UPDATES 11 am Israel time, Friday, September 13 2013:
**Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, begins at sundown tonight. Israel is closing down all exits from Judea and Samaria, and the Jerusalem Police have announced that only Muslim men over the age of 45 will be permitted on the Temple Mount for Friday prayers today.
**The Syrian situation has turned into a total farce. The four-step process that Assad “agreed to” is estimated to take ten years to complete (from the time inspectors arrive in the country until the time the weapons are destroyed).
In the meantime, Assad ranted yesterday that nothing will happen until the U.S. stops threatening Syria, and this morning that not one chemical weapon will be handed over until foreign forces stop arming the Syrian rebels. And “oh by the way”, Assad has now added that Israel should disarm first. While all of this bluster is taking place, an elite Syrian unit is busy at work hiding Assad’s arsenal all over the country.
**Four more Egyptian soldiers were killed in the Sinai yesterday. This morning finds the Egyptian Army using bulldozers to tear down the fence separating Egypt from Gaza and beginning to replace it with a much larger and more sophisticated fence.
One humorous aside: now that the situation inside Egypt has finally begun to stabilize, the Obama Administration issued this idiotic statement this morning: “We remain opposed, as we have from the beginning, to the state of emergency. And we urge the interim government to end it immediately.” General Al-Sisi responded by extending the state of emergency for two more months.
It is always wonderful to be in Israel, but it is especially wonderful to be here during this time of year. The season has begun to change, a new year has arrived, and there is a wonderful holiday feeling wherever you look. People just seem friendlier as they wish each other a Hag Sameach (Happy Holiday!), Tsom Kal (Have an easy fast!), and Gmar Chatema Tovah (May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for good!).
It is especially wonderful to be in Jerusalem–and at the Kotel (Western Wall) . This is Ground Zero of Judaism, the place that is at the core of every Israeli. This has been especially true in the last few days as thousands have come to the Western Wall to say their final selichot (penitential prayers) before the arrival of Yom Kippur.
Last night alone and this morning, there have been more than 500,000 Israelis at the Kotel.
As an Israeli Jew, your humble servant finds the above pictures heartwarming. To think that so many Israelis were able to make it to the Kotel to reaffirm their Judaism should give the world pause for thought.
How dare the United States, the European Union, and anyone else try to tell us that the Temple Mount is not Jewish and does not belong to Israel!
How dare any of them try to make us give away the Old City, the Temple Mount, and the Western Wall to the Palestinians!
Your humble servant just has three words for the Palestinians, the Americans, the Europeans, and all of their cohorts today:
This is Israel!
A final wish to all of you who observe and celebrate Yom Kippur:
Tsom Kal and Gmar Chatema Tovah!
Please note that this blog will return on Sunday morning.