Is it Possible Upside-Down? Reviewing Four Hot Cafes of Israel

Initial Thoughts: I was rather excited to see the brand-new Roladin cafe while searching for a place to grab a sandwich and/or salad for lunch. Not for any special reason, however, other than my desire to not only eat Kosher, but eat at places that have a certification from the Rabbis.

What I Bought: A small green salad that came with dressing. The dressing destroyed the simple salad that consisted of cherry tomatoes and iceberg lettuce. I also picked up a salmon sandwich, choosing it over the Bulgarian cheese sandwich only because that one contained mushrooms (icky). It is utterly fishy and lacking on any real taste besides the salmon. Maybe with the right seasonings it could have worked. To finish it off I bought a Kinley Soda Water.

Final Thoughts: Perhaps I should’ve bought a cake or some sort of pastries. This bakery should stick just to that and avoid anything else, besides coffee (which I didn’t try yet). The service was rather efficient, although nothing particularly spectacular. The atmosphere inside is nice, but the food was a major let-down.

Arcaffe – ארקפה

Initial Thoughts: I’ve always been rather intimidated when considering going into any Arcaffe. It gives off an “upper-class gal”s dress down spot,’ which really means it’s stuck up and you expect to see a gold-digger housewife (who does no housework) sitting with her girlfriends sipping bottles of Voss water and picking at a frisee salad. I didn’t allow myself to go in until I knew I was looking 100% and had my new, shiny credit card on me.

What I Bought: A mozzarella/pesto/basil/tomato sandwich (carbs!), which was rather good because they toasted it. I had to grab their small cup of chocolate mousse (more carbs!) that I saw sitting in the case with the sandwiches. It was alright, rather rich. I was going to buy mineral water, but I saw the free filtered water tank and decided to go with that, instead.

Final Thoughts: It is a nice place for a business lunch, blind date (I did meet one up there), and yes, even for some stuck-up gals to get together and drink iced tea. The set-up is a nonchalant sort of luxury, and you feel odd if you go in just to take something to go, so sit! Expect the servers to be stuck-up, though, and the only real help you’ll find is with the busboys (who are usually foreigners). The sandwiches and coffee are good, but I’d stay away from the sweets and their salads.

Aroma – ארומה

Initial Thoughts: Cool, a coffee shop. Thought of it as the main and one of the only Israeli coffee shops when I first came here. They’re spread out all over and seem to be acceptable for all income levels to be seen at.

What I Bought: I usually pick up the chicken salad (comes in 3 sizes) with 1000 Island lite dressing. It’s good, nothing amazing, but very edible and a good default choice if I’m not in a risky mood. In the winter, I loved the warm roast beef sandwich and tomato soup, but never get the bean soup (it really looks disgusting and is bland). The iced coffee my friend likes from here, but I find it lacking enough flavor and don’t like that it’s sitting in one of those little machines (I’m a former Starbucks type of gal).

Final Thoughts: The food is good, but not gourmet. I usually prefer to take away what I order, but sitting down is also doable. The servers/cashiers at most Aromas can be rude, so it’s important to be firm with them when ordering and ask to make sure they gave you all of your dressings and plastic ware. I don’t recommend buying coffee from here, however, just lunch.

Coffee Bean

Initial Thoughts: Awesome, American style coffee! (This is when I still thought American coffee was good…) Well, screw the hot coffee, I’m going for the Ice Blend because Starbucks made me an addict of Frappy-type drinks. Added benefit? They for sure have to speak English, since the owners are Americans from Los Angeles.

What I Bought: I’ve had nearly every flavor of the Ice Blend they have to offer here in Israel. Most are pretty good, what you like will depend solely upon your preferences, but you usually can’t go wrong if you like fresh blended drinks. The food isn’t so bad, though I don’t prefer their salads, since there’s always those terrible dried tomatoes. Mini sandwiches are a perfect choice with a drink. Get desserts (overpriced) only if you’re going to split them with someone else, they are extremely rich (this is from the owner of the ultimate sweet tooth).

Final Thoughts: If you go here, you will be tossed into one of two categories: American, or a wannabe American. Neither are good in my opinion, but I don’t really care because I get my favorite drinks (most iced drinks in Israel taste terrible and are sitting in those rotating machines for the entire day, sometimes for days at a time, even). The sandwiches are a good bet, and the service is usually up to basic American standards.


Five Ways to Penetrate an Israeli Military Base

They say the I.D.F. is known to be top secret and impenetrable. Well, anything is possible and there are a few ways you can get onto their highly-guarded military bases. P.S. – It’s easier to do this if you’re a chick.

Have a fling with a soldier whose best friend is on guard duty. (The parking lot at a base in Tel Aviv is a bit uncomfortable, but fun place to “hang out.”)

Make sure the upper ranks (i.e. Captain) have your phone number. They will use it when they are bored and ask you to bring a couple of friends to hang out on the base. (The lounge-loft at a base in Jerusalem, has comfortable couches to watch television on).

Borrow your friend’s uniform and i.d. and walk onto the base like a normal soldier. Act nonchalant. It may be best to come with snacks (i.e. Soda, chips, or candy) to bribe the guard and to provide an excuse for being off the base.

Go through the Hasbara (I.D.F. Spokesperson) unit to arrange a group tour or special interview. (Although, with all of the Kasaam rockets being sent over, the base inside Gaza, near Sderot, may be off limits.)

Join the Army, Air Force, Navy, or Border Police. That way, you’re legit!

The Issue of Counter-Terrorism in Politics

In the current international era of political nation-states resides a great danger to each one. The risk each holds, some more so than others, is that of being susceptible to a terrorist attack. It is for this reason that a career opportunity was designed specifically for people specializing in the prevention of such onslaughts upon improperly secured countries.

Those paid to be analytical must simultaneously retain the ability to use abstraction for the highest amount of effectiveness in their career. Counter-terror analysts enjoin many facets of knowledge to coordinate an effort to stop acts of politically motivated mass murder, as well as innovate techniques. The need for structured creativity and imagination in such a complicated task is of high importance, considering most civilians could not begin to imagine the realm of possibilities regarding acts of terrorism.

Primary in the fight against international terror is the ability to analyze the potential for attacks on a given target. This can often be generalized, depending on the validity and reliability of sources, although threats can be specific as well. Targets typically include large infrastructure and other centers of socioeconomic activity that provide a substantial civilian population count at various times of day. Because of the broad range of locations that this spectrum encompasses, a counter-terror analyst must consider any amount of varying places that may be on the list of a terrorist group for illegal activity. Included are nightclubs, cafes, government and embassy buildings, buses and other public transit, even hospital emergency rooms. Hence, demographic data must be collected on each place so that possible damage at its worst can be calculated as accurately as possible.

More to take into thought is to explore the realm of what will cause the most impact with the least amount of effort and manpower. With a single person, for example, a bomb strapped to his or her chest and detonated in just the right location can have an extremely devastating effect, with only one loss to the antagonizing side, but the potential for many casualties for those not associated with the murderous group. Analysts often have a very graphic mind, as they need to be able to envision the worst case scenario. Sometimes, if they lacked proper moral and ethical structure, they themselves could easily be effective terrorists because of their morbid mental capabilities.

Counter-terror agents must have excellent research skills. They need to make connections on the inside of terror circles, which can be extremely dangerous if not done with proper finesse. Interrogation experience will also lead them to develop nontraditional ways of retrieving information from a source or suspect. They could utilize very unconventional manners in which to obtain this, sometimes breaking international law for the safety of the multitude. The necessity for this is stemmed from terrorism being “the deliberate and systematic assault on civilians to inspire fear.” (Netanyahu, Fighting Terrorism,  terrorist-kidsTerrorist organizations have carried out a multitude and quite a variety of attacks, hence fulfilling the declaration made within the definition of terrorism by ex-Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu (who also fought in an elite anti-terror unit in his younger years). Take into account the amazing creative thought held by the Central Intelligence Agency employees who, before the fact, figured out that an attack upon large buildings via plane crash could eventually be a reality, which was indeed eventually carried out by terrorists operating under the umbrella Al-Qaeda network. Unfortunately, lack of imagination on the Israeli side resulted in the death of an infant, who was shot by a sniper while held tightly in her grandfather’s arms. This act proved the importance of violent yet inventive thought processes in the mind of a counter-terror analyst, so as to imitate that of a terrorist themselves.

To take preemptive, preventive measures, it is necessary to brainstorm these unfortunate and harmful ideas. If the possibility of a baby being directly spotted for termination by a hostile sniper was known beforehand, then a security fence or additional security camera could have been placed in the most dangerous locales. Regarding the internationally known threats towards mass transportation, discos and coffee shops, it is ideal worldwide to install advanced x-ray scanning machines and retain well-trained armed personnel at the entries to each business or transit station.

The position of a counter-terror analyst demands an open-mind and broad spectrum of thought, as it is a strongly mandated occupation in the modern multinational global society. If terrorism is left to continue its offensive moves against lands where the people cry for democracy over tyranny it will not remain at the same pace, but develop into a more popular and widespread form of spreading fear amongst others to obtain inessential fascist political gains. Yet, despite terror seeming eternally inevitable, even unassailable, one must understand that it can indeed be vanquished with proper utilization of available resources.

The Real Politics of the Middle East

Real Politics of the Middle East

Nearly a half-century full of hatred and murder has passed and continues to this day. The Middle East is the most volatile place on the globe, despite numerous, ranging attempts to attain a sense of calm. The governments of the region are certainly not exempt from being, if not the main, sources of the constant conflict.

More prevalent of a feud has been the comparatively recent one between the Jews and the Arabs that claim to be illegally occupied by the descendants of Israel. Peace processes have highlighted the last decade and a half to try to have varying issues resolved. Despite agreements made with supervision of foreign dignitaries, certain stipulations that were key in the peace agreement were not upheld by one side, even though the people yearned for accordance. The side that did not stick to its part of the deal represents the Arabs living in the highly disputed land. The Palestinian Authority government exploits its citizens’ devotion to religion by directing their beliefs toward hatred of the worlds’ Jewish population and into a political goal to eradicate the State of Israel.


The PLO, A Terrorist Group

It is important to note that the Palestinian Authority is a working government. It was formed out of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, a terrorist group that used murder of innocent civilians to reach a political goal. The citizens that will be referred to are citizens of the Palestinian Authority and not that of Israel. Any treatment of such citizens is in control of the Palestinian government, as they are the responsibility of it. The few Arabs living in the Palestine Mandate of Britain that did not pay heed to the recommendations of surrounding Arab nations to flee their homes in 1947 and 1948 to remove themselves from the path of an offensive war against the new State of Israel did become full Israeli citizens with complete rights as such. Their children and descendants to this day still hold full citizenship and enjoy equal rights to those of any other Israeli. The Arabs of the Palestine Mandate who fled, as they were promised their homes would remain when the Arab nations that attacked Israel won, are not Israeli citizens. Their descendants have the opportunity to become citizens of the Palestinian Authority, and many have taken advantage of this chance.

The Delusional Palestinian Authority

Historians of the Palestinian Authority make claims that Jerusalem and Israel as a whole rightfully belong to Arab Muslims and no one else. This is done in many fashions, but is well exemplified by an educational television production on PA-TV. The main points of the program all summed up to the conclusion that “Israel’s Biblical history is Arab Muslim history,” (Hutchens, 5) not that of the Jews. The head of the Palestinian Authority public library, Dr. Jarir Al-Qidwa, and the former head of the PA University’s history department, Dr. Issam Sissalem were the key presenters on the show. Both children and adults who have viewed this program are presented a distorted timeline and genealogy. They are lead to believe that Palestinian Arabs are the true Israelites and have the full, sole right to the land in which they reside. It produces minds that cannot comprehend historical facts and the entitlement of others to self-determination.

Like it or Not, We Have the Same G-d

The television in the Palestinian Authority controlled areas is also controlled by the government, so much so that they even have their own channel called Palestinian Authority Television (PA-TV, for short). A production presented on the channel that represents the mind set of top Palestinian decision makers featured Dr. Ismaail Radwaan, who proclaimed, “Oh Muslims, prepare yourselves for the struggle with world Jewry so that your’s will be the winning side. As though Allah’s wisdom clarifies that the winning side in the struggle with Jews will be the Muslims.” (“Islam’s War with World Jewry”) Palestinian citizens are encouraged to fight against the Jewish population, as their god has empowered them with the ability to conquer and eliminate each and every “Yeud” (Jew, in Arabic) that exists across the globe. It shows them that it is not a fight for land, but a fight about religion, as to make their god greater. For example, “Allah Akbar” literally translates into “our god is greater.”

Obviously Not a Peaceful Religion

Each Friday, the Muslim holy day of the week, a sermon is broadcast on the Palestinian Authority Television network. Sheikh Ibrahim Mudayris has frequented the position of sermon deliverer. Nearly each one has called for the destruction of Israel, which he also commonly predicts will indeed soon be destroyed. In spring of 2005, he gave a speech not unusual to any other, stating that, “The Hour [Resurrection] will not come until the Muslims make war against the Jews and kill them” (“Untitled Weekly Islamic Sermon”). Any partially devout Muslim who hears this will believe that the Sheikh has done thorough research into the subject. Clearly incitement speech, those who follow the ways of Islam, those who yearn for the resurrection of their messiah, will feel it their duty to take upon themselves the massacre of any Jews they come across. Unfortunately, the news has shown this played out many times, but does not keep record of the almost countless failed attempts, for it is the successfully carried out plans that make headlines.

Hatred and Violence Taught in Palestinian Authority Schools

A personal interview conducted with a graduate of Palestinian Authority schools, Morav Mamoud, exposes the indoctrinated hate of this educational system. Although standard school subjects are studied, each is twisted to present its own anti-Israel view. Mr. Mamoud had on hand a history book of his cousins,’ which reads as follows, “Asthma, Abu Bakr’s daughter, was my age when she played a role in supplying provisions and water and passing information about Kuraish [Tribe] to the Prophet and his companion during their secret Hegira [emigration] from Mecca to Medina. What role can I play in order to support the national resistance movement against the occupier and colonialist?” (History of Arabs and Muslims, 34) Although Mr. Mamoud has received his higher education in the United States and since been de-programmed of all hateful propaganda, he realizes that his peers back home are still continuously brainwashed to believe that the only way to realize their self-determination is by the elimination of another people, despite a similar genealogical line shared with the Jews.

Funds Misused by the Palestinian Authority

Each year, millions of dollars are given to the Palestinian Authority to be used for schools, infrastructure, healthcare, and summer camps that are supposed to be filled with friends and fun. Nearly all of this money is misused, but indeed some is set aside for the camps. However, they are not your typical youth retreat. The main activities include obstacle courses featuring a hoop of fire the children must jump through and many other para-military training courses. Bardia Mohammed, a former attendee of one of these camps, remembers seeing, “the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock, covered with human body parts and blood,” (Interview with Bardia Mohammed) alongside these courses. The children, both boys and girls, are conditioned to think that the only way to attain the stated goal of an independent Palestinian state is via violence, not communication and negotiation. These kids are given toy guns as infants, but real receive real fire weapons at the young age of ten.

LGBTQ Not Accepted in Islam

A key concern in nearly every Near Eastern country is that of human rights, especially the rights of gay and lesbian citizens. Those who are gay are usually either jailed, prosecuted, or even murdered for their sexual preference. Homosexuality may be legal in the Palestinian Authority controlled government, but gays and lesbians do not have any protection from discrimination, hate crimes, or honor killings. It is condemned within the Koran, hence the policy is unforgiving to these people who are trying to live their lives in content of a manner as possible. As honor killings are not outlawed, there even come instances where a person will be publicly hung for the sexually immoral behavior, though rare. Palestinian Authority officials are typically found condemning Israel’s stance on homosexuality, as it does not follow the basic ways shared by their faiths. Hence, many gays will, instead of facing personal danger, flee the Palestinian Authority controlled area for Israel to obtain the freedom to be who they truly are, while others spit on Israel for going against religion.

Palestinian Authority Denies the Holocaust Ever Occurred

A primary concern amongst the world Jewry during the elections for the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority was that one of the strongest candidates for the office had written his dissertation denying the Holocaust had ever occurred. This candidate was Mahmoud Abbas, who did indeed continue on to win the race for the office which he now holds. He makes erroneous claims in his doctoral thesis, all of which are blatantly anti-Semitic and purely hateful. An excerpt from his writing exhibits this well, “A partnership was established between Hitler’s Nazis and the leadership of the Zionist movement…[The Zionists gave] permission to every racist in the world, led by Hitler and the Nazis, to treat Jews as they wish, so long as it guarantees immigration to Palestine.” (Palestinian Media Watch) A leader such as this, although claiming to the international media that he wants peace with Israel, cannot be acceptable in the political arena, for his entire educational outlook is founded upon the belief that the Jews are inherently evil and not to be reasoned with in any manner. This viewpoint has a highly detrimental effect to the people Abbas is treasured by as not only a political leader, but a national leader, for they will, too, involve themselves in the acceptance of fallacy versus reality.

Israel Wants Peace, but Not the Palestinian Authority

Israel has made multiple attempts towards establishing a treaty with the various terrorist organizations that reside within its borders, including those controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

Hamas, the religious Muslim terror organization operating out of the Gaza strip, is set to run in the upcoming Palestinian Authority elections as a valid political party. The purpose of its existence is not only to eliminate the internationally recognized State of Israel, but the world’s Jewish population as well, an idea that is frightfully becoming more common place in modern times. Especially in Gaza, Hamas has tremendous influence over the people. Since Arafat’s government did not provide the basic necessities for which he was funded to do, Hamas has taken over the humanitarian position for many Gaza residents. This allows them the opportunity to spew their hatred for their neighbors and insist that the Jews gave up their right to the land, as they deviated from the original laws G-D gave them to follow.

Islamic Fundamentalism

Islamic fundamentalism, a return to fundamental principles of Islam by rigid adherence to those principles, and intolerance of other views and opposition to secularism, is on a steady rise in the Middle East, especially in the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority. It is this government that influences its people to engage in detesting of the Jews and their attempt at a secure state in the land of Israel. Homicide/Suicide bombings have steadily risen in number since the establishment of a government in the Shomron (Northern West Bank), Yehuda (Southern West Bank), and the Gaza Strip. Kassam missiles have been shot into family homes throughout Israeli towns and settlements, in addition to being regularly stoned not only by Palestinian Arab citizens, but by members of organizations such as “Peace Now” and the “International Solidarity Movement,” who fall victim to the misrepresentation of reality in Israel and the Palestinian Authority controlled areas by the Palestinian government, who bases much of their portrayal of the Jews on purely religious ideals.

April 2nd, 2009 | Tags: Abbas, Conflict, Israel, Israelis, Middle East, Olmert, Palestine, Palestinians | Category: Shtuyot | Comment and Share!