipping offer to get products that are hard to get in Israel, or too expensive. "I don't know how long the free promotion will last, but I am going to try to take advantage of it as much as possible to get the products that we like but are too heavy to bring in a suitcase, like Dial Liquid Anti-Bacterial soap, or board games like 'Ticket to Ride' that cost twice as much money here."Rouimi says that the flood of Amazon shipments has overwhelmed the post office. "I've been hearing from people who work for the Israel Post that they've never seen this many packages before in their lives. And they don't know what to do."Amazon is using a number of different delivery companies, including the Israel Post Company, DHL, Aramex and others. Some customers have reported that packages have been delivered ahead of schedule; others say that their orders took a week to arrive in Israel, and actually took a longer period of time to arrive to their home. "I ordered on Thursday and it was in Israel on Sunday," reports Rouimi. "The problem is that once the package arrived in Israel, it was bouncing around for about two weeks. It still arrived well before the expected arrival date."In some cases, shippers have been sending Amazon packages to local stores, where orders can be picked up by recipients. Some customers report receiving their orders in separate shipments, and not always in chronological order of when the shipment was placed.WHILE AMAZON shoppers in Israel are enjoying the promotion, there are those who are worried that the free shipping offer will suddenly end. One member of the Facebook group wrote, "Does anybody else find themselves buying in bulk quantities fearing that this party can end any day?" Rouimi speculates that the offer will not be permanent and thinks that Amazon is using the free shipping promotion to gauge the size of the local market before setting up shop permanently in Israel.Rouimi hopes that Amazon's competitive prices, coupled with its free shipping offer, will ultimately bring down prices on imported goods from the US and other places that are sold in Israel. "More important to me is the price gouging that is happening, where you have stores saying, 'We import American products and no one else does, so we will charge whatever we want.'" He adds that if local importers would lower their prices, customers would return, because ultimately people prefer to buy locally if the prices are comparable.Does online Amazon ordering with free international shipping solely serve the economic requirements of expatriate North Americans, or does it also provide a psychological boost by reaffirming their association with their previous lives? While the 'virtual' world that exists in Israel today of smartphones, streaming media and fast Internet has equaled, and in some ways eclipsed the North American equivalent, Amazon, with its ability to deliver physical goods of almost all types at affordable prices, has no Israeli counterpart.As one member of Rouimi's Facebook group wrote, "Does anyone else get emotional when they see items on Amazon that qualify for the shipping to Israel? Like, you can finally have something to remind you of your former home with you here in Israel?"Or, as another customer wrote, "Is it terribly sad that I cannot bear to throw the Amazon box away?"

See you tomorrow, bli neder Chanukuh starts Sunday night

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

PO Box 7335, Rehavia Jerusalem 9107202


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