Rocket Man

This morning’s targeted killing of Islamic Jihad‘s loose cannon, Baha Abu al-Ata, generated not only the inevitable rocket barrage response, but a flurry of social media funnies.

One wit shared a mock announcement from Tel Aviv Council that the public bomb shelters would be open, with a 20 shekel charge for the first hour, then 7 shekels for every further 15 minutes…

Another asked that since schools and businesses were already closed, wouldn’t it be a good idea to have the next election today?

And then the Times of Israel delivered this journalistic jape:

Sometimes, you just have to laugh!

No excuse for racism. Not even for Bibi.

Last week, the Elder of Ziyon posted an article: How to explain “racist” Netanyahu’s unprecedented support of Arabs?

The story claims (probably correctly) that Netanyahu governments have given substantial preferential treatment by way of aid to Israel’s Arab minority. And done without claiming credit or publicity.

Why? The Elder dismisses other explanations and offers the following:

Which brings us to the real answer.

Netanyahu has a vision for Israel’s strength and security for the next century. That is, and has been, his paramount goal. He cannot accomplish that goal without winning elections – the opposition parties simply do not share his strategic vision, if they have one at all.

To win elections, Bibi has to sometimes appeal to the less liberal elements of his party and of Israeli society. If he doesn’t win, in his mind, Israel loses.

Bibi’s supposed “racism” is public – he doesn’t give a damn if people think he is racist because if he doesn’t win, nothing can be done to help Israel in his mind. His true attitudes towards Arabs are revealed by what he does behind the scenes, and the anecdote that the article begins with shows that he has done far more to help Arab society in Israel than any previous prime minister from any party.

Do you buy that? I don’t.

Read the whole thing to make sure I am not misrepresenting the position.

The Elder’s position appears to be that it’s OK for Netanyahu to be racist – which he undoubtedly was – because, in the long term, the end (Bibi’s rule) justifies the means. That is irresponsible and dangerous. Die hard Bibi fans like the Elder can try and excuse his dreadful behavior, but ultimately they must fail because there is never an excuse for it. Never. It’s plain wrong. Would we excuse antisemitic behavior from anyone?

As a separate issue, Bibi’s achievements are not all they are cracked up to be, and his failings are many. I do not fall into the camp that demonizes Bibi, but this almost deification is way off base.

On this point, the Elder and I see things very differently.

Yom Kippur

From the Times of Israel:

More than 60 percent of Jewish Israelis plan on fasting during the Yom Kippur holiday this year, according to a new poll by the Israel Democracy Institute ahead of the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

Polls are to be taken with a pinch of salt, but in this case the result matches anecdotal evidence.

Yom Kippur begins on Tuesday at sundown and ends Wednesday night. Also known as the Day of Atonement, the holiday is marked with a 25-hour fast. While many religious Jews observe Yom Kippur by attending daylong synagogue services at which they pray for forgiveness and a good new year, more secular Israelis often use the day to ride bicycles on the country’s deserted highways.

A couple of times I’ve been along to the main drag in Ra’anana to watch the cycling balagan that goes on there. It’s very much worth seeing.

According to the IDI, 60.5% of Jewish Israelis plan to fast on Yom Kippur, while 27.5% do not, 5% plan on only drinking liquids and 7% haven’t decided.

 

The think tank said the poll’s results tracked closely with a 2000 survey that found 63% said they planned to fast, but was a significant drop from a 1994 survey that found 73% planning on fasting.

Suspect that fall in numbers who plan on fasting is about right.

Though most Israeli Jews will be fasting, only 23% of those surveyed said that they would attend the day’s lengthy synagogue services. Nineteen percent said they plan on attending some, 12% plan to come to synagogue just to hear the shofar — the traditional ram’s horn blown at the conclusion of the holiday — and 39% do not plan to attend at all.

 

Israel shuts down on every year on Yom Kippur, with public transportation, government services and television broadcasters ceasing operations for the duration of the holiday.

To those who are fasting, may you have a meaningful fast. And may it be a fast fast. To those of you marking the day in your own spiritual way, I hope it works for you.

!גמר חתימה טובה

 

Rosh Hashanah

To those who celebrate the Jewish New Year, may it be a good and sweet year.

To those in the preceding group who live in Israel, my additional wish is that it be a year free of elections.

Elections and Peace

This post was triggered by a comment I saw on Facebook:

“There will never be peace while Netanyahu has a thread of power or influence.”

While I am unsure if I would go as far as the commenter, I understand the source for that view and can sympathize with it. However, I felt that it was also a comment that reflected how the media, in the main, see the situation. It’s a variation on the theme, “It’s all Israel’s fault.” Wrong.

I therefore posted the following:

“There will never be peace while Abbas has a thread of power or influence.”

 

“There will never be peace while Hamas has a thread of power or influence.”

These are the parts the world forgets. (Sometimes, because it suits them.)

To conclude with the final perspective, I also posted this:

“Hopefully, today’s election results will remove Bibi from the picture. If so, we’re still stuck.”

Which is the real point. Israel has a vibrant democracy. We may not all want Bibi, but he was elected the leader. If he wins again, we have to respect the decision and hope he steers the country in the right (sic) direction. But even if Bibi loses, and Ganz becomes Prime Minister, the prospects of peace are no better.

For example, with Ganz as PM:

  • What do you think the prospects are for the Palestinian Authority or Hamas being more likely to be able to deliver peace?
  • What do you think the prospects are for the media blaming the PA or Hamas for the lack of peace?
  • How long do you think it will be before the media start parroting a line like this:

“There will never be peace while Ganz has a thread of power or influence.”

In short, while I would welcome a change from Bibi, I see no Palestinian partner for peace. I’d like to see peace or progress towards it, but on the basis of the available evidence, I am pessimistic. However, I’m reasonably certain Israel will be blamed, no matter what! Blaming Bibi is lazy thinking, for it fails to consider the whole picture.

Blog Break

I would have really liked to blog more, but a combination of work, work, and work, alongside the usual trials and tribulations of day-to-day life somewhat sucked the spare energy out of me. But here I am on the other side, feeling OK, and ready to do some blogging. Let’s see how long the resolve lasts.

You have to laugh

Laughter is the best medicine.

I suppose if you have been brought up to believe that it is fair, reasonable, and right that people’s life and liberty should be sacrificed solely in the interests of demonizing the Jewish State, it’s no great leap to sacrifice the chance to visit your grandmother to keep the fires of hate burning. What a great example of citizenship that is!

Oh, and in case you missed it, the Obama administration banned an Israeli MK from entering the USA in 2012 for his extremist views. Sauce for the goose… Pretty rich of those USA parliamentarians to cry wolf now.

Who ran from Iran?

The cartoon in today’s Haaretz made me smile:

The Hebrew says “Who is the commander?”

Quite.

It didn’t take much to work out that Iranian activity in the Straits of Hormuz would be directed towards British interests. It’s unclear if the Royal Navy has the capacity to protect all such interest, but my guess is that it’s not possible. Smaller, faster attack boats and helicopters can run rings round frigates and the like. So, Britain is stuck. Banning its own ships won’t go down well. (Though insurers may effectively bring about that result.) A military response is unlikely. Either Britain caves – a diplomatic disaster – or it weighs in with its own sanctions and gets ready for the long haul.

Or a war breaks out between Iran and the US. And maybe with the Europeans. I hope not.

On a related point, I do remember Obama or Kerry hectoring Israel about what would happen if Iran broke its pledges under the nuclear deal. Why, the sanctions would snap back. Israel had nothing to worry about.

Well, Iran broke its pledges and the sanctions by the Europeans are unsnapped. So, if Israel were relying on the Europeans to keep them safe, they would be wasting their time. In this regard, Bibi is right.