Good News – Bad News from Jerusalem

  Good news first.

I was in the US for birth of a grandchild,

baby photo

his name is Yisroel Tzvi,

and he already is trying to figure out this world.

In the last two weeks I’ve had no computer time,

no down time and little sleep.

I hope you missed the updates from RJS these past two weeks?

image of sky from El Al plane

As always it is an adventure to fly El Al

and arrive back to Jerusalem, Israel.

But as I arrived home I heard terrible news:

Rabbi Yehuda Glick had been shot

and seriously injured

in an assassination attempt.

I posted on Israellycool  asap,

and you can see the background story and updates



In June at the Begin Center,

Yehuda Glick sponsored his first LIBA conference,

where I was shocked to learn that Jews are allowed

only 20 hours a week on the Temple Mount,

while Muslims have almost free access.

Today access to the Muslim masses was limited,

though tomorrow restrictions are to be lifted.

Helicopters are flying overhead,

and in Jerusalem that usually means trouble.

Much has been written about “Price Tag” attacks,

today there was graffiti painted near a church.

price tag in Jerusalem

 Months ago this photo was taken across from the Begin Center.

It did not fit the media spin of “Price Tag”

so it was never reported.

On my next photo walk in the area

I saw that it was whitewashed.

Abu Mazen is spinning the story of one of his followers

shooting a man in cold blood

into “Israel is bad,”

 another thread in his narrative;

while Yehuda Glick, a great guy with wonderful sense of humor,

is hanging on to life by a thread.

Join in praying for the recovery of

יהודה יהושע בן רבקה איטה ברנדה

Will this world be easier to understand when Yisroel Tzvi is older?

How to Understand the Middle East in 2 Minutes

Things can change in the Middle East in a minute or a day 

or as seen in the Arab Spring in Egypt and Syria…

one can never predict the timing of change.

Last week in Jerusalem a few things caught my attention

that you may have missed.

The media gave much attention to Palestinian hunger strikers, 

but in the open area near the Israeli Supreme Court,

"picture tent" , "photo hunger strike tent", "Image protest tent"

there was a tent for another hunger strike, by those who supported a law

against destroying the Ulpana houses of Beit El.

"picture ohel", "photo hunger stride", "image hunger strike tent"

On Sunday MK Daniel Hershkowitz arrived with his security team.

"picture Daniel Hershkowitx", "photo Daniel Herschkowitz", "image MK Hershkowtiz"

First he chatted with the “settler activists” working in the tent

"picture Hershkowitz and Katz", Photo Knesset members", "image Israel politicians"

and had a discussion with MK  Yaakov Katz, known as Katzeleh.

"picture Hershkowtiz" , Image hunger strike tent", "photo table protesters"

Then MK Hershkowitz, the Minister of Science and Technology,

 sat and spoke to the crowd.

But on Wednesday, after talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,

 he did not vote for the bill and thus kept his job as minister.

The politics involved are way too complicated for me to explain. 

Also on Wednesday, at Ofer Military Prison,

there was another trial for Shchada Aved Shchada Shata.

He has been convicted of stealing the gun from Asher Palmer‘s body.

Shchada stopped his car, climbed down from the highway

to reach the site where the car had crashed and stole the dead man’s gun.

He is a 47-year-old father of eight with sick relatives,

who wants compassion from the court,

though he showed none at the time of the crime.

In contrast, a Israeli military court had previously permitted

"photo Asher Palmer", "picture Michael Palmer", " Israel Palestinian"

 Palmer supporters to hold photos of Asher and Yonatan,

the infant son who was in the car and also died in the crash 

at the trial of those who threw the large rock from a moving car,

but not at this past Wednesday hearing.

Michael Palmer, the victims’ father and grandfather was allowed  

to enter a written statement as a victim of terror.

Meanwhile back in Jerusalem, 

"picture German flag",. "photo German flag", "image flag Germany"

the German flag was still flying after the visit of the

President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Joachim Gauck.

President Gauck thinks the problem in the Middle East is the “settlers,”

wonder if he ever reads Khaled Abu Toameh?

"picture Jerusalem", "photo flags in Jerusalem", "image flags"

As they were taking down the German and Israeli flags, 

"Jerusalem Park image", "picture Palestinians Jerusalem", "photo Jerusalem Arabs"

 this Arab family was enjoying an outing in the park below,  

"picture Jerusalem", :"photo Jerusalem", "image wreath"

near a memorial and wreath in memory of the bus bombing

on February 22, 2004 where 8 Jews were killed.

Understand the Middle East in 2 minutes?

… impossible.

Photos from my Time in Israeli Prison

 I never thought I would want to be in a prison,

but my week started by spending a morning in Ofer Prison,

which is just a short drive north of Jerusalem.

 I had a chance to observe and take photos in the Ofer Military Court.

 On September 23, 2011,

the day that Mahmoud Abbas was in New York City

 to declare a Palestinian state,

Asher Palmer, a dual American and Israeli citizen,

 and his infant son Jonathan were killed after 

a rock thrown from a moving car crashed through his windshield.

To get into the courtroom where his accused murderers were being tried,

"picture prison gate", "photo security", "Image prison"

 a small group of Palmer family supporters gathered outside

 and waited  to go through the heavy  security.

"picture security door:", "image prison door", "photo check point"

Behind this door were sensitive metal detectors.

 Thanks to my press pass I did not have to undergo a body search.

But no surprise… no photos are allowed in the security area.

"picture jail", "image Israeli jail", "photo prison"

Arriving in a courtyard,

we and other visitors waited to enter the court room.

It was a hot day, the shaded areas may not make for great photos,

but they sure felt good.

"picture jail", "image prison"," Photo security"

No cell phones, bags or bottled drinks are allowed to be brought in,

 but food and drink can be bought in this shop and

"picture cigarette machine", "image smoking", "photo selling cigerettes"

 cigarettes are available 24 hours a day from this machine.

The trial has gone on for some time,  

 more sessions already on the calendar for June and July.

Special for this session was that representatives of the US State

and Justice Departments were in attendance.

"picture Palmer trial", "photo prison yard", "Image Israeli jail"

 They spoke with Michael Palmer, Asher’s father,

 who flew in from the US  for the trial and with his legal consul.

The courtroom, one of many, is seen in the background.

"picture fence", "image security fence", "photo prison"

Finally we were allowed past this last fence and into the courtroom

"picture terrorist", "image Wa'al al'Arjeh", "photo terrorist"

where Wa’al al’Arjeh, the accused driver and ring leader

was waiting for the proceedings to begin.

"picture Adrian Agassi", "image lawyer", "photo military court"

 Adrian Agassi, a retired military judge

who is acting on behalf of the Palmer family, got up on several occasions 

to explain to Michael Palmer what was happening. 

The proceedings were conducted in Hebrew

with simultaneous Arabic translation and much of the time

 it was hard to hear and understand what was happening.

"picture courtroom," "image Israeli courtroom", "Photo trial"

In the last court session it was ruled that spectators 

may hold a photo of the dead father and his baby son,

as was done by Palmer family supporters.

 US officials sat in the row behind them.

When the judges enter the courtroom photos are no longer allowed.

"Israeli military trial photo","picture Ali" "image in courtroom"

This picture of Ali Saadeh, the alleged stone thrower,

was taken just before they entered.

This trial was to hear his testimony against Wa’al al’Arjeh.

In an Israeli military court a defendant has the right to hear his accuser.

Only Ali was afraid to testify, not because of the Israelis,

but because of fear of vengeance against his family by the al’Ajeh clan.

 The six defendants in this case all come from the same village,

their families were noticeably missing from this trial.

So why is this so important? 

 The 47-year-old man who was convicted of stealing Asher Palmer’s gun

could have been sentenced to 3 years in jail, but got 10 months.

 He had the victim’s blood on his hands, and now he can be tried

for desecrating a body, which carries a longer sentence.

 The earlier testimony of Ali will be used

and his terror of future acts of violence speaks volumes.

Throwing rocks from a moving vehicle is a new terror tactic,

this gang met for a month working on a plan to “kill Jews,”

 making this a premeditated murder.

Michael Palmer wants his son’s and grandson’s murderers

to get a life sentence and not get a plea bargain for a lighter one.

Families of victims of terror suffer for life.

Michael Palmer does not want these terrorists to get off easy.