UPDATES 10 am Israel time, Sunday, September 15 2013:
**John Kerry arrives in Israel in the next few hours for a brief visit with PM Netanyahu. The visit is expected to discuss the Syrian situation and the Israeli concession talks with the Palestinians. If you can believe this, Highway 1–the main highway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem–will be closed from 11:15 am to 12:15 pm for “the great man’s” arrival–and then again from 4:00 to 5:00 for Kerry’s motorcade back to Ben Gurion airport.
**Speaking of Kerry, it was difficult not to laugh watching Kerry and Lavrov in Geneva over the weekend. The thought that Bashar Assad is going to willy-nilly hand over a list of all of Syria’s chemical weapons within the next week is a joke (especially after he spent the weekend secreting them away in more than 50 sites across Syria). The total vacuity of the international community as it hailed the agreement was never more evident.
As all readers of this blog know, that agreement is not worth the paper that it was signed on—except to Barack Obama who is able to use it to do nothing, and to Vladimir Putin who can use it to bolster his international prestige.
**Some good news from Friday. In the last 10 minutes that the Temple Mount was open to Jews before Yom Kippur (it was closed to Jews on the holiday), a group of Jewish students with rabbis from Hebron Shilo and Jericho sang and danced on the Mount, read Psalms, and said the Kaddish.
In fact, more Jews visited the Temple Mount last week than have for a long time due to Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino’s statement that it is “the right of every Jew to pray on the Temple Mount.”
**You may not realize this, dear readers, but Yom Kippur is supposed to be a day of great joy, a precept that it taken to heart by Israeli children.
As soon as the fast begins, no cars are permitted on the roads anywhere in the country (except for ambulances). This means that children are free to ride their bicycles in the street until the fast ends at sundown the next day. This year was no different: thousands of kids flocked into the streets around our home here in Ashdod, stayed up all Friday night, and finally put their bikes away at 7:25 pm last night.
**Yom Kippur by the numbers:
–MADA treated 2,566 persons for assorted maladies
–130 fainted from fasting–with 16 requiring resuscitation. A number of these were in synagogues.
–207 children suffered bicycling, skating, and skateboarding accidents and required treatment
–145 women went into labor: 6 babies were delivered before the women could reach a hospital
One of the last updates that your humble servant posted on Friday was an atrocious news snippet about how Israeli Border Guards raided the Jewish community of Ramat Migron at about 4 pm in the afternoon–during afternoon prayers and about two hours before Yom Kippur began.
Seven residents were rounded up by the Guards in the midst of their prayers, arrested, hauled away, interrogated, and then released some 7 hours later at 11 pm–well after Yom Kippur had begun.
It turns out that the Border Guard raid was even more abominable than that snippet suggested. Incredibly, one of the purposes of the raid was to make sure that the residents of Ramat Migron did not celebrate Yom Kippur at Ramat Migron.
Even one of the reserve officers involved in the “operation” was critical of the Defense Ministry and the IDF: “The most important thing is the unity of Israel. Was it so important and would it have cost us so much to let the residents do Yom Kippur at Migron? Why did we have to come in minutes before the holy day and disrupt the prayer service?”
This morning, the IDF issued this terse and absurd statement: “This is a closed military area, the forbidden entrance to citizens, so residents were evacuated from the place.”
Ramat Migron has always been a political football.
Longtime readers of this blog may remember how israelstreet reported back in March of this year, that the community was ordered to be demolished because President Obama was going to ride past it on his way to Ramallah. The order included instructions to the IDF to maintain extensive patrols in the area during the entire time of Obama’s visit.
Heaven forbid that Obama should see a Jewish community on his way to meet the head of the PLO–after all, as Mahmoud Abbas has proclaimed, all of Judea and Samaria must be “Jew-free.”
In the same vein, your your humble servant wonders if there was not another reason for this Friday’s Yom Kippur raid on Ramat Migron–the arrival of John Kerry. Let’s keep close watch today and see if Kerry’s motorcade takes him on the same road to Ramallah.
In any case, the apparent ease with which Israeli security forces violated the holiest day of the Jewish year to kick Jews out of their community in Ramat Migron should serve as a wake-up call to us all.
Finally, there is one thing for sure. The residents of Ramat Migron will never give up.