Category Archives: violence

zoriah and alissa

In Harms Way – War Photographers Zoriah and Alissa:

Part 1/5

Part 2/5 

Part 3/5 

Part 4/5 

Part 5/5 

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goodbye nadia

how do you mourn someone when you’re not sure she’s dead?

in november 2005 i became acquainted with nadia abu-amar, one of the wonderful young ladies at a shelter for women in jerusalem, as part of a project titled in spite of!

nadia was camera shy, more than the other girls. even after months of shooting she would still give me her shy smile when she noticed the lens in her direction. i had to sneak up on her to capture her true spirit. and what a strong spirit! she was tough, determined, independant, she new exactly what what she wanted and she went out to get it! her very short life heaped with intense experiences molded and matured her character to a level you or i would have achieved only many years later.

nadia was hiding out at the shelter from her family. hiding out for fear of continued abuse, sexual and other, and for fear of retribution, for daring to speak her thoughts and her desires, for daring not to marry the man her father had ‘sold’ her to. nadia’s cultural arab background dictates a death sentance as a reward for her independent character.

a mother, a father, brothers – a new definition to “family”.

“i sat and spoke to the ocean. it doesn’t answer but it hears”

“yes, i have overcome, but sometimes i am still terrified”

in november 2007 nadia went to visit her sister in haifa. on her way back to the shelter in jerusalem nadia disappeared. months of a police investigation did not turn up a body, only a proud and arrogant brother’s declaration “i slaughtered her. she deserved to die!” criminal charges have been filed against three brothers and an uncle and have yet to be concluded in court.

for months nadia’s room at the shelter remained just as she had left it; her clothes in the closet, her articles on the dresser and her works of art on the wall above her bed – a mixture of hope and disbelief. but finally, her friends deserve to say goodbye and mourn. sunday, june 15th, a memorial service will be held for nadia, a final farewell, at the hostel.

 

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cry of the celts

dolmen, neolithic burial tomb, october 2007, donegal, ireland

Wikipedia –

The History of Ireland began with the first known human settlement in Ireland around 8000 BC, when hunter-gatherers arrived from Britain and continental Europe, probably via a land bridge. Few archaeological traces remain of this group, but their descendants and later Neolithic arrivals, particularly from the Iberian Peninsula, were responsible for major Neolithic sites such as Newgrange. Following the arrival of Saint Patrick and other Christian missionaries in the early to mid-5th century, Christianity subsumed the indigenous pagan religion by the year 600.

 

celtic cross, october 2007, sligo, ireland

From around 800, more than a century of Viking invasions wrought havoc upon the monastic culture and on the island’s various regional dynasties, yet both of these institutions proved strong enough to survive and assimilate the invaders. The coming of Anglo-Norman mercenaries under Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, nicknamed Strongbow, in 1169 marked the beginning of more than 800 years of direct English involvement in Ireland.

 

celtic cross, october 2007, louth, ireland

the whole of ireland was occupied and ruled by great britain for over 800 years. the descendants of ancient celtic tribes were robbed of their land, self government, pride and basic human freedoms. hundreds of years of british plantation and manipulation reduced the majority of the irish population to a life of peasantry in the 19th century, subordinate to greedy landlords – 8 million people totally relying on … a potato.

irish farmer, october 2007, sligo, ireland

in 1845 a fungus attacked the only source of food available to a poor rural population, most of them living in mud cabins. the worst european disaster of the 19th century, known as the irish famine, lasted 7 years and brought mass starvation. during these years the british rule showed total incompetence, dublin nobility continued partying and greedy landlords exported enough grain to have kept millions of irish alive. within 7 years the irish population fell by 3.5 million. exactly how many died and how many emigrated? nobody knows.

famine village, october 2007, donegal, ireland

the easter rising of 1916, lasting a week, devastating dublin and ending in the rebels’ surrender and execution of leaders expedited the 1918 war of independence and brought to the partition of ireland in 1921. northern ireland remained a part of the u.k., a state which discriminated the catholic irish as a matter of policy.

commemoration murial, october 2007, belfast

the troubles began in the late 1960’s. 30 years of bloody violence between republican and loyalist paramilitary groups, including the ira, the royal ulster constabulary (the police force of northern ireland at the time) and the british army. between 1969 and 2001, 3,523 people were killed as a result of the troubles, 1,855 of them civilians, 47,000 injured, 16,000 bombings, 20,000 imprisoned. quite an intifada!

a gate in the barrier, october 2007, belfast

almost unbelievably, on friday april 10th 1998, good friday, both british and irish governments signed the belfast agreement for the creation of a power-sharing executive body committed to the use of “exclusively peaceful and democratic means”. the agreement was endorsed by almost all northern ireland political parties. which, with great emotion, reminds me of a song from childhood – 

Last night I had the strangest dream,
I never dreamed before.
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war.
I dreamed I saw a mighty room,
The room was filled with men.
And the papers they were signing said
They’d never fight again.

And when the papers were all signed,
And a million copies made
They all joined hands and bowed their heads,
And grateful prayers were made.
And the people in the streets below,
They all danced round and round.
And guns and swords and uniforms
Were scattered on the ground.


international wall, october 2007, belfast

why the great emotion? because as an israeli living in a land of violent conflict, who has served in the army and been in wars, who is raising three children in this crazy part of the world, the eldest of which is now doing military service … there is hope! in this sense belfast was amazing! past enemies of decades living side by side in a modern city, sharing governing powers and responsibility for building the future, making a sincere effort together. not everything is perfect. the peace is tense. a barrier still divides parts of the city and the gates are locked every evening at 6 to prevent unnecessary friction. i felt the tension in the air, i could almost touch it. but everyone i talked to can voice only one thing – hope for lasting peace. yes, for me that causes a surge of emotion from deep inside.

hope for lasting peace, october 2007, sligo, ireland

as always, super quality prints and licensing options available.

nir, with thanks to david o’connor!

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send the sinful chicken to hell! take II

bounced up from october 1st, 2006 

swing the chicken three times around your head. pass to it your sins and cleans yourself.

and then, send the sinful chicken to hell!

don’t you feel purified now?

the innocence of children often seems wiser than the experience of their parents…

another two points for religion!

amended:

a year has past. yom kippur is once again at our doorstep, here in the jewish world.

karen horwitz recently commented on the original post: “Since I was a little girl my mother had me put a dime in a handkerchief and say the kaparot prayer three times and give the money to charity. My grandmother was orthodox and it was called caporah.”

yes karen, as a child that’s the way i remember it too. but the weird part is that the ultra-orthodox see it differently. can’t God be appeased without the slaughtering of a chicken?

what is yom kippur … the day of atonements? the central theme of this holy day is atonement and penance from sins, firstly against one’s fellow man and secondly against god. many traditions have evolved; fasting, prayer, wearing white, no bathing or washing, no wearing of leather shoes, oh! and no sex either! “For on this day He will forgive you, to purify you, that you be cleansed from all your sins before G-d” (Leviticus 16:30)

so what do chicken have to do with it? maybe a trace of sacrifices in the ancient temple. maybe remnants of pagan practices. superstition. this is the prayer recited as the live chicken is waved three times above the head just prior to it being butchered: “This is my exchange, this is my substitute, this is my atonement. This chicken will go to its death while I will enter and proceed to a good long life, and peace“.

packed in small cages in the markets and main streets of many cities, if you look closely you’ll see they’re barely moving. they hold their beaks open from thirst, hunger and suffocation after many hours in the sun, sometimes days. eye movements are evidence that they are still alive. barely. on this the holiest of days, why is so much slaughter necessary? why is so much cruelty to animals necessary? butchering them without mercy as we ask for mercy for ourselves, for atonement, for forgiveness.

there’s another way – read the paper chicken

going back to the essence of yom kippur i am not going to slaughter a chicken but i ask you, dorit, uri, tamar and hila, for forgiveness. your forgiveness for moments of anger, for things i said that i shouldn’t have, for moments of impatience, for not always being attentive to your feelings and your needs, for not always fulfilling your expectations. 

i apologize and ask your forgiveness.

nir

amended september 21st 2007: 

a child of 3-4 months; how many sins has he accumulated to justify the slaughter of another chicken?

after less than half an hour of shooting the butchers began to get annoyed with me, worried i might harm their ‘business’. i welcomed their censure, it was a time to leave. i was sick to my stomach.

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an intro to malki’s legacy

on july 22nd i wrote about a letter i received by email in which arnold roth rebukes n.y. time’s decision to illustrate the article ‘hot house’ on palestinian prisoners in israeli jails with a glamor style photo of a smiling ahlam tamimi. i don’t usually delve into mass addressed emails but for some reason this one caught my attention. i surfed into the malki foundation internet site and became engrossed and captivated for over a week. thoughts about malki and the foundation haven’t left me since and it seems they have become a part of my life for the foreseeable future.

i had the honor of meeting frimet (mother), arnold (father) and haya (sister) roth in their jerusalem apartment a few weeks ago and i was deeply affected. haya, age 14, malki’s little sister is extremely disabled. over the years the roths have been conducting a brave struggle to love and care for haya in their home. apparently, all government institutions find it cheaper for children in such situations to be committed to institutions. families that do not comply with this policy often find themselves caring for their child on their own, with very little governmental support, if any.

malki had a very special relationship with haya. a relationship that enabled malki to share frimet’s burden of caring for haya at home – neither the relationship nor the burden obvious or to be taken for granted. over the years malki developed an acute awareness for the suffering of others and devoted herself to voluntary care for handicapped and sick children. she was a very special young woman who left behind an undeniable legacy.

since malki’s tragic death on august 9th, 2001 the roths have climbed out of deep grief, combining their private struggle for the care of haya with strength drawn from malki’s legacy and directing these forces for the benefit of families with children suffering from neurological disorders, severe illness and developmental problems. the malki foundation, established in 2001, serves as a living memory to a young woman who dedicated herself to the care of others less fortunate than herself.

yesterday i met with liat behr, executive director of the malki foundation. after careful consideration i have gained approval for a documentary photography project;

malki’s legacy – the story of hate inflicted death nurturing love and giving, nurturing life.

i intend to document the evolution of the project here on my blog in a separate page, all its own, as deserved. the page can be found here: https://niralon.wordpress.com/malkis-legacy/ . i’m not sure how wordpress will handle update notifications of a single post. so, if you’re interested in following the project either enter the page address in your rss reader or send me an email request for manual notifications of updates.

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malki

the following mail was forwarded to me by micahel levgur – thanks micha!

the letter and follow up reading i did on the malki foundation site deeply touched my heart.

published here with permission and thanks to arnold roth.

28th June 2007 

Dear friends,

Today’s New York Times carries a review of a film called “Hot House” that goes inside Israeli prisons and examines the lives of Palestinian prisoners. We’re not recommending the film or the review. But we do want to share our feelings with you about the beaming female face that adorns the article. You can see it here.

The film is produced by HBO. So it’s presumably HBO’s publicity department that was responsible for creating and distributing a glamor-style photograph of a smiling, contented-looking young woman in her twenties to promote the movie. That female is our child’s murderer. She was sentenced to sixteen life sentences or 320 years which she is serving in an Israeli jail. Fifteen people were killed and more than a hundred maimed and injured by the actions of this attractive person and her associates. The background is here.

Neither the New York Times nor HBO are likely to give even a moment’s attention to the victims of the barbarians who destroyed the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem and the lives of so many victims. So we would be grateful if you would pass along this link to some pictures of our daughter whose name was Malki. She was unable to reach her twenties – Hamas saw to that.

Though she was only fifteen years old when her life was stolen from her and from us, we think Malki was a beautiful young woman, living a beautiful life. We ask your help so that other people – far fewer than the number who will see the New York Times, of course – can know about her. Please ask your friends to look at the pictures – some of the very few we have – of our murdered daughter. They are at http://www.kerenmalki.org/photo.htm

And remind them of what the woman in the Israeli prison – the woman smiling so happily in the New York Times – said last year. ” I’m not sorry for what I did. We’ll become free from the occupation and then I will be free from prison.

With so many voices demanding that Israel release its terrorist prisoners, small wonder she’s smiling.

With greetings from Jerusalem,
Frimet and Arnold Roth
On behalf of Keren Malki

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pride and shame

the pride parade is planned for this thursday in jerusalem. last year police refused a to allow the parade in jerusalem, for fear of violence. a rally was held instead (does God love gays?). two years ago, one of the marchers was stabbed.

this years parade was not definite until recently the israeli supreme court ruled in favor. loud and somewhat violent objections have been sounding from all over. the ultra orthodox jewish community began its preparation last night in their attempt to foil the intentions, of what they call, defiling God’s holy city.

follow this post and amendments over the next few days. decide for yourself where lies the pride and where lies the shame.

this guy stole my blog post title (almost):

leviticus 18:22 “‘Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable”

as always, prints and licenses may be purchased on my site at images of my thoughts . com

nir

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line of fire

i first ‘met’ ziv koren through his work displayed in the world press photo traveling exhibition displayed in tel-aviv. his shots simply stood out. i was captivated, as i hope you will be when through with this post.

numerous award winning israeli photographer ziv koren‘s 1995 photo of  an exploded bus, published on the cover of ‘time international’, was selected in 2000 as one of the 200 most important images in the last 45 years by the world press photo association, besides receiving several other rewards.

another of ziv’s images displayed in world press photo, a ‘dolphin’ submarine on its way from the german manufacturer to its new home in the israeli navy, also caught my attention.

a few years later, as uri was nearing his draft to navy officers’ course, he also decided to redecorate his room. he was looking for a photo that had to do with the navy. i suggested he contact ziv to ask about buying a print. an amusing email interaction took place between uri and ziv. eventually, understanding that uri was not in a position to purchase a print at ziv’s usual prices, ziv sent uri the full res image file, allowing uri to make a print and then delete the file – a present for uri’s upcoming draft.

i next met ziv at a course on documentary photography i did in tel-aviv, run by contact magazine. ziv was an instructor that either discouraged you to the point of despair or pushed you to the limits of your creativity. brutal in his critique ziv made sure my feet were on the ground and that subjective owner’s euphoria didn’t cloud my sense of reality and direction. i learned a lot from this photographer, i greatly respect him and  i admire his work!

today i ran into an online presentation that summarizes much of the work ziv has done over the last two decades in regard to the israeli-arab conflict. ziv has often placed himself on the edge of a knife to get the images he set out to achieve and his work is extraordinary.

do yourself a favor – follow the link below, click on the full screen icon at the bottom-right and and lock out everything else for 3:30 minutes.

line of fire

nir

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40 years ago today…

“the armies of egypt, jordan, syria and lebanon are poised on the borders of israel…to face the challenge, while standing behind us are the armies of iraq, algeria, kuwait, sudan and the whole arab nation. this act will astound the world. today they will know that the arabs are arranged for battle, the critical hour has arrived. we have reached the stage of serious action and not declarations.”  –jordanian king hussein after signing a defense pact with egypt in 1967.

background:

a few years earlier in the 1960s pressure began to build. in may 1967 egyptian president gamal nasser began building up pro-war rhetoric in the media and then closed the strait of tiran to israeli shipping. the fatah group, headed by yasser arafat (recently deceased), began calling for war to eliminate israel. jordan signed a defense pact with egypt, readying itself for war. on june 4, iraq likewise joined a military alliance with egypt and committed itself to war stating “this is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948. our goal is clear – to wipe israel off the map.”

israel could not maintain total military mobilization indefinitely. when it became apparent that egypt would not stand down, israel attacked the egyptians beginning on june 5, 1967. in the first hours of the war, israel destroyed over 400 enemy aircraft to achieve total air superiority. israeli troops quickly conquered the sinai peninsula and gaza. jordanian artillery began firing at jerusalem on the first day of the war, despite a warning by israeli prime minister levi eshkol to stay out of the war, and then the jordan legion advanced and took over the headquarters of the un (governor’s house – armon hanatziv ) in jerusalem. after warning king hussein repeatedly to cease fire and withdraw, israel conquered the west bank and jerusalem. during the first days of the war, syrian artillery based in the golan heights pounded civilian targets in northern israel. after dealing with egypt, israel decided to conquer the golan heights. after just six days of fighting, israeli forces broke through the enemy lines and were in a position to march on cairo, damascus and amman. along with the territories conquered, israel now had close to a million palestinians under it’s rule.

jordanian police academy – ammunition hill outpost:

lyrics: Yoram Taharlev

It was the morning of the second day of the war in Jerusalem.
The horizon became pale in the east. We were in the middle
of the battle on Ammunition Hill. We had been fighting for 3 hours.
It was a stubborn battle. Murderous.
The Jordanians fought stubbornly. It was an exceptionally fortified area.
At a certain point in the battle only 4 soldiers remained with me.
We arrived there with a force of two platoons.
I did not know where the others were, as the line of communication with
Dudik the commander had been cut off at the beginning of the battle.
At that moment I thought everyone had been killed.”

At two, two-thirty
We entered via the stony ground
Into the fire and mine fields
Of Ammunition Hill.

Against fortified bunkers
And 120mm mortars
One hundred and some boys
On Ammunition Hill

The pillar of dawn did not yet rise
Half the platoon lay, in blood
But we were already there
At Ammunition Hill.

Between the fences and the mines
We left only the paramedics
And we ran at the loss of senses
To Ammunition Hill

“At that moment a hand grenade was thrown from outside.
Miraculously, we were not wounded by it.
I feared the Jordanians would throw additional grenades.
Someone had to run above the trenches and to guard.
I had no time to ask who would volunteer.
I sent Eitan. Eitan did not hesitate for even a moment.
He climbed up and started firing his machine gun.
At times he would pass me, and I had to yell to him to stay in my line.
We proceeded in such a fashion for about 30 meters.
Eitan was covering for us from above, and we purified the bunkers from inside,
until he was wounded in the head and fell into the trench.”

We descended into the trenches,
Into the pits and the channels
And into the death in the ditches
Of Ammunition Hill.

No one asked a thing
Whoever went first fell
Much luck was needed
On Ammunition Hill

Whoever fell was dragged back
So as not to block the passageway
Until the next in line fell
On Ammunition Hill.

Perhaps we were lions
But whoever wished to live
Should not have been
On Ammunition Hill.

We decided to try blowing their bunker up with the bazooka bomb.
The bazooka made a few scratches in the concrete.
We decided to try explosives.
I waited above them until the guy with the explosives returned.
He would throw me bundle after bundle,
and I would place them one by one at the entrance of the bunker.
The Jordanians had a system: first they threw a hand grenade,
then they fired a round of ammunition, then they rested.
So, between the firing and the grenade I would advance towards
the entrance of their bunker and lay down the explosives.
I set off the explosives and went back as far as I could.
I only had four meters in which to move,
as there were Legionnaires behind me.
I do not know why I was awarded a Symbol of Merit.
All I wanted was to get home safely.

At seven, seven-twenty
to the police training school
Those who remained were gathered
from Ammunition Hill.

Smoke rose from the hill
The sun in the east rose higher
We returned to the city – seven
From Ammunition Hill.

We returned to the city-seven
Smoke rose from the hill
The sun in the east rose higher
Over Ammunition Hill.

Over fortified bunkers
And over our brothers
That remained there at the age of 20
On Ammunition Hill.

 

 private eitan nave:

on the 6th of june, 1967, in jerusalem, in the battle for ammunition hill, the paratroopers encounters stiff jordanian resistance and could no longer advance. without a moments hesitation, eitan nave jumped out of the trenches and provided covering fire from above, exposed to enemy fire. his actions enabled the paratroopers to advance while he ran decisively, striking down many legionnaires, above, without cover, alongside the force in the trenches, until he was killed by a jordanian bullet to the head.

for his actions, private eitan nave was awarded the medal of bravery, the highest honor awarded by the israeli defense forces.

the way to mt. scopus and the old city was now open. 37 paratroopers had fallen in the battle for ammunition hill and the jordanian police academy grounds.  the paratroopers who fought at ammunition hill were faithful to the combat principles of their training – courage, steadfastness, assisting one’s comrades under fire, initiative and ingenuity.

40 years ago today…

p.s. richard jones, u.s. ambassador to israel, as well as all europian union countries, represented by harald kindermann of germany, rejected invitations to participate in a special jerusalem day ceremony in the knesset, marking 40 years since the city’s unification. the boycott is due to the conflict over east jerusalem’s position as part of israel’s capital.

nir

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oded balilty, pulitzer

oded balilty/ap

A lone Jewish settler challenges Israeli security officers during clashes that erupted as authorities cleared the West Bank settlement of Amona, east of the Palestinian town of Ramallah. Thousands of troops in riot gear and on horseback clashed with hundreds of stone-throwing Jewish settlers holed up in this illegal West Bank outpost after Israel’s Supreme Court cleared the way of demolition of nine homes at the site.February 1, 2006 – from The Pulitzer Prizes web page

amazing photo or not? not only do i find oded’s shot visually fascinating but it also conveys the essence of the struggle – ideological youth in an all out battle against government resolutions from a ‘nothing to loose’ standpoint (something i tried to convey in current affairs). the girl in the photo is named nili. she is not yet 17. nili says the photo did not bring israel worldwide honor and recognition – it brought disgrace. “when our leaders send our security forces to uproot and expel people, to destroy and demolish jewish life, it is not an honor” she wrote.

i saw this photo in the press at the time, later at world press photo exhibition (took 1st place for people in the news) and now i think the pulitzer is well deserved! i know i’m not the first to write about oded balilty’s award but i wanted to be. i postponed this post emailing ap a request to display the image on my blog. no reply. so…

oded balilty is quoted in maariv as saying he felt he had it the moment he got the shot. he wasn’t dreaming of a pulitzer at the time but he knew he had a great shot. his interpretation of the shot is ‘david against goliath’. although he hasn’t met her he sees the girl in the photo as one of the bravest people he has ever seen. not in the political aspect but in the ideological one – her decisiveness to follow her heart.

fantastic shot! congratulations!

nir

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holocaust remembrance day

 

i have made the vow not to forget

may boyer highschool, jerusalem, 16-april-2007

tamar at holocaust remembrance day ceremony

my grandmother shoshana, the eldest of 7 brothers and sisters, was sent to palestine before it all began. she was 16. her mother escorted her to the romanian port of constanza. they wept as they parted and her mother said to her they would probably never see each other again.

shoshana rozia margulis, 1913-1996

the dreaded prophecy became reality. shoshana’s parents, sarah and itzchak-leib margulis, and her brothers berl-dov, chaim, yekutiel (died young of pneumonia), esther, bluma and yekutiel were murdered by the nazis.

today i try to remember them!

nir

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public transportation security

quoting from my own a lovely beginning … and then the end: “recently i’ve been following several online discussions that have to do with restrictions on photographers. it seems that more and more photographic content is becoming off limits for commercial use; the louvre exterior, the lighting of the eiffel tower, municipal buildings ‘belonging’ to the city of london, n.y. subway and many other locations. that’s where editorial photo-journalistic photography has an advantage.”

for editorial use, as opposed to commercial  use (such as advertising), many of these subjects are indeed allowed. still, many locations, even public locations, try to ban photography using all kinds of strange excuses.

not too long ago i was hounded by jerusalem central bus station security personnel. i was shooting, in a documentary sense, the security procedures around the buses in the public street. the security guys weren’t happy and they rudely told me it was against their internal regulations. only thing is since i’m not an employee of their’s i could care less about their internal regulations (and they didn’t ask nicely either). they had a hard time understanding this. i invited them to call the police and went on shooting.

but, i do have to admit, the security people’s concerns are certainly understandable. their job is not one i would wish to do and seems almost impossible. one event, to which i was a witness of the outcome, took place on sunday, may 18, 2003, when seven people were killed and 20 wounded in a suicide bombing on egged bus no. 6 near french hill in jerusalem. hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

an israel police bomb squad expert searches for debris following the may 18th suicide attack.

the seven victims were olga brenner, yitzhak moyal, nelly perov, ghalab tawil, marina tsahivershvili, shimon ustinsky and roni israeli.

nir

niralon.smugmug.com

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does God love gays?

the rabbis don’t think so! for the past two weeks they have been wreaking havoc in the streets of jerusalem. burning, rioting, throwing bricks at policemen, blocking traffic, threatening lives – they call it protest. they call it preservation of sacred values. they ‘speak’ in the name of God. do they really?

 

freedom of expression, democracy, abomination, sins – words being thrown around lately. are they important words, God? are they worth lives?

do you really love gays less than rabbis?

 

a compromise was reached. gays would not parade but rather hold a closed rally at the hebrew university sports stadium in jerusalem. everyone claimed victory, but it was a sad event. much less participants than in previous years. less colorful. jerusalem’s secular residents held hostage by a violent gang of hooligans backed by a copyright on God.

but still they come…

 

nir

niralon.smugmug.com

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send the sinful chicken to hell!

swing the chicken three times around your head. pass to it your sins and cleans yourself.

and then, send the sinful chicken to hell!

 

don’t you feel purified now?

the innocence of children often seems wiser than the experience of their parents…

another two points for religion!

nir

niralon.smugmug.com

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draft order number 8

last saturday, during the night, about 35,000 ‘draft order 8’ were delivered throughout the country. a draft order number 8 is an immediate call for duty. sunday morning 35,000 teachers, engineers, doctors, salesmen, mechanics, fathers, sons, brothers and husbands presented themselves at predetermined locations carrying whatever they thought they would need for a few weeks of military duty in lebanon. they also carried blessings from their families, sandwiches prepared by their wives, drawings from their children, and tears from their mothers.  

you’d think not everyone would show up. certainly some would try to get out of it. it’s not easy to leave your family, your job, your life, for who knows how long. not to mention this isn’t a free vacation in the bahamas. almost in all military reserve units 100% of those called showed up within 12 hours.

is this amazing or insanity? anywhere else in the world something like this can occur?

my brother-in-law, nitzan, was drafted last week. he’s 43 and a father to three.

last night he called, notified yael, his wife, he is ‘going in’ (lebanon) and would no longer be available on his cellphone. i sent nitzan a last minute sms; take care, kick ass, but no heroism. we don’t need a hero, we need you! the message was buffered. nitzan didn’t get it. he was already on his way.

i saw yael and their three children today. they are facing very difficult times. yael was in tears for parts of the day, terrorized with worry. i cry in my heart …

nir

niralon.smugmug.com

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father josep maria

in october 2005 we took a family vacation in spain and due to an insight of dorit, my partner in life and best friend, we were most fortunate to visit abbey de poblet near tarragona. it is a beautiful monastery very well preserved from the 11th century.

http://niralon.smugmug.com/gallery/922594

more of spain here

on our return to israel i decided to write an article about the monastery and it was published in the israeli magazine “teva hadvarim”

more publications here

but the most important step was researching poblet. this is when i first contacted father josep maria, who i now consider a dear friend. we correspond quite often but i will never forget father josep’s first email that opened How lucky I am, dear Mr. Nir Alon, to make your acquaintance, with you, a real jew, living in Israel, near Jerusalem, the Holy City!”

i like to think i had a part in helping father josep fulfil a yearning – this september he plans to visit the holy land, with two other monks, and i will finally meet my friend face to face.

… if events allow

father josep is very understandably concerned with current political events in israel and how they may effect his visit. following is an excerpt of a reply i sent to him…

Dear Father Josep,

It is a good thing I did not reply yesterday. Had I replied yesterday I would have said “sure, no problem to visit Nazareth”. But, yesterday afternoon a rocket shot by the Hezbollah in Lebanon hit the town of Nazareth and killed two small Arab children. So, to answer your question – I will delay my answer hopefully only a week or two so things may quiet down.

But the death of the two children in Nazareth may be a reply to the other issue you raised – indiscriminate killing…

While Israel does everything possible to avoid innocent deaths, the Hezbollah does not.

In 1982 Israel invaded southern Lebanon under similar circumstances. There was no Hezbollah then, it was PLO terrorists that were terrorizing our northern border. They were eventually driven out of Lebanon to Tunisia. After many years of occupying southern Lebanon because the central Lebanese government could not take responsibility for securing the border, six years ago Israel pulled its military forces out of Lebanon, even though the security situation there was not good, in compliance with UN resolution 1559.
Resolution 1559 also called for disarming of Hezbollah and deployment of the Lebanese army in southern Lebanon. But the government of Lebanon did not comply with these requirements. Over the past six years the population of southern Lebanon and the government actively and passively helped the Hezbollah to strengthen in southern Lebanon, to build a terror network and infrastructure, and to stock thousands of rockets aimed at Israeli cities. Today it is clear how thorough the Hezbollah preparations and their intentions really were. Stocks of rockets are hidden and buried under civilian homes all over southern Lebanon. These rockets are today being used to indiscriminately shell
Israeli cities, towns, civilians and children. They do not even care if they kill innocent children. Arab children, their own people!!

The current violence was undoubtedly initiated by Hezbollah with a barrage of rockets all over Israel’s north, the  penetration of Israel’s border, killing of 4 and abduction of two. There is world consensus justifying Israel’s military action against Hezbollah. For the first time in modern history the world is backing our actions. Even moderate Arab countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia are thankful we are trying to erase a radical terror organization. This in itself
is unbelievable! Egypt and the Saudis were our enemies not so many years ago.
The situation is that Israel today has no choice. we can no longer be held hostages, the whole country, under the threat of a terror organization in a country with a weak government. Under these impossible circumstances Israel is doing everything humanly possible to avoid civilian casualties on the Lebanese side. In contradiction to the military advantage of surprise, our planes drop notes over civilian areas notifying the population to evacuate areas controlled by Hezbollah or Hezbollah installations and facilities. We are
compromising our military intentions and the element of surprise to avoid civilian casualties as much as possible. Israel’s air force is using the most sophisticated smart-bombs available to make sure each bomb hits it’s exact target. Some strategically important targets are not hit if the risk of civilian casualties is too great.
If some of the Lebanon population identify with Hezbollah and actively support them, and if they do not listen to our advance warnings and evacuate, then their destiny is in the hands of God.

Indeed it is an impossible situation. Indeed it is sad and tragic on both sides. But we have all witnessed the extent of radicalism on the side of Islam all over the world. They have a term – “Jihad” – religious justification for murder of innocents. Is there another religion that justifies murder in the name of God?

 

“Hear O Israel, The Lord our God, The Lord is One”, Mt. Arbel, May 2005

nir

niralon.smugmug.com

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