Oznia, a blog of Israel things

~Obama support comes from Israeli bloggers by nachman18
April 30, 2008, 4:25 am
Filed under: politics | Tags:


Israeli Obama supporters have launched a Hebrew-language blog advocating for Obama. The new blog features translated speeches and campaign messages related to Israel, and is hosted on the popular “Tapuz” website. Tzahi Stein, VP of Marketing and Strategy at Tapuz said, “”This is a very exciting turn of events and we look forward to working closely with Obama’s staff.”

Although Obama or his campaign did not officially put out the blog, they have issued a statement noting their excitement at support for Obama in Israel and around the world. This is not the first time Israelis have shown public support for Obama—in the recent “Yes We Can” promotional video put out by Obama’s campaign, Maya Rubin, an Israel actress and singer, was featured singing “ken anu yecholim.”

Despite virulent accusations against Obama for being anti-Semitic or anti-Israel, recent U.S. polls show that Obama is still very popular among Jewish voters.

The blog can be found here.


~Carter’s Pariah Diplomacy by Yishai Schwartz
April 30, 2008, 4:16 am
Filed under: opinion, politics, religion | Tags:


Carter’s at it again. You’ve got to respect the man. Damn the American government, screw the public will, and to hell with scruples. Carter, as most of you already know recently returned from a trip to Nepal, and stopped by Hamas headquarters in Damascus on his way in. Deliberately defying the Bush administration’s and Israel’s stated policy of delegitimization and isolation, Carter met with Hamas leadership to play mediator. Upon his return he published an opinion piece in the New York Times criticizing the current American and Israeli policy, and calling for direct negotiations.

Carter’s recklessness and lack of responsibility are staggering. He intentionally worked against American foreign policy goals and deliberately weakened the government’s position. The whole goal of an isolation policy requires just that: isolation. Carter should feel free to argue out the wisdom of the policy in the press and public forum, but to undercut the policy is, quite simply, traitorous. One longs for the days when the 1799 Logan Act (the federal law that prohibits private citizens from conducting their own unauthorized diplomacy) was enforced and Carter would have gotten his 3 years in the clink. As Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Dan Gillerman, put it: Carter “went to the region with soiled hands and came back with bloody hands” after shaking those of Hamas arch terrorist Khaled Mashaal.

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~Yitzchak “Y-love” Jordan by aklionsky

I was listening to NPR this evening, and I heard something about setting Talmud to a beat, so I started paying attention. A few minutes later, the full segment came on (listen to the segment here)–it was about Yitzchak “Y-love” Jordan.


Y-love has become a famous musician in religious-hip hop genres, and took away more votes than even Matisyahu at the Jewish Music Awards.

He was born to Puerto Rican and Ethiopian parents, and began keeping with Jewish traditions at 7 years old. When he was older, he went to Yeshiva in Jerusalem, where he and his chavruta (studying partner) used rap to help with quick recall of Talmudic passages.

Now, Y-Loves music is in Hebrew, English, Latin, Arabic, and Aramaic–something which he says he hopes will connect people of all faiths, as all these languages are holy to some group of people. Y-love says he’s “building bridges and not walls between people” with his music, and anyone who likes music and is devoted to their faith will find something for them in his music.

Check out this video with some music clips and also Y-love talking about his background!

~Geert Wilder: Acceptable or Over the Top by aji525
April 15, 2008, 2:24 am
Filed under: opinion, politics | Tags:

For anyone who does not know, Geert Wilder is a Dutch politician and member of the Dutch Parliament. He has taken a particular interest in Arabic and Islamic culture over the past few decades, mainly criticizing certain portions o the Qur’an for inciting violence and terrorism. Wilder is a Roman Catholic and has no real tie to Judaism, yet he has visited Israel over forty-two times and considered moving there for a period of time.

I came across an interview Wilder had on Fox News, which sparked my interest. For any readers unfamiliar with Wilder, this interview should be viewed before reading the rest of this piece

In recent months, he has released a video called “Fitna” that has caused much controversy and has been banned by several websites. It depicts graphic images of terrorist attacks, and picks out certain excerpts from the Qur’an to show where the terrorists obtained their inspiration. It is now available here on youtube.

After watching those two videos, it is not hard to get an accurate sense of Wilder. He is not concerned with who he offends, or if what he says gains him popularity with the public. He is extremely opinionated and is very vocal with his opinions. He does not let the fear of terrorism put a damper on his opinions. To get to the point, my main question is this: While Wilder takes an extremely conservative stance; one that offends many people, shouldn’t the fact that he can say what he says serve as a testament to the freedom of progressive, modern society?

~pediatrician by day, air force pilot by night – the contradiction of Israeli life by mle900
April 14, 2008, 11:18 pm
Filed under: arts/culture, opinion | Tags:

A Time to Kill, And a Time to Heal

As an air force pilot, Yuval must accept missions to attack targeted terrorists in Gaza. Sometimes, unfortunately, innocent civilians are killed or injured in these attacks. Yuval also works as a pediatrician in a hospital saving the lives of many children, including Palestinians. Sometimes, Yuval ends up treating the very patients he may have injured in the first place.
When reading this article, I was reminded of a story in Daniel Gordis’ book, Home to Stay. A man muses about what it is like to do thirty days of reserve service, body-frisking Arabs for arms and explosives at checkpoints and then return to his job as a construction engineer, having coffee and drawing maps with the very same people he body-searched the day before.
This is the contradiction of living in Israel. The Middle East is not like any other war zone where citizens avoid the enemy’s territory and boycott the enemy’s economy. Arabs from hostile areas enter Israel to find work and rely on Israel for medical care because that is the only way they can survive.
However, maybe it is not such a contradiction after all. The Israeli army runs missions into Gaza (to assassinate terrorists) and checkpoints to protect its citizens. Once an individual is no longer a danger to Israelis, he is offered medical treatment and the potential for a job in Israel. Maybe this seeming contradiction is actually a unique attempt by Israel at remaining unequivocally moral in the midst of a war.

~Facebook as an Advocacy Tool? by jord013
April 11, 2008, 3:29 pm
Filed under: opinion | Tags: ,

We all know how popular Facebook is. It’s gotten to the point where even my dad has an account. Sure, there are still the increasingly rare few who decide to take a stand against the networking website by refusing to join, but most people end up checking their Facebook at least once a day.

It makes sense, therefore, that pro and anti- Israel advocates would use Facebook to further their political agendas. Instead of just inviting me to pro-Israel groups like they have in the past, however, advocates have begun inundating my Facebook inbox with pro-Israel messages, demanding that I join this group, email this company, etc. I’m sure you’ve experienced the same.

Is advocacy on Facebook worth it? I think there are two facets of the situation. One- Facebook groups are taking traditional Israel advocacy and multiplying it by 1,000. People who would otherwise have no idea where Sderot is, let alone what’s going on there, are now learning about Israel. Two- Because there are so many Israel-related groups that often overlap in their messages, Facebook users may become overexposed to the issue and lose interest.

The fact that pro-Israel advocates on Facebook are now spamming our inboxes is an example of extreme, and overall ineffective, advocacy. My brain has been programmed from the time I got my first email address to ignore spam- all spam. Let’s not let pro-Israel advocacy on Facebook become grouped in peoples’ minds with some email for a sale at Bath and Body Works or offers for free ipods.

~Israel Solidarity Day in Chicago! by aklionsky

Thanks for the heads-up, aji525!

Chicago’s got great plans for celebrating the big Six-Oh with Israel, as well, also including the Idan Raichel Project.

On Sunday, May 4 the Jewish United Fund/Chicago Federation will host Israel Solidarity Day/The Walk With Israel. The Walk, an annual tradition that brings Jews from all around Chicago to celebrate, will commence with an Israel rally, that will turn into a 6k walk along the lake.

After eating falafel (delicious!), pizza, and other delicacies from kosher restaurants in and around Chicago, everyone will get to hear the famous Idan Raichel Project!

This will be Raichel’s second time playing in Chicago in less than a year, and I think it’s safe to say that everyone’s pretty pumped up about hearing him again!

The birthday celebrations continue that week at Northwestern University with guests like David Broza and Elie Wiesel.