Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bad news

One of the reasons that I find it hard to find real inspiration for this blog by watching the news on television, or by reading online articles, is that the local and regional news often is so frustrating, or even depressing. Of course on a micro-level there are many good things going on, but few of those things make any headlines in any major media. To give you an impression of some of the headlines that I see as proof that things are not really going in the right direction in the Holy Land, here are a few news items that made headlines in the last week or so:
  • The Minister of Defense has started to interview possible candidates for the post of Chief of Staff of the Israeli army. This process has already become tainted because of a real or forged document aimed at building a positive image of one of the candidates, and a negative image of another. Whether the document is genuine or not does not matter, the mere fact that it was created and plays a role in the decision process says much about the dangerous mix of politics and the military, a mix that has always existed but seems to play a more central role than ever before. I heard one analyst explain that Ehud Barak, who supposedly favors an attack against Iran, wants to find a Chief of Staff who - unlike Gabi Ashkenazi, the current CoS, whose term was not extended for a fifth year - will support him in that approach. I really hope that any decision about such an attack will be taken solely on the basis of professional, i.e. military, arguments and considerations. But of course I know that that hope is quite vain.
  • Big Ultra-Orthodox Brother is watching you, or The ayatollahs are right here among us.
  • An example of quality journalism, paid for by Israeli taxpayers ( I will not shed a tear on the day when the IBA ceases to exist; not that I have too much sympathy for UNRWA, or that this particular news report is representative for the level of professionalism at the IBA, it would be unfair to claim that ).
  • Two examples of the respect for democracy in what still is the only democracy in the Middle East ( or: In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king ). Of course, the fact that I am able to write this without having to truly fear for my safety or for that of any of my loved ones, is proof that in spite of all its flaws Israel remains a democracy. But still...
  • I believe that the situation of the Israeli Arabs - and consequently, of the Jewish Israelis, and of the Palestinians - would be better if they had better leaders. I'm not sure if the claims against MK Zuabi are based on reality, but I don't think that - to use just one example of problematic choices by Israeli-Arab leaders - her participation in the Turkish anti-Israeli flotilla contributed in any positive way to the position of Israel's Arab citizens.

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