October 10, 2012
I’m reading a paper today. That’s a big deal nowadays. TV and the Internet have opened the door to my rarely reading print. Like everyone, I am so busy, that I grab any opportunity, any innovation, to save time/money etc. So I have almost given up reading newspapers. I love my café, but will usually take my iPad or MacBook, so I can work/read/whatever.
But I am now in flight. El Al’s King David Club (don’t laugh – next best thing to the Queen Elizabeth Club) provides newspapers free of charge. So I have a chance to spread the pages and get really up to date. So this letter is back to basics –
I wrote to you in last 2 days about this guy, Abdulateef al-Mulhim is his name. Now his words in the Arab News, a Saudi newspaper, have been not only repeated in other publications, but have been ‘splashed’ across the Internet – yes, also by me.
One obvious comment is whether the guy is still alive, let alone able to walk the streets in safety.
Just to balance this story (as the Jerusalem Post has), there is mention of one of those who commented online who is a Palestinian (he could have called himself an Israeli Arab, which would have foreseen a different tone of comment).
He says there are still problems with Israel – and the Palestinian Authority are idiots. Well, allow me to say that if you are 64 years into the wrong direction (not accepting peace with the new Nation, Israel, in 1948), such a comment about Israel would be the least to expect. And the criticism of the PA is just an endorsement of the Saudi’s comments.
The ‘Nakbah’ (the ‘catastrophe) that is ‘celebrated’ by Palestinians commemorates the loss of the 1948 War of Independence against Israel. They don’t need to change the name – only the definition. And that was, in my opinion at least, the decision not to make peace with Israel. End of story.
Early Elections in Israel
Clever Netanyahu again. Not everyone’s first choice, but now it appears that his recent public ’embarrassment’ was nothing of the sort. He emphasised the need to draw a red line; defining the moment after which Iran’s nuclear facilities have to be attacked. And he appeared to be pandering to the US majority, gambling that Romney would win the US election.
No…..He was actually directing his words to the Israeli people. There are a lot of subjects on the Israeli political table. Security – and Israel’s relationship with the US has a high priority. Economics, social welfare etc. etc. are unpredictable. Security is no-brainer; Israelis want their leader to at least appear to be strong. Netanyahu’s doing just that.
By the way, the main reason for the call for earlier-than-necessary elections was the fact that the PM knew he could not pass the budget. That some of his right-wing religious coalition partners would not budge on the need to reduce benefits for, e.g. the (excessive number of) kids in religious families and the draft (for religious students).
He feels that early elections would give him a chance to gain more power (he is not only quite popular right now; the opposition is in disarray) – and to re-ararnge his coalition around more amenable partners.
Will Israel attack Iran?
Well, some are also asking whether Israel would ‘go it alone’ etc. But…some US poll asked (only) 750 Americans what they thought of an Israeli attack, and 55% said it would be bad for the US. Well….in my opinion, and I really do mean this in the wrong way, I am not sure that 55% of Americans could point Israel out on the map!
And I mean Americans across the board, not Americans who read Stephen’s letter. My very reason for writing this letter (for so many years) is that non-Israelis too often form an opinion about Israel without having decent knowledge – and most without first-hand knowledge. Ignorance is bliss – not a forum for opinion.
Welcome, Mr. Ambassador!
Walid Obeidat was recently made Jordan’s ambassador in Jerusalem. (I write ‘Jerusalem’, and that’s correct. But, as you of course know, there are no embassies in Jerusalem. They’re all in Tel Aviv). Despite the desperate need for diplomatic communication, Jordan’s last envoy was pulled back in July 2010.
Mr. Obeidat is due to present his credentials to our friend, President Peres, some time later this month. In the meantime, he has to survive threats from many parts of Jordan’s society, including members of his own family.
Please do NOT think that ‘private English education, and a fine English accent, made King Hussein and the current king, his son, Abdullah even close to moderate in this never-ending conflict. Jordan, like Saudi, is “free of Jews’.
Jordan is the real home for the Palestinians. The East Bank.
Jordan has a peace treaty with Israel – because it is weak, and knows that it cannot do anything against Israel’s might. But Abdullah is a master of double-speak.
And the threats to his ambassador prove it.
The Galilee is at its highest for 6 years
It is still surprising for many to discover that the Dead Sea is not the only one in Israel that is way below sea level. The Biblical Galilee (known in Israel as the Kinneret – which is another word for violin, as the sea shape can be likened to the shape of the instrument) is currently 213 meters below. Yet it is a freshwater sea. It’s fish are very tasty (and you will recall that Jesus’ Disciples were fishermen).
So how come the level is up, if the winters have not been so wet? Good reasons, it so happens:
After 7 years of ‘drought’, a normal Winter raised the level slightly.
Our desalination and water recycling systems are improving all the time, and this reduces the need for Galilee water.
Education: we are now using far less water pumped from the sea than ever before. We are ‘listening to advice’. (And you thought we Israelis were not good at listening).
Azriel Cohen dies
Who? This strange 47 year-old, a Canadian-born Israeli, died a couple of days ago, while visiting family in Toronto. If you are what I call a ‘spiritual traveller’, like our daughters, you will have heard of the man. He was a man who ‘expressed himself through photography, watercolours, performance art, movement, music, multimedia, healing, video, sketches, leadership and words’.
(I could never have written such a list). Seems everyone in ‘that world’ knew the man, and had more than likely met him. For he seems to have been everywhere, which of course included Tibet, and meeting the Dalai Lama.
Another side of Israel of which even I had never heard.
And something non-Israeli…
Those pictures of Greeks comparing Angela Merkel and Germany to the Nazis. I’m sorry, but that’s ridiculous. Not so much the accusation itself, which is self-evidently ridiculous. No, it’s the act that these people, all 10 of them?, like the ‘52% of Americans mentioned above, receive publicity and fame that is RIDICULOUS!!!
Need I say more?
Finally, I sent you pictures – and even a poem, about a sunset last week. Well, we’ve had a few more sunsets since then, and I’ve been on the sea-front again…
CAN SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN THESE BLUE RAYS??
THE SUN RE-APPEARS…BEFORE DISAPPEARING.
IT’S THERE, SOMEWHERE.