One Line Post About Israeli Politics

The Three Musketeers of Contemporary Israeli Politics
When did our leaders change from modest people who rode the bus to work, to millionaires who live in towers?

Diplomacy Needs All the Words It Can Get Its Hands On

Israeli Knesset member Shelly Yacimovich has started using Snooz, the Israeli Twitter-wannabe, as another way to communicate her message to the masses.
While it is probably an aid that actually updates her status, there is something cool about getting RSS updates from a parliament member. Then again, the preposterous idea of communicating a message using one sentence is a sure sign of the times. Let’s see how long she can keep this up (currently 4 updates in 8 days).

MK Shelly Yacimovich on Snooz

How about updating her WordPress blog more often, instead?

I’ve been at the State Department for 30 years and there is no right answer to these questions and diplomacy needs all the words it can get its hands on.

– Asst. Secretary of State Albie Duncan (Hal Holbrook) – The West Wing TV Series

Anything Jew in the Classifieds?

Israel is a country like no other – I think we can agree on that – but whether this statement has a positive or a negative meaning – is debatable. Case in point: the following want ad:

Jobmaster.co.il

In no other country in the world would someone publish a want ad that specifically recruits ‘No Jews’, but as you can see for yourself (Assuming you can read Hebrew – if not, you will have to take my word for it), a very popular job site in Israel clearly had no problem posting today this ad for a control room operator.

Usually businesses that advertise jobs just for Jewish people do it in a much more subtle way, for instance they might list ‘a full army service’ as a prerequisite, knowing full well that Arab citizens of Israel cannot enlist in the Israel Defense Forces, while Jewish citizens are required to serve.
But this ad is not for Jews – it is for non-Jews, and believe it or not, publishing it is probably legal in Israel.

You see, when the people who gave the world the idea of a weekly day of rest had established a sovereign state, they declared it unlawful for an employer to make someone work on his day of rest. So each Sabbath the state of Israel sends enforcement officers to venues that do business on the Jewish day of rest, only the business owners do not get fined for operating on a Sabbath, as that is legal – they are only fined if their employees happen to be Jews working on a Sabbath.
For that reason, employers who post recruitment ads for non-Jews for positions that require attendance on a Saturday would probably be impervious to discrimination lawsuits.

Oh, and about the enforcement officers working on the Sabbath? You have nothing to worry about, as all of them are ‘No Jews’.

Yes, It Is Bread We Fight For – But We Fight For Roses, Too!

This coming Saturday one of my art works will be offered for sale at a charity art sale. Me and about two hundred other leading artists are participating in a one day public event that will hopefully result in a considerable monetary contribution to the Workers Advice Center‘s ‘Women and Work’ project which aims to help Arab women break the cycle of poverty.

You are cordially invited to spend your Oneg Shabbat gazing at contemporary art (mostly paintings and photos), and possibly buying an artwork, thus helping a worthy cause. Check out the (partial) online catalogue here.

Where:
Minshar Art School
18 David Chachami street
Tel-Aviv
Israel

When:
Saturday, November 10th, 2007
From 10am to 10pm

Admission:
Free.

Bread And Roses Charity Art Sale - Invitation

…As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient cry for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for — but we fight for roses, too!

Bread and Roses – James Oppenheim, 1911

Learn To Say Olmert in Sign Language

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Receding Hairline Over The Years - 1960s, 1990s, 2000s - From Full To Bald

Many shows on Israeli TV feature a sign-language interpreter in the corner of the screen for the benefit of the Israeli hearing impaired. While there is nothing wrong with my hearing, from time to time I find myself watching the interpreter rather than the show. I know very little about sign language: I know it is different in each country – and I know how to sign ‘I love you’. That’s pretty much it, except I have noticed the interpreters spell the letters of certain names, but have specific signs for popular ones – so when I first noticed the sign-language lady on the nightly news making a comb-over gesture when the anchorman said ‘Ehud Olmert’, I was certain I was mistaken. Only after finding the following video on the Israeli sign language website SignPedia, did I begin to believe my own eyes:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCUjnMGQbOs

Ehud Olmert, who has been in the public eye for years, has always had a comb-over in a futile effort to disguise his receding hairline. It has only been a couple of years since he stopped fooling himself and accepted his baldness, so I guess the gesture for his name was invented a long time ago, which is rather funny to watch now, because it seems like deaf people all over Israel are making fun of him.

Aroma Espresso Bar Wishes Some of You A Happy New Year

Aroma Espresso Bar Wishes Some of You A Happy New Year | MaarivAs the Jewish new-year draws near, Israeli coffee shop chain Aroma Espresso Bar placed this full page ad in today’s papers, wishing us all a Happy New Year. Now, Israel’s official languages are Hebrew and Arabic, but the greeting appears in four languages: Hebrew, English, Arabic and Russian, so it seems the company went out of its way to make everyone feel welcome in the coming holiday.

Everyone?

Amharic, the mother tongue of Israeli Jews of Ethiopian descent, most of which are very observant, is missing from the ad. I would not have mentioned it, but after last year’s incident, in which Aroma’s CEO called a woman a ‘stupid, inferior black stain’ and made sure she noticed his white skin as opposed to her ‘black skin’, I’m not so sure anymore.

Marlboro Light Photo-Nostalgia

King Hussein of Jordan lighting Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin's cigarette at the Royal residence in Akaba, Jordan, shortly after signing the Jordan-Israeli peace treaty, October 26th, 1994.I think it is the nostalgia for better times that made this photo pop into my head today. This photo is clearly in my top ten news-related photos, depicting King Hussein of Jordan lighting Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin’s cigarette at the Royal residence in Akaba, Jordan, shortly after signing the Jordan-Israeli peace treaty.

I would quote the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan who referenced this specific photo in a 1999 speech, and said: “I should hasten to add that, in saying this, I am endorsing peace, not cigarette smoking.”

The photo was taken on October 26th, 1994 by the Israeli Government Press Office photographer Sa’ar Ya’acov. This photo and others can be viewed online and even purchased at Israel’s National Photo Collection.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Simpsonized!

The Simpsons people have put out an amazing marketing campaign for their movie, and unlike many other massive campaigns, this one doesn’t have that shove-it-down-your-throat aftertaste. This is my rendition of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Simpsonized. [Website now defunct] Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Simpsonized

It’s About Sovereignty, Stupid!

Shalom there people!

Over the pass week, some of you have expressed your concern over the current Israeli-Lebanon conflict, so I thought you might appreciate some words ‘from the front’.

The basic plot is not so easy to recap, as where do you start?
Do you start nine days ago when two Israeli soldiers patrolling the Israeli side of the border were kidnapped?
Do you start six years ago when Israel withdrew from south Lebanon, complying with all UN resolutions?
Or maybe sixty years ago when a Jewish state was born out of the need for a home for European refugees?

Since I would probably be suspected of favoring one side, I would let CNN tell the facts and stick to telling you about my own personal feelings:
I am sitting here in my living room, typing this email at 4am, while fighter jets can be heard taking off from a near by base. It’s a scary feeling to wake up one day and find out your countrymen are randomly dying in a cruel rocket lottery. When asking people for the latest news they reply ‘Nothing much. 70 rocket since this morning, but no one injured severely’ – I tell ya, it’s a whole other scale we are measuring bad news around here, and I can only assume it would take a stranger some time to get the hang of.
Most of the citizens are willing to bite their lips and suffer this ordeal, as they support the army in its attempt to reestablish our sovereignty. I guess peace is an impossible concept in this part of the world – and so, to quote an awful nineties dance track, my generation would settle for ‘You don’t f@#k me, I don’t f%$k you’ 🙂

I have to say, though, that it is quite refreshing to get some leeway from the world, especially from your [U.S.] government – I know many of you are critical of your leadership – I know I certainly am, but it seems that out of all the misery and all the bad things that happened after September 11th, there is a general sense around here that ‘the world finally understands it now’, after a long period of time of Israelis feeling like a reprover in the gate. That is, until tomorrow or early next week, when the world will decide it had enough and will force Israel to stop its military actions, accusing it of not being proportional with its reaction to the attacks. I tell ya, I have had it up to here with the PC terminology turning into PC actions… What is the current cost of human life these days?

Either way, since summarizing the Arab-Israeli conflict in an email is a bit presumptuous, if you are really interested in understanding this whole thing, I highly recommend a book by Alan Dershowitz (yes, the OJ lawyer) called ‘The Case For Israel‘ where he tackles all the questions and accusations this country regularly faces in the media. It’s a must read for those of you who might be confronted on campus and might not know all the facts.
For those on the run, I think reading ‘The Butter Battle Book‘ by Dr. Seuss might be a good start 🙂
I wish you all the best, and leave you with this quote from the TV series ‘The West Wing’ –

TOBY:
How about when we, instead of blowing Iraq back to the seventh century for harbouring terrorists and trying to develop nuclear weapons, we just imposed economic sanctions and were reviled by the Arab world for not giving them a global charge card and a free trade treaty? How about when we pushed Israel to give up land for peace? How about when we sent American soldiers to protect Saudi Arabia, and the Arab world told us we were desecrating their holy land? We’ll ignore the fact that we were invited. […]
I don’t remember having to explain to Italians that our problem wasn’t with them, but with Mussolini! Why
does the U.S. have to take every Arab country out for an ice cream cone? They’ll like us when we win!