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Dependence Day in Jerusalem

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Next Tuesday evening at sundown, folks here are going to celebrate the 58th anniversary of the departure of the British High Commissioner from Eretz Yisrael and the declaration in Tel Aviv by David ben Gurion of the State of Israel. In Hebrew, this day is known as Yom Atzma’út – Independence Day.

The first time I came to this country was for a parade on Yom Atzma’út, the 25th celebration of the country’s independence. The parade ran down King George V Street in Jerusalem and featured tanks, half-tracks and missiles, many of them captured from the Egyptians or Syrians (and therefore the Russians) six years earlier. It was very controversial in the world’s press and with the leaders of the world who fulminated that the arrogant Sheenies dared show off their weapons of war in Jerusalem, a place they had no right to be in.

The locals didn’t care. Photographs of the heroes of the day, flags and soft plastic hammers all sold by the millions, and pride ran high in the Land of Israel. There was a practice parade along King George V Street a couple of nights before and a crowd came out to watch. I was in that crowd. Standing nearby was a young kid with a Canadian accent whose family had moved here to live. He was watching also and explaining to me in detail all the different weapons he saw and what they could do. It astounded me then that a nine-year-old boy could have that much knowledge of weaponry. Now such a thing does not astound me.

This was in 1973. It was several months before Yom Kippur and the war that changed the character of this nation permanently, the war that brought great powers to closely focus their attention on this tiny sliver of real estate in a manner they had never done before. Rumors of war were sweeping the country in the spring. The rumors were that there would be war that summer or fall. The fellow whose family I stayed with said cryptically as I left for the airport to return to New York, “I’ll see you in the fall.” The news didn’t necessarily report in detail the massive Egyptian and Syrian arms build-up taking place but folks knew. The government didn’t want to report the truth, but you can’t really keep a secret here. Not in this country.

I had spent all my bar mitzva money to come here in the spring of 1973 – just to see a parade. When the war broke out that fall, my bank account was empty. Otherwise, I certainly would have come to help, and possibly stay.

I eventually did come to stay – with my wife and sons. And 33 years later this country has gone down hill in many ways. Pride? There is no pride here. There is only bewilderment, as one part of the populace fervently believes that ejecting Jews from their homes in Judea and Samaria is the right thing to do, and another portion rejects this expulsion just as fervently. There are a lot more cars here than there used to be. But there is a lot more poverty also. Independence? A joke! More than one Israeli leader has said that were it not for America, this country could not last one day.

A parade? Give me a break! The army and police are too busy training to bust Jewish heads to parade with their weapons down King George V Street. Besides, what would ‘world opinion’ say? The Americans would never tolerate a military parade in the middle of Jerusalem! Today’s leaders have forgotten entirely how to use the ‘etzbá m’shuléshet’ – the middle finger – except against fellow Jews.

But no matter! Everybody will be buying a mangál (low Mongolian barbecue grill) for $8.00, and bags of charcoal for $2.00, and they’ll be buying chicken dogs and turkey dogs and soda. It’s a sin to waste. Since the State is giving us all a day off from work, let’s party!!

But for once, let’s be honest about it. We’re really celebrating “Dependence Day.” The “heroes” of today, our government, still can’t bear to tell the truth – but we know. You can’t hide the truth in this country. This, at least, hasn’t changed.

The proper way to celebrate Dependence Day is with a parade. Yes, a parade. Israeli soldiers should march smartly, unarmed, down the Tel Aviv street in front of the American Embassy. It’s a narrow street, so they need only go five abreast. It can be a long parade snaking southwards from the rich neighborhoods where the locals can’t wait for a policy of making fellow Jews homeless – now called convergence – to bring them peace. The soldiers should march with their heads uncovered, so that the American Ambassador and delegates of the EU can see that no religious messianic maniacs have been allowed to bring filth to the purity of Israeli arms.

No skull caps should be seen on the cream of our youth. It would be too Jewish. They should be led by the Prime Minister, and all of his flunkies, particularly the members of the “religious” parties betraying the Torah and their fellow Jews for money and seats in the cabinet. Behind them should be an honor guard carrying flags of loyalty – the American flag and the European Union flag. The last row of the honor guard can carry Israeli flags – a sop to satisfy the locals.

That would be truth. That would be honesty – brutal honesty.

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About Ruvy

Hi!! Thanks for coming to my article! I was raised in Brooklyn, was graduated from the City University of New York in 1978 with a BA in political science and public administration there. I lived in Minnesota for a number of years. There I managed restaurants and wrote stories. We moved with our children family to Israel where we now reside. My work can be found at Ruvy's Roost, Jewish Indy,, and on Facebook under my full name, Reuven Kossover
  • I recall that as recently as the late 1970s, supporters of Israel in the US were still saying that foreign aid to Israel was just a temporary measure, “just until Israel can get on its feet.”

    But as with rent control, the sales tax, and all other government taxes and entitlements, once established, it doesn’t end.

    I wish Israel was independent. I wish it would refuse all American aid. I wish all foreign countries (and the UN) would stand proud and refuse US aid.

    But alas, it’s in human nature to accept handouts, and to demand still more handouts, and to feel resentment at those providing the handouts, as one has now become dependent on them. One feels like a beggar, and feels shame at becoming a beggar, and feels anger at being made to feel shame.

    Welfare creates resentment and dependency. That’s a universal human principle. True of people, and true of nations.

  • One of the things about aid is that often the donors also want to control how it is spent, rather than trusting the people in need to know what they want.

    That isn’t really aid, it’s a bribe or reward for an induced action. True aid could and shouldn empower people to take some measure of control over their lives.

    I’m really impressed by all the micro-finance initiatives that are springing up all over the world to help the world’s poorest people bootstrap themselves – including in the USA by the way.

    One thousand dollars of micro-finance can help literally dozens of people to feed, clothe and house their families; the same amount in traditional aid is so insignificant as to just disappear.

  • American aid to Israel is a mechanism of an imperial power designed to insure military dependency. The way it works is that the State gets a credit chit to spend in America on arms, mostly. This comes with conditions, of course, but that is not the point. The ego of rich American Jews who think they have done a “good deed” is satisfied, the power of bought out politicians to hand out gifts from the Israeli treasury is cemented, and the sovereignty of the country goes right down the toilet.

    In the late 70’s when Begin was elected, he wanted to refuse foreign aid from America. How he was prevailed upon to do otherwise, I do not know, but I’ll bet the greed of the ministers in his cabinet played a big role, along with the importuning of rich American Jewish fat cats to seek the aid. That, Mr. Sipos, would explain the excuses you heard in the late ’70s.

    Like you, I wish that the government down town would act with the pride of men instead of the mendacity of beggars. Right now, they are figuring out how to burden us with their demands on the treasury while they take the country apart in the name of “peace”.

    I’m am happy to finally be home, but I’m deeply ashamed of the “government” that claims to represent us.

  • My friend, I can certainly agree with that last clause. If ever I find my home, I hope it is a place of integrity and honor, not greed-motivated mendacity and capitulation.

  • Natalie, rest assured, you will find your home. And when you do it will be a place of integrity and honor.

  • Ruvy, as always, an outstanding post. I don’t have the knowlege to comment further, but this much I know.

  • From your mouth (fingers) to the heavens, Ruvy, and thanks. I pray the same prayer for Israel and the US – that the people get what they deserve: a country that gives those within its borders honor and lives up to its potential and its claims.

    I raise my cup of espresso for independence.


    The following door hanger ad was on our door on Friday afternoon. Repeated here to give you a taste of Dependence Day in Israel.

    (NIS = New Israeli Shekels)

    Steak Burgers (Tirat Tzvi brand) 400 grams NIS 16 for 2 packages;

    Fresh Chicken Livers NIS 4 per kilogram;

    Family Pack of Chips 800 grams plus 25% added (Pri Galíl [Fruit of Galilee] brand) 2 for NIS 10;

    Chicken Dogs 400 gram packages (
    Tirat Tzi brand) NIS 11 for two packages;

    Tapuzina ( a “citrus” drink)) Assorted Flavors 1.5 liter bottles, 4 bottles for NIS 16;

    Humus 1 kilo (Ma’adanei Miki brand) NIS 6.95;

    Charcoal 4 Kilos (“Hepi” [Jacobi brand]) NIS 15.95;

    Fistook (pistacchio nuts) 400 grams (Sasson haKola brand) NIS 19.95;

    Six-pack of “Eco” Paper Towels (Sano brand) 2 for NIS 16.

    Each of these “sale prices” was on a coupon to be presented to the cashier, and each coupon is only good with the purchase of NIS 30 of other goods at full price. Limit of one coupon per customer.

    On the other side of the “door hanger” was the following.

    Fresh Chicken Wings (T’nuva/Milo Chicken) 2 packages for NIS 14 per kilo;

    Turkey Dogs 500 gram packages (Tirat Tzvi brand) 2 for NIS 16;

    Six-pack of Coke or Diet Coke, 330 ml bottles – 2 for NIS 30

    Throwaway Plates (50 per pack), Throwaway knives and forks (100 per pack) – NIS 15;

    Savignon Blanc Wine, 750 ml (Jacobi Barkan brand) NIS 19.95; and

    Six-pack (packaged as 5+1 free) Goldstar Beer, 330 ml bottles NIS 19.95.

    These could be obtained with the purchase of NIS 100 without presenting coupons.

  • Ruvy, don’t you think American aid to Israel is genuine? Don’t tell me you think that’s an imperial ploy? Didn’t the events of 9/11, especially, bring American and Isreali interests further into line?

    The European Union is betraying you, no doubt about it. America, though? If you sense any lack of total co-operation on the U.S.’ part, it may only be because we have to walk a thin line between our duty to Israel but also our responsibility, according to the rest of the world, to bring Palestinians in line with the peace process.

    Everyone ought to know that the Palestinians aren’t serious about peace and never were, but still, we’ve got to play make-believe so the rest of the world’s bleeding-hearts will be happy.

  • To put it another way, Ruvy, if you could get over this fear you seem to have that the U.S. will eventually turn to Israel and say, “OK, now you owe us,” you might see that your paranoia regarding America is rather silly.

  • Mark, if only what you said were true! Do you really think I enjoy writing these things? In excoriating Israel, I’ve been forced to practically vomit up the Zionism that inspired me to come here in 1973. In excoriating America, I’m condemning the nation that gave my grandfather (and therefore my father and me) the opportunity to thrive in a relatively free and very prosperous country. Do you seriously think I enjoy that? It makes me sound like a damned ingrate, and I know it.

    I’ve sacrificed relative economic security, a nice home in a good neighborhood to come to a third world country that has a first world patina, in order that I might load the dice and escape the curse of intermarriage that plagues Jews in America. That should have been enough. I shouldn’t have had to sacrifice my ideals on the crucible of reality, Mark. But I’ve been forced to.

    I’d have rather come to an economy where a man could live on a collective settlement, put in his 43 hours a week, and enjoy part of Friday and go to synagogue and relax for the Sabbath… an economy where there was relative equality. That is not what I came to, though.

    I’ve seen Jewish soldiers kick Jews out of their homes fior no damned good reason. I’ve seen Jews condemn Judaism and G-d and do everything they could to undermine Judaism’s existence in this country, the only Jewish state on the planet, because they have to be animals without a yoke, worshipping the “individual freedom” culture of America and copying all of its faults to boot. This is a dog-eat-dog economy where nothing is sacred. Eightyfive percent or more of all the wealth here is in the hands of fifteen families or so. This isn’t even a banana republic – it’s a matza ball republic!

    But about America, I have no paranoia. I submit the facts as they are to a candid world. This I wrote to an American Jew in 2004 who signs his e-mails, “I buried my heart in the Bronx!”

    This is a bit long, but given that it has no URL link, I’m copying it in full. Enjoy. My apologies to the comments editor, who has read this before in one form or another.


    I owe you some thanks. Replying to one of your letters forced me to detail how the United States government has stabbed this country in the back over the last 60 years. Rachel Neuwirth wrote a piece protesting American policy, and I realized that my answer to it was all in a note I’d sent to you.

    First, I’ll send you some of the comments I get on the piece I wrote. Reading them sure makes it hard for me to stay miserable (Which is what you told me to do), but it does encourage me to keep scribbling. Reading the news encourages me to stay in Israel. Below the comments I received is the piece I wrote. You may recognize a few paragraphs in it. So thank you! You made my day.


    …Well, you’ve done it again………………..
    On Dogs That Don’t Bark………. Well Put, Brilliant…!!! More and
    Louder Applause from my Crewe……

    Dr. Michael Zidonov

    Thanks Reuven for a wonderful response to “Dogs That Don’t Bark” and for your insight.
    We plan to have our website and weblog up and running very soon. Then, responses such as yours will get full coverage.
    Meanwhile, how about redoing your response as an essay. I’d be proud to send it out to The Isralert Network.
    Shabbat Shalom,

    Boker Tov and Shavu’a Tov!

    I received this from Rachel Neuwirth (the author of “Dogs That Don’t Bark”), who probably thought that I was
    you, while I was just forwarding your message to her.


    —-beginning forwarded text: —–
    From: “Rachel Neuwirth”
    To: “HaDaR”, “MEPF” , Israelert
    Subject: Re: On Dogs That Don’t Bark – Calling A Spade A Spade
    Date: Sat, 28 Aug 2004 19:01:54 -0700

    Dear Reuven,

    Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate your thoughts. You are right on
    all points. You know your history very well and you drew the right
    conclusions. You might consider writing for Arutz 7. They and the Jewish
    people need writers like you.

    Best regards,
    Rachel Neuwirth


    From: “Root & Branch Association, Ltd.”
    Subject: TO REUVEN RE. Fwd: On Dogs That Don’t Bark – Calling A Spade A

    Reuven, Can I send this out through the R&B Information Services? I will
    format it a bit, and please give me a URL for Rachel Neuwirth’s article so
    readers can refer to it if they like. Aryeh


    Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2004 18:15:43 +0300

    Subject: On Dogs That Don’t Bark – Calling A Spade A Spade

    Rachel Neuwirth recently wrote a piece criticizing American policy towards
    Israel called “The Dog That Didn’t Bark”, spread by the good offices of
    Harvey Weiner and his excellent Isralert List. In writing this, I want to
    make clear that Ms. Neuwirth is a friend of this country I live in,
    Israel – that her heart is in the right place. If only that more American
    Jews had their hearts where Ms. Neuwirth’s is. Unfortunately, nothing can
    be more deceitful than the heart.

    I have taken a few liberties with Ms. Neuwirth’s piece to cut to the chase
    and make a point. Her own article is considerably longer than the quotes
    I’ve provided and complains about the “silence” of the US in the face of
    Arab terror as opposed to its “loud barking” when we dare defend ourselves.
    As a Sherlock Holmes fan I can appreciate her analogy well. I just hope
    for her own sake that Ms. Neuwirth doesn’t play cards – she is unable to
    call a spade a spade. Immediately below is her introductory paragraph.

    “‘The dog that didn’t bark’ is an expression from a Sherlock Holmes
    mystery. It was an important clue that led to identifying the criminal. It seems
    that the killer entered and left the estate grounds one night but without the
    guard dog barking an alarm at the intruder´s presence as expected. From this non-event Holmes reasoned that the dog must have known the killer and that clue led to solving the case.”

    Eventually, Ms. Neuwirth gets to a central question that she attempts to
    answer – incorrectly.

    “The question is what kind of game is being played here? In truth this policy
    has been in place from the birth of Israel. It is not hard to guess that the State Department, ……………..”

    The policy of the American government has been anti-Israel from the before
    the day that partition was decided upon in 1947. This is no game, it is policy A little background is called for here.

    1. In 1947, there were two Jewish underground armies fighting the British and the Arabs, the Haganah and the Irgun. The Arabs were more or less armed by the British, who ran the “Arab Legion.” Other Arab forces operating from Syria and Egypt had no trouble getting arms. Nobody would openly sell arms to the Jewish underground armies, except the Czechs. The best source of arms in the world was the US, where the new ‘Army-Navy’ stores were selling overstock from WWII.

    The American government declared that it would not allow arms to be shipped to Palestine. Since the Arabs were having no trouble getting arms, this meant that the Jews were getting screwed over. Jewish groups bribed the mayor of New York to look the other way and shipments of arms got to Palestine anyway. Jewish groups organized a “Panamanian” airline, and
    smuggled arms using it. But the oh so holy Americans would not dirty their hands with the matter, pretending neutrality all the time. It took a lot to get the Americans to vote for partition in November, 1947, and after the
    vote had been taken, the Americans tried hard to sandbag the drive for an independent Jewish state.

    They tried to persuade Ben Gurion not to declare a state. When that failed, they sat on their hands and did nothing.

    But when a young kid in Tzahal named Yitzhak Rabin, managed to get as far as El Arish in 1949, beginning the thorough defeat of the Egyptians who invaded this country, the Americans woke up and demanded that the Israelis pull out of the Sinai or face having their recognition pulled. Ben Gurion made
    a big mistake then – he did what the Americans told him to do.

    2. In 1956, when the Brits and the French were looking for a way to get back at Abdel Nasser (the Egyptian general who negotiated the exit of his soldiers from the “Faluja Pocket” that Tzahal had stuck them in in 1949) for nationalizing the canal that they had built, they got the Israelis to go along with them in invading the Sinai while they seized themselves
    seized the Suez Canal. The Israelis took four days to defeat the Egyptians. President Eisenhower demanded that Israel withdraw. Ben Gurion at least refused to withdraw from Gaza until March 1957 demanding guarantees – UN troops in Sinai to prevent an Egyptian attack on this country.

    3. In 1967, after the Egyptians kicked out the UN troops in the Sinai and blockaded the Red Sea, the Israeli government turned for help to the US. After dithering and dathering for several weeks while the Egyptians developed an alliance with Syria and Jordan and a joint attack strategy, the Americans told the
    Israelis that if they waited for an Arab attack, they could expect aid from America. If the Israelis attacked, Abba Eban was told, the Israelis were on their own. The Israelis attacked, and when they saw an American spy
    ship transmitting to the Egyptians, they destroyed it.

    4. The Israelis were given the same line from the United States in 1973 when all sorts of intelligence information indicated an Arab attack on or about Yom Kippur. Unfortunately, Golda Meir didn’t have the guts that Levi
    Eshkol did 6 years earlier. She did as told. Her decision cost Israel over 2,000 lives and nearly led to the defeat of the country.

    The aid that was promised to this country by the United States in the event of that attack – was held up by Henry Kissinger until Alex Haig confronted him about it in front of Richard Nixon. And after Haig confronted Kissinger, Haig made sure that Kissinger didn’t renege by going to the airplanes himself to supervise the loading of tanks and missiles.

    Now notice which country has not been on our side – as its government lied through its teeth that it was?

    Now think carefully – which country forced the Israelis not to retaliate against Iraqi Scud attacks in 1991 by withholding identity codes so that Israeli planes would not be shot down by “Coalition” forces? Which country
    forced Yitzhak Shamir to travel to Madrid in 1991? On the lawn of which country’s executive mansion was Oslo signed? Which country forced Israel to withdraw from Hebron at Wye Plantation? Which country is trying very
    hard to push us out of OUR land with its roadmap plan?

    The answer is the USA.

    So put simply, it may or may not be a matter of moral corruptness, as Ms. Neuwirth observes below. But it has been consistent policy. She

    “It would also be unfair to place all the blame on the morally corrupt U.S. officials and especially the State Department. Much of the blame must also be shared by the defective, and insufficiently assertive American Jewish
    leadership. They also resemble “The dog that didn’t bark” when they should have boldly spoken truth to power”.

    The Jewish poodle establishment didn’t “bark” in WWII when six million of our people died. Why should it even raise its tail over a mere 1,500? The basic goal of the American Jewish establishment has been to assimilate Jews
    into American society. For them, Israel is just a headache – but also a method to get participation (and thus membership) in fundraising – the famous “checkbook Judaism.” The average Jew in exile may or may not care
    about his homeland, depending on his personal ties to it and other factors. But for the American Jewish establishment, the ones bulging with the money, it is largely a matter of getting names on a building (assuaging guilt or
    massaging the ego) or getting a tax deduction. Ms. Neuwirth continues,

    “The lesson is that the U.S. will betray a loyal friend in order to appease an enemy in the hope that it will somehow work to our benefit.”

    The US has had a record of betraying allies that goes back at least a half century. That is why the “Bay of Pigs” was a failure, that is why Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia are all dictatorships under “communist” rule, that is why Kurdistan was not liberated in 1991. So if the American government sells Israel down the river, as it is doing, it is only being true to itself.

    It is foolishness for an Israeli to regard the United States government as a friend. It is an enemy. So is most of the rest of the world.
    Chasing after allies like a prostitute chases after customers will get us all the respect that prostitutes get. In fact, that is exactly what is happening around the world. It may be Arabs who are doing the actual assaults and cemetery defacements in Canada and Europe, but hundreds of millions of non-Muslim anti-Semites are quietly and contentedly nodding their heads with approval.

    In dealing with all this, we need to call a spade a spade, to be able to call a spade a spade, and face some very uncomfortable facts. What I’ve written above is only the background – the appetizer.

    It is a waste of time and effort to bother with the American Jewish establishment in trying to get it to “bark.” It’s just not on their
    agenda. It is a waste of time and effort to bother with the State Department, where career diplomats cannot be persuaded to support one
    Jewish State against 22 Arab ones. That’s a career killer, and generally, unless people are moved very strongly by moral suasion, they will not sacrifice their careers. It is a waste of time to bother with Congress – one cannot reasonably expect an American congressman to support Israel more than its own government will. The Israeli government is merrily marching us here to death with treasonous expulsion plans, money wasting “security fences,” Arrow anti-missile tests and a lot of other nonsense that will do us no good whatsoever, no matter what kind of cowplop it’s marketed as.

    It’s important to take these points slowly and let them sink in. As a strategic alternative to death, whining is a non-starter. While we whine
    and complain, our enemies are busily planning our deaths. So where does that leave us? For the most part it leaves us alone.

    Very alone.

    Upon coming to this conclusion, many Israelis and other Jews, particular the more secular of them, think “we need an ally” and run all over the place trying to find one. Another waste of time. There are no allies. Not on this planet, there aren’t.

    That leaves us that other Ally – Who is the reason we have survived this long in the first place and Whose will it is that we come home.

    We can’t second guess G-d. But we have more than a few clues as to His will – a whole Bible full. I don’t pretend to be Mr. Big Shot Scholar with all the answers, but I can toss out a few ideas that might make work. A massive aliyah of Jews would change the character of this country just as the aliyah of the Mizrahim in the late ’40’s and early ’50’s did, just like
    the Russian aliyah did in the 1990’s. To be frank, a massive aliyah of American Jews would bankrupt the State altogether – and give an opening to do something very important. Start over again. That is one possibility – a very tricky one to manage, one that appears unlikely in the extreme – but then again in 1925, who would have thought that a minority of one eighth of the population of this country would have been able to take it over? That is exactly what happened!

    There is always prayer. But the way I understand Judaism, prayer without action is less valuable than prayer with action. Nevertheless, the point here is extremely important. We are now alone against the world. A fact that becomes clearer daily. The nations refuse to count us among their number. And the root “kadosh” – usually translated as “holy” – really means “apart from”, or “alone”. “Holiness” is a derivative concept from the original meaning of “apartness”. So one action that we Jews can all take, one that doesn’t cost a red cent, is to start to view ourselves in that light – to view ourselves differently from the inside – as apart from the
    other nations.

    Considering that this is the month of Elul, the month of internal review and repentance before the High Holy Days, maybe this might be a very good beginning – working on viewing ourselves as apart form the nations – with the option of aliyah being moved up from the back burner to a middle burner or even a front burner on the stovetops of our minds. I’ve already done
    the aliyah part myself, but the first part, viewing myself as apart from the other nations is something I haven’t completed yet. This is a journey most of us can go on together. As we go on this journey, with the help and guidance of the Almighty, we may be able to work wonders.

  • Ira

    Good post…should we just admit it and say that Israel is just like Puerto Rico of Miami Beach

  • Thank you for your kind words Ira.

    I hear what you are saying. But I live here and don’t use American analogies unless I have to. Also, bad as things are here, Arabs live in worse conditions. So the analogy of Puerto Rico more applies to them than us. I prefer to go to the Hebrew Bible for my analogies. And it provides loads of them.

    This week starting Wednesday, we read and study the section at the end of Leviticus that deals with warnings Jews get if we don’t follow the laws outlined in its 20 odd chapters. This is one of two “Admonitions” in the Torah. The second comes towards the end of Deuteronomy. Many of the warnings in those two “Admonitions” have already come true. But a small portion has not yet come true.

    We live in the time period when they appear to be occurring.