From hero to has-been: A cautionary tale

At last there was some encouraging news here, last week. And I am not talking about Hosni’s continued refusal to be rattled by a rabble of rowdy Arab rebels. No . . .

Yoav Galant will not, after all, be the new IDF Chief of Staff.

It turns out that Major General Galant had chapped some 28 dunams (approximately 7 acres/28,000 square metres) of public land adjoining his modest 500-meter family home (right) on Moshav Amikam (near Zichron Ya’akov) – to build roads and a parking lot – in contemptuous disregard of the law and opposition from fellow moshavniks. After all, he was Yoav Galant, quite probably the next IDF Chief of Staff. He also lied about the matter in a letter to the Israel Lands Administration and in an affidavit to the Court.

What the Major General certainly did not expect, however, was that those same neighbours would, through the Green Movement, petition against his appointment to the IDF’s top job. And they have succeeded: the appointment was revoked on Tuesday, two weeks before Galant was to take up his new post, following the Attorney General’s inability to support it. And to them – and, indeed, to us – I say “Well done!”

Most distasteful of all, Galant, far from holding his hands up, has – with all the finesse of a schoolboy, about to be appointed Head Boy, being caught behind the bike shed with a stack of porno mags and a joint – made excuse upon excuse in a forlorn, desperate attempt to stay in the running. (And the Major General is still refusing to take responsibility for his actions, protesting his treatment and fitness for the post on three different, Friday evening, TV news programmes.)

Corruption in this country is rife. From small-time real estate yazamim (entrepreneurs) all the way up to the Prime Minister (Ehud Olmert being the latest, crudest example) – taking in government ministers and the former Tax Authority head along the way (Avraham Hirchson, Shlomo Benizri and Jackie Matza are all currently doing time) – so many Israelis are lining their pockets at the expense of Joe Schmoe and the State.

But whatever happened to idealism? Most native Israelis cannot comprehend why the hell we came here; and when I inform them that I emigrated for reasons of Zionism, they look at me with a mixture of pity and disbelief. But how did Israel, once the land of kibbutz-living, come to this? Could it be (as I have previously suggested) that there are simply too many Jews here, all competing with one other, and with most unwilling to be the freier who misses out?

Major General Galant’s neighbours on Amikam were constantly told that “he deserves [the appropriated land] because he’s a military hero . . . we have no chance against him, because this is how things are done in this country.” (Haaretz)

Indeed, one cannot help but feel a modicum of reluctance to criticise a man who has given this country 34 years’ selfless and distinguished service, and some sympathy that he has fallen so agonizingly short of the very highest office.

It is to be hoped, however, that folk like the Major General will now think twice before putting personal enrichment and greed before respect for their fellow citizens, the law, and their country.

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80 responses to “From hero to has-been: A cautionary tale

  1. Hear Hear,
    But what have you got against ordinary real estate yazamim who pay for their land, and then build the property at their own expense for sale?

  2. Hear hear
    Most eloquently put… and sometimes I DO wonder what the hell we are doing here, and what happened to the Israel we chose to live in?

  3. Maybe you chose to live here because Israel has good weather, gorgeous people and none of this:

    http://www.economist.com/node/13649255?story_id=13649255

    (refers to British parliamentarians expensing moats and other things)

    … and none of this

    http://www.jpost.com/JewishWorld/JewishNews/Article.aspx?ID=183283

    (Peres referring to UK’s track record with regard to anti-semitism and עם ישראל)

    BTW I think it was Herzl (not sure) who said in some words that Israel will be a country of policeman and prostitutes and not only academics. No-one here ever idealized life in Israel- it was conceived to be a country just like every other.

    Peres said to a friend of mine something along these lines “I love Israel, every other country is boring!”

  4. I meant corrupt “small-time real estate yazamim,” Geoffers. Sadly, from my experience, almost everyone in real estate here is corrupt! (See Israelis, agents of our own demise?)

    Am I to understand, Bad, that this last post was actually “worth [some]thing”? Surely not! I would be so grateful . . . 😉

  5. Sadly you write confidently about things you do not know much about, this is not unreasonable considering the brainwash we were subjected to via the media in general and specifically by the Maariv daily newspaper.
    Although Maariv says “Galant lied” neither the Ombudsman nor the Attorney-General said he did. Indeed one fact in one document handed to court amongst many many other documents had one detail that did not and could not change the outcome of the proceedings, was supposedly inaccurate. Is this a lie? Please point us to such claim and not to the Maariv website.
    Having been attacked over and over again by the blood sucking media he went public and defended himself calling it as it is – extremely minor things that his opposition having failed using the “Harpaz Document” and other false accusations managed to find. You mock him for trying to explain but had not done that you would have probably said that he cannot explain as it all true.
    My ‘comment’ is getting too long so I will end it with yet another fact you got wrong. Galant’s neighbors have partitioned against him to the Supreme Court in 2007 and a decision was made against the neighbors in July 1st 2009 [case # 10762/07]. The people who concocted the Harpaz Document, and the false bribery allegations used his neighbors and one publicity seeking ‘Green Party’ to start it all again in a way that time constrains would leave no choice but to appoint someone else. Galant a great leader Navy-Seals commander, Southern Command General who gave 35 years in service of the state of Israel and who everybody say is the best Chief of Staff the IDF can have, was destroyed by the media and some very clever bad people.

  6. Thanks, Yuvi.

    I have never read Ma’ariv.

    Would you please explain why it is, you think, that Israel’s Attorney General, no less, after examining all the evidence, decided that he could not defend Galant’s appointment before the High Court? Do you believe that he, too, only examined evidence from Ma’ariv?!

    Hardly proof, but I had coffee with a senior army man (just retired), this morning, who agrees entirely that Galant – because of his aggressive disregard for the rule of law – should not have been Chief of Staff. (My post also omits that, in addition to the 28 dunams, there were another 35 or so more that, if not taken illegally, were appropriated “unethically.”)

  7. Yuvi, I don’t know who you mean by an ombudsman, but according to the state comptroller’s report the story is as follows and it does not look as though Galant is quite as pure as you are suggesting.

    Firstly 28 dunams of public land were requested by Galant in 2002.
    His request was denied.
    In 2005 inspectors discovered that he had nevertheless grabbed the 28 dunams and planted olive trees on them.
    Six months later he received an order to evacuate the land.
    At first Galant replied that due to his ‘pressing schedule” he needed extra time to review the matter.
    Finally, in 2009, to conclude the court case to which you refer, he promised the high court he would leave the vicinity and he uprooted most of the trees.
    So this is far from his winning the court case. On the contrary he lost.

    The state comptroller’s report refers also to the involvement of a top official in the Israel Land Registry who made efforts to prolong proceedings in the irregular use by Galant of public land.

    The lie refers to 35 dunams of land that he was allocated by the Moshav previously to the above but which did not belong to the Moshav. The land registry eventually (in 2000) allowed him to lease the land to grow olives. He signed a two-year lease in 200o to grow olives but according to the comptroller grew nothing on the land in this period. In 2003 Galant again sought authorization to plant olive trees, claiming that he had cultivated the plot for years.
    On the basis of his claim, the Israel Land Registry decided to incorporate the 35 dunams into the Moshav so that it could be given to Galant.

    And Mike, your earlier article you linked me to was about agents and lawyers. The Yazam is the one who actually buys and builds. Not the same thing at all.
    In any case, on Friday we met what looked like an honest agent. She first showed us a property – Jaffa beach 2nd line with building rights for a second unit – going for 4 million. After cautioning us that others had offered 3.8 and been refused I asked her directly what she actually thought it was worth. She thought a bit. Three and a half was the most she would pay for it, she said.

  8. You are being very anal today, Geoff! The article focused on real estate agents and lawyers, but refers to the entire Israeli real estate market as “a minefield.”

    If your agent on Friday was totally “honest,” she probably wouldn’t have told you the amount of the other offer (even though they all do). I imagine that is a breach of their rules.

    Going back to my post, there was more good news, yesterday . . . IKEA burnt down! 😉

  9. Don’t think it is against the rules, unless the potential buyer explicitly states that the offer is made in confidence, OR the offer is still on-going. She was talking about a past event.
    As far as I know…
    Anyway I am not arguing that it is a minefield and, as with all other minefields, should be approached only with a mine detector.

  10. I will check with an agent friend. From a purely logical point of view, the information enables you to commence with an offer of 3.85, whereas you might otherwise have started at 3.9, if you get my drift (not sure I do!)

    As for her opinion that it is worth only 3.5, that is definitely not acting in the vendor’s best interests!

  11. True. That is one of the things we liked about her. She also told us confidentially that another of her sellers – currently asking 4.5 – was prepared to go down to 3.9.

    And as for Ikea burning down, Mike, you are single – as you continually remind us on this blog. You have no idea just what good news it is.

  12. Mono

    To answer your question- no. So far the only blog that actually really means anything is the one about your brother. I say this because you can’t even say with conviction that you actually know the facts on which you based today’s opinion piece. The excellent story about you brother shared with us something that you experienced. So whether you

  13. Firstly, Galant lied. The man as much as admitted it on TV. He acknowledged that his sworn testimony had not been truthful, but claimed that at the time he had thought it had been. Who cares?

    Truthfully, before his interview began I was prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt. He had stolen land and broken the law, but apparently on moshavim everyone does that, including some of his neighbors who had complained. I said that such a crime is normally punishable by a fine, not losing one’s job. I further reasoned that if he is the best man for the job, it would be a pity to have the IDF led by second-best, especially as such a matter could potentially cost lives. Finally I reasoned that we all have skeletons in our cupboards and if only squeaky clean generals can become chiefs of staff we may end off led by warriors who have never broken the law, but are otherwise unsuitable.

    Five minutes into the interview I’d changed my mind. The journalist questioning him was as sweet and polite as you could ask for and his questions were obvious and easy to anticipate.

    Galant bombed. If that’s the best we’ve got, G-d help us. Instead of just admitting he was wrong and apologizing to all concerned his answers were such that he really must have thought us stupid. He had planted trees on twenty-something dunam, because the guy who did it for him had too many trees, so he carried on planting them on stolen land – a misunderstanding. He hadn’t noticed because he was in the army guarding us all the time. When the authorities pointed out the mistake he couldn’t remove the trees because it was shmi’tah and his wife’s family is religious (ye- G-d’s to blame). As soon as he got the chance – FIVE YEARS LATER – he removed the trees.
    He has protected us all these years and now he expects us to protect him.
    The problem is it’s hard to protect a fool from his own ego.

    Over Shabbat I read an excellent article by Rav Yisrael Rosen, making similar points to those that I made in the second paragraph. He almost convinced me.

    http://www.zomet.org.il/?CategoryID=160&ArticleID=5635

    Finally, nobody has suggested that as a soldier, Galant is far superior or much worse than any of the other candidates. If they had said he was much better, I’d say, give him the job anyway.

    Rachelle joins the IDF and I’m glad he won’t be her chief of staff. I don’t care if the next COS is more honest or not. However, I would at least like someone who knows how to lie to me in a more intelligent and convincing manner.

  14. Yuvi writes: “Sadly you write confidently about things you do not know much about …” Perhaps, but it seems there’s at least 1 thing about which dear Mike might be familiar. Initially, Mike wrote: “… a schoolboy … being caught behind the bike shed with a stack of porno mags and a joint …” Sounds kinda close to home, eh, Mike? LOL j/k

    Speaking only as an outsider & only from the standpoint of what little I’ve read, it seems your corrupt officials are but rubes compared to the dedicated “professionals” we’ve managed to rasie by the truckload on this side of the pond.

    s/Not-really-laughing-out-loud.

  15. Albert de Gogan

    I don’t know how the law works in Israel regarding land. In England common land is held in common use for the people, and can’t be squatted on developed or sold. This guy must be as thick as a plank, and I would not have him running a car park.

    In England if land is not claimed for twelve years, the squatter has “best Rights”. After fifteen years he has “Absolute Rights” in other words he owns the land. Between the twelfth and fifteenth year, he can work on a planning consent. Not a bad return for putting a fence around the land, and taking out an insurance policy. The trick is identifying the right land.

  16. Well put, Daniel. More than being a bad liar, however, I think the biggest problem with Galant and his ilk – including his mentor, Barak – is their supreme arrogance (however unsurprising). Benny Gantz, seemingly the new new Chief, is supposed to be a much nicer bloke . . . though is that necessarily a good thing?!

    Not sure I get your IKEA/single point, Geoff. (BTW, if you need any advice re Yaffo, I will be happy to oblige. Know it pretty well now, and a couple of decent agents.)

    Last (and most definitely least), Bad Smell . . . You still here?! I thank you, at least, for providing us with a constant reminder of the dimwittedness of the native . . . and also that this time, at least, you had the decency not to complete your sentence!

  17. Mike, you’ll be married one day. You’ll find out.

    Just to give you a clue, you thought that Ikea burning down was good.

    Other friends of mine thought it was bad. One even went so far as to say “there goes my reason for living in Netanya”.

    All those who thought it was bad were women, Mike.

  18. Got it, Geoff! I always hated the place. From London days. The one in Neasden was the most awful labyrinth (and I suspect they are all based on the same concept). I don’t care how “reasonable” it is, it is just not worth the experience.

  19. Sense of proportion: is it worth mentioning the rampant brutality/bribery/corruption in many (all?) Arab states where dictators and their clans amass wealth beyond belief?

  20. Avraham Reiss

    People are missing the point.

    Galant is the eighth(!) senior Israeli involved in the destruction of Gush Katif who has been punished so far.

    The full list is as follows:

    1. Moshe Katzav – President of the State of Israel – convicted sex offender

    2. Ariel Sharon – Prime Minister neither heaven nor earth will accept him

    3. Ehud Olmert – Deputy PM on trial for fraud

    4. Haim Ramon – Deputy PM convicted sex offender

    5. Dan Halutz – IDF Chief of Staff forced to resign after his failure in conducting the 2nd Lebanese war

    6. Moshe Karadi – Chief of Police forced to resign after connections found between him and organised crime

    7. Uri Bar Lev – Police Commander of Southern Area – refused post
    as Police Chief because of sexual extravagances

    8. Yoav Galant – Melchett Mike has stated it all

    Religious people see all this as Divine Retribution; I would LOVE to hear an irreligious “scoffer” “proving” that all this was statistically feasible!!!

    On the other hand, maybe Israel NEEDs a Chief of Staff who knows how to lie and steal other peoples’ lands – because that’s what he will do to our enemies …
    ???

  21. What are “sexual extravagances,” Avraham?!

    You can’t have too much sex . . . at least, I never have! 😉

    To quote Rav Allen, Shlita . . .

    “Sex without love is an empty experience, but as empty experiences go, it’s one of the best.”

  22. Avraham Reiss

    Reminds me of the old riddle – which is the odd one out: egg, sex, carpet, drum?

    Sex, of course … you can beat an egg, you can beat a carpet, you can beat a drum … but you can’t beat sex.

  23. Okay, just one more (Woody again) . . .

    “I’m such a good lover . . . I practice a lot on my own.”

  24. Agree with all you said Mike… but come on you are such a “Tel Avivi”… 500m is not big out in the sticks….

    ps come visit some time

  25. Mr Reiss – your divine hit-list sounds like a great idea for a made-for-video horror movie starring Boris Karloff as God. When do you think would be a good moment for Freddy Kruger (Friday 13th) to make a guest appearance?

    Albert – if you have managed to make it across from Mook of the Month let’s carry on our correspondence in this category – we will be lost among the loonies.

  26. Mr Reiss – Further to my earlier comment I just had an idea. You could ask Mario Puzzo to write the script and call the film….. “THE GOD”

  27. “When do you think would be a good moment for Freddy Kruger (Friday 13th) to make a guest appearance?”
    – He just did; for some reason he signed his name “John Fisher”.

    As I wrote, “Religious people see all this as Divine Retribution; I would LOVE to hear an irreligious “scoffer” “proving” that all this was statistically feasible!!!”
    – Mr. Fisher, you haven’t made any valid point (or counterpoint).

  28. Dear Mr Reiss

    My mummy always told me not to talk to strange men…but here goes.

    Although ostensibly an empiricist in the tradition of Locke you, unlike Kant, have failed to learn the lesson of David Hume regarding Causation. The fact that things happen several times (in your case hardly even a statistical sample – I think Hume referred to the daily sunrise) it is no proof that they will happen again. In fact, a gentleman by the name of Nassim Nicholas Taleb is currently amassing a fortune from his book, The Black Swan, which works on the same principle.

    However, your brand of empiricism is much more dangerous – by thinking you can get inside the “mind” of God (sorry, Rambam but even your greatest chosid, Rav JB Soloveitchik recognised the lost battle on anthropomorphisism in The Halachic Mind) you are either claiming divinity for yourself or subscribing to some form of pantheism (and look what we did to Spinoza for that) or, at minimum, some form of Panentheism (and look what we should do to Chabad for that). Why dangerous? Because today, at least according to the actuality of Religious Zionism, we are no longer bound by the 4 cubits of Halacha as viewed by the post destruction generation (Temple, not Gush Katif) and are following the, not entirely clear, thoughts of Rav Kook as laid down, inter alia, in Orot Hatechia. Thoughts like yours, taken up by the rabble in a young democracy still finding its way after 60 years, can have geopolitical repercussions that could lead to war, death and, God forbid, the end of our dream. I hope I have made my point.

    Yours truly

    Freddy Kruger

  29. Hi John
    I liked all the long words, but having been educataed at Hasmo, didn’t understand a lot of them. Having said that I’m not sure what your point was – I don’t think Mr Reiss was trying to get into G-d’s “mind”, he was just pointing out an interesting statistic showing that some very bad things have happened to decision-makers and chief executors relating to the Gush Katif debacle. It should, as religious zionists, make us think.
    On the other hand what are we to make of the series of plagues that have hit Australia this year? What sin have they committed, apart from losing the Ashes, or was that actually just another of these plagues?
    I must confess I’m mystified!

  30. David

    Exhibit 1 – The Sample – Rape/Gluttony/Fraud/Sex /Air Force/Crime/Sex/Land appropriation.

    Forgive me but, far from seeing an indication of the Hand of God, all I see are Hands up Skirts, Hands in the Till, Hands in the Fridge and more Hands up Skirts.

    As regards all the rest, to paraphrase Churchill, “This is rubbish up with which I will not put”.

    Regards

    Freddy Kruger

  31. Hi John/Freddy,
    The point surely is that ALL our leaders/commanders have presumably laid hands where they should not have (unfortunate assumption, but that’s where we are these days in Israel), but only these particular perpetrators have been exposed. So one looks for what they have in common…….
    BTW, which client is being charged for this time? 🙂

  32. Avraham Reiss

    Mr. Fisher,

    I was going to give a lengthy answer to the meaningless diatribe above, which quoted Locke, Hume, Kant – all great experts of the subject of Jewish theology, of course – in your opinion – but you saved me the trouble by writing:
    “Forgive me but, far from seeing an indication of the Hand of God, all I see are Hands up Skirts, Hands in the Till, Hands in the Fridge and more Hands up Skirts. ”

    I think that that aptly somes up from where each of us is coming: me from above, you from below.

    But you did fail to meet the challenge of proving the statistical possibility of said events occurring. But don’t feel too bad about it, after all you did successfully manage to justify my use of the term “scoffers”.

  33. David

    Nice idea. Sort of:

    ……….. לא ראי זה כראי זה ולא ראי זה כראי זה. הצד השווה שבהם

    Now that is my kind of Judaism

    Freddy

  34. In Exodus 33:13 Moses appeals to G-d saying:

    “Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways”

    And the Midrash (I paraphrase) clarifies the question in which Moses asks why there are good men to whom bad things happen, but also good men to whom bad things happen. Likewise, there are bad men to whom bad things happen, but also bad men to whom good things happen.

    Moses our teacher perceptively notices that establishing a simple cause and effect relationship between deed and reward is well nigh impossible. Were good things to always happen to good men, we could understand. It would effectively negate our free choice, as we’d all be doing good actions for their short term rewards, but it would be understandable.

    Were bad things to consistently happen to good people we could explain that too, as the L-rd in His mercy punishing the righteous in this world, that they might receive only reward in the World to Come. However, as the Midrash points out neither is the case. Good things happen to good and bad men as do bad things. Naturally, there are many wonderful answers to these questions, but they fall well out of the scope of this excellent blog.

    Returning to our question we might ask whether the terrible things that have happened to the men mentioned above were because they were wicked or because they were righteous. Likewise, what of the two principle opponents of the disengagement, those who called on soldiers to refuse an order of evacuation – Rabbi Mordechai Elyahu and Rabbi Avraham Shapira? They have both since died. Was this their punishment or reward or neither?

    Shimon Peres supported disengagement and became president. Was that a reward or punishment? And if it was, who was rewarding who?

    Yuval Steinnitz, then MK, supported disengagement and became finance minister – reward or punishment? He was hospitalized this morning with a bad cold and exhaustion. Delayed retribution or repayment by way of a well earned rest? If he feels better tommorrow does that mean that the L-rd has forgiven him, or has He changed His mind?

    Regarding Katsav and Olmert, their crimes predated the disengagement and were severe enough in and of themselves. Stealing and rape are matters worthy of punishment whether or not you supported disengagement.

    All in all, it’s not an easy question. I can’t help feeling that between Fisher and Reece, they’re both right and they’re both wrong. Or am I mistaken?

  35. Mr Reiss

    I rose to your challenge. You have come back to me empty-handed. In fairness I expected no more.

    Leaving Hume aside (he was the only relevant philosopher – the others mentioned established his roots and his claim to be taken seriously – but you do not seem to have followed that in, what you term, my diatribe) one of the reason that statistics are not relevant here is that the list only proves what we already knew – there is extensive corruption in the upper echelons of power (you could have added Jackie Matza who presumably charged the residents of Gush Katif income tax).

    As regards the implication that I am an irreligious “scoffer”, you clearly did not understand one word of what I wrote, and you are invited to join me tomorrow morning at 5.15am for Daf Yomi before the first minyan in Raanana. It is fortuitous timing (even the Hand of G-d?) since tomorrow sees a new Perek of Zevachim. No sir, any scoffing in this correspondence, of our great G-d-given faith that is so precious to me, comes from other sources drawing on moronic self-taught voodoo that borders on Avoda Zara. You decide who?

    Yours truly

    Freddy Kruger

  36. Avraham Reiss

    D. Marx:
    “Shimon Peres supported disengagement and became president. Was that a reward or punishment? And if it was, who was rewarding who?”

    – Shimon Peres is OUR punishment.

  37. Mr Reiss,

    Marks as in Spencer, not Marx as in Karl.

    Truthfully, that thought crossed my mind as I typed those words, but being honest to myself I couldn’t to say it.

    Nobody has detested Peres over the years more than I, but if I am to be candid, he’s been a perfectly good President, particularly when compared with his two shocking predecessors.

    John,

    Gosh! You must be really frum.

    After the philosophical name-dropping of your previous post, in this one you treat us to your Talmudic exploits with the gang of the old 5:15 daf yomi.

    If I’m not mistaken, you now owe us a belated boast about your A level results.

  38. “Marks as in Spencer . . .”

    And, some might say, Spencer as in Frank!

  39. I think it was Irving Berlin who once wrote:

    The world would not be in such a snarl
    Had Marx been Groucho instead of Karl

    “Name-dropping”, “boasting” – come on Daniel you have done, and can do, infinitely better than that. I am always game to take as good as I give, but there has to be some effort – and you have what it takes.

    As regards A levels – between Woody, Ellman, Johnson and Sinai do you really think I had a chance?

  40. Avraham Reiss

    Mr. Marks,
    Reiss as in Reiss, and not as in Reece.

    “Nobody has detested Peres over the years more than I”
    – I contest that point.

    “but if I am to be candid, he’s been a perfectly good President, particularly when compared with his two shocking predecessors.”
    – being better than Katzav is no great compliment. And if I remember correctly, Weitzman z”l preceded Katzav. His preparation of the Air Force’s astounding perfomance in the 6 Day War was one of the greatest Kidushei HaShem since the destruction of the 2nd Temple.

    Peres, on the other hand, has the blood of those murdered as a result of the criminal Oslo agreement, on BOTH of his hands.

    And he never wore IDF uniform.

  41. Avraham,

    I was under the impression that we were discussing who the worse president was, not who before reaching the job had contributed more to the State of Israel. You’re right about Weizman’s biography, though you conveniently skip over Camp David and his becoming far Left and then quite barmy. As a president he was a disgrace and an embarrassment – though an angel next to Katzav.

    John,

    I beg your forgiveness most profusely. I had, of course, confused you with Admiral John Fisher of Kilverstone. It goes without saying that I withdraw all my absurd comments about name-dropping, frumkite and A levels; and offer my most groveling apology. I further regret any embarrassment or discomfort that might have been caused to you, your family or your loved ones.

    Truth is, I was paid a discreet visit by a couple of blokes from the Ranana daf yomi cartel, who were a bit tasty (in the scary way) and who made it quite clear that nobody messes with the 5:15 Zvachim lads.

  42. Avraham Reiss

    Marks v Fisher – 1:0 to Marks.

    (and it’s the Zvachim lads who cause the zvachot …)

  43. Thanks Daniel. That has saved us from one of those infantile spitting contests where you call me a “Bald, four-eyed, fat pillar of pus” (technically 100% accurate) and I call you something that leads your mother to sue me (technically 100% inaccurate).

  44. “1:0 to Marks”?!

    After “Spencer as in Frank,” you should all go home for the day! 😉

  45. “was one of the greatest Kidushei HaShem since the destruction of the 2nd Temple.”
    Think about the wording, I’m not sure it fully reflects what you meant Avraham

  46. Albert de Gogan

    A half an hour ago I received a phone call to tell me a dear friend had passed away.

    Harry, was a very religious man who never questioned his belief. I totally respected this man who gave of his time and money to help people in need.

    Harry, and I never discussed religion, because we may not have agreed. In every other aspect of life we were in agreement, I will miss him so much.

    In the past year Harry and I have been housebound because of illness. So we did not see each other. And when I would phone he would always say he was fine. The world is a poorer place today without the likes of Harry Hecter R.I.P.

  47. I remember sitting in Osher’s fourth year JS class, when a classmate (who was very small for his age) walked in late. In one hand he was carrying a large briefcase and his gym bag and some ring binders. He claimed he was late because “some yoks” had pushed him off a moving bus. We could all see that one of his hands was swollen to twice its normal size and horribly black and blue. He also had a black eye and scrapes down one side of his face. But his clothes were not torn or damaged.

    Osher made him tell his story to the class and it transpired that the incident had happened two days earlier on a Saturday afternoon. He had been travelling home from from his Bubbe’s house and indeed some non-Jewish thugs had thought it would be funny (presumably because he was only 4’10” tall) to throw him off the bus while it was moving (this was in the days when some buses had no door at the back). To my shame I remember laughing with most of the other boys.

    Osher didn’t laugh. He did what Avraham Reiss did and told this boy he had been punished by the Almighty for chilul shabbat. I remember going home and telling my dad the story and not understanding at first why he was horrified.

    Then he explained to me that it was laudable to treat personal misfortunes as an opportunity to better oneself, but to imagine we were holy enough to know what God intended as punishment was the height of arrogance, and probably a chilul Hashem.

    Jeremy

  48. Albert, sorry to hear about your friend Hecter . . . will you be visiting his House?

    Your story, Jeremy, doesn’t surprise me. Although not relating to the Will of the Almighty, such rabbinic stupidity or, at least, lack of responsibility (discussed in another thread here recently) reminds me of that exemplified by one of Osher’s Hasmo colleagues, who would tell us not to stand too near to the Underground tracks because there might always be a “goy who wants to push on.”

    Even more shockingly (for me at least), I also recall the time I went on an Aish Hatorah trip (the first) to Poland. In Auschwitz I, we were viewing the pile of children’s shoes, when a couple of teenagers walked into the hut, and we could hear that they were talking German. “Incredible,” I thought to myself, “I wonder what they must be feeling right now, seeing this and also all of us?” Serious guilt, I imagined.

    Then, an hour or so later, in Auschwitz II (Birkenau), as we were standing around the remnants of the gas chambers – as vulnerable as we could be – a ‘Rabbi’ (known to many readers of melchett mike) started to talk to the group . . .

    “While we were looking at the children’s shoes just now, two young Germans walked into the hut. They looked at me, with my kapel and tzitzis, and I looked at them. And I knew what they were thinking: ‘Why didn’t we finish the job off properly?’ . . .”

    I almost lost it, and I tackled the ‘Rabbi’ on the way to the bus with something like, “How could you possibly know what those boys were thinking?! And how could you take advantage of the group in such an ignorant way?”

    The ‘Rabbi’ responded, “Michael, how come you have got so much rachmonos (mercy) for the Nazis?”

    I saw to it that he was not permitted to speak to the group again on the trip.

    And I never returned to Aish.

  49. I’m a second generation holocaust survivor. My father survived the ghetto, the camps, the horrific loss of his parents, brothers and family.

    He was scarred for life, psychologically and physically. My sister and I were brought up in that kind of atmosphere. My father’s nightmares were somehow contagious – I recall having them as a child of five or six. My father was larger than life – one of the many heroes of that tragically dramatic period (and those who have experienced the same will probably feel like me that we can only be mere shadows of our parents strengths and personalities) – and he overcame his challenges by rebuilding his life, a family and business in a cheerful and optimistic manner, so much so that only those in the know could understand what had had actually befallen him.

    I write the above as background. My father came from good Hassidic stock in Brody, Galicia. True, my grandfather Peretz (after whom I am called) ran a successful business by Polish shtetl standards, and so would have dressed in a somewhat modern style, and true also he had Zionist tendencies (to his enduring credit) – but he observed halacha down do its minutiae. As did my father’s brothers, and his grandfather, who rose at the crack of dawn each and every morning to learn Torah, and spent the rest of the day doing mitzvot (maasei chesssed, tzadaka and shadchanut). He never shaved his beard, not even when the Germans y’mach sh’mam v’zichram decreed so. Instead he tied a bandage around his face, feigning illness or injury, but preserving that which was precious to him.

    One day, sometime in 1941, my father was in the ghetto searching for bread. Upon his return home he witnessed all the family being taken away by the Nazis. The last words he ever heard coming from the mouth of his beloved brother Avraham (staunch Agudah member) were: ‘who will look after Munio’la?’ (my dad). My father never saw any of his family again – other than his sister who had made Aliya in 1933.

    Did my grandparents, great grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins deserve that? And my father – what was his sin, for which he was sentenced to carry his lifelong burdens?

    Am I scoffing at our faith? Am I freethinking? No, not at all. My father may have questioned, and understandably so, but never forsook his tradition and heritage, and with my mother’s help brought up my sister and myself in a (reasonably) modern orthodox family – albeit eventually. I am the proud father of six children, bli ayin hara, all yirei shamayim and shomrei mitzvot – each in their own way. My wife and I have rebuilt, and more, that which Hitler, y’mach sh’mo v’zichro sought to destroy. And we’ve done so here in Eretz Yisrael.

    But there are no explanations for those terrible and cataclysmic times, just as no one should attempt to seek cause and effect in any of G-d’s rewards and punishment actions. Because it will all be fruitless. And sometimes philosophically dangerous. We’ll find ourselves pointing in the wrong direction, and may follow a dangerous tangent that may lead us – and more importantly others – off the religous landscape entirely. None of us are G-d, and none of us can hope to fathom and fully understand the ways of G-d. Thats what my classmate and close friend of forty years (1L onwards) John Fisher is saying.

    Somehow this topic has threaded its way back to Hasmo, not surprising for the “not the hasmo blog”. There have been some contributions regarding Osher. So here’s mine, about Dr Gerry Gerber. Gerry taught us in the Yeshiva Stream, from second year (1970) and off and on through to the sixth form. He was about as hareidi as they come, abandoning his doctoral subject of mathematics to teach limudei kodesh, although I understand he did return to teaching maths in later years.

    Hareidi yes, but it has to be mentioned, to his zechut that Gerry came to live in Israel several (I dont know how many) years ago.

    Flashback to my father. I wrote that he was scarred physically – that’s because when the opportunity arose, against the advice of his friends who had been hiding with him, my father enlisted into the Red Army. Nothing or nobody could or would stop him. It was ‘la’asot nekama bagoyim’ he explained. He wanted to avenge the blood of his family. And he paid for that heroism and bravery by being severely wounded in action at the very end of the war. That was the ethic and stark belief in needing to defend ourselves that I was brought up with.

    So it came as a shock to me, when sitting in gemara shiur in the ‘beis hamedrash’ in the second year, Gerry calmy and cooly lectured that those who died tamely in the shoah, those who were lead to their deaths without any resistance, they truly died al kiddush hashem. It was pre-ordained that they were to go like lambs to the slaughter. Fighting back was inappropriate and against the will of G-d. To this very moment I cant undertand that troubling approach, maybe it was a passing moment in Gerry’s spiritual and philosophical life, who knows (unless someone can ask him). We were second year, all of thirteen, so some of us argued back, but what did we really know. I hope and pray that Gerry paused to thank our tzahal korbanot who died al kiddush hashem so that he could move to Israel.

    That was the Hasmo we knew and loved.

  50. I too have a story to tell, a yarn to spin.

    Back in the year 1980 when life here was more rough and ready, the gentlemen were more rough and the ladies more ready, I was invited to a lesson being given at Or Sameach Yeshiva by an “incredible, dynamic rabbi”.

    My host was a born again ultra-orthodox Jew who had recently cocked up his A levels and had chosen instead to devote his life to the proliferation of organized religion. Today he is an extremely famous and respected Anglo-rav.

    We both were treated to a lecture by a young, but rather eccentric American scholar. He appeared to be semi-illiterate in both Hebrew and English, as he was forever jumping between the two languages in his search for nouns and occasionally verbs:

    “At the time of Moshe masan torah, the madreiga of am yisrael, and the matzav of the goyim, etc…”

    If dynamic means jumping around the place as you raise and lower the tone of your voice, he was that. For this commentator, however, the lesson was exceedingly tedious; a mish-mash of Hasmo-Hebrew Classes folklore with a New York accent, until he put forward a most remarkable thesis. Our lecturer was arguing that the Holocaust had been predestined and had had to happen. I paraphrase:

    “If Hitler hadn’t come along, Hashem would have sent a flu epidemic to wipe out European Jewry.”

    I was bored and resentful of the time I was wasting, particularly in light of the attractive opportunity cost I have hinted at above. It was time to liven things up, but I knew that with men of that ilk theological or rational debate would be meanigless. That was, in my humble opinion, where the author of this excellent blog erred in his handling of the Polish fiasco.

    Instead I challenged the “rabbi” using his own tools of trade, the old “Where is it written?” I asked him where he had found that idea. Was it in the Bible or in the Talmud? Did Rabbi Joseph Cairo talk of this European flu epidemic or was it the Rambam before him. Our friend looked quite lost and could only tell me the name of some other unknown rabbi from whom he had heard the tidings. “Okay, but where did he get it from? On what authentic Jewish source was he basing his idea?” My new pal said that he had no idea. I asked whether it might not be a good idea to check it out and he shrugged.

    At this point, feeling sorry for him, I smiled sympathetically and, in the most patronizing manner that I could, let him get on with the remainder of his lesson. Never was I invited back to that lofty institution. Sadly, my host, though having seen his hero exposed like the king with no clothes, took it all in his stride and had bought his first black suit within weeks.

  51. I was wondering whether female judgements are welcome on this Hasmook blog thingie. I happen to have impressive credentials being married to ‘Jonny Ebb’ (a colleague of yours from an earlier aeon), and have a longstanding friendship with Fred, acknowledged for his textual phenomenology (private joke) above. You all seem so concerned with geopolitical views of the world and I was wondering why your stories about magnets (the human kind), extraterrestrial powers, hypochondria and exaggerated vegetarianism would be of interest to anyone (work it out….). What is undisputed, is that Churchill nearly spread bolshevism into the heart of Europe… is that too the hand of ‘GOD’? The circus-like frenzy of crimes so frightful that the imagination staggers and reels back at their very consideration – has a place, not in heaven, but with the sins of maggots unburdened by guilt. So DM, for you and for many of us, the second generation has greater moral outrage over atrocities which were meticulously man made and clearly non incorporeal. Poor little bugger, is he still spreading ‘the word’? Let him confront my father who now lies beneath a short block of marble in Jerusalem. Maybe, just ‘maybe’ this survivor will be able to convince the fool that the murder of millions of people, especially Jews, can’t be redressed.

  52. Haven’t a clue what you are on about, Mindy . . . so you’re in!! 😉 Welcome.

  53. Mindy, “exaggerated vegetarianism” is that black humor, a sick joke or simply above my limited understanding?

  54. As for you, Ste . . . your nom de plume is so (inexplicably) irritating . . . any chance of you reverting to Stephan?

  55. Albert de Gogan

    Thank you Mike, for your inquiry regarding my mate Harry. Pam drove us down this morning to take some food, and convey our condolences to his wife, and family. Harry was a mensch, and will be sorely missed.

    Albert

  56. Where is Harry Hecter’s House, Albert? And where do you live?

  57. I am starting to really like Albert. He is completely oblivious to everything that is going on around him. An oasis in a fiery desert. We are busy shooting curses at each other over religion and he just strolls right into the thick of battle and starts eulogizing his friend Harry. Almost Shakespearean.

    There is one thing though that is bothering me. Albert, you keep jumping across categories and popping up in the most unilikely places. Is there something, as your new friends, we need to know? Are you on the run from the paramilitary wing of the IRA? Are you worried that the Americans might find out you fought with the Vietcong? We can protect you. There are safe houses all over Melchett Street where the ladies owe Mike a favour.

    Just let us know and Mike will be there for you.

  58. Albert de Gogan

    Hi Mike, Harry lived in Bromley, and I for my sins live in Blackheath.
    Which is near Greenwich Park and the heath. I met Harry many years ago when we lived in Bromley.

  59. Hi John
    Are you in the office next Wednesday afternoon? If so, I’ll pop in on you at 3-ish, as I’ve got another meeting there at 2.00.
    We can then psycho-analyze all the latest postings together over an excellent cup of your machine made coffee.
    Regards
    Puggy

  60. Must be something about Dublin Jews and Kent! Percy (who is doing a little better, this week) lived in Bexleyheath and, then, Chislehurst. His GP’s practice was in Bromley, and he was a member, I believe, of Woolwich shul.

  61. Puggy – should be fine but lets talk closer to the time (off-line I suggest – the 302, 839 other readers do not need to know our movements, especially if the Americans think they could get to Albert through me). You should know that “A week is a long time in Accountancy”.

  62. albert de gogan

    Fear not John, the only person I will be on the run from is the missus, as I have just cracked her Waterford cut glass bowl taking it out of the dishwasher.

    As regards Vietnam, Gerry and I were with the Aussies, and I think the Yanks saw us as just making up the numbers. But I must say I had great admiration for 1st Cav pilots, who got us out of the do do more then once at great risk to their own lives.

    So John when the Y.T.M. (the Yiddish terror machine) gets home I may be in need of a safe haven in Tel Aviv. So keep an eye out, for an old Paddy confused and bruised, and asking directions to Molly Blooms.

    Take care,

    Albert

  63. Anyone who puts a Waterford cut glass bowl in the dishwasher deserves all they get, wow.

  64. albert de gogan

    Mike the Woolwich shul closed down in 2008, and is now a Sikh Temple (don’t tell Percy).

    The boarders of Kent is a great place to live. Where I live I can be in central London in twenty minutes from leaving the house. And in the Summer we can drive to the coast in 45 minutes.

    My great love is art and music, maybe its my substitute for religion its certainly less controversial. My daughter is an artist she is currently doing her Masters. I am delighted for her, it is the profession I would have chosen.

    Please convey my best wishes to Percy for a speedy recovery, and regards to you and your Mum.

    Albert

  65. A patriotic Irishman, who has lived in England for more than 50 years, and who went and served in the Australian army in Vietnam in support of the Americans. Got it.

  66. Albert de Gogan

    John you only heard the half of it, it gets worse before it gets worse. To cut a long story short I ran away from home in 1955 and joined the Royal Navy at the age of fifthteen and a half. I won’t relate here how I managed to join the navy because it was not legal.

    Anyway I did my basic training and my gunnery training, and I was then drafted to my first ship HMS Eagle in 1956. We sailed and joined a large squadron bound for Egypt. We took up position off Port Said and flew bombing sorties, and took on board Marine casualties for treatment and transfare. Within a short time Nasser and Egypt was ready to fall, then the Yanks in their wisdom and self interest warned us off. If we had been allowed to continue I don’t think we would have the situation we have in the Middle East today. At least I can claim I fought with Israel against a common enemy.

    As regards how Gerry (my brother) and I ended up in Australia I will tell you later.

    Albert.

  67. Dear Albert,

    As you have been, and continue to be, so open with us, I thought it was about time I shared something of myself with you.

    In the early 1950’s my great-uncle Woolfie was on the first ever Candid Camera. He was a Black Cab driver and someone tried to put a 12 foot long pole in his taxi. Although a Jewish immigrant, Woolfie had a command of the dark underbelly of the English language which could put many of the contributors to the Hasmo section of this blog to shame. Ultimately, of course, he was made to look daft, although he did receive royalties for reruns up until his death.

    Anyway, all families have their quirks and one of ours was to always be looking for the hidden camera when situations became questionable. As a result I have, on occasion, made a bit of an arsehole (thanks, Uncle Woolfie) of myself in public when I have challenged totally innocent bystanders who I thought were about to: flash at me; proposition me; generally make me look stupid.

    Well, Albert – it is jackanory time. What is your game? At the risk of ending up with custard pie all over my face – I just cannot believe your story. The only English speaking country worth anybody’s spit that you left out was Canada, but I suspect that it is due to receive an honorable mention in the second installment of your tale along with Angola where English speaking mercenaries were ubiquitous in the 1970’s and where I imagine you went after you and Gerry had downed a few Guinnesses following your return from Vietnam.

    If I have got this wrong you have my unreserved apology. In any event, I have thoroughly enjoyed our correspondence and I would love to meet you the next time you are in Israel. I would suggest though, that on that occasion, you try to enter via Ben Gurion International Airport rather than Port Said – it is simpler, and you are no longer an Unaccompanied Minor.

    Warm Regards

    John

  68. Albert de Gogan

    Dear John,

    I have never been the type of person who planned out his life, it’s always been as opportunities presented themselves. For instance I flew to London with my father in 1954, when I was here my cousin and I took a tour to Portsmouth to see Nelson’s ship HMS Victory. After a tour around the docks and a visit to the Victory I was smitten. At the end of the visit we were given a booklet about the history of the RN. Which contained an application form to join that’s when the seed was planted.

    I needed my fathers consent because I was under eighteen, and I knew he would never give it. So I tried changing the date on my birth certificate, but it would not have passed the muster. I was about to give up, and as I was putting my birth cert back with the family papers I saw my brothers b/c and I joined in his name. Fortunately I looked older then fifteen and a half, I was 5.11 and well built. I was looking at a photo taken in Trafalgar Square that year and I did look older. In 1959 my sins caught up with me and I got slung out.

    I had met a girl from Glasgow in 1980 and we really hit off together the first real love of my life. So I came to London and got a flat in Chiswick, and I met a Hungarian guy call Nandor who escaped after the uprising. Nandor worked building the new Victoria Tube Line, the work was very hard but the money was fantastic and he got me a job. We both had the same idea to buy a place of our own, after two year I bought a part vacant off Clapham Common. Lisa moved to London were we married, and both worked with the intention of buying another house and getting into the property business. Later on that year Lisa became pregnant, which was okay because we had two bedrooms so we did not have to move. Lisa woke me about 1am to tell me she was in pain and thought she had gone into labour. After an hour of arriving at the hospital, the nurse came out to see me and said it was a false alarm. And they would keep her over night because she had a bit of a temperature. And I was to phone at 10am after the doctors rounds, and if everything was alright I would come and take her home. That morning at 8am I had a call to come to the hospital urgently. When I got there I was taken into a doctors office, and told my wife and baby had died. The cause of death was a massive hemorrhage caused by the placenta coming first and blocking the cervix. She was losing blood faster then they could transfuse her and they lost her and the baby in the theatre. I walked out of there like someone who had been hollowed out, and remained like that for a long time after.

    I’m sorry John to relate this sad tale but it all explains (as you will see later) how we ended up Oz.

    Gut Shabbos my friend.

  69. What can I say, Albert . . .

    The truth is that even my mother called me, yesterday morning, to tell me that “That Albert de Gogan has been taking you all for a ride!”

    Going through Albert’s comment history, however, there is a certain consistency to them. For instance, re Vietnam and Australia . . .
    https://melchettmike.wordpress.com/2010/05/18/sometimes-theres-a-man-pichotkas-simcha/#comment-6796
    https://melchettmike.wordpress.com/2008/11/27/gever-gever-the-israeli-male/#comment-6916

    And it would surely take a Joycesque imagination to make up all of the following . . .
    https://melchettmike.wordpress.com/2009/03/23/hasmo-legends-vii-woody-woodthorpe-harrison/#comment-6948
    https://melchettmike.wordpress.com/2009/03/23/hasmo-legends-vii-woody-woodthorpe-harrison/#comment-6958
    https://melchettmike.wordpress.com/2009/03/23/hasmo-legends-vii-woody-woodthorpe-harrison/#comment-6963

    To my mind, Albert is “win-win”: his posts are always good-natured and entertaining, and – even if he does have a rather vivid imagination, or even has been telling us all porkies – would we really have wanted to miss out on characters such as Bang Bang, Hairy Lemon, Harry Hecter, and, now, Nandor?! Anyway, every Irishman is fond of a good story!

    So, Albert, keep ‘em coming . . . and, don’t forget, John is an accountant: if he can’t put it in P&L form, it can’t have existed! 😉

  70. Albert – I (and, I have reason to suspect, you) am an addict of the long running BBC Radio comedy quiz show “I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue”. One of the cornerstones of that programme for nearly forty years has been “Mornington Crescent” a supremely complex game of strategy requiring encyclopedic knowledge of the London Underground as well as a mastery of chess, poker and scrabble. Over the years MC has been played according to various sets of rules, which must be explained before a specific game starts. From the show’s inception in 1972 until 1996 there was occasional use of the Gothic Rules which referred to stories of ghost sightings in the tunnel at Kennington and similar nonsense. Then, in 1996, the inexplicable happened. In the middle of a Gothics Rule game Willie Rushton played the darkest move in history following Graeme Garden’s “Cockfosters” with “Moorgate Disaster” referring to the crash at Moorgate in 1975 in which many lost their lives. The audience gasped. Then, in a move of absolute altruistic genius, Tim Brooke-Taylor shouted “Mornington Crescent!” – the signal that the game was over. Rushton protested feebly but legendary chairman Humphrey Lyttleton brilliantly accepted Brooke-Taylor’s move and the show moved on. Albert, a month later Willie Rushton was dead. They have never dared use the Gothic Rules since. It is even rumoured that the last words uttered by Humph on his death bed in 2008 were “Why didn’t he fall on the dead man’s handle?” referring to the error of the driver of the ill-fated train.

    Well, Albert, I am beginning to believe that you are playing a hidden game of Gothic Rules Mornington Crescent with me and I am scared. It was your mention of working on the Victoria Line that awoke me to it. It would not have been lost on you, the master of detail, that work on the line started in 1962, lasting five years until the royal opening (I remember it well) in 1967. There had been a test section built in 1959 but your dates do not quite fit (I realize that 1980 was a typo for 1960). I think you were telling me something. Then you brought in what, I honestly believe, to be a genuine tragedy and my heart goes out to you. But that is the point – using a genuine tragedy is the same as using Moorgate. Albert, I have a wife and kids. I cannot take the risk of carrying on this game, if it is a game. I am retiring. In the absence of a chairman (forget that kid with the 2 dogs) of the standing of Humphrey Lyttleton, I will have to concede defeat. From now on, I will sit helpless on the sidelines reading your story as you spin your blarney. God Bless.

  71. Albert de Gogan

    Hi Mike,

    Thank you for your post, I’m not surprised some people doubted my post. I would have been dubious if I had read my account of a fifteen and a half year old running away to sea. I was not the average fifteen year old, I looked older acted older and would not have lasted five minutes on the lower decks if I had been or acted like a naive kid.

    I am very new to blog sites, I have seen a few but never posted. And I am now realizing that maybe I have exposed too much of myself.

    Running off is the one period of my life that I am ashamed of, I had three brothers and one sister, one of my brothers died before I was born. The other three never gave my parents a minutes worry. So I think its nature not nurture, that determines how we are, as we were all treated the same. When I look at the difference between us I was the only one who went into business, the others were happier with a more structured formal life.

    They lived very happy comfortable lives as I did, everyone to there own.

    Albert

  72. Albert de Gogan

    John the go ahead for the 12ft 6ins running tunnel (tube line) started in 1962 as you stated. I was working at Oxford Street near the end of 1959, the guy who got me the job had been there six months before. So I am not sure when that first stage of the work started. We were employed by a civil engineering firm called Kenner and Moody (I think that’s what they were called). The work we were doing was preparation work for the main event (the running tunnel), sinking shafts and building service tunnels. All the ground in that part of London is ballast, and it goes down to 80/100ft. Before you reach London clay. All that ballast had to be solidified with chemicals which was done by a specialist firm. Our part of the work had to be completed before the digger shields reached us so that the spoil could be removed and dumped. This sort of work was in progress at several points along the V.L. well before 1962. I don’t know who or how that part of the work was funded. Nor was I interested as long as I got paid. We worked five twelve hour shifts one week days one week nights. It was hard dangerous work, but well paid I got out as soon as I could.

  73. Albert. I had promised to stop contributing here but, just like The Last Goon Show which was superceded by The Very Last Goon Show which was superceded by The Very Last Goon Show of All, I just cannot resist.

    Your memory of the technical details of the Underground work in which you were involved 50 years ago would be amazingly impressive had you been London Transport’s Chief Engineer at the time , but the fact that you were an Irish Navvy makes it truly unbelieveable.

    You also state that:

    “I had three brothers and one sister, one of my brothers died before I was born. The other three never gave my parents a minutes worry.”

    Interesting. I seem to remember you mentioned that you returned from Vietnam with your brother Gerry. I fully understand that your parents were not worried about him – I bet they just thought he had gone on a gap year tour to take in the beaches of the Mekong Delta and hang around in 5 star hotels in Saigon.

    I rest my case.

  74. Yup, the game’s up, Albie baby . . . and it was the graphic account of the death of your wife and baby, z”l, on a blog, which – upon further consideration – got the alarm bells ringing.

    E-mail me (you have my address), however, some proof of the existence of Albert de Gogan and I won’t delete all 35 comments posted under his name from melchett mike.

    Now, that really would be a tragedy. . . all that work – and imagination? – and nowt to show for it.

  75. Judging by the latest blood-splashed installment of the Witriol Diaries, it is a pity you can’t set Joe on him. Where are Hasmonean teachers when you need them?

  76. Gogan, Gogan…….Gone?

  77. Albert de Gogan

    74.

    “E-mail me (you have my address), however, some proof of the existence of Albert de Gogan and I won’t delete all 35 comments posted under his name from melchett mike.”

    Mike,

    I have not replied to your post by email as requested, because I have not got your email address.

    Albert

  78. Gogan, Gogan……Back?!

    I don’t know that my co-judge (and jury) in this matter, The Hon. Mr Justice Fisher, will appreciate my leniency, but . . .

    melchettmike@gmail.com

  79. Albert – Interesting that you waited a whole week to inform Mike that you don’t have his e-mail address.

    You have, I believe, previously mentioned that you are relatively new to all this internet blogging stuff. So I was wondering if, perhaps, you were waiting for the Dover Mail Coach to come lumbering up Shooters’ Hill, as in Dickens’s day, with a letter from Mike containing his contact details – it can’t be far from your house in Blackheath.

    In any event, welcome back – it hasn’t been the same without you.

  80. Albert de Gogan

    Mike,

    Thank you for your email address I will write to you during the week. The reason I did not write earlier I was upset and thought it better to have a cooling off period.

    John,

    Shooters Hill is about ten minutes walk from me which I am glad to say. As it is a very busy road and a coach and four would not last five minutes, even with a blunderbuss at the ready.

    My reason for my delay in requesting Mike’s contact details, you will have seen above. Thank you for welcoming me back I hope you and yours are keeping well.

    Albert

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