a different side of Israel

Tag: Yitzhak Rabin (page 1 of 2)

Just Say No to the Ebb and Flow

Last December, the High Court of Justice rejected appeals made by Yigal Amir to alter the terms of his imprisonment. The high court ruled that Amir is to be held in solitary confinement for six more months. Amir, who, if you were unaware, is in year 15 of serving a life sentence for assassinating Yitzhak Rabin, rejected last Sunday, an offer from the State Prosecution, permitting him to hold a one hour, bi-weekly Torah study session with one fellow prisoner – in conjunction with permission to join a prayer Minyan with other prisoners. Amir, protesting his rejected appeal, told the court, “no thank you.”

Amir’s attorney, Ariel Atari wrote to the Petach Tikvah District Court:

“The offer disrespects the High Court’s decision…There is no doubt that this position reflects the attitude of the Shin Bet in general and of the Prison Service especially, that the court is at their service – otherwise it is impossible to understand their contempt towards the High Court conveyed by this proposal…There is no doubt that the prosecution wishes to drag out the High Court’s decision, and attempts to draw the court into some kind of negotiations, starting at the opening point, as though the High Court did not speak out…Of course, there is nothing to stop a prison service official from joining the quorum as a 10th man, enjoying Amir’s poetry and hearing all his thoughts and conversations with the rest of the worshipers and with his God…If he finds any faults, he can report them to the court immediately.”

And meanwhile, in Washington, Jewish-American diplomat, Aaron David Miller, wrote a great op-ed in the Washington Post citing the mainstream Arab insanity and anti-Semitism:

“…There’s no doubt that a new Egyptian government and president, more responsive to public opinion – indeed, legitimized by the public in free elections – will be, by necessity or inclination, far more critical of Israeli actions and policies and far less likely to give Israel the benefit of any doubts. Will the new Egyptian leadership monitor smuggling across the Egypt-Gaza border as carefully? Will it be more supportive of Hamas and less understanding of Israeli concerns about Hamas’s acquisition of rockets and missiles? And how will a newly elected Egyptian president interact with an Israeli prime minister? (Mubarak met regularly with Netanyahu; it’s hard to imagine a new Egyptian leader doing so without demanding concessions for Palestinians or progress in the peace negotiations.)”

Miller asked:

“…Would a new Egyptian government be taken over by radical Islamists? Would it break the peace treaty between the two nations? Would it seek to go to war again? All Israeli prime ministers since the treaty was signed in 1979 have carried such fears in the back of their minds, yet they gambled that in giving up the Sinai Peninsula, the country had exchanged territory for time, perhaps in the hope that a different relationship with Egypt and their other Arab neighbors would emerge.”

Party on Tel Aviv

This week Lonely Planet, a travel guide company released their Top 10 Cities for 2011 and placed Tel Aviv at number three, calling it a “modern sin city.”

New York City came in first and Tangier second.
The report was as follows:

Tel Aviv

“Tel Aviv is the total flipside of Jerusalem, a modern Sin City on the sea rather than an ancient Holy City on a hill. Hedonism is the one religion that unites its inhabitants. There are more bars than synagogues, God is a DJ and everyone’s body is a temple. Yet, scratch underneath the surface and Tel Aviv, or TLV, reveals itself as a truly diverse 21st-century Mediterranean hub. By far the most international city in Israel, Tel Aviv is also home to a large gay community, a kind of San Francisco in the Middle East. Thanks to its university and museums, it is also the greenhouse for Israel’s growing art, film and music scenes.”

In other news, the student union at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan is hosting a party on November 4th, at Tel Aviv’s Haoman club, featuring a live performance by national hip-hop superstars, Hadag Nachash.

The party happens to coincide with the 15-year anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin.

According to a report in Ynet, one Bar-Ilan student said:

“The official memorial day for the prime minister’s assassination is marked according to the Hebrew calendar but the student union should have been more sensitive, especially since the assassin, Yigal Amir, was a student at Bar-Ilan. It’s very embarrassing that of all unions the Bar-Ilan Student Union would hold the party on this date.”

The university’s student union responded:

“We are aware of the public significance of the memorial day for the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and on the official, Hebrew memorial day, special panels were held as well as a ceremony at the university… We sent representatives to the memorial rally last Saturday night. We respect the Rabin assassination anniversary. Any attempt to sully the Bar-Ilan University including all its students and present the student union in a negative light is cynical and even ridiculous.”

Farewell to a Righteous Gentile

Alexander Haig, former US secretary of state, four-star general, top adviser to three US presidents, and 1988 Republican president nominee, died on Saturday from complications from an infection, he was 85. It was said that Haig

“always had a special feeling for Israel.”

“I always had the impression that he considered himself a friend of Israel and understood its geo-security predicament as we moved through the years,”

said Daniel Mariaschin, the executive vice president of B’nai B’rith International.

Haig held close relationships with a number of senior Israeli political and military figures officials, including Ariel Sharon and Yitzhak Rabin.

In 1998, Haig testified in an affidavit as part of Ariel Sharon’s libel suit against Haaretz and its columnist Uzi Benziman.

Benziman wrote that in 1982, the then-defense minister Sharon had deceived Prime Minister Menachem Begin, who had only approved a plan to send IDF troops 40 km. north of the Lebanese border.

Haig gave testimony that Begin told him in October 1981 that the army had begun plans for an incursion into Lebanon and that the troops would reach approaches to Beirut, much more than 40 km. from Israel.

Haig once called Israel

“America’s largest aircraft carrier which never could be sunk.”

According to historian Yehuda Avner, who served on the staffs of many prime ministers, Haig was also known on occasion to be annoyed by Israeli policies.

Avner said in a Jerusalem Post column that following the surprise annexation of the Golan in 1981, Haig, serving as secretary of state under President Ronald Reagan, proposed temporarily suspending the strategic cooperation agreement between the two allies.

Later, Haig became a firm believer in Israel as a powerful player in the war on Islamic terrorism. In 2001, he told the Jerusalem Post that it might not be a bad thing for Israel to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

“If the Israelis do launch a preemptive strike [on Iran], it may be saving the world a lot of trouble.”

Daniel Mariaschin remembers him in such sentiments:

“He was truly a man apart…A great military leader and a major public servant. There are few people today who can say that they have served their country as soldiers and in civilian life. He was a prime example of an American who was able to do both in his career, and his death is a great loss.”

The Vanishing American Jew

Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of one of the most prominent American families, is marrying a Jew, Marc Mezvinsky, who comes from a family of businesspeople and politicians. At one angle we might say, this is great. Look how far Jews have come in American society; and isn’t it wonderful that gentiles, today, accept Jews into their very families. But at another angle, we should be concerned – very concerned.
The answer is simple: We must congratulate the church in America, in its ability to befriend and stand by the nation of Israel; and especially its success in ridding itself of the anti-Semitic elements, which the history of old Christian churches, which have found a home in America, are all too laden with.

The Clinton’s are true friends of Israel and the Jews. When Hillary spoke, as first, on the Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Day, she began her speech by quoting the weekly Torah parsha. It should be noted that few Israeli politicians ever do this. Hillary proved that she is a very hip shixa. During the fight to restore Holocaust victims’ property from banks in Switzerland, Hillary recruited Bill to the effort. This does not make it right for a Jewish boy to marry into their family – especially because Chelsea has no plans to convert.

The number of mixed marriages in the Diaspora has increased by 200% in the last 50 years. About 55% of all Jewish marriages are mixed ones. In one-quarter of families, the children of the next generation will no longer be associated as Jews. A look at the future shows that within a number of generations, American Jewry will nearly disappear.

The sad part is that not only is this opinion obsolete in the American mind, both gentile and Jewish, but it is so taboo to say Jews should romantically stick to Jews, that I risk being called a racist. The truth is our nation’s impressive longevity and survival depends completely on our solely sticking to one another. Assimilation and mixed marriages destroyed entire European communities, even before the Holocaust.
Judaism, as opposed to its sister religions Christianity and Islam – is not a missionary religion. It does not seek to increase the number of its believers. Not by persuasion and not by force. At the same time it is also not a closed religion, which people cannot enter. Those who wish to join can do so, but under the conditions and stipulations of Jewish Law.

Just something to think about,
Next Year in Jerusalem

Remembering Yitzhak Rabin

rabinThursday marked the 14 year anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. Today in the Jerusalem Post was a story about a group of famous Israeli politicians who were strongly opposed to Rabin’s left wing politics; such as, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert, Tzahi Hanegbi and certainly Bibi Netanyahu.

The JPost article said:

Army Radio, meanwhile, revealed that several days before he was assassinated by Yigal Amir, Rabin said he was not worried about his personal safety and blamed the Likud for creating an unprecedented atmosphere of verbal violence.

Rabin was quoted as saying, shortly before his assassination, “The general atmosphere of verbal violence later leads to physical violence. These things shouldn’t lead to silence nor escape. No one will silence me.”

Rabin was born in Jerusalem in 1922. He studied at the Kadoorie Agricultural College and graduated with distinction. Rabin joined the “Palmach” in 1940, and commanded the HarEl Brigade during the War of Independence, 1948-1949. His military career was long and impressive, and he was also an IDF commander during the Six-Day War in 1967.

Rabin served as ambassador to the United States starting in 1968 and was responsible for strengthening ties between the two countries. He returned to Israel in 1973 and 1974 working in Golda Meir’s government; and in 1975 formed his own Israeli government, which was responsible for disengagements with Syria and Egypt in 1974 and 1975, respectively.

In July 1992, Rabin formed Israel’s 25th government and also became Her 11th Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, as well as acting Minister of Religious Affairs and Labour and Social Affairs. During his final term, Rabin played an important role in the signing of the Oslo Accords, which created the Palestinian National Authority and granted it partial control over parts of the Gaza Strip and West Bank. For this he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize and a Ronald Reagan Freedom Award in 1994.

On November 4th 1995, the 12th of Heshvan, Rabin was assassinated in Tel Aviv by Yigal Amir, a religious Jewish fundamentalist.

President Shimon Peres is holding a ceremony to light the “Yitzhak Candle” at Beit Hanassi on Wednesday night. On Thursday afternoon there will be an official state memorial service, at the Mount Herzl cemetery. And on Saturday night a central memorial rally in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv.

Jerusalem Mayor Gets Death Threats Over Parking Lot

Jerusalem secular Mayor Nir Barkat has barely gotten into the routine of presiding over Israel’s capital and second largest city. And now he has had at least two death threats against him via email messages. Being secular, and interested in promoting his city’s tourism business, a big money maker for the country’s most historical and holiest city to three major religions, Bareket’s attempts to provide weekend visitors to the Old City with a parking lot has been met with violent objection by the city’s Haredi or Ultra Orthodox Jewish community.

Nir BarkatThe parking lot that has been the subject of all this controversy is located just outside the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City and underneath a brand new open air shopping mall that also contains many Jerusalem Municipality offices. The lot, which is also close to several luxury hotels, including the King David Hotel and David Citadel Hotel, is actually not located near the Haredi strongholds such as Meah Shearim. Religious Jews wishing to enter the Old City to pray at the Kotel or Western Wall on the Sabbath don’t even go near this lot for the most part; and yet the lot being open on the Jewish Sabbath has stirred up a boiling cauldron of controversy, which has resulted in rioting that caused fires to be set in garbage dumpsters and thousands of Haredi and other religious protestors pitting themselves against police, who had to use water cannon as a last resort , and arrested scores of religious protestors.

Non religious protestors – to the demand to close the parking lot have also been active, including Knesset members like Labor Party member Ofer Pines, who was very upset by the actions of the religious community who, in Pine’s opinion, “want to turn Israel’s capital into another Teheran”.

The parking lot is meant to be beneficial not only to non-religious Jews, but also to many Christian and other visitors who come to Jerusalem on the weekend, particularly to visit the Old City, as well as shop in the large Souk open air market. Under a long standing agreement established by previous city fathers, including long time mayor Teddy Kolleck, the Jerusalem Municipality abided by the wishes of the religious community, and as a result, virtually everything in the western part of the city, with the exception of a few pubs and other similar establishments are closed on Shabbat. The Old City and most of East Jerusalem, where most of the city’s Arab community lives, is open for business, with the exception of places like the Old City’s Jewish Quarter. Where all this will finally end is still anybody’s guess, but it’s obvious that the Jerusalem Municipality not yet ready to turn the city over to the ultra-orthodox religious community.

Police are now trying to determine who sent the death threats against Mayor Baraket, and are taking the threats seriously, in light of what happened to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated in November, 1995, in Tel Aviv by a religious fanatic, Yigal Amir. The Municipality, appear to be sticking by their decision to let the parking lot remain open, and that all efforts will be made to ensure the security of all people wanting to use the parking lot during Shabbat.

Where is he now?

arafat yasserEver since the demise of the PLO’s long time standard bearer and first Palestinian Chairman or “President” Yasser Arafat, many people might be speculating what might be happening to him in the after-life, known to Jews as the Olam ha Bah. During his “illustrious” career, Yasser Arafat had many “accomplishments” he could be proud of, including the murder of several thousand of his avowed “Yahud” enemies by acts of terror (most of which he personally authorized or provided funds for), those cherished moments when he almost became legitimate while shaking hands with a former “Zionist” enemy, Yitzhak Rabin, on the White House Lawn; accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo Norway (the same city which gave its name to the now defunct Oslo Peace Accords); and, his most notable accomplishment of all, providing his widow Suha with a ‘king’s ransom’ of an endowment, making her one of the wealthiest women in the world.

Yes, the Chairman does have a lot to be proud of; including turning his beloved Palestinian Authority into such a mess that it will be a long time (if ever) before it can eventually be worthy of being part of the “two state solution” that the new American President, Barack Obama, is so much in favor of. But perhaps one of Arafat’s greatest achievements was sending so many of own countrymen and women to their deaths in what is known in the Muslim World as Holy Martyrdom or shaheedim . Long before groups known as Hamas or Islamic Jihad came into being, Chairman Arafat, or Comrade Arafat as he was known then, encouraged young Palestinians and international terror associates (Baader Meinhoff, Japanese Red Army, Carlos the Jackal, etc) to wreak death and personal suffering on as many of “the enemy” as could be shot, stabbed, clubbed, or blown up, often with sensational media coverage. A few of these were the slaughter of people at Ben Gurion Airport in May, 1972, by
Members of the Japanense Red Army, the Savoy Hotel terror attack in Tel Aviv, the attack on Jewish school children in Qiryat Shmona, the Egged Bus attack on the Coastal Road in February 1978, and the attack in the coastal town of Nahariya, not long afterwards.

But perhaps his most sensational terror accomplishment was the attack on the Israeli athletes at the summer Olympic Games of August 1972, carried off by members of the Palestinian Black September faction, who had direct ties to Arafat’s Fatah organization. 11 Israeli athletes and coaches lost their lives in an episode that is still being talked about to this day.

Chairman Arafat finally went to his “heavenly reward” in November 2004, after complications from a medical condition which some say was caused by AIDS, and others by some form of poison. He must have been looking forward to meeting up with some of those 72 virgins (the sex of them open to speculation) as is the reward to all those who did holy deeds on behalf of his religion (he was still a devout Muslim, despite his political leanings).

But in Yasser’s case, did he actually meet up with them, or with something else altogether? All of us on the receiving end of his “good deeds” can only hope he received “something else altogether”.

Basketball Carnage In Jerusalem & Shitty Sportsmanship

Sports Carnage in Malcha
Picture: Ynet News – Chaim Tzach
Israeli athletes and sportsmen may be making big gains abroad, but recent miss-conduct occurrences on the home front is beginning to give local sporting events a very bad P.R. image. Sunday, November 11 was one of the worst days, from a conduct standpoint, in Israeli sporting match history. And coincidentally enough, both incidents involved teams sponsored by the Haopoel Sports Organization.

The first incident occurred during a derby match between the Hapoel and Macabbee Tel Aviv football teams. While always a bit of a bedlam series, Sunday’s match, in which several Haopoel fans ran onto pitch and a variety of smoke bombs and other objects were thrown at the players, ended with Hapoel winning by one point. This might have been end of that problem at this annual rivalry match, except that later that evening, another and even worse incident occurred at a basketball game between Hapoel Jerusalem and Hapoel Holon. With less than two minutes left to play a large firecracker suddenly exploded next to the Hapoel Holon bench, wounding a security guard and blowing off three fingers in front of a shocked stadium. The event was captured on film and plastered on all the major newspapers this morning.

The game was stopped instantly and the outcome of it has been placed in suspension, even though the Jerusalem side was ahead 94-89. Haopoel Jerusalem’s chairman, Danny Klein was furious and announced later that his club will not play another match until the perpetrator is found. Klein even went further and said that if the ones responsible for this act are Hapoel Jerusalem fans he will quit his position with the club. A 20 year old suspect from Holon was arrested on Monday.

Hapoel’s conduct woes don’t stop here. In a football game played in Croatia earlier in the season, Hapoel fans created a disturbance in that match which resulted in the team being censured by the FA Football Federation. The Hapoel organization is not the only one being plagued by problems of gross misconduct on the part of the fans. Only a week ago, fans from the Beitar Jerusalem Football Club created a disturbance during a pre-game memorial ceremony for assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. This incident was so disturbing in the minds of many Israelis that the clubs owner, Arkady Gaydamak appeared later on television to try to make amends for the occurrence. For that incident the Beitar team was censored by the Israel Football Federation and forced to play their next two games without spectators.

These and other incidents seem to indicate a disturbing trend in spectator sporting events in Israel. A survey made of people who watch these games, either at the actual match or on television, seem to agree that violence at these events is on the rise and that football matches in particular are no longer considered to be family participation sporting events. It’s a real shame that this appears to be what is unfortunately occurring; and it appears to mirror a personality trend that is happening among a growing segment of the general public. This “trend” is evident from incidents like fights in nightclubs, some of which have resulted in death and personal injury, increased traffic accidents, and increasing use of alcohol and narcotics by minors; just to name a few.

While there may be many reasons for such goings on, that they also have to happen at sporting matches is a very sad and unfortunate thing. If we can’t behave ourselves at these events, how can we behave ourselves in normal day to day activities as well?

Circumcism or Cataclysm

It appears that convicted assassin Yigal Amir has got the best of it after all. Despite not less than 3 petitions to the High Court of Justice, and a crowd of angry protestors outside of Ayalon Prison where Amir is incarcerated, he and a select group of family members were allowed to consecrate his son into the covenant of Israel. Though the ceremony was supposed to be “minimal” with Amir showing up for it in handcuffs and wearing prison garb, the fact that Attorney General Meny Mazuz refused to interfere only validates Amir being granted this privilege which comes on the heels of being allowed to perform his “marriage right” with his wife, Larissa Trembobler, which resulted in her becoming pregnant with his child.

When interviewed early Sunday morning by an Israel Radio news reporter, an unnamed prison official said as follows: “Yes, damn him; we will open a small section of the prison hospital for this event. But it will be as brief and as minimal as possible!”

Saturday evening, on the eve of the date that has now gone down as one of the most tragic in modern Jewish history, at least 150,000 people gathered in Rabin Square to mourn together the 12th anniversary of that fateful night, November 4, 1995. What makes the entire affair so tragically meaningful to many in the State of Israel is that not only a great leader was slain on that night; but Israel’s claim to be a moral ‘light unto to nations’ was severely challenged as well. Democracy and religious tolerance has been challenged by religious fanaticism in a manner not unlike that of countries in medieval Europe, or here in the Middle East. Reports circulating around the country say that at least half of world religious Jewry. In fact, more than 120,000 copies of an inflammatory CD have been circulated throughout both Israel and the religious Jewish world calling for Amir’s release from prison.

What this amounts to, along with groups fanatically opposing any kind of peace deal with the Palestinians, is a division among the people themselves – a line drawn in the sand as the old saying goes. Either one steps over it and joins that element dedicated to instituting their way, or choose to take another path which might lead to peace. This was the path that Yitzhak Rabin so reluctantly chose to stride on. And that “path” resulted in his paying the ultimate price at the hands of a religious Jew who had formerly worked for a government sponsored religious studies program and was studying to become a lawyer. Anyone who has studied or practices law knows that a lawyer must agree to uphold the laws of the state of country in which he or she practices. Obviously, Amir chose to walk a different path altogether.

When Amir’s son reaches an age when he can confront the issue of what his father did, what will be feelings about it, and how will his fellow Israelis feel about it? If already hundreds of thousands of Israelis feel that Amir should be pardoned for his crime, how many will feel this way in 13 years when the boy will be Bar Mitzvah age? What is justice, or someone’s interpretation of justice? Is Civil Jurisprudence to be usurped by religious fanaticism as it has been in countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia? Western countries like America or even Gt. Britain would now have allowed Yigal Amir the concessions he has received. Why has this country’s officials chosen to do so?

Gross Insanity?

The decision on Thursday by Israel Attorney General Menny Mezuz to allow convicted killer Yigal Amir to attend the Brit Milah of his son, makes me wonder where this entire episode will lead up to. The ceremony is scheduled to take place on November 4 at Ayalon Prison, where Amir has been incarcerated for the past twelve years since the slaying of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Amir, the convicted assassin, was allowed a 10 hour co nuptial visit with his wife, Larissa Trimbobler, earlier this year. That visit resulted in her becoming pregnant his Amir’s child, which turned out (miracle of miracles?) to be a son.

Upon watching this revelation on TV, I suddenly felt like I was having a vision of things which might come to pass and by letting my imagination run wild, I conjured up the following scenario of what might be the result of this entire matter, The “vision” goes like this:

No only is Amir allowed to attend the ceremony of brining his beloved son into the Covenant of Israel, his wife and son are afterwards allowed to move in him in a special apartment made for them on the prison grounds. Larissa is naturally free to come and go as she pleases; and since her four children from a previous marriage are not allowed to be with them at Ayalon, she maintains two residences; one with Yigal and their son, and the other in her residence outside the prison walls. This supposition is like a balloon which is growing bigger by the moment by hot air being blown into it.

The move sets off a protest among other security prisoners, are soon others are allowed to establish similar residences inside the prison in special apartments built to accommodate spouses and children. This creates virtual communities of prison ‘families’ who live together in relative peace and harmony. Larissa is given a job working with prisons to help rehabilitate them, and she and Yigal create religious study classes which become wildly popular with the inmates. Yigal’s status within the prison grows to immense heights and he is soon ordained as a rabbi and given the title of Rav Yigal. Two other children are eventually born to Yigal and Larissa, and when their first born, son reaches Bar Mitzvah age, a great celebration is held with even high ranking government officials attending.

The “balloon” grows bigger, now reaching the size of a small car.

Yigal’s standing as a religious leader has grown so much during this time that a second convening of the Sanhedrin religious council is convened at Ayalon with Amir officiating at its head. The result of this meeting is that sweeping changes are made in Jewish religious thought with women now being allowed full equal status with men regarding Torah study and religious ritual. Larissa is thus elevated to rabbinical ranking herself and is given the title Ravi Larissa. Later, when their children are married, great celebrations are held, especially for their first born, Eliahu (the Prophet).

The ” balloon” has now reached the size of the Goodyear Blimp.

After serving 25 years of a life sentence, Yigal Amir is given a full pardon and finally released from prison. He has become so much of a folk hero by this time that he is elected to be Head Government in a manner similar to the way Nelson Mandella was in South Africa. This is not the end of the story, however, as Yigal’s fame and popularity as a religious leader has grown so much worldwide that he is nominated to achieve Mankind’s highest award – the Nobel Peace Prize. His acceptance speech, in Hebrew, in the Norwegian capital of Oslo, sets off a precedence, especially due the entire city having to be “koshered” for the event.

Pop! Have I gone mad? This scenario has gone from the absurd to the ridiculous, and in no possible way will these “visions” ever come to pass.

Or will they? Think about it.

Why, Larissa?

Continuous media attention of both Yitzhak Rabin’s murderer, Yigal Amir and his wife, Larissa Trimbobler, has made some people to wonder just who is this woman who became so interested in this man who has become Israel’s number one local villain, even twelve years after this terrible act took place. Along with this, why has she jeopardized not only her own personal life, as well as that of her children, but her career as well for a man with such a taint on his personal character.

Many may not be aware that Larissa’s acquaintance with Yigal Amir goes back much further than the aftermath of that fateful night on November 4, 1995. Larissa first met Amir when he was (would you believe) working as a teacher in Russia for the Israeli government. Following Rabin’s Assassination, she began to correspond with Amir as she shared many ideological views with him as they are both ultra orthodox in their religious practice. Larissa was married at the time to a man named Benjamin (last name not published by the media for the sake her children) and had four children from him, the eldest being age 15. Following her immigration to Israel, she continued to correspond with Yigal Amir and also began contact by telephone. Amir is normally allowed only one visit by a family member per week, plus one daily fifteen minute phone call. When their relationship became more intense, Larissa managed to convince prison authorities to allow her more contact with Yigal on the grounds that she was making a study of his behavior. She has a PHD in Medieval Jewish and Islamic History and a MA in Biology, but not a formal background in either psychology or sociology.

Following her divorce from Benjamin in 2003, Larissa Trembobler’s relationship with Amir became even more intense, and in 2004, announced that she and Amir planned to get married by proxy (they were not allowed a formal wedding ceremony). They were married by proxy later that year, with a friend of Yigal standing in for him.

The rest of the story has become more well known to the public due to the intense coverage it has received by the media, both in and outside of Israel. Following legal efforts to have herself inseminated artificially by Amir’s sperm, which they even tried to smuggle out of Ayalon Prison where he is incarcerated, they were finally allowed a 10 hour co-nuptial visit in January, 2007. Larissa has continually campaigned to have more visits with her husband, and her pregnancy with Amir’s child has been followed intensely by the press, including international news agencies like CNN. Since announcing her engagement and subsequent marriage to Yigal Amir, she lost her employment position at Open University, and has had to support herself and her children by undertaking editing and translation work. She also published a book in Russian with her ex-husband entitled: A Mirror for a Prince. She has a web-blog in Russian which is said to be gaining in readership.

At the time of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, Yigal Amir was a third year law student at Bar Ilan University. He had a girl friend, Maraglit Har-Sheffi who had similar right winged views as he did. Following Rabin’s murder, Har-Sheffi was tried and convicted of conspiracy, due to her alleged knowledge of Amir’s intentions to murder the prime minister. Although she proclaimed her innocence of this crime, she was convicted and served several months in prison. She still claims that she is innocent, and many believed she was framed.

As for Amir himself, a growing movement of right-winged and religious supporters have been waging a campaign to free him from prison. While some of these supporters are saying that he has “suffered enough for his crime” others are saying that he is innocent and did not actually kill Rabin. Larissa would naturally like to see her husband gain his freedom, especially since she is about to give birth to his child – and a son at that. Prison authorities are not planning to grant him any special consideration to attend the ritual circumcision of his son; and both judicial and government authorities alike agree that Yigal Amir will never gain his freedom.

So, why did Larissa do what she did, especially in light of her own children, whose lives will be greatly affected forever by her actions? What’s more, what about the child about to be born? What will his future be, and how will this affect him? Only time will answer these questions, and many will agree that time is often a cruel mistress.

No!….He’s Dead?…..Lovely!

12 years after Yizhak Rabin’s assassination, the Israel police have finally released the first investigative interview conducted on his killer, Yigal Amir. The taped interview, together with comments by police investigator Moti Naphtali (real name withheld), the tape noted the chilling events of that fateful occurrence on November 4, 1995, moments after the end of a gigantic peace rally held at what is know known as Rabin Square.

Amir, who only an hour before had been subdued in the alleyway between Tel Aviv City Hall and the Gan Hair shopping mall, described in detail how he planned to shoot the Prime Minister the moment Rabin and Vice P.M. Shimon Peres descended the steps leading from the area where Rabin and other dignitaries had stood during the rally. Though he expected to shoot Rabin, Amir said he really didn’t think he would kill him. When told by his interviewer that Rabin was dead, Amir replied: “No!, Really, he’s dead? Lovely!”

At the end of the interview, when asked if he expressed any remorse for what he had done, Amir answered: “God forbid!”

Twelve years have come and gone since that fateful evening in November. Yigal Amir was tried and sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of parole. This judgment is the most severe that can be given in Israel as there is no Capital Punishment. And since the formation of the state in 1948, only Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichman has been formally executed here. That the police have decided now to release the interview may possibly have something to do with Amir’s recent request to be present at the circumcisum of his son, who is expected to be born sometime next month. Many are still angry that Yigal Amir was allowed a few hours of co-nuptial lust with his “wife” Larissa Trimbobler, which resulted in her being impregnated with his child. Had this interview been released prior to Amir’s liaison with Ms. Trimbobler in a special room provided by the prison where he is being kept, it’s most likely he would have been denied this special privilege, as public outcry would have been too great.

The showing of this tape has reopened a very deep national wound that has yet to heal. Yitzhak Rabin’s family, including his son, Yuval, and daughter Dalia (a former Knessset member) haven’t yet responded formally as of this writing But respond they most certainly will.

In light of this new “development” in this sad tragedy, many are wondering where this will end. Amir has expressed no remorse for his actions, and even believes he did a great service to the country by taking Rabin’s life. What’s more, a grass roots movement among “certain elements” is going on to have Amir released from prison on grounds that he has “suffered enough” for his crime.

And in a few weeks, the son of Yigal will be brought screaming into the world. I wonder what his mother, dear Larissa, will tell him concerning his father. She will most likely try to bring the babe to Ayalon Prison so Amir can see him. And will the prison authorities allow the “brit” to be held there? We’ll all know the answer to these questions in the coming days.

Shimon Peres Becomes Israel’s 9th President

Katzav, Gila & Peres
In a ceremony fraught with pageantry and fanfare, Former Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres was sworn in July 15 as the 9th President of the State of Israel. In a moving Knesset ceremony, Peres took the oath of what is usually a largely ceremonial position similar to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth. In his acceptance speech afterwards, however, Peres (who usually loves to be in the center of governmental goings-on) indicated that his term of office will be anything but ceremonial, with the new president volunteering to go on various peace missions on the government’s behalf.

Despite his advanced age (83) Peres seems to be in excellent health, and loves to travel abroad and hobnob with foreign government leaders and other dignitaries. This means that he may become the county’s first globe trotting President and will undoubtedly not wait even for the paint on the door of his new office in Beit Hanasi to dry before he leaves on his first international assignment; most likely to either the USA or the UK – both favorite destinations for a man who has literally been in nearly every major world capital, including Olso Norway, where he jointly accepted the Nobel Peace Price in 1994, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat.

After nearly 50 years of governmental and political activities, Peres has finally found a position that most suits his wide and diversified career in public life. In a way it’s a shame he didn’t have this opportunity seven years ago when he barely lost out to Likud political party rival Moshe Katsav, who has now left the presidency in disgrace following his admittance to being involved in a number of incidents of sexual misconduct. Katsav is also being accused of at least two counts of rape, which were dropped by Israel State Prosecutor Manny Mazuz in an effort to keep an already scandalous incident from becoming an embarrassing public trial.

Shimon Peres’ ascension to the presidency will hopefully do much to erase the pall that has been cast on this office by both Katsav and Katsav’s predecessor Ezer Weizman, who wasn’t ashamed to speak his mind; even if his remarks were frequently taken out of context by the press. Peres brings an air of dignity to an office where dignity and protocol are two of the most important aspects. With Peres in this position, not only will he be meeting foreign dignitaries when they arrive in Israel, he himself will be going to meet them on their home ground; where Peres feels as much at home as he does in Jerusalem.

Despite his wife, Sonia being in ill health, Peres will undoubtedly volunteer to be his country’s official peace envoy for as long as he is able to do so. And judging from the current state of affairs that Israel finds itself in, peace is something that Israel sorely needs. If Shimon can make a positive contribution towards this end, his final position in public life will be more than fitting for a man who has dedicated a great deal of his life to the cause of peace.

Moshik has Katsav asking his wife, Gila, how is Peres going to handle the job without his wife…

Live Earth – The Aftermath

The concerts attracted audiences from all over the globe, with live music in major world cities ranging from Sydney Australia to New York. Some of planet’s most well known entertainers took part, including Black Eyed Pea, Madonna, Phil Collins, Police, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Snoop Dog, and more. Even Israel had its own version in central Tel Aviv, playing ironically only meters from the spot where Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated in November, 1995. The message was clear enough, as expressed in a taped message by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore: the world is getting hotter due to Mankind’s abuse of the environment; and as a result, severe and even drastic changes are already occurring to the earth’s climate – changes that could prove fatal to many of our planet’s inhabitants in the coming years.

And in addition to the live concerts, the events were watched on T.V. the world over by at least 2 billion souls.

Little Israel, with a population of over seven million, is getting its share of the effects of global warming, the consequences of which were being shown to both the concert attendees at Rabin Square as well as to people sitting at home. Some of what is bringing on these changes in Israel, and the end result, including rising temperatures and coastal sea levels were also talked about by Channel 10 media personalities, including the fact that most of the country’s fresh water supplies, including the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee are heavily polluted; and that high air pollution levels in major cites result in the death of at least 600 people annually. With more than 1,000,000 cars on the country’s roads, at least 60% of them are leased vehicles given to employees of high tech and other companies. This fact alone, auto exhaust fumes, is responsible for 92% of the country’s air pollution problems.

Israel’s mounting problem with solid waste disposal, including hazardous industrial chemicals and other compounds was also mentioned, though not covered enough, considering the country’s problem with both ground and air pollution.

So now, just a few days later, have any changes occurred since Live Earth that can be spoken of in real terms, since the music ended? After the concerts, most people rode home in either their own cars or in public transport conveyances, some of which are also major contributors to air pollution. Ramat Hovav, Israel’s frequently talked about industrial waste disposal site, is likely to remain polluting the country’s entire southern regions for years – if not generations – to come. And the country’s ground water aquifer is becoming harder and harder to purify as more and more surface pollutants continue to contaminate it.

Madonna, one of the London concert’s guest performers and a champion of world social and environmental issues, made a very important comment by hoping that people attending the concerts will not only listen to the music but get the message of what needs to be done to prevent the end results of global warming. Many people say that the consequences of environmental pollution will eventually be far more serious to Israelis that any security problem short of outright nuclear war.

And so, people still clog the highways with their “lease-mobiles”, still throw their rubbish on the country’s beaches and in the national parks, and literally thousands of plastic bottles and other similar non-biodegradable items are seen lying forlornly everywhere. For those who aren’t aware, those plastic water and soft drink bottles are estimated to take at least 800 years to disintegrate; and the polymer composition of the plastic is very carcinogenic.

Three days later and nothing seems to have changed. – so far anyway. The future of global warming to inhabitants of this region is one in which rising sea levels may inundate parts of Tel Aviv and other coastal cities, and surface summertime temperatures may be similar to those presently in places like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. One can only wonder what the climate in those places will be like a mere 50 years from now.

Live Earth; save the planet. We all have a lot to do in order to make this dream become reality. We all live on an island we cannot leave. And unless we make a greater effort to reverse the environmental problems we all face, the future may not be very pleasant for any of us. So, make the effort and dedicate one day a week as a car-less day; and try to conserve both energy and water supplies, as well as pick up and dispose of trash more properly. Wash dishes by hand and hang out clothing to dry in our abundant sunshine. And take just one less shower per week.

It’s our world, so let’s improve it!

The Noose Tightens

Israeli political and military leaders seem to the playing a continuing game of brinksmanship amid increasing calls for their resignation or dismissal. The most publicized ones, including President Moshe Katsav, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert,
Defense Minister Amir Peretz, and Army Chief of Staff Dan Halutz continue to be bombarded by public criticism, despite their attempts to appear to be conducting “business as usual”.

President Katsav, for example, tries to keep himself before the public eye, including appearances and events such as the recent ceremony memorializing the 11th anniversary of slain P.M. Yitzhak Rabin, despite many calls for him not to do so. One of his accusers in his sexual misconduct and rape allegations, known to the public as “A”, is still photographed regularly with her lawyer on the streets of Tel Aviv. He refuses to consider stepping down, at least for another six months.

Both Defense Minister Peretz, and Army Chief of Staff Halutz (see photo), are both on the receiving end on increasing flak following the deteriorating situation in Gaza, as well as due to the recent resignation of one of Israel’s top Northern Command officers, Brig. General Gal Hirsch. Hirsch specifically resigned his commission as a result of both Halutz’s handling of the war with Hezbollah, as well as his attempts to ‘white-wash’ the entire affair afterwards. Peretz, due to his lack of military competence and his inability to accept this fact, seems to be bombarded from all sides. This ‘bombardment’ is even becoming more intense due to the continuing launching of Kassam rockets by the Palestinians which caused the death and serious injury today of two Sderot residents. Sderot, being Amir Peretz’ home town, has become his “albatross”, even as much or more so as the recent war in Lebanon. Few, if any Sderot residents want to have anything to do with him.

As for the “guy at the top”, P.M. Olmert, with whom the ‘buck’ is supposed to stop, as U.S President Harry Truman used to say, he continues to try to perform the most brinksmanship acts of all. His current trip to the U.S.A., for example, which was not only very badly timed, but which doesn’t appear to be accomplishing anything, only adds insult to injury to his already shaky position; and makes him in line to be part of the increasing ‘domino effect’ which will accelerate rapidly should Chief of Staff Halutz be the next one to step down.

Olmert didn’t waste any time leaving Washington following his short stay there, including his meeting with President Bush; himself in an uncomfortable position following the Democratic Party sweep of both Houses of Congress. A former aspiring U.S. Presidential candidate, billionaire IBM magnate H. Ross Perot used to say that if elected President he would “take a shovel and a broom and clean up Congress”. While this feat may have partially been accomplished in the recent U.S. midterm elections, it hasn’t been done yet in Israeli politics. And with all the recent goings on in Israel’s current government, especially those mentioned above, one wonders when some of this ‘shoveling and broom sweeping’ will take place in Israel as well.

With all that’s currently transpiring, it’s sorely needed.

Photo: The Jerusalem Post

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