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Israeli Politics: All the Trash is Jumping into the Same Bin

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It’s always fun to look out the window and write an article while a sandstorm blows in from the south. It contributes to one’s sense that what one writes is clarifying rather than “muddifying.”

On Sept. 21, Debkafile reported that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had decided to leave the Likud Party and possibly retire, and had informed President Bush of his intentions. Shlomo Wollins of Israel Reporter said that he believed this story to be unsubstantiated.

At the time, there was a fight within the Likud as to when the party primaries would be. Party “rebels” wanted to move up the date and try to unhorse Sharon. Sharon wanted to delay the primaries as long he could. Sharon, generously applying pressure to party hacks afraid of losing their seats, succeeded in keeping the party primaries held off until May 2006.

In the meantime, the Labor Party held a vote to elect its new leader. One by one, Shimon Peres – a man of not inconsiderable influence as he once was prime minister and minister of foreign affairs – succeeded in getting his opponents to drop out of the race. By the time the actual vote took place, only two opponents remained: a party hack named Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who had been security minister for a time, and Amir Peretz, head of Israel’s much-weakened labor federation, Histadrut. Then came a surprise.

Around the time of the primaries, the Labor hacks waved the bloody shirt of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated in 1995. News started to leak that the man convicted of the crime, Yigal Amir, actually had shot blanks at Rabin and that the murder had been the work of the General Security Service Sherút Bitahhón Klalí (Shaba”k) agents – who were in the pay of Peres, a Rabin rival. The news was just enough to defeat Peres in the election, and Peretz, a fellow familiar for his continual strikes to protect Histadrut control over pension funds, was now leader of the Labor Party.

The newspapers all rumbled, “Earthquake in Israel! Peres ousted as Labor leader,” as Peretz moved forward to pull Labor out of the governing coalition, thus forcing early elections – and very possibly an early primary in the Likud.

Sharon had been dropping broad hints that he might leave the party from even before the election within Labor, and now he kept the rumors alive. A few days ago, a poll came out indicating that were elections held that day, Labor and an unnamed political party headed by Sharon would pull even with 28 seats each, with the Likud falling to 20 seats. Shinúi – a political party of militant secularists whose leader, Yosef Lapid, is remarkably like an Israeli Archie Bunker – would drop to six or seven. Several polls that came later reported similar numbers.

To form a governing coalition in Israel, you need a majority of the 120 seats in the Knesset. If you were to add the seats of Sharon’s new party (now named Kadima), Labor and Shinúi together in this poll, you get 61 – a majority.

As is said in Yiddish, nu? What’s new here? Do you really need to ask?

Sharon bolted his own party and informed us Israelis, who allegedly were waiting with bated breath, of his intentions. The phrase “earthquake in Israel” made its appearance again in the English language online edition of the left-wing paper, Yediot Ahronot.

The last time we had elections here in 2003, Amrám Mitzná, the mayor from Haifa who headed the Labor Party, pounded his fist saying, “Gaza First,” meaning that we should pull out of Gaza first. Sharon ridiculed him, sweeping Likud to its highest number of seats in the Knesset ever, 38, and shrinking Labor to 19 seats. Sharon then proceeded to do exactly as Mitzná recommended.

New elections are scheduled for March 28, 2006. The silly season has returned to the Holy Land – again. But we’re seeing a new phenomenon this time around that we’ve never really seen before.

First, just a brief paragraph about how elections work here, for those who are not used to following politics in this fair country. Israel’s government operates in the form of a parliamentary régime, meaning there is a prime minister who keeps power by retaining the confidence of a majority of the Knesset, the parliament. Individual members are referred to by the abbreviation, MK. Like the United Kingdom and New Zealand, Israel does not have a written constitution. Unlike these two countries, it has no legislative districts. There is no MK for Haifa, Natzeret or Eilat. The whole country is one single legislative district. You vote for a political party, and the percentage of votes the party gets determines the number of seats it gets in the Knesset. In the last election, the Likud got about 31.5 percent of the vote, and therefore won 38 seats in the Knesset. There is a minimum percentage of votes required, but it is lower than the 5 percent required for election to the Bundestag (Germany’s equivalent of the House of Commons or House of Representatives).

Now, let’s look at this item from Arutz Sheva, a right-wing news source with ties to the National Religious Party in Israel:

Sharon Plans Massive Withdrawals Sunday, November 27, 2005 / 25 Heshvan 5766

Reports are increasing that Prime Minister Sharon has drafted a plan for Israel’s withdrawal from almost all of Judea and Samaria by 2008.

Middle East Newsline (MENL) reports in the name of “political sources” that Sharon has begun briefing senior US officials of his intention to withdraw unilaterally from more than 95 percent of Judea and Samaria. Sharon is hoping to be elected prime minister for a third time – this time not in the Likud, however, but as head of his new Kadima Party.

One of the most valuable “acquisitions” of the Kadima Party, MK Haim Ramon, formerly of Labor, said openly last week that Sharon will unilaterally withdraw to final borders in Judea and Samaria if Palestinian terror continues….

So here we see where Kadima (the name of Sharon’s new party means “forward”) seeks to lead us. The country is to be shrunken further in size and the idea of occupying Judea and Samaria is to be erased from the minds of Jews, and thus from Judaism. This was the precise analysis of Dr. Paul Eidelberg in the summer of 2004 when he spoke at the Root and Branch Association English Lecture Series at the Israel Center and explained what he believed to Sharon’s long-term strategy.

Only today, news reports circulate about Shimon Peres having reached a deal to leave Labor and support his friend, Ariel Sharon, in the Kadima Party. Yossi Sarid, former leader of the Meretz party that is supposedly on Israel’s extreme left, has left his party. Where is he going? One of the founders of the Shinúi Party, that great group of secularists who hate religion and pretend to represent the Ashkenazi (upper) middle class that used to solidly vote for Labor and before it, Mifléget Poaléi Yisraél, the Israel Workers’ Party (MAPAI), has left Shinúi and joined Kadima. Is all the trash jumping into one basket?

This would be an interesting phenomenon indeed.

In the past, the great enterprise that sucked many would-be leaders down the sinkhole of failure in Israel was the attempt to create a “centrist” party that would be neither left nor right, but would sit at the center like a vacuum cleaner, drawing all the sane elements of the polity into it and making the “ism” parties irrelevant. This has been attempted many times here, particularly since MAPAI’s downfall in 1977. Heretofore, it has been a miserable failure.

Lo and behold, the prime minister bolts the party he helped found, leaves it broke and sets up a new political entity suspiciously like Shlomtzion, the itty-bitty party he founded when he left the army 30 years ago. And he appears to be vacuuming up leading figures from the secular establishment in his country like a Hoover out of control. Yesterday, he called a meeting of local councils and mayors in his office and collected more people for his party.

For decades, good government types have been dreaming of accomplishing what this thief seems to have pulled off in a few days. In addition, a major pillar of the Labor Party leaves after being booted out as leader, while several of his close colleagues (including a rumored mistress) join Kadima.

It appears to the cynical eyes of this Middle Easterner, who was once a Middle Westerner, that all the trash is indeed jumping into the same basket. Sharon is the bought-out US flunky. Peres is the bought-out European Union flunky. So I expect to see huge amounts of western money being poured into Kadima’s coffers. It is easier to pour money into one pail than several and attempt to make one political party the holder of power than it would be to coordinate efforts through several political parties as has been done in the past. What I’m saying is that this strange phenomenon of the “successful center party” is the result of manipulation of foreign powers determined to control events here.

I will make one further observation here, given that this is the Holy Land and, according to Jewish ideas at least, G-d always has His Eye on the place. Two m’kubalim (holy men who recieve kabbalót, divine messages) have stated that Ariel Sharon will be the last prime minister of Israel and that this will be the last time we see a government of this type.

Given that, I’m going to make some predictions. Naturally, this is only my opinion, and I am no prophet (though it would be nice if I could pull off a profit). I really do not think I’m going out on a limb, but I have learned that whenever people make predictions, others stand at the ready to debunk them if they don’t come out correct, like loggers with a saw.

  1. If the elections are held, Sharon will wind up as prime minister.
    Here, I’m only following the words of the two m’kubalim.
  2. Whether elections are held or not, Sharon will remain prime minister. Again, I’m only following the words of the two m’kubalim. I don’t take elections for granted. Too many things can happen to upset the “natural” order of events.
  3. Sharon will leave office, for some reason or another, during 2006.
    His son, Omri, is scheduled to enter jail soon. Knowing how Israeli justice works, it will be a short prison term. If I could, I’d want to protect my son in prison. Remaining as prime minister wold allow me to do this. Quitting after he got out, selling my ranch and moving to Switzerland would be a smart move, if I were Ariel Sharon.
  4. During the next year, we will see the rising visibility of American and European soldiers in this country. This only follows the trend of events here. There are five American bases, and an increaing number of EU soldiers here.
  5. (This is the biggie – here I am going out on a limb.) Reality has begun to become unhinged. What this means is that events are leaving the path we define as “normal” and taking another path. This process will accelerate after Jan. 1, 2006. This is also 1 Tévet 5766, the day that G-d begins executing judgment against non-Jews (according to Rav Yehoshua Friedman). Here I’m following (more or less) the words of Rav Yizhak Kaduri, the leading m’kubal in Israel, who warned that American Jews should leave and come home because a series of terrible disasters would begin to overtake the world.

If I were you, I’d really celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah this year, and if you can, buy some gold coins and store them in a safe place. Pick up Yeats’ poem, “The Second Coming,” and read it over a time or two. K’dái l’khá – it will be worth it to you.

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About Ruvy

Hi!! Thanks for coming to my article! I was raised in Brooklyn, was graduated from the City University of New York in 1978 with a BA in political science and public administration there. I lived in Minnesota for a number of years. There I managed restaurants and wrote stories. We moved with our children family to Israel where we now reside. My work can be found at Ruvy's Roost, Jewish Indy,, and on Facebook under my full name, Reuven Kossover
  • Wow. Educational, powerful and chilling. Thank you, thank you for posting this and giving me much to consider. I sensed that Sharon was up to no good. Now I fear that the consequences of his latest moves could wound – at the very least – the world as we know it.

    The poem you reference is easily found via Google, but I’ll share it so people can take your good advice easily – and ponder the possible ramifications to Israel’s political power plays.

    The Second Coming — W. B. Yeats

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all convictions, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
    The darkness drops again; but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

    Happy holidays, gang.

  • JR

    Specific predictions, I like that. So by the end of next year, we’ll know whether your world-view has any bearing on reality.

    Fascinating stuff in any case.

  • Indeed, we shall see. With all respect to our Israel correspondent, I hope the predictions turn out to be wrong. In the meantime, it is always good advice to live each day as if it were the final one.

  • I fear my ignorance is too vast on this part of the world to comment fruitfully — but “All the Trash Is Jumping Into the Same Bin” is sure the title of the week.

    It sounds like you all have politics as Public Soap Opera too?

    I agree with Natilie about making each day so vivid your eyes bleed — tho she put it more decorously.

  • G. Oren

    Great Post Ruvy! What interests me are a number of things as follows:
    1. Do the majority of Israelis support the land for peace proposition and a general withdrawal from most of the West Bank?
    2. Assuming they do, isn’t this move of Sharon’s and Peres’s basically an attempt to present a centrist coalition that invalidates the sectarian elements?
    3. How closely does Jewish prophecy mirror Christian propecy in the area you you describe in #5 above? I’m afraid I’m all too familiar with the varieties of Christian prophecy as to the “end times” and the state of Israel; however, the events you describe are not familiar to me – though I have perused DebKa from time to time.
    4. From your previous posts in other threads I gathered you are opposed to the land for peace assumption, can you elaborate on why this won’t work?

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Shavua Tov (good week) to you all.


    First of all, thank you all for the kind words.

    Secondly, thank you to the editor who changed some of this to make it a bit more palatable to the non-Jewish reader.

    First, to JR.

    The business of making predictions is indeed hazardous. I know one fellow who insisted on prophesying to the secretary of the Sanhedrin here. The secretary said, “you know we’ll have to stone you if you’re wrong?” (I don’t know if the man was speaking in jest or not – I like to think he was joking) but the fellow insisted that what he said was prophecy.

    Well, guess what? He is already wrong. The poor guy does not comprehend that by our standards, the prophet has to be 100% on the money. Otherwise h is know as “naví shéker” a false prophet. Someone who makes predictions while specifying that he is no prophet can afford to have a percentage right. In the meantime, I see you have the saw ready to cut me off the limb I’ve climbed upon.

    So we will indeed see.

    I must tell you that visions of the future come in the strangest ways. To me, more often than not, they come in the form of wisecracks. When the wisecracks come true, I really get scared.


    Thank you for publishing Yeats’ poem. Even in high school it scared me, even though I’m not a Christian and the poem is usually viewed in the context of Yeats’ writings during the Great War. I suspected then and certainly believe now that the Merciful One granted Yeats a vision that he reduced to the poem above.

    It’s opening lines reflect a theory of Jewish history. The lazy hawk rises round and round on a thermal, never quite passing over the same place twice.

    Your advice about living is good advice generally.

    To poblog,

    In Israel, politics have been soap opera for a long, long time. The title came to me in the Hebrew before it came to me in the English.

    “Kol hazével kofétz l’otó pahh.”

    G. Oren,

    Your questions will take a bit longer to answer. Probably another post. Soon I have errands to run to a store, so a fully intelligent answer covering all your points may have to wait. I can take on your third question and attempt to give you a taste of the ideas involved.

    Very briefly – Jews generally believe that history runs in a 6,000 year cycle. This is the year 5766 from the creation of Adam. Theoretically, the year 6000 begins the “sabbath” millenium running up to the year 7000.

    In the Talmud is a “Medresh” (tale with a moral) indicating that because the Children of Israel were slaves in Egypt for 190 years instead of the predicted 400 (a 210 year “discount”, so to speak), there will be a “discount” of 210 years on the other side of the cycle – that the messiah will be done with his primary work by the year 5790, 210 years earlier than the year 6000.

    This prediction means that the Temple will have been built on the Temple Mount by then and the repair of the world, “tikkún ‘olám,” will have been begun. If you look at the things like the ozone hole, pollution, starvation, injustice, exploitation and the like, you can get the general idea of what “tikkún ‘olám” entails.

    Put simply, it means that there is a Divine “train schedule” so to speak, and in order to get the “Train of Redemption” to the train station on time, to get the necessary events accomplished on time, the train of destiny may have to rush – this is where the “unhinging of reality” comes in, and what it really means. History will seem to speed up.

    So, now I gotta run. Got a bus to catch, people to do, things to see, etc.

  • G. Oren,

    Hi, I’m back.

    Had to wait a long time for a bus from the Talpiot Industrial Area where we went to a shop to get some bread, peanut butter and milk.

    Bread, which usually costs me NewIsraeliShekels 3.45 (about $.75) cost me NIS 12.90 ($2.78). There was no bakery bread (nobody baked on Friday or the Sabbath and the bread from Thursday would have been stale), so I splurged and bought good Russian pumpernickel instead. Milk, which usually cost NIS 4.00 ($.86) cost me NIS 4.85 ($1.04). This doesn’t sound like much, but I only had about NIS 30.00 ($6.45) to begin with. The peanut butter I bought cost me about NIS 15 ($3.22½). The wind-up was that I had to borrow 3 shekels from my son to pay the bill.

    Paying the bills is fun no matter where you live.

    Let me get back to your questions.

    Q. #1. It is likely that the majority of Israelis do not back pulling out of Judea and Samaria. They have family there. It is that simple. Some secular Israelis have chosen to turn their back on our ancestral homeland. They are in the mionority. Unfortunately it is that minority that presently runs the governmnent, the media and much of the economy.

    Q. #2. I guess that is the point. The population doesn’t back more pullouts from OUR land. This coalition of thieves, sadists and bullies, is pushing the pullouts against the will of the people. It isn’t so simple as “the center” versus the sectarian elements. That is what the media here would like you to believe. That is what the New York Times, the AP, the Washington Post, CNN, the BBC and all the other liars and shills would like you to believe. It just ain’t so.

    When I say “thieves, bullies and sadists” I mean precisely what I say. This is not hyperbole. Sharon was known for attacking political opponents in the pre-State days with agricultural implements – like a bully. He and his son have cleaned up millions from the treasury and from illegal campaign contributions.

    Not long ago, the son of the Sefardi Chief Rabbi was convicted for assault on his sister. What the articles did not say was this. The son had left the religion, came to the house and attempted to strangle his sister, and that someone came with himn to the Chief Rabbi’s house, who watched all this happen. That someone was SHIMON PERES. He stood there, watching a murder attempt and did nothing. This was in the papers here when the assault occurred.

    Q. #4. I do not support “land for peace” because the Arabs view this as a stage to conquer the whole country. This is something they have said amongst themselves for years. They have a strategy of stages, getting Israel out and down bit by bit. “Land for peace” is suicide for the Jewish people. Had the Arabs honestly wanted two states living side by side in peace, there would have been no terror against Jews under Arafat, and he would have accepted the Camp David II proposals. That was the opportunity of Oslo. He didn’t, so it gives the lie to the whole enterprise. And the whole enterprise is the dismantlement of the State of Israel.

    That is why, watching all these fools jumping into the same political boat, I couldn’t help seeing all the garbage jumping into the same bin.

  • RUVY: If the outlined future plans of Sharon & Peres do not seem like a solution to you, what is your alternative?

    You don’t trust the peace plan and you’ve already said that you doubt that Israel is going to start building closer relations with its neighbours (you know, the normal thing to do…). What then, my bleaksighted friend, is your proposal?

  • Chris,

    I’m not nearly as bleak as you would see me to be.

    There are elements to this that I can’t really dicuss on the internet. But, now that I think about it, there is a place that you can find some of my ideas. Go to Jewish Indy. I have two pieces published there, both on the theme of “Getting From Here to There – Emerging From the First flowering of Our Redemption.”

    There you will find a fuller explanation of how I view things. I warn you. It may be hard reading. From what I’ve read of your comments, I can almost guarantee that you will not like my ideas, but they are reasonably explained, and will give you a clear background to much that I write here.

  • G. Oren

    Thanks Ruvy – I understand from Clinton’s memoir that Arafat missed the opportunity of a generation in not accepting the terms of Barak with regard to terms and borders, from that position, it appears to me that Arafat simply did not desire an end to the conflict, his authority (what little he had) derived from continuing alienation of the palestinian arabs. Beyond that process and to generalize a bit, the coverage here in the states from the MSM and from the New Republic, Atlantic Monthly etc.. focuses on the coming demographic problem in Israel. That is the Arabs will have a majority within Israel itself, with our without the withdrawal from the West Bank. The news here implies that there is no alternative to a withdrawal if there is to be an Israeli state that is also a Jewish state and that even with the withdrawal, something like an apartheid system will have to exist (eventually)within Israel to maintain a Jewish controlled state.

    All of these things are of great interest to us for several reasons – primarily, Israel is seen as our traditional ally in the Mid-East a westernized democracy within a turbulent ill-understood region of dominated by chaos. In addition, a great many protestant Christians view the developments in Israel as the essential “train schedule” – as you put it – for eschatology (the last things). One of the significant events in that train schedule is the rebuilding of the temple, and it appears that is something you also view as an important prophetic event.

    I’ll click on the link above and read your comments there, but how true is the reading here about the longer term problems the state of Israel faces?

  • Earlier this evening we watched an interview with Mike Wallace on CNBC’s Tim Russert. It was enlightening with regard to the Middle East and the plight of Jews in Syria in the 1970’s. He reveals that the picture painted by certain Jews was not all above board. I found an interview online that he did with the Academy of Achievement in 2002. He reveals that Jews who brought forth the notion that the horrible horrors claimed by some concerning treatment in Arab territories were not as bad as we were led to believe. As a result of his reports, people in his own Jewish community labeled him as a self-hating Jew. Anyway, here’s a piece of that discussion:

    I’m Jewish by heritage and certainly by feeling, but not a particularly religious or pious Jew. My religion is the Golden Rule. That’s what I try to live by. But having said that, I met a Palestinian by the name of Fayez Said who was, I guess, born and brought up in Lebanon, who let the scales fall from my eyes about the state of the Palestinians. I began to — I talked with him, and as a result of that I wanted to move around. By this time I was doing a lot of foreign work. I wanted to move around in that community and the Arab — Palestinian and so forth — community. Finally, we were going to do a story about the Syrian Jewish community, which had been substantial, and then had narrowed considerably. What we did was tell the truth about the real state of the Syrian Jewish community, which was not as bad as we had been led to believe. I was promptly labeled a self-hating Jew because we began to tell the truth about what was going on there.

    I would be interested to see how Ruvy and others feel about Wallace’s discussion.

  • Well, I have a couple of posts to answer, I see.

    Let’s start with G. Oren.

    You refer to what Israelis talk about as the “demographic bomb”. This is the argument made by members of the upper class who do not want to have lots of kids so that they can enjoy an American lifestyle with two cars, etc. So the Arabs bounce on the bedsprings, and out come bouncing little babies, while these secularists are taking birth control pills, having abortions and sneering at religious Jews who have lots of kids with contempt.

    In all truth, I do not think it is the bomb everyone makes it out to be, but let’s assume for the moment that it is. The State of Israel, in order to survive, has to make one of two decisions.

    One is to pull out of Judea and Samaria entirely AND then expel the Arabs living within Green Line Israel.

    A second one is to expel the Arabs living within all of Israel, from the Jordan to the sea.

    After having seen Jews expelled from their homes here and having seen their civil rights trampled upon by a government that has turned them into refugees and refused to make them whole, I am not convinced that Arabs cannot be similarly expelled. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

    EITHER decision above solves the demographic bomb problem in its entirety. The state is incapable of executing either one of the above decisions. Therefore, given the reasoning of those who fear the demographic bomb, the State will fall.

    End of discussion.

    The only question remaining is how soon all the secularists making this argument will start to crowd the shores of your fine country looking for refuge.

    Now, it’s nice of you to call this nation a democracy. If you agree with the government line, it is. If you don’t, it is a capricious semi-dictatorship rapidly movng to a full dictatorship. In short you are free to agree with the government.

  • Silas, we now come to the topic of self-censoring Jews.

    Mike Wallace, who is nearing 80, if I’m not mistaken, grew up in an era when anti-Semitism was a palpable thing in your country. Reform and conservative rabbis called themselves “reverend,” so as not to stick out, Jews changed their names (my uncle grew up in the Bronx, Moe Rosenberg – when he wanted to sell furniture in the southwest US, he bacame Mel Ross) so they could make a living.

    Jews of his generation differentiated between regimes of killers and regimes of maimers and were grateful for the latter.

    They learned to censor themselves so as not to irritate Christians.

    Mistreatment by Jews would outrage them, while some mistreatment of Jews was tolerable.

    I’m not going to point the finger of “self-hating Jew” at Mike Wallace. But I would carefully consider the points above in judging how HE would look at something. Even a newsman is subject to the prejudices of his era and of his youth.

    I was once subject to similar self-censorship. For me the breakthrough came one week when I was working with a Baptist. He made some remark about jewing down a price. The next morning, I made a crack about not “christianing” down the price. He never used that expression again, and never forgot my expression. It was them that I began to reflect on self-censorship by Jews in exile.

    No matter what you say about rights and freedom and tolerance, a Jew in exile is always aware – deep down – that he is a guest. He may deny this to himself, but it is there anyway, acting like a governor on him.

    When Jews in exile don’t self censor themselves, the Jews in power quake in their boots and act as if what these people will say will bring down the wrath of the Gentiles. And they are forever surprised that it doesn’t.

  • Wallace is 88 years old, I believe. With regard to the whole “self-hating Jew” phenomenon, Ruvy, I wonder if this is a relatively new concept. Isn’t it true for the most part that the Jews have lived in relative peace and prosperity in all parts of the world up until the horrors of Hitler? Granted, they didn’t have a “homeland” per se, but they’ve made their marks upon every society known to humankind.

  • G. Oren


    Many thanks and good info – and good info on the Jewish Indy site.

    The New Republic is owned by Matin Peretz and frequently carries articles about conditions in Israel, I gather he is more associated with the secular Jews you cite in your post. The withdrawal from Gaza caused some reportage here about the settlement movement and the zionist outlook of the settlers. I gathered from this that there are serious fault lines within the Israeli polis, and your original post and subsequent answers confirms that.

    Can the Likud put together enough support from the conservative elements to thwart the Kadima coalition? In your original post it seemed you did not think so.

    Are there any more Slavic jews that could be immigrated to help the demographic situation?

    If the political will is not there to consider expulsion of Arabs within pre-1967 Israel, is there any political will to encourage a higher birth rate? As you are probably aware, many states in the U.S. (including Texas) face some of the same issues with regard to our growing hispanic population.

  • Silas Asks,

    “Isn’t it true for the most part that the Jews have lived in relative peace and prosperity in all parts of the world up until the horrors of Hitler?”

    I’m afraid not, Silas. Were this true, there never would have been a hankering for a homeland at all. Rabbi Alkalai in Russia would never have written about some way to liberate the homeland if life in Russia had been comfortable. Herzl would never have written “Der Judenstaat” (the Jewish State) had he not seen the hatred of the French crowds when they screamed “a bàs les juifs” when Captain Alfred Dreyfus was stripped of his rank and sent off to Devil’s Island.

    Going back before that there were the ghettos and the humiliations associated with it, the Inquisition, the Crusades and before that the slow strangulation of the Jewish community in Eretz Yisrael by the Byzantines, that culminated with a final expulsion in the 6th (Christian) Century.

    We Jews know lots of languages because of all the lands we’ve fled to hoping ever to be taken in as guests and NOT persecuted, Silas.

    America has been the EXCEPTION to the rule, not the rule in Jewish experience – for the most part.

    On any given day here, I hear spoken, in addition to Hebrew, French, Russian, Amharic, Romanian, Spanish, English amd Arabic. Only the Arabic is spoken by non-Jews.

    THIS Jew tries to move beyond the history of victimhood that has been the plight of our people. It is not healthy to make victimhood a religion, as have so many American Jews. But the history remains, and one must remain ever vigilant and armed, that it not repeat itself.

  • …growing hispanic population.

    Aren’t statements like that perpetuating the racial and socio-economic divides? I understand groups wanting to preserve their respective cultures and traditions. That being said, this is America. Our traditions and culture are an alloy of our diversity. We need to shift away from this “us vs. them” mentality and start thinking like Americans. This includes ONE language. Sorry, ACLU, but if you want to live and thrive in America you should be able to read the damn Constitution in the tongue in which it was written. Citizenship should not be granted unless the new citizen speaks the language. We’ve thrown too many tax dollars at providing all these government publications in dozens of languages. Why is that? Is it for votes? Is it for keeping these ‘minorities’ at bay?

  • Couldn’t it be debated, Ruvy, that Palestinians have more in common with Jews than with their own Arab brothers? This community of Arabs has always been the black sheep of Arabia. They’ve been treated as Islam’s inconvenience, the poor little cousin who was fed scraps throughout history. Until the advent of Arafat, didn’t the Palestinian people suffer similar persecution? I’m not saying that they had it equally as bad as the Jews but surely there must be some commonality. What ever happened to the programs that brought Jewish and Palestinian children together in a spirit of brotherhood and reconciliation? Is that something that has fallen off the radar under Sharon’s tyranny? Can’t the mindset of victimization from both sides be dealt with honestly or will these grudges continue for another thousand years?

  • G. Oren

    Silas – you make my point for me. As I write, our hispanic nanny sleeps in the next bedroom. She is a wonderful god-fearing woman and I would do (and have done) almost anything for her and her family. I grew up with hispanic neighbors and friends and know their culture (and some of their language – my sons will be able to speak Tex-Mex fluently – I hope). But the cultural differences are sometimes acute, and go beyond language, though I believe every citizen should read and write English as a native tongue. What I mean is, the cultural stew of Texas has some very large lumps of mexican culture that will not be Americanized – it is a very complicated and thorny situation – and we must be clear eyed about the practical political impact these demographic changes may have. Not to mention the continuing immigration mess – which distresses native hispanics almost as much as it distresses us Anglos. To avoid big problems in the future, the hispancis will have to buy the American dream, hook-line-and-sinker, that is they will need to move away from the mindset of mexico and strive to enter middle-class life. We see that happening some, as this takes place and as they become owners of small businesses and property, they will have an interest in perpetuating civil society – not siding with a reconquista from the South.

  • G. Oren,

    You’re most welcome.

    In Appendix II of his book “Strategy,” Captain B.H. Liddell Hart allowed an admiring student of his to quote him. General Yig’al Y’adin writes in his article in “B’Mahhanéh,” the magazine of the Israel Defense Force, in 1949, the following: “…the whole secret of the art of war lies in the ability to become master of the lines of communications.”

    This applies not merely to war but to politics as well. If you do a web search of the “right wing” and “religious” journals in Israel, you’ll notice a lot of purchasing activity going on behind the scenes. Many of these outlets have changed hands recently. If you do a careful web search of the folks associated with the purchasers, you get to see that the secularist types who have views similar to Martin Peretz have been doing the buying.

    They have not significantly changed the editorial slant of the outlets they have purchased. The point of the purchase was to get editorial control – to edit out certain writers, certain inconvenient stories, or if forced to cover the inconvenient stories, provide editorial condemnation of the activity involved.

    The concept is simple. Create a shadow opposition to your ideas that you can manipulate and control. This is a technique well understood and followed in Israel.

    Just something for you to ponder as you look over the news.

    You ask three simple questions.

    The answer to the first question is “I don’t know”. I pray that the Likud can put together an authentic Jewish Leadership ticket that will include the rest of what we call here, “the national camp.” I will work, to the degree that I am able, for this to come about. But it is not an easy task.

    M’kubalim have predicted that this will not happen. It is no great task to follow their words – and if you think they know more than you do, you should at least pay close attention to them! That is what I’ve done.

    The Slavic Jewish barrel is empty, for the most part. The Jewish Agency now brings here people who have only the remotest connection to Judaism. In addition, there remains considerable discrimination against Russian Jews here from two sources – one is the upper class secularists. The other is the religious camp. It is a complicated question that is presently difficult to deal with.

    The third question is most difficult of all. If the predominant culture around you whores after the American and European examples of low birthrates and importing cheap foreign labor, this solution is hard to push. It is the kind of thing that has to be pushed from the earliest youth.

    For example, my wife and I have two kids. We lost one child (before the birth of the two kids), and my wife can no longer have children. We cannot afford to adopt. Who am I to tell my sons to marry and have lots of kids? I can try, but I have not set the example for them.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Just a few minutes ago, my wife called to say that there was a terrorist bombing at a mall in Netanya that killed 5 people and wounded up to thirty. This is all as I type, at 14:25 Israel Winter Time, or 12:25 GMT.

    One becomes aware over time of the terror spigot being turned on and off. In other words, it pays the government in power to have a terrorist attack right now. It is the kind of thing that allows the government to demonstrate how important it is not to switch horses in mid-stream.

    This sounds extremely cynical. But right now, with news reports going across Israel’s massive blogging system that most of Judea and Samaria is going to be bulldozed up and evacuated, it is important to have something that distracts the bloggers. And nothing works better than a terror attack.

    Right away, the concern is to get the emergency contact numbers accross for the hospitals, everyone is one the cell phone trying to make sure that their loved ones aere okay, etc.

    Everything that had been going on up to the moment of the attack is forgotten. Suddenly, it the attack that gets all the focus. Omri Sharon going to jail – big deal! Evacuating Judea and Samaria – how could they do that with terror attacks going on?

    I’ve lived through enough of these terror attacks to perceive the pattern. I’ve been a police volunteer long enough to know just how thorough a security blanket can – or cannot be.

    If 10,000 people can be deprived of their homes, what is a few lives? The evil – and that is the ONLY word for it – that is centered in Government Hill must be removed and destroyed if possible. A government of people who honestly fear G-d and His wrath must come and take their place.

    The sooner, the better. The time now – 14:39 Israel Winter Time, 12:39 GMT.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Silas, let me answer your question of common teaching groups for Jewish and Arab children first.

    There is a school in Armon haNetziv that was built in the early nineties. There is a dove carved into the sidewalk in front of the school.

    When the school started its classes, it held some joint classes with some kids from Jebel Mukabr, a neighboring Arab village. This school was a secular school, meaning to say that no religious coursework was included in the curriculum. Secular schools here teach the Tana”kh – it is a geography book and a history book as well as a religious text – but apparently it is not considered an important topic.

    Anyway, to continue with the tale, the parents from the school in Armon haNetziv wanted the courses stopped. It turned out that the Moslem kids knew the Qu’ran down. The Jewish secular kids didn’t know nothin’, as the saying goes, and the parents were as embarrassed as all hell.

    So this school began what is called ‘Toséfet Limudéi Yahadut’ or Tali for short. This is a program of additional Jewish learning, which is what Tali means.

    PS. The kids in that school still don’t know anything. The courses with the Arab kidss have not been resumed. It is common to hear “mavet l’aravím” (death to the Arabs) in the school. This is not something the teachers teach. This is what the terrorists teach by killing innocent people. Hated of Arabs is NOT in the coursework of schools here.

    My son, listening to your comment as I read it to him said, “he reminds of of the movie ‘Lion King’, when Skar says, ‘when lion and hyena come together…'”

    That is how strong the enmity is.

    But let’s look at your question. Within it are a number of erroneous assumptions. It may be true that the south Syrian Arabs were always given the scraps at the table in Damascus and Baghdad. That is why they came here. The place was nearly empty a century and a half ago.

    Jews provided work and built the economy. In many ways, this was a land of opportunity for Arabs. Much of the persecution these people suffered after the rise of the State of Israel, they suffered at the hands of fellow Arabs. In Lebanon, these people are allowed neither citizenship nor work. They were second class citizens in Quwait and driven out after the US drove out the Iraqi army in 1991. Only in Jordan, have they had some success.

    Here, the government built universities for them after taking over Judea and Samaria, extended Israeli health care, and while they did not get the wages Israelis got, they got paid reasonably well. It wasn’t necessarily fun living under the Jews, but it wasn’t hell either.

    Then came Arafat.

    Arafat ran a thugocracy. He stole every damned dime he could – from the European Union, the US and the people who could afford it least, the Arabs he ruled over.

    The Israelis didn’t really care about that a great deal. But when Arafat started using American arms and CIA training to kill Israelis (something he was doing with the backdoor help of the Jewish section of the Shaba”k in order to get rid of Jewish nationalists), the Arabs started to suffer from humiliating security checks. Their towns were closed down, they couldn’t get to work, people refused to hire them.

    And that is the problem right now. The government closed down Judea and Samaria after the terrorist bombing in Netanya. This means that again, Arabs cannot get to work.

    We Israelis are the main source of income for Arabs in Judsea and Samaria – and they are at the mercy of those at war against us – who are Arabs.

    It is not a matter of debating – it is a matter of eating. And Arabs are losing food from their mouths because the leaders that they “support” or feel they have to support are fighting a war that robs them of the food.

  • Bliffle

    I know nothing, of course, about Israel and it’s politics except what is commonly available. But my naive conclusion about Sharon is that he is a clever strategist who uses flanking maneuvers quite successfully on his opponents.

    For example, pulling out of Gaza is a brilliant move to demonstrate Israeli reasonableness to the world, and to cast the Palestinians on their own devices, where they will probably founder and discredit their aspirations.

    Thus, starting a new party and recruiting Peres seems like a smart move to me. Oh, and I think Sharon is loyal to his concept of Israel.

  • This story has been chose as a Blogcritics Editor’s Pick for the week, congrats!

    You’ve honored yourself up the right to select your favorite story over the next week for the new column, which will be published on Wednesdays or thereabouts. In any event, please feel free to nominate your fave piece under this week’s column. The time frame will always run between Wednesday (today in this week’s case) and next Tuesday night.

    Thanks and congrats again ~ EB

  • Gosh Eric,

    I never even noticed this. I must seem like an ingrate. I apologize for not having thanked you earlier.