Tag Archives: Israel

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?


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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

Encounters with Israelis

The Obama Netanyahu confrontation has been on my mind, although I find it more appealing to write about the more mundane things. It’s hard for me to contribute new ideas to the political discourse when so much has been said before. It is also hard to wrap my brain around these scary, existential issues without feeling depressed and pessimistic.

The day-to-day personal experiences and encounters are easier to digest, take apart and relate to others. For me, it is easier to draw the extraordinary and profound from the ordinary and mundane than the reverse. Nevertheless¬† I will make some time to write about the socio-political situation here. Just not yet…

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Grateful for the Little Things

As I was coming home from university today, I took the opportunity to look around my neighborhood and consider myself lucky. Although I am 10 minutes walk from the hustle and bustle of main street Kfar Saba (i.e. Weizman Street) my hood feels far removed from all of that balagan.

I live in one of several apartment buildings that encircle a small park/playground with some of the loveliest and tallest trees in Kfar Saba. During this time of year there is a certain tree that bursts into purple blossoms (I wish I knew what it was called!) so parts of the park are splashed with this vibrant color. In the mornings and afternoons you can hear clear, melodious bird calls. As afternoon becomes evening and on Saturdays, the park rings with voices of children and parents. One of the best parts about this apartment is that it affords a view of all of this local, quiet beauty so I never feel far from nature and community.

Whoever decided on the street where my apartment resides couldn’t have picked a better name. It’s Hashalom, and shalom, as you probably know, means peace.

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