January 19, 2011
If you had an argument with your spouse/child/parent/friend, or heard raised voice at the local supermarket check-out counter, don’t be concerned. The World problems are far greater, especially in the Arab World.
Here, in this partly-Arab country (yes, I’m still in Israel), there are rumblings. The Labour Party has been ripped into 2. This is the party that ruled the country for 29 of its first 30 years. It’s leader, ex-PM Ehud Barak, has taken 4 of his colleagues with him out of the party because of the threats from several other important party members who were threatening to rebel in order to bring down the coalition government.
Take it from me. This strengthens the Netanyahu leadership. (Now, if Tzipi Livni and her Kadima party is clever, they’ll join the coalition and form the stronger centre-right government that this country needs).
And while we’re in Israel….I join the many who want Avigdor Lieberman as far away from his position as Foreign Minister as the Universe allows. He may think some of the right things, but, like it or not, we need a decent face out there, and his image is driving us into the sand…
But the real rumblings are not here, and it’s interesting to watch where it’s all going.
It starts with the tiny demonstrations in the last 2-3 days outside government buildings in Amman, Jordan. Big deal, you say. Remember Black September, King Hussein’s brutal 1970 suppression of the Palestinians when they threatened his feudal power in that ‘quiet’, ‘neutral’, country. Thousands killed.
There is revolution in the air. What has been happening recently in Tunisia is something quite rare in current Arab countries: a popular revolt of the people. Algeria tried it, ending in democratically-elected Islamic government, which the French and their western allies could not swallow.
Iran recently had a taste of it. Suppressed.
Then Ivory Coast. The West does not quite know whom to support.
Sudan’s inevitable splitting of the continent’s largest country is another part of the equation. The south is poor, because it’s rich mineral wealth is being sucked out by the north. It’s not just a question of saying what’s ours is ours.
They have no infrastructure to take advantage of what’s under the ground. If the West does not hurry, China will take that African country over, too. Give money, send in 100,000 Chinese to run the mines, factories etc., maybe even open a couple of schools for the locals.
Egypt is shaking. The Copts may only be 10% of the population, but that’s still 8 million. They will not let themselves be crushed, as in Palestine.
Lebanon may end up going the same way – although that country’s problems are clearer. Hezbollah will NOT accept being found guilty of the assassination of Pres. Hariri. It has the power to do almost what it wants in the country.
The current President, Hariri’s son, is kissing a… in order to retain some high position and Syria is smiling.
Qatar has got the 2022 World Cup. No sharing with other countries in the region, which would have been logical. Just build 10 white (pink?) elephants, the BEST stadiums in the World (which will afterwards become indoor skiing resorts, malls and 7-star residences for the golfing community).
It’s going to be an average of over 40C for the 4 weeks of the Summer tournament. Move to Winter, we all say. No, they say. Decided.
So what’s that got to do with Israel? Very little.
But I DID go back to the Litvak Gallery yesterday, for a 3rd view of the Chihuly exhibition. They’ve sold 14 pieces so far……With pieces going for $80,000 – $1/2 million, that’s not bad.
Some photos …
A view back towards the reception area – Millefiori in the foreground (only blue and white in honour of Israel’s colours) and the magnificent Kaleidoscope Persian window in the background. Note also part of a frame of 12 drawings on the right, which they have decided to sell individually.
Chihuly is one of the few glass artists who paints his drawings for his glass works, rather than sketching. He’s very commercial – has produced prints of his drawings, numbers them of course, then paints on them for ‘individuality’. Even they, in runs of 50 or 100, will sell for $3-4,000.
Here’s that window – from the outside, at night. And those 12 drawings…
Look at a couple of pics. from the gallery’s lovely terrace, which also has the cutest of olive trees…
And a few gems from inside…
10 years after his most successful 2000 expo in Jerusalem’s City of David, Chihuly’s back.