a different side of Israel

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Bitter Homecoming: The McCann Family Returns Home Without Madeleine

Without MadeleineSeptember 9, was a very sad day indeed when Dr. Gerry McCann and his wife Kate, arrived back in the U.K. without their four year old daughter Madeleine. Carrying their two year old twins, Sean and Amelia, Dr. McCann said that although they had choice other than to return to England he and his wife “will leave no stone unturned until their daughter is found”.

The case has been front page news ever since little Madeleine went missing on May 3 while the family was vacationing in the resort town of Praia da Luz Portugal. As the story goes, Madeleine’s parents left her and her younger brother and sister alone in there hotel room while they went to eat supper. Kate McCann claims to have come to the room about 10:00 p.m. to check up on the sleeping children, and founds Madeleine to be missing. Several suspects have been detained and questioned, including a British national who lived near the hotel where the McCann family were staying. All of them have long since been released and now the Portuguese police have turned their attention to the McCann’s themselves; even to the point where Kate McCann, also a physician, has become a prime suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance.

The case has become so sensationalized that the pictures of the pretty, blond haired girl have been displayed by news medias all over the world, including the tot’s distinguishing marks in case her kidnappers were trying to disguise her appearance. The most distinguishing mark is a minor irregularity in Madeline’s right cornea, which has been noted in information posted on her behalf, including on the Internet.

The McCann’s have gone everywhere to enlist assistance in finding their daughter, and even had an audience with Pope Benedict XVI. Several blog sites were posted in the Internet, including a special fund to assist the McCann’s with the expenses that they claim to have entailed during Madeleine’s 129 day disappearance. At last glance, the amount in this fund had reached the sum of 1,005,000 Pounds Sterling; now being earmarked to help pay legal expenses due to the parents being considered as suspects in their daughter’s disappearance.

One million Pounds? Just a minute! That’s more than $2 million U.S. Dollars at current exchange rates. Is there any co-incidental connection with this money and the suspicions of the Portuguese police authorities? Why would the police put the finger on these people unless they had some strong evidence. Almost sounds like something the police in another country (I think you know which country I’m referring to) might do.

Other theories as to what actually happened to Madeleine range from kidnapping and selling her on the international black adoption market, or even some kind of ritual killing – if it can be proven the little girl is actually dead.

Whatever are the true circumstances, the entire affair, and the mystique surrounding it is getting more bizarre by the minute. One internet site has even gone so far to speculate that Madeleine’s disappearance is similar to the well publicized incident in Denver Colorado when a little five year old girl named Jonbenet Ramsey was found dead in her home and a number of people, including a transsexual name John Mark Karr were accused of the crime. In the end, the case is still unsolved, although some same that her parents may have been involved.

Stranger things happen in this world, and the truth concerning Madeleine McCann’s disappearance, and fate, are still being speculated. This leaves many wondering what actually did happen last May 3 in that hotel room in Praia da Luz Portugal.

Life after 50 in Israel

Reaching age 50 can be an exasperating experience in Israel’s increasingly sophisticated job market. The problems of 50+ persons in finding suitable employment was again brought to light recently on Channel 10 TV; in which Mr. Oded Levinton, Manager and Treasurer of the “Fifty Plus/Minus” foundation, reiterated the difficulties that older people have in finding suitable work in Israel’s technical and youth oriented economy.

Mr. Levinton, who himself has not held a regular job for more than five years, said that more and more people in this increasing age group, many of whom are highly qualified, are finding the ‘windows of opportunity’ are becoming narrower and narrower, with only less desirable low paid jobs available. According to Mr. Levinton, employers feel ‘uncomfortable’ to hire an older worker, even though that person has qualifications that can be used. “It appears that in the end, an employer prefers to hire a younger person, even though that person may not have the skills that are actually needed. The employer appears to feel ‘uncomfortable’ and even ’embarrassed’ by having to ask an older, experienced person to perform a menial task such as sorting out incoming mail or making a cup of coffee for persons attending a morning meeting.

Also on the program was a representative from the government employment office’s Institute for Skilled Workers, known in Hebrew as the Lishkat Ha’taasuka. The representative said that his agency is very much aware of the problem that older workers face, but that this is a world-wide phenomenon that is a reality of our modern, technical oriented age when people are retiring later and living longer. He continued by saying that efforts are now being made to pay more attention to the plight of older workers, especially those over age 50, with more re-training programs being offered.

Re-training programs? This idea has been used before, but still doesn’t solve the problem of employers passing over older people in favor of those who are considerably younger. And for those in the 60+ age bracket, the situation is even more desperate, with virtually no opportunities available.

While Israel is now considered to be a free market economy, and fewer jobs are guaranteed anymore, the time may have come for everyone to realize that with former ‘baby boomers’ from the 1950’s and ’60s either approaching or already in this age group, more attention had better be made to try to help older workers find suitable employment, other than jobs on the lower work rungs of the career opportunity ‘ladder’ which pay no better than minimum or near-minimum wage, and are usually on an hourly basis with virtually no social benefits.

Since some of the readers of this web blog may be in the age group already, or nearing it, reader comments will most certainly be welcome. This is a problem that may get worse before it gets better, and will affect more and more people, unless solutions are found to help put this able and qualified manpower pool to better use.

Year To The Second Lebanon War

La Plage
Uploaded by Lisang

There has been a great deal of talk about the anniversary of this war. You can read about Lisa and her adventures in Beirut. She was also on Channel 10 last night (Great Interview !!!) and she talked about life in Beirut a year later. This morning Yediot Achronot had a whole spread about Rinat Malkas who was in Bint Jebel last week as well and her experiences in Hezbollah country.

So we really want to know where we stand when it comes to our Northern neighbors. We watched some TV programming on the before and after of this war. People that lost their life, family, legs and in some cases much more. The situation of the bomb shelters in Israel that according to government officials are 95% redone and ready, although the cameras must have seen the other 5%..
The 22 year old kid (soldier) who lost his leg in the war and how happy his parents are because it could have been much worse, and how he copes with his new situation.

Then there are the families of the kidnapped soldiers who are still waiting for a sign of life, mostly from our government…and who want us all to keep the pressure on. This war is not over. It’s just taking a break. It seems like everyone knows it.

Summer Time And The Living Is Easy

“One of these mornings
Youre bound to rise up singing
Then youll spread your wings
And take to the sky
But til that morning
Nothings going to harm you no
With daddy and mama standing by…”

Lemonade from www.bazekalim.comThe news is just filled with all sorts of good stuff today. For one thing we are expecting a heat wave 🙁 and then on top of that we have had just shitty news lately..
Last week an 86 year old man killed his wife (80) and 59 year old daughter. A good father and family man, father of 9 kids, all of whom were shocked to hear this. After the murder he called police and calmly gave himself up.

Then there is talk about an impending war. The newspapers are just full of that good stuff. All the military experts are planing out the next war and the fact that the Syrians are getting ready, the Hezbollah is getting stocked up and in the South the Qassam Rockets are dropping daily. To add to these good news, the cockroach, Ahmadinejad, who is BTW really neglecting his blog, announced that today the “countdown to Israel’s destruction has begun”, and that, “the arrogant superpowers and the Zionist regime invested all their efforts during the 33-day war, but after 60 years, their pride has been trampled and the countdown to the destruction of this regime has been started by Hezbollah fighters”.
Heart warming dip shit isn’t he?

Well in the middle of all this negativity I came across this great site Bazek Alim. A cooking blog that has some really sexy pictures of food and recipes on how to make them. The Lemonade shot is from there…thanks, I needed that.

Yedda Gets 2.5 Million From Genesis

YeddaYedaa a Web 2.0 peer to peer based search community allows people to ask questions and get answers from the relevant people in the field. The company just raised $2.5 Milion from Genesis Partners. I tried it out and you can see what they offer for bloggers below:

Check out this interesting question on Yedda

Yedda - People.Sharing.Knowledge.Something in my eyeToday, I struggled for hours to remove some dirt out of my eye. It was very irritating. Any techniques on ow to remove it fast and easy?

Topics:  ,

Asked by Nicole on December 25, 2006

View the entire discussion on YeddaYedda - People.Sharing.Knowledge.

Zlango Icons Get Another $12 M

Zlango Icons Zlango developed an Icon lingo for SMS communication. In previous rounds it raised $1.5 Million and now raised an additional $12 Million from Benchamrk Capital and Excel Partners.

See if you can get the message in their own “words”on the company blog

Zlango Message

John Edwards Blogsphere Woes

John Edwards hired Amanda Marcotte as blogmaster for his campaign and got more then he bargained for Here and Here.
The shit really hit the fan and there is continued speculation that Amanda will be sacked. Religion is a still a very touchy subject and it looks like the move wasn’t the smartest for Edwards. This is the recent announcement on her blog.

I was hired by the Edwards campaign for the skills and talents I bring to the table, and my willingness to work hard for what’s right. Unfortunately, Bill Donohue and his calvacade of right wing shills don’t respect that a mere woman like me could be hired for my skills, and pretended that John Edwards had to be held accountable for some of my personal, non-mainstream views on religious influence on politics (I’m anti-theocracy, for those who were keeping track). Bill Donohue—anti-Semite, right wing lackey whose entire job is to create non-controversies in order to derail liberal politics—has been running a scorched earth campaign to get me fired for my personal beliefs and my writings on this blog.

So the blogsphere is shaping out to be an influential part of these coming elections. It looks like the blogs are going to be used as the back channels in this election, where things can be said and stones can be cast. Should make things interesting.

Israeli Consulate has an Isrealli Blog - New York Consulate BlogThis is a nice edition to the blog world. The Israeli consulate in New York has a blog called Isrealli. They are already asking for help from writers but seem to have a fresh approach and not the typical government feel. Hope they keep it going…Welcome Guys!

Netanyahu Goes Online

Well in case you haven’t heard it Benjamin Netanyahu has a blog. He promises to write once a week (or two) and answer the comments people leave. Netanyahu is not the first to have a blog among the politicians. The challange always seems to be continuing the writing. Sounds familiar…

The blog also includes this YouTube clip of an interview with HBO.

Borat and Martha Stewart in the bedroom – Video

This is pricesless. Borat who has been doing very well with his movie and getting sued quiet a bit as well, is shown in the clip on Jay Leno with Martha Stewart. Borat who speaks Hebrew by the way and is an ex-Israeli is the antithesis to Martha. Who could imagine them both in the bedroom. All I can say is that it ends with Borat taking off his underwear. Need I say more?

Borat, Martha Stewart In Jay Leno SHOW – video powered by Metacafe

“And a Six-Pack to go”: New ‘Bar Law” Limits Pub Hours

“Hey, hey, Mr. Bartender, please don’t be so slow: I’ve got time for one more round and a six-pack to go”

– Hank Williams

Goldstar Israel
Israelis, long imitators of lifestyles in countries like England and America, are now adapting those countries’ drinking laws as well. In an increasing effort to curb incidents of what is known in the U.S. as DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), a new law being drafted by in the Knesset will ban the serving of alcoholic beverages in pubs, bars, restaurants and other public places from 2:00 a.m. until 6:00 a.m. After studying the increase in road accidents and acts of violence and vandalism occurring during the “wee hours” as a result of consuming alcoholic beverages, including beer, various government ministries are pooling their efforts to find solutions to what is now becoming one of Israel’s most disturbing problems.

Countries which already have such laws in force include the U.S.A., Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Sweden, and Japan. After strict enforcement of these ‘drinking laws’, these countries have found that the result has been a sharp reduction in road accidents and other occurrences resulting from alcohol abuse. Israel’s increasing love of ‘the drink’ has only been a relative recent phenomena; stemming from a large influx of immigrants from the former Soviet Union (where drinking vodka and other alcoholic beverages became common to cope with life under Communism) as well as the new affluence of the mid to late 1990’s. Israelis traveling, and living, in greater numbers abroad have been exposed to life-styles that their parents never knew of in the country’s earlier and less complex environment.

The new law does not demand outright closure of various establishments, which can continue to serve food and non-alcoholic beverages; a good thing in its own as it can enable people to ‘sober up’ before heading home. Other late-night establishments that sell alcohol, such as super and mini-markets, nuts and sundries stores (pitsusiot) are also to be eventually brought under this law as well. The complete enforcement of such a law is another matter, however, as other laws such as against selling alcoholic beverages to minors under age 18 has been in effect for several years. Young drinkers have no trouble finding pubs and other establishments more than willing to accommodate them, however (see previous blog article: “After the Holidays”). There is also the matter of pub-goers purchasing that “six-pack to go” as immortalized in the old Hank Williams song in the early 1950’s.

The law itself, if properly enforced, will be at least a partial solution to reducing the number of road accidents occurring during the hours that the law will be in effect. It won’t solve the entire problem of increased drinking, however; and this can only be done with increased public education and awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving, as well as general alcohol abuse.

Blogmusik ROCKS !!

Check out this BETA version of Blogmusik – Nothing like a little “Free Internet Virtual Ipod”. Try searching at the bottom of the player, options will open on the right, click one and it starts playing. Top quality MP3 sound !!

I love the web 🙂

Sheik Nasrallah claiming victory

This is also a response to VJ’s previous post.



I see the situation has become even more interesting, with the cease fire, and Sheikh Narsrallah claiming victory. While I am very much relieved that this blood bath has at least temporarily ended, there are a lot of “loose ends” that still are very troubling. First of all, too many deaths, especially on your side; as well as the widespread destruction on both sides. Narsrallah has not only emerged unscathed, he has actually emerged stronger and more popular than ever, not only in your country, but all over the world – especially the Islamic World.

Speaking of Islam, I was surprised to learn that you yourself are Muslim. I only became aware of this when I saw the responses to one of my postings in the blog site. Now the $64,000 question; are you Sunni or Shiite? If you have great reservations over Sheikh Narshallah becoming the Numero Uno in Lebanon, then this may indeed happen, as both President Ayoun and PM Siniora are very weak along-side the Sheikh. And with his promise that Hezbollah will help the Lebanese put their shattered country back together again, it’s a win win situation for Hezbollah.

Now, what comes next?

Israeli forces will remain in the sectors they have managed to reach until replaced by the so-called UN sponsored international force, which will be virtually impotent against an future encroachment by the Hezbollah. Naturally, the IDF soldiers, without the protection of bunkers and other fortifications (like they had there prior to the pull out in 2000), will be fair game for commando raids, roadside bomb charges, and other forms of Hezbollah induced insurgency, which resulted in their withdraw more than six years ago.

My question to you, as both a Lebanese and a Muslim, is this. Are you and your fellow Lebanese prepared to let the Sheikh and his ‘band of merry men’ take over your country? Are you prepared to live like the Iranians do today, especially under a person like Machmoud Ahmadinejad?

You may think that constitution of yours, which divides up the sharing of administrative and political power will prevent this from happening. But only someone who is absolutely naive can assume that this won’t ever occur. Because, my friend, it very well might. The Sheikh probably already has plans to either rewrite the Lebanese Constitution, or even discard it altogether, when he establishes his Caliphate. He may even consider the Christian Community as the descendants (and last remnant) of the Crusader kingdoms that were present in the land that both Lebanon and Israel now occupy. After all, both Tyre and Tripoli were once Crusader strongholds; and a network of Crusader fortresses were strung out across Lebanon, including Beaufort Castle in southern Lebanon.

If you really want to avoid all of this, and with Hezbollah a bit weaker militarily than they were prior to July 12, then perhaps it might be advisable not to let the Sheikh, as popular as he now is, gain the control he most certainly will have if he isn’t stopped now. Israel tried to do this; but maybe it’s better if you and your countrymen consider finishing the job. Perhaps that Lebanese Army of yours might even be willing to lend a hand.

Before it’s too late.

Good luck.

The Day After

The aftermath of the Israeli attack on a suspected Hezbollah missile site in the Lebanese town of Qfar Qana, has put the entire conflict into a state of (near) suspended animation. The condemnations, and political consultations involving U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, has resulted in her statement this morning that an immediate ceasefire is being requested to both sides to refrain from continuing the military operations, including launching of Ketusha and other rockets toward Israel by the Hezbollah. Ms. Rice, by being asked by the Lebanese President not to visit Beirut, suffered a diplomatic embarrassment that was felt all the way to the Oval Office of the White House.

The quickly hammered out cease fire proposal, which calls for a multinational force to be stationed on the Israeli-Lebanese border, and formal talks between the two countries on a final boundary or ‘blue line’ between the two countries, resulted from the tremendous outcry resulted from the Qana attack in which nearly 60 people were killed, many of them small children. One issue left hanging (at least it wasn’t formerly mentioned) was the issue involving the two kidnapped Israeli soldiers, which was the main catalyst that started this whole conflagration in the first place. That also includes, by the way, IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit who was captured by Hamas Terrorists in Gaza over a month ago.

During the duration of this three week conflict, we the staff of have tried to post articles that express different points of view, both positive and negative, and afterwards invited readers to express their comments and opinions, as is usually done with such matters. Many online newspapers, with special ‘talk-back’ sections, have similar forums as well, and these usually result in all kinds of comments being issued, many on the negative side.

Our web-blog does not currently have any set ‘rules’ involving the content of these comments; and readers can post virtually anything they so desire, even comments of a most unfriendly nature. For the attention, and hopefully benefit, of readers living outside of both Israel, the PA Authority areas, and, of course, Lebanon, we would like to point out to you as follows: There are no winners in such military operations, as war does create ‘winners’, only destruction and human suffering. The attack on the people who had taken refuge in this (Qfar Qana) building was horrible enough, and the entire circumstances of this tragedy are now under investigation. This event, however, was not the only sad event suffered, as other events were very tragic as well – and not just in Lebanon. Israel, though suffering less of a ‘body count’ in lives lost, has been inflicted very costly damage as well; physical as well as economic. And perhaps it is a good time to pull the brake lever in this “runaway train ride” that has been occurring.

What is sad, above all else, is the discovery that the world is still filled with much hatred and bigotry, that seemed to come out into the open following the posting of the article: Turning Point. Readers who live far way from what has been going on in this part of the world, for so many years, must be made to understand that only by living here and being constantly exposed to dangers of terrorism and war, is it possible see things differently than you do. Israelis and Lebanese living in bomb shelters for three weeks, afraid to come out even to buy food, or languishing in places like Cyprus with not much more than the clothes on their backs understand these issues a lot more than those living far away. With a chance now to send the ‘dogs of war’ back to their kennels, a healing process will hopefully begin. We would like to some day see Israelis and Lebanese coming to do business or holiday in each other’s country; and perhaps this may someday be a pleasant reality. At the moment, a lot of animosity and distrust will have to be eliminated, and Lebanon will need to take control of its own destiny and not be ‘controlled’ by forces like Hezbollah. All we can hope for, dear readers, it that you try to understand that there are two sides to every conflict, especially this tragic one.

OneVoice Letter of Hope

Saed and Elad I hope your words catch on like wild fire throughout the middle east.

Dear International Friends of OneVoice,

There are rockets flying into Israel’s Northern towns as far down as Haifa as we write this, while the people of Gaza are in fear for their homes and lives, without electricity and running water. People are suffering, people are dying and people are afraid. It’s a crisis. We are writing to tell you though not to give up on us, or to give up on hope for an end to the conflict.

The situation today makes it very difficult to talk about conflict resolution – to see an end to the conflict. Sometimes it is easy to see the light at the end of the tunnel, at the moment the tunnel is dark. But this crisis and this conflict will end, and we say that with sobriety and rationality. As much as we feel helpless today, as rational people we must see any crisis as an opportunity to rise up and overcome the reasons that brought that crisis.

The situation will come to an end, when we do not know. In the meantime both people suffer so badly. Believe us that no-one is happy with this life. We want everyone around the world to know that we, and many friends and colleagues like us at OneVoice, are working to change this situation. We are ready. We are ready to do anything necessary to help end this situation. We have done so many activities and introduced so many people to OneVoice and it always gives them hope and energy. We can not and will not lose all of this however hard it is at this moment. We will strive to improve this life.

A resolution to the conflict may seem like a dream, but let us dream it and keep helping us do whatever we have to do to make it a reality. The day will never come when Israelis and Palestinians are prepared to accept living with this situation. How far we are from the day when we have a situation we will accept is hard to say, but we will work for it, even as the fighter jets and rockets go overhead, we will work for it.

Thank you,

Saed and Elad

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