2,000-Year-Old Decapitated Skeletons Uncovered At Jerusalem Dig

Breaking Israel News - 2 hours 45 min ago

The Israel Antiquities Authority recently announced that the remains of 125 decapitated skeletons, were found at archaeological dig in in Jerusalem’s Russian Compound.

The skeletons, mostly found to be women and children, were from the Pharisee community,  an ancient sect of Jews who were well known for opposing the Hasmonean King Alexander Yannai in the first century BCE.

Based on the coins and pottery found at the site, it believed that the massacre took place during the period in which Yannai ruled over the ancient kingdom of Judea, between 103 and 76 BCE.

According to the Israel Antiquities Authority, the skeletons were discovered in an ancient water cistern, which was found during a recent salvage excavation, close to the Jerusalem Municipality offices.

IAA archaeologists Kfir Arbiv and Tehila Lieberman, along with authority anthropologist Dr. Yossi Nagar, found three layers in the large cistern.

The earliest layer, from the first and second centuries BCE – dated according to the ceramic shards and coins found at the site– contained the remains of at least 125 individuals, including men but also mostly women, children and infants, among which that three tiny skeletons were found there.

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“We discovered an alarming finding,” said Nagar, “We removed more than twenty cervical vertebrae… [and] bodies and body parts of babies and adults, women and men, who were apparently the victims of a cruel massacre, were thrown into the pit.”

“It’s presumed to be fetuses from the wombs of murdered women,” the archaeologists said. “A large number of the skeletons had marks showing that neck vertebrae and skulls had been cut or severed. There were no other injuries found on the skeletons hands or feet, following extensive examinations.”

It was also evident that the cuts on the neck and vertebrae and skulls had never healed, which the IAA established must have been cause of death – evidently decapitation.

Due to their being no other wounds, on the bodies, the IAA said it can be assumed they were killed execution style and did not fall in battle.

The skeletons were found lying, and not in the usual burial position, so researchers assumed the bodies had been thrown in after the execution.

Yannai’s reign was marred with numerous wars, and notably violent internal clashes between the Pharisees and the Sadducees – both ancient Jewish sects that had deeply conflicting views of Judaism, its laws, the laws of purity and the afterlife.

Yannai was a staunch supporter of the Sadducees. During the Feast of Tabernacles holiday, the king, while officiating as the High Priest at the Temple in Jerusalem, demonstrated his support of the Sadducees by refusing to perform the water libation ceremony properly: instead of pouring it on the altar, he poured it on his feet. The crowd responded with shock at his mockery and showed their displeasure by pelting Alexander with the etrogim (citrons) that they were holding in their hands. Outraged, he ordered soldiers to kill those who insulted him, more than 6,000 people in the Temple courtyard were massacred.

Golan Heights’ Quneitra Border Crossing Between Israel-Syria Reopens

Breaking Israel News - 3 hours 44 min ago

Syria opened two previously closed border crossings between two of its neighbors – Israel at Quneitra and Jordan at Jaber-Nasib – Monday, which some commentators view as a significant milestone for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Jaber-Nasib crossing between Jordan and Syria reopened first thing Monday morning, with the Quneitra crossing in Israel’s Golan Heights following shortly after.

Outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced last week that the Israel, the United Nations and Syria had reached an agreement to reopen the Quneitra crossing in the Golan Heights.

“The United States welcomes the re-opening of this crossing, which will allow UN peacekeepers to step up their efforts to prevent hostilities in the Golan Heights region,” Haley said in a statement. It should be highlighted that at this time, the crossing will only be used by UN forces who intend to cross from Syria to Israel and return.

After 4 years of inactivity, the Quneitra Crossing between #Israel & #Syria will reopen tomorrow for @UN forces. pic.twitter.com/AHp14Gdk7H

— Israel Defense Forces (@IDFSpokesperson) October 14, 2018

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The Quneitra crossing has been closed since 2014, a result of the intensification of the internecine Syrian civil war. The IDF decided to close the crossing after Syrian rebels overtook old Quneitra and Global Jihad operatives belonging to Al-Qaeda took control of the area.

This limited reopening of the border comes amid a gradual winding down of the hostilities in Syria. One pocket of resistance to Assad’s brutal regime remains in the Idlib area, in the northwest of the country, approximately 40 miles southwest of Aleppo. As a result, the U.N. has decided to return United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) troops to the area. In late August 2014, Syrian rebels, including Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front kidnapped more than 40 Fijian UNDOF troops, before releasing them unharmed two weeks later.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman visited the Israeli side of the Quneitra crossing on September 27 and announced that Israel had been making the relevant preparations in order to open the crossing.

“We said from the outset that we have no interest in meddling in the civil war inside Syria, we have never intervened and our interest is to ensure the security of the citizens of Israel,” Liberman told a crowd at the crossing.

In addition to the Quneitra crossing, Jordanian officials announced Sunday that the Jaber-Nasib crossing would reopen. Amman closed it in 2015 after it was overrun by rebels, and until that time it had been one of the busiest border crossings in the region.

Rabbi Yehudah Glick Channels King David in Celebration of Life and God’s Temple

Breaking Israel News - 4 hours 24 min ago

A very special gathering took place on Sunday night, commemorating a personal miracle that will go down in history as a powerful part of the prophetic return of the Jewish Temple. It requires a unique individual like Rabbi Yehudah Glick to throw a party celebrating the fourth anniversary of a vicious terrorist attack that came within a hair’s breadth of claiming his life.

In the center of Jerusalem, at the hall attached to the Great Synagogue, an eclectic group of several hundred gathered. The evening focused on Glick’s passion and life’s work: reconnecting the Jewish People to the Temple Mount.

Members of Knesset rubbed elbows with common folk, many of whom, when encouraged by Rabbi Glick to tell their stories, revealed themselves as being entirely uncommon, monoliths built of flesh and blood who have dedicated their lives to the Jewish people. One such man, an elderly gentleman who stood with the help of a cane, had been a soldier with the IDF forces that conquered the Temple Mount in 1967. Moshe Feiglin, head of the political faction Mahigut Yehudit and a witness to the assassination attempt four years ago, was in attendance. Others, like U.S. Ambassador David Friedman and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, were in virtual attendance, appearing in videos on a large screen.

The crowd, unified in their love for Israel, was entirely to be expected as like attracts like. Rabbi Glick embodies the story of the Jewish return, with all its drama, tragedy and joy. When a Sephardi singer took to the stage, Glick, a respected redheaded member of the Israeli Knesset, grabbed the microphone and began singing and dancing in precisely the same manner that King David, the archetypal Biblical redhead, once danced for the Jewish Temple.

David whirled with all his might before Hashem; David was girt with a linen ephod. II Samuel 6:14

Glick told the crowd that his day began, as it should, with a visit to the Temple Mount. He explained the significance of the visit on his Facebook page.

“As the winter session of the Knesset commences, I travel first to the Temple Mount to charge my batteries. I am reminded that everything I do in the Knesset is a mission. I need to remember always that I am only an emissary and to only sanctify his name.”

With great enthusiasm, Glick told the crowd, “This is not just a celebration of life. This is a greater celebration; this is a celebration of the Temple.”

“So many think Jerusalem is the source of conflict,” Rabbi Glick said. “Jerusalem is the source of peace for the entire world, for global love, for the entire world to come together in their love for God. The Temple Mount is where the world can be fixed.

Unfortunately, just as King David suffered for his love of Hashem, Glick has also suffered; hence the commemoration. In a region full of violence, Rabbi Yehudah Glick, a gentle and soft-spoken man with an infectious smile, earned the unlikely title of the most dangerous man in the Middle East. His mission that the Israeli police and the Palestinians considered so threatening: to bring about universal prayer on the Temple Mount. In 2009, Rabbi Glick founded Liba, an initiative for Jewish freedom and equality of human rights on the Temple Mount. He believed that one day, the Temple Mount would change from its current state of being a Muslim spiritual stronghold into its prophetic role of “a House of Prayer for All Nations.”

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“I believe that the Temple Mount represents a place that has [the] potential for being an international center for religious tolerance,” he told the Forward in an interview. It was this mission that earned him the ire of the Israeli left-wing media.

Glick was harassed by the Waqf and barred by the Israeli police from visiting the site numerous times. But he persisted, suing in Israel’s high court and winning several landmark judgments, upholding the rights of Jews to pray at their holiest site. In one case, a female worker of the Waqf, paid to scream at and intimidate Jewish visitors to the site, accused Glick of assault. The charges were dropped due to an absolute lack of evidence.

Glick’s passion is easily sparked when speaking about the Temple Mount and what it means for mankind. When asked if he is an extremist, he told Breaking Israel News, “Absolutely; an extremist for human rights.”

This form of extremism proved to be especially threatening to certain Palestinian groups. On Wednesday evening, October 29, 2014, Glick gave a speech titled “Israel Returns to the Temple Mount” at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem. Palestinian terrorist attacks had been on the rise and the U.S. and U.N. were siding with the Palestinians. Rabbi Glick’s cause was beginning to generate interest among Israeli politicians who had previously avoided what was called extremism in the left-wing media, despite growing support among mainstream religious Israelis. Several right-wing members of Knesset were in attendance.

After the speech, Glick left the building, accompanied by two friends. Mutaz Hijazi, a Palestinian member of Islamic Jihad from Jerusalem, approached the group while wearing a motorcycle helmet and said to Glick, “I am sorry, Yehudah, but you’re an enemy of Al-Aqsa, I have to.”

Al-Aqsa (Literally ‘the farthest mosque’) is the silver domed mosque in the southern end of the Temple Mount compound. It is considered by some to be the third holiest site in Islam.

In his usual gentle manner, Rabbi Glick asked him what he meant. The man responded by shooting Rabbi Glick four times at point-blank range. Hijazi fled on his motorcycle. A manhunt ensued and Hijazi was killed in a shootout with police.

Rabbi Glick was rushed to the hospital and while he fought for his life, his wife, Yaffa, never left his side. Palestinians in the Old City of Jerusalem set off fireworks in celebration and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sent a letter of condolence to Hijazi’s family.

But God had greater plans. Glick miraculously survived. In 2015, he was placed 32nd on the Likud list of candidates. Though certainly an honor, it seemed highly improbable that he would be called upon to serve. In an unexpected landslide victory, Likud won 30 seats. Glick was still on the outside but over the next year, three Likud MK’s resigned. The most unlikely series of events had brought him from death’s door to the Knesset – Israel’s parliament.

Prime Minister Netanyahu Addresses Christian Media Summit

Breaking Israel News - 6 hours 16 min ago

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the keynote speaker at the opening session of the Christian Media Summit. Currently taking place in Jerusalem, the event discusses topics pertinent to Israel and the Christian world.  The prime minister said, “Israel is the only country in the Middle East where the Christian community thrives and grows.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu at Christian Media Summit:

"Israel is the only country in the Middle East where the Christian community thrives and grows." pic.twitter.com/vDpv3HrXZN

— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) October 15, 2018

Israel Supreme Court Judge Nearly Lynched on Samaria Road

Breaking Israel News - 6 hours 43 min ago

David Mintz, one of Israel’s Supreme Court Judges, was accosted by 3 Palestinian men carrying hammers, while he was driving toward a junction on Route 463 in Samaria – not far from Jerusalem.

According to a police report, a car with a Palestinian license plate blocked the judge’s vehicle, with the three suspects beginning to make their way to his car. When Mintz noticed the assailants he fled the scene.

“Upon receipt of the report, an investigation was opened,” the police spokesman said.

Residents of the Dolev settlement, situated close to the scene of attempted attack, said that attacks on the road had lessened over the years. However, the Dolev community spokesperson commented that the last few weeks had seen an “unacceptable” uptick in activities – including pelting vehicles with stones – aimed against Jews.

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Mintz reportedly arrived safely at the court, and was set to give a statement later to police.

There are increased tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, not just along the Israel-Gaza border, but also in the West Bank. On Friday, a Palestinian mother of eight was killed when her husband lost control of their car after it was stoned near the Tapuah Junction in Judea and Samaria.

Last week, two Israelis were brutally murdered by a co-worker, at their office at the Barkan Industrial Park. Another woman was wounded in the shooting. The murderer, Ashraf Na’alowa, is still at large, despite a large-scale manhunt to apprehend him.

Another attack also took place last week – as a 32-year-old IDF reserve soldier was attacked at a bus stop near the Samaria Regional Brigade base. Israel’s security forces have already apprehended that attacker.

Jordan and Syria reopen Nassib border crossing

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - 6 hours 48 min ago

The Syrian government retook the area around the Nassib border crossing with Jordan in July during a Russian-backed offensive to drive rebels from their stronghold in southwest Syria.

Pastor Brunson Prays For President Trump in the Oval Office

Breaking Israel News - 7 hours 27 min ago

Following his incarceration in a Turkish jail on exaggerated political conspiracy charges, Pastor Andrew Brunson returned to the United States. President Trump welcomed the pastor in the Oval Office in the full glare of global media. There was time, however, for Pastor Brunson to pray for the president.

Pro-Israel Swedish Evangelical Flotilla Docks At Herzliya Port

Breaking Israel News - 7 hours 58 min ago

In recent years, Sweden has been synonymous with anti-Israel bias, so it makes for a nice change of emphasis when a delegation of evangelical Christians docked in Israel with a message of support and thanks.

The boat, the Elida – a 131-ft yacht – is carrying around 50 passengers, who have come to Israel to present a different face of Sweden. Upon their arrival, the yacht’s owner, Stephan Abrahamsson, said, “It’s great to be here at last.”

Shortly after their arrival Thursday afternoon, Herzliya Mayor Moshe Fadlon hosted a reception for the passengers and crew.

The Israeli navy, accompanied by a fleet of Israeli yachts, escorted the flotilla to the Herzliya port.

“It was wonderful to see all the boats that accompanied us with the flags and music,” Abrahamsson said. “We will be here for 11 days. We came here because Sweden’s image in Israel is very bad and we are here to express our sorrow over this.”

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In a Facebook post prior to the yacht’s departure, Abrahamsson was very clear about the rationale behind the flotilla. He wanted to draw attention to the plight of Christians across the Middle East, where they are persecuted, denied rights and in an increasing number of cases, killed for their beliefs. “As the only democracy in the Middle East amid dictatorships, Israel welcomes us on this show of solidarity with human rights, freedom of expression, freedom of religion and fundamental democratic values. In turn, we are taking a stand for the values that Israel stands for,” he added.

Former Israeli Ambassador to Sweden Isaac Bachman called the flotilla a “solidarity with Israel marine voyage” that brought Swedish Christians who love Israel.

The support ship set sail on August 25 from Gothenburg, Sweden. It is expected to anchor in Herzliya until October 22 – although it will dock at the Ashdod port on October 16. During their stay here in Israel, the ship’s passengers will host Israelis visiting the site and will travel throughout Israel expressing their support for the country

Dr. Phil Highlights Israeli Invention That Enables Blind To Read, Recognize Faces

Breaking Israel News - 9 hours 3 min ago

If a unique, Israeli-invented electronic device had been available during Biblical times, it could have changed the future of the Jewish people, for the worse.

OrCam, the brilliant technology that allows the blind and vision-impaired not only to read but also to identify faces, would have informed Yitzhak that Yaakov had “tricked” him into giving him the birthright and blessing that Esau had traded for a pot of lentil soup.

When Esau went to hunt game and bring it home before receiving his father’s blessing, his mother, Rivka, sent Yaakov to bring two kids to cook for Isaac. When he returned, she dressed him in Esau’s clothing and covered his arms and neck with the goat’s skins so Isaac would identify him as the hairy-bodied Esau. The blind patriarch blessed Yaakov:

May Hashem give you of the dew of heaven and the fat of the earth, abundance of new grain and wine. Let peoples serve you, and nations bow to you; Be master over your brothers, and let your mother’s sons bow to you. Cursed be they who curse you; Blessed they who bless you.”

The rest is (Jewish) history.

But seriously, if OrCam had existed since the time of the Bible, it would have been a life changer for the many people blinded by disease, old age, violence or other circumstances.

OrCam Israel (“or” means light in Hebrew, and “cam” represents camera) was founded eight years ago by two Israelis, Prof. Amnon Shashua and Ziv Aviram, who founded Mobileye – the autonomous vehicle technology company founded in 1999 and based in Jerusalem. Mobileye was bought by the Intel Corporation in March 2017 for $15 billion.

Their vision was to make possible artificial vision that would help the blind and visually impaired to carry out basic everyday activities.

The invention is a finger-sized technology combining a microprocessor and camera that take text to which the user points and reads it to the user. In addition, the product recognizes faces, performs product identification and identifies colors and banknotes, thus providing a high level of user independence.

Their exciting invention was recently presented by American clinical psychologist and TV personality Dr. Phil (McGraw), who became a daytime television celebrity thanks to his weekly appearances on Oprah Winfrey’s popular talkshow.

Dr. Phil interviewed Scotty, who was a US soldier and major in the US military sent to Iraq in October, 2004. Six months later, he was the victim of a suicide bomb attack that left him totally blind and struggling emotionally. Depression is something I fell deep into,” said Scotty who credits his wife, Tiffany, with giving him the strength to forge ahead. The US military awarded Scotty with the prestigious Purple Heart for his bravery.

Today, Scotty and Tiffany have three young sons. And, thanks to OrCam, which was provided him free by the US Department of Veteran Affairs Eye Clinics, he is now able to read to his boys, recognize their faces and more. “It has been life-changing for me,” said Scotty, who took a book in his hands and called over his nine-year-old son. Pointing to the text, read the words out load to his smiling and proud son.

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“OrCam is the world’s most advanced wearable artificial vision device,” said Dr. Bryan Wolynski, a low-vision optometrist and consultant with the Jerusalem company. “It’s as small as your finger, and it attaches to almost any pair of eyeglasses.” Newspapers, books, signs, menus, product labels and even electronic screens can be read to the blind or visually impaired person.

Dr. Phil chose OrCam as the best company to help blind, visually impaired and dyslexic individuals and even those who experience fatigue in reading during basic, everyday activities.

The public commission for deciding what medical technologies will be added to the Israeli basket of health service in 2019 is now discussing whether to include it so that every blind or visually impaired person can purchase the device.  At present, the basket has a category of hearing aids, not visual aids; now there is an opportunity to open a new category of vision devices. It is already subsidized by health systems in several other countries, as it makes its users more independent.

Israel is so proud of OrCam that when famous visitors come and want to see local technology, the device to help the visually disabled is usually on the list. When Britain’s Prince William made a short but official trip to the country last summer, OrCam was one of the inventions that impressed him highly. “The prince read a couple lines from an article that Blind Veterans put out. He had a big smile on his face,” recalled an OrCam executive.

In 2016, JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Ophthalmology published a study involving 12 legally blind participants to evaluate the usefulness of the portable artificial vision device. The results reportedly showed that OrCam significantly improved the patient’s ability to perform tasks simulating those of daily living, such as reading a message on an electronic device, a newspaper article or a menu.

Users say that the device is quite intuitive, as they need only point a finger at what they’re looking at and wait a couple of seconds. They can move their fingers around or put the palm of their hand on the text to stop the device. If the text is held upside down, OrCam can even tell the user to turn it around. It identifies money exactly, so if you’re looking at a $10 bill, it will say so and not confuse it with $20. If you’re trying to read text in a foreign language, OrCam will translate it into any of a number of foreign tongues.

According to consumer experts, MyEye will store and recognize up to 150 credit cards, pantry items, household cleaners and other objects from the size of a pack of playing cards to a box of cereal. To add an item to the device’s memory, press and hold the trigger button until it prompts you with “Start new product learning. Please point at the product three times at different positions.” It’s best to take one photo with the item at arm’s length, a second closer up, and the third using a different background, according to experts who tried it.

Facial recognition available in the more-expensive MyEye is very helpful to the blind. You just teach the device who is in front of you, and the face is stored in its memory. If someone you know is talking to you, the user just orients his face towards him, and the device will tell him the name of the person. If you are unfamiliar with the person who is speaking, the device will describe him or her simply (“a young woman is in front of you”).

The device comes in two versions, the $3,500 MyEye, which also identifies faces, and the simpler, $2,500 MyReader, which has only the reading function. The voice can be sounded by a male or female. The products are available for purchase in various countries and operate in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Hebrew. The devices soon will also be able to read Arabic, Russian, Norwegian, Swedish, Dutch, Portuguese, Danish and certain Asian languages.

The lightweight devices, mounted on the frame of the user’s eyeglasses, can read any text aloud or quietly transmit the words to the wearer using a personal speaker.

DEUTERONOMY 26:9

Breaking Israel News - 9 hours 16 min ago

In the Bible, Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel) is described as flowing with milk and honey. In a literal sense, this refers to goat’s milk and date honey. On a metaphorical level, milk is a nutritional necessity, whereas honey is a savory delicacy. Hashem (God) promises that the Land of Israel will not only sustain His nation with the basic essentials for survival, but He will bless the land with sweetness and prosperity.

Where Feminism Failed

Breaking Israel News - 9 hours 50 min ago

Sex matters. Really. It does. Sex matters.But Sex Matters: How Modern Feminism Lost Touch with Science, Love and Common Sense by Mona Charen is not exactly about sex. Really. It’s not. OK, it is about sexes, two of them, and their differences—and differences matter. It is also about culture—and culture matters. But mostly, it is about reality.

Feminist writer Ayushi Roy told women:

The cost of any form of self-policing—not walking alone in the dark, watching what you drink and what you wear—is that you live under a self-inflicted form of fear. You are living in this fear that drinking, of letting yourself go, is a bad thing.

Her contemporary, Rebecca Nagle, agreed:

As a woman, I’m told not to go out alone at night, to watch my drink, to do all of these things. That way, rape isn’t just controlling me while I’m actually being assaulted—it controls me 24/7 because it limits my behavior. Solutions like these actually just recreate that. I don’t want to f**ing test my drink when I’m at the bar. That’s not the world I want to live in.

Most of us, it should be said, have problems with the world we live in and wish the world to be otherwise. Most of us have dreams about walking safely down dark alleys or drinking ourselves into oblivion without rape or a hangover, eating cheesecake every day without getting fat, or living in a villa in Positano on our middle-class salaries. Most of us know this isn’t happening, so we do what we must to stay safe and out of bankruptcy—and limit the cheesecake.

Charen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, a New York Times bestselling author, a syndicated columnist, and a frequent radio and television guest. She is also, to the point here, a wife and the mother of three young men. Living in a house full of men and raising boys into men gave her an appreciation for “maleness” and the myriad differences between men and women. She recognizes that hers is a politically difficult position today, and she approaches it with seriousness, leavened with gentle humor and irony, and copious footnotes.

Necessary disclaimer: Charen makes the point—several times—that a) a return to the “olden days” is neither possible nor in any way desirable, b) increasing pay equality and wider opportunities for women are to be applauded and encouraged, c) human beings are neither appendages or chattel, d) rape, sexual abuse, and assault are real, and e) single mothers are often heroic figures.

The essential core that she wants to come to, however, is this:

Sexual differentiation has been a feature of life on Earth for millennia. In human history, too much has arguably been made of sexual distinctions, and men have frequently controlled and even stunted their daughters and wives, out of a misguided belief in male superiority. But the pendulum has swung way too far in the other direction. It is now a borderline thought crime even to broach the matter of inborn sexual differences in aptitudes and interests, though biologists continue to illuminate the thousands of influences that chromosomes exert on our bodies and minds.

She enthusiastically jumps into the breach.

To set the stage, Charen goes to early American feminism—noting that the single biggest example of female power was the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement (WCTU), not the contemporaneous suffrage movement. With 150,000 members, the WCTU was not focused on the morality of drinking as such, but rather on the nefarious effects of excessive drinking almost exclusively by men—on families. In other words, it was an attempt to rein in the excesses of men. The National American Woman Suffrage Association, by contrast, had only about 7,000 members.

If you think much of history consists of women’s attempts to rein in the excesses of men, she would agree with you—and then wonder why some women are so keen to prove themselves “equal” by taking on men’s most unappealing excesses, most particularly drinking and loose sex. (See Roy, above.) Only Betty Friedan, of the dozens of mid-20th century feminists cited, recalculated the trajectory of the movement’s understanding of women not as the equal of men, but as the same as men. She came to believe that too many women had “turned their backs on the ‘life-serving core of feminine identity.’” In 1981, she wrote:

From the totality of our own experience as women—and our knowledge of psychology, anthropology, biology—many feminists knew all along that the extremist rhetoric of sexual politics defied and denied the profound, complex human reality of the sexual, social psychological, economic, and yes, biological relationship between woman and man. It denied the reality of women’s own sexuality, her child-bearing, her roots, and life connection in the family.

Many of Friedan’s peers and successors didn’t get the message. The chapter on biology is informative and thoroughly documents what you learned in high school. Females are XX and males are XY. Removing the male sex organ does not make men XX. Giving women male hormones to induce a beard does not make them XY. (And giving children hormones to do either is tantamount to child abuse.)

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Many of the same people who are fully certain that global warming is proven by science, and that the climatic fate of our planet can be limned within inches and degrees a hundred years out are, in the name of “gender,” quick to dismiss biology and the chromosomal difference between men and women as a “construct.”

Pointing to the “vast literature about sexual differentiation in neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and other fields,” Charen acknowledges, “The truth frightens feminists because they worry that biology, anthropology, or neurology will be cited as proof of women’s inferiority to men. Their fear is not groundless, but it is outdated… In times past, many also believed in slavery, witches, child labor, executing horse thieves and the unhealthful effects of night air.”

If there is no scientific construct that makes men into women and vice versa, there is certainly a cultural one that tries its best to rearrange both sides. If you have college-aged children—or are in college—start with Chapter 5, “The Campus Rape Mess.” The increase in young women drinking to excess and engaging willingly or under pressure in the “hook-up culture” on campuses has led to a lot of unhappy women, a lot of sex that is regretted the next morning, and a lot of confusion about personal control, personal safety, and love. The vast unhappiness of women across campuses has led universities on occasion to abandon the American legal system for Star Chambers and various sorts of punishments meted out to young men who believed Rebecca Nagle.

The belief that women should have no particular responsibility for their own safety in a community that expects excesses of the male half of its members, writes Charen, actually makes it more difficult to understand and prosecute rape on campus—which is a real, frightening criminal activity.

Marriage Matters; Happiness Does Too

The “Family” chapter is worth the price of the book. In the face of a society that often “defames the traditional family,” Charen shows how the roles of fathers and mothers differ, how stepparents differ from biological ones, how single mothers—and she gives them their due as often-heroic figures—have more trouble than married ones, and how married people are happier and healthier than singles.

According to a University of Virginia report, “Thirty-five percent of single men and cohabiting men report they are ‘highly satisfied’ with their lives, compared to 52 percent of married men. Likewise, 33 percent of single women and 29 percent of cohabiting women are ‘highly satisfied,’ compared to 47 percent of married women.” Discussing the report more broadly, she notes:

We can glean from the data that married people are much healthier, wealthier, less prone to suicide, less likely to be drug abusers or alcoholics, less likely to be unemployed, and more likely to have broad networks of friends and relatives than single or divorced people. Married people are also less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and are even more likely to survive a cancer diagnosis and other serious illnesses.

While she often quotes Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, in this chapter Charen channels her inner Representative Jack Kemp, citing statistics on the poverty rate for people who take the “life script” for which the congressman and Housing and Urban Develoment secretary was famous: high school graduation, then marriage, then children. “The poverty rate among married black couples today is 8 percent, or half the national rate of 16 percent. Among black single mothers, 46 percent live in poverty. The ratios [Ed. Although not the numbers] are similar for whites. The poverty rate for married white couples is 3.1 percent and for single white parents, it’s 22 percent.”

Charen deals with the sticky issues of race and class in these statistics as she does everything else in the book—with a kind heart and a lot of carefully documented academic research. The section on “Lost Men” is an eye-opener.

African American husbands [Emphasis in the original] participate in the labor force at higher rates than never-married white men. And married men with high school diplomas are more likely to be employed than single men with some college or even an associate’s degree. The caste of men who don’t work, don’t marry, and don’t support children is worrying. They spend an average of five and a-half hours a day watching TV and movies, and less time caring for household members than either unemployed men who are married, or employed women.

Conclusion

The takeaways are:

• Mid-20th century sexual “liberation” was a fraud that damaged “the best instincts of men and the best interests of women.”
• Children are not a burden to be managed, but a treasure to be cherished.
• Any step that reconnects us to lifelong love, commitment, and tenderness will make us personally happier and move society closer to the ideals we all prize.

And, since humans are learning organisms, we can get there by accepting who we are, differences and all, “not in the world of work but in our homes and families.” This book is a keeper.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Jewish Policy Center

Start-up Nation vs Blow-up Nation

Breaking Israel News - 10 hours 51 min ago

With its decades-old track record of murder and mayhem, Hamas has already secured itself a place in the annals of infamy.
From bus bombings to underground terror tunnels to the indiscriminate firing of thousands of rockets and projectiles at Israeli towns and cities, the Islamic extremist group has repeatedly found new ways to sow widespread death and destruction.
But just when it seems that their injurious impulses cannot possibly sink any lower, the organization’s terrorist masterminds somehow manage to come up with novel methods that would make even the devil blush.

Such has been the case in recent days when, as Yediot Aharonot reported, Hamas has launched the “terror of the toys,” deliberately targeting young Jewish children by attaching explosive devices concealed as playthings to balloons and sending them airborne from Gaza towards neighboring Jewish communities in the Negev.

In one instance, a bomb disguised as a toy tied to a batch of balloons was discovered in the Eshkol region. It was glittering with colorful lights, clearly intended to entice a curious Israeli child to pick it up. Fortunately, the bomb was discovered and diffused before it caused any damage.

But this incident, along with others, prompted security officials to issue an unusual warning to local residents last week: “Please instruct your children not to touch objects attached to balloons which appear to be toys.” The circular further noted, “Sometimes there are drawings on the balloons, with hearts and smiles, funny faces and the like. All of these are intended to create an innocent cover for the explosive devices.”

So there you have it for all the world to see. Israel’s enemies are not targeting “the occupation” or “illegal settlements.” They are consciously and with premeditation seeking to blow the limbs off of Jewish children and kill them.

Needless to say, this latest outrage is unlikely to provoke much of a response from the international community, which is too busy calling for the creation of a hostile Palestinian state alongside Israel to take note of still another Palestinian war crime.
But it most assuredly should evoke a determined and harsh rejoinder from the IDF. Anyone who purposefully seeks to target Jewish children should have a bull’s-eye placed firmly on his back.

The reason why the Hamas leadership feels free to plumb new depths of evil is because they assume that they will not be compelled to pay a personal price for their actions. That is why they are continuously inventing new techniques of treachery and persist in attempting to inflame the situation, both literally and metaphorically.

The numbers speak for themselves. According to data compiled by the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, which administers forests throughout the country, over the past six months there have been 1,053 fires in the woodlands adjacent to Gaza thanks to Palestinian airborne incendiary devices, which have burned more than 11,920 dunams of land. That is more than twice the size of Gibraltar.

The beautiful Be’eri forest, which sits in the western Negev, has been hit especially hard, suffering 452 fires with some 3,616 dunams set ablaze.

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Isn’t it ironic that the Palestinians are intentionally setting fire to the land that they claim to love so much? What does this say about their true intentions?

Many of us go about our daily lives without giving much thought to events in the South, as though they are taking place in an alternate reality.

But the indifference, whether willful or otherwise, will inevitably be short-lived. Indeed, there have been a string of incidents of late in which “balloon bombs” or other suspicious flying objects have appeared much closer to home, such as on the streets of the industrial zone in Modi’in and even adjacent to the Malha Mall in Jerusalem.

Ignoring the problem and hoping that it will go away is not a solution. Only by striking swiftly and hard against the Hamas leadership and eliciting a heavy price for their actions, can this latest threat be contained before it spins completely out of control.

One of the sad things about this situation is that the Palestinians are clearly resourceful people, although it seems that many of their energies are directed toward destruction. They could have invested in human capital and technological progress as Israel, the “Start-up Nation,” has done, and brought themselves peace and prosperity. Instead, the Palestinian leadership appears intent on turning “Palestine” into the “Blow-up Nation,” best known not for what it builds, but rather for what it aims to destroy.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Jerusalem Post

At Last, the Truth is Told!

Breaking Israel News - 11 hours 50 min ago

Since Israel’s unilateral disengagement from Gaza in 2005, the standard of living for the Palestinian people in Gaza has steadily declined, even though Israel gifted the Palestinians with thriving agricultural lands, productive greenhouses and beautiful beachfront communities. From day one of possessing Gaza, the Palestinian leadership began to demolish the greenhouses, raze the infrastructure, including schools and synagogues, and turn the lush farming fields into artillery launching sites. For the past 13 years the citizens of Gaza have suffered greatly, yet somehow the world has always pointed the finger at Israel. Remember, a lie that is told often enough eventually becomes the truth.

But, finally, we are seeing the light. Israel is not to blame for the deplorable conditions in Gaza. It is the Palestinian Authority that has literally kept their people in the dark, limiting them to only four hours of electricity each day and rationing food at a minimum level, all the while blaming Israel.

Who is finally telling the truth? Surprisingly, it is Mahmoud Abbas, the PA president himself. And why is he doing this? Because it is now to his advantage to stir up the people against Hamas, as well as against Israel. He is trying to pressure Hamas into relinquishing control of Gaza to the PA, which governs the Palestinians in the West Bank, and he is applying this pressure by threatening to further curtail the availability of electricity.

Israel has publicly proclaimed that it is ready to help the people of Gaza by providing the fuel to run their electric plants, and Qatar has agreed to purchase this fuel, which has angered Abbas. If conditions for the people of Gaza improve, it will be more difficult to stir them into riotous behavior. Suffering Palestinians are of greater use to Abbas, and if he can’t blame their suffering on Israel, he will blame it on Hamas.

Abbas, headquartered in Ramallah, is declaring the PA to be the only legitimate government of the Palestinian people. He is concerned that Israel and the US will work out some type of peace agreement with Hamas in Gaza, something Abbas says would not be legitimate.

The deputy head of Hamas’s political department publicly revealed that the PA threatened those workers who would transport the fuel – as well as those employed by the electric plants – if the Palestinian people receive more than four hours of electricity a day. Clearly, Abbas does not care about the Palestinian people. He is using them as pawns in his quest to maintain power.

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Not only is he holding back the fuel – which powers the plants that provide electricity so desperately needed in order to be gainfully employed and live comfortably – he has also withheld funds specifically earmarked for humanitarian aid to Gazans. It’s time for the people of Gaza to realize who their real enemy is, and for the world to stop blaming Israel.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Jerusalem Post

Rouhani: U.S. admin. seeking 'regime change' in Iran

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - Sun, 10/14/2018 - 16:52

Rouhani accused the Americans of using psychological and economic warfare and questioning the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic.

When Kushner met Mohammed; How Saudi prince charmed Jewish power-broker

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - Sun, 10/14/2018 - 11:06

Five key moments in the powerful relationship between Jewish son-in-law of U.S. President Donald Trump and Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Iran arrests member of military over deadly terror in Ahvaz

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - Sun, 10/14/2018 - 09:52

An Iranian ethnic Arab opposition movement called the Ahvaz National Resistance, which seeks a separate state in oil-rich Khuzestan province, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Saudis threaten to retaliate if U.S. acts over Khashoggi disappearance

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - Sun, 10/14/2018 - 08:52

"The Kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether by threatening to impose economic sanctions, using political pressures, or repeating false accusations."

Israeli Scientists Say Public Genealogy Databases Can Be Used to Identify Everybody

Breaking Israel News - Sun, 10/14/2018 - 07:57

Yaniv Erlich, Tal Shor, Itsik Pe’er, and Shai Carmi, who are affiliated with online genealogy platform MyHeritage, as well as Columbia University, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the New York Genome Center, last Thursday published a report in Science Magazine (Identity inference of genomic data using long-range familial searches) suggesting that as DNA databases continue to grow, investigators will be able to identify anyone in the US given a sample of their DNA.

Consumer genomics databases have reached the scale of millions of individuals, say the authors of the report, noting that recently, law enforcement authorities have exploited some of these databases to identify suspects via distant familial relatives.

“Using genomic data of 1.28 million individuals tested with consumer genomics, we investigated the power of this technique. We project that about 60% of the searches for individuals of European-descent will result in a third cousin or closer match, which can allow their identification using demographic identifiers,” the report states.

“Moreover, the technique could implicate nearly any US-individual of European-descent in the near future. We demonstrate that the technique can also identify research participants of a public sequencing project. Based on these results, we propose a potential mitigation strategy and policy implications to human subject research,” the report says.

In one notable case, according to the report, law enforcement used a long-range familial search to trace the Golden State Killer. Investigators generated a genome-wide profile of the perpetrator from a crime scene sample and uploaded the profile to GEDmatch ~1 million DNA profiles. The GEDmatch search identified a 3rd-degree cousin. Extensive genealogical data traced the identity of the perpetrator, which was confirmed by a standard DNA test.

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Between April to August 2018, at least 13 cases were reportedly solved by long range familial searches. Most of these investigations focused on cold cases, for which decades of investigation failed to identify the offender. Nonetheless, one case involved a crime from April 2018, suggesting that some law enforcement agencies have incorporated long-range familial DNA searches into active investigations.

MyHeritage is an online genealogy platform with web, mobile, and software products and services that was first developed and popularized by the Israeli company MyHeritage in 2003. The company is headquartered in Or Yehuda, Israel with additional offices in Tel Aviv, Lehi, Utah, Kiev, Ukraine, and Burbank, California.

Users of the platform can create family trees, upload and browse through photos, and search billions of global historical records, among other features. As of 2015, the service supports 42 languages and has around 80 million users worldwide. In January 2017 it was reported that MyHeritage has 35 million family trees on its website.

The report authors warn that “while policymakers and the general public may be in favor of such enhanced forensic capabilities for solving crimes, it relies on databases and services that are open to everyone. Thus, the same technique could also be exploited for harmful purposes, such as re-identification of research subjects from their genetic data.”

Overall, the report suggests that clear policies for law enforcement in using long-range familial searches, and respecting the autonomy of participants in genetic studies, are necessary components for long-term sustainability of the genomics ecosystem.

Why do Israeli soldiers suffer from PTSD less than American counterparts?

Breaking Israel News - Sun, 10/14/2018 - 07:32

PTSD IN ISRAEL’S DEFENSE FORCES IS AMONG THE LOWEST IN MILITARIES WORLDWIDE

In 2013 the Israel Defense Forces Medical Corps Mental Health Department released a study on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the study, reported cases of post-traumatic stress disorder among Israeli soldiers are among the lowest in militaries worldwide.

For example, following the 2006 Second Lebanon War, 1.5 percent of Israeli soldiers in mandatory service and in the reserves were diagnosed with PTSD. Some 2.9% of the servicemen who took part in the military campaign sought psychological help after the war, but were not diagnosed as suffering from PTSD. In contrast, a U.S. Army Medical Corps study done in approximately the same time period, found that about 8% of U.S. soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan had been diagnosed as suffering from PTSD.

According to the IDF study, PTSD diagnoses in other militaries worldwide ranged from 2% to 17% of troops who participated in combat.

A casual observation of the prevalence of US veteran addiction, homelessness and suicide indicates a severe problem. When it is understood that often these issues are connected with PTSD and it is further understood that the statistics are not the same everywhere – in other words: it doesn’t have to be this way – it becomes all the more imperative to understand what makes IDF soldiers different.

Today, with the rise in terrorism worldwide, there is added impetus to understand PTSD. While one might be more likely to discover PTSD in soldiers, security forces or rescue workers, anyone who has been exposed to highly traumatic situations (such as a terror attack) could also be afflicted with PTSD. Just ask the people who worked next to the Twin Towers, the children of Beslan, the Bastille Day revelers in Nice, or any Israeli citizen.

TO BE ABLE TO DEAL WITH PTSD, ONE MUST FIRST UNDERSTAND WHAT IT IS

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is a term that many have heard and few seem to truly understand.

Historically, a percentage of soldiers that went to war developed odd seeming behaviors which were not initially understood by those who remained behind. Some WW1 soldiers experienced panic, terror, or flight, an inability to reason, sleep, walk or talk and were diagnosed with “shell shock.” In WW2 similar symptoms were called “combat stress reaction.” Soldiers of the Vietnam War were said to have “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.”

What all the soldiers had in common was that, contrary to apparent logic, removal from the field of combat did not relieve the symptoms.

Movies about the experiences of soldiers during and after the Vietnam War brought PTSD to public awareness but did little to create understanding or educate people in how to cope with the disorder.

 

Illustrative: A man sits in a wheelchair in a hospital. (Credit: Nok Lek/ Shutterstock.com)

One of the major challenges in understanding PTSD is the fact that most soldiers do not develop the disorder. Since soldiers who have seen combat have similar experiences, and most can readapt to civilian life relatively smoothly, many assumed that the small percentage that was unable to do so were flawed in some way and even attributed their symptoms to cowardice.

Reading American literature on PTSD shines light on why so many people find the condition confusing. The research is varied and results are often conflicting. Much of the material consists of long lists of possible symptoms and hypotheses regarding what types of physical/biological conditions might lead to a predisposition towards the disorder.

The material raises more questions than it gives answers, most significantly, why are only some of the people exposed to trauma afflicted?

It seems that much of the research was done with the goal of finding medication that could solve the problem. This suggests a number of assumptions:

  • There is something psychologically flawed in the person suffering from PTSD.
  • The problem is caused by or has created a chemical imbalance that can be controlled by external methods (drugs) to solve or at least control the situation.
  • There is a potential for profit: purchase the right solution and the patient can be cured.

In contrast, the Hebrew literature on PTSD is clear and concise. For example, this explanation is from Israel’s National Trauma Center for Victims of Terrorism and War:

When exposed to a traumatic event, the emotional/psychological system is flooded with more stimuli than it can contain and process. The stimuli remain in the system, in their raw, unprocessed state and occasionally return, forcing their way in to the person’s awareness in their original form.

As a result, the sufferer re-experiences the traumatic situation, as a physical or emotional experience, exactly as if it were occurring all over again. Images, memories, noises and odors that were part of the original traumatic experience return, in an overwhelming manner that feels like an assault. Since this intrusive, uncontrollable experience is in and of itself traumatic, victims make an effort to avoid anything that might remind them of the traumatic event, creating a cycle of the intrusion and avoidance. This cycle is the heart of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D.).

It is interesting to note that the word used in the Hebrew text which was translated as “the emotional/psychological system” actually means the system of the “soul”. In Israel, health related issues are divided in to those relating to the physical body and those relating to the soul. Those that desire to do so can interpret the term “soul” as an emotional system or as a psychological system but no matter how this is interpreted, it is understood that there are issues that are physical and issues that are intangible i.e. of the soul.

This not a matter of simple terminology, this is a fundamental difference in medical approach that influences both understanding and treatment. How can you heal damage to your soul (or emotions) by fixing a flaw in your physiology? This would be like trying to fill your car’s empty gas tank by changing a tire.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); }); THE SYMPTOMS OF POST TRAUMA ARE A NORMAL REACTION TO AN UNNATURAL SITUATION

It is important to understand that PTSD does not indicate weakness, a flaw in character, moral fiber or temperament.

The symptoms of PTSD are emotional and physical sensations that then become exacerbated due to behaviors that are the result of the intrusion–avoidance cycle.

INTRUSION

Comprehending the burden of intrusive traumatic events is difficult for anyone who has not themselves had the experience. Probably most people would picture the types of flashback scenes they saw in movies: the soldier, back in civilian life, hears a loud noise, a car back-firing or a door slam and suddenly has a flashback to being shot at on the battlefield or having bombs exploding next to him.

While cinematographic constructs of flashbacks are dramatic they are actually poor explanations of what is actually being experienced. The intrusive memory is not a flash-back but more like a flash-now. Something in the present triggers the memory of the experience of the event with all of its physical and emotional sensations. The person is not transported back to their memory, rather the event is recreated and relived in the present.

“Burning chicken smells exactly the same as soldiers burning in a tank.”

Once day I was cooking chicken. Distracted, I accidently let it burn. My husband had an extreme, disproportionate reaction I found utterly incomprehensible. I thought to myself, “Why is he so upset? Only part of it burned, it isn’t ruined and anyway it’s just food…” Seeing I didn’t understand, he took a breath and told me: “Burning chicken smells exactly the same as soldiers burning in a tank.” He walked out of the room and I didn’t ask any more questions. I have made sure to never let chicken burn since.

Imagine being in your living room, waiting for dinner to be ready. Nothing can be more banal. Suddenly a smell triggers the memory of soldiers being burned alive in a tank. Many soldiers have had this experience and can recall the smell. Only some of these soldiers have PTSD that manifests in intrusive memories of the event. What’s the difference?

Illustrative (Shutterstock)

Standard memory: the person will recognize that the smell they smell today is like what they smelled as a soldier, on the battlefield. This may bring up other upsetting details of the event and yet the person remains in control of their memory. They are in the here and now and are recalling something that happened in the past. They are looking at their memory, not reliving it.

PTSD intrusive memory: the smell triggers the memory and suddenly the burning tank will be in the living-room, the feelings of that event will wash over him in an uncontrollable manner. He isn’t recalling the event, he is re-experiencing it now, in the present.

Intrusive symptoms can include an all-sensory or partial sensory re-experience of the traumatic event. Often senses that one is not entirely aware of at the time take a powerful role in the sense-memory (such as smell or sound). The sense of danger that overwhelmed the person at the time, overwhelms them again and they might feel panic, an urge to flee and can experience a feeling of fury at themselves or others. These uncontrollable feelings are upsetting. Not knowing what might trigger them causes an underlying, constant, stress making it hard to concentrate and function normally. Fear of the experiences resurfacing in dreams or nightmares can cause insomnia which can then lead to physical health issues.

Often, the victim does not understand what is happening which, in turn, increases the feeling of helplessness and intensifying the suffering.

AVOIDANCE

The intrusive traumatic memories are so unpleasant that the person suffering from them instinctively takes steps to avoid them. This can manifest in a wide variety of ways including:

  • Efforts not to think, feel or talk about the traumatic event.
  • Avoiding places, activities and people who might trigger memories of the traumatic event.
  • Memory suppression of the event which leads to difficulty remembering details of the experience even when this is desired (this can be an issue with victims of a violent crime who need to testify in a courtroom).

I once heard a US Marine who fought in the Battle of Fallujah explain that he felt “quenched” like a steel sword that had been heated up and cooled down in order to be forged into the sharp Marine he was trained to be. He felt that this had turned off his emotions, making their expression next to impossible. This is an interesting description, particularly as this soldier also suffered from PTSD and it is actually fear of re-living the traumatic experience that causes many people experiencing the disorder to shut down their emotions.

Knowing that the traumatic experience can suddenly resurface but not knowing when this might happen causes extreme stress (hyper-arousal). This leads many people to become irritable, impatient, defensive and prone to angry outbursts. Others begin to avoid all emotions. These people find it difficult to feel warm emotions, even towards those they love and they begin to find it impossible to enjoy activities that previously brought them joy (a strong emotion).

Avoidance may serve the victim well in the short run, creating the illusion of control over the problem, but in the long-run avoidance becomes a fixation and significantly damages the quality life. Over time, continuous use of avoidance as a coping mechanism can actually exacerbate the problem. The desire to avoid in itself is evidence that the intrusive element of the trauma is still present and will, sooner or later, return in the form of intrusive symptoms.

WHO IS SUSCEPTIBLE TO PTSD?

My experience with people traumatized by war and terrorism has revealed a pattern indicating who is susceptible to PTSD. Although much stigma has been attached to PTSD it is important to note that it has nothing to do with cowardice or any type of flaw in personality. In fact, the opposite is true.

The people that are more susceptible to PTSD are the ones that are more sensitive, the people that are capable of imagining: “What if.” These are the people that imagine, “what if I had been the one who was shot?” wondering to themselves, why it wasn’t them. Very often these are the most heroic people. They are the soldiers who, with their ingenuity and courage, in addition to saving themselves, succeed in pulling two friends out of a burning tank and later berate themselves for being unable to save the third soldier who remained behind. They are the ones that hold themselves up to impossible standards, who have the highest levels of compassion and are willing to sacrifice the most for others.

Israeli soldiers attend a swearing-in ceremony as they enter the Givati Brigade unit, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem Old City, June 23, 2016. (Zack Wajsgras/Flash90)

These people are not less courageous; they are more courageous. The intrusive traumatic memories they experience often lead them to think poorly of themselves, be angry at themselves for being fearful but true courage is not lack of fear but the ability to feel fear and do what is necessary despite the fear. People suffering from PTSD die a thousand deaths, experience a thousand traumas. Being able to endure this and continue to do other activities is nothing short of astounding.

WHAT MAKES ISRAELI SOLDIERS DIFFERENT?

Israeli soldiers aren’t different. It is Israel itself that is different.

EXPERIENCE

Unlike in the US, there is no person in Israel who is untouched by terrorism or war; soldiers are an integral part of Israeli society.

The IDF is a citizens’ army, consisting of our fathers, brothers, husbands, friends, sisters and daughters. Almost every household has a soldier, if not a number of soldiers, many of whom have fought in multiple wars. Those who don’t have a soldier in their own family live next to a household with a soldier. Virtually every person does reserve duty and /or has colleagues who take leave from work to go to reserve duty. Israelis pass soldiers on the bus, in the train and in the store. Even those portions of society that do not enlist (such as Orthodox Jews) have seen soldiers and had interactions with soldiers. This means that many Israelis who have not themselves been on a battlefield have secondary experience with those that have – they have dealt with injuries and death of friends and family, brothers and sisters.

The prevalence of terrorism means that there is little separation between the soldier on the battlefield and the mother in her home, the child walking to school or the father driving to work. Many Israeli civilians have found themselves under attack by terrorists with rocks, knives, guns and suicide bombs. Others have witnessed attacks or seen their aftermath. Others are related or connected with those who have been in these situations.

The average Israeli knows or can imagine what a soldier or a victim of terrorism has experienced. Personal experience creates understanding and compassion for the pain of others.

HISTORY

Israel’s current generation of 40-60 year-olds grew up with Holocaust survivors. They didn’t understand the survivors or their sometimes-strange behaviors. Some survivors picked up half-eaten sandwiches that other people had thrown away and put them in their pockets, just in case. Others were terrified of dogs. Some clung to their children. Others almost never touched their children. Some were perfectly normal in the day but screamed in their sleep.

It took many years for people to understand that these behaviors developed as a result of the extreme trauma the survivors had experienced. Later on, it was discovered that trauma could be passed on – that the second generation, the children of the survivors had developed their own form of trauma related behaviors.

The average Israeli knows that terrible experiences alter the psyche and effect behavior.

ATTITUDE

“What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”

Israelis have developed an attitude of “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” Although this expression is often said jokingly, regarding small uncomfortable situations like going to the dentist or telling a child to do something they don’t like, it is indicative of a societal mindset. Israeli’s experiences as individuals and as a nation have taught that terrible things will happen. Some people will die as a result but those who survive will be stronger because of it. This is the mindset of resilience.

“Maybe it’s because of something he experienced.”

A lawyer I once met was obviously brilliant but also obsessive and prone to temperamental fits. I was told about him: “Oh yeah, he’s nuts. But maybe it’s because of something he went through [as a soldier]”. In a single breath, there was a swift judgement, forgiveness and understanding. Generally Israeli society is willing to give people the benefit of the doubt and forgive unpleasant behaviors if and when they are a result of previously experienced trauma.

It’s different when you are fighting for your home

One of the reasons traumatic events can be scarring is that they often seem completely random, creating a feeling of helplessness. The soldier may question why his friend was killed and not him, after all, seconds before, he was standing exactly where his friends stood when the bomb exploded. The person riding the earlier bus might question why she left the house earlier that day and wasn’t on the bus that was blown up in the terror attack – the bus she normally rode to work. The lack of control over traumatic events that occurred or could occur in the future is frightening. In Israel, this is tempered with a collective purpose. Everyone goes to the army for the same reason. Everyone suffers from terror attacks for the same reason. The individual cannot control what is happening but at least they know why it’s happening.

An Israeli soldier volunteering with ‘Fighters for Life’ in Ethiopia. (Photo: Fighters for Life Facebook)

LOVE

While Americans might honor or respect their soldiers, Israelis love their soldiers passionately. Honor is something you do from far away. Love is up close and personal. To Israelis soldiers aren’t heroic figures you throw parades for and give medals. Soldiers are our boys, our girls, our family. You feed them, make sure they are warm and comfortable. You let them sleep on your shoulder if they fall asleep next to you on the bus. It doesn’t matter if you never saw them before and don’t know their name. It doesn’t matter if they come from a different background than you or have a personality you don’t like. The minute they put on the uniform they belong to you and you belong to them. Each soldier could be anyone’s soldier so you do for someone else’s son or daughter exactly what you would hope someone would do for yours. Our heroes are soldiers that go home and their mother tells them to take out the trash. No one calls them “Sir.” Rarely will anyone thank them for their service but everyone will love them.

CONCLUSION

When it is understood that PTSD is not a physiological problem but a type of emotional poison that overloads the soul / psyche effective measures can be taken to both prevent and treat those that are suffering.

Drugs may numb symptoms like anxiety or insomnia but they cannot heal the symptoms because they don’t address the cause of the problem.

The greatest need for someone suffering from PTSD is to be understood and then to find an outlet for their emotions. For this reason, many of the beneficial support programs developed combine work with animals (who do not demand explanations and don’t judge) or non-verbal activities that create a peaceful place for the soul / psyche such as art therapy or physical activity in nature. One of the most powerful ways to regain the feeling of control that PTSD steals from the victim is to empower them to mentor others. Who better to teach that every one of us has the choice to be a survivor, not a victim?

Israel Has The Most Vegan Army On Earth

Breaking Israel News - Sun, 10/14/2018 - 07:04

Israel’s army radio declared that the IDF is the most vegan army on earth with 1/18 soldiers committed to the vegan lifestyle. That is 20 times the number of vegans in the army just three years ago.