May 25, 2012

A Land the Queen Forgot

I would like to record my own personal congratulations to Queen Elizabeth II on her Diamond Jubilee.

Hers has been a true 'malchut shel chessed' a kingdom of kindness to Jewish people like my own parents and many relatives who found safe haven from Nazi-occupied Europe.

In return, Jews have vastly enriched her kingdom in the arts and sciences, business, medicine and philanthropy and are surely amongst the most loyal of all British subjects. 

It is therefore a great shame that, in 60 years of royal tours of virtually every tinpot state on the planet, HM has not found the opportunity to visit the most remarkable land of them all. The birthplace of Christianity and the only true democracy in the Middle East.

Whenever I remark on this glaring omission, I am told that Her Majesty has no choice but to follow the counsel of her foreign ministry. 

This would be the same Foreign & Colonial Office which sided with the Arabs in 1948 leaving all British arms and ammunition to them in hopes that they would quickly wipe out the Jews whose own arms shipments the British had often interdicted and confiscated.

Her Majesty would do well to tell her ministers that if they so misjudged the Hebrews at the beginning of her reign, they should at least give her the benefit of the doubt 60 years on, and approve her making perhaps the most memorable royal visit of them all.

May Her Majesty do this speedily and in our days, and of course together with her Prince Consort, in the best of health.


May 24, 2012

Obama, Israel & Iran - summed up in a cartoon

The European Bufoons

Nowhere is the utter hopelessness of word leadership more starkly portrayed than in the sight of these two complete bufoons leading the EU and its foreign policy.

Herman van Rompuy is President of the EU.
Baroness Catherine Ashton is its first foreign minister.

No Wiki or other introduction of Mr Van Rompuy can possibly match that of UKIP leader Nigel Farage's withering reception for him in the European parliament chamber. A must-see HERE.

For Ashton, there is another Farage clip at the end of this blog entry which not only exposes her lack of any serious credentials for the job and the fact that she was never elected for anything in her little more than 10 years of political life ... but also reveals that she was a former treasurer of CND, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Is it right that such an unelected person should be in charge of the foreign policy agenda of 500 million people? 

That would be questionable in peacetime ... but with the mad ayatollahs of Iran now on the brink of nuclear weaponry it is breathtakingly reckless to see such a tainted naif taking such a critical role in negotiations with Iran's leadership whereby the late and limp sanctions only now starting to bite will be removed in exchange for worthless and unverifiable undertakings to refine uranium below the critical weapons-grade level.

The Farage clip below may not be new, but its message is as fresh today as it is critical with the P5+1 cave-in on Iran about to be signed-up in Istanbul. 

Also you can hardly miss the sheer bufoonery that is the EU parliament ... its finances in tatters and now weakening the security of the entire world.

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May 23, 2012

Those poor oppressed Palestinians ...

My lawyer friend John S. has just sent me this research he has done on life expectancy figures for Middle East countries.

Country/ Territory           Men              Women

Egypt                                 72 yrs              76 yrs

Jordan                                72 yrs              75 yrs

Lebanon                             71 yrs              75 yrs

Iraq                                    68 yrs               73 yrs

Iran                                    72 yrs               75 yrs

Saudi Arabia                       73 yrs              76 yrs

Sudan                                 60 yrs               64 yrs

Syria                                   74 yrs               78 yrs

Palestinian territories      73 yrs               76 yrs

That puts the Pallys in better shape than Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Iran ... and on par with oil-rich Saudi Arabia!

Click HERE to see more of their suffering.


May 20, 2012

The 1 Dollar Covenant

This amazing true story was doing the rounds in shul this weekend ...

The man in the blue silk skullcap looked rather awkward and out of place at the Chassidic wedding in New York.  One of the guests, a rabbi, approached him and invited him to join in the dancing.  The clearly secular Jew declined, explaining that he was the father of the bridegroom and was not in a celebratory mood  as he disapproved of the path his son had taken and of his choice in marriage.

But this is the happiest day of his life …” said the rabbi, “at least grant him the one wish of dancing on his big day?”

Look,” said the father. “If you are asking about granting wishes, I told my son I would do anything he asked of me in honour of his wedding … any single wish and I would grant it. Money, a house, a car ... whatever”.  The father then revealed that his son’s single wish was that his father became circumcised in time for the wedding.

So, I went to the urologist a few days ago and had it done …” said the father. “And, to be honest, this is the reason I can’t dance … because I am in considerable pain.”

The rabbi was overwhelmed by this story.  It’s a truly wonderful thing you have done for your son,” he said. Reaching into his pocket, he took out a laminated one-dollar bill.  I want to give this to you.  It’s a dollar bill given to me a long time ago by the Lubavitcher Rebbe. I’ve been carrying it on me every day since, but you are much more worthy of it than me.

The father’s face suddenly went very pale.

“Are you OK?” asked the rabbi.

“Not quite … ” the father replied and then went on to tell him a story.
“About 30 years ago, my partner and I decided to go into a certain business venture. It was a bit risky so he decided to go to his rabbi for a blessing. I was not into that kind of stuff, but went along just the same.  He took me to the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s place on Eastern Parkway where he was giving out his famous dollar bills to a long line of disciples and visitors.  As we progressed along the line, I fell a few places behind my partner, and when I finally reached the rebbe’s table, he leaned towards me and whispered: “Have you had a brit ?”  

I embarrassedly admitted that I hadn’t been circumcised.
To which he quietly replied: “When you have had a brit, I will have a dollar for you.”


"Jerusalem Forever" - Bibi

Prime Minister Netanyahu's sketch of the walls of the old city in Jerusalem under the caption:

"Jerusalem forever"

May 07, 2012

Churchill & Westfield

I rarely blog about business, but here is an exception.

Like my own parents, Frank Lowy was born in Czechoslovakia. He survived World War II in Hungary and at the age of 15 moved to the Land of Israel where he later fought in the War of Independence.

Lowy moved to Australia in 1952 where he begun building a retail property empire. Today his Westfield Group operates over 100 shopping centres in Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Great Britain.

In 2010 Lowy was crowned Australia's Richest Person with an estimated wealth of 5 billion Australian dollars.

I happened to visit Westfield the other night and later heard that Lowy was here in London last month to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award.

He opened his speech to talk about his two huge shopping centres in the London area. And then he continued ...

"I’m sure you don’t need a lecture about Westfield.

Instead, because I don’t get these opportunities very often, I’d like to talk on a more personal level about my relationship with this country and why it was also so important for me to try to establish a business here.
My determination to be here didn’t start with a business plan. My motive sprang from a more emotional connection with this country which began in my childhood.

Many of you are familiar with my background as a survivor of the Nazi era. Many of my family perished, including my father, and you can imagine the dark days I experienced as a young boy trying to survive with my mother in eastern Europe during the war.
They were dark days indeed. But hope was always kept alive. And one of my most enduring memories was of the hope we drew from this country. As a little boy I remember huddling around a radio, listening to the BBC for news of the Allied advance.

I can still hear the bell of Big Ben tolling in the hour as the news came on. I vividly remember the voice of Winston Churchill rallying this nation, and the rest of the free world, to hang on. To have faith. To keep going."
 It was stirring stuff for a youngster, and even if I didn’t truly understand everything that was going on at the time, the message I took from it has stayed with me throughout my life.

It was a message of hope. And it was proof to me, as a youngster, that there were people, there were nations, out there that cared about what was happening to us, and that help was on the way.
For this reason, I have always had a special regard for England. It is a nation with a confidence and belief in the just cause.
And it has always been willing to back that belief with enormous sacrifice when called upon.

I have forever been grateful for that, as someone who on a very personal level benefited from this country’s leadership during those dark days.

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May 05, 2012

Prophet of Zion

On tour in Tekoa 2004 with father of terror victim Kobi Mandell
This was the week of my favourite Haftorah, from Amos -  a prophet of few words; his is the shortest book in Tanach.

But in terms of Zionism, probably the one who penned the best lines of them all.

Chapter 9 foretells the rebirth of the Jewish state - uncannily as we see it today:

11 “In that day
“I will restore David’s fallen shelter
I will repair its broken walls
and restore its ruins
and will rebuild it as it used to be,
12 so that they may possess the remnant of Edom
and all the nations that bear my name,[a]
declares the Lord, who will do these things.

13 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman
and the planter by the one treading grapes.
New wine will drip from the mountains
and flow from all the hills,
14 and I will bring my people Israel back from exile.[b]
“They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them.
They will plant vineyards and drink their wine;
they will make gardens and eat their fruit.
15 I will plant Israel in their own land,
never again to be uprooted
from the land I have given them,”
says the Lord your God. 

Amos was a herdsman of Tekoa, one of the Judean territories recaptured in 1967 and which Amos would now see reborn as a Jewish settlement just as he prophesied nearly 3,000 years ago.

Enjoy Dov Shurin's catchy song of the Amos prophesy here ...

May 04, 2012

Telegraph Website

May 02, 2012

We shall no longer go quietly....

F16s over Masada

May 01, 2012

Will Osama Re-Elect Obama ?

If Obama gets re-elected on the coattails of killing Bin Laden, the Al Qaeda leader may well succeed in death what he failed to achieve on 9-11 ... the destruction of America.

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