There’s no avoiding Ukraine’s dominance of much of the news. The story deserves it, from so many aspects.
We are all doing what we can for that cruelly-attacked country. Of course Zelenskyy is asking for more; that’s his job. And of course, we all give less than he wants; that’s our job. In the case of Israel, Zelenksyy is using his Jewish background to the full. Can’t blame him for that. (Sorry, but I have to mention the fact that of the 17 UN resolutions re Israel during his presidency, Ukraine has voted against Israel 13 times, and abstained the other 4 times. Not one vote for his beloved Motherland).
But we are doing our bit – to the full – especially as there are still large numbers of Jews in both Russia and Ukraine. Of course, Israel being a) far away, and b) one of the World’s most expensive countries, it’s not high on even the Ukrainian Jewish refugee’s list.
Other news covers the fact that terrorism in Israel is rearing its ugly head again. 5 days ago, a Palestinian rammed his car into people in Beersheba, got out and knifed more, before a civilian killed him. 4 dead and several more injured.
A Jewish jogger was stabbed and injured a week ago while running through a residential district of West Jerusalem. A day later, two Israeli police officers were stabbed and injured in East Jerusalem.
Now, yesterday, 2 dead and 6 injured in a ‘shooting incident’ in Hadera, a town halfway between here (Tel Aviv) and Haifa. The shooters were then killed by police. They were from an Arab Israeli town, and claimed to be members of ISIS.
This connects slightly to the chat I had yesterday with Peter, a long-time friend of Aviva from her kibbutz days. He and Ora live in Ein Yahav, a moshav (co-operative) in the Arava desert region. (This is an area east of the Negev desert, running perhaps 150 km. from the Dead Sea in the North up to Eilat in the South). The moshav is in the North, about 100m below sea level. The whole area is covered with farming, both exposed (trees, bushes etc.) and indoor. Peter grows primarily peppers, including the brown type that have become very popular. (See attached pictures).
Our chat focused a lot on the sad relationship with Jordan. His workers are now a mix of Bedouin from the Negev and Thais. But it used to include Jordanians. Now, despite the ‘open border’, no one crosses. It is a very strange peace. If Jordanian security is scared of anything, it’s Arab penetrators from their own side. Jordan is a poor landlocked country. Tourism is one of it’s main economies. Petra is only 30 km away. Nothing must frighten the tourists…certainly not terrorism.
We also travelled via Sde Boker yesterday, the kibbutz that was home and burial place to David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister – and was the meeting place yesterday of historical proportions. Foreign Minister Lapid (due to be PM next year as per a rotation agreement with Bennett) met with US Sec. of State Blinken and 4 Arab Foreign Ministers – from Bahrain, Morocco, UAE and Egypt. (For some stupid reason, Jordan did not attend. Why not!!).
I was not the first and only one to get excited about the ‘Abraham Accords’ signed last year. It is no longer Israel against the rest in the Middle East. Look at it from whatever angle you wish, the fact is that a new alliance is brewing, with Iran and it’s cohorts on the other side. (Turkey does not seem to be able to decide where to stand right now. It was very strange to see the official welcome our President Herzog received last week in Ankara, including our national anthem and guard of honour).
Where were/are the Palestinians in all this?