Friday, June 29, 2007

The Katsav Affair

Dry Bones cartoon: President Katzav let off the hook?

At a televised press conference, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz tried to explain why he is refusing to indict the President on rape charges. In his explanation to us, our Attorney General said
"We also had the public interest in mind; we didn't want to have a great scandal against the Presidency and the country, with many months of bad headlines against Israel." -more

The Attorney General is also quoted as saying he believes the agreement was in the public's interest because:

"This agreement minimizes the harm to the institution of the presidency, it was important to spare Israel from seeing a president on trial." -more

Following the surprise decision by the AG, local TV has been running the press conference appearance of "A" ( the victim of the alleged rapes) in which she explains her ordeal in shocking detail.

* * *
I don't know if this story is a biggie outside of Israel, but it's what everyone here seems to be talking about.

So help me out.

I'd like to know whether you live inside or outside of Israel ...and I'd like to hear what you think about the Katsav Affair. Nu?

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Peace in Palestine (1994)

(1994)Dry Bones cartoon: Palestinians against Palestinians.
Today's Golden Oldie is from 1994. Thirteen years ago at the time of this writing. Back then, the Palestinian violence against Palestinians was a depressing revelation for most Israelis.

These days it's just the way things are.

* * *

I think that part of the problem is that we in the West tend to forget that Democracy is not just a matter of holding elections. Democracy is based on recognition of minority rights and respect for the free expression of dissenting views. Democracy means Freedom of Thought, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of the Press, Freedom of Speech.

The Arabs of the Middle East enjoy such democratic freedoms in only one country. Hint... It's the one country in the region that every local potentate, king, terrorist chieftain, and dictator dreams of wiping off the map.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Guessing Game

Dry Bones cartoon: was there a secret agreement at Sharm?.

I had great expectations of the Sharm meeting. The time is right for a political shift towards regional sanity and mutual defense agreements in the face of the common enemy.

But I'm beginning to feel disappointed.

That's not really true. Actually I'm remembering the title of an old and favourite comedy album. The title was "We're all bozos on this bus!". Perhaps an apt subtitle to the recently concluded clown-fest at Sharm? Do you have a better label for what just happened at the at the Sharm regional summit?

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Optimists and Pessimists (1997)

(1997) Dry Bones cartoon: Watching Yasser Arafat.

Today's Golden Oldie is a cartoon from exactly 10 years ago. June 27, 1997.

Back then the debate was over whether "President" Arafat of the Palestinian Authority could (or would) stop the terrorism. Today's debate is exactly the same. Just that it's now about "President" Abbas.

So what are you? An optimist, a pessimist, or a realist?

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Happy Ending?

Dry Bones cartoon: telecommunications.

I'm getting email from readers who are upset by what seems to be my tilt to the naive. My belief that we are at a turning point in Mideast history is what has set off their "tilt" alarms. So let me take this space to respond.

There have been three clear periods in Israel's fight for survival. The first period was the Arab/Israeli conflict. We won that regional war. Then came the whirlwind rise of the Islamists and we were forced into a Muslim/Israeli religious war. That religious war has just, I believe, been hijacked by an Iranian move to grab the Middle East (on its way to becoming a true world power).The Persian operations in Lebanon and Gaza have opened a third conflict. And in this one, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and the West Bank Palestinians now face a common enemy. Can Mubarak, Olmert, Abbas, and King Abdullah of Jordan seize the moment and forge an alliance? What will happen if they do? And if they don't?

Could we be seeing a "happy ending" of some kind? I don't know, but I am alert to the possibility. So tell me. Am I being naive?

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Turning Point


I feel very strongly that we are at a major turning point in Middle East history. Can these four men, Mubarak, Olmert, Abbas, and King Abdullah turn history around?! Can they rise to greatness at this moment in time?

Speaking about great men, Shakespeare tells us (in Twelfth Night) that "some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them!"

In the current situation it's clear that the "Middle East Four" have just had "greatness thrust upon them!"

Now we'll see if these guys can bear up under the load and take their place in history. Or will the meeting in Sharm turn out to be just another empty photo op? ...and a slippery slide to Iranian domination of our region.

Let's hear your take on the situation. What's your opinion? Nu?

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Stoned in Jerusalem (1974)

1974 Dry Bones cartoon - Stone Throwing Riots by Haredim.
Today's Golden Oldie is from 1974. Back then, stone-throwing mobs of Haredim ensured that the sabbath was not violated by vehicles driving through Mea Shearim, their main Jerusalem neighborhood.

* * *
This cartoon is particularly pertinent today, 33 years later, in 2007 because we've had several days of stone-throwing mobs of Haredim trying to ensure that Jerusalem is not violated by a Gay Pride Parade. The parade is scheduled for later today. The police will be out in force, as will the religious protesters, and the gay and lesbian marchers. Starting at 2PM the center of the city will be closed to traffic.

I, on the other hand, will be in Jerusalem today for an appointment with a dentist at 1PM. So with a little bad luck I'll get caught in the action... and who knows, I might even get stoned!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Game in Gaza

Dry Bones cartoon: Ahmadinejad wipes the map.

Watching Ahmadinejad and the latest moves in the neighborhood is becoming really interesting. Olmert and Bush think that the "Abbas" Palestine wants peace and Hamas is just a terrorist gang. I think that both the Abbas forces and Hamas are terrorists. Jimmy Carter supports Hamas and thinks that it is America, Israel, and the EU who are the criminals!

So what do you think?


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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Unpopular Post-War Government (1974)

1974 Dry Bones cartoon - trying to get rid of an unwanted government.
At the time of this writing, Ehud Olmert is off in the United States trying his best to deal with the problems that face our little country.

The trouble is that in my view, our most urgent problem is how to convince Olmert to resign!!

* * *
For today's Golden Oldie I flipped through the cartoons I'd done in the aftermath of the disastrous Yom Kippur War of 1973. A war in which the elected government of the day had also failed us and our citizen army. I found this cartoon from sometime in 1974. 33 years ago.Has anything changed?

What's your opinion?

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Activists in Gaza

Dry Bones cartoon: Hamas and Fatah PLO. which ones are the 'good' terrorists?
Ehud Olmert is off telling the world that Israel can now have peace talks with the Palestinian Authority because Hamas now controls Gaza! Why on Earth does Olmert think that this disaster enhances the chances for a peace agreement? The answer is simple. Abbas and the PA do not now control Gaza, so now they wont be expected (in any agreement) to stop missiles fired from Gaza... or infiltrating kidnap gangs from Gaza... or new tunnels... or whatever.

* * *

In assessing our situation we need to remember that our main enemy at this point in history is Iran (Persia). Let's not forget that the Persians invented the game of chess. They now control Gaza on our south and they've got another piece (Hizbullah) on our north.This deadly game requires our best and our brightest.

And that is just not Ehud Olmert.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sunday Mail: June 17, 2007

Letters Fron Dry Bones
Posting a cartoon every weekday leaves no room for me to simply share news, ideas, and other stuff with you. So welcome to 'Sunday Mail: Letters from Dry Bones', the new, once-a-week Dry Bones feature.

Letters Fron Dry Bones
Item One: Mixed Emotions
When I was a kid (back in the old days in Brooklyn) my father took me to a gala evening held by the fraternal order to which he belonged. I was especially impressed with the comedian. This morning I was reminded of one his hokey and sexist jokes from so long ago when I saw the photos of the destruction of Arafat's home in Gaza by a Palestinian mob, and the carrying off of his Nobel Peace prize medal and other memorabilia by Hamas thugs. The welcome destruction of the Arafat myth was part of the unfortunate sinking of any hope for a secular democratic Gaza.

The old joke was this: "Definition of mixed emotions: Watching your mother-in-law drive off a cliff in your brand new car."

Letters Fron Dry Bones
Item Two: Spring Clearance Sale on Jewish Software.
I thought you'd like to know about this! From now until the end of July (or while supplies last) is running an incredible inventory clearance sale. Up to 70% savings on more than 50 of their most popular titles. It's an opportunity to grab some neat Jewish software or stock up on perfect gifts for every occasion. They've got books, and games, and clip art, and Bible study programs, and more. I recommend that you check it out for yourself. Just click on:Jewish Software.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

It's Showtime!

Dry Bones cartoon: Showtime! It's the Summer of 2007, Everything old is new again.

Years ago I was having a bad day (deadlines and money pressure) and decided, on the spur of the moment, to take in a movie. At that time there was this little theater off of Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv. The movie posters showed what was obviously a fun-filled, light-weight, all singing, all dancing, piece of fluff. Possibly a revival of some old broadway musical. The name of the movie was "All That Jazz"... and as you probably know, it turned out to be anything but fun-filled and light-weight.

The film tells the story of a brilliant but exhausted director/choreographer who has to pump himself up each morning to face the challenges of yet another new day. Each morning the weary "song and dance man" stares at himself in the mirror and motivates himself to do the impossible yet one more time with the announcement that "It's Showtime!"

* * *
What's happening now in Israel is that, as the Summer of 2007 approaches, we're pulling ourselves together, looking into the mirror, and getting ready to do our stuff by telling ourselves that, once again, "It's Showtime!"

All That Jazz: IT'S SHOWTIME!

It's Showtime!

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Arab Cease-Fire (1976)

1976 Dry Bones cartoon - the 52nd cease-fire in the Lebanese Civil War.
The news coming in as I write these words is that yet another cease-fire has been announced in the increasingly vicious and bloody war in Gaza between Fatah (PLO) and Hamas (the Iranian-backed group of Islamic crazies founded by the Egyptian "Moslem Brotherhood").
* * *
A journalist friend just called to claim, in frustration, that she'd invented the term "Hamastan" which everybody is using to describe the Islamic state now rising on the land from which Israel withdrew. She was angry because she'd not been given credit for her light bulb moment... It was then that I had my flash of creativity, and, not wanting to be cheated of proper credit, I'm going public with it. Now.

The whackos and zanies in Gaza have gone berserk! So here's my name for the new Bizarro state next door: GAZANIA...

Hey, maybe we should open this up to public discussion. What's YOUR suggestion for naming the new country next door?

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Blabbermouth: Gaza 2007

Dry Bones cartoon: Hamas gets some bad press in Gaza.
Although I could have written the cartoon as a satire, it is, in fact, true. The "But we're not Jews" story was reported by the British newspaper, the Telegraph. Quoting their Gaza reporter:
"'We're not Jews' the brother of Jamal Abu Jediyan, a Fatah commander, pleaded during a live telephone conversation with a Palestinian radio station.

Minutes later both men were dragged into the streets and riddled with bullets." -more

* * *
Meanwhile, the Arab descent into anti-Arab violence seems to be spreading across the region. As I write these words, news is coming in of an attack on a major Shi'ite site in Iraq.
* * *
Returning to Gaza, Human Rights Watch has accused Hamas and Fatah of war crimes against civilians in Gaza :
"Over the past three days 'both Fatah and Hamas military forces have summarily executed captives, killed people not involved in hostilities, and engaged in gun battles ... inside and near Palestinian hospitals,'

Among other atrocities, it cited the killing of Muhammad Swairki, 28, a cook for the guard of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah. Mr Swairki was thrown to his death from a 15-storey building with his arms and legs bound.

Later Fatah forces captured Muhammad al-Ra'fati, a Hamas supporter, and executed him in the same way." -more

DEBKAfile’s military sources tie the new fighting in Gaza with the ongoing fighting in Lebanon between the Syrian-backed Fatah Al Islam and the Lebanese Army:

"Iran and Syria are the winners of Hamas’ military coup against Fatah in Gaza Strip" -more

And YNetNews claims that Fatah and Hamas are now preparing for a "huge conflict":

"Both Fatah and Hamas are preparing for an even larger confrontation in the coming hours, in a fight for control of various power centers in Gaza, sources from both factions told Ynet Tuesday night. Many of these are located near the office of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas" -more.

* * *

It looks like our Dry Bones cartoon from a year and a month ago (May 2006) had it right:

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Talking to the Wall (1977)

1977 Dry Bones cartoon - Begin visits the Kotel before his visit with Carter.
Today's Golden Oldie is a cartoon that I drew exactly 30 years ago. It was published in the Jerusalem Post on June 16, 1977. Back then, before the birth of the Internet Age, my cartoons were written for Israelis and folks who really "knew" Israel. With that kind of audience I used the word "Kotel". Kotel is a Hebrew word which means wall. In the Hebrew-influenced English that we speak here in Israel, we use "the Kotel" when referring to "the Western Wall".

* * *
The newly elected Prime Minster was Menachem Begin. An interesting "insider" feel to the cartoon comes from the fact that Jews come to the Kotel to speak with God, to place scribbled or carefully printed prayers on little scraps of paper to tuck into the crevices between the huge stone blocks. When Begin, the newly-elected Prime Minister of the Jewish State, went to the Kotel, neither he nor we thought that he was "talking to the wall".

When he went on to talk with Jimmy Carter, however, that was a different story.

* * *

Psssst! Want a close-up peek at the Kotel? Live? At this very moment in Jerusalem? Easy in this Internet Age. Courtesy of the good folks at

Just click on

the Aish HaTorah

live webcam at the Western Wall

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Monday, June 11, 2007

The Israeli Rumor Mill

Dry Bones cartoon: rumors of war and talk of peace.
It's a strange time in Israel. Israelis seem to agree that there's going to be a war this summer. Probably in August.

At the very same time there are constant reports of contacts with Syria and Olmert's efforts to cut a deal with Assad.

So what's your opinion?
Are we headed towards an August 2007 war? Are the rumors based on trial balloons, political hype, or the logical unfolding of events on the ground?

What do you think?

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sunday Mail: June 10, 2007

Letters Fron Dry Bones
Posting a cartoon every weekday leaves no room for me to simply share news, ideas, and other stuff with you. So welcome to 'Sunday Mail: Letters from Dry Bones', the new, once-a-week Dry Bones feature.

Letters Fron Dry Bones
Item One: Dry Bones on YNet is the English-language website of Yediot Ahronot (Israel's biggest selling Hebrew daily). YNetNews recently announced the addition of Dry Bones cartoons to their opinion pages. They slipped the notice into an online news report headlined: "Dry Bones sweeps JIB Awards".

Letters Fron Dry Bones
Item Two: New Schedule
When I was the staff cartoonist of the Jerusalem Post, I had a deadline. It was 8PM. I did a cartoon in the evening and everyone read it in the paper the next morning.

Here in the blogosphere, life is different. If I post a Wednesday cartoon at 6:00AM Wednesday morning(Israel Time) it's still Tuesday night in New York, and only 8 in the evening in LA. I want you to read my Wednesday cartoon on Wednesday, but because I don't know where you are, I don't know when you are. This has all been complicated by the erratic behavior of the automatic emailings to subscribers.

So, starting today, here's the NEW SCHEDULE! I will (G-d willing) post the daily cartoon each day between 10:00AM and 1:00 PM(Israel Time). I will then personally send out the emails (I've taken over the previously "automatic" emailing). Let me know how it goes for you.

Letters Fron Dry Bones
The past few Sundays I've given you links to some fun "learning Hebrew" stuff... forgetting that some of you can't read the Hebrew letters. Forgive me. So if you can't read Hebrew, Item Three is for you!.

Item Three: Fun Way to Learn to Read Hebrew.
So if you want to learn to read Hebrew there's a cool piece of software just for you. Actually, even if you can read Hebrew it's a neat way to tune up your skills. You can download the program for only $9.95. The price is about to go to $17, but Uncle Bones got them to keep the price at $9.95 for you.

And speaking of cool, before you buy... you can give it a try! They'll let you try Lesson One - "In the Beginning" - online. For FREE!! I can't believe how much fun I had playing with Lesson One. Try it by clicking on Starting With Aleph

...And let me know how it goes.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Assad's Latest

Dry Bones cartoon: Assad is setting fire to Lebanon in order to divert attention from, or stop, the International investigation of his role in the murder of Lebanon's last Prime Minister.
Is Syrian Dictator Assad setting fire to Lebanon in order to divert attention from, or stop, the international investigation of his role in the murder of Lebanon's last Prime Minister?

* * *
In a May 21, 2007 editorial, the Lebanese daily Al-Mustaqbal wrote that the clashes between the Lebanese army and Fath Al-Islam were the result of orders by Syrian President Bashar Assad:
"There is no doubt that the attack by the Fath Al-Islam terror gang on the Lebanese army and security forces is connected to the madness that gripped the Syrian regime and its subordinates in Lebanon with the approach of the date of the approval of the International Tribunal in the Security Council under Chapter 7 [of the U.N. Charter]..."
- read more at MEMRI.
* * *
Meanwhile, numerous reports have circulated that
"Assad threatened, in a conversation with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, to set fire to the region 'from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean'; another time, he threatened that civil war would break out in Lebanon if the tribunal was approved.
- read more at AtlasShrugs2000

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Drums of War? (1983)

1983 Dry Bones cartoon - the rumble of war...
The rumble of war? With Syria?! And the Russian bear is once again rumbling and growling... and hungry?!

This cartoon from way back in 1983 seems eerily appropriate to the current World situation.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Cold War Revival

Dry Bones cartoon: Putin and China are reviving the Cold War?.
The threats to Democracy in the 21st century seem to be growing on all sides.

President Putin is killing hopes of Western style freedom in Russia. In response to American plans to place defensive missiles in the Czech Republic and in Poland, the Russian President has threatened to aim nuclear weapons at US military bases in Europe?!! As the Turkish Today's Zaman put it :

Group of Eight leaders seeking to focus on climate change and Africa at their summit this week may find it hard not to be distracted by the Russian bear glowering in the room. -more

Now China, intent on becoming a massive economic power while continuing to suppress any local democracy movements, has just jumped onto the anti-American bandwagon.

The AP headlined the story: China Warns US May Set Off Arms Race -more.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Changing Times (1992)

1992 Dry Bones cartoon - Soviet weaponry becomes the new Islamic threat.
June 1992. Fifteen years ago this month. Times were changing. Old Soviet weapons and missiles were becoming the new Islamic threat.

* * *

Dry Bones cartoons are written rather than drawn.
The script is done first, and the drawing follows.
This was one of those extremely rare times (count 'em on the fingers of one hand) when the 'toon was wordless. I was intrigued by the ease at which a communist hammer and sickle could be transformed into an Islamic crescent.

I never knew if readers would take the time to notice the tiny figures doing the actual repainting.

Did you?

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Monday, June 04, 2007

President Peres ?

Dry Bones cartoon: Dumping Olmert: Plan B.


There now seems to be another reason for questioning a Peres Presidency.

A report has just been submitted to the Knesset claiming that Shimon Peres was responsible for knowingly transferring to the U.S. the documents used to convict Jonathan Pollard of spying for Israel. Read the story at YNet.


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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Sunday Mail 02

Letters Fron Dry Bones
Posting a cartoon every weekday leaves no room for me to simply share news, ideas, and other stuff with you. So welcome to 'Sunday Mail: Letters from Dry Bones', the new, once-a-week Dry Bones feature.

Letters Fron Dry Bones
Item One: The Dry Bones Online Historical Research Library.
That's what we're calling it while we're building it.
We want to make the whole body of Dry Bones work available for research. Thanks to an anonymous benefactor we've now scanned more than 7,000 Dry Bones cartoons from newspaper clippings, tear-sheets, fading originals, etc. dating back to Jan 1, 1973. We're building a database so that the 'toons will be findable by date category or keyword. The Library should be online in a couple of months. We'll issue a call for volunteers to beta-test it when we're ready.
Meanwhile, got a better name for the library?

Letters Fron Dry Bones
Item Two: Looking For a Grant.
We "took the gold" in five categories in the Jewish/Israeli Blog awards, including Best Pro-Israel Advocacy Blog, Best Political/Curent Events Blog, and Best Jewish Culture Blog.
What we need now is a financial grant to support our work. I figure that there's a foundation or an angel out there who can help.

If you, or someone you know, can help support our work, please email us at:

Letters Fron Dry Bones
Item Three: Move Quickly On This Freebie!
If, like me, you are intrigued by the Bible, the Word-by-Word Genesis CD is for you. It is a software program that will teach you the meaning and pronunciation of every single Hebrew word in the book of Genesis. It teaches one word at a time, in Bible sentence context and as a standalone word. It can read aloud to you, and to further clarify the pronunciation of the Hebrew, each word is also transliterated into English letters. This is a fantastic Bible Study tool.

But you'll have to move quickly! I found out about the FREE Word-by-Word Genesis CD after the offer had already expired. I really wanted a copy of this CD so I managed to contact the distributers and pulled strings (begging and pleading) to have them keep the offer open for a couple of days so that I could offer it to readers of the Dry Bones Blog (and get one for myself!!)

Click now on Free Word-by-Word CD before the freebie disappears again.


Friday, June 01, 2007

Israeli Presidency: Plan B

Dry Bones cartoon: Dumping Olmert: Plan B.
The Israeli Presidency is a ceremonial, powerless position.
If we can't fire Olmert, or convince him to resign, maybe we could "kick him upstairs"?

For those of you who might not understand... in the Israeli system, the public doesn't elect the President. Our representatives in the Knesset do that. They do so after cutting political deals in smoke-filled rooms hidden from our view. That's why the punch-line talks about needing "somebody to talk Olmert into taking the job".

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