Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
- An interesting and convincing opinion article, unfortunately but very probably quite relevant for the next Lebanon war.
- Uri Orbach basically calls Israelis who expose the abuse of Palestinians by Israeli security forces or by settlers traitors, who only help the Palestinian propaganda machine. He seems to forget that those who abuse Palestinian civilians are the real danger for Israel, because they betray our state and our values. But of course, Mr Orbach does not mention the fact that abuses that do not take place can not be filmed and exposed, nor does he ever denounce the attacks - by members of his ideological home front - against Israeli soldiers and police(wo)men who try to enforce the little law that is left in the Wild-Westbank.
- Uzi Dayan, former general and halfhearted political activist, will join the Likud. Nothing wrong with that, of course, besides the fact that after he retired from the army, one of Mr Dayan's main focuses has been the fight against corruption. He probably never noticed that two ( well, many more, but they involve two public figures, Avraham Hirschsohn and Ehud Olmert ) of today's most notorious cases of - alleged - corruption involve Kadimah politicians who did what they are being accused of while they were very, very prominent Likud leaders. You cannot say that Likud invented corruption, but it is one of the parties that helped to turn the ugly phenomenon into an Israeli artform. What other parties he could have joined? Well, I would not suggest Shas, or Israel Beitenu, or the Labor party. But what is wrong with, for instance, Meretz? Besides the fact that the chances of that party joining any government in the near future are slim, to say the least. This is why I have a feeling that Avshalom Vilan might be right.
- Some very interesting background information about Samir Kuntar, which I found on one of my favorite Israeli weblogs.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
They are not of a very high quality, but still, good enough for a blog posting. The first two were taken last week at a new park near the beach in Haifa. It has a nice bicycle track. The other picture shows how Haifa University, which just like the Technion we can see from our house, disappeared for a few minutes yesterday morning.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
- July 4th. Right after the abduction of Gilad Shalit. I quoted Noam Shalit, his father ( "the State of Israel won't be able to retrieve its power of deterrence to my sorrow on the back of Gilad Shalit because his back is not so wide..." ), and Esther Wachsman, the mother of Nahshon z"l, who wrote or said in Ha'Aretz: "We hear "We will not negotiate" and "We won't give in to terror." This is the Israeli destiny, they say. I am not calling for the release of murderers, but they should not insult our intelligence because they have negotiated and they have given in to terror - in the Jibril deal, and in the agreement in which the bodies of our soldiers who had been abducted by Hezbollah were returned, and in the deal with Elhanan Tennenbaum, and in the release of Sheikh Yassin when two Mossad agents failed in their attempt to assassinate Khaled Meshal. Everyone knows the bloody price we paid for the release of these murderers. " These words are even truer today.
- July 10th. Still funny.
- July 13th. This is when the war really started for us.
- July 15th. I remember the Barenboim/Quasthoff Winterreise-recital that I watched on television in our dark living room, with my wife and children asleep in the bunker.
- July 15th. Plus ca change.... ( of course, this is not 'my' posting ).
- July 16th. Still optimistic.
- July 17th. I doubt if something this would happen today.
- July 19th. This story still makes my eyes tear, and this one, of the same date, still makes me smile. By the way, on the afternoon of this day we left our home. On Tuesday evening we had decided to leave, and we even managed to make most of the arrangements for the journey ( including faxed declarations from my wife's gynaecologist, who later would be sent to Lebanon ). We wanted to buy some extra Euros at a post office near the Alon junction, but when we left our hometown we heard on the radio that that junction had been hit by missiles, and everything was closed. We managed without the extra Euros.
- July 23rd. My first posting from Holland.
- July 28th. This contrast still exists.
- August 3rd. This posting ( in Dutch ) reminded me of the fact that during the war I received little hate-mail, except for a tsunami coming from a few extremist Israel 'supporters', who stalked my blog and mailbox for a week or so and called me a traitor, a selfhater etc. etc. I even had to turn off the comment function for some time.
- August 6th 2006. These pictures, which I received from a photographer-friend of my wife's and which were exclusively published on this weblog, reached tens of thousands of viewers all over the world, through links and references posted on major American websites. On August 10th 2006, as a result of this posting, DBI had its busiest day ever, with more than 1000 visitors. A building in my hometown, a few streets away from our house, was hit in a similar way, I am still amazed how fast it was rebuilt.
- August 15th. Still true and highly relevant.
- August 31st. Idem dito.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Deze week is bij uitgeverij Aspekt mijn eerste boek uitgekomen: Israel en ik - Vijftien bekende Nederlanders over hun verhouding met een zestigjarige. Op de achterflap staat het volgende ( ik kan het niet mooier en compacter zeggen, mede omdat ik deze tekst zelf geschreven heb ):
De staat Israël vierde in mei 2008 zijn zestigste verjaardag. Ter gelegenheid daarvan interviewde Bert de Bruin, in samenwerking met het Centrum Informatie en Documentatie Israël (CIDI), vijftien personen – schrijvers, journalisten, politici en andere prominente Nederlanders – over hun band met Israël. Het resultaat is een serie boeiende en openhartige verhalen, waarin naast kritiek en bezorgdheid vooral oprechte betrokkenheid bij het wel en wee van de Joodse staat naar voren komt. Dit boek maakt duidelijk dat voor veel Nederlanders Israël “meer dan zomaar een land op de aardbol” is. Geïnterviewd werden: Barbara Barend, Frits Bolkestein, Bernard Bot, Samira Bouchibti, Jessica Durlacher, Elsbeth Etty, Bloeme Evers-Emden, Assad Jaber, Nausicaa Marbe, Dana Nechushtan, Karel Ornstein, Daniel de Ridder, André Rouvoet, Jacques Wallage, en Jan van Zanen. Ronny Naftaniel, directeur van CIDI, schreef het voorwoord.
Het ISBN van dit boek is 9789059117280. Je kunt het voor zover ik weet bij alle erkende boekhandels in Nederland ( en ook op bij Bol en Proxis, of bijvoorbeeld bij NRC Handelsblad, ook al staat daar dat het nog niet verschenen is ) kopen of bestellen. De prijs van het boek is 17,95 Euro. Om met Herman Berkien te spreken: "Het kost wel een paar centen, maar je hebt er wel wat voor!". Ik moet het boek zelf nog ontvangen, de Israelische post werkt niet zo snel, maar iedereen die het in handen heeft gehad is erg onder de indruk, en alle geinterviewden waren zeer te spreken over de manier waarop ik hun verhaal heb weergegeven. Dat het verder inhoudelijk wel snor zat ( boeiend, ontroerend en leuk, gevarieerde meningen en inzichten, leest als een trein ) was mij natuurlijk al bekend. Ik zou zeggen: kopen en lezen! En zegt of blogt het voort! Als het goed is vindt er begin september in Amsterdam een officiele boekpresentatie plaats, in de vorm van een paneldiscussie/mini-symposium, met als werktitel Israel, Nederland, en Europa: Dynamische perspectieven. Daarvoor zal ik naar Nederland komen. Naast een viertal deskundigen zullen ook alle geinterviewde personen voor die bijeenkomst worden uitgenodigd. Ik verwacht er ook een aantal DBI lezers tegen te zullen komen.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Friday, July 04, 2008
Thursday, July 03, 2008
I received a request to help promote a students' conference on Mid-East peace, at the Tel Aviv University. Here is a link, good luck and kol hakavod to them. Also, an account director at the PR firm representing a US magazine thought I might be interested in refering to an article on the Golan Heights, on the website of that magazine. I don't think linking to the article could hurt anyone, so here it is.
- Please read about the three Israelis who were murdered in Jerusalem yesterday, and think for a moment how many lives will be affected if not ruined by the act of this terrorist.
- Could it be that the man did what he did in order to score DBP's ( Devout-Believer-Points )with his god and his coreligionists because in his past he had done something that he had to make up for? And I am not talking about the rape, but about the romantic involvement. In the past other terrorists have commited suicide murders for similar reasons. I remember a young mother who was forced to be a suicide terrorist because she had somehow brought shame upon her husband and/or family.
- On television yesterday I heard a shabby looking Jewish ( he wore a yarmulke ) bystander who asked why the hell do we employ Arab workers. Several yeshiva bochers - who in the middle of the day obviously were too busy to study - nodded in agreement. When another, secular, bystander asked him what he did for a living, he said that he was unemployed. Could it be that we employ Arab workers because Jews are not willing anymore to do construction work and other hard physical labor, at least not for the ridiculously low wages that come with those jobs? Aren't the contractors and we as consumers to blame for this? There is a lot of mea culpa here. In my first year after I arrived in Israel I often did quite heavy physical labor in the kibbutz where I lived ( I worked in the chicken coops and other places). Also, two years later, after I made aliyah, I worked very hard in a fruit factory in another kibbutz. Today I am not sure whether I still would be willing or even able to do such work. Yesterday very late in the evening I saw a report on Channel 1 about Bedouin laborers who work - under the threats of rockets and snipers - in the potato fields of Eyn HaShlosha, the kibbutz right next to the one where I lived ( i.e. Kissufim ). When I heard the kibbutz member who is responsible for the potato fields talk about the children who work there in the middle of the night ( "Many of them are not children, they just look like children" ), I understood how fucked up Zionist ( work )ethics have become.
- Of course, populist politicians used this golden opportunity to call for radical measures ( 'Send his family to Gaza', 'Destroy his family's home' ). There is a chance that this attack, which has all the features of an act by a loner who had no links to organized terrorism, will be used to set an example that will satisfy the Israeli public's taste for revenge for a few moments but will not help in any possible way to prevent future attacks.
- Why is it that I do not believe that ISM activists and other hypocrites will use yesterday's terror attack to demonstrate against Caterpillar? After all, a Caterpillar shovel was used to murder three Jews.
- The other week I saw a report about the terrible conditions in which Arabs often have to live in the Arab 'neighborhoods' ( often simply villages ) of Jerusalem. Many of them have no running water, no electricity. If Jews had to live like that anywhere in the world we all would rise up in arms, and rightly so. The mayor of the city said on camera that we should not take the Arabs' complaints too seriously, their emotions and perceptions are different from ours. If we so badly want Jerusalem to be united ( personally, I don't see any reason why we should want to 'control' so many obviously hostile 'citizens' who as far as I am concerned could very well become inhabitants of the future capital of Palestine ) we should invest in all parts of that city, and not only or even mainly in its Jewish parts. The contempt of Uri Lupolianski for so many of 'his' citizens says it all, basically. There is no coexistence in Jerusalem. And to those who come with 'explanations' such as "But the Arabs build without permits" or "They don't pay municipal taxes", I would say: read the articles and books of people like Meron Benvenisti.
- Comments such as this one really make me mad. One of the Israelis who did what a responsible, well-trained and able-bodied citizen should do when a certain situation requires swift and decisive action, happened to be a religious Zionist. So what? What about the first person who jumped on the shovel to try and stop the terrorist? He happened to be an Arab police officer. The person who 'woke up' the terrorist ( who was unconscious by then, thanks to the work of the police officer and his - Jewish, female - colleague ) by throwing a rock at him, was a religious Jew. Should we say that that Jew was responsible for the death of Bat-Sheva Unterman z"l? Heaven forbid. Is there a lack of religious or secular, right- or leftwing, Jewish or non-Jewish in the history of this country? I think not. No segment of Israeli society should try to present itself as more or less Zionist or heroic. What is important is that we somehow get along and take care of each other, side by side, as Israelis. As for Orbach and his fellow populists ( left- and rightwing, religious and secular ), they should stop using personal and national tragedies for their own personal and political interests.