Be warned: I have no answers. I do have questions, and I do have thoughts. Consider this a stream of consciousness post, with a dash of analysis.
First off, the mission in Gaza that went wrong. Was it a mission of the highest priority that absolutely had to be carried out, regardless of the risk to the potential truce? Or was it less than that, but the army went for it, anyway? My gut tells me it’s the latter, but Bibi and co say it’s the former. I am skeptical. However, there might be a third possibility. It has been suggested to me that Israel regularly penetrates into Gaza, entirely unknown to Hamas. So successful have these penetrations been that they are not seen as risky, but routine. Then Murphy’s Law (or Moshe’s Law?) struck this one time, and all hell broke loose. For sure, I don’t think anyone in the IDF wanted to put a potential truce at risk, but they did. Continue reading
This may be a first. Companies in Israel have been making money by paying too much tax.
I’ll pause while you take that in.
In essence, after a reduction in the tax rate, companies did not reduce their tax payments. Whether this was done deliberately or otherwise is not certain. However, when it came time to reconcile payments, these companies were due a refund. And here’s the kicker. The refunds attracted interest at 4%, a rate higher than the companies could have received had they paid the money into a bank… In short, the tax man became a kind of bank!
The worst effect is that because of this somewhat strange set of circumstances, the budget predictions are off, and the state is looking at a deep deficit. Oh dear.
Check out the report in Globes, here.
Only in Israel?
Ra’anana held a rally last night (after Shabbat) in support of the community in Pittsburgh. There were several speakers, including Daniel Shapiro, former USA ambassador to Israel who is now a Ra’anana resident. Another speaker was a nephew of Jerry Rabinowitz, one of the victims. All spoke from the heart, but the nephew was clearly in pain. The well attended event finished with Havdalah and Hatikvah.
Apparently, this rally happened not because of the Ra’anana Council, but from a Facebook post by a former Pittsburgh resident who wanted to do something to show solidarity and support. The post went viral, and the rally duly took place. Video of the event was sent to those sitting Shivah. Sometimes, social media makes a positive difference.
I hope it’s the last time I go to such an event. I hope it’s the last time there is a need for such an event.
Without having any evidence to back it up, I have always thought that Stephen King was a good guy. (Though I think I remember him offering to pay more tax, because he could, and thought he should.) This Guardian story – Stephen King sells film rights for story to Welsh teenagers for $1 – suggests I might be right.
Nice one, Stephen.
It’s a generally well recognized phenomenon in politics, that in opposition it is easier to promote extremist policies, than it is to put them in practice, if elected. Often, there are solid, practical – rather than ideological – barriers to implementation.
That thought popped into my mind on reading the Jerusalem Post article about the special honor being granted by the UK to Israeli businessman Haim Shani.
It positively burned brightly when I read this part:
In recent years, bilateral trade between Israel and the UK has repeatedly broken records, reaching $7.2b. in 2016 and $9.1b. in 2017, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics. The UK is the second largest trading partner worldwide for Israeli goods, after the United States.
Were Jeremy Corbyn to be elected, would this be a barrier to his anti-Israel plans, or an encouragement?
This, from Guido Fawkes:
The EU has again blocked the publication of MEPs’ expenses, with Euro-judges today quashing a three-year battle by journalists to get the documents published after the European Parliament itself previously refused to hand over any details. The judges in the ECJ’s sister court ruled that the Parliament was right not to publish the documents as it would enable the MEPs to be individually identified.
Transparency? That’s so un-European…
Read the whole thing, here.
On the way home from the office, I saw this and nearly wept.
Bear in mind, this is no quiet side street. It’s one of the two main roads in and out of the commercial area in Ra’anana. This idiot – and I have full politeness mode on – decided to park half on the pavement, half off, directly blocking the pedestrian crossing.
Also note, this is one of the most dangerous pedestrian crossings in the city. (And, believe you me, there are plenty of close contenders.) It is badly signposted, with insufficient warnings, is partly obscured by nearby parked cars, and the white paint sorely needs a touch up.
I indicated to the gentleman driver (I may have called him something else. and I may have plumbed the deepest depths of my knowledge of Anglo Saxon expletives …) that he should park elsewhere. He resisted. I insisted. (I gave him some helpful physical indications as to what he should do.) He took the hint. He moved his car. I crossed the road, and wondered at the sheer stupidity and selfishness of the driver. By the time I arrived home, I was still troubled by it, hence the post.
Now I feel better!
The Independent‘s headline about the flareup in Gaza is, in a word, disgraceful.
No-one wants civilian casualties, but outside of video games, that’s what happens in war. And, of course, none of this would have happened if Hamas hadn’t been firing missiles and mortars.
Imagine the outcry if a similar headline had been posted by the Independent about, for example, British bombing attacks in Afghanistan and their civilian casualties. (Funnily enough, you may have missed the detailed coverage. There wasn’t any of substance.) .But, because it’s Israel that is (deliberately) targeted by this vile narrative, whatever criticism is raised will be ignored, and the demonization will continue.
They hate us. And they want everyone else to as well.
From Harry’s Place:
The PSC site has this in their commentary on the defeat:
Campaigners are concerned about threats to freedom of expression in the UK on Palestine as well as Westminster overreach in local democracy.
Yeah, right. BDS is all about freedom of expression. So long as you have the same views as BDS, that is.
I would be pleasantly surprised if the PSC went bust. Probably some crowdfunding campaign will ride to the rescue. Even if they do go bust, they will rise from the ashes, walk away from their debts, and reform as the Campaign for Palestinian Solidarity, or the People’s Campaign for Palestinian Solidarity, or something similar. Judean People’s Front, anybody?