August 26, 2012
I’ve rarely heard so many complaints about the weather as now. Admittedly, it is hot and humid. By end of August, the dripping atmosphere has usually slipped into the more bearable post-Summer sunshine.
But the World’s crises are also hitting Israel hard. And, whether it’s because we are a small country, or we just take crises more seriously than others, it does seem to be reflected in the everyday mood
For instance –
Lynching in Israel
Imagine how easy it is for this situation to get out of hand. An young Arab is attacked and literally almost lynched in a ‘decent’ Jewish part of Jerusalem. In fact, very close to wear my wife Aviva’s parents lived and she grew up. The boy survived. Several young Jews arrested, including a girl.
But we’ve seen the scene before – especially in the Deep South of the USA, when the shoe is on the other foot. (This is a clever example – for some will immediately put the Jews into the position of the whites, and this is NOT the case. In Israel, those who walk in fear are the Jews. Perhaps 95% of all attacks are initiated by Arabs. Same for security on general…which Arab airline is really worried about an attack by Jews?).
And another reminder: the subject here is the tension betweIraen communities within a State. These are ALL Israelis. This has little to do directly with the daily problem of Israeli vs Palestinian.
It is easy – and correct – to say that these Jewish kids must be dealt with ac cording to the law. No favouritism.
But it is just as easy to comment, as have some this morning in the ‘Letters’, that this is a very rare occurrence, unlike the high danger for a Jewish youth to go and have fun in an Arab neighbourhood.
Does the World realise that the expression ‘life or death situation’ sometimes literally fits? The World agrees on most of the criticism of today’s Iran, whether referring to the madness of Ahmadinejad, the fanaticism of the mullahs, the oppression of the people, their support of terrorism. So why does the World NOT take seriously the threat to Israel’s existence?
(I was once criticised for being ’emotionally involved’. The subject was the wall that has so badly and sadly disrupted the Palestinians’ daily life. “Don’t you care about them”, I was asked. “My daughters are alive because of that wall”, I replied. That has to be my first priority. The 2nd or 3rd priorities are just that: 2nd and 3rd).
It does not need another Hitler to prove that a nuclear attack on Israel IS a distinct possibility. (Iran proved during the war with Iraq that it places little value on the lives of its own people).
Of course, the horror of the situation is that we shall never know the outcome of the alternative if/when we choose the other.
Social Protests in Israel
Had a great discussion yesterday with my daughters, both with protruding pregnancies, and their husbands. (Proud Dad has to include a photo).
(Eliana, on the left, is expecting a boy this Tuesday. She already has a girl, Naya, now 16 months. Shira is expecting her first kid, a girl, in November).
They did not think the movement was strong enough; that no one would really take notice, that the media did not take them seriously. There was talk about the possible need to live abroad, that the economic situation worse here than most other ‘Western’ societies’, mainly because of the corrupt mentality of the government, and industry, controlled by ugly monopolies. There was little confidence in the ‘common sense’ of the individual.
I did not agree.
I doubt that there is a more politically involved society anywhere. There have been major political changes here, and there can be again. Yes, Netanyahu’s centre-right is currently strong – mainly because of his foreign policy. But the weak Labour party has a new leader, Shelley Yachimovich, who came to power exactly because of her support for the protest movement.
At times, there were up to 1/2 million people on the streets and in the tents. That’s 7-8% of the population!! When they talk to their friends – or network with them, you can count on perhaps 20% of the nation being involved. That’s substantial!
And Israel is certainly not an isolated society. Besides the Internet, if the percentage of US citizens to own passports has not perhaps gone up to 20% (and that’s partly because of the foreigners coming in, rather than the Americans going abroad), add 100% to that figure to reach the Israeli average. Dual nationality is common – and travelling abroad is a healthy must.
If a Big Mac costs more here than in USA or Norway, we know within seconds. When house prices are kept falsely high, it becomes news just by word of mouth. When the President sexually harasses ladies around him, we get our Arab high court judge to throw the man into prison. An open and informed society if ever I knew one.
And another reason why this country will survive the brain drain.
It’s the number of Jews from the Diaspora who come here. They come with ideals, mixed with Zionism. Thye see moves such as the one I passed on last week. They are exposed to strong and positive propaganda, by organisations such as Birthright Israel, which gets thousands of youths here every year to ‘see what it’s like’. Happy life is not only owning another car, TV or computer. Feeling at home, where you belong, is becoming a rare environment. It’s worth a lot.
Hey, readers…before you think I’m some fanatical arm-waving Zionist, I’m here because I fell in love with an Israeli lady. I’m more British than the average Englishman, due to the fervour by which my central European parents acquired their British passports, manners and, in some cases, accents.
My view of Israel may be slightly clouded, but I can assure you it’s pretty fair and objective. I have so much opportunity to compare.
Well, thank God Mohamed Morsi’s replaced Mubarak, they say. Israel can relax, just as they can relax after the changes in Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Yemen, and now, of course, in that land of milk and honey (no capitals, please), Syria. (Oh ye of short memory: please remember Iran).
What a clever, democratic move – to take over the armed forces. Oust Mubarak’s horrible henchmen.
No, we cannot now relax.
Our peace agreement with Egypt, still sometimes called the strongest Arab nation, is in tatters. Egypt is still militarily powerful, after receiving first Russian and then US support, almost to the same extent as to Israel. Sinai was relinquished by Israel as part of the agreement. When ‘peaceful’, when being visited by millions of tourists (including Israelis), it often came under terrorist attack.
Now, so soon after the ‘Arab Spring’, Sinai has become another Wild West. (Hey! Not a bad name: The Wild East!). The recent attack by ‘militants’ at a border post with Israel, resulted in many deaths. After the bodies were examined, it was discovered that several of the attackers were Islamists who had recently been released from jail by…yes, our Arab Spring President.
Complained about the fence between us and the Palestinians. Well, neutral and balanced Stephen is all in favour of yet another security fence being built (yes, you may call it a wall – you’re going to anyway) along the Israeli/Egyptian border.
Just as I am sure Bin Laden invested in security companies just prior to 9/11, may I suggest that you invest your savings into fence-building companies.