Archive for June, 2012


What Israelis want

The ultra-Orthodox Israelis want to continue receiving state subsidies, while at the same time not sharing the burden of creating the means for those subsidies: serving in the army, doing national service, or entering the workforce. The haredim want to be left alone.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants the ultra-Orthodox to serve in the army or do national service, and at the same time, he doesn’t want to burn his political bridges to the ultra-Orthodox parties. Bibi wants the political support of Shas and UTJ after the next elections in 18 months time, while at the same time, wanting them to acquiesce now and draft their young flock into the army. Bibi wants to buy [their support now] and not pay for it later [when they refuse to support him].
But the religious parties are in a bind: if they don’t support Bibi now, and refuse to support him later, and because of them, somebody else becomes prime minister [say Shelly Yechimovich], will they support her? Will she support them? The truth is that the religious parties have no better alternative to Binyamin Netanyahu, and they know it.

Bibi set up a committee to deliver recommendations to replace the Tal Law because he wanted to show the public that he was taking its concerns to heart, and because he wants to increase the workforce. But as soon as he saw that the committee was coming up with serious conclusions that would endanger his coalition, he set up a secret committee, made up of his close aides and the heads of the religious parties, to make sure that no serious recommendations are made that could endanger his coalition. Bibi wants slow, small, and steady reform. He doesn’t want sudden, structural changes. King Bibi, as Time Magazine called him, is supremely happy being Israel’s Supreme Leader with 94 Knesset votes, a mammoth coalition. He wants to keep this going. He does not want to become Prince Bibi, Count Bibi, or even Duke Bibi. READ MORE

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Israel, Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood

What started in Tunisia and Egypt, spread to Libya and Syria, and its aftershocks are being felt in Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain. Political Islam is strengthening.

The Middle East is going to look vastly different in the mid to long-term future. In political Islam, there is scant regard for what we in the West call universal human rights and the supreme value of human life. Peace agreements with non-Muslims are only honored when it is politically expedient to do so, women’s rights are not respected, and homosexuals are hunted down.

What started as a democratic movement for socioeconomic rights is turning into an Islamic political takeover which is going to look far different than a Western democracy: will there be respect for a free and independent press, civil society – will NGOs be allowed to work, will there be policies to strengthen the middle class, and perhaps most importantly, will there be a strong, independent judiciary in the countries ruled by Islamic parties?

The region is in flux, and could stay that way for quite some time. The Muslim Brotherhood do not recognize borders. They are a religious order, a cultural, religious, and political movement with branches across the region whose aim is to establish a Muslim Caliphate in the Middle East under Sharia Law. And they have time and patience. READ MORE

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ES GIBT NUR EINEN GOTT…. gebt euch BEN SALOMO! kol ha kavod achi!!

BEN SALOMO AUF JEWDYSSEE

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JEWDYSSEE fun! Beltz Interview

unplugged in Berlin, für RTL Documentation mit Bärbel Schäfer. Ausstrahlung 13.08.12

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Thoughts on Israel and why „The Start-Up Nation“ is next on my reading list

Once again, I have returned from an Israel-trip feeling deeply connected to this tiny little place in the middle of this neverending crisis called the Middle East.

In recent years I suffered from a growing fruststration with the Jewish State. In the 1990s I ran around the streets of Germany telling everyone I was half-Israeli and about to move back soon. That self-labeling (half-Israeli) was entirely untrue for a Jewish German, but in the years between Oslo and Rabin´s assassination there was this feeling that the Kingdom of David was soon to be rebuilt as a true light onto the nations. Even after 911 and the growing threat of international Jihadism I thought that Israel did not choose the situation it was constantly in, but was a mere victim of the circumstances. That impression changed slowly as I participated in more and more Israel trips as a Journalist, visiting Ramallah and Hebron, and actually learning that Israelis suffer from the same brainswashing as their neighbors, just a little bit less bloody due to the Western influence. And when the Netanyahu-Lieberman-Yishai government took office in 2009 there was a severe danger that the relationship status would switch from „complicated“ into „none“.

With this feeling I arrived at Ben Gurion Airport last week, with nothing left of the Exodus-Movie-like Zionism I grew up with. Nothing? Of course not. How could a nice Jewish boy whose mother used to sing „Erev Shel Shoshanim“ for him every night, ever drop that bond? But what once was a fire was reduced to a small flame. I turned from a Moses-Jew into a Ben-Stiller-Jew.

And don´t get me wrong, it was not that everything changed immediately after arrival last week – once again the country proved to be a collection of terribly driving and loud dumbasses, who don´t even have the inner peace and strength to wait in line at a bus stop, always running around stressed with no bigger fear than someone thinking of them as a „frayer“ (victim). Still, my love for the country received a major renewal. READ MORE

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King Bibi, the last King of Zion

King Bibi, as TIME Magazine recently crowned him, the fiercest Zionist to ever lead Israel, will go down in history as the one who brought Zionism to its knees

TIME Magazine published a lengthy item on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month, with a close-up photo of him on the cover so huge it left just enough room for the headline: “King Bibi.” It was a Hasbara official’s wet dream. No hard-hitting questions; but rather soft, caressing queries.

As the cover said, the feature claimed to ask, yet not answer, the question of “Will Bibi make peace?” Well, for left wingers in Israel that was a pretty easy lob. In fact, with a bit more effort, TIME could have answered its own question.

But, it still would not have come to the conclusion that may be a tad unbelievable for most people when it comes to “King Bibi.” And that is that Netanyahu, head of the most right wing, most Zionist government this country has ever seen, will go down in history as the one who brought about its demise.

Since he gained power in 2009, Netanyahu has become stronger and stronger – yet does less and less to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. From the Bar-Ilan speech (where he committed to a two-state solution), through the blocking of the Palestinian unilateral declaration of independence at the UN last September (where he essentially killed the two-state solution) to the latest fiasco concerning the Ulpana neighbourhood and the promise to build 850 more units in the West Bank (and it’s this decision that truly shows his colors and vision for the future).

Even with a huge coalition of 94 Knesset members, Netanyahu has shown no intention of making any progress on the diplomatic front. Instead, he wastes his time managing the huge government, which has in a way become a Knesset within the Knesset. This is where he deals with the real forces of opposition. The “opposition” of 26 seats outside Bibi’s entity, led by Labor chief Shelly Yachimovich, is of no importance. In fact, with all the battles inside his coalition, he might be wondering if joining hands with Kadima was worth it. READ MORE

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Hava on Monday

Hello there, I dont and cant know where you read these lines, in Novosibirsk or New York, the summer may already be there, too, as it is here in Berlin.

So for the coming week I leave you with this version that could be described as….sexy. Apparently, it’s a russian girl-band on their way to some award ceremony. The limousine ride must be dull, so the girls get bored and decide to sing to cheer things up.

Enjoy this one and send us links to your favourite Hava Nagila renditions!

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The Story of Izzy…

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Hava On Monday

Remember, I promised to bring you the good ones AND …some awful ones, too.

We had some real gems so far…

Now I wonder what you think about this one:

Why don’t you send us some links to your favourite Hava versions, folks?

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1 Guy, 60 Languages, Amazing!

A moment before the interview started, Muhamed Mesic was having an oversea conversation with a work colleague in Spanish. “We have some legal issues with the government of Guatemala; they run their affairs there like in Iraq or Syria”, he switches to a perfectly formulated Hebrew and then apologizes: “Sorry for my bad language. I haven’t spoken Hebrew since 2009”. The truth? One cannot notice. Apparently this is how it feels like when you speak more than 60 languages, not including a holding few academic degrees in Law, Judaism, International Relations and Japanology. And all these before even turning 28.

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