Breaking News: Bennett: Fourth Vaccine Dose Approved for Senior Citizens, (but your last shot must be six months-not four like mine) and Medical WorkersBy Hana Levi Julian Northern Jerusalem: Atarot Must Be Rebuilt By Hillel Fendel and Chaim Silberstein / KeepJerusalem.org and Secular Vs. Religious Upbringing By Dennis Prager and Democrats Legalized Crime, Thousands Died By Daniel Greenfield and Antiquities Seized from Arab Bandits Believed to be Loot Taken by Bar Kochba Rebels from Romans and a shout out to my brother on his 64th birthday
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.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced to reporters in a live broadcast Sunday that the Health Ministry has approved a fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine for all Israelis age 60 and above, and for medical workers.
"The Omicron wave is here," he said, warning that it could peak at as many as more than 50,000 new cases of the virus diagnosed daily.
Speaking to reporters from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), Bennett said the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is a "different wave" than those that preceded it, and that "it behaves differently. . .It requires us to adapt everything we knew about COVID."
"Israel started preparing for Omicron early on," he said. "This bought us time, which we're using to our advantage.
"Last week Israel began vaccinating its most vulnerable citizens with a fourth dose of the COVID vaccine. Tonight I can announce that Israel will also begin administering the fourth vaccine to all Israelis age 60 and above, as well as our wonderful medical workers, four months after they have received their last dose.
"Following the approval of Israel's Ministry of Health, Israel will once again be pioneering the global vaccination effort," Bennett said.
"Omicron is not Delta," he added. "It's a different ball game altogether; we must keep our eye on the ball, act swiftly and decisively if we want to continue engaging and working with an open country as much as possible throughout this pandemic."
Bennett also spoke of the preparations made by Israel in advance of the current wave.
"About five weeks ago, we closed the State of Israel to entry by foreign nationals. This move drastically delayed the entrance of the Omicron variant into Israel. We bought ourselves precious time and saved it well.
"We purchased medicine, including Pfizer's Paxlovid – a drug in high demand around the world, with lots of competition among buyers. We now have the drug, and it is highly effective.
"Secondly, we prepared and are preparing the hospitals to make sure that they'll be ready for the peak of the wave of hospitalizations.
"We also ensured that we have a sufficient supply of vaccines for the elderly and for children."
With more than 5,000 cases of the coronavirus currently diagnosed daily in the Jewish State, Bennett reiterated that vaccination and masks remain the best way to avoid catching the virus — and if indeed one does become infected, being fully vaccinated "is the best way to get through it," he said.
The Three Musketeers at the Kotel
Northern Jerusalem: Atarot Must Be Rebuilt By Hillel Fendel and Chaim Silberstein / KeepJerusalem.org
Photo Credit: Wikicommons
It happened last week: In light of relentless international opposition, the Jerusalem District Planning Committee found a way to postpone construction of a new Jewish neighborhood in what used to be the Atarot airport in northern Jerusalem. The excuse for this: a purported need to conduct an environmental survey. The survey will take at least a year.
The United States, the European Union, and several ministers from the current left-leaning, Israeli-Arab government coalition were pushing strongly for the postponement. This, even though the city council itself had just days before approved the neighborhood. American pressure came not only in the form of a direct message from the State Department, but also the presence of a U.S. Embassy official at the very meeting at which the postponement was decided upon.
Jerusalem City Council member Ofer Berkovitz said there is no reason why the new neighborhood could not be approved and advanced simultaneously with conducting the environmental survey. The 9,000 housing units that were set to be constructed in Atarot would have significantly alleviated the housing crisis in Jerusalem, and would have helped guarantee full Israeli sovereignty over the entire city, for the following reasons:
As we have explained in previous articles, northern Jerusalem is a critical front in the Arab drive to take over parts of Jerusalem and then form yet another Arab country in the Land of Israel. Atarot is the main Jewish presence in northern Jerusalem. It is the site of a Jewish village in both biblical times and the early decades of the 20th century, a currently closed airport, and a huge industrial zone that has dwindled to less than half its size as a result of the Oslo War.
The current threat to Atarot is very real: The nearby Arab neighborhood of Kafr Akeb is about to overflow its banks with illegal and unsafe Arab construction that is liable to spill over into Atarot.
Atarot is thus a vitally strategic area in the struggle to ensure that united Jerusalem remains under Israeli sovereignty. If Atarot does not remain Jewish, a contiguous north-south route of Arab neighborhoods – Kalandia/Bir Naballa/Beit Hanina/Shuafat and further south to Abu Dis and Bethlehem – will essentially divide our capital. On the other hand, the large Jewish neighborhoods of Pisgat Ze'ev and N'vei Yaakov cannot continue to be connected to the rest of the city merely by a highway.
"It is construction projects like this [in Atarot] that will save Jerusalem [from being divided]," said Jerusalem lands activist Aryeh King. For the only way to prevent the strangling of existing Jewish neighborhoods, in addition to buffering them up, is to build new ones alongside them. This is clearly a national priority.
Nearly a year ago, plans were finalized in southern Jerusalem for the construction of a new mostly Jewish neighborhood in Givat HaMatos. There too, heavy international pressure impeded the approval of the neighborhood, located adjacent to Beit Tzafafa (Arab) and Kibbutz Ramat Rachel, along the route leading to Gush Etzion. In fact, the Israeli government, after issuing and awarding the construction tenders in Givat HaMatos, made sure to finalize and close them just hours before U.S. President Joseph Biden was inaugurated. Work on the over 1,200 housing units there is now underway.
Atarot is planned as a mostly hareidi neighborhood. Although the future disposition of a neighborhood is not generally stated outright, several hints reveal the secret: The buildings will not be higher than nine stories, so that the highest floors can be accessed on the Sabbath by those who do not use Sabbath elevators; special sukkah porches with no ceiling above them are planned for each apartment on the higher floors; and lots have been designated for synagogues and mikvaot.
Haaretz commentator Nir Hasson wrote last week, "The [postponement] hearing well summed up the planning failure of united Jerusalem ever since 1967. The decision makers and planners don't see the city as a place that must be planned and built for its residents, but rather as a geo-political chess board that must be built up in order to separate between two [Arab] neighborhoods, to preserve the [Jewish] majority, or to thwart a diplomatic plan to divide the city."
What Hasson sees as a "failure" and a contradiction between civilian needs and demographic/diplomatic considerations, we at KeepJerusalem see as validation and a natural outgrowth of the Jewish return to our homeland. For what could be more important to the historic national and religious capital of the Jewish People for over 3,000 years than ensuring that it remain Jewish? Israel must certainly do all it can to ensure that Arab neighborhoods in its capital not become so large that they can no longer be policed (though this already the case in some areas) and that Jews are afraid to enter. We must also proudly do everything possible to ensure as large of a Jewish majority in Yerushalayim as possible, and certainly to thwart any and all diplomatic plans to divide our holy city.
And this is why building up Atarot, Givat HaMatos, and everywhere in the Jerusalem areas liberated over 50 years ago in the miraculous Six-Day War is the charge of the hour.
To help spread the message that Jerusalem has always been, and must remain, Jewish-governed, please join and invite others to KeepJerusalem's eastern and northern Jerusalem bus tours. Email us at email@example.com or visit us at www.keepjerusalem.org
Anyone who thinks about the current civil war in America comes to realize that it is, in large measure, a war between the religious and the anti-religious. The Left has contempt for evangelical Protestants, traditional Catholics and Orthodox Jews for good reason: They represent everything the Left loathes; and while there are, of course, secular conservatives who fight the Left, the largest and most effective opposition comes from conservative Christians and Jews.
The differences begin in childhood. Most religious kids – especially those who attend traditional Christian and Jewish schools – are raised with different values than most secular kids.
Here are some examples:
No. 1: Religious upbringing: Fight yourself. Secular upbringing: Fight society.
I studied in yeshiva (Orthodox Jewish school, where half the day I studied Bible and other religious subjects in Hebrew, and half the day I studied secular subjects in English) from kindergarten to 12th grade. I learned early on that the biggest problem in Dennis Prager's life was Dennis Prager. In nearly all secular schools and in liberal religious schools, kids learn that the biggest problem in their lives is American society – in fact, everything other than themselves.
Which do you think produces a more self-critical, more self-controlled and overall better human being?
Which do you think produces an angrier and less happy human being?
No. 2: Religious Upbringing: Learn wisdom. Secular Upbringing: Nobody of wisdom conveyed.
I have no doubt that most kids raised with the Bible and other Jewish or Christian works have more wisdom than almost any secular professor or other secular intellectual. Yes, there are secular individuals who have wisdom (the Judeo-Christian body of wisdom sometimes continues to have influence for a generation or two), but I cannot think of a single secular institution with wisdom. That is why the institutions with the least wisdom and that believe and teach the most nonsense are universities – they are, after all, the most secular institutions in our society.
No. 3: Religious Upbringing: People are not basically good. Secular Upbringing: People are basically good.
"Wisdom begins," both Psalms and Proverbs teach, "with fear of G-d." In other words, no G-d, no wisdom. But there is another way of asserting how and where wisdom begins. Wisdom begins with acknowledging how flawed human nature is. Or, to put it as succinctly as possible, you cannot be wise if you think people are basically good. You can be a sweet, kind and well-intentioned person if you believe people are basically good, but you cannot be wise. Indeed, you are more likely to be a naive fool.
The belief that people are basically good, a belief that neither Judaism nor Christianity has ever held, is a major obstacle to making a good society. For one thing, parents who believe this will not discipline their children as much as they need to. They will assume, as three generations of American parents now have, that all a child needs is love. And for another, people who believe human nature is good are much less inclined to punish criminals because they will blame murder, theft, rape and other evils on economic circumstances, parents and society – on anything but the criminal's failure to control his flawed nature.
No. 4: Religious Upbringing: Holy days. Secular Upbringing: No holy days.
Religious children celebrate holy days – the Sabbath each week and other holy days in their respective religious calendars. Regular times devoted to the Transcendent have a major impact on the development of a child. The secular child has secular holidays, but they mean little to most American young people. July Fourth is a day off with a barbecue. Meaningless Halloween has come to have more significance than meaningful Christmas. Presidents' Day means nothing. And Thanksgiving is increasingly declared Indigenous Peoples' Genocide Day.
No. 5: Religious Upbringing: Friends plus community. Secular Upbringing: Friends, but no community.
Loneliness is a greater pandemic in the modern world than Covid-19, so much so that the U.K. now has a Minister of Loneliness to try to combat the problem.
This is, in large measure, another consequence of secularism. Religious Jewish and Christian (including Mormon) kids grow up with an abundance of friends and a whole religious community thanks to religious school and thanks to their synagogue or church. What is the communal secular equivalent of the church, synagogue and religious school? Other than sports (which, in any event, is available to only the handful of young people who play on a team), there isn't any.
No. 6: Religious Upbringing: The obligation to honor parents. Secular Upbringing: No such obligation.
Religious Jewish and Christian children are taught the Ten Commandments, one of which is "Honor your father and mother." It goes without saying that many secular children honor their parents, but they do so only if they want to. Religious children are told to honor parents whether they feel like it or not – which is important because very few children always feel like honoring their mother and father.
There is another pandemic in America – that of adult children who have decided never to talk to one or both of their parents. I would wager a serious sum of money that few of those adult children are religious Jews or Christians.
There's a lot more that distinguishes religious and secular upbringings. But one stands out: Religious kids are generally happier.
Is one upbringing better than the other? You decide.
4,901 more people were murdered last year than in 2019. The 30% increase in murders during the year of Black Lives Matter and criminal justice reform was catastrophic. And it's not over.
With the early numbers coming in, over a dozen cities broke their murder records in 2021. Cities across California are continuing to show double digit increases. Philly broke past 500 murders and in response Soros DA Larry Krasner, whom many blame for the crime wave, assured tourists that everything was fine and they should feel safe coming to the City of Brotherly Love.
"We don't have a crisis of lawlessness. We don't have a crisis of crime. We don't have a crisis of violence," Krasner, newly reelected with a mandate to keep giving criminals a pass, insisted.
That was too much for even Philly's Democrat establishment.
"It takes a certain audacity of ignorance and white privilege to say that right now," former Mayor Michael Nutter blasted Krasner, "I have to wonder what kind of messed up world of white wokeness Krasner is living in to have so little regard for human lives lost, many of them Black and brown, while he advances his own national profile as a progressive district attorney."
"I'd like to ask Krasner: How many more Black and brown people, and others, would have to be gunned down in our streets daily to meet your definition of a 'crisis?'"
Krasner belatedly apologized, after critics, many of them, like Nutter, black, attacked him for gaslighting them, insisting that he had just said "some inarticulate things". Why did Krasner think he could offer up a crazy lie like that? He had just won his reelection race by 69% to 31%.
The proponents of the leftist pro-crime policies that led to this nightmare keep telling crazy lies.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claimed that, "A lot of these allegations of organized retail theft are not actually panning out."
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki falsely argued that the pandemic was the "a root cause" of the crime wave.
The legalization of theft, the elimination of bail, the revolving door arrests and releases of criminals, the mass jailbreak of violent felons and gang members to "protect them" from the pandemic, reduction in sentences, diversion programs, refusals to prosecute certain offenses, police defunding, and the rest of the catalog of criminal justice reform are the real root causes.
In typical leftist fashion, a radical transformation was enacted through a set of policies disguised as reforms based on an even more radical understanding of how society should work. And, much as with critical race theory or wealth redistribution, we've been bombarded with pop propaganda, but virtually no discussion of what the underlying ideology behind it believes.
Criminal justice reform was based on the conviction that crime was due to social inequity, that criminals were innocent victims of an uncaring society, that the police were the latest incarnation of slave catchers, that prisons were the new slavery, and that crime prevention was racist.
Pro-crime ideologues argued for legalizing property crimes since property was theft, and for substituting restorative justice therapy sessions for prison sentences for rapists and killers. They called for abolishing police and prisons because once society is transformed, there will be no more crime because the root cause of crime isn't individual choice, but systemic racism.
This isn't some fringe idea by a few nuts. It's what the Squad believes. That's why Rep. Tlaib introduced a bill that called for freeing all federal prisoners. It's what key elected officials in cities like New York City, Minneapolis, and Chicago used as their guiding light when advancing the disastrous policies that wrecked their respective cities.
And yet the media has offered virtually no exploration of these beliefs to mainstream audiences.
Instead the media lied about the most basic things like the meaning of "defund the police", denying that it meant the elimination of police departments, and justifying assorted "abolitionist" measures like opening up prisons as one-time responses to the pandemic. Even now the media continues echoing the false claims of the Democrats that the crime wave is a pandemic crisis.
And that's a lie.
The crime wave has followed political patterns. That's why commercial burglaries and gang murders are up while rape is down. Those crimes that Democrats still take seriously, like rape, are not in crisis mode. It's those crimes that they either don't take seriously, like property crimes, or those that they enable, like murders by the career criminals they freed, that are booming.
Criminal justice reform is not the first time that radical leftists imposed a dramatic policy program with virtually no public explanation of what it was or how it would work. The few times that media talking heads actually asked Democrat officials, like those in Minneapolis, who would deal with crime if the police were no longer around to respond to calls, the responses were nonsensical.
And yet no media outlet was willing to bottom line the agenda of criminal justice reform by admitting that its proponents did not believe that crime needed to be "fought" to begin with.
"If you are a comfortable white person asking to dismantle the police I invite you to reflect: are you willing to stick with it? Will you be calling in three months to ask about garage break-ins? Are you willing to dismantle white supremacy in all systems, including a new system?" Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender tweeted.
What was this new system? No one was willing to discuss what exactly it entailed.
But the system is plain to see. Watch a video of a thug hauling away trash bags full of stolen merchandise from a CVS. Or more videos of porch pirates brazenly walking away with packages. At the local supermarket, staff have been told not to interfere with shoplifters.
The new system abolishes private property by legalizing theft.
It's a simple proposition that the media refuses to speak out loud because the vast majority of the public would never go along with it. That's why statements by criminal justice reform politicians and police defunding slogans can never be followed to their logical conclusion.
The new system abolishes private property and treats gang violence as a social problem to be met with wealth redistribution, community intervention, and other means of bribing the thugs.
The crime wave is not a baffling phenomenon, but exactly what the defunders wanted.
Thousands of people have died as a result of a leftist social experiment. And thousands more will go on dying because it's a lot easier to destroy public safety than it is to restore it.
And that won't change until we start telling the truth about what's really happening.
As horrible as the Soros DAs, AOC, and the tip of the spear for criminal justice reform may be, they couldn't have done their work without the complicity of mainstream Democrats and Republicans. Under the Obama administration, countless Republicans, local and national, jumped on the bandwagon of criminal justice reform contending that our prisons were too full.
Even now Republicans are arguing that they could do a better job of freeing criminals than the Dems. Just like they could do a better job of carrying out all the other leftist political agendas.
Criminal justice reform was never anything other than a stalking horse for the radical transformation of American society by enabling and legalizing crime. The entire gruesome theater of Black Lives Matter was the front for a radical Marxist project that must be stopped.
Ancient decorated bronze firepans for incense and vessels for pouring wine that were probably taken from a hiding tunnel system from the days of the Bar Kochba in the Judean lowlands and which were found in the possession of Arab bandits, were part of loot taken by Bar Kochba rebels in battles with Roman soldiers, investigators at the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) estimate.
These spectacular archaeological finds were seized by Jerusalem's police from antiquities dealers last week. Police on patrol noticed during routine activity a car driving illegally. This aroused the suspicion of the policemen, and they stopped the vehicle and its occupants for inspection. To their amazement, the police found a crate in the trunk, containing impressive and unusual archaeological finds.
Inspectors from the IAA's Robbery Prevention Unit who were called to the police station immediately understood that these were finds from the Roman period, in an exceptional state of preservation.
The treasure included two 2,000-year-old decorated bronze censers that were used for incense in rituals and in Roman houses and temples.
A bronze jug that was used to pour wine was also found in the collection. The vessel depicts a scene of a Roman banquet – a human figure lying in pleasure, holding a jug of wine in its hand.
A decorated stone bowl with three legs, Roman pottery candles, and hundreds of coins, dating to the Late Roman period, the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE, were also seized.
The bronze items are relatively rare in the country because metal was an expensive material, which used to be smelted for reuse. Such items are usually found at archaeological sites in circumstances in which they were deliberately hidden.
The discovery of the findings led to the opening of a criminal investigation by the IAA against the three suspects who were in the vehicle. The investigation raised suspicions that the items were brought to Jerusalem with the aim of selling them to an antiques dealer.
The Robbery Prevention Unit believes that the ancient items were robbed from a hiding system dating from the days of the Bar Kochba revolt, 130-135 CE.
The IAA explained that its belief that the tools were taken as booty by Bar Kochba fighters and were not created by the Jewish fighters stems from the fact that the tools are cult tools typical to the Romans, depicting pagan figures and symbols, contrary to the Jewish prohibition not to make statues.
In addition, in the days of the Bar Kochba revolt, the Temple was no longer standing and was destroyed 60 years prior to the revolt, so there was no longer a Jewish ritual of offering sacrifices or incense. When the Jewish warriors wanted to use such tools, they used to cut off the nose of the figures to annul the ban on idolatry.
Amir Ganor, director of the Antiquities Authority's Anti-Robbery Unit, said that the site from which the artifacts are believed to have been taken was under their surveillance for several months.
"We recently identified unauthorized archaeological excavations at the site near the Tarkumiya crossing. Unfortunately, the robbers managed to escape. During their escape, they left behind ancient finds, similar to the finds now seized from the suspects. We believe that the finds seized in Jerusalem came from this site," Ganor said.
IAA director Eli Escozido stated that the ancient finds "encompass the story of the land, but for the robbers and merchants, they are a commodity, offered for sale for greed and money. There is great value in thwarting the attempts to trade in antiquities, in seizing the valuable findings and returning them to the public and state."
Excavating in antiquities sites without a license and destroying such sites constitute severe violations of the law in Israel, for which the law prescribes up to five years in prison.