Oznia, a blog of Israel things

~Happy Birthday Israel! by ozniablog
April 29, 2009, 11:19 am
Filed under: opinion


Yom HaAtzmaut Sameach!  As Israel celebrates it’s 61st year of Independence, we hope you’ll take some time to read up on the holiday’s history, enjoy the traditional Yom HaAtzmaut BBQ (mangal),watch the International Independence Day Bible Trivia Competition, and celebrate Israel’s Independence!


~Yom Hazikaron 2009 by ronshapiro
April 28, 2009, 5:37 am
Filed under: opinion | Tags:

Change your Facebook Status, Update your Twitter:

“Today I remember the men and women who died tragically for my country, the State of Israel.”

Yom Hazikaron
The time between the destruction of the 2nd Temple and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 was marked by Jewish Persecution.  Throughout Europe and Asia, Jews could not find one place to sit down and live in peace.  From blood libels to the Spanish Inquisition, the Dreyfus trial to the Holocaust, Jews have been targeted by every other nation as scapegoats for their problems.

Prior to independence and more than 61 years later, Israel has lost some of its best workers, intellectuals, laborers, and friends in the fight to keep the Jewish state alive.  When neighboring Arab countries attempt to drive Israel into the sea, the Israel Defense Forces step up to protect the country which is not only theirs, but that of the entire nation stemming from Yitzhak (also known as Israel).  We are blessed to have a country that has survived 61 years, so we must remember how we achieved this feat.  We give tribute to those who allow us to live without persecution in the land of Israel.

Judaism is a religion centered around looking back at the past: remembering Creation and the Exodus from Egypt, remembering family members who pass away, remembering the Shoah.  Today, we remember those who were killed in battle and those who were innocent bystanders.  Remembrance is so critical that the day is named after the word (Yom Hazikaron comes from the root of zocher/lizchor – to remember).

Many times, the Israelis who lost their lives were secular Jews; Jews who shared a connection only through common name of religion.  It is this connection, however, that makes the camaraderie so special.  They care not the level of observance, yet they will do anything to protect a Jew.

Don’t ever forget those who fought so you could be safe in Israel.  Today I remember Michael Levin (z”l) as a hero and role model for many.  Michael attended Ramah Poconos and was active in Hagesher USY, went on USY High, and decided to make Aliyah directly after Nativ.  He was killed tragically in the 2nd Lebanese War in 2006, the only American and chayal boded (lone soldier) to die that summer.  Below is his quote from his Nativ yearbook:

“You can’t fulfill your dreams unless you dare to risk it all.”
-Michael Levin (z”l), Of Blessed Memory

~100 Percent Light by madeinisrael
April 26, 2009, 4:56 am
Filed under: music

Check out this new single/video from Israeli singer Yael Deckelbaum of Banot Nechama fame:

~Land of Liberty by elan
April 23, 2009, 11:20 am
Filed under: opinion, politics | Tags: , , , , ,

The international media continues to accuse Israel of committing gross violations of the Geneva Conventions and trespassing on human rights during the recent war with Hamas, the terror organization currently in control of the Gaza strip. Whether, and to what extent, the Israel Defense Forces actually broke international law deliberately or accidentally, remains to be seen. However, it is extraordinarily clear that Hamas consistently attacks Israeli population centers and uses schools, hospitals and residential structures as shields against Israeli troops and air strikes.

The Reason Foundation, in its magazine, explains the key difference between Israel and Hamas. While the terror organization strangles the civil liberties of Gazans and is willing to sacrifice them to hurt Israel’s self image, the middle east’s only democracy is engaged in a healthy debate over its tactical procedures. Dany Zamir, a former officer in the IDF, is openly criticizes the government and the military, without fear of reprisal. War is always ugly and bloody. The international community should cut Israel some slack for allowing dissent towards its policies and striving to avoid collateral damage.

~Ahmadinejad Speaks at Durban II by samsitt
April 21, 2009, 9:05 pm
Filed under: opinion, politics | Tags: , , , ,

Shimon Peres, Israel’s president, spoke out against the Durban 2 conference.  The speech came at a ceremony commemorating one of the worst human rights disgraces of all time, the Holocaust.  He proclaimed that the anti-racism summit currently being held in Geneva is really “an acceptance of racism, not a fight against it.”

Ahmadinejad gave a speech on the second day of the conference, without a translation from Farsi.  Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz stood up at the beginning of the speech and commented on the lack of translation prevented attendees to participate.  When Iran’s President mentioned Israel as a racist state, delegates from many European countries walked out.  Other interruptions, like people interrupting Ahmadinejad with shouts of  “racist, racist!” happened on several occasions.

This explicit example of racism is the reason that the United States did not want to legitimatize the conference with its presence.  This is a a noble but incongruous position for the US to take.  Under President Bush, this stubborn policy would have made more sense.  Obama’s approach has been different.  Since his election campaign, he has stated that he would be willing to meet with Iran with out preconditions.  Congressional Black Caucus chair, Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee, pointed out that this non-confrontational strategy is only going to make the United States a less prominent player in the determination of what will be the future of global human rights policy.

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~Durban II – An Upside Down UN by ronshapiro
April 20, 2009, 7:51 pm
Filed under: opinion | Tags: , , ,


In 2001, the United Nations held a conference in Durban, South Africa which was focused on racism and racial discrimination in the world. The conference quickly developed into a forum for singling out Israel, which caused the United States and Israel to withdraw. Many countries and individuals objected the declaration, including United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson. The conference ended on September 8th, 3 days before the tragedy of September 11th, 2001.

This week, the UN is holding the Durban Review Conference (termed “Durban II”) to review the declaration and program from the 2001 conference. According to the UN website, the conference “will evaluate progress towards the goals set by the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in Durban, South Africa, in 2001.”

Many European countries are criticizing the convention for focussing on western countries instead of the world as a whole. They also were concerened over the fact that Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is one of the main speakers. Today, during his speech, dozens of diplomats walked out when Ahmadinejad began his address. They said that the Iranian President quickly began a tirade about Israel, which caused them to walk out. Ahmadinejad is probably the most vocal Holocaust denier currently and claims that Israel should be “wiped off the map” on a regular basis.

The facts that the conference began on Adolf Hitler’s (yemach shemo, may his name be forgotten) 120th birthday, or that Yom Hashoah, the day to remember the tragedies of the Holocaust, begins tonight.

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~Right to join UN Rights Council? by ronshapiro
April 19, 2009, 5:34 am
Filed under: opinion | Tags: , ,

Going against previous precedents, the Obama administration decided to join the UN Human Rights Council.

Why is this a problem?  Well…

  • More than 1/2 of Council is composed of countries who aren’t true democracies
  • Since its inception in 2006, 26 of the 32 resolutions that have been passed (81%) condemn Israel
  • The Council has gotten rid of experts who were investigating human rights issues in Darfur, Congo, Cuba, Belarus, and Liberia.

The Council might as well be renamed as the UN Condemn Israel Council.

“There is no question that the U.S. can play a decisive role in making U.N. institutions more effective, but the Human Rights Council has deep systemic flaws,” said ADL National Director Abraham Foxman.