Friday, May 13, 2016

The Council Has Spoken! Our Watcher's Council Results

The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and the results are in for this week's Watcher's Council match up.

"Israel was not created in order to disappear- Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and the home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom." - John Fitzgerald Kennedy

"In Israel, in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles." - David Ben-Gurion

“In Israel, free men and women are every day demonstrating the power of courage and faith. Back in 1948 when Israel was founded, pundits claimed the new country could never survive. Today, no one questions that. Israel is a land of stability and democracy in a region of tyranny and unrest” - President Ronald Reagan.

This week's winning essay,Joshuapundit's's Israel - The Living Bones are my thoughts on Israel's 68th birthday, the days in Israel that precede it each year and how it all fits in with...well,read it and find out. Here's a slice:

The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones.

2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry.

3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!

5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone.

8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’”

10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’

12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. -
Ezekiel 37

This is a special, poignant time in Israel, when Israel mourns the dead and celebrates its redemption and rebirth.

Yom HaShoah, which occurred last week is a time when Israel remembers the slaughter of the Holocaust. It's hardly a holiday at all, but a quiet, sober time of reflection. There is usually a public ceremony at Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. Six torches are at lit, usually by Holocaust survivors and the President and the Prime Minister both deliver speeches. Like most Jewish holidays, it begins at sundown. Flags are flown at half-mast and bars, clubs and other entertainment venues are closed.

File:Yom HaShoah Flags halfmast.jpg

Documentaries on the Shoah itself are commonly shown, and the elderly survivors give testimony of what happened. This is how the Valley of Dry Bones was created, and the survivors of that carnage get fewer every year. But those that remain can speak for those whom no longer can to remind us that yes, it happened and yes, with some honorable exceptions most of the world could have cared less at best, or participated in it at worst.

There are those who think this is simply old news and not worth repeating, and wish that the Jews would shut up about it. But denial of what happened remains alive and well, and a lot of the people that would much rather not be reminded have reasons of their own for wanting this abomination, this stain on humanity forgotten.

About a week later, another part of Ezekiel's prophecy comes about on Yom HaZikeron, Israel's Memorial Day,when Israel mourns the soldiers who have fallen defending this small country from its genocidal enemies.

It starts with sirens wailing all over the country at 8:00 PM the preceding evening. No matter where they are or what they are doing, Israelis uniformly take a minute to stand at attention to honor those whom sacrificed their lives as the price for Israel's survival as a free nation. Even cars and buses pull to the side of the road, and the passengers leave their vehicles to stand for a minute or so and remember Israel's fallen heroes.... 23,447 as of this year, a terrible price for such a small country.

The next day,there is a ceremony at the Kotel, the Western Wall in Jerusalem and President Rivkin, accompanied by a widow of one of Israel’s fallen will light a memorial candle, after which Kaddish, the Jewish Mourner's Prayer will be recited and and the traditional prayer for the dead, K’el Maleh Rachamim will be chanted. Similar prayers will be recited at cemeteries all over Israel.

Because Israel is a state where most people serve in the military, the Tzahal is literally a people's army. Often, these are people who have grown up together in the same neighborhood, join up together, serve in the same unit and then continue to serve together yearly in reserve duty.They become an extended family, and this is their day to mourn and remember as well. On Yom HaZikaron it's not only the family that mourns the fallen soldier. It's his comrades. And that applies to Christians, Bedouin, Druse and other non-Jews whom served in Israel's IDF and have given their lives to defend their country.

All over Israel, people visit the graves of the fallen...and remember.

Even Israel's prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu is not immune. He has his duties as head of state on Yom HaZikaron, but he will go as he does every year to Mount Herzel cemetery before speaking at the public ceremony there to visit the grave of his brother Yoni, who died in 1976 while leading an attack to rescue Jews held captive at the Entebbe, Uganda's airport.

What happens the very next day, after all of this sadness? Absolute joy as Israelis celebrate Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day. In Israel, it's kind of like old fashioned American-style Fourths-firecrackers, parades, lots of flag waving and lots of mangal (barbecues) and games of matkot(Israeli style paddle ball) at the beach.!/image/632120214.jpg_gen/derivatives/headline_609x343/632120214.jpg

So here are the Living Bones, fleshed out and restored to their home. How are they doing, 68 years later? To read the daily news,they should be on the verge of collapse.

Instead, they're thriving.

Much more at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was conservative icon David Horowitz with The 'Never Trump' Pouters submitted by Joshuapundit. In this piece, Horowitz gives a superb argument on exactly why the #NeverTrump crowd needs to reconsider and why a number of people whom claim to be 'constitutional conservatives' will be violating the main principle of the very Constitution they claim to revere. Do read it.

Here are this week’s full results. Fausta, the Razor and the Glittering Eye were unable to vote this week, but none of them were subject to the usual 2/3 vote penalty for not voting:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

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