Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Bush visit==A new Israeli Ambassador

PM Maliki was correct in cancelling the 3 way meeting with Abdullah and Bush.Maliki understood that involving the Palestinian -Israel conflict into a discussion of the war in Iraq might play well in the Arab countries,but was of no real signicance.Abdullah maintains that the core-issue in the region is the lack of a Palestinian State.
.The fact is that until Hamas,Hizbollah and the Sadr army are disarmed, there is no hope for democracy in the region.
Abu Mazen ,like Sinora and Maliki are weak and America has not insisted on total disarmament of those who seek to overthrow their respective regimes.
We can only hope that Pres Bush maintains his toughness on the critical issues of N Korea, Iran and Syria.

Congratulations to the new Israel Ambassador to Washington.Salai Meridor, has many friend among the American Jewish leadership who served under him at the Jewish Agency,.This is a difficult time to assume such a position ,what with the pre-08 rhetoric,a new Congress and a weakened President looking for a foreign policy victory.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The daily minyan at Boynton Beach Fl==medicare part D== the Middle East

Today marked the very first day that the new Ashkenazic Orthodox Synagogue in Boynton Beach initiated its daily minyan .Until now,(sinceits inception one year ago)had only holiday and shabbat services.The synagogue Anshei Chesed has moved into a new building that it bought ,has become a member of the OU,and has a visiting Rabbinic intern from Yeshiva University twice a month.
I believe the basic elements are there for the community to grow because the homes are reasonably priced, and the facilities are excellent.


While one reads about complaints with the Medicare Part D program(especially the donut-when one reaches the $2500 annual level),my own experience is quite positive.
For a number of years I have been on Zocor for hi-cholesterol.The three month supply when I started was $430 for 90 pills.There were no generics available.Thus the annualcost was about $1700.'Then I discovered an Israeli generic that I bought in Jerusalem for about 430 shekelor $100 per three month supply.When Part D came out,Zocor became available in generic form in the U.S. and by using the mail service of the insurance company (prescriptions solutions) they supplied a three month allotment for $30. (3 months for the cost of 2).Now Walmart and various drugstores are offering the pills for $4.00 a month
Incidentally they claim to be making a large profit on $4 a month.
The government should try to ameliorate the problems of those with severe illnesses that go over the $2500 level, but do not reach the catastrophic zone.

The meetings being run in Jordan and Saudi Arabia together with the upcoming Baker report all point to an International meeting.This would provide cover for the U.S. to withdraw from Iraq.It reminds me of the Paris meetings that allowed us to leave Vietnam and the defeat of our allies.
If America cannot succeed in disarming the Sadr militia,and breaking up the smuggling of oil ,as documented by the NY Times,then there is no hope of victory.
For us to try to get the Saudis to control violence,or unite the the Sunnis is a joke.They are part of the problem and not the solution.Their funding of OBL and madras throughout the world undermine our global interests.
The Arabs surely will say,if only Israel would do x,y orz,the sunnis and shite will kiss and have peace,and Iran will become a friendly and non-threatening neighbor.
The danger is to allow pressure to be diverted on Israel.Olmert is so weak that he is vulnerable to a combined American-European-Arab program.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Back again-HAPPY THANKSGIVING 11/23/06

One of the intricacies of the internet system is the need to remember the names and passwords that we use to create an account.If through circumstances (ie. a new location or computer) we forget one of the above ,it can be very frustrating.Often there are no humans to communicate with.
Of course, I am alluding to is my absence from the blog for two weeks.I thank Steve my webmaster , for resuing me.

The election of Steny Hoyer over Cong Murtha is a positive event not just for the pro-Israel community but for the country.The Maryland Democrat has a long history of a close relationship to us.
As I previously noted,the new Speaker-designate will have to make a choice between ethics and political obligations.Cong Alcee Hastings ,and the black caucus expect his selection as the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee.The rest of the nation is watching her move.Cong Jane Harman ,who allegedly involned AIPAC in her battle to get the post ,is disliked by Pelosi.Will it be a compromise?So far Pelosi has shown toughness, but not smarts!

I had discussed months ago the re-elevation of Trent Lott to the no two position in the Senate leadership,should Santorum lose.This again is a positive for our community.The Mitch McConnell-Lott team and of course the Reid-Durbin Semocratic leadership team in the Senate are familiar faces ,and Durbin,Reid and Lott were members of the House at the same time.

It is amazing that the cable networks sought to highlght the old Lott speech extolling Stro Thurmond speech each time his announcement was discussed.Yet,for example when Pres. Clinton is shown,we do not see constant repititions of "I did not have sex with that woman" shtick.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Forward 51 11/11/06

This weeks the Forward published it list of the top 50 American Jews.I have always awaited that issue,for when I was active in the OU,I had the priviledge of making the list and one year even being rated no 2 after Rabbi Eric Yoffe
However the approach of the editors has changed,and now while some truly outstanding people are listed,there is a move to make it interesting even to the point of losing their affiliation with the American Jewish population.
Thus they note that once they found out that Sen. George Allen had a Jewish mother they made a 51st slot for him-What in the world does this have to do with our community(even had he been re-elected) ?
Among the choices in culture is Borat.Give me a break! for three weeks he had a pr blitz appearing on TV only in Khazaki dialect.YES IT IS FUNNY.but has he ever said one word about his Jewish heritage etc? to the contrary his reputation is making fun of his jewishness.
Making sure to announce that they don't approve of all their choices roles,the Forward adds Jack Abramoff.Firstly this convicted individual has not been politically active for over a year.His political career is over.Why include him?

What about Cong Eric Kantor who will possibly be the no 2 Republican in the House?Howard Kohr head of Aipac and Howard Friedman President of Aipac(also a great Federation and OU leader).The Gov-elect of NY and the Attorney-General of Conn. among many have distinguished themselves. The list could go on and on.
The Forward should rethink their approach to compiling the list.

PM Olmert stays true to form 11/11/06

The statement by PM Olmert as he prepared to leave for the US is both incredulous and poorly timed.He pointed out that for peace he would be willing to give back 90% of the West Bank.
I guess the lessons of Gaza with daily rockets has not sunk in.
Moreover,from a negotiating point of view,why announce your end point before your opponent even recognizes you as a political entity.Theoretically, it is Israel that has the upper hand-a strong economy,powerful army,educated citizens and the support of the US.The Palestinians,on the other hand are bankrupt, forced to resort to terror acts that only hurt their people.They cannot get a state or entity on rhetoric alone.At the end of the day,they must control their factions,and realize that only through negotiations and an end to violence can they get close to meeting their goals.
The problem is,they have never accepted the right of Jews to have a State in the region,and all the talk to the contrary is exposed by their actions,their press and publications,as well as their textbooks.
For PM Olmert to promise such a radical end point,without a mandate from the people is irresponsible.
One other point of timing.With the Baker report coming out after Thanksgiving,there are rumblings that it will lead to negotiations with Syria and Iran even without these two giving up their support of terrorism.It may include greater US pressure on Israelo to solve the Israeli-Palestinian situation.In addition Syria only wants the Golan.
Will the result of the Baker report and the Olmert comments be a concerted effort by the US to pressure Israel to give back the Golan,and water down its security needs in order to give back 90% to Abbas/Hamas?

Friday, November 10, 2006

a siyum on kristalnacht= some election thoughts 11/9/06

Last nite the shiur(class) in Talmud that I have been teaching to physicians in Good Samaritan Hospital-Suffern, held a siyum(festive celebration-honoring the completion of a tractate in Talmud) on tractate Taanit.
Our guest speaker Rabbi Yisrael Gottlieb of Cong Bais Torah(Suffern) beautifully pointed out that 68 years ago on Nov 8, the Nazis believed they were destroying forever Jewish texts and scholarship on Kristalnacht.Yet here we were 22 individuals from varying religious streams,celebrating the sanctity and spirituality of our sacred texts.
Incidentally this is the second siyum we celebrated,having previously completed Baba Metziah after 17 years of weekly study.


Gov. George Pataki has an exploratory committee in Iowa looking toward a Presidential run in '08.After the way he left the NY State Republican Party ,he should be ashamed to enter the national political scene.


I recall a number of years ago that an old friend Sen. Conrad Burns,the Montana Republican who just lost his seat,saw me on the Senate subway.As a non-lawyer,he came over to thank me for a young intern that the OU had supplied him for the summer.The intern,who later went to Yale Law School,each evening used his talmudic skills(among other skills) to prepare a series of questions for his boss (Burns) for the daily impeachment hearings of a federal judge,who was subsequently convicted of bribery.
That judge,ran for Congress and today(when the Dems take over) we the people will be subject to his chairmanship of the House Intelligence subcommittee.His name Alcee Hastings.


I wrote a few weeks ago, that if the Republicans lose,they have only thenselves to blame.
The new Congress has an opportunity to tighten lobbying rules,including the use of overseas travel by members and staff.Entitlements should go out the window. Tax reform should be a bipartisan effort,as well as social security reform.It is amazing that all the time that the President talked about optionally placing some of ones social security funds in equities,we never saw a simple chart to prove that the average American would benefit at retirement by the rise of the markets over time.

The big problem with the Democrats aside from some of their policies,is the effects of seniority.Almost all the new chairmen have been elected from safe liberal seats,and in industry would be coming up to retirement.Hopefully the newer,more moderate members will act as a brake on these new chairmen.

It is nice to see Tom Lantos,a holocaust survivor as new Chairman of he International Relations Committee.In previous years,when Dave Obey was Appropriations Chairman,it was a difficult time for the pro-Israel community.Of course now there is minimal foreign aid in the budget for Israel compared to then.


How this election will affect the U.S.-Israel relationship has been the question most asked of me since Tues.In the short run,it will be basically unchanged.
From my point of view it is the reaction of the American people to conflict that colors the future.We love a war that we can win in two weeks.The TV and media inflame the populace, so that each casualty and misstep adds to the pressure to withdraw.Thank goodness we didn't have cable TV in WW11 or we we might have lost our nerve and our freedom.
Israel has to realize that America is not a given as an ally should the need arise to quickly destroy the Iranian nuclear facilities. Ephraim Sneh now deputy defense minister, and a voice with experience in that role, has again pointed out that this is a real possibility if the Zionist dream is to endure.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Pre-election thoughts 11/06/06

Tonite I reiterated to my wife something I had told her years ago.I am extremely grateful that I did not enter politics as a way of making a living.As a college student and an avid follower of Tammany Hall,I realized it was extremely difficult to remain honest and yet move up the ladder of political success.Over the years with television and the internet coming into play, the filth of the campaigns from all sides has grown and is disheartening. Half-truths are the order of the day.Innuendoes,and distorted facts colored by Hollywood personalities make you reach the point that even a political junkie like myself is waiting for the end of the campaign.
All of us can turn to RCP ( and follow the daily polls and read the blogs on each and every race.However, the cable news shows as well as the networks have to create something exciting to occupy the screen for hour after hour.Thus,each Senate race, becomes the pivotal contest that will swing the balance.'The problem is that after a few daysof repitition,you wish we had a law that cut off campaigning and talking heads on tv a week before the elections.
It's time to get to the recounts,legal challenges and mutual accusations.Whoever loses gets the right to claim in '08 that they wuz robbed in '06.

Each and every day of Gaza IDF operations reminds us of the folly of disengagement.
The Europeans to their credit are consistent.They criticize Israel for excessive force in Gaza.How many of them would sit idly by as rockets are lobbed daily into their civilian populations?
The islamization of Europe is happening right under their noses,but their eyes and minds are closed.Sadly they will get what they deserve if they don't wake up .
Then of course they came out against the death sentence for Saddam Hussein,which is consistent with their concept of justice and the punishment for mass murder..
I assume that had Hitler survived his suicide, the Europeans would have similarly suggested less than a capital punishment for genocide.
They are disgusting!

I am not sure of how much of Avigdor Lieberman's rhetoric I can support in my own mind.However,it is certainly entertaining (but sad) to see him announce his own personal policies regarding Arabs among other issues, within two days of taking office,only to have thePM disavow them.He intends to place himself in the publics eye on a regular basis without regard for cabinet policies.

The publicity regarding global warming has again caught the fancy of liberals in the media including the anglo-Jewish press.(how about the cold snap in Europe that forced a curtailment of electricity the last few days),
Featured prominently is the report by Nicholas Stern of the U.K. on climate change.The report predicts that damage to GDP could be as high as 20%.
I am not an expert in this area,however I believe it is important to hear both sides of this debate.I suggest that you try to read the op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Nov 2nd by Bjorn of the "Skeptical Environmentalist". This is important before you consider agreeing to spending trillions on unproven technology andplacing your confidencein the forces of third world countries.
Two examples-In 2002 China decided to cut Sulfur dioxide by 10% -they are now 27% higher.
The Stern supporters want to tax Americans for this multi-trillion dollar project,since we are so wealthy as well as polluters.
Lomberg points out and documents,that for a fraction of Sterns demands,(45 Billion annually)prioritivethe worlds needs,and deal with health,nutrition,sanitation,and educationwith better and more meaningful results than tackling the sensationalist headlines.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sen Kerry-war hero 11/1/06

I did not comment yesterday on the remarks of Senator Kerry,since I was both angry and flabbergasted.My opinion of his war record I commented on when he ran for President, and I see no reason to change my opinion of his haughty and condescending attitude.
I too served in Vietnam (not for three months) for a full year,and it was obvious that with the draft, more affluent and college -bound young men were able to often avoid service.
Sen. Kerry has his mind and emotions fixed on that era.His bitterness at our government,as witnessed by his Congressional testimony upon his return to the States,and his book with the upside down flag which is not currently available have poisoned his judgement.
In addition his loss to Bush was to him totally unexpected.How could the American people be so Stupid?
Today,we have an all-volunteer highly motivated military.Almost all high school graduates,and a PHD rate of 3% among our officers-most of them college graduates.
They man highly sophisticated tanks and planes,submarines and advanced technological eqiptment.
Our military are heroes.It is legitimate to criticize the war and its progress.
It is illegitimate to destroy the morale and cast aspersions on the intelligence and professionalism of those who voluntarily place their lives at risk to protect our democracy-that allows a person such as Kerry to sound off.
By the way,I looked at the Kerry clips 10 times, and failed to see even an attempt at a joke.

Peretz and the Saudi Plan 11/1/06

If Defense Minister Peretz can influence the government to accept the Saudi "peace" plan,we will no longer require a UJA ,UJC or Israel Bonds campaign.
Not because peace will break out.--NO.
Rather there will no longer be a viable Jewish State !
In essence all arabs who claim they or their descendents originated in Israel,would be allowed to return,become Israeli citizens,and based upon ONE MAN, ONE VOTE, ONE TIME an Islamic Republic would be democratically created.
At least Bush and Sharon talked about palestinians returning to a palestinian entity,not Israel.
Oh yes! Israel would have to withdraw from all territories captured in 1967 including Jerusalem.
Sounds reasonable!
At least the PM rejected such nonsense today.However the world will be reacting to Peretz with greater interest ,than an Olmert denial.
Tears come to your eyes when you hear such foolishness and political immaturity from the number three man in the government.