Thursday, October 17, 2002

Ben-Eliezer seems to be intent on removing the illegal outposts in the West Bank. His opponents say that his motives are political, i.e. trying to appease his dovish constituency. I am tempted to say: "Duh?" That is the parliamentary system, and like every other it is not perfect. Besides, regardless of his politics, this happens to be his job, and he is doing it.

I happen to support the notion that Israel should be able to maintain and allow for a natural expansion of the existing settlements. I am not so sure whether building new settlements is a good idea at this point. However, regardless of my views on the issue itself, one thing that I am sure about is that law and order have to be enforced, no matter what the policy is. Just as one needs a permit to build in Tel-Aviv, one should need a permit to build in the West Bank. Without a permit, build at your own risk of having the structure removed.

I would also like to point out to some of Ben-Eliezer's protesters, who think that removing the illegal outposts appeases the Arabs, that they are illegal under Israeli, not the PA law. If we have claims to that land, we at least have to show that we exercise real control over what is happening there.
The margin looks much better, doesn't it? Hope it stays this way...Thank you Steve for the tip, and thank you Steve for offering help. You are wonderful blogfathers!
Today I realized why did Peres make a point of mentioning Rabin yesterday: it is the seventh anniversary of his death.

To me, Rabin was part of the Israeli landscape. He was there when I first came in '74, and he was there when I left in'90. He belonged to a group of people who from a very young age dedicated their lives to their homeland. Most started in the Haganah, Etzel and Lehi, and later served in the IDF. Rabin, like Yigal Alon, Moshe Dayan, Arik Sharon, Rehavam Zeevi, Rafael Eitan, and a few others, fought in all the wars that were forced upon their country from the War of Independence to the Yom Kipur War.
They subscribed to different ideologies, they all made plenty of mistakes - big and small. But all of them served their nation the best they knew how.
In many ways, Rabin had much more in common with people like Sharon and Zeevi, than the likes of Peres, Beilin or Sarid, with whom he found himself in the same political camp.

I never came even close to voting Labor (let alone anything further left), but with Rabin, part of my country's history of which I am proud was gone.
Update: Imshin (no permalinks?) comments on this as well, and I agree with every word.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

We just cannot let go of that security blanket. MK Tzvi Hendel tried again to pass a law that would nullify the Oslo agreements. The initiative failed again 29:13.
Shimon Peres has made a fiery speech, defending the agreements: "Oslo is not dead, it is alive and well, and it has a status of a law. It is part of the coalition agreement".
Peres also said that had Rabin been alive, he would have agreed with him. Hendel pointed out that Rabin could not stand Peres. No one has a way of knowing the former, but the latter is common wisdom in Israel.
Via YNet (Yediot Aharonot - in Hebrew, free subscription required).
OK, let's see... Husband is off to Israel for 2 weeks, which means more time for blogging. The kid is "sick", and thus bored at home, and Friday is "teacher duty day"(???), i.e. no school, which means less time for blogging.

I am assuming that most of you read either JP or Haaretz (or both), and that most of you do not understand Hebrew. That is why I'll occasionally try to quote/comment on something I pick up at the 2 major Israeli dailys, and/or the Israeli radio/TV - all on the web. Isn't technology awsome?

Speaking of technology, does anyone know why does my template do this to my margins?

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Radio Voice Of Israel quotes israeli "security sources" as saying that they think OBL is dead. No, I do not read "Debka".
They also list the different countries where alQaida has significant presence, among them many European countries. The report says authorities in these European countries do not think alQaida poses a direct threat to them.
It is a mad, mad, mad world. People vacation on an idillic island, and the next thing you know they are body parts, strewn all over the place. They go to work in a very tall bulding, or fly in an airplane, or shop at the mall, or ride a bus, and the next thing you know they turn into body parts. We are getting used to it. We are less and less shocked every time it happens. We are even less shocked when it happens in places where it has happened before, like Israel or India. We are also less shocked when it happens in a far away place we have never been to. We are less shocked when the people to whom it happened are different from us, ethnically, religiously, racially. (This is also true with any kind of incident with a large death toll, like natural disasters). This is a natural defensive mechanism we are lucky to have: if we mourned with the same intensity for every single death we hear about in the news, we would all have to be confined to a mental institution very soon.

I have to admit I am not as shocked by the Bali attack as many Americans are. Maybe it is because I have never been to Australia or Bali. I do not know any Australians - well, not outside the cyberspace. Or maybe because I was not really surprised by it. I am very saddened by the fact that more innocent people have lost their lives, or their loved ones, or became disfigured for life. I am also saddened by the fact that I am not shocked.

My son was almost 8 on 9/11/01. He has been hearing about the terrorist attacks in Israel day in and day out for more than a year by then. When he first heard about what happened in NYC and Washington, and who was responsible, he said: "It is getting closer..."

Update: Andrew Sullivan links to this poll by the Guardian, which indicates a rise in support for the war in GB, following the Bali attack. It is not surprising.
People are funny. You give them free ice cream, and they complain about the flavors and the number of scoops...

Monday, October 14, 2002

Don't judge the cover by the book, or somethig like that...


I first ran into Joseph Alexander Norland on Israpundit, where he is a regular contributor. Joseph is such a staunch supporter of Israel, that I have authomatically assumed that he must be Jewish. After a brief correspondence between us, it became clear that this was not the case. OK, I thought, so we have another Christian, who thinks that God has given that land to the Jews, so that later they can all see the light (i.e. find Jesus), and convert en masse (or burn in hell for eternity). That's OK, I thought. We can use all the help we can get now, and worry about hell later. Well, after a few more e-mails it turnes out the guy is an atheist. What can I say? It used to be you could not tell who your friends are. These days you cannot tell who are you enemies, either. As a kid in Russia it used to be very simple and clear to me: most people don't like Jews. (Later, in Israel I even found plenty of Jews who don't like Jews). I am all confused now. NPR is full of Jews, and Pat Buchanan is a devout Christian (or am I wrong?). People are a very interesting species...