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Cabinet Approves UN Ceasefire
The Israeli Cabinet has approved a proposed UN ceasefire in Lebanon. Prime Minister
Ehud Olmert said it renders the Lebanese government responsible for Hizbullah, and
"improves conditions for release of kidnapped soldiers."
The decision was unanimously in favor, except for Transportation Minister Sha'ul Mofaz,
who abstained. Mofaz served as IDF Chief of Staff and Defense Minister in the years
between 1998 and 2006. Lebanon, too, was quick to accept the agreement, known as UN
The ceasefire has already faced much domestic criticism in Israel. It does not meet the
two stated objectives of Israel's offensive in Lebanon: The release of the kidnapped
soldiers and the disarming of Hizbullah.
Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz met Sunday with the parents of the two
Hizbullah-kidnapped soldiers - Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev - and briefed them on the
agreement. "Israel will do everything it can to cause the boys to return home quickly,"
Olmert said afterwards, "and of course also Gilad Shalit [the soldier who was kidnapped
seven weeks ago by Hamas and is being held in Gaza].
The resolution calls for an immediate halt to Hizbullah attacks and Israeli "offensive
military action." It further calls for the deployment of Lebanese Army forces in southern
Lebanon together with UNIFIL forces. The resolution also calls upon the international
community to extend financial and humanitarian assistance to Lebanon, though it makes no
mention of the damages suffered by Israel.
Officials in the Prime Minister's Office stated that Israeli troops would not withdraw
from southern Lebanon until the international force is in place.
Other points covered by the resolution include strengthening the UNIFIL force, both
quantitatively and qualitatively, and a call for a ban on sale or supply of arms to
entities or individuals in Lebanon. It calls for the disarming of "all armed groups in
Lebanon," but does not specify how this should be done.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz said Saturday night, "The UN decision must be
translated into implementation, and we are far from that. There is still much time before
Monday morning [when the ceasefire is to take effect], and things can happen; nothing is
closed or finished."
Olmert said that the proposed ceasefire agreement would "create better conditions"
under which to obtain the release of the kidnapped soldiers. He said he plans to appoint a
person to head a task force that will deal only with that matter.
Peretz said that the main issue at hand is how Hizbullah will implement it. "We are
prepared for every possible response whether they honor the agreement or not."
Several government ministers are not happy with the ceasefire. Minister Rafi Eitan
(Retirees Party) said it's the "least of all evils." He noted optimistically signs of a
rift between Iran and Hizbullah, in that Iran feels Hizbullah did not deliver the goods in
its war against Israel.
Former three-time Defense Minister Moshe Arens' reaction: "if we have not succeeded in
stopping the Katyushas, we have lost. And according to the Security Council resolution, in
the current situation the State of Israel comes out humiliated. We are essentially giving
Hizbullah and our enemies a shot of encouragement for another offensive against us."
Neighbors Smell Blood in Israeli Ceasefire Acceptance
Arabs and Muslims from Iran, Hizbullah and the PA are celebrating Israel's acceptance
of the UN ceasefire, dubbing it a "surrender" and calling on Arab states to attack the new
"After one month of war against Lebanon's resistance, Israelis are the absolute losers
and Hizbullah is the absolute winner of the war," Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman
Hamida-Reza Asefi said Sunday. "The occupiers of Jerusalem failed, despite their military,
economic, intelligence and diplomatic backings."
The Iranian official said the Islamic Republic of Iran is "very pleased" with the
ceasefire, according to state-run Iranian news agency IRNA. He warned, though, that
attacks on Israel would continue as long as "occupation lingers." He declined to outline
whether occupation included retaining sovereignty in regions such as the Galilee
which Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah has termed "settlements" in his wartime addresses.
"Let us not forget that as long as there is occupation there is resistance," he added.
Hizbullah central council member Ahmed Barakat told Qatari newspaper al-Watan Sunday,
"Today Arab and Muslim society is reasonably certain that the defeat of Israel is
possible, and that countdown to the disappearance of the Zionist entity in the region has
If a mere organization succeeded in defeating Israel, why would Arab nations
not succeed in doing so if they allied? Many Arabs and Muslims viewed Israel in a
fictional way and the resistance has succeeded in changing this."
Barakat boasted that none of Hizbullah's leadership was injured, and that the group
still possesses thousands of rockets and other "surprises" for use in the days following
the implementation of the UN ceasefire. He added that the remaining missiles and weapons
allow Hizbullah to strike Israel from afar and do not require the group to be near
"Secularists, Christians and Muslims alike refer to the Hizbullah leader as Palestine's
newest and truest hero," reported Al-Jazeera: "Back at Manara square in Ramallah, Waleed
Ayyoub is still selling the Nasrallah images to `all people of all ages - even little
children.' He is especially proud of a sale made to an Arab-Israeli woman from Haifa,
fleeing the Katyusha attacks on her city."
A Lebanese Christian Speaks Out
By Brigitte Gabriel (Commentary)
I'm proud and honored to stand here today, as a Lebanese speaking for Israel, the only
democracy in the Middle East. As someone who was raised in an Arabic country, I want to
give you a glimpse into the heart of the Arabic world. (Editor: Remarks delivered at a
Duke University Counter Terrorism Speak-Out.)
I was raised in Lebanon, where I was taught that the Jews were evil, Israel was the
devil, and the only time we will have peace in the Middle East is when we kill all the
Jews and drive them into the sea.
When the Muslims and Palestinians declared Jihad on the Christians in 1975, they
started massacring the Christians, city after city. I ended up living in a bomb shelter
underground from age 10 to 17, without electricity, eating grass to live, and crawling
under sniper bullets to a spring to get water.
It was Israel who came to help the Christians in Lebanon. My mother was wounded by a
Muslim's shell, and was taken into an Israeli hospital for treatment. When we entered the
emergency room, I was shocked at what I saw. There were hundreds of people wounded,
Muslims, Palestinians, Christians, Lebanese, and Israeli soldiers lying on the floor.
The doctors treated everyone according to their injury. They treated my mother before they
treated the Israeli soldier lying next to her. They didn't see religion, they didn't see
political affiliation, they saw people in need and they helped.
Two Wars in Israel
By Shimon Halevi (Commentary)
While the international media covers Israeli tanks in Lebanon, and aircraft striking
near Beirut, most viewers are not really aware of the other war in Israel, the war for
I think that it is impossible to disconnect the internal national processes from the
war with Lebanon. The two are mutually connected to each other.
The way Ehud Olmert won the election in Israel, the fact that his party was far from
winning the majority of the Knesset seats and his radical plans to change the demography
of the Middle East left not much chance for his government to survive more then few
months. The war in Lebanon changed it all.
There is no doubt that the war changed the Israeli public's focus and made the union of
the nation more important then anything else. Presenting a single Muslim radical leader as
the enemy of the nation and the rest of the word, did change the Israeli public
Embarrassing details exist about the kidnapping of the soldier in Gaza, Gilad Shalit.
The Israeli Shin Beit knew more then he it admits about this indecent act before it
happened. According to what they call an "intelligence" warning, the holders of Shalit
left a message long before it happened, which is recorded on an Israeli army tape.
The most annoying thing about the Gilad Shalit abduction is what the kidnappers said
to the only person that met them. The holders of Gilad Shalit agreed to talk only to an
Egyptian minister, Gen. Umar Suliman. They talked about a major threat to all humankind
before the New Year. They claimed that only the Israeli leadership could stop it from
Beside this concrete information, Israel is having an internal uncertainty regarding
the structure of the leadership of the Israeli army. As of today, there is more then one
mouth for this leadership and no one can really tell who the right person is. The prime
minister,, the defense minister,, the commander of the army, the homeland security
minister and even the justice minister all have something to say, which that do say
publicly and using their political and authority power, give orders..
Therefore, looking at the war in Lebanon without noticing the other war in Israel is
not looking at the whole picture. Analyzing the picture carefully can possibly explain one
war by observing the other.
(Shimon Halevi is a general in the Israel Defense Force and president of Legal
Israel Conducts Air and Ground Offensives Ahead of Ceasefire
By VOA News & Ha'aretz
Five IDF soldiers were killed in south Lebanon Sunday, as troops and Hizbullah
terrorists engaged in heavy fighting, hours before a UN cease-fire resolution was expected
to go into effect.
The IDF said it thwarted a major Hizbullah attack on Sunday when it shot down two
Iranian-made drones laden with explosives heading toward Israel. One of the drones was
shot down over Kibbutz Cabri, in the Western Galilee. The other drone was downed over the
southern Lebanese port city of Tyre.
This was the second time since the war began that Hizbullah has attempted to explode
drones over Israel. The IDF shot down another Hizbullah drone a week ago off the coast of
The IDF continued to expand its ground operation in Lebanon as tanks pushed pass the
Saluki River and reached the Kanatra region in the central section of southern Lebanon,
where the army had suffered most of its casualties on Saturday.
Twenty-four IDF soldiers were killed and another 11 seriously wounded during fighting
in south Lebanon on Saturday, the heaviest one-day Israeli casualty toll of the war.
Twelve soldiers were lightly wounded by anti-tank fire in fighting on Sunday. The
casualties followed a dramatic expansion of IDF ground operations over the weekend.
The IDF said Sunday that its forces were continuing to advance on all fronts. Senior
officers maintained Saturday that cabinet permission for the expanded operation had come
after a sizable delay, thus eliminating the chance for significant gains in the current
On Sunday morning, Hizbullah fired a number of heavy rocket barrages into northern
Israel, killing one person and wounding at least nine. Hours later, Israeli warplanes
launched a strike on Beirut's mainly Hizbullah-controlled southern suburb on Sunday.
The son of David Grossman, a renowned novelist and peace activist in Israel, was killed
in Lebanon, the army said Sunday night, and just three days after the author publicly
urged the government to end the war with Hizbullah. Staff Sgt. Uri Grossman, 20, was
killed by an anti-tank missile during a major ground offensive in which 24 soldiers were
killed in southern Lebanon.
Under cover of intense artillery fire, IDF forces reached the Litani River, which is
some 20 to 30 kilometers inside Lebanon, military officials said Saturday evening. As part
of the expanded operation, IAF helicopters dropped a large number of Israeli troops deep
inside Lebanese territory on Saturday, in the largest operation of its kind since 1973.
Israel has nearly tripled the number of forces in Lebanon as part of its expanded
ground war, and expects to fight for another week, despite a United Nations ceasefire
resolution, IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz said Saturday.
Halutz said IDF troops would stay in Lebanon until an international force arrives. "We
have almost tripled our forces that are operating in Lebanon," Halutz told reporters.
A top IDF official has said that the army will stop its offensive as soon as it is
ordered to do so by the political leadership and later it will begin to retrace its steps
to uncover any pockets of resistance that may remain in the area.
UN Middle East envoy Alvaro de Soto told Reuters on Saturday the UN force could begin
deploying in seven to 10 days, suggesting there is still some time before the "immediate
cessation by Israel of all offensive military operations," as called for in the
Kidnapped Soldiers' Families Want Answers
One day after the approval of the UN ceasefire agreement, which relates to the release
of the kidnapped IDF soldiers from Hizbullah captivity only in its preface, the families
of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev turned to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert demanding
"We do not understand why the call for the release of the kidnapped soldiers is not
included in the operative part of the resolution," one family member said, but added that
"we trust the government."
Eldad's brother Eyal told Ynet that the families asked the Prime Minister's Office for
clarifications on the agreement, adding that they are expected to meet with government
officials during the week. "In any case, I want to make it clear that we trust the
government to do everything in its power to bring about my brother's release, regardless
of what is stated in the resolution," he said.
The father of Gilad Shalit, the soldier who was kidnapped from and IDF outpost near
Gaza, said he hopes that once the ceasefire comes into force his son will return to the
top of Israel 's list of priorities. "It is clear to me that at a time of war certain
things are pushed aside," Noam Shalit said. "But it has been seven weeks since the
kidnapping. I hope the ceasefire will pave the way for negotiations on Gilad's
Noam Shalit said he believes the issue of the two soldiers kidnapped by Hizbullah was
not adequately stressed in the UN resolution.
Analysis: Ceasefire is Bad, Government Must Go
Columnist Caroline Glick & international legal scholar Prof. A. Bayefsky have
analyzed the ceasefire resolution, and have concluded it is an "unmitigated disaster" for
Israel. Columnist Ari Shavit said Olmert must go.
The conclusions reached by Bayefsky and Glick, which appear in a Jerusalem Post article
authored by Glick, are summarized below:
- Responsibility for determining compliance is in the hands of UN Secretary-General
Kofi Annan, who has "distinguished himself as a man capable only of condemning Israel for
its acts of self-defense while ignoring the fact that in attacking Israel, its enemies are
guilty of war crimes."
- No mention of Hizbullah-patrons Syria or Iran, thus ignoring the regional aspect of
- Rewarding Hizbullah's aggression by giving international legitimacy to its demand
for territory - namely, the Shaba Farms - via acts of aggression. Moreover, by allowing
Lebanon to make territorial claims on Israel despite the fact that in 2000 the UN
determined that Israel had withdrawn to the international border; the resolution sets a
catastrophic precedent for the future.
- Though Israel had demanded an arms embargo against Hizbullah, this issue is put off
to a vague date in the future - and the power to oversee such an embargo is placed in the
hands of the Lebanese government, of which Hizbullah is a member.
- The resolution calls upon Israel to withdraw all of its forces from southern Lebanon
even before Lebanese and UNIFIL forces are fully deployed in the area - creating a vacuum
allowing Hizbullah to reinforce its positions in south Lebanon.
- The resolution makes no operative call for the release of IDF soldiers Ehud
Goldwasser and Eldad Regev being held hostage by Hizbullah. "By relegating their fate to a
paragraph in the preamble, which then immediately turns to Hizbullah's demand for the
release of Lebanese terrorists held in Israeli jails, the resolution all but eliminates
any possibility of their returning home."
- It should be assumed that Hizbullah's presumptive victory in its war against Israel
will act as a catalyst for violence by Hizbullah allies in Iraq against the Iraqi
government and coalition forces in the weeks to come.
- Iran emerges as the main victor in the current war.
- By handing a victory to Hizbullah, the resolution strengthens the belief of millions
of supporters of jihad throughout the world that their side is winning and that they
should redouble efforts to achieve their objectives of destroying Israel and running the
US out of the Middle East.
Meanwhile, Ha'aretz columnist Ari Shavit called for an end to Prime Minister Olmert's
"...If Olmert runs away now from the war he initiated, he will not be able to remain
prime minister for even one more day. Chutzpah [nerve] has its limits. You cannot lead an
entire nation to war promising victory, produce humiliating defeat and remain in power.
You cannot bury 120 Israelis in cemeteries, keep a million Israelis in shelters for a
month, wear down deterrent power, bring the next war very close, and then say, 'Oops, I
made a mistake. That was not the intention. Pass me a cigar, please.'
"The day Nasrallah comes out of his bunker and declares victory to the whole world,
Olmert must not be in the prime minister's office. Post-war battered and bleeding Israel
needs a new start and a new leader. It needs a real prime minister."
Ahmadinejad Tells Wallace One Thing, Iranians Another
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad explicitly called for Israel's "death" - just
days before assuring American journalist Mike Wallace that he merely wants to move the
Jewish state to Germany.
Mike Wallace, the retired host of "60 Minutes," interviewed the Iranian president last
week. Wallace returned from the interview describing Ahmadinejad in glowing terms and
insisting he was not an anti-Semite. The edited interview aired Sunday night.
"He doesn't like the United States for the reason that it's supporting the Zionist
entity - he doesn't talk about Israel," Wallace told radio host Sean Hannity.
"So you don't think he's an anti-Semite?" asked Hannity. "He himself, an anti-Semite,
an anti-Jew?" Wallace responded. "Yes," said Hannity. "No, I don't," Wallace said.
Asked by Hannity what Ahmadinejad meant when he called for Israel to be "wiped off the
map," Wallace said: "Yes, he says `wiped off the map,' and of course I asked him over and
over about that. He says in effect, `It's perfectly sensible that if there is a Holocaust
- and let's buy the fact that there was a Holocaust [we ask] where did the
Holocaust take place? Did it take place in an Arab neighborhood? Did it take place in
Jerusalem? No. It took place in Germany. Then it seems to me, under those circumstances,
take Israel, the Zionist entity,' he called it, `move it to Germany. Move it to Europe.
That's where it happened.'"
The Iranian President himself, however, when speaking to his own people, seems to have
a different sort of end of the Jewish state in mind. Ahmadinejad addressed a large crowd
of Iranians just a week prior to his interview with Wallace, in which he not only led a
chant of "Death to Israel," but explained that he was not alone in such a pursuit.
"I hereby declare that this sinister regime [Israel] is the banner of Satan. It is the
banner of the Great Satan," Ahmadinejad is seen saying in a speech broadcast by the
Iranian News Channel (IRINN) on August 2. "From the southernmost point in South America to
the easternmost point in Asia, all the people are shouting a single cry. With placards in
their hands and clenched fists, they shout: `Death to Israel.'"
At that point the crowd chants, "Death to Israel. Death to Israel."
The clip, given English subtitles by MEMRI, can be viewed by going to: http://trailer.mymarketing.co.il/Links/0X0DFF028DA48B2847F4ADF68E88E6A57DC8CD500AB404D20DA6A75C69DCA21F02C5E0B5F3F8B5B0FA84491DF6C55898B306B9E396C546BA22.htm.
Hizbullah Claims Spies Inside Israeli Intelligence
By WorldNetDaily.com (© 2006)
Hizbullah has a vast network of spies operating inside Israel, providing the
organization with information on rocket targets, military installations and sensitive
industrial sites, such as chemical plants, according to a Palestinian newspaper affiliated
with the Islamic Jihad terror group.
The newspaper, Palestine Today, quoted what it said was a Hizbullah source in Beirut
claiming Hizbullah has infiltrated Israeli intelligence agencies and knows "every inch" of
the Jewish state.
"The places we chose to hit with the rockets are decided upon according to information
our agents give us and keep on giving us," the Hizbullah source was quoted as saying. "We
have information about every inch inside Israel, including places where the army keeps its
weapons, especially chemical weapons and explosives."
"We have a very developed network of spies that can give the organization (Hizbullah)
all it wants inside Lebanon and Israel. This system is based on people working deep inside
Israel very secretly, including members in the Israeli intelligence agencies," the source
Palestine Today is known to be affiliated with Islamic Jihad, which Israel says works
closely with Hizbullah and receives funding from the Lebanese terror group.
Israeli intelligence officials told WND they are "very aware" of a possible Hizbullah
spy network currently inside Israel and have been working to crack it. They also say they
don't discount Palestine Today's claims Hizbullah has spies inside the Israeli
intelligence community. An Israeli Arab military officer previously was convicted of
spying for Hizbullah.
The Palestinian newspaper interview comes one day after Israel revealed it arrested an
Israeli Arab it suspects of spying for Hizbullah, accusing him of passing to the terror
group information on troop movements and rocket landings during the Jewish state's current
military campaign in Lebanon.
It also follows a WND exclusive interview last week with a senior terror leader here
who said Hizbullah has an advanced spy network operating inside Israel consisting of
"tens" of agents, mostly Arab-Israelis who provide the Lebanon-based terror group with
strategic information such as rocket targets and locations of military installations.
Israeli security officials say they have been surprised by the accuracy of Hizbullah's
rocket attacks. Several Katyushas have scored direct hits on Israeli military
installations and other strategic facilities. Last weekend, 12 Israeli soldiers were
killed and another 12 were wounded by a Hizbullah rocket attack on a military post at Kfar
Giladi in the Upper Galilee.
In a WND interview, Abu Oudai, a chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group's
rocket infrastructure in the West Bank, said Hizbullah has tens of agents in Israel that
provide it "with the information it needs."
"[Hizbullah] receives extremely high-quality information from their agents inside
Palestine," Abu Oudai said. "We are talking about detailed maps of neighborhoods,
locations of military bases and regular information every day from many sources to help
the heroes (Hizbullah) fire rockets more accurately into [northern Israel]."
He said after rocket attacks, Hizbullah agents send the terror group information on
hits and misses.
The Al Aqsa Brigades, the declared "military wing" of Palestinian Authority President
Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party, is responsible for scores of shooting attacks, rocket
launchings and, together with Islamic Jihad, every suicide bombing inside Israel the past
Israel says senior Brigades leaders, particularly the group's cell in Nablus in the
northern West Bank, coordinate their attacks with Hizbullah and receive funding from Iran
and Syria funneled through Hizbullah channels. Several Brigades leaders have spoken openly
to WorldNetDaily about their group's affiliation with Hizbullah.
The sources said Israeli Hizbullah agents receive advanced training by Hizbullah and
Iranian Revolutionary Guard members. "Hizbullah, with the help of Iran, works like the
army of a sovereign country," said a security official. "This includes the recruitment and
development of spy networks."
Beverly Hills Cop Comes to Kiryat Shmona
Sgt. Walt Gordon, 51, took some time off from his work as an officer and medic with the
Beverly Hills Police to come to Israel last week, straight to the rocket-ravaged town of
Kiryat Shmona in the north.
Gordon arrived on his own initiative to lend a hand to forces in the north and express
support and solidarity for the holy land. "My wife and I are devout Christians and big
fans of Israel," Gordon told Ynet. "We saw what was happening in Israel on the news, and
especially in Kiryat Shmona, and we decided we had to help."
Gordon said his police unit in Los Angeles trains with representatives from the Israel
Police, so he turned to an Israeli friend there and asked how he could help. After he was
referred to the Kiryat Shmona police, he bought a ticket to Israel and went straight up
north to offer his help.
Along with two Israeli volunteers, Gordon distributes food to soldiers and residents in
Kiryat Shmona. "We're doing as much as we can," Gordon said. He spoke excitedly of his
experiences here. "We went to the artillery battery here and spoke with reserve soldiers,
and for the first time I witnessed to extraordinary phenomenon of people dropping
everything, simply abandoning their lives in the middle, and going to serve their country.
It is stirring and heartwarming," Gordon said.
Regarding the ceasefire agreement, the intrepid volunteer said, "I am not an Israeli
citizen and I don't need to express my opinion," but in the same breath he added, "I would
be happy to see Hizbullah crushed. I think that unfortunately we'll still be seeing them
in the future, and of course they'll declare victory. The UN doesn't have the ability to
distance Hizbullah from the border. How can it prevent them from joining the Southern
Lebanese Army? The diplomatic route is only the right solution after Hizbullah is broken
and the kidnapped soldiers are returned."
As for the international criticism of Israel's hard-handed military response, Gordon
says it is clear that if Hizbullah had the ability, it would wipe out Israel, while Israel
would never do such a thing to Lebanon. "That's the difference, and that's why you can't
say Israel is attacking Lebanon too harshly," he says.
"I'm not the hero here. The real heroes are the Israel's on the front lines, the
soldiers and reservists that go up there and protect this country that I love so much,"
Gordon declares, while en route to his next mission handing out goodies to the next
A Time to Laugh
By Jewlarious.com Staff
Why now is the best time to launch Jewlarious.com -- a new site dedicated to Jewish
The congregants were shocked when they entered the rabbi's study only to see him
watching Al-Jazeera, the Arab satellite news station. "Rabbi," said the shul president.
"How can you be watching such anti-Semitic propaganda? Are you, God forbid, some sort of a
"On the contrary," the Rabbi replied. "When I read the New York Times, I see such
terrible things: that Israel is branded as the 'aggressor' despite the fact that it is
defending itself against terrorists, that rockets are raining down on Israeli cities, and
now the violence has spread to Jews around the word -- such tzuras. But when I watch
Al-Jazeera, I see so much more: that the Jews control the American government, the banks,
the media, and that we're even on the verge of taking over the entire world. Watching
Al-Jazeera makes me feel a whole lot better!"
One of the reasons why this joke is amusing is that it takes our current situation, one
which is tragic and at times seemingly hopeless, and turns it on its head by suggesting
that our enemies are not that menacing at all. In fact, they are actually helping us --
and that makes it funny.
In a sense, this is much like the history of the Jewish People itself. For thousands of
years we have been struggling through trying times, but we always manage to keep things in
perspective by turning our perception of reality on its head to see what truly lies
beneath. One of the ways we have always done this is by using one of our unique gifts: our
sense of humor.
We Jews are known for our sense of humor, and this goes way back -- all the way to the
times of the Bible. The first recorded laughter in Jewish tradition results from tragic
circumstances -- the inability of our patriarch Abraham and matriarch Sarah to have
children. But when the angels tell Sarah that at the age of 90 she will miraculously give
birth, she laughs. A situation which was seemingly hopeless -- infertility -- has now been
transformed into the miraculous -- a 90 year old woman and a 100 year old man becoming new
parents. Now that's funny.
Jewish humor through the ages has helped us deal with situations that seemed
unbearable. During the days of oppression and poverty of the Russian shtetls, one village
had a rumor going around: a Christian girl was found murdered near their village. Fearing
a pogrom, they gathered at the local synagogue. Suddenly, the rabbi came running up, and
cried, "Wonderful news! The murdered girl was Jewish!"
To the untrained eye, a joke like this might even seem a bit morbid, but those who are
students of Jewish history know that that couldn't be further from the truth. In
actuality, this genre of joke telling is a coping mechanism, as is much of Jewish humor --
we make light of our struggles thereby deflating them and making them much easier to
Case in point: a segment of the Israeli satirical television program called Eretz
Nehederet (A Wonderful Country) that was aired during the current conflict in Lebanon. The
opening scene shows a hospital room with a heavyset, gray haired man in a coma. A
television beside his bed displays scenes of the fighting in Lebanon, and suddenly, his
eyes open wide and he declares, "What a bad dream I had." He continues, "Get me [Former
Prime Minister] Begin on the phone immediately!" It is obviously Ariel Sharon, thinking he
has awoken from his coma and returned to the Lebanese conflict of 1982.
The show continues to lampoon everyone possible during the current conflict. Even
Israeli singer David Broza, who has been playing his guitar in bomb shelters throughout
northern Israel to raise spirits, is a target. But in the Eretz Nehederet version, he is
driving people out of their bomb shelters into the streets where they prefer taking the
risk of getting hit by a Katyusha rocket than remaining to listen to his performance.
Some might claim that a show like this is insensitive, or even destructive to the
Israeli national psyche. But perhaps it is the exact opposite. When someone thinks his
world is literally crashing down around him, he might think to himself that there is no
way he will be able to survive. Laughter shows the absurdity of the situation and helps
one pull through.
Likewise, some might claim that now is not the right time to launch Jewlarious.com -- a
website dedicated to Jewish humor. But it is times like these when we need our unique
sense of humor most! The current situation can appear hopeless. But we Jews have been
enduring hopeless times for thousands of years, yet remarkably, we continue to survive,
and perhaps even more remarkably, have managed to keep our sense of humor through it all.
Some have wondered what the secret is to our survival. Perhaps a small part is owed to
our sense of humor. Our ability to make light of difficult situations, to see beyond today
and know that there will be a better tomorrow. That no matter how unbearable our current
state is, we will get through it somehow, and survive. In this spirit, Jewlarious.com is
being launched, and we hope we are playing our small part by reminding the world of the
Jewish people's secret weapon: our sense of humor.
(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)