Category Archives: israeli-palestinian conflict

The Chutzpah of Shas and Other Observations

Here’s one major reason why I don’t like Israeli coalition politics or why I really don’t like this coalition in particular: The Interior Minister and Chairman of Shas has told the Yesha Council of settlements that it will exploit its influence and resources to continue expanding settlements in the West Bank.

Haaretz has learned that Yishai has instructed officials at the Interior Ministry to come up with ways to help the settlers, by allowing continued construction within the major West Bank settlement blocs where building has stopped as a result of American pressure.”

Now Shas is one of the smaller parties to which Israel had to grant concessions like the Interior Ministry post in order for them to join. Now they are using their position to conduct a chutzpadik policy not to mention the fact that they find it perfectly all right to use my taxpayer money to fund the so-called “natural growth”  of these areas.

The Israeli government’s negative reaction to Obama’s pressure on stopping settlement growth also points to the chutzpah and cluelessness demonstrated by my fellow Israelis. The major complaint that gets me is that they claim they had an agreement with President Bush. And how could Obama not honor these promises? Um, well I hate to break it to you people, but when a new president comes in, he can enact a new policy so old promises really don’t chalk up to anything. Doesn’t everybody know this?


Loyalty Oath

I am still here with less than 2 weeks to go. Our wedding anniversary is this Thursday, and Eric asked me what I wanted. I jokingly told him I wanted a baby (although I wouldn’t mind going out to eat too). Who knows, he might decide to make an early appearance and be an anniversary present.

Besides obsessing about baby (which I think is a good thing), I wanted to breach a topics which has been in the Israeli and international news: the so-called Loyalty Oath espoused by Yisrael Beiteinu.

According to yesterday’s Haaretz

“The ministerial legislative committee rejected on Sunday a bill stating that those who wish to retain Israeli citizenship would have to declare their loyalty to Israel as a Jewish state.

The bill, put forth by Yisrael Beiteinu’s MK David Rotem, stated that oath would include a pledge of loyalty to Israel as a Jewish, Zionist, and democratic state, to its emblems and values, and serving Israel either through military service or through any equivalent alternatives.”

Thank G-d.  An initiative like this would have surely backfired. Of course I have no disillusions of Israeli Arabs ever accepting the Jewish, Zionist nature of this country. I think as far as they are concerned, they could accept Israel, but only as a secular State. And the anti-Israel declarations and demonstrations following the recent wars in Lebanon and Gaza are disturbing. Continue reading

The Depressing State of Israeli Politics

Hi everybody,

I’ve been on blog hiatus because of my university exams–but of course I’ve still found other ways to procrastinate my studying. The recent Israeli elections are causing me to come out of my hibernation and provide a few thoughts.

It looks like I’ve left one right-wing administration (Bush) for another one (Likud), which thrills me to no end. My aliyah was really bad timing!

I didn’t vote for one of the big three. I actually voted for the green party because I couldn’t warm up to Kadima or Labor, and I liked the values espoused by the greens. Perhaps in hindsight that was stupid because I could have been one of the people to hold down the fort. My party didn’t even win any seats. People like me split some of the left vote and not only detracted from Kadima/Labor but also helped Meretz lose seats. Ech. Continue reading

Israel in the Spotlight

Israel is getting a lot of attention these days, and unfortunately so are the Jews as antisemitic attacks and anti Israel rhetoric is on the rise.

You sure get a different perspective of the international response and international media once you’ve become an Israeli citizen. It never really dawned on me before this year how much focus there is on this tiny country compared to lots and lots of other places. Continue reading

Message from ICCI about Gaza

I’ve been getting lots of emails from both the right and left about how to handle the Gaza situation. I thought I would share with you Rabbi Ron Kronish’s letter from the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel’s monthly newsletter. I highlight this organization because it’s one that you may not know about, I used to work there, and it is working here on the ground in Israel on interfaith dialogue–a difficult task to accomplish in a climate of war. I always enjoy catching up with the work of this organization and hearing Ron’s eloquent words.

Dear friends,

I write this monthly message to you in the midst of the war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas.  This is a very delicate and dangerous time in Israel and the region.

On the one hand, the state of Israel needs to protect its citizens, as any other state would have the responsibility to do the same. When Hamas sends rockets and missiles to Israeli communities all over the southern part of the country, with almost one million Israeli citizens in danger, the leaders of the state cannot refrain forever from some defensive action.

Continue reading

Gaza Strike

I went online after Shabbat this evening to find that Israel went ahead with an airstrike on Gaza. I have mixed feelings about the whole situation. On the one hand, these types of military escalations can backfire and just make the Palestinians angrier. Do they really end up helping things in the long run, I wonder. Also civilian casualties, even when minimized, do result in these operations. The opposition uses these attacks as yet another propaganda weapon to show the oppressiveness and unjustness of the Occupation regime.

On the other hand, Israel has a right to protect its civilians who have been subjected to a continuing barrage of rocket fire. Some–particularly the right-wing–have been critical for its slow response to the Qassams as opposed to its aggressiveness towards the Palestinians. Also I can’t deny that I have misgivings about Hamas’ trustworthiness given its ideological bent and seeming efforts to take advantage of any openings on the Israeli side to inflict pain.

Surely the Gaza blockade and the military strikes create suffering for the Palestinians, but what are the options in terms of preventing the other side from augmenting its instruments of terror? If you allow everything to go into Gaza and if you don’t have incursions, how do you prevent weapons from being smuggled in. How do you know that the other side is just building up its resources until it can launch an even bigger attack?

And yet, how do you protect civilians without sabotaging efforts to create a lasting peace? Is it possible to reach a compromise or will each side find just one more thing, one more justification for continuing its actions? Will each side demand just one more thing in order to gain the upper hand?

If anyone happens to stumble upon this blog, I welcome comments. But please no rants. I am actually looking for observant, insightful and thoughtful comments which actually have evidence to back them up. Otherwise I just won’t post them.

The Holiday Season

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur have come and gone here, but we are still in the midst of the holiday season, with Sukkot starting Tuesday night. It’s hard to get anything done during this time of year–you’re always getting ready for the next chag plus shabbat too. So there’s a lot of time spent food shopping and cooking if you end up hosting all of the meals (which I didn’t). Even if you don’t host each meal, it’s a very busy time.

Luckily for Rosh Hashana, we were invited for almost every meal by people of Ner Kedoshim, the orthodox shul that we’ve been frequenting here. By the time the chag was over, I was ready to go on a diet! Continue reading