# 247 – Carnival Time by Stephen Pohlmann - Illustrated by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
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# 247 – Carnival Time


Artwork: Stephen Pohlmann

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

March 16, 2014

It’s Carnival time in Israel –

Almost everyone dresses up. Not only the kids, but also the bank clerks, the bus drives and the newscasters, to name but some….

So we dress up, and laugh, happily burying the mess that continues to surround us.

# 247 – Carnival Time by Stephen Pohlmann - Illustrated by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
# 247 – Carnival Time by Stephen Pohlmann - Illustrated by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com

The weekend’s Jerusalem Post had a great article by Lawrence Rifkin, who describes himself as a Grumpy Old Man. Not sure I am Grumpy, but we seem to have thoughts in common – and a greying beard – and a replaced hip.

It’s an article I would happily have written – perhaps was about to, but in different words of course. I actually wrote to ‘Larry’, and got his OK to refer to his article.


First, that peace process. Lawrence says it’s going nowhere and most agree with him.

But then he mentions the 60 or so rockets that were fired a couple of days ago from Gaza. (Luckily, for everyone, no great damage – no injuries – I’m sure cartoonists could have a lot of fun with those who launched the rockets). Of course, Israel retaliated, and of course there could again be a ratcheting up of reactions, leading to God knows what.


But another article focuses on Hamas’ weakness. It was Islamic Jihad which claimed responsibility, and although you and I may be confused by all this, the IJ are now the extremists. Ain’t that always the case: you’re only the most extreme until someone else is more extreme. Slowly and surely, possibly without changing their stance, the original extremists become today’s moderates. It’s all relative.


In MY opinion, weakness and loss of power creates an atmosphere that could be used positively. Hamas, part of the Muslim Brotherhood clan, has lost partners in Syria, Egypt, Iraq. Qatar, the main sponsors of the Brotherhood (and Barcelona FC – and trying to take over Liverpool FC) is losing influence – rival Gulf States recently withdrew their ambassadors to protest Qatar’s continuing support for terrorism.


This may be the time to help open the doors to a) Hamas/Fatah reconciliation, and b) recognition of Israel as  Jewish state.

Gotta have hope.

Lawrence then reminds us (we don’t need reminding, but the rest of the World certainly does) that we stalked and captured a ship carrying Iranian missiles, rockets etc. from Syria, via everywhere and Egypt, destined for Gaza. (I’m very proud that my nephew was one of the commanders involved).


Then we accidentally shot a Jordanian judge on the border – another story…

And, fast becoming the major story in Israel, the battle with the ultra religious continues. One story was the mayoral elections is a town called Beit Shemesh, between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The original election, a few months ago, was won by the ‘Haredi’ candidate, Moshe Abutbul (more religious). Eli Cohen (less religious) lost.


There was found to be some vote-tampering, and the election was re-held last week. High turn-out, and the result was repeated – again very close.

Many in the town fear that, despite the split in the town being almost 50/50, more religious laws and customs will be filtered in.


Beit Shemesh has become a symbol of one of the most serious problems facing this tiny country. Geo-politics, and the power of the religious.

Officially, state and religious affairs are supposed to be separate – but think again.


A hope is that the current coalition. now 1 year in power, can introduce more laws – and atmosphere – that will make co-habitation between the two more ‘acceptable’.

Civil marriage is next on Yair Lapid’s agenda…


But the biggest issue if the refusal of most of the ‘Haredi’ to serve the country, either in the army or in doing some community service. Lawrence Rifkin focused on this.

He had had trouble last weekend getting into the Jerusalem office, due to the streets being full of black-clothed religious, protesting at the new laws gradually forcing them to serve.


Full? They were estimating 150,000 of them!! Females were there somewhere, but very separated. Main thoroughfares were clogged by religious men.

He almost had to battle his way through – and he was walking with a stick.


Two days later, Lawrence attended a graduation ceremony of paratroopers, his son among them. Not only was he naturally proud of his boy, he noticed that a decent number of the graduates wore kippas (they were religious). This was a reminder that there are many different levels of religious: believers, observers, fanatics etc.


And a sad reminder that a large number of very religious are only in Israel to await the coming of the Messiah. They do not believe in a state of Israel existing before that day. Very little compromise until then.

‘God help Israel when there’s peace’. has several meanings, all complicated.



PS – Just noticed John Kerry (you surely know who he is) says it’s not necessary to demand that Abbas, Palestinian President, recognises Israel as Jewish state. He says that Arafat (yes, Arafat!) stated the fact, so why should Abbas? Sorry, this is NOT right-wing of me, but considering the Palestinians have refused to recognise Israel since the UN resolution 181 in 1947, I feel we have EVERY right to this pre-condition. Sorry, John, I am sure you are good at a lot of things, but not this…

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