Bibi, Bennett, Liberman, and Gaza

The West’s warmonger is not waging war. What fools they are. Source: WikiMedia

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

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For Pittsburgh

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.

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SF in Israel

The current issue of Locus (a monthly science fiction and fantasy magazine) has a chunky part of it dedicated to the scene in Israel. There’s an introductory piece from Shedlon Teitelbaum, one of the editors of the newly released Zion’s Fiction, a good range of interviews (Shimon Adaf, Yael Furman, Guy Hasson, Aharon Hauptman, Keren Landsman, and Ehud Mainon) and a short review of ICon, the genre convention held in 2018.

I have zero involvement in the scene here, so the information was all new to me. Beyond being a reader of such genre fiction, I have rarely had the inclination to get involved in fan activity. I did attend one convention in Glasgow, but it was largely forgettable. My bucket list might include a visit to a World Science Fiction Convention at some point, but for now I am happy just being a reader and keeping (relatively) up to date thanks to Locus.

So far as the interviews were concerned, most mentioned what you might call the special situation of living in Israel. Presumably that is also reflected in the Hebrew language science fiction and fantasy output, though it will be a while before I want to delve into those and confirm for myself. However, Keren Landsman’s The Heart of the Circle is coming out in English in 2019 from Angry Robot (great name for a publisher) and that’s a must-buy, if only to support the author.

On the whole, if you want to know about the SF scene in Israel, the material is a good primer, and regardless is another opportunity for people to find out more about the country from other than the usual suspects in the media.

For my part, Zion’s Fiction is somewhere in my ‘to-be-read’ pile. I’ll get to it, sometime.

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Barrier or Encouragement?

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?

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Unfinished Business

Jaffa – and several parts of Tel Aviv – are undergoing gradual gentrification. I was surprised at the extent of this.

One block back from the somewhat rundown King George Street, for example, there are newly built, modern apartment blocks, with a price that partly explains why the city is supposedly one of the top ten most expensive in the world.

The old and the new. Near King George Street in Tel Aviv.

In Jaffa, just by the famous Gesher Theater, a tree lined shopping plaza with extensive underground parking, and a mix of boutiques and restaurants, is slowly building in popularity.

Jaffa mall, early morning, before the crowds

For all the challenges this young country has, there is plenty of good news.

There is also plenty of evidence that Israelis still haven’t figured out that asking a native English speaker’s advice is worth doing when it comes to signage.

Suits what exactly?

Do we really think Dor’s groom suits something or somebody? Himself? His bride? Being dressed up? Sold here?

Well, it made me laugh.

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Daft Parker of the Week

On the way home from the office, I saw this and nearly wept.

“It’s my car, and I’ll park where I want to, park where I want to…”

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.

What happened?

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!

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Independently Hostile

The Independent‘s headline about the flareup in Gaza is, in a word, disgraceful.

The Independent is vying for a new low in journalism standards

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.

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And now for a little good news

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?

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Tomorrow’s Headlines

Source: WikiMedia

Exhibit One (from the Times of Israel):

Hamas threatens to launch 5,000 fire kites, balloons Friday

Terror group prepares for fresh protests on Gaza border, warns Israeli communities will ‘live under a siege of kites’

Hamas on Thursday threatened to send 5,000 fire kites and balloons deep into Israeli territory on Friday, when the Gaza border will see another of the weekly “March of Return” mass protests, Palestinian and Israeli media reported.

The Palestinian terror group, the de facto ruler in the Strip, said at a press conference that the incendiary devices will be launched from various locations in Gaza during the protest, which will also mark the first day of the Eid al-Fitr Muslim holiday.

And here is Exhibit Two (also from the Times of Israel):

IDF fires warning shot at Gazans preparing ‘fire balloons’, launches airstrike

Palestinians say missile launched by Israeli drone caused no injuries, in second such incident in less than a day

The Israeli military fired a warning shot at a group of Palestinians who were preparing to launch an incendiary helium balloon toward Israel from the central Gaza Strip on Thursday afternoon, followed by another airstrike on “infrastructure” to prepare the arson devices.

“A short while ago, an aircraft fired a warning shot at a cell that was preparing to launch incendiary balloons in order to drive them away,” the military said in a statement.

A short while later, the Israel Defense Forces said it carried out an airstrike in the same area. The army identified the target as “infrastructure,” but would not elaborate.

According to media reports, the “infrastructure” was an outdoor facility that was being used by the cell to inflate the balloons and make the incendiary devices.

So tomorrow, the kite offensive will continue, and Israel will have to take serious military action.

I could be wrong, but I don’t see any meaningful outrage from the West about this naked terrorism. I don’t see so called pro-Palestinian supporters rising up in their masses, fessing up that this is an act of war, not to say counter productive, and denouncing it. The threat somewhat flies in the face of suggestions that these protests are peaceful. But never mind that. For now.

Anyway, I predict that tomorrow’s later headlines will include something along the following lines:

Gaza Kite Club Blown Up by Israeli Jets

Hamas Cultural Wing Youth Leader (Kite Section) Killed by Israeli Sniper

Innocent Kite Flyers Shot by IDF

Peaceful Kite Protesters Badly Wounded by

Palestinian Youth Burned by Petrol Set Alight by IDF

EU Criticizes Israel for Disproportionate Response to Kids’ Kites

I am sure you can come up with your own suggestions. Unfortunately, based on past events, the real headlines are bound to include some that are more offensive.

Hey BBC, the Independent and the Guardian, I am looking at you…

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Quote of the week

“Beyond the opinion that each one may have in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the cancellation of this party [game] is a victory for hatred, fear and terrorism. The World Cup has not started yet, but the Argentine national team has already lost its first points.”

Argentinian journalist Gabriel Chocron, as quoted by the Elder of Ziyon, here.

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