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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Post Yom Ha'atzmaut Blues & YouTube Strikes Down The French Hill

After mourning the loss of our precious soldiers and victims of terrorist attacks, then celebrating 59 years of Israel's miraculous existence, and then gorging on meat to express that gratitude and fact, it's time to get back to reality. Not too much reality, though, since school is still on strike. Anyways, now that I can barely move from all the BBQ and beer, I want to share a few thoughts with you about this year's mourning and celebration. First of all, and I've actually said this a million times and have said even BEFORE Aliyah was even a thought in my head, the United States' concept of Memorial Day for their Armed Forces is messed up. This opinion only became reinforced AFTER I made Aliyah and experienced my very first Yom HaZikaron. Now, I am a capitalist, BIG TIME, but I also believe in corporate responsibility and accountability. For the most part, I believe that a few bad apples in the bunch make the whole of corporations look bad, and the majority of corporations are very responsible and accountable. It's bad for business and profits to be otherwise. However, I really have to ask this question: How in the world is it that it is considered a proper commemoration of our soldiers by having SALES at every department, electric, and mom & pop store??? "Our Armed Forces have died so that you can shop 'till you drop!" Is that how it goes? There are no services or documentaries broadcast on basic cable. Because of the sales and merriment, I can very well say with a high degree of certainty that other than those families and friends that have lost service men and women, there are very few people that actually think about the men and women who have given their lives so that you could have your BBQ. They acknowledge that it's Memorial Day, but only in context of the sale they're going to at Best Buy. "Thanks Armed Forces! You gave your lives so that I can buy my HDDVD player at 25% off!" C'mon, people. This is why there are people spitting on troops in your country. No-one has taken the time to show the humanity and loss and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform. That's all I want to say about that. I don't want to lecture or be condescending, but America really needs to change the way it views the significance and importance of Memorial Day.

My next thought belongs to the #59. Now, I've only been in Israel for about 2.5 years, and America has been in existence for well over 200 years, but I can't believe that Israel is already 59. Rabbi Berkovits has said that the proof of the presence of G-d in history is in the state of Israel. How true that is! How can you not believe that or not believe in miracles when you look at what Israel has been through and survived in its young history. Yesterday, as I look over the whole of the north, being able to see all the way from the Mediterranean to the Golan from where I sat celebrating that we Jews have a home that we can finally call our own, I have never believed it more. This especially given after what we've experienced over the past 2 years. Next year's 60th birthday is going to be such a huge blow-out party. Here's to Israel's existence!!! As a huge side note, this year is also the 40th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem. You don't even wanna know what the official name is. It's about 2 lines long. It's going to be about a month's worth of a celebration leading up to Jerusalem Day, so that's awesome. READ THE REST...

My next thought was actually about my brother and Michael Levin. Michael Levin was a Paratroop soldier that died in this past summer's war. He was an American Oleh, whose dream was to make Aliyah and fight in the Israeli Army. He was actually on vacation when the war broke out and broke it short in order to come back to Israel to fight. He considered it an HONOR, not an obligation or burden, to fight in Israel and for the Jewish people. On Yom Hazikaron, we were watching an excellent documentary about him, called "My son is a hero in Heaven". All I kept thinking about was how big of an a-hole my brother was. You see, my brother is not happy I made Aliyah. He thinks I was coerced and manipulated into my decision, and that, as an American, there's no possible way I could be happy with making Aliyah since I've supposedly "give up so much to be here". The "giving up the good life" is the most oft used excuse given to justify why American Jews don't make Aliyah. They can't get out of the scewed perception that Israel is NOT a third world country. In any case, here is my brother, a modern orthodox Jew, he gives money to Israel during the appeals at shul, and he's sending his children to supposedly pro-Zionist schools, and he goes to the Young Israel shul in his neighborhood. Yet, he is trying his best and has been since I got on the plane to come here, to talk me out of my decision and berate me for what I've done. Yes, sacrifices have been made, but none of them have been material. I miss my family and haven't been able to see them since my wedding almost 2 years ago. I haven't seen my brother since I made Aliyah almost 3 years ago. That's been because of school and work, not because of monetary issues. I have a niece that I haven't met yet. So, yes, that makes me sad some times, but I have never once regretted my decision. As a Jew, how can I? Here is this guy, Michael, who also left his family behind to come to Israel, to come home, to fight for his people. He was as selfless as they come, and he saw the bigger picture for the Jewish people. He said the redemption of the Jewish people is going to happen in Israel, and he wants to be involved to get it started. Again, he was HONORED to put his life on the line for Israel; for the state and the nation. Then, there's my brother. He can't see past the end of his nose, past the end of his own selfishness to what I'm doing, to the bigger picture. Several other of my family members, including my own parents, want to make Aliyah also, and my brother has done his best to talk them out of it and then blaming me for their decisions to come. Now, I'm not the reason they want to come, but if I'm a catalyst to my family making Aliyah, I HAVE NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF! For the past 2.5 years, my brother has done nothing but try to make me feel guilty and stupid for my decision. He is the one who should be ashamed of himself. Sorry, just venting there.

Here's my next thought. It has nothing to do with the best 2 days of festivities. The husband and I are going to be, in the near future, building our home. While not very popular in the States, in Israel it is very common to build homes from scratch. What Israel does have in common with America when it comes to house building and renovations is the crookedness of home contractors. We were talking with some building who built and renovated their homes, and they talked about all the other people you need to hire to make sure the contractor isn't cheating you. So, I asked if there are any honest contractors. They said that there is no such thing. This has got to be one of the only professions where you know you're hiring a thief. The only comparable professions are considered to be auto mechanics, plumbers, and electricians. Except, with the former, if you get a guy that was highly recommended by word of mouth, you can be almost sure they're honest. But, with contractors, that's not the case. If you're not around, if you have no-one there to supervise him, he WILL CHEAT YOU. I couldn't believe. It disgusts me, but there's nothing you can do. You can't not have a contractor building your home. So, it's worth it to spend the extra money at the beginning for an architect and building supervisor, so you don't have to spend the money later to fix all the mistakes the contractor made. Sickening.

My final thought is YouTube. I have been struck down by the fascists at YouTube. As many of you know, I've been making videos since last summer's war. I made videos chronicling the brave soldiers that fought and died in the war. I also made a video chronicling Holocaust denial in the Middle East. I have been censoring people. When a comment has been posted that has been factually incorrect and/or anti-semitic, I've taken the comment down and blocked the poster from being able to comment again. Apparently, I pist some people off, because YouTube SUDDENLY AND WITHOUT WARNING shut off my account. No particular reason was given, except all the possibilities that could have contributed to the cancellation of my account. So, while the Jihadi and Hezbollah propaganda and recruiting videos remain safely on the site, while anti-semitic Holocaust denial and anti-Israel videos are still playing, my videos have been struck down. It happened to the website, Hot Air, and now it has happened to me. Well, they're not shutting me down. My videos will go up in another format. I'll keep you updated to let you know where they'll be showing up next. I suggest a boycott of YouTube. Is any-one else interested? Has anybody else out there had this happened to them? Let me know.

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At 8:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Post.
Have you tried to find out why the videos were taken down?
I find it very hard to believe that all contractors are dishonest.We are not yet Sodom and Gemmorah. I have found very good electricians and plumbers. no reason why there can't be good contractors too.

At 10:36 PM, Blogger Ezzie said...

Wow - I was wondering why I didn't see yours at the top of my channels...!

That's crazy. Have you tried contacting them!?

At 11:14 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

joe and ez, I have tried to contact them, but they refuse to give me a specific reason. That is why I'm suspicious.

joe, I don't think that it's so much that the contractors are dishonest, but that if nobody's watching they will 10 times out of 10 or 9 times out of 10 use cheaper materials and try to cut corners.

At 2:08 AM, Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

Wow... that's NASTY! If they refuse to give a specific reason, they should have no excuse to put it back up. I'm wondering if it's somehow possibly to shame them into admitting what they've been doing. Maybe a petition around Jblogosphere to restore your videos and that of Hot Air?

At 9:22 AM, Blogger Rafi G said...

I doubt a boycott will work. youtube is too big. Though they might not like the bad press of a petition going around.

Where are you building your house?

At 12:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Please consider writing news pieces or an op-ed for Jewrusalem: Israeli Uncensored News. We strive to present different views and opinions while rejecting political correctness. Ideally, we try to make the news "smart and funny." Thus, your input is very welcome.


At 6:20 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Rafi, we don't know yet, but we're looking in the north.

At 7:57 AM, Blogger Jack's Shack said...

So, I asked if there are any honest contractors. They said that there is no such thing. This has got to be one of the only professions where you know you're hiring a thief.

I have to take exception to this. I know lots of honest contractors, including myself.

That is not to say that there are not dishonest ones out there, but they are not the rule.

At 1:24 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Jack, you're a contractor??? Wanna build my house?

You can take exception. This isn't my opinion. It's what they told me. I have no experience in the matter. That's why I'm asking around.

At 8:12 AM, Blogger Jack's Shack said...


I'd love to build your house and I have great Israeli connections. But the price to get me and the crew out there is a little steep.

Don't get me wrong, given the right opportunity I'd be there in a heartbeat.

At 5:11 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Well, it's not for another year or two, so we'll talk. If you're honest and do good work, we're willing to pay the price now rather than pay for it later.

At 9:46 AM, Blogger Editor said...

Have you tried posting your videos to photobucket* and then embedding them into your own blog? I realize that the potential audience is bigger at schmutube, but at least they wll be viewed. (I'd like to see them.)

* Pbucket seems to be here now:




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