“Schlaglicht Israel” offers an insight into internal Israeli debates and reflects selected, political events that affect daily life in Israel. It appears every two weeks and summarizes articles that appeared in the Israeli daily press.
Main topics covered in this Publication:
Terms of surrender
(…) When someone apologizes and expresses their willingness to compensate the other party, it is only because they have acted inappropriately, unlawfully, or unjustly. (…) What is our sin here? Israel’s relationship with Turkey is important to us, just as Turkey’s relationship with Israel is important to them. (…) His position is not set in stone and should be taken with a grain of salt; when Germany recognized the Armenian genocide, Erdoğan huffed and puffed for a bit before calming down, but when it comes to Israel, he knows we can be pushed around. (…) What about a little respect for the brave IDF soldiers whom the Cabinet sent on board a deck filled with abominable people? To recap: We apologized when we should have been receiving apologies (…). Would Erdoğan ever allow the transportation of supplies to the Kurdish people, who seek to gain independence? (…) Have we ever even brought it up? Israel has always has a friendly relationship with the Kurds, and in our region, that should not be taken for granted. And yet, one can assume the subject never came up. (…) We’ve sold our dignity without managing to bring about any repair. (…) Our relationship with Turkey is important, but our national dignity is no less important. (…)
Gilad Sharon, JED, 26.06.16
The deal with Turkey hasn’t challenged Israel’s shameful control over Gaza
(…) The deal signed this week between Israel and Turkey is more noteworthy for what it doesn’t achieve than what the agreement actually entails. (…) Senior military and political officials have been saying for two years that Israel’s security depends on the rehabilitation of Gaza. (…) Real rehabilitation would include connecting Gaza to the West Bank and allowing people to thrive instead of just survive, but that isn’t up for negotiation. (…) The closure of Gaza entered its tenth year this month. (…) In 2007, Israel embarked on what can only be described as a macabre game to experiment with real human lives, to push a society to the brink in an effort to placate the militant or terrorist forces within it. (…) It’s particularly shameful that Netanyahu, when given yet another chance to reverse the reckless closure on Gaza, instead throws out a few chips and calls it a game. (…) what’s happening in Gaza (…) is a man-made disaster every which way you look at it.
Tania Hary, HAA, 27.06.16
Responsibility includes unpopular decisions
(…) In a rapidly changing world, you must manage risks and reach agreements that require diplomatic courage. (…) They were criticized in the past when they didn’t sign the deal, and now, they are being criticized again when they are signing it. So who can really take this criticism seriously? (…) My heart is with the bereaved families who are requesting the return of their loved ones’ bodies. (…) The nation of Israel and its elected officials will not rest in pursuing this sacred mission. The Israeli Navy commandos, who typically ensure calm, should be proud of their actions aboard the Mavi Marmara ship; it was a courageous operation that made it clear to everyone to never again attempt to send terrorists and their accomplices on ships to Gaza. (…)The decisions of a democratic country are made by elected officials and not by army commanders (…).
Dr. Haim Shine, IHY, 28.06.16
Israel has conceded Turkish demands and betrayed allies in return for illusory gains
(…) it is hard to justify either an apology (…) or the payment of compensation to the families of the perpetrators. Both constitute an admission of guilt, while the government continues to maintain that the action was one of self-defense. (…) It is almost inevitable that once the Turkish facilities are built in Gaza, they will be used by Hamas as command and control centers in case of another outbreak of open hostilities between Hamas and Israel. (…) There are grave doubts that a gas pipeline between Israel and Turkey makes commercial sense, and if extended to Europe it will compete with a similar project between Israel, Cyprus and Greece, countries with which Israel is engaged in improving relations. (…) Trade between Turkey and Israel has continued at a high level during the whole period between the boarding of the Mavi Marmara and the present, so it would appear unlikely that simply restoring diplomatic relations would improve economic relations to any substantial extent except for tourism, which is entirely a net gain for Turkey since very few Turkish citizens visit Israel.(…)
Norman Bailey, GLO, 28.06.16
Despite the delay, Israel’s reconciliation deal with Turkey is welcome news
(…) the wait did nothing to improve the agreement; what Netanyahu rejected two years ago, he finally accepted two days ago. (…) Turkey, like Israel, emerged from the negotiations with only half of what it wanted. But (…): The agreement’s whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The main benefit to Israel stems from rehabilitating the Jerusalem-Ankara relationship and removing the obstacle Erdogan had posed to Israel’s participation in frameworks that require consensus, like NATO. (…) The fact that Turkey is now positioned to serve as a kind of mediator between Israel and Hamas is also important. (…) It’s essential that in times of crisis, whether the parties are on the brink of escalation or at the height of a conflict, there be some third party acceptable to both sides who can find points of compromise between them. The Turks can be such a party. The expected improvement in the economic situation of Gaza’s population, which will result from the relaxation of the blockade on Gaza and the transfer to the Strip of additional merchandise, is also a net gain for everyone. (…)
Editorial, HAA, 29.06.16
The Battle of Britain
The earthquake that hit Europe overnight measured 10 on the Richter scale. The epicenter: Britain. (…) The “remain” camp (…) failed to discern the comeback of nationalism. They failed to pick up the mood in Britain, where people are sick and tired of giving their tax money to bureaucrats in Brussels who tell them how to live their lives. (…) the average guy just wants sovereignty. A case in point are the regulations Brussels imposed on the meat industry. The citizens of the U.K. like their sausages with a lot of fat and flour. But EU regulators said they must contain 100% beef. It appears, then, that before deciding to cast their ballots, people also considered their culinary preferences. And of course, there is the rising tide of immigrants. (…) As a result of the vote, others will likely try to emulate Britain. The far-Right in France, led by Marine Le Pen, has already begun pushing for a similar referendum in France. (…) this might be the beginning of the end of the European dream. (…)
Boaz Bismuth, IHY, 24.06.16
The EU-Israel relationship, post-Brexit
(…) we have lost a good, solid and largely dependable pro-Israel voice in the European Institutions. (…) But there are opportunities too. The emerging markets as we call them: Balkan states, the Visegrad group of countries, and not forgetting the Baltic states, will undoubtedly feel emboldened after Brexit. They will feel their voices have become louder in the European Council, Parliament and Commission. (…) As these countries enjoy a by and large excellent relationship with Israel, their cement can only be good news for us, and we anticipate a deeper and more co-operative relationship with them at Permanent Representative and EU institutional level. (…) we say goodbye to Britain in the EU playground with a heavy heart. But just like all playgrounds, there are always plenty of others to make friends and continue to play with. (…)
Alex Benjamin, TOI, 24.06.16
In the U.K. and in Israel, a shift toward ultranationalist isolationism
(…) it was nationalist and ultranationalist undercurrents, isolationism, racism and a desire to retreat from a Europe thronged with Syrian refugees, together with an unwillingness to keep taking part in international military operations, that formed the ideological and cultural foundations for the vote to leave. These foundations (…) can be found today in most European states. (…) The ultranationalist and isolationist undercurrents that separated Britain from Europe are flowing in Israel as well, and they do not remain below the surface. Israel, it seems, doesn’t need a referendum or official decision in order to declare its disengagement from Europe or the West. Its policy and identity as the last occupation state in the West is a de facto declaration. (…) Britain’s decision must not be seen in Israel as a model for emulation by those who believe the state can exist as an island. The ultranationalist right must not be allowed to turn Israel into a state imprisoned in a solitary confinement of nations.
Editorial, HAA, 26.06.16
A victory for patriotism
(…) pure and simple patriotism is what drove Brexit supporters, the kind of nationalism that leftist-liberal elites in the West in general, and Britain in particular, do not identify with. (…) Fear of foreign migrants was not the main motive behind Brexit, but the unchecked flow of such migrants did serve as a wake-up call. (…) Let’s look at the similarities between the Brexit vote and the last Knesset elections in March 2015. One can see the same media denial of the will of the people, belittlement of patriotic and religious sentiments and adherence to leftist totalitarian thinking (…). When it comes to Israel, it is still not clear whether Britain’s departure from the EU will be good or bad. Anti-Israel activists on the European continent and inside Britain (…) will not disappear, and will perhaps even get stronger. However, seeing the hostile EU be weakened is not a bad thing. (…)
Dror Eydar, IHY, 26.06.16
Cameron’s irresponsible gamble
(…) There was no objective or legal need to conduct this referendum (…). Cameron’s decision was cynical and egotistical, and regardless of his obligatory resignation it will haunt him for the rest of his life. The U.K.’s decision to leave the EU (…) isn’t just perplexing because of the country’s now-reduced ability to influence the world’s future; or because the pound sterling will lose value; or because the U.K. will not have the same access to the giant economic market that a unified Europe was wise enough to create. It is also irresponsible toward its constituencies (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), which are now demanding to remain in the EU even if that means saying goodbye to England. Only a person completely assured of a final result to stay in the EU could have taken such a monumental gamble. (…) The natural instinct of most human societies is to maintain their uniqueness, be wary of foreigners and not surrender aspects of their country’s sovereignty (…). Today the British, Europeans and anyone connected to them (Israel as well) are paying the price. The surprising results in the U.K. should be heeded by all democratic leaders, who under great political stress could be similarly tempted to relieve their burden by asking those who elected them to decide instead.
Yossi Beilin, IHY, 27.06.16
The United Kingdom’s strange defeat
Thursday’s Brexit marks a victory not of the people but of populism. Not of democracy but of demagogy. It is a victory of the hard right over the moderate right and of the radical over the liberal left. It is a victory of xenophobia in both camps, of long-simmering hate for the immigrant and of obsession with the enemy within (…), a victory of sovereignism at its most rancid; of nationalism at its most idiotic. (…) Abroad, it is a victory for Donald Trump, who was one of the first, if not the first, to welcome the historic vote, and for Vladimir Putin, whose dream and whose plan – this cannot be repeated too loudly or too often – has long been the break-up of the European Union. (…) It is a victory for those who, in imitation of the unbelievable Donald braying “We will make America great again!” as his yellow pompadour snaps like a lasso, dream of building a wall between “the Muslims” and themselves. (…) It is true that Europe played a part in its own death. Certainly this strange defeat is also the defeat of a bloodless entity that scorned its own soul, history and vocation. (…) we must not permit the British majority who voted “Leave,” or those who have applauded the outcome, tell us that their real intention was to advocate for some vague “Europe of the people.” Because this Brexit does not signal the victory of “another Europe” but rather of “no Europe at all.” (…) Either we emerge together (…) from a crisis that is without precedent in the past 70 years, or (…) the worst of humanity will come surging back.
Bernhard-Henri Lévy, JPO, 27.06.16
Barak and Ya’alon are not the only ones worried
(…) Whatever the motives of the two may be, they are not the main point. The two speeches came of a certain feeling of emergency (…). This feeling of emergency appears to be manifesting only among some parts of Israeli society, but this is an important part that has played (…) a central role in Israel’s defense, economy, academia, and culture. (…)Barak is a gifted orator. His speech was particularly scathing, blunt and cruel. He didn’t talk about himself or boasted about his own achievements: It was purely a speech of admonishment. Ya’alon’s speech was less sweeping in its criticism, less explicit, but no less painful. Israel’s existential problem is not Iran or Hezbollah, the problem is the erosion of values. We have an inciting leadership that uses hatred towards Arabs, leftists or kibbutz members to gather up more votes. (…) Barak and Ya’alon are not immune from criticism. It is important to ask them where they were when it was still possible for them to stop the trends they’re talking about. What was Barak doing as a defense minister in Netanyahu’s government, what did he promote and what did he fail to stop; why did Barak as a prime minister establish settlements that he now seeks to dismantle; what did Ya’alon say and do before falling out with Netanyahu and before being ousted from the Defense Ministry. They each have very good reasons for remorse. But all of this doesn’t negate the value of their words, and doesn’t erase the writing they see on the wall. (…)
Nahum Barnea, JED, 18.06.16
(…) After giving testimony that contradicted some of Azaria’s claims, Maj. Tom Na’aman was ridiculed on Facebook and other social media forums. (…) Ever since Azaria (…) was filmed (…) shooting 21-year-old Abed al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif in the head (…) the Israeli public has been split. On one side of the controversy is the military establishment, embodied by Ya’alon and Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. (…) On the other side of the controversy are right-wing politicians, Azaria’s family, friends and many supporters, who are outraged by the idea that a patriotic soldier has been villainized. (…) We, however, believe that the attack on Na’aman has crossed a redline that has been blurred in large part due to the conduct of our political leaders. Instead of unequivocally defending the IDF’s rules of engagement and its ethical values as set down in its code of ethics, too many political leaders have been catering to cheap populism. In contrast, Ya’alon has been a bulwark against a worrying trend. (…) soldiers must adhere to the highest moral standards when using lethal force, particularly those serving on the West Bank among a large civilian population. They must shoot to kill only in cases where they have full justification for doing so. Nothing can more demoralizing than the excessive use of force. (…) Lax enforcement of rules of engagement leads to a breakdown of discipline and ultimately to demoralization and the loss of sense of purpose. (…) Strict rules of engagement also foster discipline. A trigger- happy soldier is dangerous, not just to the enemy but to his fellow soldiers. This danger was clearly on display in the B’tselem video. (…) Adhering to strict rules regarding when to open fire and when not to, saves lives. Finally, and if an argument is even needed, maintaining high moral standards in the IDF helps Israel in the battle for world opinion. (…)
Editorial, JPO, 20.06.16
Standing up to Israel’s dangerous government
(…) In Israel the defense minister is the true second-in-command to the prime minister in the most critical area, and if all those who served in this position denounce the behavior of the person who appointed them and who depended upon them, then the problem is necessarily with him, not his critics. The fifth in this series, Avigdor Lieberman, is an interesting twist. (…) Netanyahu knew what he was getting, and indeed (…) Lieberman (…) began threatening (…) Sheikh Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas in the Gaza Strip and — here’s the twist — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank. The latter, who has cooperated with the Israeli defense establishment in working to decrease violence, is now being accused of “political terrorism” over his moves in the United Nation to end the occupation and establish a Palestinian state. When a junior politician, who heads a tiny party, says such things, it’s unimportant. But when that politician is anointed defense minister by the monarchy, these remarks could generate an escalation that Israel and most of its government do not want. This is part of the background for Barak’s and Ya’alon’s scathing criticism of Netanyahu over the past few days. (…) Netanyahu’s conduct, with a war monger like Lieberman at his side, is (…) dangerous. Netanyahu is dragging Israel into needless military conflicts while jeopardizing valuable partnerships, such as the one with Abbas. (…) the listlessness of opposition leaders Isaac Herzog and Yair Lapid (…) lends additional significance to the criticism expressed by persons who are not today in the Knesset or the cabinet. (…)
Editorial, HAA, 19.06.16
Barak’s desperate speech
(…) former Prime Minister Ehud Barak (…) had chosen to join the anti-democratic choir, which undermines Israel’s Jewish and democratic identity. This is unquestionably a choir in distress, as it is convinced this country was snatched under their noses without even realizing it. (…) Realizing they do not stand a chance to lead any government swaps in the foreseeable future, (…) Barak and his ilk have decided that under the notorious election slogan “Anyone but Bibi” they can harm Israel’s security and diplomatic interests, pulverize the Israeli society, encourage friction between civilians and altogether create a sense of detest towards the state its conduct. (…) It is hard to judge former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon; the way he was released from his duty was unseemly and improper. However, there is a basic contradiction in his words in relation to the Iranian threat. (…) Ya’alon entire disposition suggested that he knows the Iranian nuclear threat is real. But now, having finished his term, the threat is apparently over. (…)
Dr. Haim Shine, IHY, 17.06.16
A cynical, contradictory attack
(…) All of a sudden, Ya’alon tells us that Netanyahu is using the idea of a second Holocaust to frighten the citizens of Israel, and that he and his government bellyache, play the victim, and are projecting cowardice. I had to catch myself for a moment, because Ya’alon served in the current and previous governments. Why did he choose to sit in these disgraceful, fearmongering governments? Why did he tell us, while visiting Germany, that Iran poses an existential threat, and why is there suddenly no such threat? The answer to those questions is cynicism. (…) Ya’alon and Barak’s conduct is very troubling, because for a long time under Netanyahu they were responsible for the security of the state of Israel. Did they mislead the people? Should their decision to lambast the government from the outside now be considered as trustworthy as if they were still sitting ministers? Ya’alon, Barak, Ashkenazi and Gantz served in the military system for many years, and now suddenly are experts on matters of democracy and governance. (…) Democracy means choosing, through organized elections, which political movement you want to form the government. This is how it has always been and how it will remain. No one has hijacked the government. Do the first signs of fascism emerge when suddenly there is no longer a chair to sit on?
Dr. Gabi Avital, IHY, 19.06.16
Selection of Articles
Could my brother and sister be here?
(…) Back then, in the 1960s, my mother, Romia Jarafi, a new immigrant from Yemen, went to the Hillel Yaffe Hospital in Hadera to give birth to her sixth child, my older sister. Shortly after the birth, doctors came into her room and told her the baby had not survived. (…) They did not let her see her daughter’s body, she never received a death certificate, and the day-old infant was never laid to rest. (…) My older brother fell ill, died and was buried when he was 11 months old. (…) After years of denial, I find myself wondering, could my sister and possibly even my brother still exist somewhere in the world, without my knowing them? Maybe they live close by. Many times as I’ve been walking down the street I’ve asked myself, could that woman passing by be my sister? (…)The criminals who tore children way from their mothers and told bold lies about it apparently took care to protect themselves, so the stories of the children of Yemen will only be exposed in 2071. All the investigative material collected for years, the protocols and the testimonies, are being held by the state archivist, who is eager to release them but is prohibited by law from doing so. We demand that the government release the material, and I’m certain that this time we will expose what really happened there and give the families historic justice. I’m not looking to blame anyone and I’m not looking for revenge. I just want some peace for my spirit and to know the truth, even if it’s bitter.
Nava Boker, IHY, 22.06.16
The French initiative will bring no peace
(…) There will be increasing pressure to transform the nation-state of the Jews into a state of all its citizens, and the Jewish state’s Palestinian neighbor will increasingly incite its Arab minority against its Jewish majority. (…) Abbas is clearly not interested in peace with Israel and has no intention of recognizing Israel as the Jewish state. He wants to secure the right of return for millions of Arabs to enter our sovereign land, destroy it and build their state upon its ruins. (…) But the destruction of the Jewish state can only be achieved by forcing a deal on Israel, and the French are doing their best to lend Abbas a helping hand. The French are very eager to push forward an initiative that goes against international law and will bring about the division of Israel and ensure that Jews and Arabs live in a perpetual state of war. This may be due in part to the number of Muslim citizens eligible to vote in France. (…) It is no longer feasible to work toward a two-state solution. Even those on the Left understand that the settlements have created a new reality in Judea and Samaria. Therefore, our leaders should strive for another solution, and that is the gradual implementation of Israeli rule over the area. This is the only solution that will stand the test of time and stabilize the situation, and it doesn’t even threaten the solid Jewish majority in the land of Israel.
Ze´ev Javotinsky. IHY, 21.06.16
(…) Abbas chose to share with the parliamentarians of Europe (…) a blood libel straight from the Middle Ages. Israeli rabbis are ordering their disciples to murder Palestinians, Abbas shamelessly asserted. (…) Moreover, he claimed, since 1967 Israel has imprisoned more than 1 million Palestinias. (…) Regarding terrorism, the Palestinian leader shared with the Europeans his solution for eradicating the growing plague. The absence of a two-state solution, he said, would give “pretext to those who commit terrorism in the name of religion. Once this occupation ends, those pretexts will disappear and extremism will be over, as will terrorism. (…) Israel has consistently called for the Palestinians to resume direct talks, knowing that intermediaries serve only to harden Palestinian positions. Will the intransigence Abbas shows change the EU’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? After what happened in Brussels last week, it definitely should.
Editorial, JPO, 25.06.16
Three attacks, three cities
(…) The monstrous attack launched, apart from anything else, vehement discussions on whether an attack should be defined by the perpetrator or the victims (…). Israelis, so frequently targeted by terrorists, are particularly sensitive to the double standards that abound: the refusal to see that Israel is in the front line of the Islamist onslaught and under attack (…) because our enemies don’t want to see us enjoying normal lives, going out for a coffee. The attackers in Tel Aviv, Orlando and Paris (and elsewhere) chose different targets but acted out of the same convictions. But only Israel is urged to exercise restraint when trying to tackle the problem. (…) THERE ARE three things related to the Tel Aviv terror attack that I could have told the radio station in London, but I doubt they’d have believed me. The first is that the terrorist wounded during the attack was treated in a Tel Aviv hospital, alongside his victims – which is the difficult but moral thing to do. The second: That the terrorist who originally abandoned the scene was found wandering around in a state of shock by a policeman. The good cop gave him water and took him upstairs to his apartment (…). The policeman soon noticed that the captured terrorist was wearing the same shiny suit as the man he’d left with his family and rushed back home wondering if they were dead or alive. (…) The final item is even more unbelievable. (…) the nephew of Hamas leader in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh was hospitalized last weekend in an Israeli hospital. (…)
Liat Collins, JPO, 16.06.16
Turkey must rid itself of ISIS
(…) Over the years, Turkey has supported and assisted ISIS quite a bit. ISIS members have crossed over Turkey’s borders, smuggled weapons, and Turkey has purchased oil from wells controlled by ISIS. (…) what Turkey didn’t understand was that ISIS was not a group that could be controlled. Neither did they foresee the pressure Turkey would receive from NATO (…) to cease its association with ISIS. All of these pressures forced Turkey to switch its allegiance against its will. Turkey ceased purchasing oil from and smuggling arms to ISIS, and they began allowing troops from Western countries to use its border as a base from which they could launch attacks against ISIS. But ISIS fighters still seem to be getting across the border pretty easily, and the Turkish authorities seem to be using only minimal resources to exert control. (…) In order to carry out a large-scale terrorist attack, a number of activists must collaborate, purchase weapons, explosives, and prepare a detailed plan. (…) The Turkish intelligence agency is just beginning to learn how to carry out these steps. ISIS (..) has no problem sending a few fighters to carry out an attack in a busy city in a neighboring country, since they come across no resistance at border crossings. In other words, ISIS can continue carrying out attacks like it did this week at Ataturk Airport.(…) The Turkish defense establishment must act quickly to hermetically seal its eastern border and prevent the illegal movement of terrorists. (…) The Turkish government will need to make some difficult decisions soon regarding the way it plans to carry out counterespionage activity against ISIS. It will undoubtedly ask for help and cooperation from its Western allies and its old/new fried, Israel. But even the most optimistic among us know that without dealing with the ISIS operatives who have already established themselves in Turkey, Turkey has no chance to succeed. (…)
Lior Akerman, JPO, 30.06.16
In the face of all the risks
(…) That no official investigation has ever been conducted is particularly strange in light of the fact that Operation Thunderbolt (…) is certainly not an operation the IDF should feel ashamed of. This is one of the most important commando operations in history. (…) There is no doubt that many things could have gone wrong, leading the operation to end in disaster. (…) Israel was surprised by Wadie Haddad’s ability to hijack a plane and fly it somewhere as far as Uganda. But surprise also worked in the opposite direction. Because of the great distance from Israel, it appeared that the hijackers and Ugandan soldiers didn’t imagine Israel would even consider a rescue operation. (…) At first, Rabin was convinced that the operation would be impossible to pull off. (…) it was the commanders’ confidence in their ability to deliver. The most important among them was probably Sayeret Matkal’s commander, Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu (…). Netanyahu’s memory has suffered several blows since the operation because of ego and politics. (…) The different testimonies (…) show that almost all of the commandos thought Netanyahu’s decision to risk losing the element of surprise by shooting the Ugandan guards was the right call—and not just in hindsight. Forty years later, the testimonies of the soldiers who fought in Entebbe demonstrate, more than anything else, the difference between a commando operation that turns into a fiasco and one remembered as legendary.
Ronen Bergman, JED, 27.06.16
I’m in Israeli military jail because I won’t collaborate with the occupation
(…) I am in prison because the state does not respect my conscience. (…) One of the moments I like in prison is when someone new enters the cell. (…) Everyone is sure they are about to enter an institution for criminals, but then they discover that the other girls are just like them. (…) It turns out that the Israel Defense Forces isn’t suitable for everyone. There are many girls in jail for refusing to take certain army courses or be appointed to certain posts. Some end up there for hitchhiking, for being in breach of guard duty, or for chutzpah, drinking alcohol or fraternizing: Soldiers are not allowed to touch one another or be in the quarters of the opposite sex. If there’s anything that is saving me in prison it’s the shared feeling we all have here: namely, that the army screwed us. (…) A girl who comes from a solid home and has good physical and mental “data” has numberless doors opened for her in the IDF and afterward. But if she’s disadvantaged from the outset, she enters an insensitive, illogical system. (…) Instead of getting help, they get sent to jail. This place is giving me a new perspective. A new reason not to be part of a system that purports to be a “melting pot,” but in practice preserves disparities – strengthening the strong and weakening the weak. (…)
Tair Kaminer, HAA, 23.06.16
Thoughts to Ponder: The Kotel – Have we gone mad?
(…) have we Jews gone mad? Kotel mad? (…) We must free the Western Wall of all denominations and abolish all synagogue services at the site, including bar and bat mitzva celebrations. We must remove all Torah scrolls, tefillin and tallitot and restore the Wall to its former state: a place where all are welcome and where not even the most lenient halacha can be violated; a place where there are no mehitzot (partitions) and other sources of ideological or physical conflict; a place used solely for individual prayer and meditation, just as our ancestors treated it throughout our long history. (…) The Kotel situation is extremely explosive, and the stakes are high. (…) The greater its sanctity, the deeper it can fall into an abyss. It can easily turn into a place of such desecration of God’s name that once it does, all of us will hide our faces in shame and ask ourselves how this could ever have happened to us. (…) It is a wall soaked with the frozen tears of millions of Jews – women, men and children. And now we are destroying it with our own hands, robbing it of its holiness and eternity. (…) Is this what we returned to our ancestors’ land for, after 2,000 years? (…) Leave the Kotel alone and stop this madness. Go and fight somewhere else. (…) And if you will not, perhaps it is preferable that the government close down the Wall entirely and wait until we Jews regain our sanity and can sit together to discuss its future in a civilized manner. When that takes place, God will wink at us approvingly because we will have finally grown up, and we will wink at God since we will have realized how foolishly we had behaved. Perhaps then the Messiah will come. (…)
Nathan Lopes Cardozo, JPO, 25.06.16
HAA = Haaretz
JED = JediothAhronoth / Ynetnews
JPO = Jerusalem Post
IHY = Israel HaYom
TOI = Times of Israel
GLO = Globes
Published: June 2016
Dr. Werner Puschra, Leiter der Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Israel