“I’m only one call away
I’ll be there to save the day
Superman’s got nothing on me
I’m only one call away”

This is Israel.

When a terror attack occurs many feel the effects, including people outside the first circle of the directly involved, beyond the relatives and friends, the friends of friends… the ripples spread and it is impossible to remain untouched.

Even when there is no direct involvement, some attacks hurt more than others. Sometimes it’s because of their gruesomeness, sometimes because of the heroism of those involved or those left behind. “It could have been me,” the knowledge that you or a loved one was at the scene of the attack a moment before, that someone else was hurt instead of you, is very disturbing. An attack on someone with very similar traits enhances the feeling as well (“she was the same age as my daughter”). Sometimes the reason a specific attack bothers you more, stays in your memory more than others, is inexplicable. That’s just the way it is.

People who live in other, calmer, countries don’t think of these things.

It’s easier to see terror attacks as statistics or human interest stories that change when the news cycle changes. It’s easier to forget.

When the article about Nava Applebaum came up in my Facebook feed I couldn’t remember if she had been murdered at Café Hillel or Café Moment. I didn’t remember what year it happened. I remembered her smiling image, hugging her father. I remembered the wedding she was supposed to have the next day.

Her father had taken her out to have some special time together before her wedding. Dr. Applebaum, a specialist in emergency medicine, who had saved the lives of so many other victims of terror attacks, was murdered alongside his precious daughter.

These thoughts flooded my mind before I even opened the link to the article.


There was the image I remembered. nava-and-dr-applebaum

The article said the attack occurred 13 years ago. So much time has gone by?

I went to my article archive and looked at the titles to see which was about the Applebaums. I didn’t remember the title but I knew which one it was before I opened it: “Their Wedding Day.”

This is what wrote at the time:

Dear All,

The following is about events in Israel on September 9 2003. Today our hearts are with America’s 9/11 victims.

On September 9, the day of the attacks in Tzrifin and Hillel Café, a total of 15 people were killed and over 80 wounded. [My God]

I woke up in an unexplained panic from an afternoon nap. I turned on the tv and saw that just a few minutes ago a suicide bomber had blown himself up at a bus stop. Panic explained.

Later on in the day another suicide bomber blew himself up in Café Hillel killing 7, among them Nava and Dr Appelbaum.

Both bombers were members of Hamas from the village of Rantis in the West Bank. Both studied together at Bir Zeit University in Ramallah. Both had been released from Israeli prison 6 months ago as a “confidence building gesture” to the ‘Palestinians’. [Will we ever learn that the confidence we build with these gestures is the confidence that the path of terrorism is helping them attain their goals?!]

It was their wedding day.

It was love at first sight. They met when they were 16 and 17 years old and they were together ever since. The more time they spent together the happier they were. Everyone knew they were going to get married. Chanan bought an apartment and furnished it for his wife to be. He even thought to put plants in it, writing a note and placing it in the pot for his beloved Nava to find. The note said: “This plant is like you. It grows when it’s watered and becomes more beautiful with each passing day”. Chanan also bought special jewelry to give Nava on their wedding day.

Nava never saw the note, she never got the jewelry and she didn’t get married. Chanan never got to watch his bride walk down the aisle towards him, surrounded by their friends and family.

Friends and family came, a sea of people. They parted to create an aisle for Chanan and Nava’s family to walk down but Chanan couldn’t do it. He had to be supported, half carried to the grave of his beloved.

Instead of getting married Chanan found himself attending a double funeral, that of his 20 year old wife-to-be and her father, Dr. David Appelbaum an expert in emergency medicine. Both had been killed in a terrorist attack the night before.  

Chanan was told that Dr. Appelbaum died first. When he was told about Nava he collapsed on the spot. After he revived he told relatives that he could never be married to anyone else. Nava was his soul mate, his other half and without her he would always be half a person. A day later he was still unable to function. He wrote a eulogy to his beloved but was unable to bring himself to read it at her funeral.  

The terrorist who killed Nava and Dr Appelbaum killed something in Chanan too. He also killed the thousands of people Dr Appelbaum would have saved had he continued living, working in emergency medicine. Thousands already owe their lives to Dr Appelbaum. Truly, when you kill one person you kill the world.

It’s interesting to read these words now. On a horrific day in Israel, of all the people hurt, it was Nava’s story that stood out the most to me. The story of the bride-to-be who would never dance on her wedding day, never create the family she dreamed of, her fiancé, heartbroken… that was gut wrenching. The loss of Dr. David Applebaum and, with him, all the people he could have saved in the future, was a disaster on a national scale.

At the same time, for some reason, I was thinking of the effect of 9/11 in America.

So many things have happened since, so many other attacks, new horrors, I haven’t followed up on what happened to the Applebaum family – but I never forgot them.

The article added details I didn’t know and filled in the gaps created by the years that have passed.

It is a relief to know that Chanan married in 2010. I wish him and his new family joy, free from trauma and hardships. Nava and her father are being honored in numerous ways that keep their memories alive and help continue their legacy of positively influencing new lives.

This picture, to me, is the most beautiful tribute. All these sweet girls are either Nava’s nieces or her first cousins’ daughters and they all were named after her. From left to right- Talia Nava Silberman, Nava Tiferet Applebaum, Nava Bat-Ami Applebaum, Nava Shani Maresky, Nava Tehila Kramer, Nava Rachel Abramson, Nava Yehudit Kasnett, Nava Noam Kalker. Credit: Yael Applebaum


“Time heals all wounds” is an empty platitude often thrown out by awkward people who do not know how to comfort the bereaved. Those who have had their loved ones ripped from them in particularly horrible ways probably hear these empty, useless, promises the most often.

Time heals nothing. It’s what you do with that time that makes the difference.

In good times and in tragedy the Applebaum family is a shining example for us all.

When you use your life to bring joy to others nothing can truly break you. Even death cannot kill your memory or legacy when it is used to make the world a better place. This is worth remembering should tragedy hit your family or that of someone you know.

If the Applebaums can do it, you can too.


Read more about Nava, Dr. David Applebaum and what is being done to preserve their legacy here.


“We built that”

Once upon a time, the people that built things with their own two hands were admired. The pioneers. Their sweat and the dirt beneath their fingernails was a badge of honor, a testament to their courage.

The builders, people who created something from nothing, were upheld as an example. They who made the rocky hills green, who planted vineyards and made fruit trees grow where, once, there was only desolation – they were the ones to emulate.

To set out alone, relying on no one but oneself was the mark of a man, free in his own land.

They toiled under the sun, individuals with a few family members. People with no family found friends who became family. Together they carved out an existence reborn in the land of their forefathers.

And the world watched in wonder.

They dug wells and planted seeds. They built homes and schools and synagogues. They created places of beauty. They laid the foundation so that more people could come and join them, start families and have children whose laughter rang in the wind as they ran on the hilltops.

Children that were free and strong, stubborn like their parents.

Children who knew they could do anything, achieve anything if they were willing to work hard, like their parents.

Can you imagine the pride of looking at a hill and knowing that it is green because you planted all the seeds? To bring forth wine from a land once empty? To put your arm over your son’s shoulders and tell him: “Son, do you remember the day we finished building the house? You helped me lay the titles for the roof. Our home, we did that, together.”


They are the pioneers.

Once they were admired.

In America, the land of my birth, pioneers of the land are barely remembered. Who remembers a time when there were no roads, no cities or towns, no gardens, no businesses?

“You didn’t build that” and “Build it for me” are much more common than, “Get out of my way and let me build for myself.”

In Israel, the land of my heritage, the pioneers are still building and creating new life where once there was none. No longer upheld as ones to be admired, they remain as stubborn as their parents. The ground resonates through their feet and the wild freedom of their hearts cannot be imprisoned by disapproval of others.

Looked on with scorn, the world now calls them the “settlers”. As if it is not due to their hard work that I have a place in which I can settle down and call home. As if there is any difference between the “settlers” of today and the pioneers of a generation ago, our founders responsible for the rebirth of this land.

People whisper in horror: “They are religious fanatics, ideologues.” As if it was not thousands of years of keeping faith with our religion and our heritage that led the pioneers back to the land that, even in exile, was always home.

As if the idea of being a self-actualized nation, free in our own land, is a right reserved only for those who are not Jewish.

Many say, “What is wrong with them? Why do they put their children in danger?” The pioneers know that being custodians of the land of our ancestors comes at a terrible price.

The murderous waves of hatred of those who wish Jews gone from the land of our fathers break upon the backs of the pioneers. All too often they pay in blood and tears for the right to enjoy what they built with their own two hands. It takes a will of steel to stand unmoving but they know that they stand in the gap. Should they step aside, the waves will crash, washing away everything: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Netanya and Haifa.

What choice is there?

They are the pioneers. Courageous and bold, stubborn and unbending, they remain unchanged in a world that has changed dramatically.

They have earned everything they have. They built what we have today.

And I, who have built nothing, am grateful.

“Aren’t you afraid of the soldiers?” the reporter asked the old Arab man.

A resident of Jenin, approximately 60 or 70 years old was sitting on a pile of rubble. He was calmly sitting there, not doing much of anything. He was surprised by the reporter’s question. I watched the exchange on Israeli t.v., it was an interview conducted in Arabic, and there were Hebrew subtitles at the bottom of the screen so viewers like me could understand what the residents of Jenin had to say.

This scene is seared in to my brain, an exchange I will never forget. It was during Operation Defensive Shield (2002). Terrorists had committed so many atrocious attacks on Israelis (suicide bombings in restaurants, a hotel, attacking people in their homes etc.) it had become necessary to take the battle to the terrorists. They knew the IDF was coming and had time to booby-trap much of Jenin, making it a horrific place for a battle. The IDF ended up having to bulldoze a section of buildings which gave impetus to the media to begin screaming that the army had committed war crimes (false allegations they later had to apologize for).

“Me? Afraid? Of who?” asked the old man.

“The soldiers” said the reporter.

The scorn on the old man’s face fascinated me. “Of course I’m not afraid of the soldiers!” he answered. “I’m not a terrorist! I don’t have a bomb. Or a gun. Or a knife!”

I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. This old Arab man knew what all the residents of Jenin knew, what everyone knows. What the media never ever reports. He had absolutely nothing to fear from the Israeli soldiers because he was not a terrorist and not involved in anything that could be construed as terror related activities.

He knew the truth. I know the truth. How many of the average media consumers around the world know the truth?! American university students? Average Europeans?

The term, media consumers is apt. People consume what is on their plate. Whatever the media puts out gets eaten, swallowed whole. Very few questions are asked.

The plate goes down on the table, so you eat. It’s automatic.

The major media companies have all kinds of slogans referring to their truthfulness, accuracy and fairness. They promote their news channels with action filled non-commercial commercials where the presenters talk about quality journalism, about wanting to uncover the stories, to see the action and bring it to the audience in a first person, unfiltered manner.

And most people just eat what they are given.

But what if the food isn’t clean? What if the media is not presenting fair and balanced, no-spin news?


Many are beginning to recognize problematic journalism, inaccuracies and sometimes outright lies. The journalists are presenters rather than reporters, their “investigations” are more propaganda than anything resembling ethical, investigative journalism. Research and fact checking are considered passé. When it comes to covering Israel, the lies are blatant. Prejudiced unethical journalism has become the norm rather than the exception.

Countless organizations have been set up to counter media lies about Israel. Grassroots groups, concerned citizens are working hard, day and night, to set the record straight. Slowly it’s working. HonestReporting campaigns, for example, have influenced major media sources, forcing them to correct inaccuracies.

Countering the media mistakes and inaccurate reporting (read: lies) is a never-ending task. Stories with the same narrative, told and retold, become truth if uncorrected. The anti-Israel movement uses media stories as fuel for their actions, as justification for policies and propaganda to influence others to hate Israel. Hate incites terrorism and people die.

For Israel, it is literally a matter of survival to keep hold of the truth and make sure it is known to all.

The problem is that the lies are so insidious, they go far beyond inaccurate or slanted reporting. Often the lies are in what you are not being told.

Have you ever asked yourself, what are they not showing me? What else is here that they aren’t talking about?

Scenes like the conversation with the old man in Jenin are things you will never see on your television screen or get from any international mainstream media source. They don’t fit the narrative.

The media lies by publishing stories that are incorrect but also by omitting truths. The strange thing is that the truth is not hidden, one just has to look in order to see it.

Europeans and BDSers may be ignorant of Israeli reality or may simply prefer to believe the propaganda. In contrast, the terrorists know the truth. They understand the Israeli spirit. They believe our kindness and morality is our weakness and use it against us.

This is why Hamas and Hezbollah hide behind human shields. That’s why storing weapons and attacking from mosques, schools, hospitals and clinics has become their modus operandi.

They are willing to damage their civilians because they know that we are not willing to do so, that we prefer to hurt ourselves rather than hurt their innocent women and children.

They attack our children and try to kidnap our soldiers because they know that each child of Israel is precious to us. They know we will endanger ourselves in order to save even a single individual.

To the media Israel is a war machine, not people. The media never shows the heart of Israel.

The terrorists know better.

The question is, what will you do the next time you hear something about Israel?

Words matter.

Words are used to explain reality but they can also be used to shape reality, to create it. Sometimes exchanging a single word for another can change the picture entirely.

Personally I don’t believe there is any neutrality on the issue of Israel. There are people who are uninvolved and not particularly aware of the facts (in addition to those involved despite having no knowledge of the facts). The point is, there are facts – historical, cultural and religious, well documented facts. These can be disputed (and they often are) but not in arguments based on actual facts.

The people who wish to destroy Israel are hyper-aware of the power words have in creating reality and are consciously using well-chosen terminology to delegitimize Israel. Words are carefully chosen and used over and over as a mantra, a marketing slogan, until the general public begins to accept the words as accurate labels with historical, factual value.

Americans my age were told over and over: “Milk. It does a body good.” We heard it so many times, most people believe that milk is healthy, never considering that this message, designed by people wanting to sell milk, may not actually be true.

The words chosen in regard to Israel are specifically intended to disconnect Jews from our homeland, to diminish our history to the point where it can be completely disregarded.

And it is working.

Worse than that – people who love and support Israel are taking part in this, reinforcing and legitimizing it by participating in the narrative of the enemy.

Let’s be very clear:
When you use the terminology of the enemy you empowering the enemy.

If you are using these terms you are strengthening and providing justification to those that hate Israel. You, who love Israel, agree with their concepts, accept their terminology and by extension, are helping to create a reality where their terms must be accepted.

1. West Bank

West Bank seems like an innocuous term however it is its seeming innocence that makes it so deadly. “West Bank” is a term that takes the Jordan River as a reference point i.e. the west bank of the Jordan River.

The territory that is subtly being appropriated is Judea and Samaria, the heartland of Israel. This is the territory in which most of the bible took place. Shilo, the first capital of Israel is in the center of this territory. The Tabernacle was in Shilo for 369 years, before it was brought to Jerusalem.

Shilo can be found easily by following the directions contained in the Book of Judges (21:19). North of Bet El, east of the road heading from Bet El to Shechem (which the Arabs call Nablus), and south of Levona. The connection between this land and the Nation of Israel is very well documented.

The territory became disputed when it was conquered and occupied by the invading Jordanian army in 1948. When Israel was attacked in the 1967 Six Day War and had the temerity to actually win, regaining her ancient heartland and freeing Jerusalem it became popular to attempt to delegitimize this through terminology.

In reality calling Judea and Samaria the West Bank, as if this land is part of Jordan, is no better than saying “the occupied territories.” Can one really “occupy” their own home?

The war that the Arabs lost with soldiers and tanks is now being fought with words.

2. Wailing Wall

This commonly used, highly offensive term is an ancient form of delegitimizing Jewish history by diminishing Jewish anguish at the loss of the ancient Jewish Temple, destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE.

This is the term of non-Jews who occupied Israel, ridiculing the pain of the Jews who stood weeping at the Kotel, the Western Wall, which is the only wall left standing of the ancient Temple in the heart of Jerusalem. (It’s not even a wall of the Temple structure itself, it is a retaining wall of the compound).

During the period of Christian Roman rule over Jerusalem (ca. 324–638), Jews were completely barred from Jerusalem except to attend Tisha be-Av, the day of national mourning for the first and second Temples, and on this day the Jews would weep at the holy site. The term “Wailing Wall” was thus almost exclusively used by Christians, and was revived in the period of non-Jewish control between the establishment of British Rule in 1920 and the Six-Day War in 1967.

This derogatory term mocks the pain of the Jewish people, as in “there go those Jews, weeping again.”

Damn straight. We have much to mourn and weeping is a reasonable reaction to deep, painful loss. Would you mock a child whose mother was murdered in front of him? Would you ridicule the child who always remembered and mourned the loss of his mother? The Temple was the heart of the Nation of Israel, the center of the Jewish religion and culture. The Jewish people have not forgotten this and standing next to the Kotel, the Western Wall of the Temple that once stood on the Temple Mount in the heart of Jerusalem is a poor substitute for what is supposed to be there, for what was once there.

Kotel is the word used in Hebrew which simply means “Wall”. The choice of this term is indicative of the importance of the structure in the Jewish mind – this one remaining wall is so significant that it is not necessary to detail which wall is being mentioned, it is THE Wall. It is not the Wall itself that is holy, it was the Temple and what stood at its center that was holy. 2000 years, exile and many terrible experiences along the way, have not been enough to make the Jewish people forget the importance of the Temple. The Wall has grown in significance because it is all that remains of the Temple, because of that it is precious.

“Western Wall” is a factual description of the Wall. The Kotel is the western retaining wall of the Temple and it is perfectly reasonable to describe it as such. The “Wailing Wall” is an offensive term, used to belittle and diminish the Jewish people and our connection to Israel and Jerusalem. If that is not your goal, don’t use that term.

3. Palestine

Palestine is a name given to the Land of Israel for the sole purpose of disconnecting the Jewish people from Judea, from Israel, from Zion. This was done in the 2nd century CE, when the Romans crushed the revolt of Shimon Bar Kokhba (132 CE), and gained control of Jerusalem and Judea which was renamed Palaestina in an attempt to minimize Jewish identification with the land of Israel. After World War I, the name “Palestine” was applied to the territory that was placed under British Mandate; this area included not only present-day Israel but also present-day Jordan. Leading up to Israel’s independence in 1948, it was common for the international press to label Jews, not Arabs, living in the mandate as Palestinians.

Words give meaning and form to reality, thus names are of vast importance. It is obvious that Jews belong in Judea, but who belongs in Palestine?

Palestine is and always was, a politically motivated name. It is a name that is meant to denigrate and destroy the Jewish connection to her homeland. Arab “Palestinians” are a nationality invented to facilitate and justify cleansing Jews from Israel.

If you will – calling Israel, “Palestine” is the original hate speech.

Before the Final Solution was formulated, Hitler wanted to send the Jews “home to Palestine.” At the time there was no question regarding where the Jews belong. Now Jews in Israel are being told to “go home” to Europe. We are being told that we are occupiers of a land called Palestine, that we have usurped a people called the Palestinians.

This insidious lie has taken root within the world culture to the point where many nations around the world have recognized the existence of a Palestinian people and even declared there to be a country called Palestine. The fact that this is a modern day invention meant to REPLACE Israel is completely ignored.

The historical facts are indisputable. There have been Arabs in the region for centuries. There are Israeli Arabs, Jordanian Arabs, Syrian, Lebanese and Egyptian Arabs. There are Arabs in Gaza and Arabs in Judea and Samaria. There are Muslim Arabs and Christian Arabs.

(There used to be Jews in all the same areas, before it became necessary for Jews to flee Arab ruled lands.)

There never was a Palestinian people. This modern day invention based on the geographical territory Palaestina was created for the sole purpose of undermining Israel.

And it is working.

The Palestinian myth has taken root in the political arena, leading many to assume that with the right leadership, a country called Palestine can live peacefully next to Israel. The Two State Solution places Palestine instead of Judea and Samaria, the heartland of Israel, the territory that is or historical and religious connection to this land. The assumption that this is a reasonable or even feasible solution ignores the Arabs in Jaffa, Akko and Haifa that consider themselves “Palestinians.” It is Arabs throughout Israel who are dreaming of a new land instead of Israel.

When a place called Palestine replaces Judea, it will be possible for “Palestinians” to replace the Jews.

The Arabs that never accepted the existence of the Jewish State, who lost all the wars they waged against Israel and the Jewish people are winning the war of ideas. They are winning because people like you and me are adopting their terminology and accepting the concepts and reality being constructed by those words.

Words matter. Choose yours wisely.







On Tisha B’Av Jewish people in Israel and around the world mourn the destruction of the ancient Jewish Temple.

The destruction of the Temple meant the destruction of the centerpiece of Judaism, tearing apart of the foundation of Jewish culture and the Nation of Israel.

This and the exile that followed should have been enough to eliminate the Jewish people. It wasn’t.

2000 years did not make the Jewish people forget.

The image people around the world today have of the Temple Mount is that of the golden domed mosque which was built on the ruins of the Temple in 691 C.E. Since that time the Dome of the Rock has been a holy place for the Moslem people – although not central to their religion. Considered the third holiest location in Islam, it is not mentioned a single time in the Koran.

Temple Mount expln

Within the Dome of the Rock is the Foundation Stone, the foundation on which it is believed that God created the earth. This was the Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant was placed, within the ancient Jewish Temple.

Today Jews are not allowed anywhere near the site that is most holy to us. We may not enter the Dome of the Rock, not even to look. Ascending to the Temple Mount is highly restricted and prayers are strictly forbidden.

Today we mourn what was lost to our people.

Inspiration from Zion: This is a Love Story

Today is a day of fasting for religious Jews around the world – the 9th day of the month of Av (Jewish calendar) is the day when both the first and second Temples were destroyed, the first by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E.; the second by the Romans in 70 C.E.

The destruction of the Jewish Temple meant the destruction of the most holy, pivotal location to the Jewish religion, culture and people. Destruction of the Temple was an attempt to destroy the Jewish nation – take out the cultural linchpin, the one element that ties everyone together and everything will fall apart.

It is written:
As the navel is set in the centre of the human body,
so is the land of Israel the navel of the world…
situated in the centre of the world,
and Jerusalem in the centre of the land of Israel,
and the sanctuary in…

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