Irony in Israel

From an Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release:

On Thursday, 6 February 2014, President Shimon Peres delivered the largest online civics class in the world, setting a new a Guinness World Record.

President Peres delivered the online class using Cisco’s advanced technology from the company headquarters in Netanya to over 9,000 students in 215 classes in 71 schools across the country from Jerusalem, Beer Sheva, Tel Aviv, Kuseife, Ofakim, Dimona, Hadera, Tiberias, Tayibe, Nahariya, and other communities across Israel.

In his 45-minute mass lesson, President Peres emphasized the values of equal rights, freedom of expression, and democracy. He stressed that computerizing education will help ensure broad and equal high qualitaty education for students throughout the country

The first irony is the typo, of course.

The main irony? From the Times of Israel:

The arrest of an ultra-Orthodox man who refused to enlist in the IDF sparked widespread protests throughout the country Thursday, as thousands of Haredi demonstrators demanded the young man’s immediate release from army prison and called on the government to reinstate payments to religious seminaries which were frozen earlier this week by Finance Minister Yair Lapid.

In Jerusalem, hundreds of ultra-Orthodox demonstrators clashed with police forces on the light-rail suspension bridge near the entrance to the city. According to police, several protesters attempted to break through the police security buffer and throw bottles and firecrackers at security personnel and passersby. Fifteen demonstrators were arrested, police said. A number of main roads in the capital were blocked as a result of the protests, causing heavy traffic throughout the city.

They arrested somebody who ignored his draft notice. It’s an open and shut case. The Rabbis in that sector have been telling them not to go to the IDF and to ignore draft notices. And when the law is enforced? It appears these ultra-Orthodox do not believe in equal rights. They, presumably, didn’t get Peres’ message.

It took me an hour to get home yesterday, because of the demonstrations. Many drivers took the opportunity to wind down their window and use their right to freedom of expression to tell the protesters what they thought of them. It wasn’t complimentary.

A little respect

From the Jerusalem Post:

Peres cancels trip to London Olympics

President nixes trip because no hotels walking distance from Friday night opening ceremonies available

More detail:

The opening ceremony of the London Olympics will take place on a Friday evening. There are no hotels within walking distance of the stadium. Peres, who is a good walker, would not have mind walking the extra mile if there was a hotel at the end of it – but there isn’t, aside from which it would place a most unenviable burden on his security detail.

Rather than publicly desecrate the Sabbath, Peres chose to cancel his participation in the opening of the 2012 Olympics, though he would have dearly liked to cheer the Israeli team, as he did in Beijing.

Peres is not personally observant, but in his ministerial and presidential roles has always taken care to publicly observe the Sabbath and the dietary laws.

I never knew Peres was respectful like that. Well done him. It’s an example others could learn from. (I don’t even want to know where the team are staying…)

You can read the whole story here.