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What happened to Lara Logan in Tahrir Square in Egypt should have been a wake-up call. Although she bravely reported on her near death experience of gang rape turned lynch mob, that screamed “Jew, Jew” as they attempted to tear her apart, the world just sighed, turned down the volume, looked away and said: “It’s not about Islam.”

As wave after wave of migrants beat upon the shores of Europe, the number of rapes rose dramatically. This should have set off warning alarms but Europe preferred to not see the crimes against their women, hiding the origin of the perpetrators in order to prevent “Islamophobia’ while at the same time announcing, “It’s not about Islam”.

More and more reports are coming out of women being attacked, molested and raped in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany and France.  Sweden is now number two on the list of rape countries, surpassed only by Lesotho in Southern Africa.

The mass molestation of women in Cologne on New Year’s Eve was impossible to ignore or hide. Too many women filed official complaints. Police in Berlin, Hamburg, Bielefeld, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Stuttgart have reported of similar incidents. Police in Vienna and Salzburg in Austria and Zurich in Switzerland have raised the alarm about similar mass assaults against women by newly arrived Arab migrants. Also Sweden and Finland experienced the same on New Year’s Eve.

We learned that there is a name for these mass assaults: Taharrush.

More and more women are speaking out via social media about being afraid to walk in their own cities, feeling threatened, being verbally abused and physically attacked.

Now stories of molestation of European women and young girls are appearing in mainstream media. These stories are framed in the context of needing to educate migrants on how to treat women i.e. it’s not “nice” to molest or rape. No real solution is offered, aside from educational posters in public places and comments like “stay at arm’s length,” “don’t go out on your own” and “stay away from the neighborhoods where the migrants are”.

Many still refuse to see the problem. Some see but prefer to blame the victims. Women have begun to cry out for help, for protection.

I have two words for the women of Europe: Krav Maga.

It comes from Israel and it could be what saves you. Don’t wait for your government to protect you. Don’t hope a man will protect you. Protect yourself.

This is a love story between a father and his son, between a son and his father.

I dare you to read this and remain unmoved.

The story ends with the son, cheering from the sidelines as his father completed the grueling Israman Challenge, joining him at the end so the two could cross the finish line together.Ohad and his father

Israman is an offshoot of the Ironman competition. The banner for the competition is
splashed with the question: “Are you tough enough?” It takes a truly tough man (or woman) to complete the difficult circuit of 3.8 kilometers (2.4 miles) of swimming, 180 kilometers (112 miles) of cycling and a 42.2 kilometers (26.3 miles) on foot.

“Are you tough enough?” is a question Israeli parents have to deal with when they send their children, particularly their sons to the army. It isn’t easy to send your most precious ones in to danger. Suddenly the roles are reversed, the parent can no longer protect the child, it is the child who takes on the role of protector, not of themselves, but of the nation.

The elite units in the IDF ask the same question of the soldiers: “Are you tough enough?”  Can you handle the difficult tasks we will put to you? The more important the unit, the more difficult the training. Those that aren’t tough enough are repositioned to simpler tasks.

I’m certain that Shimon Ben Yishai was bursting with pride when his son Ohad was accepted to the IDF’s elite Egoz reconnaissance unit. His son was tough enough.

Shimon managed to arrange something that normally is not done – he joined Ohad and his unit on the “Trek to the Beret”, the long and difficult trek fighting unit soldiers do in order to attain their unit’s beret. This is a rite of passage, signifying that these soldiers have attained the right to belong to their specific unit. It is difficult (are you tough enough?) and geared to make the soldiers coalesce as a unit – those who make it through to the end will never give up on their friends. The parents wait for their children, the soldiers at the finish line, where the official beret ceremony takes place. The parents are spectators, invited to witness the recognition of the accomplishment. Shimon took part in the accomplishment, marching with his son and the other soldiers.

When IDF soldiers are called to battle, no one asks if they are tough enough. No one asks the parents if they are tough enough to send their children to war. There is no choice. It’s necessary so they go. The parents stay behind with their hearts in their throats, worried for the country, terrified for their precious ones.

During the last Gaza war, Operation Protective Edge, in the battle of Sajaeya, thirteen of Ohad’s brothers in arms were killed. Ohad was hit with shrapnel that pierced his brain. No one thought he would survive.

That was the moment when life stopped for Ohad’s parents. Shimon and Ericka lived around Ohad’s hospital bed, giving him total focus. Nothing else mattered, not work, not themselves, the rest of their family. All they had left was hope.

Very slowly Ohad began to improve. Shimon and Ericka discovered that their 20 year old son needed to be taught everything: to talk, to walk, to eat. They had taught Ohad the child, now they needed to re-teach Ohad the man.

They went on the painstaking journey together. What choice did they have? Nothing prepares you for something like that…

Slowly Ohad improved. Breathing on his own was an achievement. Then the wheelchair was replaced by a walker. It took ages before he was able to call his parents by their names. Now he is able to talk much more. It is obvious that he understands what is going on but the brain injury made it difficult for Ohad to articulate his thoughts and feelings. His parents, who have watched his every move, understand him although he uses few words.

Ohad is now 21 years old. He has fought for his country and fought for his life. And his father was with him all the time. This last weekend Ohad got a chance to support his father’s journey.

Shimon explained to a reporter that although he wished Ohad could participate in the Israman competition with him, he’d take Ohad with him in spirit, every step of the way. It was from Ohad that he’d draw strength to complete the grueling route.

When the reporter asked Ohad what place he expected his father to win, Ohad answered with a single finger – number 1. The reporter asked Ohad with a typical Israeli tough-man joke: “What, so if he comes in number 2, you won’t let him in the house?” With a smile and a mischievous light in his eyes Ohad indicated that it’s something he’d have to consider. Shimon told the reporter: “I think Ohad means that I’m always number 1 for him.” Smiling at his father, Ohad indicated to the reporter that, joking aside, that is exactly how he feels.

When Shimon approached the end of the race, his eyes were not on the finish line but on the sidelines, where Ohad was watching him.

Ohad couldn’t run the race with him but Shimon wasn’t going to cross the finish line without his son. Ohad went to him and with his father’s arm around his shoulders, side by side, they walked towards the finish line.

The cheering was no longer for the runners, it was for Ohad. And for a father’s love. The event commentator explained for those who didn’t know that Ohad is the soldier that suffered the most grievous wounds in the war, that it is a miracle that he is on his feet, walking his father to the finish line. “Honor him!!” he shouted and the crowd went wild. They cheered and shouted “You’re a king!” The commentator made sure to point out the hard work and dedication that it took to bring Ohad to the condition he is in today, telling Ohad, his parents and the spectators: “This is the most important thing there is.”

And he’s right.

Nothing is more important than love.

Watch the video here: http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4759473,00.html

Yesterday a woman in Jerusalem went out to through the trash. To her horror she discovered that her very expensive engagement ring had gotten snagged on the bag and both were somewhere inside the dumpster.

What a horrible mistake!

The woman’s family tried to help her retrieve her ring from the dumpster, to no avail. looking for a ringHelplessly they watched as the dumpster was picked up by a garbage truck. Now the ring was some place mixed in with even more garbage.

When the garbage collectors understood the problem they agreed to dump the truck in a way so that the contents would not be spread further.

The warmth of the sun intensified the fumes from the garbage. As the woman’s family searched for the ring, they were joined by strangers who had heard the story and showed up to help.

Perfect strangers shifted through garbage, to save a bride-to-be they didn’t know and hadn’t even seen, from her misfortune.

They searched for hours. Hours, shifting through the stinking garbage, for a stranger!!

Would your neighbors do that for you?

Last I heard, the ring wasn’t found. What we did find was yet another glorious example of the spirit of Israel.

 

I’m writing this following a question from a friend overseas who asked me: “Besides sharing the truth about Israel, what can we do to help?” There are obviously many things that can be done. These are a just a few easy suggestions I put together to show how anyone, with little effort can make a difference.

What can I do to help Israel?

Spread truth –

The media war is just as important, and sometimes more so, than the war on the ground. There are more people involved in spreading lies than those involved and passionate about the truth. You can make a difference! Even a single candle can light the darkness.

Convenient sources:

  • Inspiration from Zion (my blog) – the untold and inspiring stories of Israel, see the real Israel and get inspiration for your personal life
  • StandWithUs – swiftly updating important and interesting stories from Israel. Subscribe to their facebook feed and get easy to share, reliable (and cool!) information about Israel
  • HonestReporting – keeping the media honest is a never ending job. HonestReporting directs subscribers to dishonest journalism and points out where to complain to demand change. Over and over we see that people who write in succeed in making a difference but we need everyone’s help, mass counts here so every person who joins is important!

Activate your community –

Spreading information on social media is good and helpful however it is often “preaching to the choir”. It is time to take this offline and in to your community.
Here are some ideas of how to easily do this:

  • Spend the last 15 minutes of church / temple / book club etc to Israel
    Read an article from Inspiration from Zion (my blog) and discuss. Raise a question and come back with answers next time (free resources available here: https://www.standwithus.com/resources/).
    Pray together.
  • Bring speakers come to your community – StandWithUs arranges events, including speaking tours and lectures by knowledgeable Israelis. Look for an event in your region or even better, contact them and request one!
  • What are they teaching in your kid’s school? Pay special attention to your local schools. What is taught will be the “truth” as it is understood by the next generation. If you see a problem, speak up. Join the schoolboard. Insist on positive content. You may not have a lot of influence on the national level but you can make a crucial difference on the local level. Think about it this way – if you aren’t there doing it, who is? Do like what they are doing?

Buy blue & white –

The BDS movement is trying to damage Israel through boycotts. BDSers are loud and aggressive bullies that had had success getting shops to take Israeli products off their shelves for exactly that reason – they were bullied.

Time and again Israel supporters have proven that power is where the wallet is. Money talks and where there is buying power there is no boycott. Let store owners know you want blue & white products and BDS will not win. Your voice needs to be heard. This is what you can do:

  1. Buy! The website buyisraeligoods.com includes a store locator for people to find stores in their area that carry Israeli products. Of course you can buy online as well.
  2. Ask for Blue & White products where you normally shop.
  3. If you hear of a planned boycott or demonstration, let your opinion be heard. Write, call, demonstrate!

Visit Israel

Haven’t been to Israel yet? What are you waiting for?
Everyone should visit Israel at least once. Come and see for yourself what Israel is really like. The country is beautiful, safe and has things to do and see for people of all ages and interests. The people of Israel need to see with their own eyes, friendly faces from abroad.

Pray –

Israel is the land where miracles happen. I believe that it is the prayers of good people around the world who help materialize the miracles that uphold our nation. Below is a prayer that is said for the soldiers of the IDF. If this speaks to you, please use it. If not a prayer for the protection of all innocents would be good as well or of course anything else that moves your heart.Prayer for IDF soldiers

 

To all who have taken the time to read this – thank you for caring!

Today it happened again…

A mother murdered in front of her kids today – children saw their mother being stabbed to death. In their home.

Her 15 year old daughter tried to stop the terrorist murdering her mother.

3 of her 6 children were in the house while she was being butchered.

The foundation of life, gone.

The place that is sanctuary became the place of a living nightmare.

How can home be the place where the heart is when that is the place where mommy’s heart stopped beating?

A siren wailed in Otniel: Get inside! A terrorist is on the loose! Lock the doors, lock the windows!

It would take some time, not long, before they found out which of their neighbors was murdered.

Today it was Dafna Meir. Who will be next?

Can you imagine living in a place that has a siren set up to warn you that a terrorist is roaming around your town, murdering your neighbors and might come for you next?!

You can’t, can you?

And if you can’t, why should we?

In Jewish tradition a lot of power is associated with words – after all God used words to direct the creation of the universe.

In Arab tradition, when the first son is born parents are called “Mother/father of [insert name of son].” Whereas this title becomes an honorific, interchangeable with the father’s name, for the mother this title replaces her name. In other words, where the father retains his name and is sometimes, also called by his son’s name, the mother loses her name completely. She no longer has an identity of her own; she is only the mother of her son.

Try to imagine being nameless. Can you imagine shame being associated with your name? Can you imagine your own son refusing to say your name?

The first woman a man meets is his mother. It is the relationship with the mother that shapes all future relationships. What happens when the mother has no identity of her own aside from being the mother of her son?

This is from a UN campaign, take a look:

Give mom back her name #MyMothersNameIs

The President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is displaying a stunning example of leadership.

This has largely been ignored. I wonder why. Maybe it has something to do with who stands in contrast…

In 2011, enraptured with the idea of the “Arab Spring,” Mr. Obama pushed President Mubarak out of office, enabling the Muslim Brotherhood to take control. Obama seemed to think this a fabulous accomplishment but it took the people of Egypt just one year to realize that, while they rejected the corruption of the Mubarak regime, they did not want the sharia law that was beginning to be imposed with Mohamed Morsi in charge.

The majority of the Egyptian people rebelled. They didn’t want sharia, they wanted to be open to the world, jobs and opportunity for young people. They wanted their government to not be corrupt. Obama came out and said that the people had no right to rebel against their newly elected government.

But they didn’t stop.

Interestingly the people trusted the Egyptian army. Unlike the government, the army is “of the people” and had taken no part in attacking the citizens. This opened the door for General Sisi, then the Minister of Defense, to replace Morsi as President of Egypt.

In office Sisi has implemented aggressive anti-terrorism activities including, banning the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt is actively fighting Islamic State infiltration in to their territory. Last year Egypt attacked the Islamic State after the organization had kidnapped and beheaded 21 Christian Copts (Egyptians). This too was denounced by Obama’s administration.

President Sisi’s attitude toward Egypt’s Christians is unusual. Under the Morsi regime and the Muslim Brotherhood riots following being ousted from power, there were numerous attacks on Christians. Dozens of churches were torched, some ancient churches were burned to the ground.

On January 6, 2015, Sisi did something extraordinary. He made an unannounced appearance at the Coptic Cathedral where Christmas Eve Mass was being celebrated. He wanted to wish the congregants a Merry Christmas and stress that all Egyptians are one people saying, “It must not be asked what kind of Egyptian are you? We are all Egyptians, one people.”

It was the first time ever that an Egyptian President honored a Coptic Christmas celebration with his presence.

Though President Gamal Abdel Nasser laid the cornerstone of the cathedral, he did not attend mass — a clear signal that Coptic Christianity was not to be wholly honored. Likewise, President Mubarak was twice made by protocol to attend a funeral there, but not a mass. Christmas celebrations at the cathedral were traditionally attended by government officials at the minister level.

Further emphasizing his recent declaration that Islam must reform itself, Sisi shortened his visit to Kuwait to be able to come and congratulate the Coptic community. He went straight from the airport to Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, arrived as service had just begun, and apologized for interrupting the mass. The ceremony was live streamed on Egyptian State TV, and showed him being greeted by a jubilant congregation.

Take a look, this is what leadership looks like.

Sisi could have ignored the Christian holiday. Instead he risked the wrath of the Muslim population, set the example and went before the Christians to wish them a Merry Christmas.

Here is a leader who instead of accepting the historic disharmony between the people of his land announces in front of the nation that it is wrong to divide, they are all one people.

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