Monday, November 29, 2004

Regarding "Fears flower over funding for higher education", and "Right-wing poised for anti-pullout public campaigns", Ha'Aretz, November 28, 2004 ( published in its entirety in today's English edition of the newspaper ): Of course the settlers cannot be blamed for all the holes in Israel's budgets during the last four decades. Still, I cannot help wondering how the Jewish state would have looked if all those many, many millions of shekels and (wo)man-hours pumped into the occupation and into the settlements had been invested in projects that are - more than living outside the Green Line on some remote hill in a caravan or in a luxurious villa, confining one's neighbors to bantustans, forcing Jewish soldiers to become occupiers, and endangering the very continued existence of Israel as a Jewish state - based on real Jewish values: compassion for the poor and less advantaged, seeking justice and prosperity for Jews and non-Jews, educating both the masses and the elite, sustainable housing and safe roads, health care and scientific research. The Israel that I read about before making aliyah was far from being perfect. Still, egalitarianism and solidarity were two of the keywords in all that I read about Israeli society. If today I had to describe the state of this country's society - where, don't get me wrong, I still love to live - I would put those keywords in brackets and add some more: alienation, haves and have-nots, racism, apathy and indifference. It is never too late to admit one's mistakes and to make amends. If we end the occupation, start fighting corruption and general decay, and invest most of our efforts and larger parts of our state's budgets in abovementioned projects, we might discover that a good life ( including an affordable education ) is within reach of most, if not all Israelis.

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