Kanya West finally gets elusive recognition with Temple Mount statue
Temple Mount faithful outraged after rapper is granted small prayer niche on holy site
By SHEREMY GARON
Kanya West won’t have to jump on any stages now that he is getting his own statue on one of the world’s most contentious sites. Known for his outlandish behavior, storming podiums during award ceremonies and otherwise making a nuisance of himself, the American rapper will no longer have to do that in Jerusalem.
A special Kanya prayer niche will be allocated on the Temple Mount so that he will feel secure in his recognition. He may not get it from various awards shows, music channels or his wife, failed model Kim Barfdashian, but the Holy City is saying, “We accept you, Yeezy.”
Numerous Jewish activists who have fought for years for the right to pray at the sensitive holy site were surprised this past Shabbat to find a Kanya West section had been erected. “How can it be that for thousands of years, the Jewish people wanted to pray here and now, this barely acknowledged rapper and blundering sneaker designer is given a prayer area?” asked Yehuda Yankelwitcz, leader of the Prayer and Devotion group.
However, many others felt that the idea of recognizing West was a step in the right direction.
“He isn’t often appreciated enough in the music business, so it’s important he feel at home among the world’s other major faiths. I mean, Kanya is in many ways a sort of secular god to bad taste, so now he has an area to call his own,” said Josh Holmes, an 18-year-old New Yorker and Lil Wayne enthusiast studying at a Telz Stone yeshiva for the year.
Jerusalem is hoping to benefit from a major boom in tourism as a result of the decision to endorse the marginalized rapper. “Rap is like a religion, so why not have it here in the capital also?” asked deputy city councilman Yair Meyerson.
American Jewish NGO demands its place on Israel’s flag
By WICHAEL MILNER Jerusalem Roast corespondent
WASHINGTON - A Jewish American NGO has demanded that Israel consider altering its flag to include American symbols, to showcase the importance of the United States’s Semitic community in Israel’s history. The Super Best Friends of Israel (SBFI), one of America’s most senior and well-known Jewish groups, has collected 500,000 signatures and forwarded them to the Israeli ambassador in Washington.
Ensconced at his desk on New York’s 5th Avenue, Josh Cohenberg explained the logic. “For years we’ve gone to bat for Israel by supporting it financially and politically, and the very least that Israel can do is show some respect for our efforts – by changing its national symbols to include an American flag and other American- Jewish symbols.”
A respected Brooklyn politician in his younger years, Cohenberg later become a multimillionare after inventing a way to bottle oxygen and sell “Nepalese air” to people who demand “only the best air quality.”
Since 2003, he has devoted himself full-time to saving Israel.
“I go to Israel once a year and meet with the prime minister, and I tell him how Israel should be. But what we’ve seen is that Israel just doesn’t behave the way we want. We understand that Israel is a sort-of independent country, but that doesn’t mean Americans like me shouldn’t feel welcomed when we get to the airport.
What’s the problem with changing the flag in order to make us feel at home?” Some other NGOs have taken up the call of SBFI, but disagree over exactly how much of the Israeli flag should be devoted to making them feel good. They also disagree over what causes should be included on the new banner. “We think part of the Israeli flag should be redesigned to include a happy face and symbols of all religions, so it shows Israel welcomes world peace,” insisted Sara Shmorgenstein, president of the Shmorgenstein- Israel Policy Institute in Boston. “We give millions to peace initiatives and mostly, we see that nothing actually changes – so maybe if the flag could be changed to suit our interests then that would be the change that is worthwhile. At the very least, we could point to the Israeli flag and tell our supporters we’ve had a major impact.”
Other Jewish groups representing a plethora of special interests have now decided to hold a World Jewish Meeting for Changing the Israeli Flag and Incorporating Us Onto It (WJMFCTIFAIUOI) conference in San Diego in the fall. Ideas include having a portly man on the bottom lefthand corner so that overweight people feel included, or having a unicorn on part of it so that imaginary animals feel welcomed.IDF adopts traditional dress in effort to lure haredim
By G.I. JOSEPH
In a bold move designed to make military service more enticing for ultra-Orthodox men, the IDF has decided to replace the drab olive uniforms with the more stoic black and white preferred by the religiously zealous.
The IDF will also replace the berets commonly worn by infantry soldiers with special hats – homburgs, fedoras and hassidic headgear made out of rabbit and beaver fur.
Similarly, rekelech – a type of frock coat preferred by hassidim – and suits for the non-hassidic haredim will also be gradually phased into use, replacing the old military-standard shirts, pants and jackets.
“We are doing our best to make military service welcoming for haredi men,” said Brig.- Gen. Johnny Populi, head of the IDF’s Human Resources Directorate.
“This initiative also gives new meaning to the term ‘Jewish army,’” added Populi. “From now on, we will be Jewish not just in name but in appearance as well.”
Velvel Nudgerovetz, a haredi young man from Jerusalem’s strictly Orthodox Mea She’arim neighborhood, was cautiously receptive to the new initiative.
“If the IDF splurges on Borsalino hats, it might just work.”
For decades, IDF generals and politicians have been searching for ways to encourage haredi men to join the ranks of the IDF alongside their less zealous peers.
It was originally thought that opposition to army service was theological in nature. But according to a study commissioned by the IDF that was conducted by Tel Aviv University psychologist Harvey Whimp, the reason for widespread refusal was more prosaic. Many ultra-Orthodox men are turned off to military service simply because they feel depressed wearing the bleak olive duds favored by militaries around the world, concluded Whimp.
“Imagine doing a hassidic dance at a wedding in an army uniform. Nobody feels like dancing – or learning Torah for that matter -- while wearing such depressing colors,” asserted Whimp.
But while classic haredi dress might be more fitting for dancing and study, is this the sort of clothing that should be worn in battle? Asked whether the black and white preferred by haredi men would compromise the security of soldiers by making camouflage more difficult, Avi Blockhard, director of the National Security Council, argued that the rules of battle have changed.
“Today most fighting is not taking place in jungles or forests, so the whole concept of camouflage or using dreary green is outdated,” said Blockhard.
“In urban conflict, black and white happen to be ideal because these shades – they are not colors – make it easier for soldiers to blend into their surroundings.”
Secular and non-Jewish soldiers who spoke with The Jerusalem Roast were excited about the idea.
“I think haredi dress is really cool,” said Yethro Jumblatt, a Druse soldier who serves in the Golani Brigade. “I hope on Shabbat we get to wear those cool fur hats – what are they called? Oh yeah, shtreimels.”
But not all soldiers were happy about the change.
Yitzhak Dupitzky, a haredi soldier who left yeshiva to enlist in the IDF, was angry about the decision.
“I’ve been struggling for months to convince my parents, friends and neighbors to get used to my army uniform.
At first, every time I came home I got into fights with guys in the neighborhood. I finally earned their respect.
“Now the IDF is telling me to go back to dressing the way I did before I enlisted. It’s frustrating.”
Jihad Johni to head UN Human Rights Council
By WENNY BEINTHALL
Jihad Johni, the British- born Islamic State executioner, will take his seat Wednesday at the head of the newly elected UN Human Rights Council, alongside Iran, Hezbollah, the Taliban, Iceland and Boko Haram.
Against routine objections from the US and Australia, Mr. Johni strode into the council in Geneva and proclaimed it a “new day for human rights.” He carried his traditional knife that he had just used to behead a person and wore all black, the trademark outfit of Islamic State.
Prominent human rights groups in Europe applauded the move to make the council more inclusive. “For years, Islamic State has been sidelined, stereotyped and disenfranchised, but now they can be represented and speak for their own interpretation of human rights.”
Prof. Moore L.E Banquerupt explained that Western states had discriminated against Islamic State, which suffered “emotional abuse” and had to be “understood in all its complexities, as a profoundly an anti-imperialist movement.”King Solomon’s teenage marijuana stash discovered
By BOB BLUNTPUFF
You’ve heard of King Solomon’s hundreds of wives and his stables; even his mines. But pioneering Israeli archeologists have now come across his stash – as 60 urns full of dried-up cannabis were unearthed near Khirbet Savi, not far from Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip.
Archeologists have been working the site since the 1930s when H.D. Colt, the son of the gun manufacturer, came to what was then Mandate Palestine to engage in study of the Negev. King Solomon has remained a figure of lore for some excavators currently working the dig, like D.D Grunesgras, an associate professor at the University of North Kentucky. Last year, they came upon several clay seals showing large plants on them, and had no idea what they meant.
“We thought that it had to do with King Solomon’s export of wheat, but what we’ve found it that it was his export of weed,” noted Grunesgras.
The bearded classicists, who seemed to be in a haze from their recent discovery, explained that they were digging through strata from the 10th century BCE when one of them fell into a hole. A lurid and dank skunk smell wafted up. “I know reefer when I smell it, I mean I was a college student at some point,” said Prof. Morales Heirbaverde, droning on as he attempted to recall the dates he was studying.
Together, Heirbaverde, Grunesgras and a team of interns excavated the area, revealing a large number of urns. What surprised them was that as they dug down, they realized they could document the whole marijuana-laden life of Solomon, all the way back to his teenage years. “We realized that he must have had his first blunt at around 14, and just kept toking from then on,” said one of the students.
“The larger caches of schwag were obviously what was being exported to Egypt,” Grunesgras explained. “It took us a long time to unearth and well, we sort of lost track of time. I mean it was only like a few days, but it seemed like months.”
According to some historians, this revelation requires a totally new understanding of King Solomon and the economy of the 10th century BC. “If most of the economy of the region was based on bud, and we are assuming the Jewish kingdom was growing the chronic, then it sort of turns on its head our view of this period,” said Moshe Yarok, a researcher at the Jewish University of Jerusalem.
“When we think of King Solomon, we think he was wise. But actually, he was just high.”The crown jewel of Israel: Tel Aviv bus station gets UNESKO status
By HARON SUDASIN
The 230,000 square meters of beauty and wonder that are the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station were declared a world heritage site by UNESKO on Friday.
Speaking at a ribbon-cutting ceremony, UNESKO official J.K Subramanian announced her pleasure at the verdict. “It is an honor to be here in Tel Aviv, the White City, and see this amazing edifice, this wonder of the world.” The reference was not lost on the audience, as dozens of internationally acclaimed architects such as M.I Pei and Frank Gahry were on-hand to announce that they too felt the bus station was worthy of being included in the coveted list of seven wonders of the world.
With work beginning in 1967, the central bus station took decades to construct. Designed by architect Ram Karmi, it was considered by some to be a major blight on Tel Aviv. Even though there was a murder and rape at the station in 2010, nevertheless plans to move it forward as a UNESKO site were brought up by the government.
“Really, when you look around Israel, okay, it might not be the most beautiful place, but it is a big place and lots of people go there. It represents the dream of Israel to be a place of ingathering,” explained MK David Bar-Tov.
As the ceremony was going on, several bums mixed among the gathered dignitaries and begged for change. Police chased a thief onto the stage and dragged him off, as some prostitutes solicited for customers. Yet for the most part, the event went off without a hitch.Cheap ‘chariot-cars’ causes massive traffic chaos
By BAN DISENBUD
The initiative by Jerusalem Mayor Dir Meircat to sell affordable horsemobiles has become a massive traffic disaster in the capital.
Over the last few months the latest city initiative, on top of its famous Formula 1 race, was to roll out Indian- designed affordable hybrid cars that could also be pulled by horses.
Capitalizing on the huge price increases in cars in Israel that saw consumers paying 400 percent more than their OECD peers, the plan was thought to save Israeli consumers a great deal.
“Upkeep of the car should be cheap, and even if the tiny one-cylinder engine doesn’t work, the horse that comes with it can pull you around town,” explained chief engineer Moti Seligmanson.
Initially conceived as a way to harness the horsepower of actual horses with mini-cars that are underpowered to meet the challenges of the “new economy,” Jerusalem invested NIS 6.3 billion to put in place special “chariot lanes.” However, like Better Place and various other Israeli ideas that didn’t pan out, the chariot-car idea has become a total failure.
“What moron thought introducing chariots was a good idea in Jerusalem?” demanded community activist Brad Bogerstein. “Can’t they just lower the taxes on car imports, why do we need the modern equivalent of horse-drawn wagons?” Some tourists liked the idea, however.
“I’ve always wanted to visit the Holy City and see it as a imagined it, like in the movie Ben-Hur,” said Faye Smith, an American evangelical touring the Old City. “It’s so quaint to see the Jews and Arabs with their horsedrawn carts going tither and thither, just like in the time of Jesus.”
Roger Waters to produce Aviv Geffen’s next album, considers move to Efrat
By DAVID BYRNE
Former Pink Floyd frontman and vocal BDS Movement advocate Roger Waters has returned from the dark side of the moon.
The 85-year-old Waters announced this week that he has not only dropped his campaign to convince his fellow geriatric musical artists to boycott Israel, but he has signed on to produce the next album by Israeli rocker Aviv Geffen.
“I realized that no matter where I turned, I couldn’t escape an Israeli presence in culture, technology and education, so instead of remaining comfortably numb, I decided to end this rubbish of isolating Israel,” he said at a press conference in Efrat.
“It’s no longer a case of ‘us versus them’, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s futile to fight for the Palestinian cause when there is such great music coming out of Israel.”
Waters explained that last month, he ran into Geffen at an Amnesty International conference in London, and came away from their conversation seeing Israel in a new light.
Geffen said that he told Waters that he’s managed to reconcile Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians with a lucrative singing career. “I said to Roger, ‘Hey you, out there on the wall, just put away some of your principles and you too can shine on, you crazy diamond,” explained Geffen.
In addition to breaking the BDS barrier by working with Geffen, Waters is breaking down more bricks in the wall by considering moving to the religious Gush Etzion settlement of Efrat, where the press conference took place.
“I’ve been looking for a pastoral, spiritual setting to raise my daughter Emily, and I think Efrat may be the place,” said Waters, who said he would consider converting to Judaism if it would lower his arnona bill. “Efrat seems like a perfect place to relax, create music and see Emily play.”
Cruise from hell: Haneen Zoabi stuck on stranded cruise ship with settlers for third day
BY SAREL ALOMON
It was supposed to be a chance to finally get away from it all for veteran MK Hanin Zuabi, after her Joint Arab List romped home to 20 mandates in the Israeli elections.
However, speaking to us from her stranded cruise ship in the Canary Islands, it seems not all has gone as planned.
“We booked this cruise in advance with my assistant and two family friends to relax after the elections. All these years we faced such discrimination from Israeli society, and we wanted to go somewhere that we can be ourselves and not have to deal with the Israeli public. Who knows Hanin in the Canary Islands?” lamented the aggrieved MK.
It turns out that the same cruise ship, Kenard Liner’s LORD BOB, had also been booked by radical right-wing Jewish “price taggers” who had been released on a twomonth furlough from prison. Mostly residents of various hilltop settlements in the Shomron, they had wanted to “get away from it all” after their initial prison sentence.
“We booked this cruise months in advance and the captain agreed he would allow a kosher chef to come on-board.
We wanted to go somewhere that no one will call us racists and stereotype us, so we choose the Canary Islands. Who has heard of Jews there?” groaned the stressed-out settlers.
The motley bunch had expected a blissful sojourn, but two days out of port at Tenerife, the ship ran into trouble. Though the island of Santa Cruz de La Palma is known for its steep gorges and rocky shoals, and the Italian captain had left the liner to be piloted by his secretary’s son while he went to land for a tryst with a native. “Suddenly we heard crunching noises, then the boat stopped dead in the water,” recounted one of the settler activists, who refused to give his name.
It wasn’t long before Zoabi realized something was amiss. “You try to escape Israel’s brutal occupation and what do you find? Another occupation on this cruise ship,” she moaned from a scratchy phone hookup.
Navy vessels say it could take as much as a week to reach the barge and take the people off. “Until then, we suggest that they use the remaining fuel and huddle together as closely as possible for warmth,” explained First Mate Giordano Focali of the Italian Navy rescue ship La Inconstanta.
“We’ve gotten used to the fact that the EU is slow on the Palestine issue, but it’s also slow in rescuing us,” added Zoabi, beating her breast.
For now, it seems the Arab legislator and the Jewish activists will have to learn to work together – as they eat through the dwindling supplies of food on board the rickety vessel.Study of cows’ language ‘worthless,’ conclude Israeli scientists
By CHETH KRANTZMAN
“Useless” and “worthless” were the words scientists used to describe a multi-year, billion-shekel study funded by various research institutes throughout the country to examine the speech patterns of cows.
Seven Israeli universities partnered up for groundbreaking research to try to discern what exactly cow mooing means. Professional “mooers” from around the world were enlisted; for months, they sat next to cow paddocks and mooed to try to figure out what exactly the bovines were doing. But after years of work, the demoralized scientists concluded nothing was happening.
“Basically its just gibberish, all that mooing, it’s meaningless,” said Prof. Brook Stein of the University of Dimona. “People think if you drive by cows on the road and shout ‘moooo’ at them, that you might be saying something. But its just a waste of time. They don’t understand you, or each other.”
Israel Prize awarded to officer for NOT being accused of sexual misconduct
By KEN DARTMAN
A top Israel Police officer will be awarded the Israel Prize this Independence Day for not sexually harassing or assaulting a female subordinate over the course of his career, The Jerusalem Roast has learned.
Ch.-Supt. Hagai Levy of the Plains District is also a frontrunner to be one of the 12 Israelis selected to light torches at the official state ceremony on Mount Herzl, for achieving the rare distinction of making it his entire career in the police without being the subject of a sexual misconduct complaint.
Levy, 42, has spent 19 years in the police force in a variety of roles including deputy station commander, intelligence officer and YAMAR detective, all of which provided ample opportunities for him to follow convention and create a hostile environment for a female subordinate.
Levy, a trailblazer in his own right, was not one to bow to expectations. He is the latest in a long line of illustrious Israel Prize winners in recent years, including at last year’s ceremony – where a Kadima party MK not accused of corruption and a former chief rabbi who was never the subject of a police investigation were both given the state’s highest honor.
Contacted at his home in Kfar Saba on Sunday, Levy was thrilled to hear the news.
“I think it’s just recognition for the hard work I’ve done over the years, doing things my own way, without sexually harassing anyone.”
The coming days look promising for Levy, who sees his future with the police force despite his maverick status. “I hope to stay with the Israel Police and continue to climb the ranks,” Levy said, adding that the higher he gets up the chain of command, the greater the expectation that he will become the subject of an investigation.