Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Shanah Tovah

A Happy, Healthy, and Hopeful 5772!
( Last year right after Rosh HaShanah I came across this wonderful picture, taken by Yossi Yarom, on Ashley's Igoogledisrael )

Monday, September 26, 2011

Hartman's Truth

While reading this article I found myself nodding in agreement time and again. Some of the main truths (in my opinion, obviously) that I found in rabbi Hartman's article:

  • “They” may truly hate us. But we have not lost the means to navigate nimbly in dangerous waters. We seem to have lost our will. We seem content with expending our efforts to ignore the inevitability of Palestinian statehood and to the convening of Jewish assemblies in which we talk to ourselves and bemoan the injustice.
  • Not only must we have no desire to expand settlements but we must recognize and declare that many of those settlements - in particular those not connected to Jerusalem or located in one of the three settlement blocs - have no future and that Israel’s political, moral and Jewish interests lie in dismantling them.
  • Uncertainty, however, is no excuse for passivity, but the impetus for action. To recognize this is to recognize that while many things are the same, many are not. While our enemies may not have changed, we have. It is time to stop counting all the injustices, enumerating all that which is unfair, telling over and again to anyone who can hear that it is not our fault. It is time for us to take responsibility for our destiny, a destiny not necessarily defined by that which is forced upon us but which will reflect who we want to be.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Beter dan Tom Janssen zullen maar weinig mensen kunnen zeggen wat de essentie van het kabinet Rutte 1 is. Hoe zei JPB het vroeger ook al weer? Oh ja, fatsoen moet je doen. Yeah, right.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


I agree with every word that Mr Friedman wrote for his latest column. Particularly when he says the following:

  • " ...the most diplomatically inept and strategically incompetent government in Israel’s history"
  • "I have great sympathy for Israel’s strategic dilemma and no illusions about its enemies. But Israel today is giving its friends — and President Obama’s one of them — nothing to defend it with."

Riverdance II - Yoshie High School Band

Not less impressive (and here and there much funnier, look how serious the kids are, and how some of them clearly enjoy playing the piece), this performance by the Yoshie High School Band.

Riverdance - Brass Band OÖ

I basically grew up in a wind band. From age 5 till age 16, and a short while as a student at the university, I played percussion, then the French horn, and later the trumpet. My brother played as well, our father has played in wind orchestras for more than 60 years, and he has also arranged many pieces (and written a march or two) and directed orchestras, although he is not a professional. What you see and hear in this video is the kind of music that I heard almost daily as a child, though technically our orchestra was not a brass band. The performance, by this Austrian brass band, of music from Riverdance is really impressive.

Start your week with a smile ( I did )

Yesterday's Wizard of Id episode brought a smile on my face this morning.

Shared danger is double danger

If Israel and the Palestinians (*) share one thing, or two, it is the fact that a) their most dangerous enemies come from among their own people, and b) their enemies from without are one of the main factors that hold them together as a people.

(*): I mean the average, hardworking Israelis and Palestinians, who just want to live their lives and raise their children in peace and prosperity in a state of their own. In spite of everything I insist on believing that those Israelis and Palestinians form the vast majority of the people(s) in Israel, the Westbank, and Gaza.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Why blame yourself if you can blame the other?

Israel has plenty of reasons to complain about its neigbors and other fellow-Near/Middle-Eastern countries, peoples, and regimes. Still, it cannot blame only 'the other side(s)', as long as it continues to blatanly ignore international public opinion (including the opinion of what I still see as its true friends) regarding its policies in the West Bank, and as long as $%#@#*# like Uzi Dayan are the country's (semi)official spokespersons. The country's foreign policy - if one can speak of such a thing - has failed for several years in a row, partly because - like its military policies - that policy merely follows our worst enemies' initiatives, and is exclusively focused on blaming everybody but our own failing leaders, rather than on coming up with more and or less new strategies and ideas. Luckily enough I am busy working most of the time, which makes me slightly indifferent to all the dangerous and worrying developments and events. In Haaretz I can read that there still are some voices of reason in this country. Not that too many people appear to be listening, but still... Anyway, shabbat shalom.

Beetje laat

Als ik naar Mariko Peters' politieke biografie kijk zie ik dat ze hoogstwaarschijnlijk driemaal als kamerlid op Prinsjesdag acte de presence heeft gegeven. Als ze iets beter had opgelet en naar het voertuig van de koninklijke hoog(hartig)heid had gekeken (in plaats van mee te doen aan die belachelijke jaarlijkse rare-hoeden-parade, waar ook de meest uitgesproken feministen om een of andere reden aan mee blijven doen), zou ze al lang hebben gezien wat er voor plaatjes op de Gouden Koets staan. Typisch dat het haar nu pas is opgevallen dat er ook een plaatje van wat deels ontklede gekleurde mensen opstaat. Ik ben geen fan van het koningshuis, maar dat koningshuis en die koets zijn een deel van de Nederlandse geschiedenis, en dat geldt ook voor die koloniale versiering. Er zijn wel foutere dingen te vinden bij de koninklijke familie, en belangrijker zaken om over te zeuren. Ik ben het dan ook - voor de verandering - redelijk eens met de minister-president.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Israeli Winter

Tom Janssen, 'The Arab Spring'

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Long live a free Libya

Tom Janssen's clear, cynical, and in my opinion quite correct view on what is going on in Libya these days.
Although the meaning of most of the words might be obvious, I give the translations here:
Libietop = Libya summit; Leve vrij Libie = Long live a free Libya; Olieconcessies = Oil concessions; Engeland = England; Frankrijk = France; Italie = Italy


'En juffrouw Máxima, verklaar u nader:

Zijt gij wel voor de oudste zoon van mij

Een goede en draagkrachtige partij?

Dus wat ik vragen wil, wat doet uw vader?'

Het antwoord kon de majesteit behagen.

'Wat dééd uw vader?' had ze moeten vragen.

Driek van Wissen, 6 november 2000 (uit: De laatste jaren)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

11.9.01 - 11.9.11

The Names - Billy Collins

Yesterday, I lay awake in the palm of the night.

A soft rain stole in, unhelped by any breeze,

And when I saw the silver glaze on the windows,

I started with A, with Ackerman, as it happened,

Then Baxter and Calabro,

Davis and Eberling, names falling into place

As droplets fell through the dark.

Names printed on the ceiling of the night.

Names slipping around a watery bend.

Twenty-six willows on the banks of a stream.

In the morning, I walked out barefoot

Among thousands of flowers

Heavy with dew like the eyes of tears,

And each had a name --

Fiori inscribed on a yellow petal

Then Gonzalez and Han, Ishikawa and Jenkins.

Names written in the air

And stitched into the cloth of the day.

A name under a photograph taped to a mailbox.

Monogram on a torn shirt,

I see you spelled out on storefront windows

And on the bright unfurled awnings of this city.

I say the syllables as I turn a corner --

Kelly and Lee,

Medina, Nardella, and O'Connor.

When I peer into the woods,

I see a thick tangle where letters are hidden

As in a puzzle concocted for children.

Parker and Quigley in the twigs of an ash,

Rizzo, Schubert, Torres, and Upton,

Secrets in the boughs of an ancient maple.

Names written in the pale sky.

Names rising in the updraft amid buildings.

Names silent in stone

Or cried out behind a door.

Names blown over the earth and out to sea.

In the evening -- weakening light, the last swallows.

A boy on a lake lifts his oars.

A woman by a window puts a match to a candle,

And the names are outlined on the rose clouds --

Vanacore and Wallace,

(let X stand, if it can, for the ones unfound)

Then Young and Ziminsky, the final jolt of Z.

Names etched on the head of a pin.

One name spanning a bridge, another undergoing a tunnel.

A blue name needled into the skin.

Names of citizens, workers, mothers and fathers,

The bright-eyed daughter, the quick son.

Alphabet of names in a green field.

Names in the small tracks of birds.

Names lifted from a hat

Or balanced on the tip of the tongue.

Names wheeled into the dim warehouse of memory.

So many names, there is barely room on the walls of the heart.

Friday, September 09, 2011


Our son and I just returned home from one of the best shows that I have seen in my whole life. I have been a Riverdance fan for about ten years now. That is, I like the music and love to watch the DVDs (I have the CD and the 10th anniversary double DVD, plus, since today, the Live in Beijing DVD). Finally I had the chance to see the live show. They are in Israel for a number of concerts, after which most of the cast members continue to South Africa. The show in Haifa (the early one today) was amazing. So much talent, so much beauty on such a small stage! When I saw the stage I wondered how the dancers would manage, but it worked very well. The band and the cast were smaller than the ones that I know from the DVDs, some of the music was recorded, and there were no Russian dancers, but that did not make the show less exciting, or the (small, unfortunately) audience less enthusiastic. For two hours I really forgot about the mess Israel has been in for so long (a mess that appears to be getting worse by the day), about work and everything else, simply enjoying what my eyes saw and my ears heard. Thanks a million to a wonderful - and wonderfully talented - cast and production team! Go raibh maith agaibh!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Yves Duteil - Les choses qu'on ne dit pas

One of many beautiful songs written and sung by my favorite French singer-songwriter, Yves Duteil. While listening to this song I came across a (rare?) video of Yves Duteil with Pierre Nicholas and Georges Brassens, filmed about three years before the latter's death.