June 27, 2013
Every country has its problems – its own problems. Problems that really are not interesting to outsiders. (Many of you will have travelled to a country with its own language, and read the ‘English Daily’, published for the tourists. It is usually so BORING!).
Well, that may be the case with Israel. You may or may not be interested in the fact that security is not always our top priority. ‘Aren’t you scared when you walk the streets?’ is what I am often asked. ‘Oh, we get used to it’ is often my answer, or words to that effect. And that is true. We have had the ‘Palestinian problem’ since long before the establishment of the State of Israel.
(Actually, it’s the ‘problem with the local Arabs’, as they have referred to themselves as Palestinians only recently – during the British Mandate era, the Jews were the Palestinians).
Just take a look at some of the main subjects in the Jerusalem Post:
Abbas accepts Hamdallah’s resignation.
Well, the first subject actually does refer to the Palestinian Authority, whose P.M. has resigned after 3 weeks. Basically, Rami Hamdallah does not want to be President Abbas’ puppet. But that’s politics….
Goverment approves keeping 60% of natural gas in Israel.
Israel is recently discovered enormous amounts of shale in the Negev desert. We shall become an oil-exporting nation….Nice. But, as has been widely reported, our gas fields in the Med. are now starting to produce – big quantities. The citizens rightly want much of the gas to be used here, to help reduce the economic woes currently strangling the country.
A 53% cap was originally suggested by the government, with some mentioning a figure as low as 40% , in order to boost foreign revenue (and perhaps the pockets of the many involved). So, the people (remember them) have won a major battle, and we expect fuel bills and many other related overheads to be reduced.
Sudanese migrant stabs 6 people in south Tel Aviv.
Don’t give me that rubbish about Palestinians feeling like 2nd class citizens in this country! This is one of my favourite subjects: rebuffing extremely unfair and unbalanced criticism of Israel. The fact is that every country has its 2nd class citizens. Look in your own back yard before looking at Israel.
In Israel, the Palestinians can join the others at that door. This very new country is taking in enormous quantities of immigrants. The Russian ‘invasion’ alone upped the population by over 20% at the time. That would be over 10 million in the UK! We’ve had sudden influx of over 70,000 Ethiopians. The Moroccans still feel they have the wrong end of the stick. Ask the Arab Christian Israelis how they feel (see below). And so on.
In recent times, Israel has taken in many thousands of ‘political refugees’, from Sudan, Somalia and other northern African countries. In fact, our doors have been far more really open than most of their physical neighbours. But is has created a real immigrant problem, and south Tel Aviv has areas that are almost no-go. We need another such problem like a hole in the head.
Dark Days for the Chief Rabbinate.
I won’t go deeply into this – only to inform that this is a very interesting aspect of Israeli/Jewish life. The Jews never did have a papal-like Chief Rabbi until the Ottoman Empire and the Mandate rule under the British.
Ben-Gurion, our first PM, was easily persuaded by the British to continue this newtradition, in order a) to keep peace between what was then feared to become a problem between religion and state, and b) by creating separate Ashkenazi and Sephardi Chief Rabbis, keep peace between the two main Jewish communities (the former consisting of the mainly central European Jews, and the latter, the descendants of the Spanish Jews, having settled primarily in northern Africa and the Arab world, but also from such unlikely areas as Greece, Holland, Bulgaria…).
Why ‘dark days’? Well, there’s so much division between the many Jewish sects, that few take much notice of the authority of the C. R.’s office. Unless, of course, it’s their ‘boy’ who’s in office. Then they of course will take full advantage. The question is often being asked today whether the C. R. is even necessary any more.
Intervention in Syria.
With the death toll now reaching the 100,000 mark, nobody appears to even have the time to remember that they criticised Israel for not being able to speak either to Assad or his father about their bilateral problems. Would you buy a car from Assad? Then why give them the Golan Heights?
Facing realities: The Iranian regime and Islamic fundamentalism.
Ooof! These subjects become so monotonous. Yet the minute Rohani was elected last week, the word ‘moderate’ was flashed across the screens. Wake up!!
Backing radicals has never worked.
Barry Runi, who’s written several books on the subject, reminds us of the number of times western society has put faith in the ‘rebels’, in the hope that ‘all will be OK’. Now the World is pondering how to help the Syrian rebels, which in itself is fair enough.
But don’t expect Assad’s enemies a) to be organised, b) to be united, and c) to strive towards anything like what wecall democracy. One predictable factor is that the Islamic fundamentalists/extremists/whatever will gain more power. (Poor Hezbollah: they really don’t know what to do. Their support of Assad was expected, but for them it’s a lose-lose situation. Yes!!
Father Nadaf. He’s a leader in the Christian community. In fact, he’s an Israeli Greek Orthodox priest. How’s that for a title. And he is a supporter of more integration by his community into Israeli society, including serving in the IDF and contributing to community services. So of course he is criticized by many in the Israeli Arab community, who oppose peaceful cohabitation. Kudos to the man.
And finally, McDonald’s has refused to open a branch in the new mall in Ariel, the largest town (settlement) in Judaea and Samaria (the West Bank). So the settlers are calling for a boycott of McDonalds – and Burger Ranch are ‘moving in’. They’re our local burger chain; we used to have MacDavid, but it didn’t make it.