My brother, who lived too young a life, and died at 55, was named Nahum.

He knew well that there was a great Rabbinic sage called Nahum, teacher of Rabbi Akiva, who looked on the bright side of life, assuming the name “Nahum Ish Gam Zu LeTova”:

“This too shall be for the good”.

And so it is these days before Spring 2020.

International travel to and from Israel has ground to a halt, with people confined to their homes, yet causing at least three unintended good consequences.

Firstly, although you no one can go abroad this Spring and Summer,

people who live in Israel can now make plans to see the contours of the land and wander the hills, streams, woodlands and towns of Israel. People who live in Israel who had never taken the opportunity to visit inside Israel can now spur a revolution of “internal tourism”, which provide a sudden boon for the tourism industry in the country.

Tour guides who had made their living showing around visitors from abroad can now focus their energies on fellow citizens – to help their own neighbors see the wonders of the country.

Secondly, since people from abroad cannot visit the Land-locked Holy Land at this time, the wonders of social media allows you to hire people in Israel to address them with the camera rolling, at any location, with the ultimate back drop.

People abroad can book “virtual tours” to every location in Israel, from the comfort in their living room, as they put their feet up and imagine themselves traversing Massada, the Judean desert, the Western Wall or Machane Yehuda in Jerusalem, the cobble stone paths of Tzfat, or anywhere you would like your virtual host to take you.

Thirdly, with so many families confined to their homes, one does not have to be a rocket scientist to calculate that nine months from now, Jews will celebrate the miracle of Chanuka.

This year, the Festival of Lights may witness a surge of children conceived during the Corona siege.

Gam Zu Letova, no?

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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