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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Topic Fatigue or Ennui?

There is so much disheartening stuff going on these days, and nearly all of it demands more personal investment in brainwidth than I have available these days:

Turkey continues to tell the EUropeans that Israel is torpedoing the previously warm relations between our countries... all the while aligning itself, and acting in concert with, the most radical Muslim countries calling for Israel's destruction.  Did Israel really break up this romance?  I don't care one way or the other.  An enemy is an enemy... even if they were once a friend.  Memo to the European Union:  If anyone pushed Turkey into the arms of the Islamo-fascists, it was you, not Israel.  Once EU membership was deinied, where the hell did you think they would go?!

The U.N. has wasted no time in concluding that the recent violence in Kyrgyzstan was neither spontaneous nor random, but rather that the violence has been carefully orchestrated.   Memo to the Inspector Clouseaus at the U.N.:  Where were you during the 2nd Intifada?  Bombs don't build themselves and make themselves available for spontaneous use.  They require a sophisticated supply chain.  In other words; orchestration.

A soldier in the IDF's Givati infantry unit is about to be (or has already been charged) in the shooting of two Gazan civilians during Operation Cast Lead.  While it pains me to think of one of our young soldiers acting contrary to the IDF's strict code of ethics, it warms my heart that we live in a country of laws where we are able to investigate ourselves and prosecute wrong-doing... even during a necessary and justified campaign of right.  Memo to those who are still calling for an independent investigation of the Gaza flotilla raid:  We are able to police ourselves, thankouverymuch.

The leaders of the Palestinian Authority are once gain talking out of both sides of their mouths.  On the one hand they are loudly denouncing Israel's attempts to weaken and isolate Hamas through a legitimate blockade... yet they are now also denouncing Israel for legitimizing Hamas.  Memo to Mahmoud Abbas:    Our soldiers are risking their lives to keep arms out of the hands of those who overthrew the PA in a violent coup 3 years ago.  Make up your mind... do you want Hamas with or without arms?  My guess is that once Hamas is sufficiently re-armed, the P.A. in the West Bank will go the way of the P.A. in Gaza.

Amnesty International has announced that it is disappointed with the Committee Israel created to investigate the Gaza Flotilla Raid.  Memo to A.I.:  We've been disappointed with you for some time now.  Israel is a tiny country that, when expressed as a percentage of the world's population, is a rounding error a couple columns to the right of the decimal place.  Yet like the U.N., you seem to be fixated on an endless litany of our alleged transgressions to the exclusion of all the real genocide, torture, trafficking, slavery, human rights abuses, etc. that are distributed fairly evenly across the earth's surface.

Once again, a group of Haredi Rabbis have passed up an opportunity to practice Ahavat Ysrael and Tikun Olam.  A long simmering battle in a religious girls school has reached a climax where rather than reintegrate a small group of Sephardi students who had been segregated (because many came from families that were not Haredi and many have non-observant relatives), the parents of the other students have been encouraged by their rabbis to go to jail rather than send their daughters back to the forcefully integrated school..    Memo to the Rabbis:  You are deliberately raising yet another generation of ignorant bigots in an atmosphere of suspicion and baseless hatred.  For this you deserve to be a target of bigotry, and your narrow, inauthentic masquerade of Judaism deserves to be outlawed and forcefully abolished like any other dangerous cult.

A car was pulled over in the north of Israel last night after being clocked at 207 Kph (129 MPH).  The driver (who smelled of alcohol but refused a breathalyzer test) claimed he was "in a hurry" taking a friend to the hospital (friend did submit to a breathalyzer and was well above the legal limit).  The driver had several previous speed-related infraction on his driving record, yet so far all that has been done is his drivers license was suspended for a month.  Memo to the Israeli judicial system:  Given the carnage on Israel's roads, when we catch someone driving this fast, it should be an automatic jail offense... with permanent loss of driving privileges.  We don't let convicted sex offenders near children.  Habitually reckless driving is an illness, and those who repeatedly endanger others on the roads should not be allowed near cars, except as a passenger.

I'm tired of thinking, and wish we could have a slow news day for a change.  Turning on the news and hearing a lead-off story of 'Man bites dog' would be pretty damned good right about now.

Posted by David Bogner on June 16, 2010 | Permalink

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David thanks for the summary - I haven't had the stomach to "turn on" the news during the past few days and appreciate you sugar-coating it for me :-)

Posted by: Tehillah | Jun 16, 2010 1:20:28 PM

Must be something in the air. I pretty much am suffering with the same sort of feelings when reading the papers (yes, I still glance at newspapers) or watching the news on TV in the U.S. -- economy continues to bob up and down, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq continue to play out in a kind of distant, surrealistic fashion and a blob of oil off the Gulf Coast grows bigger and more dangerous each day ... add all the woes you've described in Israel and I think I'll just cancel today!

Posted by: Ron | Jun 16, 2010 2:26:32 PM

you imply that it is the eu's fault that turkey is turning to the arab league. even assuming the eu was wrong for rejecting turkey, there is no excuse for going islamofascist.

Posted by: fred | Jun 16, 2010 2:47:11 PM

All too depressing for words, but let me say something about Haredi education in the UK.

As a girl I went to a very well known Jewish School in NW London. Although the ethos was strictly Orthodox, it was a school for Jewish students. As long as the child was Jewish, they could be pupils.

We played tennis in the summer and netball in the winter, even the very frum girls. The more religious girls covered their arms to the wrist winter and summer alike, but most of us wore short sleeves (to the elbow) in the summer. Our choir sang suitable secular songs at the school concert as well as psalms. We did country dancing, a particularly English passtime, as part of our Physicial Education, each morning in assembly we listened to a piece of classical music. We studied the Classics as well as Rashi and Chomesh. We had a great science department.

We were a truly well rounded educational establishment.

Today the same school only accepts boys and girls (in seperate schools, but it was then too) from Haredi families. The children look pale, frail, and small. There is no longer an opportunity for Reform or nominally Orthodox children to be educated in an Orthodox environment. The powers-that-be are so terrified that their children will have an original idea, that they are isolated from the rest of the world from birth.

None of these girls are going to be doctors and lawyers. As they're unlikely to go to University I have no idea where they are going to find future teachers. These girls are going to be married by the time they're eighteen, and have children until they can have no more.

Surely an agenda like this can't be good for world wide Jewry.

Posted by: chairwoman | Jun 16, 2010 3:18:50 PM

Chairwoman, I wonder if you went to the same school that I did. I was there from 69-76. It certainly sounds like the same place, and now you've gone and made me all nostalgic. I agree with you up to a point re UK orthodox Jewish schooling. There is so much more choice available nowadays, so many more schools of all shades of the Jewish spectrum. (though of course I haven't had to make a personal choice for my own children since we live in Israel). But it's sad that the various streams of Judaism don't get to mix in the same way.

Trep, I've been feeling exactly the same way as you for the last few weeks. I call it news fatigue. I'm usually addicted to the news - TV, radio, blogs, internet, but I've davka been avoiding it all lately. However I did make one pleasant discovery: on Reshet Bet at 3 p.m., at the beginning of the program (I'm not sure if this is every day or only once or twice a week) the female broadcaster starts with "First, some good news", and she reads out 3 or 4 good news items about Israel. It always leaves me with a smile on my face. IMO all news broadcasts should either start of finish with such items.

Posted by: annie | Jun 16, 2010 4:44:29 PM

It's Tamuz. Don't give in.

Posted by: rutimizrachi | Jun 16, 2010 7:46:55 PM

Annie - does it start with an H?

Posted by: chairwoman | Jun 16, 2010 9:32:52 PM

Someone should write a song called "Turkish Kiss-off"...

Posted by: psachya | Jun 16, 2010 9:49:25 PM

Very powerful summary/post!

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | Jun 16, 2010 11:00:46 PM

Chairwoman, yes it does. :-)

Posted by: annie | Jun 16, 2010 11:50:29 PM

On the money ever time here! So good to have a simple articulation of these points made in a public place. Well done!

Posted by: Del Bogner | Jun 17, 2010 9:25:50 AM

About the EU, David, everything from this part of the world works on politics, so if someone somewhere in Israel is playing along (which is a necessity) then the end result is.... 'blacklisting', any EU politician would weigh the pros and cons of their actions against Israel, if it falls on the Pros then you get alot of BS going on. About Turkey, you obviously know this, Its the front for Israeli and PA authorities negotiations, but ofcourse things work for the PA more than they would for Israel, why? its because the Muslim population in Europe is 'good' for Europe! good to be back. :-)

Posted by: Rami | Jun 19, 2010 2:24:59 AM

Painful it is that I comment. However...
I am an American Jew living in the largest Orthodox community in Minnesota.
For all practical purposes, our Bais Yaakov is "Chareidi" out here in the wild lands of Midwest America.
And, of course, all Jewish girls are accepted. However - were a girl to come here who insisted on dressing in the fashion that is "normal" in common American high school culture, the school would not allow it. Nor would they allow a girl whose parents insisted that her dress code was acceptable and that all of the other "cultural" attitudes that the Bais Yaakov encouraged, such as no TV or movies; keeping Shabbos and mitzvos; davening Ashkenaz; etcetera - were absolutely unacceptable by her parents, and were they to instruct their daughter that these practices were unacceptable.
The Bais Yaakov would not require the girl to abide by their traditions, but they would require the parents not to denounce these strictures and traditions.
Now, our Bais Yaakov does not receive public funding. However, it does receive funding from the largely secular Jewish Federation. And, if the Bais Yaakov decided that they could not have this particular girl because of her and/or her parent's rejection of their standards; and the parents made a case out of it, the Federation would most likely "be forced" to cut off funding...
And thus, would this Bais Yaakov now be viewed by the secular; Reform; and Conservative Jews as yet another generation being raised as "ignorant bigots in an atmosphere of suspicion and baseless hatred."

That would not be the case at our Bais Yaakov. And, based on fairly extensive reading on the matter, I do not believe that this is the case in Immanuel.
I would urge you to investigate further.
As, I do, indeed, love your blog...
Be well.

Posted by: Moishe3rd | Jun 20, 2010 6:02:19 PM

From a comment I read by Shlomo Engleson Argamon on Facebook (I guess it's good for something, rarely.)

"At first, I had the same knee-jerk reaction to condemn the charedi school as discriminatory and so forth. I have since read the 38-page BaGaTz decision on the complaint brought against the school, and discovered the following:
1. Attorney Bas, who investigated the situation at the school as representative of Misrad HaChinuch, found no evidence ... See Morewhatsoever of discrimination. In fact, there was a request by some mizrachim to open up a new school, but that request was denied by Misrad HaChinuch.
2. The question of fact, as to whether there was discrimination, or quotas, or the like in the school is not addressed anywhere in the judgment, but rather is assumed as ipso facto evident to the judges, despite the contrary findings of Attorney Bas, the only findings quoted. Indeed, the judges cite no evidence at all of any hidden agenda or quotas at play, other than their interpretation of the "true intent" behind the chassidish track's takanon. This takanon, while likely quite draconian for anyone not in the "chassidishe velt", is not at all out-of-line for that world (I'm familiar with schools in the US that have very similar rules).
3. It is interesting (and, I think, telling) that the fact that 27% of the students in the chassidish track were mizrachi was nowhere noted in the judges' ruling. The vast majority of the decision consists of highly abstract reasoning about the balancing of rights between autonomy and human dignity, but virtually none about how the facts of the case prove discrimination.
4. It should be noted that at no time were charges of any kind brought against the parents who have been jailed for putative "contempt of court". The defendants in the BaGaTz were the school administration, Chinuch Atzmi, and the Misrad HaChinuch. What is the legal basis for jailing parents who do not want to send their children to a particular school? Especially, when they have not been parties to any legal action whatsoever?
5. We should not be tricked into supporting a decision when it gores an ox we personally find ugly. When a power gets into the habit of making decisions without a clear legal and factual basis, we should all be concerned that our own oxen will be next.
6. If my understanding of the BaGaTz decision is mistaken, please correct me, with page references. "

Posted by: Ploni Almoni | Jun 21, 2010 6:31:13 AM

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