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Yesterday morning, me and my family tried to go to Mearat HaMachpela, in Hevron.

Before all the Covid lockdowns, we used to go every chol hamoed Pesach, and also over Succot, as that was when the hall of Yitzhak and Rivka was open to Jews.

I’ve been in Hevron a few times over the last few months anyway, notably for the atzerot for the Rav, but this was the first time trying to get back into the Yitzhak and Rivka hall.

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We drive up there, and apart from the stupid masks, all looks like it used to before.

My daughter even called me while I was on the shuttle bus to tell me the government just announced they are no longer enforcing wearing masks outside, so I had that warm, fuzzy feeling that maybe things really were starting to shift in a good direction.

We get to the Mearat HaMachpela – and that’s when I saw a massive sign that had been erected at the top of the stairs leading into the main plaza.

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It said in simple Hebrew that anyone with a ‘Tav Yarok’ (Green Pass) should go to the right…. While people with what they were calling a ‘Tav Segol’ (i.e. no Green Pass) should go to the left….

Really?

Someone thinks these types of instructions are appropriate, at the top of the stairs leading into the Mearat HaMachpela?

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There was another sign hung up, reassuring all us unvaccinated ‘Tav Segol’ people that for sure, you can totally still get into the Tomb of the Matriarchs!!! Yessirree, no discrimination going on here, don’t worry!!!

Apparently, that was a lie.

My husband and kid queued up for half an hour, together with a fairly large group of other potentially diseased undesirables, and didn’t see anyone get let in.

In the meantime, I watched all the ‘Green Pass’ people get their little green wristbands that granted them magic entry to the Tomb, and I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe, I’d got all this wrong, and Israel really is an Apartheid State after all.

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I didn’t hang around there long.

I figured it was a queue going nowhere, in the best tradition of Stalinist Russia, so I decided to walk off to the tomb of Yishai and Ruth, in the oldest part of Hevron’s Jewish cemetery instead.

Past the natural spring named for the Patriarch Avraham, up past the old Muslim cemetery, and on a path up through a few rickety Arab houses and across a green hill top – there it was.

I got in, and I had it to myself.

No-one asking me if I was ‘Tav Segol’ or ‘Tav Yarok’.

Just me and the Tzaddikim and Hashem – and that familiar twinge of heartache that has been accompanying me for many months, already.

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There was a volume of Likutey Halachot lying around, so I opened it ‘randomly’ – and got straight to a passage talking about Pesach.

There, Rav Natan was explaining how the real chametz to seek out and uproot during Pesach is anger.

And how whenever God is about to send a person a massive flow of riches and shefa, he is first tested with situations designed to provoke his anger.

Because if the yetzer can get a person angry, then all that flow of shefa and riches gets diverted away from the person, and lost.

And so I discovered, that I still have lots of lots of chametz hanging around, even on the 5th day of Pesach, that still needs cleaning out.

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I get back to our meeting point, and I find my husband and kid in a funny mood.

I guess it started to sink in a little, what is really going on in this country, where good Jews are prevented from praying at the Tomb of the Patriarchs because they don’t want to be guinea pigs for Pfizer.

“I went to pray on the Arab Step” my daughter told me, with an odd look on her face.

If you don’t know what that is, take a look at this:

The Seventh Step – Restriction on Jewish Prayer in Hebron

For 700 years, this was the closest Jews could get to the Tomb of Machpela.

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That evening, I had tickets booked to finally get to the Kever of Yosef HaTzaddik, in Shechem.

I’ve been once before a few years’ ago now, which I wrote about here:

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Last year, I tried to go again, and I booked tickets and all – only to have it all cancelled last minute by Coronavirus restrictions.

But this just kind of fell into my lap, and I had the feeling I was going to get there, this time around.

Me and my husband didn’t know if they would let us potentially disease-bearing ‘Tav Segol’ religious Jews in, after what had happened in Hevron that morning – but let’s just say, Kever Yosef appeals to a pretty different crowd.

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It was the same midnight trip, the same bursting out into the Kever in the middle of an otherwise silent trip through the backstreets of Shechem (aka Nablus) as the first time around.

I got to the Kever stood inside a few minutes – then started to realise just what a petrified Jewish zombie I’ve turned into, spiritually, over the last 12 months of mega stress and religious oppression.

I’ve been carrying a heart of stone around for months, thanks to all the worry and stress of ‘Covid 19’, but Yosef HaTzaddik is the first time that I really realised just how bad things have been, spiritually.

I stood there feeling totally disconnected.

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I went outside, said a Tikkun Haklali, and watched a couple hundred men and boys singing and dancing songs about Rabbenu at the top of their voices.

A taste of Uman…

A hint of Rabbenu….

Man, I’ve missed that so much.

Slowly, I felt some embers of hope and emuna and simcha start to re-ignite, and start to warm up my heart of stone, at least a little bit.

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On the bus on the way out, a shocking thing happened.

We’d come in on a full bus, and there were no spare seats.

A small group of 4-5 boys with long, Breslov payot – ranging from about 10 to 13-14 – tried to sneak in, to get a ride out of Shechem with us.

Initially, they were sat in our seat, so my husband asked them to move.

They did – but because the bus was full capacity, there was no-where for them to really go.

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Our bus driver was a psycho.

There is no other way of describing him.

Once he realised these kids were trying to get a free trip out of Shechem, he went into a towering rage and started cursing and shouting at them to get off the bus.

A couple behind me – the only people wearing masks on the whole bus – decided to get involved too, and started heaping verbal abuse on these kids, who were now doubling-down and refusing to budge out of the bus.

Before I knew it, there was half a brawl going on directly behind me, in the stairwell.

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I tried to get involved by deliberately putting my hand out to ‘touch’ any of the religious men who were trying to throw a punch, slap or strangle someone else.

Strange women are way more scary than almost anything else you can think of, for this crowd.

And I also started trying to tell the woman cursing these young kids that they were just children, and that she should calm down.

And then, when the police and army were called and forcibly started putting the kids into headlocks and dragging them off the bus, I also started yelling at them to be more gentle.

My husband had to pull me back over to my side of the seat, I was getting so upset about what was going on behind me, I almost literally dived in to try to break it up.

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What’s wrong with us Jews????

We can’t even come to the grave of a Tzaddik like Yosef HaTzaddik without getting into a brawl and angry fist-fight on the bus????

Where is our compassion for the other?

Where is our empathy?

That’s what I was wondering, as the bus finally pulled away leaving those poor kids to their fate, in custody with the army and Border Police. And those guys just lurve young teenages with payot. They treat them SO VERY nicely.

(Sarcasm / Off)

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I don’t have an answer.

Then I remembered what I read that morning about not getting angry, and I wondered if I blew it.

Probably.

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Ah, God.

We’re a bit of a mess.

But please redeem us anyway, because if You don’t have compassion and mercy on us…

Then who will?

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UPDATE:

A reader sent me a link to this video below (mostly shmirat eynayim friendly, save for a headshot of a frum woman and a couple of female doctors.)

https://www.freedomisrael.org/videos?wix-vod-video-id=c365a6bfc32a421e989ce93b45f0c99c&wix-vod-comp-id=comp-kmxdkjqj 

First, I’ll tell you why I’m posting it up here: It shows what the picture in Israel looks like right now, if you don’t have Rav Berland, and emuna in the true tzaddikim, very firmly in the picture.

I.e., really worrying and terrible.

That’s the reality, if you aren’t connected to the Rav, and if you aren’t buying into the lie that the vaccine is somehow saving the world and medical apartheid is a wonderful idea.

Baruch Hashem, that’s not my reality.

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I’m not denying that reality – any more than I would deny that the Holocaust happened, or that good Jews go through externally very bad, difficult experiences all the time.

But I’m saying that when you connect to the real Tzaddikim, and when you talk to God for an hour a day, there is another layer of spiritual ‘reality’ that becomes superimposed on this dark world, and that continues to light the path to hope, faith and happiness.

Whatever is going to happen next, God decides.

Full stop.

But at the same time, I so, so believe in the power of heartfelt prayer, and the power of real teshuva, and the in the power of our true tzaddikim – like Rabbi Nachman and Rav Berland and Yosef HaTzaddik – to still turn things around for the good.

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The people who are really doing their best to stick to God, in whatever way they can, will come through WITH THEIR SOULS INTACT, whatever happens to their bodies.

And that’s the point. The soul.

Whoever uses all this current yuck to make some real teshuva, and to develop some real humility, and to put their hand up to all the things – and people – they’ve ‘broken’ in this world, and to genuinely return to God – that’s a great outcome, regardless of what else happens.

And each of us can make that choice, and get to that outcome right now.

Nothing ‘bad’ happens to any of us, that isn’t 100000000% deserved, at least when you take the past lives and gilgulim into account.

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But there is another level, too.

And that’s where the true tzaddikim come in.

King Shaul was the reincarnation of Lamech, Noach’s father, who killed his ancestor Cain and also his son, Tubal-Cain.

King Shaul came back to this world with a lot of ‘past life baggage’, and a big tikkun to do, to rectify what he’d done in a previous life as Lamech.

So many times, Rav Berland has emphasized how King Shaul could have come through his tikkun peacefully, if only he’d swallowed his pride and listened to the true Tzaddik of his generation, the Prophet Shmuel.

But twice, Shaul decided to do his own thing, and to come away from the words of Shmuel.

And as a result – he lost the kingship, and spent the last few years of his life chronically depressed and paranoid, trying to kill King David any way he could, before being killed by the Philistines in battle.

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Staying close to the true Tzaddikim ‘sweetens’ all this past life stuff that would otherwise literally drag us all down to the very bottom.

Even when I was at the top of the pile financially and socially in London, my life was so, so difficult internally, until I hit Rabbenu and started following his advice of doing hitbodedut for an hour a day, amongst other things.

Even post-Rabbenu and Uman, even after I’d made as much teshuva as I thought I could make, my life continued to be so difficult internally because I’d ‘inherited’ all this past-life trauma, and had all these heavy past life tikkunim to go through, still.

Until I hit the Rav.

And that’s when it all started to really turnaround, and to sweeten.

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A lot of people don’t like to hear this, I know.

I makes them uncomfortable.

I say to them – go do some hitbodedut, and see what God tells you.

That’s really the only way to get to any sort of ‘truth’ in today’s world, whatever the subject.

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But in the meantime, this is why my picture is still radically different from the one portrayed in the video above:

I have experienced the power of the true tzaddikim to ‘sweeten’ things in my own life, and I know that even very harsh realities like the one we are currently all living through can sweeten in an instant – if we get with the real tzaddikim, and start following their advice.

No-one left Mitzrayim unless they followed Moshe Rabbenu out and followed his instructions.

And as it was then, so it will be again.

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14 European countries just suspended the Astra-Zeneca / ‘Oxford’ Covid shot.

***Important Updates, scroll down***

I was telling this to my brother, who lives in the UK, when he told me yeah, it’s strange, because the Pfizer shot had even more dangerous blood clots associated with it in the UK, but no-one has suspended that brand.

What?

I didn’t know that Pfizer’s Covid 19 shot was being reported in the UK as having a higher level of adverse reactions, including serious blood clots, than the Astra Zeneca shot.

But of course, that comes as no surprise.

I live in Israel, and the last thing the government or media here wants to do is to give anyone any real information about what’s really happening around these shots.

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But I went to track it down, and sure enough, I found this:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9366963/Coronavirus-Pfizers-Covid-vaccine-linked-blood-clots-AstraZenecas-UK.html

Here’s a few snippets:

[D]ata from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) regulator in the UK show more people have reported blood clots after having Pfizer’s vaccine than the Oxford one — even though Pfizer’s jab has not been suspended anywhere.

“Breaking the silence on the decision to suspend use of the jab, Germany’s Paul Ehrlich Institute said the condition is ‘so serious that it is not justifiable to continue vaccinating without testing‘. UK’s drug regulators appear to have spotted the condition five times in 11million doses — but have yet to comment on Germany’s figures. 

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14 European countries including Germany, Spain and Italy have now ‘suspended’ the Astra Zeneca shot.

I have no idea what’s really going on, but this I do know:

We aren’t being told the truth.

These countries aren’t suspending the shot because of some rare blood clots.

The ‘rare blood clots’ are a red herring, to take the public’s eye off the real story, which is this:

14 European countries have stopped ‘vaccinating’ their citizens with the experimental gene therapy that most of Israel’s adults have now had.

The reason they are giving – publically – is that it is not justifiable to continue vaccinating without testing.

But they aren’t really talking about rare blood clots.

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Here in Israel, no-one is reporting anything about this.

Of course not.

We are ‘Ground Zero’ for this grand Covid 19 experimental gene therapy, and the results of that great experiment aren’t due in for a few more weeks – and months, and years.

Sigh.

My neighbor just told me that she will be ‘banned’ from completing the last semester of her 4 year degree at Shalem if she doesn’t come back to school after Pesach vaccinated.

Other people are being ‘banned’ from attending weddings, unless they can show a ‘green passport’ (or lie about it…)

Another woman I met yesterday told me Hadassah said they will ‘furlough’ any staff member who refuses to be ‘vaccinated’.

So of course, she obliged.

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It’s hard to hang on.

The madness is so overwhelming sometimes.

Yesterday, I had a migraine all day, just from worrying about where all this is going.

Then, I realised I have to let this go.

A bit.

A lot.

I have to turn off the computer now for a few days, and get down to my Pesach cleaning.

Because Nissan is the month of open miracles.

And I am totally unprepared.

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UPDATE:

The following comes from HERE.

Like you, I don’t know if there is a ‘lack’ of adverse effects to the Pfizer shot in Israel because:

  1. They just aren’t happening.
  2. They aren’t happening – yet.
  3. They ARE happening, but they aren’t being reported on.

Only time will tell.

But in the meantime, I found this interesting:

United Kingdom: 12 people deaf, five blind after Pfizer BioNTech mRNA shots

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Here’s a snippet:

The U.K.’s Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the functional equivalent of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA…

MHRA published a report on February 11 summarizing the self-reported adverse effects to Pfizer BioNTech and Oxford-Astra Zeneca shots from December 9, 2020 to January 31, 2021. The usual suspects, like anaphylaxis (120), Bell’s Palsy (99) and death (66), show up in the report. But some new adverse reactions have surfaced that even this blogger has not seen until now…

Twelve people reported going deaf after receiving the Pfizer BioNTech shots…

Meanwhile five people reported going blind after receiving the mRNA shot.

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You can see the MHRA’s full report HERE.

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I’m also trying to find how many doses of Pfizer’s shot have been delivered in the UK, to date.

Again, it’s very hard tracking that information down easily.

Here‘s what I’ve found so far, dated January 5th:

So far, more than a million people in the U.K. have already been vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, according to the government, and some, like the first ever recipient of that vaccine outside of a clinical trial, have received their second dose.

When I have more time, I’ll see if I can find more up-to-date details, so then we can make more of a comparison with the adverse reactions being reported in the UK, and those (not…) being reported in Israel.

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And here is some of the information being collated in Europe:

EudraVigilance

The European Medicines Agency maintains a database of suspected adverse drug reactions that is accessible to the general public (see box for “Healthcare professionals, patients and the general public”). Under the letter “C,” Covid-19 reports can be generated for the Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca injections.

As of February 23, 2021, EudraVigilance had received over 71,000 suspected adverse reaction reports for the Pfizer injection, almost 9,000 for the AstraZeneca injection, and over 2,500 for the Moderna injection.

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Hey, guess what?

They have got rid of that page now, on the EU website:

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I’d love to tell you where you can find similar information on adverse reactions for Israel – but of course, nobody knows.

If the information on ‘adverse reactions’ here is even being compiled (big if…) it’s certainly not being shared with the public.

Even if you still believe all this is being done in good will by the Israeli government, doesn’t that strike you as odd?

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UPDATE #2:

I managed to find the EU report on ‘Cominarty’ – the brand name of Pfizer’s Covid 19 mRNA shot, HERE.

It’s 120 pages long, but I’m working my way through it, and I’ll be updating this post as I find interesting things that you can go and check out for yourself.

Like this, on page 19:

In GLP toxicity studies, two variants of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine candidate were
tested, designated “variant 8” and “variant 9” (V8 and V9, respectively)….

COVID-19 mRNA vaccine (V9) was evaluated clinically and submitted for application.
Two GLP-compliant repeat-dose toxicity studies were performed in Wistar Han rats; one
with each variant. Both studies were 17 days in duration with a 3-week recovery period.

A DART study in Wistar Han rats has been completed. Safety pharmacology, genotoxicity and
carcinogenicity studies have not been conducted, in accordance with the 2005 WHO vaccine guideline.

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Hey, wait a minute…

Why wasn’t this experimental Covid 19 mRNA shot being tested for ‘safety pharmacology, genotoxicity and carcinogenecity?’

The footnote ‘explaining’ why Cominarty wasn’t tested for these things points to this, on the WHO website, dated 2005:

WHO guidelines on nonclinical evaluation of vaccines

It’s another 36 page document… lucky I read fast.

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On Pg 20 (just after a long description of how carefully ‘new vaccines’ should be tested in pregnant animals before being tried on pregnant human beings – something that was totally skipped with ‘Cominarty’) it says this:

3 Genotoxicity and carcinogenicity studies
Genotoxicity studies are normally not needed for the final vaccine formulation….

Carcinogenicity studies are not required for vaccine antigens…

4.2.4 Safety pharmacology
The purpose of safety pharmacology is to investigate the effects of the candidate vaccine on vital functions. If data from nonclinical and/or human clinical studies suggest that the vaccine (e.g. one based on specific toxoids) may affect physiological functions (e.g. central nervous system, respiratory, cardiovascular and renal functions) other than those of the immune system, safety pharmacology studies should be incorporated into the toxicity assessment.

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Here’s a PUBMED definition of ‘genotoxicity’:

A genotoxin is a chemical or agent that can cause DNA or chromosomal damage. Such damage in a germ cell has the potential to cause a heritable altered trait (germline mutation). DNA damage in a somatic cell may result in a somatic mutation, which may lead to malignant transformation (cancer).

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Feel reassured tho, that Cominarty – and all the experimental gene therapies – WEREN’T TESTED FOR THIS AT ALL, before being rolled out to millions of people worldwide.

And they also weren’t tested to see how they “may affect physiological functions (e.g. central nervous system, respiratory, cardiovascular and renal functions.)

So all those people with Cominarty-induced Bells Palsy – feel reassured!!!

No-one apparently tested any of this stuff to see how these mRNA gene therapies might also affect your central nervous system.

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Back to the EU report on ‘Cominarty’

On page 58, we find this:

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This says that pregnant and breast-feeding women were excluded from the trial, because:

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
Reason for exclusion: To avoid use in a vulnerable population…

Rationale:

It is not known if maternal vaccination with COVID-19 mRNA vaccine would have unexpected negative consequences to the embryo or foetus.

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No tests, of any type, animal or otherwise, were performed to reverse this ‘lack’ of information, yet the Health Ministry in Israel decided that it’s now totally ‘safe’ to inject pregnant women here with Cominarty.

But don’t worry!

On page 66, they tell us this:

The safety profile of the vaccine is not known in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to their exclusion from the pivotal clinical study.

Accordingly, maternal COVID-19 impact to either embryo or foetus is also not known.

It is important to obtain long term follow-up on women who were pregnant at or around the time of vaccination so that any potential negative consequences to the pregnancy can be assessed and weighed against the effects of maternal COVID-19 on the pregnancy.

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I.E, the pregnant women in Israel – and their unborn children – are 100% guinea pigs in this human experiment.

Let’s stop here.

I could go on and on and on.

But who’s even listening anymore?

Most of Israel – plus my mum – got ‘vaccinated’, and now they just want to go back to normal and forget all about this.

I’m just not so sure God’s going to agree.

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UPDATE #3:

I found the ‘adverse reactions’ report for the Pfizer shot in Europe now, under a different brand name called TOZINAMERAN. Go HERE, to see it for yourself.

Here’s a screenshot:

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It shows that by 13th March, 2021, there were 102,100 ‘adverse reaction’ reports to the jab, including 69,000 reported by healthcare professionals.

Or to put that another way, 69,000 people had ‘reactions’ that were serious enough for them to speak to a ‘healthcare professional’ about them.

And there were 32 instances of an ‘adverse reaction’ to the shot in infants less than one month old.

Someone please explain how that is possible.

Are they injecting newborns?

Or are these newborns being ‘affected’ by the shots given to their [formerly…] pregnant mothers?

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Here‘s the screenshot for the AstraZeneca shot:

It shows 54,571 adverse reactions by March 13th, 2021.

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Go HERE, to see the figures for the Moderna jab.

By way of contrast, here are some ‘adverse reaction’ screenshots for other vaccines, so you can get a feel for what’s really going on here.

This is for the measles jab (live):

548 adverse reactions, by 13th March, 2021.

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And this is for the MMR shot (live):

10,509 adverse reactions, by March 13th, 2021.

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And last but not least, the flu shot (live attenuated nasal):

2,496 ‘adverse reactions’ by March 13, 2021.

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Still think your ‘Covid 19’ jab is so safe?

And this is just the initial, short term adverse reactions.

Sigh.

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Maybe, the State of Israel should take a leaf out of Martin Luther King’s book.

I’m in the middle of reading the autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr, the great black civil rights leader, who was assassinated – probably by one of the American alphabet agencies – in 1968, while advocating the non-violent resistance path of peace.

While the writing is a little stodgy in parts, what I’m finding very interesting is how much hypocrisy and moral corruption was riddling USA ‘officialdom’ back in the 1960s, and how brave King and his fellow activists were, in approaching the issue purely with the creed of non-violent resistance and emuna.

Because the two go together.

Time and again, King found his strength in his religion, and particularly in his connection to God – Who he mentions far more than the yoshkiyite idol – in his writings.

And then, that got me thinking about what’s going on in Israel.

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Like many people here, I haven’t been paying that much attention to the groups of chareidi men who stage sit-ins by the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem, and in Bnei Brak. I know when they are protesting, it’s usually because some religious young man – or also, young woman! – has been arrested by the police, and is sitting in jail because they refuse to enlist in the army.

Until very recently, I was kind of looking at these protests more as ‘street entertainment’ than anything more serious. But reading this Martin Luther King book is kind of changing my perspective on what’s actually going on here.

Recently, I saw a video where the Israeli police were blasting some poor chareidi men with what’s known as ‘skunk water’ at close quarters, mamash squirting it straight into their faces.

‘Skunk Water’ is so potent, it can make a person nauseous for many days after they come into any contact with it, let alone when it’s been sprayed straight into their chops. A couple of weeks ago, one of my girls found herself in the middle of a sit-in demonstration by the bus station, and she felt pretty ill for a few hours, after getting a sniff of the skunk water the police were spraying all over the demonstrators, to get them to disburse.

Then of course, there’s been all the pictures of the police pulling peaceful chareidim along by their side-curls… and then there was the case where the police here beat up an autistic young man, just because he was chareidi… and I could give you many more examples of where bald-headed, vicious bullies in uniform are beating up peacefully-demonstrating religious Jews in Israel.

WARNING: THIS FOOTAGE OF A CHAREDI BOY BEING BEATEN UP IN MEAH SHEARIM IS PRETTY DISTURBING:

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Which brings us to an awkward cross-roads.

Whether or not you believe that violence is the only way to solve our national problems, and that having a strong army is the only solution to our woes (more on that in a moment), it seems ethical that people who are opposed in principle to killing other people should not be forced into bearing arms.

The people in the IDF making these life-and-death decisions about who should live, and who should die, are not believing Jews, and they aren’t guided by Torah law on these matters. Judaism believes in the sanctity of human life, and taking another person’s life is NOT a simple matter. So serving in the IDF is not a simple matter, morally, and it shouldn’t be something that we try to push on other people indiscriminately, without first really exploring the issues in depth.

I know this perhaps sounds even ‘treasonous’ to big parts of the dati leumi world, and also anathema to many others in Jewish society– and I understand their position. Until fairly recently, I shared it.

But not any more.

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Let’s get back to the charedim who are protesting, and who are getting manhandled by bald-headed bullies in uniform, and sprayed in the face with nausea-inducing chemicals, and water-cannoned off the pavement, and arrested for ‘disturbing the peace’ – exactly how the black civil rights’ protesters were being treated by the racist, white authorities in America’s Deep South.

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It suddenly struck me how brave these charedim are, because they come out and protest time and time again, and they know they will get beaten up, and blasted off the pavements with water cannons,  and all the rest of it – and yet they don’t fight back.

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I know, we all take that for granted, don’t we?

That the police can come in and beat the charedim up, and the charedim never fight back. In fact, we take it so for granted that we start moaning about how much traffic these peaceful protesters are holding up, and how awkward they are making life for everyone around them.

In this olam hafuch, where brutality, violence and guns are worshipped as the real measure of bravery and heroism, it’s totally passing us by, just how much restraint and inner strength and emuna it actually takes, to just sit there while some aggressive, bald-headed police-nik comes after you for trying to stand up for God and His Torah.

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The State of Israel believes that its army is the only reason the Arabs didn’t over-run us and kill us, a long time ago.

It’s such a convincing argument, isn’t it? But if you look at the wars that have occurred in Israel, it doesn’t actually stand up.

Israel’s ‘army’ in 1948 basically consisted of two rifles left over from the Boer War, and about 10 bullets (I’m exaggerating to make the point, but barely). That war was a resounding success for the Jews ONLY because Hashem did open miracles, and the Arabs ran away.

1967, and the Six Day War, is often touted as the apex of Israel’s military might:

Again, it was God, and God’s miracles, that led to the State of Israel pulling off the Six Day War, and suddenly reclaiming the holiest sites in Judaism – and the secular government here was very unhappy about it, when that happened. They have been trying to figure out how to get rid of the Temple Mount and Hebron ever since.

1973, the Yom Kippur War, actually started off as a total disaster, when the State of Israel came within a whisker of being over-run by our hostile Arab neighbors. Again, God pulled us out of the fire, and did miracle after miracle, including having a lone tank secure the whole Northern front against the Syrian troops.

And since then…. All the IDF has done, really, is get us deeper into the cack, morally and politically.

The IDF is a mirage, it’s an illusion. It’s far more about shaping future generations of Israelis and breaking their allegiance to the Torah than it is about defending the country.

The army doesn’t need chareidim to serve; the army is over-run by too many young people already that the army doesn’t know what to do with. What’s more, new research shows that half the country now wants to move to a professional army, and away from mandatory drafting.

The whole draft issue revolves around one thing, and one thing only: the State of Israel wants our religious young people in the army so they can immerse them in a totally secular, promiscuous culture and pull them away from Torah and God.

And that’s it.

No serious army would mix men and women together the way the IDF is doing.

One of my kids summed it up succinctly, when she told me that parts of the army are pushing for re-segregation, because the men soldiers are spending so much time looking at the lady soldiers butts, they aren’t learning how to fight properly. Anyone with eyes in their head can see this is true. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve driven through a checkpoint into Jerusalem only to be totally ignored by the male and female soldier on guard who are too busy openly flirting to even so much as glance in my direction.

So much, for the much-lauded professionalism of the IDF.

Or try this: do a Google Search for ‘Ofer Erez’, and see what comes up. And then understand that Hamas and Hezbollah and Iran and laughing their heads off at the IDF right now. FACT: women are physically weaker than men. FACT: women have way less testosterone pumping around than men. FACT: women make much more vulnerable soldiers than men, for a number of reasons.

These are biological facts, not opinion. And that’s even without all the flirting and open promiscuity that’s going on, which I’ll write more about in another post.

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Let’s be 100% clear:

I am enormously grateful to the soldiers who put their lives on the line to fight for the Jewish people, and I know how much idealism is still fuelling so many of the young people, secular and religious, who go to the army.

This is not about them and their self-sacrifice, it’s about the morally-corrupt politicians, army bosses and secular mafiosos who are actually running the country, and using the IDF as a perverted social engineering tool.

There is a reason that this issue of the draft is the one that is paralyzing the political process in the State of Israel, and that’s because God wants us all to take a careful look at so many of the assumptions that we keep making, about the place of guns and violence in our society. Which brings me to the next point about what could really lead us to the truth path of peace.

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Over the last few months, I’ve increasingly been coming to the view that violence and guns is never really going to get us to a good place in Israel.

The more I’ve been thinking things through, the more I can see that we are in the unwinnable game here, if we keep relying on bigger bombs and smarter weapons to try to ‘keep the peace’ with our neighbors.

At this point, many of you might interject, and say:

But if the international community would allow Israel to use its military might properly, and if the State of Israel would stop practicing restraint, then all of our problems with the Arabs would be over! We’d re-establish our military deterrence and go back to ruling the roost, in the Middle East!!!

Again, it sounds like a convincing argument on the face of things, and for a long time I didn’t think to challenge it or question it. But recently, I did.

Are we really saying that carpet-bombing Gaza is the answer to all our woes? Are we really saying that killing thousands of Arabs is really a solution to Israel’s problems? What evidence do we have to back up this approach, from the last 70 years?

Because tachlis, every time we suppressed the Arabs with violence, they have just regrouped and come back with something bigger. Long-term, violence is not a solution. Long-term, killing tons of Arabs only breeds more hatred and creates more terrorists.

And I’m not even going to address the lunatics out there who keep advocating for the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Gaza, but who can’t see how contemplating that would put us in the same category as so many of the most evil ideologies that have existed throughout history.

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Does that mean that we Jews should just sit here, and let the terrorists in Gaza fire rockets at us willy-nilly?

Of course not. Life is precious. Every life is so very precious, every person is a whole world.

And so, we have what they call in the Talmud a kooshia, or difficulty, that seems impossible to resolve. Morally, we can’t just sit here and let Jews continue to be slaughtered by rocket attacks. Morally, we can’t just go in and commit wholesale murder in Gaza.

So, what’s the answer?

Those yeshiva boys who are protesting – and the rabbis who are sending them out – might know. Maybe, just maybe, the answer is to put down the guns, and to turn to God in prayer and supplication and teshuva.

I know, that’s challenging isn’t it? On so many levels.

But we have to fight!!! We have to keep defending ourselves!!! We can’t just go like lambs to the slaughter!!!

Agreed, agreed, agreed, a million times over.

But, we have to change the way we are fighting from the Esav-machine gun-Rambo model, to the Yaakov-prayer-teshuva-and Torah model.

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If you look at all the real social upheavals that led to genuinely positive outcomes since World War II, they were all achieved with emuna and non-violent protest. But Israel’s whole secular society is built on violence, and promoting violence and murder as the answer to all of our woes.

If only we could murder all the Palestinians, we’d have nothing else to worry about!

That’s how so many of us have been brainwashed to think. But we have to stop, and we have to ask ourselves honestly: does that sound like a solution that God actually wants? I know, if God Himself decides He wants to wipe out a whole nation of people, that’s something else, and God doesn’t need anyone’s help to do that. We don’t need to get in the middle of God’s calculations.

But we do need to clear all the State’s propaganda out of the way, and really look at the culture of spying, intimidation and violence that has become the State of Israel’s stock-in-trade. And instead of being so proud of it, we have to ask ourselves some hard questions about whether all this violence is moral? And whether it’s ethical? And whether it’s in line with, or anti, the halacha?

We need to pause and examine whether God also believes that forcing yeshiva bochurs to learn how to use machine guns, and encouraging promiscuous behavior between men and women soldiers, and putting obedience to a bunch of secular mafiosos ahead of obedience to God and His Torah is really going to solve the State of Israel’s problems, long-term.

And if we spend some time exploring that question, however uncomfortable it makes us to start challenging the axiomatic ‘truths’ we’ve all been raised with, it’s possible that we’ll start to realise that these ‘truths’ aren’t so true, after all.

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Violence isn’t working to solve the problem, because it’s not addressing the root cause of the State of Israel’s woes, which is that it is anti-Torah, and anti-God. If the State of Israel became a ‘halachic state’ tomorrow, I guarantee our problems with the Arabs would disappear overnight.

If Martin Luther King had encouraged the 20 million blacks in the US to resort to violence instead of peaceful protest, do you think he would have achieved what he did? Do you think Gandhi would have got the British out of India if he’d resorted to terrorist tactics?

If the State of Israel had put God in the picture from its inception, God would have been fighting our battles for us – without tanks, planes and missiles – and all these wars and misery would be far behind us, already.

So, as we head into the next Israeli election, and as the rhetoric about ‘draft-dodging charedim’ heats up again, we need to take a breath and think about what’s really going on here, and what side of the equation we really want to be on.

Do we want to be Gandhi, or the British? Do we want to be Martin Luther King Jr, or the racists who shot him? Do we want to be Yaakov, who solves his problems peacefully with prayer and emuna, or Esav, who ‘solves’ his problems with murder and violence?

That is really the question that is looming ever larger for Israeli society.

And there are no easy answers.

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Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash

Around three years ago, a new face appeared amongst Jerusalem’s ‘bag men’.

Those people who sleep rough in the Holy City. This new face stood out, because it belonged to a fairly young man who began his journey into madness and destitution wearing Nike trainers and looking like a male model. It happens not infrequently that some visitors to the Holy City, especially younger men, spend a night or two sleeping rough on one of the benches dotted around.

Usually, they’ve run out of money before the plane home, although sometimes, it can also happen to people who live here more permanently. The crime rate is so low, even in a big city like Jerusalem, and the weather for 7-8 months a year is so warm, that sleeping outside on a bench is not a terrible option.

So, the first few weeks I saw this young man asleep on a bench, I figured he was a student, a backpacker, a tourist, who’d run out of cash and was just waiting for his plane home.

He had a large knitted kippa on his head, and a straggly beard together with his long blonde hair, so I had him pegged as a new baal teshuva from America, or some place similar.

Maybe, he’s found God and his parents back home are upset and have cut off the funding…

That’s what I thought, the first few weeks I saw him sleeping rough.

Then, he went off the radar for a while, and I forgot all about him.

A year later, I saw him again – and this time, he was wearing an outfit made entirely of black bin bags, that he’d turned into some sort of suit. He even had bin bags wrapped, and wrapped again, around his feet, like a cheap copy of the shoes worn by mine zappers.

The beard was longer, and there was a wild look in his eyes that signaled that the madness had completely taken over, and dragged him down to that place of searching trash cans for the recyclable bottles that were going to buy him a meal.

I felt so sorry for him.

But what could I do? Honestly, he looked a bit scary at that point, and I wasn’t so close to him, to go over to try and speak to him or give him some money. And he wasn’t asking for money – if anything, he was giving off a mad, proud vibe that he was some sort of independent hunter-gatherer, spearing one old coke bottle after another, for supper.

No-one should get in the way!!!

That’s the vibe I got, as he stalked over to one trash can after another, a look of intense concentration on his face.

The next time I saw him, I was in the car and he was speed walking along the pavement by the trempiada leading out Jerusalem. Again, he had that fixed, mad determined look on his face, in a rush to get somewhere fast. His clothes had deteriorated even more – he was wearing some sort of loin cloth made of supermarket plastic, and another plastic bag on his head that he’d fashioned into some sort of head-covering.

The bags on his feet were gone, and with his long blonde hair and beard, he looked for all the world like the poster boy for an ecological apocalypse.

My heart went out to him. I couldn’t stop the car, I couldn’t pull over, but I decided there and then, next time I see him, I am going to buy him some clothes.

The next time I saw him was yesterday, almost a year later.

He was walking along the road by the French Hospice that leads onto Tzahal Plaza¸then on again to the Old City. Thank God, he was wearing real clothes, and even a pair of real sneakers, that were ripped at the sides but still functional.

The bag on his head had been replaced by a big knitted kippa, but the fixed, determined madness still shone out of his face, and he still walked fast.

This mad, homeless man was always in a perpetual rush to get somewhere else.

It took me a few second to figure out who he was as he passed by, but then I realized it was the man I’d promised to buy clothes for. I fumbled in my purse for some money, saw that I had 20 shekels I could give, as an opening gambit, and ran after him.

As I got close to him, I made the mistake of calling out hey! I’ve got some money I want to give you!

For a moment, I forgot he was mad. I forgot he’d been living rough for three years. I forgot that people only go mad like that in the first place when they’ve been through unspeakable things in their childhood.

First he cowered away from me, like I was going to attack him. Then he half-pushed / half-slapped me away, and sped walked off.

It didn’t hurt.

Mad as he was, he was still pretty gentle. He could have punched much, much harder, but he didn’t. He just didn’t have the words to tell me to leave him alone, and it was very clear that he wanted me to leave him alone.

He didn’t want money, he didn’t want my concern, he didn’t want any offers to buy a new pair of pants. He was off, searching for truth, searching for God, running away from who-knows-what, and he didn’t want anyone getting in the way.

I sighed a deep sigh, stuffed my money back in my purse, and walked off in the other direction.

I can’t help him. He’s so far gone, no-one can help him. Only God can help him.

And let’s be clear, God is helping him, because he’s totally out of this world, and yet he must still be finding food, and a place to sleep and even a place to shower every day, because he looked clean and didn’t smell bad at all.

And then I thought of all the other people out there struggling with such enormous problems, and the poor, mad person came to personify our poor, battered nation.

We’re all in such a rush, rush, rush today, and we have no idea why. No-one can talk to us, no-one can offer us help. Even when our Tzaddikim rush after us with bounty and blessings in their hands, we attack them and push them away.

Leave us alone! We know what we’re doing! We know where we’re going! We don’t need help from anyone!

The same madness that is propelling this man from trash can to endless trash can is weaving its pernicious spells around us, too. We’re so busy dumpster-diving, trying to come up with a new deal, a new client, a new business, a new project, a new holiday, we have no time to stop and to really think.

What is all this for? Where is all this going? What is the point, really?

Not for the first time, God showed me that I can’t solve other people’s problems.

All I can do is pray.

Rebbe Nachman spoke a great deal about the lofty spiritual level of the land of Israel.

After I wrote Rebbe Nachman on making aliyah to Israel, Rachel wanted to know where Rebbe Nachman specifically praised the greatness of the land. So here that passage is, in all its glory:

(It comes from #141 in Tzaddik, published by the Breslov Research Institute):

The Lesson “Nine Tikkunim” in Likutey Moharan, I, 20 speaks at length about the greatness of the Land of Israel and how the real victory in the war comes when we succeed in reaching there. When the Rebbe actually taught this lesson he started it by speaking about the Land of Israel, saying:

“Whoever wants to be a Jew – which means going from level to level – can only succeed through the Land of Israel.

“When he wins the war he is a called a ‘man of war’ but not before. For ‘let not the one who is putting on his armor boast like the one who is taking it off (I Kings 20:11).’ Only after winning is he called a ‘man of war’.”….

After he finished the lesson, when we were talking, I asked him: “What did you mean when you said that the Land of Israel is so great that this is the main victory?”

He took me to task for this and said: “I meant Israel quite literally with its houses and apartments” – i.e. in all his emphasis on the greatness of the Land of Israel, he meant quite literally the Israel Jews go to.

He wanted every Jew who wished to be a true Jew to go to Israel.

This is what inspired and encouraged me more than anything to overcome the innumerable difficulties I myself had and break through everything to get to Israel. Thank God for helping me to break through the obstacles and get there and back safely…

With regard to the main victory being getting to Israel in spite of the difficulties, there was a time when the Rebbe was speaking about the tremendous obstacles and danger he faced in Istanbul and the rest of his journey to Israel. He then said to us that we would be able to get to Israel easily – as if to say that we would not have to face obstacles and dangers like the ones he endured.

But we should still be prepared to suffer and undergo hardship in order to get there, because Israel is one of the three things attained through suffering.

Once, the Rebbe said there are people who imagine they have a great longing to go to Israel, but only if they can travel comfortably, not with discomfort and suffering. This is not perfect desire. Someone who wants to reach Israel should go there even if he has to travel on foot.

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As always, Rabbenu sums things up in a very clear fashion. Making aliyah is by no means an easy thing, or a ‘no-brainer’, even with the growing impetus for Jews to run away from the economic, social and anti-semitic fires burning all over the world. It requires an awful lot of mesirut nefesh, and awful lot of self-sacrifice across so many levels.

Moving here is one thing, and staying here is another. I’ve seen so many people move away, because they refused to take God’s cues to really dig deep and acknowledge their bad middot, their real relationship issues, their personal flaws, their ego problems.

You go from level to level, spiritually, in Israel, because at every turn God is challenging you to develop more emuna, more bitachon, to let go of more ego, more status, more assumptions about yourself and others. Every day, you have to deal with obviously crazy people going nutso in your direction; or rockets falling on your head; or the fact that you still don’t know what piece of meat is actually a pot roast. (On that score, if anyone can clue me in, I’d be grateful.)

But it’s still worth it.

Eretz Yisrael is only attained through suffering – but at least you get something to show for it, at the end of it all! Inside or outside of Israel, the ‘suffering’ bit seems to be a given at the moment. So, it’s not so much a question of ‘suffer or don’t suffer’, but a question of ‘suffer and acquire something of lasting, permanent benefit, spiritually – or not’:

“Whoever wants to be a Jew – which means going from level to level – can only succeed through the Land of Israel.”