UPDATES 6 am Israel time, Thursday, May 29 2014:
**The war between the Israel Finance Ministry under Yair Lapid and the IDF General Command is increasing in ferocity with the result that budget cuts are seriously beginning to impair the IDF’s ability to defend the country.
Following the announcement several days ago that there will be no more training flights for the Israel Air Force came the announcement yesterday that Israel’s entire fleet of Cobra helicopters is being decommissioned in a cost-saving measure and replaced by drones.
These announcements follow the equally disastrous announcement from several weeks ago that there will be no training of Israeli reserve soldiers during the next year.
**News from the neighborhood:
–In Egypt, General Al-Sisi has been elected president. No one seems to know the actual vote total, but he apparently received between 80% and 93.5% of the vote. Only about 44% of Egyptians turned out to vote–and this was after Egyptian election officials took the extraordinary step of extending the election for an extra day due to low turnout.
–The medieval Eliahu Hanabi synagogue in Damascus has been totally destroyed over the last week by mortar fire and bombing from Assad forces. The synagogue was one of the oldest in Syria and was supposedly built over the cave where Elijah hid from his persecutors.
Ironically, the bombardment may have been more directed at Palestinians than Jews. Since 1948, the synagogue has been the home of a “Palestinian refugee school for girls.”
**A significant case has begun winding its way through the Israeli judicial system. A Jerusalem mother and daughter have filed a 6 million shekel lawsuit against the “Palestinian Authority” as well as five specific terrorists for wounds they suffered in a terrorist attack in November of 2012.
The mother was driving home on the Tunnel Road when Palestinian terrorists ambushed her car. A “rock” crashed through the front windshield and hit the mother in the face critically wounding her. The daughter fought to keep her mother alive until help arrived by stanching her bleeding.
The mother remained hospitalized for four months–the first two in an anesthetized coma followed by two more after regaining consciousness. The mother and daughter charge that the area which was supposedly under Palestinian control was, in fact, an area of Palestinian-sanctioned terrorism against Israelis.
The reason this case is significant is that numerous Israelis are similarly attacked every month. By the way, the criminal trial of the five terrorists charged in the attack will soon be completed.
Wow! Your humble servant is still on top of the world this morning after the excitement of yesterday. Rarely has he ever seen Jerusalem so alive with passion for Israel’s eternal capital. The surging crowds, the Zionist chanting, the thousands of flags blowing in the wind, the banners paraded on the streets and at the Kotel–the sheer joy of Jerusalem Day was amazing to be involved in.
Thousands and thousands of Israelis from all over the country packed the city. And what was most heartening was that the dominant age group was the under-25 year olds whose fervor was contagious and forceful. Their message was clear: Zionism is alive and well!
We entered the Old City through the Muslim Quarter at the Damascus Gate and sang and danced our way to the Kotel where a gigantic crowd packed the plaza. The entire scene was literally breathtaking.
The only “down” part of the day was how the Jerusalem Police yet again allowed themselves to be cowed by a small number of terrorists holed up in the Al-Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount. To no one’s surprise, the Mount was quickly closed to all non-Muslims.
But as disappointed as we were at not being able to climb the Mount, we did not let the closure detract from our joy.
It was simply a wild and wonderful day in Jerusalem!