Saturday, December 31, 2011

happy new year world..

may you help us over here in the holyland to improve our holiness a little.. :)

Friday, December 30, 2011

and then a hero emerges..

shabbat shalom mrs horowitz - u legend!!

ladies first..

a soldier in israel was accosted by ultra religious men on a bus.. asked to move to the back.. they refused.. they were then called a whore and a non jew (two names that personally i wouldnt find offensive but i guess sometimes its how you say it more than what you say)..

the soldier then called out to the conductors.. she felt threatened.. this has been only one of a series of events forming part of the religious sparked gender crisis in israel.. the cause now of huge uproar in what was once the sleepy town of beit shemesh (house of the sun).. i have friends who live there.. ill call them later to ask how it feels..

i wanted to point out some personally held ideas about this particular case and the general issue..

the ultra religos - claim that it is a harmless request that merely respects their feelings.. they see it not as a big issue and often argue that the segregation has been going on for years (like that makes it any better) including in religious neighbourhoods in nyc (which means it must be ok).. they think we should show gratitude for having been lucky enough to fund their government sponsored life of unlimited study..

the rest of the country is outraged - how dare a certain sect of society decide what everyone elses rights are.. it would be bad enough if only the ultra religious women adhered to this requirement "voluntarily" but to force the rest of the country into their dark ages style regime (jewish sharia) is unfair.. ultra religious jews have worked and self funded their lives for generations world wide - wake up and smell the halla..

beit shemesh specifically is being progressively infused with ultra religious populations.. there have been calls to split the town so that each can live their own way.. but we all now the ultra religious dont work and they rely on subsidies.. so you see this soldier girl who will most probably (judging by her strength of character) go on to be a viable tax payer supporting their very existence was mowed down by a bunch of cowardly men who fear not standing up against an individual female on her own on a bus - who is currently devoting years of her life to defending their security and will one day be busy working hard to support their multi-child families and non participation in israeli mainstream society..

this is a scandal that cannot be tolerated.. it has the potential to tear our society apart but it must be stopped.. it is fundamentally unjust and a severe act of disrespect towards women who are by all means at the very least equal members of our nation..

it will be interesting watching how this develops in fact fascinating would be a better word.. if only it were not so painful to stop and think for a second about all the girls and ladies within the ultra religious society and consider what their lives must look like..

and i know that everyone is blaming only a radical fringe.. i know this is the common theory.. but i have my own reasons to believe that in a place where men and women are not allowed to stand on common ground in dignity that many other things are currently and shall imminently go severely wrong..

a friend from work that lives in beit shemesh finally called me this morning an hour after i first wrote this post.. he said there are cops everywhere in riot gear and on horses.. he says normally there is only a cop or two waiting around but since the ultra orthodox mobs have begun to chase these away there are now full squads.. his son goes to the school that is standing in the centre of the fiasco and his daughters used to go there but now go to a school in jerusalem.. he said its horrible.. the mess is metres away from his house and he is so deeply troubled by whats going on.. he blames our government and the secular leaders that set up the state over 60 years ago.. he supports cutting all subsidies for large families and stopping the promotion of parasite elements in society..

so many times ive complained about my noisy arab neighbours.. they soil the stairway (you can literally see the dirt rapidly fade as you pass above the floor they live and suddenly the stairs are soo clean on the floors they dont go to).. the smoke in the common areas so heavily that we have resorted to stuffing the bottom crack beneath our front door with towel paper on some nights to block the stench and they scream all night at eachother with loud music blaring in the background keeping half of us awake..

but when we arrive they smile at us and welcome us.. they click the light switch as my wife climbs the stairs when they see her arriving with shopping bags and they shake my hand whenever we are in each others personal space.. and these are the "unruly" arab neighbours.. the others will often help with a common project within the building and wish us good morning every single day.. i dont even want to mention the delightful arab neighbours that work at the local pharmacies or at the incredible nationally acclaimed bakery known as piece of cake..

one of my neighbours - begrudgingly once suggested that to "tame" our arab neighbours we should invite ultra religious families to take an interest.. if you ask me i prefer the occasionally messy and loud cohorts that still smile at us and greet us warmly over anyone who will suggest that my wife needs to choose carefully which part of the bus she occupies..

this is a complex corner of the world - proven again daily - but one thing is for sure - you must always count your blessings..

shabbat shalom..

Thursday, December 29, 2011

בדרך אל ההר הטוב: פתרונות פדרליים לסכסוך הערבי-ישראלי: ערב בבית העם ...

בדרך אל ההר הטוב: פתרונות פדרליים לסכסוך הערבי-ישראלי: ערב בבית העם ...: השבוע נסעתי לתל אביב, ל"בית העם", מטה המאבק החברתי ברחוב רוטשילד. נסיעה לתל אביב היא ארוע שראוי לציון אבל מטרת הרשומה הזו היא לא לתאר לכם א...

reasons to have hope..

things get awful in my neighbourhood.. right now the iranian regime is probably reminding me more of pre nazi germany than ever.. and not because of their threats but moreso because of their extreme financial isolation.. the kind of isolation that kind drive a country to very extreme measures such as driving the region into a state of war.. and maybe our crew had something to do with it.. maybe our constant israeli muscle flexing has not been so productive.. when one sets one self up to a binary wager it gets a bit crazy as both players challenge eachother to the final stretch of kamikaze chicken..

i dont find it very hard to imagine terrible scenarios involving iran shutting down the oil veins of the west and the usa blasting the crap out of the islamist state leading the region down the tubes..

but then suddenly small things show you that things can change.. small.. but then again.. sometimes the biggest revolutions are triggered by small things.. and today i have chosen these as my long shots for change.. :)

(a) yair lapid's potential to set up a new party.. please..

(b) katlin's singing on a reality tv singing contest..

and the chills that this song gave me..

may this little girl inspire a generation to forgive itself for being so racist and finally allow these foreign kids to be a part of our nation after their parents have so lovingly tended to our elderly at times when it was inconvenient for us as their own flesh and blood..

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

bring out the pop corn..

Dialogues: Israel from Monstro Filmes on Vimeo.

sometimes ill post without checking.. like now.. sometimes its an article by Dr Gershon Baskin who i struggle to ever not agree with and sometimes is a synopsis so on point that i trust the output.. after viewing this film i shall revert with a view.. in the meantime.. please enjoy..

Saturday, December 17, 2011

fiery pharaohs..

every news break on the radio we tune in to a mid sentence statement about fierce violence and protesters and tents being burnt and people bashed.. and then they mention tahrir square.. its surreal how dispute all perceptions of regional inhabitants - we are actually so close to each other in distance..

its a sunny day in telaviv today.. a serene saturday with mellow yellow skies and blue horizons barely laced with a light distant smog.. in many places in the world this would have set the stage for a wonderful winter weekend.. but here in the middle east good weather is often the facilitator of political conflict that people tend to shy away from when the climate doesn't permit..

not forgetting the syrians who are dying by the day for their own freedom from the baathist oppression - allow me to wish us all a week of freedom as the jewish festival of light and the christian xmas approach..

Friday, December 16, 2011

rabbi froman - ur my hero!

never been big on organised religion.. while i consider myself a proud jew and no less jewish than any other jew including any rabbi you choose - ive still never liked the institution of spirit and faith as such.. but this guy is different.. this rabbi has guts and intuition.. he has instincts and strength.. he makes me feel like my journey is very primary and reminds me that i have a long long way to go to be me..

rabbi froman - thank you for sticking up for decency and essence.. in a world that has been abandoned to form you remind us what meaning means..

shabbat shalom and may you find good health..

Thursday, December 15, 2011

workable differences..

blogging can make you feel a little crazy sometimes.. i know my last post was about not getting along.. but here im all about the kumbaya.. sometimes being different can make things better.. this cat and yoga fanatic show you how its done..

the levantine union..

and what i really love about nick's approach that is you will notice how he divorces his solution from issues of blame and cause - for better and worse.. on the one hand it frees him from the vicious cycle of addressing every mutual cast aspersion and yet he is prepared to pay the price of credibility by foresaking the treatment of obvious issues (probably less obvious to people who dont live here) of our significant cultural differences..

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

the devil within..

i remember as a child feeling very financially secure.. i remember speaking to my best friend about that feeling and him insisting that you could never tell what would ruin your family's stability.. so i put forward my business case to him and explained why i thought it was infallable.. years later my mother separated from my stepfather and in the midst suffered a significant financial downgrading.. it was then that i discovered the devil within in its most vicious form..

suddenly a unit that had appeared to be blessed by love for years had turned into an unruly battleground for two titans.. trust disappeared in seconds and alienation followed moments after the most meaningful truce arrived.. i havent seen or heard from my former stepfather in 14 years.. i doubt our paths will ever cross again.. and thats fine.. because weve moved on and regained our dignity and established whole lives since..

but then i take the principle of the devil within - that sheer force contained so powerfully by a stable union that once unleashed wreaks damage you couldnt dream of and i look at my less than stable country..

we were smug when the arab states fell apart allowing democratic buds to emerge (lets not enter into a discussion now on how quickly they were trodden on to death but) we were arrogant and self assured.. and yet now we are starting to see what the rest of the world could blatantly see long ago much to our spite.. we see ourselves as a violent disrespectful society that not only is prepared to dominate another people but also to oppress its women and canibalise its own when they disagree with the most vehement voice..

over the last few days the incidents of price tag in israeli society - more than anything - have shown us that our cohesion is not even convincing us anymore..

i despise the fact that a google search of the term price tag reveals the wiki link of israeli acts of intimidation and reprisal as its third choice.. this shows me something about where this term is going in the world's conscience and clarifies to me that my fears are far from being just my own..

another childhood memory is the advertisements on tv for cheap ideallyc housing in the west bank.. those ads made me fall in love with those beautiful rolling hills.. i remember izhak shamir (the prime minister back then) advocating the estalishment of a jewish settlement adjacent to every arab town.. i remember being persuaded as a youngster that it was right and just.. i recall hearing how cheap those houses were and what a great solution it was for young couples.. i fantasised living there myself one day and sharing the dream.. promises were made.. visions were sold.. people were made to believe that these would be their homes for generations to come and they have become that..

45 years later we have a problem.. we are in a political deadlock with the arab world and our society is crumbling.. israeli society is to my mind the last hope of the jewish people.. many of my jewish friends overseas have "married out" and im not criticising them.. but without a place that serves as our cultural collective reference what will inspire future generations.. what will stop us from rapidly phasing out..

the devil within is active at the moment.. very.. our fragile status quo has been disturbed in many ways due to demographic shifts but also due to government policies of heavy handedly approaching our liberals and taking a very forgiving approach to the more forceful elements in our state.. when the army is at risk of spontaneous and unprovoked attacks from its own people someone needs to wake up before we completely chop off the branch that we are sitting on or should i say clinging to for dear life..

hopefully its not too late..


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

iran v israel..

interesting and sober statement by an arab leader on the iranian nuclear threat..

time for stereotypes to go..

the latest keppler..

we were driving to work today and mum called as she does every morning to link into our day.. she makes us laugh a bit and basically serves as an info service for all sorts of wonderful and wierd news tidbits that she picks up as she scans half the media on a daily basis..

this morning she spoke about the new kepler discovery - of a planet that was potentially habitable - only 600 light years away from earth..

the first thought that came to my mind was how embarrassing!!

what if another whole planet was to witness the devestation we have brought upon earth.. what if they saw our bickering and mutual disrespect.. what if they saw photos.. what if time appeared differently to them.. theyre apparently several times bigger than us - what if that meant that our time passed faster in their eyes and they could visibly see our forests shrinking and air darkening.. what if they could view the constant bombing on our planet.. all those explosions..

how embarrassing.. thats all i could think of.. especially if their "earth" was really nice and people were kind to eachother..

i started imagining us as a decrepid under developed underdog.. it was bizarre.. all this in the space of a brief conversation with my mother..

Monday, December 5, 2011

onion in the fire..

sometimes you look at something and it appears whole.. and then as the climactic influences start to impact the surface you discover that your impression was false.. that beneath the surface lie layers of existence that you could never have guessed.. perhaps you didnt need to.. perhaps it wasnt relevant.. but suddenly the new revealing section changes a paradigm.. the slice shows you a reality that you need to reckon with.. for better or worse..

hamas has long been synonymous with iran and hizbulla and syria.. despite being vastly different entities both legally nationally and ideologically they struck me as a political monolyth mostly because of their mutual public support..

but isnt it curious how the iranian regime is threatening hamas right now.. clearly assads loss of control over syria is likely to reshape our region.. the opposition has stated how it would downgrade its military connection with iran and how it may well sever ties with hizbulla.. this would devestate the iranian stronghold over its proxies..

and what is hamas to do.. stay loyal to iran and therefore retain a default anti opposition position on syria in the face of thousands of people being slaughtered in order to safeguard its funding and access to military technology and training? or side with the public as it has always portrayed itself to do and support its arab brothers and sisters as they are desimated by their scud weilding faltering leader..

what an amazing message this presents to the palestinians anyway.. how is it that the iranian regime has so shamelessly aborted its unconditional support for the palestinian nation in its struggle against israel for the sake of defending the position of the syrian baathists.. maybe its true - maybe they really never cared about the kids of jenin or ramalla.. maybe they dont even hate us in israel.. maybe if they spotted a better opportunity they'd sieze it..

who knows.. as sanctions sink in over iran for its nuclear ambitions and as syria continues to roast the onion is likely to reveal deeper and darker layers and cause many more locals to grit teeth as they bare the eye sting.. how many more sources of support are going to reveal themselves as self serving uninterested meddlers.. how many more champions of justice will show us just how unjust they can be..

stay tuned..

welcome to 1sand..

after blogging for years elsewhere i decided it was time to start afresh.. my life has changed radically in this last year and it seemed fitting to turn a binary leaf and make space for some fresh blogging..

the middle east is varied.. it is colourful and dissected and fragmented and in many ways crumbling..

but no matter how many walls we erect/identify - at the end of the day its just 1sand..