# 351 – The Other Side by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
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# 351 – The Other Side

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

The Other Side


On my first trip to USSR in the late 70s, before THE changes, I remember complimenting an Intourist guide on the positives of much that I saw: free medical and dental services, free education, efficient transport system (the beautiful underground rail system), the fantastic Bolshoi and national circus, etc.


She said that yes, they have a lot of bread, a little bit of butter, but no jam. We went on to agree that nothing’s perfect, and that one could take a 24-hour movie of life in the USA of those days (or most other ‘western societies’) and see only negative (and it’s perhaps worse today).


My ‘Letters from Israel’ usually take the form of defending the country, as it is so constantly under fire from all sides. It’s not enough that those who come here are always positively surprised; for not enough come here. (Tourism is nearly always on a successful and constant rise, but that’s still only a few million).

But, occasionally, I do gotta ‘come clean’ and own up to the fact that it’s not all honey and roses here. So, in perfect disorder, here are some of the negatives we face in Israel –


– The drivers really are bad here – dangerously so. We don’t see the authorities doing enough. Yes, cameras to catch and fine us for driving in the bus lane, but stopping us from killing more on the roads than terrorists across the whole country is not happening. We really need transport cops to be seen on the roads, preventing and educating, instead of cleaning up the horrible mess after the fact.


– Like in many countries, politicians have forgotten ‘needs of the country’ and are looking out for themselves. The political situation here is a disaster, with the 3rd election in a year looming large. The PM is under indictment, and totally refuses to ‘step back for the good of the country’.


Hey, he’s got the longevity record, his achievements can fill 3 books and he’s actually built bridges with many previous international foes. Like Queen Elizabeth, he should have the common sense to quit while he’s still slightly ahead. Even the ex-Editor of the right-wing Jerusalem Post, Jeff Barak, slams the right-wing PM for his actions.


– Yes, the Arab Israelis do have a lot to complain about. Comparing their problems with the other ‘2nd-class citizens’ such as the Russian and Ethiopian immigrants of the last 20-30 years does not make it right. I actually would like to see some Arab MP’s in a coalition government.


Much could be done to improve their lives as Israeli citizens. That might result in a return to the split Arab parties of the last (some are moderate and are content to live in the Jewish State, and some are traitors). But that would help solve some of the geopolitical problems within the country.


– Ben Gurion initially made the mistake of allowing religion into politics, and this is now splitting the country badly. It must be remembered that there are many religious factions in the country. But their overall involvement in the running of the country is oppressive, and with their current birth rate, it can only get worse.


– Too many fat-cats running the economy. We are still a successful country with a booming economy, But the cost of living is sky-high, and the number of those under the poverty line is frightening.

– Of course, our national health system is constantly under pressure. That’s the same as in most countries. But education is now a big worry, with reports showing our standing within OEC countries is very bad. Not a positive sign for the future, and brain drain is a worry.


Perhaps it’s not my job to publicise negativity. But maybe it can be a form of reverse psychology and result in outsiders starting to like us. I mean, the knowledge that we’re bad drivers or have to wait 3 months to see a medical specialist can’t in any way result in anti-semitism, can it?

Don’t tell Aviva I wrote this….


December 9, 2019

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