# 102 – Hebron & Other Stories by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
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# 102 – Hebron & Other Stories

Helping others to understand Israel - and Israelis to understand others...
  • Joined Sep 2016
  • Published Books 409

December 4, 2008

This afternoon, I had to go to the police station to report a crime. No big deal, but it does contain a smile-provoking story.


I used to be a member of local ‘country club’. An impressive place, with all the usual facilities and activities. My travelling makes it rather expensive to be a member, so Aviva obtains special passes for me, and I often go swimming there. Like yesterday. Undressed into my swimming trunks and into the sauna. I like doing that first before swimming.


I came out, showered, then went to pick up my bag to go to the pool. The bag was gone. (When changing, I has suspected a ‘young man of Middle Eastern origin’ lounging on a bench. He had seemed out of place. Now I suspected him). My phones were in the bag.


Someone kindly tried one of the numbers. We heard the ring – found the bag in one of the toilets. Only items missing: my keys – car and house. My car was parked about 100 meters away. “He’s obviously outside now, searching for the car with the remote”, I thought. I had to get out there. But I was …undressed, to say the least. I am not known as an exhibitionist, but these were exceptional times. My faulty Hebrew did not succeed in getting someone to help me, so I ‘flopped’ outside (I was wearing my flip-flops), still dripping wet, with a towel hiding only parts of my expansive body.


I did notice the suspect outside, going in the opposite direction. That was positive. I turned the corner; the car was still there. I asked a lady to keep her eyes on the car, and I ran back to get changed. Returned to find the lady gone, the suspect ‘loitering’ near the car. I made it clear to him that I ‘had’ him (stupidly did not think of taking a phone-picture – but he was a big guy, menacing; I did not want a fight with him). I called the police. He walked away; I followed. He ran. I gave up.


That’s it; no big deal. We changed the car keys (electronic – expensive). We don’t think he knows where we live…

Police want me to return and go through mug shots.

How did he get into the club? Security is lax there – and no cameras. Manager had indicated he may cover cost of the keys etc. And give me some free visits!


So what’s happening in Israel nowadays?


Let’s start with the news you may have seen and heard. The evacuation by police of ‘settlers’ from a house in Hebron. It was very ugly. The subject of settlers is perhaps the the one that most gets Israel’s critics’ backs up. It is bad propaganda for Israel; a political mess. It is no longer important that just as Israel’s Arab neighbours did not accept the establishment of the State of Israel in 1947, so also a defiant part of Israelis/Jews never accepted giving up the ‘Biblical Land of Israel’.


Same story. But…when Jerusalem was occupied by Jordan, Jews were not allowed in. When Israel overcame the city in 1967, it was immediately opened up to all religions. As most know, Hebron has always been sacred to both Jews and Moslems. Why must it be ’empty of Jews’? Morally and historically wrong. Proof of the difficult future we face, even after peace is declared.


We have elections here in February. The Shas party represents the Sephardic Jews, those originally from Spain, who spread throughout north Africa. Their leader is a poorly 88 year-old Rabbi Ovadia Josef. At yesterday’s launch of their political campaign, he was wheeled out and given a standing ovation for several minutes. That almost knocked him out.


He just had the strength to promise Heavenly rewards for each and everyone who votes for them. And they will. You see, it’s not only Hamas that has a strange version of democracy, using force and fear to get the votes. Happily, Shas will never be more than an influential coalition partner – and not a violent force that takes over territories.


There will be another Arab party at the next elections – the Arab Centre Party – to be led by Sheikh Abbas Zakour. (King Abdullah of Jordan has invited the establishment of a new Jewish political party in his country – the centrist Mosaic Party……I’m joking!! How could you believe such a thing).


400 more (admittedly moderate) Palestinian prisoners were released. Sorry, but how does that balance against Gild Schalit still being held in Gaza. It’s sickening to think what a price Israel is being forced to pay for his release – and no guarantee of his safety. That’s balanced politics for you: a ton of feathers and a pound of flesh.


The Political Cartoon Gallery in central London is currently running a show of the Arab media’s use of classic anti-Semitism.

Israel criticised for again turning back a ‘mercy ship’, this time sent by our most friendly of neighbours, Libya. Well, in my opinion, there should have been an independent search of the ship before departure, independent guards during the voyage, and then let the thing in. Now the Qatari’s are sending a ship. Same thing will happen. When will they learn – and when will we learn?


3GSolar is an Israeli company, one of the leading lights for cheap solar energy, high on the list of projects that will get Africa on its feet. That part of Israel is working well.


Finally, a political reminder/question: Israel evacuated Gaza, leaving not one Jew there. Hamas took over and we now have a war-like mess. Israel evacuated southern Lebanon. Despite UN’s promises, despite the Lebanese government’s assurances, Hezbollah took over the south, and we had war. Now, what was that question about evacuating the West Bank and East Jerusalem? They would not need Kassams and Scuds. The could spit the bombs at us.


Let me end this overly-political letter with an image of this evening’s sunset at out local beach….


P.S. – I’m planning to have chat/s with some Israeli Arab dentists I met at the recent expo here. (There are about 1,000 in Israel – there were Arab dental companies and salespersons around the halls). Sad that they insisted on being called Palestinians first and foremost. I do look forward to hearing their side of the story.


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