The IDF is in the midst of an extensive operation in Gaza. Hourly news reports the body count. We are at about 40 Palestinians killed, one Israeli soldier killed, a couple of Israelis wounded, and lots of Palestinians in bad shape. Aging veterans of watching Vietnam know that body counts do not end wars.
Despite this, or perhaps because of it, the homemade rockets keep coming. One landed on a home in Sderot and did considerable damage. There were also some minor wounds, and several cases of anxiety.
David Grossman gave an impressive speech before 100,000 people gathered to remember the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. He made a convincing argument that there is no king in Israel; the leadership is empty, sickened by minor or major corruption, concerned only to benefit from the headlines. He also condemned the Palestinian leadership that was leading its people to disaster. Grossman is convinced that a Palestinian population exists that a creative Israeli leadership could reach with a direct appeal in behalf of a reasonable peace arrangement.
One who has read Grossman's books on Israeli Arabs and Palestinians should not be surprised at what he said. He has made the acquaintance of numerous reasonable people from those communities. So have many of the rest of us. Are there enough of them to make a difference? Palestinian public opinion polls are not encouraging. Some years ago a right-wing Israeli government sought partners among Palestinians not associated with the national leadership at the time. It did not work. Could this government do it? Could Grossman help? He writes good books, but his attractive and well-expressed idea seems likely to end up on the growing pile of once-promising possibilities.
Avigdor Lieberman, the new minister in charge of planning strategic defense, is saying that separation from Israeli Arabs and Palestinians is the answer. Cyprus is his model of the week. Last week he wanted to emulate the Russian policy with respect to Chechnya.
A gay pride march, scheduled for later this week in Jerusalem, has come under threat of mayhem from the religious leaders of Jews and Muslims. Is this a sign of peace that might occur under a multi-cultural theocracy?
A massive electric transformer moved along the roads on Friday night. It was convenient for the police in the short run, due to limited traffic on the Sabbath. But one ultra-Orthodox political party is threatening political scandal, and targeting one of its competitors (another ultra-Orthodox party) currently serving in the government, that tolerated this abomination.
So far the Muslim religious leaders have not expressed themselves about the transformer. Maybe a multi-cultural theocracy would not work.
Something like 40,000 pieces of luggage piled up at the international airport, due to a wildcat strike of baggage handlers. Arriving travelers waited up to seven hours for their luggage, or went away without it. Planes took off minus their passengers' checked bags. The Minister of Tourism pleaded for reason. This was not a way for tourism to recover from the damage done by the recent war in Lebanon.
There is still Iran's nuclear program, and indications that Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, and some of the Gulf Emirates are moving in that direction. Either because they are afraid of the Iranians, or of us.
The talk shows are featuring commentary on Grossman, Lieberman, and the gay march. So far not a word about political corruption.
I would listen to the classical music station, but this far east in Jerusalem there is interference from Palestinian stations.
Despite all of this, I remain hopeful. Next week we celebrate the first birthday of nephew Itamar. Maybe he, or someone of his generation, can deal with these issues. To be sure, whoever is chosen would need partners from the Palestinians, other Arabs, Iranians, ultra-Orthodox Jews, and our own gays and lesbians.
I would not bet on it. But I am not likely to be among those who will judge the
More reliable is the rain. There will be flowers in the spring.Posted by Ira Sharkansky at November 04, 2006 10:59 PM