Where Have I Been?

Hi there! You probably thought I have dropped of the face of the planet. No not yet.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I haven’t wanted to write posts in the past few months. Let’s see, Bibi’s new government, the Obama/Bibi confrontation, the crappy Israeli budgetary process not to mention my own personal life would have provided ample sources of inspiration. But for some reason I’ve always gotten carried away with other projects. It might have to do with the fact that I am having a baby or that I am a lazy perfectionist.

Well to keep it simple, let’s just provide an update on my life. The political world can be left to the msm and other bloggers for now. So here goes: Continue reading

What’s Wrong with This Picture.

I am in the midst of studying for my Israeli Society exam, a killer of an exam because most of the material is in Hebrew and tends to be fairly academic. I feel that once this exam is over I’ll be able to breathe somewhat easier.

Even though I should be studying right now, the ridiculous state of Israeli politics is leading me out of my seclusion to speak out against the infuriating tactics of Kadima.

After Netanyahu attempted to bring Kadima into his coalition several times, giving Livni 2/3 major posts as well as full partnership in government, she has refused. And the reason: Netanyahu hasn’t caved into Livni’s demands to declare support for a two-state solution. She claims that there is another way of doing politics (I guess one that doesn’t involve compromising on issues like this).

Of course I don’t like Likud’s stance on the Israeli Palestinian conflict. And I think it important to stand up for one’s principles. But I feel like Kadima is using the Israeli-Palestinian issue as an excuse. Since when did they get so peace-loving? It’s not like they did that much during their rule of power to further the peace process along.

Furthermore, while I understand the importance of sticking to one’s ideals, I see the pragmatic ramifications of Livni’s refusal to be catastrophic for Israeli politics and society. In fact I think the refusal borders on selfishness and a lack of vision. Instead of separating herself from the usual politics, I think she has done more to show herself as yet another Israeli politician without long-term, strategic thinking. Her actions demonstrate that she is not keeping the interests of the Israeli people in mind.

The thing that worries me most is that now Likud will be forced to create a narrow right-wing government compromising all of those groups whose policies and principles I do not agree with. A government which the Israeli electorate did not choose and which will grant disproportionate power and resources to undeserving parties. This coalition is an insult to the words ‘representativeness’ ‘responsiveness’ and ‘accountability.’

Kadima’s taking part in the opposition will do more to aggravate Israeli-Palestinian relations. If the party had become part of the government they could have played a moderating role. In addition, in order to bring some of these smaller right-wing parties on board, Likud may end up turning a blind eye to increased settlement construction if not outright encouraging it. Oh and did I mention that Lieberman is vying for the post of Foreign Minister?!

Moreover I fear that this government will enact domestic policies which fly in the face of my ideals. More money allocated for families having more children, more authority and legitimacy granted to right-wing religious streams and further delegitimization of alternative religious streams of Judaism.

People who don’t live here tend to think of Israel in one dimension–the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Well I have news for you. The domestic problems (particularly government accountability, corruption, governance) are JUST as important as the conflict. So yes, I do think about the peace process, but I also have to worry about these unpalatable domestic issues which we will now face because we are dealing with a very narrow-interest oriented government. Furthermore if the domestic problems are not addressed, they will hinder solving the Israeli Palestinian crisis.

This country needs to go through some serious changes. If we are to survive we have to create a new vision for what this place should be, a vision that is devoid of personal politics and instead addresses long-term and collective interests

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

It’s a boy!

I could ruminate intellectually about the Gaza withdrawal and the U.S. elections, but at this point I’m not in the frame of mind to do so. Instead I’ll focus on some recent news about the little sabra.

I’m more than halfway through the pregnancy and the idea of bringing a child into this world is becoming more real. Which means that I am becoming more scared 🙂 I really want to be a good parent, and the task ahead is humbling and overwhelming. I would ruminate more about this, but I really should be going to bed soon. Okay, I promise more thoughts later.

Two weeks ago, Eric and I went to our second trimester ultrasound and the baby definitely looks bigger than the last time I saw him. Him. Yes, we found out that it’s a boy! I think finding out the sex made it that much more real. It also means that I get my nephew’s baby clothes, which is an added plus.

Thank goodness everything looks okay and we’re on track with everything. I am also on track with my belly growth and weight gain 🙂 I’ve had to start adding a few items to my wardrobe to account for the burgeoning.

And this past week, I started feeling the baby kick! It felt like little bubbles and stomach grumblings at first, but I know now that it is actually not my body but somebody else who is making all of that movement. I remember he was especially active during my statistics lecture. Weird!

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

The Bigger Picture

I read an article by Gershon Baskin this morning that put some of Israel’s handling of the Israeli Palestinian conflict into perspective. I was specifically struck by this paragraph:

THE WAY that governments over the years have dealt with the Palestinian issue is not different than the way that our governments deal with any other strategic issue. We are always in the midst of a crisis. Our governments deal with crisis situations usually when it is too late to make an intelligently planned strategic change. Our governments are always “putting out fires” and only rarely invest the time and resources to develop a vision and long-term plans for reaching that vision.

Maybe someone should study the ME Peace process from the organizational behavior/public administration perspective, eh?

Check out the article here: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1231866575327&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull

Not all US olim are extremists

Hey!

I found this link on the ICCI newsletter, and thought it offered perspective on American olim that are doing some interesting work in Israel. As the title of the article says, not all olim are extremists that move to a remote part of the West Bank and shout obscenities at the news camera.

It seems to me that there are a lot of civil society organizations that are created by Americans. Why is that?

That is an issue which interests me and I am thinking about writing a thesis about it. What impact do these American olim have on Israeli society? Do American norms get transplanted here, or is there an adaptation process with Israeli norms that enables these organizations to thrive? What do you think?

I am still thinking about whether I want to do a thesis. I have the option of writing a thesis or taking more classes. It will be a juggling act trying to do school, raise a kid and write a thesis, but if I can find an insructer who will allow me more time to do it, I would seriously consider it.  Also, on the other hand, if I have to take more classes that means less time with the little bear and more time on campus. As it is I don’t like schlepping to campus 4 days a week. Ech.