Sunday, April 09, 2006

has everyone got a blog

did they always? i mean i never thought i was unique but now it seems stupidly cliched.

anyway, hello anyone who reads this. just thought id waste some more time before finishing doing the annoying administrative crap that you have to do if youre freelance and want to get paid. it really is much easier working for a company who work out ur tax and pay you directly. all these invoices and stuff seem just like work you dont get paid for.

oh well.
i must say its been quite a while. anyone miss me?
things have been ticking along ok, apart from my administrative struggles.
adriana came. then she went back. her dad had a heart attack and it was all alittle stressful and now hes getting better and sitting there recovering watching footie on telly in bogota.
it really is hard for me to imagine what its like there.
well i wont need to much more. cos sooner rather than later im off to colombia.

and thats the thing. im still working. EJP, jewish news and the much more recognisable and well read Jerusalem Post.
these days i wouldnt say i love the post, but im sort of a bit of a fixture in the office and i like that people read stuff on the web and in the paper.
ive had a few things published.
also, i lovvvvve betar, whatever the problems. and there are. and i go for free every week if i want to. and i do! its all up and down at te moment. i hope this stupidfrench manager just leaves at the end of the season. he pisses me off no end. especially cos he cant speak hebrew or english so everything has to be translated, its a nightmare.
although the translator, yonni, is interesting and im supposed to be interviewing him sometime soon.

also my column has been gaining pace. i still dont get paid for it but its fun to write it. doesnt take me long and i get to write whatever i like and erm some people read it. dunno how many, especially cos its in the paper on a monday which must be one of the least popular days to buy the post in israel and how many people read the sports pages anyway, who knows. doesnt matter its all good experience.

right i got to go.
i must thank mr frankie sachs for giving me the opportunity.
send me an email if u read this. im not doing any pr this time.

Monday, January 30, 2006


i must admit that on Friday i was busy cooking and waiting for the man from HOT tv to come and finally connect me to cable TV and i forgot about the draw for the European Championship qualifiers. england and israel have never been drawn in the same group and as much as i loved the idea of england playing here in my new homeland i never thought it would really happen. the closest weve got is when israel played ireland in march last year which was great fun (i was up till 4am drinking with the irish after the game) but it wouldnt compare to watching england.

ive been a big supporter of the national team since i was very young. i nevr had a proper club team to follow when i was a kid (i used to "support" liverpool) but gave up after the hooliganism in heysel in 1985. but ive always lived a few minutes drive from wembley stadium and from when i was about seven years old i used to go to nearly all the home games. ive seen the best play and not manage to beat england - from brazil in 1987 (1-1 draw) to the great 1988 holland team (2-2) as well as the emerging French side in 1992 (cant remeber the score!).

so u can imagine the shock i got when my brother andrew rang me from work all over excited that england had just been placed in group E with england. "of course im going to fly out for the game" my bro said.

it of course got me thinking about the age old questoin of whowould you support in such a match. england have never played israel in a competitive game, and the last friendly was about 20 years ago! for me theres no doubts - its got to be england. so hopefully im going to get andrew to get tickets from the fa and we can sitwith the hooligan travelling support and see rooney, beckham and co wallop avi nimni and tal ben haim.

by the way, i have started writing a column for the jerusalem post about football. the first one was published today. heres a link to it and ill copy it below. (its called The Last Word and theres even a little pic of me in the paper on page ten, although not on the internet!)


Israel vs England - who to root for?By JEREMY LAST

Having made aliya, most olim aim to immerse themselves into Israeli society and take on the local culture. The national soccer team's matches in Ramat Gan have always provided an opportunity for newly-arrived and long-term residents of Israel to join together with their fellow countrymen and show their true Zionist values.
Who can forget the atmosphere in March last year as Israel somehow managed to gain credible draws against Ireland and France?
However, on Friday, the thousands of Englishmen living in Israel were handed both an exciting prospect and a test of their commitment to this country when England and Israel were drawn together in Group E of the qualifying round for the 2008 European championships.
Now the age-old question, "Who would you support if England played Israel?", has to be answered. Never before have the two countries faced each other in a competitive game.
Many of the Brits who will be fervently cheering on Rooney, Beckham and Co. during this summer's World Cup (if they can afford the pay-TV prices) will be willing to forgo their national upbringing and pledge their allegiance to Dror Kashtan's side.
But for others it won't be so easy. Growing up in England, the national team is pervasive, especially during major tournaments. When England is playing in a World Cup or European Championship finals, the team's fortunes seem to be the main news story and talking point wherever you go, and a lifetime of support may leave its mark on some.
There were few soccer fans, for example, who stayed in bed that Friday morning in June 2002 when England played Brazil in a World Cup quarterfinal.
What soccer fans always crave is that little bit of quality to go with the passion. And the Israel vs England game promises to provide just that, and more. On paper it seems that Israel has no chance to beat the English. Israel has only ever qualified for one major tournament - the 1970 World Cup - and is 35 places below England in the FIFA rankings.
However, the Israelis have clearly been improving in recent years and only just missed out on qualification for this summer's World Cup. Another home draw against a top team is not out of the question
Yossi Benayoun's success at West Ham and the potential of Yaniv Katan to gain Premiership experience alongside him can only help the national team.
There is also the prospect of emerging youngsters such as Betar Jerusalem's Maor Melikson and Aviram Bruchian and Maccabi Haifa's Shlomi Arbitman making an impact, as well as the other more established stars.
For its part, England's experience and class can not be doubted. The team exudes quality, from John Terry in central defense through to Lampard and Rooney. But, the side lacks strength in depth and, with a few injuries, England could be vulnerable, as seen in its shock defeat to Northern Ireland in last year's World Cup campaign.
One thing the two sides will have in common will be a new manager/coach at the helm. Kashtan, one of the most successful Israeli coaches, has already been named as the man taking charge of the Israeli team, but as yet we do not know who will replace Sven Goran Eriksson. If, as feared by many fans, Bolton boss Sam Allardyce gets the job, then who knows what will happen!
Either way, whenever the matches will be held (all the teams in the group will meet next month to decide the schedule), they will be full of excitement and passion. Expect two unforgettable nights. Let's just hope the English fans behave themselves as well as the Irish did when they came to Tel Aviv.

Friday, January 20, 2006

back in israel, poor sharon!

i just read an entry on a friends blog saying how he had just returned from a 3 week holiday in england and was even contemplating going back for a bit - his justisfication was that he was an israeli so theres no reason why he couldnt live abroad!

my friend has so far not acted on his instincts and decided to continue his job hunting in israel. but it made me think. ive just come back from a 6 day break in england, the second time ive been back since i made aliya, and i feel completely the opposite to my friend. i remember the first time i went back, in august last year, i said i was going home, then felt bad, like i should feel like israel was my home but i still felt more at home in england. but despite this, the whole time i was back, i just couldnt wait to get back to israel. this time i really didnt feel like england was my home and again was really looking forward to coming back here.

i am feeling more and more at home here. i know i cant call myself a proper israeli yet but i always knew it would take time. israel is of course not an easy country. the people arent overly polite, its someteimes a nightmare to get things sorted out. but the thing is i had been here many times before i made aliya so i think i was used to alot of the negative things and had aleady accepted them before i came.

there was another suicide bomb on thursday afternoon, the day after i got back. it again hit home how these terrorists can strike anywhere at any time. i thought it was funny that the bombing got little international coverage, simply because no one was killed. the bbc decided to not even put it on their front page. it seems bad reporting to me, but as i know after working in journalism for a few years, its just not as big news. the fact is the bomber wanted to kill as many people as possible and just failed in his task. the intention was there. when i found the story in the bbc middle east section i saw they said "one killed in suicide attack". the one killed was of course the suicide bomber. thats a bit silly isnt it. when someone commits suicide they arent killed, they kill themselves!

one other thing i wanted to mention was about our, currently "incapacitated", prime minister ariel sharon. poor man. its been a strange few weeks. its now been more than 2 weeks since he was rushed to hospital with a "severe stroke". that wednesday night i stayed up till 4am listneing to the radio and watching the news thinking he was going to die. by friday he still hadnt died but everyone thought he was going to over the weekend. friday night i had dinner at my cousins and we spent an hour and a half watching the channel 2 news where people were paying tribute to sharon.
but he didnt die! and by the next thursday when i flew to london things were looking up and reports were talking about how the doctors were going to bring him out of the induced come and he could recover. that hasnt happened and a week later he still seems completely comatosed. i wonder if he will ever wake up.
whats been amazing for me has been to see how ehud olmert went from being a relative political nobody to prime minister in just a few days.
u never know in politics!

Monday, January 09, 2006

crazy sakhnin fans Posted by Picasa

betar owner arkadi gaydamak is clearly living in a dream world. he has donated lots of money to bnei sachnin and told me he thinks he can bring peace between the two teams....clearlynot Posted by Picasa

the broken window that gave me a cold Posted by Picasa

the teams line up before the game Posted by Picasa

the brick that broke the window Posted by Picasa

crazy riots in sachnin

here i am tucked up in bed in jerusalem, but it all could have been so different.
last night i saw first hand the ugly side of israeli football. i was asked to travel to the arab town of Sachnin to cover the Bnei Sachnin Vs Betar Jerusalem game for the Jerusalem Post.
its fair to say that the fans of the two teams dont get on. Betar are the right wingest club in israel and the only team to never field an arab player; while sachnin are the only arab team in the israeli top division.
tensions were clearly high during the game, but when it finished, as i was sitting in the vip area furiously typing up my match report, things got out of hand.
i saw the 500 or so betar fans running on to the pitch. as they got near the halfwayline they were surronded by police and local security.
i have since been told the sakhnin fans started the problems by pelting the israelis with stones, forcing them on to thepitch.
the minor scuffles which followed were on thingm but i needed a rde home.
i had travelled to sachnin on egged, via haia with no way of getting back. finally i found out there were caoches taking people to jerusalem, bt when i dound the coach in the car park some of the windows had been smashed by crazy sakhnin fans.
in the end i got back to jerusalem safely, albeit in a cold bus with a window missing.
this is just not the way it should be. im worried someone is going to get killed or seruously injured in the next game.
and ive got a really bad cold!

Monday, January 02, 2006

the soup was lovely! a mexican restaurant in interlaken! Posted by Picasa

how strange. u can learn israeli martial arts in the tiniest little town in the swiss alps Posted by Picasa

me and adriana in interlaken, switzerland in november. how cute! Posted by Picasa

me and barak yitzchaki. a future superstar. it was an honour. i was starstruck. Posted by Picasa

me and lior asulin. at the press conference anouncing fernandez's appointment.  Posted by Picasa

me and aviram bruchian. the new nimni. Posted by Picasa

a betar press conference. from the left: vladamir shklar, betar president; jerome leroy, betars french signing (first game on sunday v sachnin); arkadi gaydamak, betars russian billionaire owner; luis fernandez, betars french manager; philip soloman, fernanez's advisor/translator Posted by Picasa

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jamie and ben came to stay with me in israel in august. we had a good time. this was friday night dinner in a restaurant in jerusalem. very posh! Posted by Picasa

the boy levin! hes a soldier. this was a few months ago not long after he started. thats his girlfriend chava there with him. hes been in the sanchanim paratropper unit for about five months now. Posted by Picasa

back once again

er hi,

today someone told me they saw my blog. my blog i asked? i havent written anything there for about six months. but they seemed to like it, at least they had looked at the pictures. so i thought why not, im going to write something again. maybe ill start it up again.

i dont think i can sit here and write everything ive done in the last six months. ive been busy enough. met some new people, done some new things.

the best thing thats happened to me is that ive been working regularly for the jerusalem post. of course this is ironic after what happened with me and the post earlier last year (scrol down a bit and u can read about how pissed off i was). but this time its been better and also good for me. before i was just sitting at home on my bum and now i have been able to have another job where i get out the house and speak to people! ive been mostly editing the sports pages which is fun and also writing some sports and features (mostly about betar)

if u want to read - heres one: this is one of the features i did, although i cant find it on but its here -

ive been going alot to betar still, even though mikes now in the army so i hardly go with him.
the teams doing alot better this season, and the gaydamak money hasnt even had an impact on the team except with the management.

im excited about all this because its rare that the team you support becomes the focus of the nation and gets all the money.i feel like those fulham fans after al fayed put all that money into the club. hopefully we will be more like chelsea though.

whatsbeen cool was that iam now apparently the jerusalme post betar correspondant. on sunday im sypposed to be going to sachnin and covering the betar v bnei sachnin game. i hope i gcan get a lift. it will be a bit dodgy up there in the arab town. but will make a good story for the paper. im going to try and interview some sachnin fans and some betar fans.

anyway, its bedtime
work to do in the mornng
heres some picutures

a little explanation - me and adriana went on holiday to switzerland in november and she iscoming here next week.


Sunday, June 05, 2005


marc zoe and me in olive restaurant on emek 2 weeks ago (great steak) - theres a tree in the restaurant!
Posted by Hello


i started think all my fans mustve given up on me. its been a long time since ive written anything on this blog.

but then i realised, people rely on me, they care. they want to know if im still here.

so here we go. yes im still alive and im still in israel and to be honest not much has changed.

the ulpans finishing next week, but since pesach ive realised i clearly do not go. ive had mixed reactions to this - lots of people say im stupid not going cos im wasting an opportunity. but it just wasnt for me. i couldnt concentrate on learning and repeating millions of times verbs and stuff. and i never had good teachers. theydidnt make it interesting or practical or interactive so i just sat there bored out my head. i decided i can learn more hebrew on my own by reading the papers and writing little essays and if i mix with israelis. admittedly i havent made as much effort as maybe i could have done but the thing is i will. this is only the start and ive been working and sorting myself out.

WELL thats my confession over. feel like ive got it off my chest. i truly believe i will eventually fit in and become an israeli.

so, its been a long time since i put any pics up or anything. since i last posted its been my birthday, adriana came to visit and we spent the weekend on a kibbutz on the kinneret, i celebrated yom haatzmaut with a barbeque here, we had a eurovision party and saw shiri come fourth, zoe and marc came to visit from london and we saw all the family. and this weekend i was in gush katif for shabbat with ruthie.

ill put some pics below this. enjoy. more to come. spread the word

ps hi to hannah and yisroel!

the little cohn twins! Posted by Hello

how cute? tehilla cohn Posted by Hello

yael, udi, levy and me at yaels mexican birthday party (after many margheritas!) Posted by Hello

the yom haatzmaut bbq Posted by Hello

me, zoe and marc at melech hafalafel Posted by Hello

me and adriana in dnd Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 28, 2005


the entrance to the jewish settlement bloc in gaza - see how someone has put grafitti over the words in arabic! Posted by Hello

my pesach visit to the Gaza Strip

Yesterday I did what i had wanted to do since ive been in israel - i visited the Gaza Strip - home to some 1.2 million arabs. One reason i am excited to be in israel at the moment is because this seems to be a very interesting time politically because of sharon's planned disengagement from gaza.

only about 7,800 jews live in the gaza strip, nearly all in the gush katif settlement bloc, but the disegagement plan has been hugely controversial and the main talking point amongst alot of people over the last few months due to its significance. this would be the first time israel would give away/back (depending on your politics) a large bloc of land conquered in 1967. and the controversy has been heightened because 1. it is unilateral, ie the palestinians have not been involved in the process and have not made any commitments to halt terrorism if we leave gaza; and 2. because there was no referendum on the issue and sharon seems to have done a complete political uturn as he was elected on a platform of not leaving.

so after 3 and a half months of having this as a debate and discussion i finally was able to see what all the fuss was about. i had found out on the internet about a day trip to the region organised by the insanely right-wing pro-settlement organisation Arutz Sheva (who used to run an illegal radio station but it was shut down so now only have a website). i knew there would be lots of anti-disengagement propoganda but i didnt mind. i just wanted to go to the place and see for myself what it is, especially as there doesnt seem much time left to go there with the disengagement slated forjuly 20th although likely to be put off till august 20.

i must make the point that i am still undecided about whether the disengagement is a good or bad thing. on one hand i want peace and there is an argument that if you get the ball rolling it might help. but it just seems so unlikely that leaving the strip could bring peace as it is, as i said above,unilateral, and the area, which houses an estimated 1.2m arabs, is not exactly pro-israel! theres another argument that it is all just a waste of army resources for just 7,800 settlers; but the security argument, that the strip provides a buffer zone from the arabs, seems to make more sense.

who knows if we will really evacuate these people, but one thing is for sure. a large percentage of the people there not only do not want to leave, think it is never going to happen. more on that in a sec.

our trip basically consisted of going into the strip via the kissufim junction, having lunch on a grassy patch in a small settlement called gadid, visiting the settlement of atzmona, having a little flag waving in neve dekalim and then a barbequw in nitzarim - the most isolated and dangerous jewish yishuv in all israel!

it was, i must admit, fascinating to see the place. it really is just built on sand dunes and i am impressed with these people that they managed to grow stuff and build a life for themselves in this area. nothing i saw managed to convince me either way. some people have this idea that if u see the places it makes a difference. it was just like i expected it to be, and does feel a little dangerous with the arabsurrounding you just a few kilometeres away.

what was funny was that despite that, i didnt really feel overly uncomfortable, maybe something to do with having have lived in efrat for two years when i was in yeshiva i am used to the isolation. the thing was we were supposed to go to this massive rally that was being held prodisengagement that i was interested in seeing but due to time restrictions we didnt go. only while i was munching on my burgers and sausages at the barbeque we had in nitzarim (the most dangerous place in israel) did i find out that two katushas had been fired at the rally narrowly missing anyone.
we all arrived back safely at about 11.15pm, annoying cos i had missed the liverpool v chelsea game, but it was ok. it turned out it was only 0-0.
ive still not made my mind up on the disengagement. alot of the people really are some of the craziest ive met yet. but at least i did it and survived! lets see if i can survive the football on saturday evening now! YALLA BETAR!

me and mike in gush katif! Posted by Hello

the march was full of lots of crazy orange people. we just saw it from the bus! Posted by Hello

we ate matza in gadid! Posted by Hello