Sunday, 21 August 2011

So proud

Thanks to @Elizrael for tweeting this link - it's heartening to see Israelis making a stand for peace. Even though certain elements want to escalate the situation so that it is beyond redemption, we have to push hard for peace.

כל הכבוד חברים

The pro-peace demonstrators at the j14 rally that went ahead last night are chanting "We want to live in respect, in Gaza and in Ashdod" and "The people demand a cease-fire" - as you can see, not everyone in the crowd had the same sentiments.


Thursday, 18 August 2011

Here we go again...

So sad.

This morning gunmen opened fire on a bus, a private car and a couple of other vehicles in the south of Israel. Apparently, there had been some intelligence (from Jordan?) that something was going to happen in the south, and we know that the last month or so has seen a number of rockets landing in that region. Luckily, due to the sparse population there, these rockets caused little damage. But they were nonetheless a sign that things were stirring.

And so 7 Israelis are dead and many more injured. Some soldiers going on weekend leave, others civilians.

So now the ball is in Israel's court - what should she do? What will she do? Do we even need to ask this question?

Of course Israel has the right to defend herself, but attacking Gaza (as has already happened as I write this post) hasn't worked to defend Israel up until now. As Albert Einstein said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Yossi Gurvitz gives an excellent explanation of why Israel shouldn't attack Gaza on +972 Magazine.

Just as Palestinian (PRC? jihadist??) attacks on Israel do little to advance the Palestinian cause, Israeli revenge attacks do little to secure Israel. In both cases the only ones to benefit are those who want to stick obstinately to their guns (no pun intended) instead of moving forward towards a resolution. In Gaza, Hamas can say they are fighting the Zionist enemy and working to liberate the land, unlike Fatah. Of course Hamas knows Israel's likely response and so they can point to Israel and say "Look, we told you so! The evil Zionists want to kill all Palestinians!" Of course, Israel does herself no favours by playing directly into the hands of Hamas by doing exactly what Hamas wants: getting provoked and responding on a scale that dwarfs whatever attack she has recently suffered. Currently there is an additional bonus for the Israeli government enacting a large-scale response in that it would be a distraction from the j14 demonstrations.

I don't have an answer, but I do know that the ordinary people of Israel or Palestine gain nothing from this cycle of violence.


Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Wise words

From someone who really knows...

"We need to come to terms with our neighbours. 
That is a fundamental component of our national security."

Many thanks to Richard at Blog Zahav for posting this originally.


Sunday, 14 August 2011

a ray of hope...

Well, I have been challenged this week to find some good news. Firstly by @Bassem_Sabry on Twitter and secondly by cousin Shirley in Israel. Well I like a challenge so I trawled the net and came up with a couple of good ones.

Firstly, I came across a great website, which looks at scientific and technological developments taking place in Israel now. Pythagoras Window, an Israeli company, has developed a new solar window that can generate power, reduce energy consumption and let in daylight, "promising a green revolution to the construction industry" according to Daniel Ben Tal's article.

my ray of hope 

Of course, the construction industry has been in the forefront of many Israeli minds of late, with hundreds of thousands of people demonstrating, primarily against the high cost of property in Israel, but also against the high cost of living in general. I was aware of the disparity between most people's wages and prices but the scale of the protests that began in Tel Aviv - on Rothschild Boulevard of all places - and slowly spread to Kiryat Shmona in the north and Beersheva in the south, have been staggering. It has been illuminating reading the news reports and tweets coming from Israel, and reassuring that Israelis are not as politically apathetic as was beginning to fear they had become. It was also good to see news that wasn't centred on the conflict, even though that issue has also crept in, and to see Jews and Arabs protesting together about the socio-economic issues that unite them as Israelis.

"Equality for all" (photo courtesy of Elizabeth Tsurkov)

Spurred on by this good news, I continued to socially network. I haven't spent this long in front of the computer since Championship Manager ate away at my fourth year at uni when I should've been researching the impact of Rabin's assassination.....

So I wanted to share with you some of the amazing organisations who are working in Israel/Palestine/Occupied Territories and beyond to encourage equality, opportunity, understanding and trust between people in that region.

Firstly, I came across YaLa-Young Leaders يالا-يا قادة الشباب יאללה-מנהיגים צעירים
(hey I can copy & paste Arabic & Hebrew into the blog! - another technological breakthrough!) a   young leader's movement which has been created to give the young generation (aged 15-30) in the Middle East a leading voice in shaping their future and destiny. See their facebook page and website for information and ways you can support them. I then came across Khalas, a Facebook page with the aim of helping to build a strong foundation of peace among people at the most fundamental level - that of friendship through a handshake. Like me, Khalas believes that "only individuals, like you and I, can create a change in the government and not the opposite ... that if you shake someone’s hand you are most likely to view him as your friend and not your enemy. There are so many organizations that try to do amazing things, however a real peace needs a strong foundation! To achieve a real peace we need to start from the basics"

Khalas has enabled me to find out about many other projects and organisations that exist online and in real time and space (!) that have, over the past week, rebuilt my hope in what I was beginning to think was a hopeless situation in Israel.  I now know there is an increasingly strong community of people from many backgrounds, who want to build a viable future for themselves, their children and grandchildren, and for whom this is more important than political or religious ideology. 

The two organisations that have stood out to me most from this have been Kulanana and JustVision. Each of these groups are fulfilling an increasingly important role in a media that is obsessed with the negative news of the conflict (of which there is plenty, of that there is no doubt).

Kulanana is focused on social cohesion within Israel, between the disparate ethnic and linguistic groups that make up Israeli society. Their aims for 2011 are outlined in the video below:

JustVision is an organisation that aims to raise the profile of the positive examples of co-existence, peaceful trust-building and co-operation between Israelis and Palestinians that are too often overlooked by the media. I am looking forward to learning more about the work of these organisations and hope to be able to contribute more directly to their efforts by the time I am living in Israel. For now though, I will do what I can, and that is blog, and tell you and hope that you too spread the word and support these wonderful organisations and individuals in their pursuit of a peaceful future. In the words of Robi Damelin ( 

“There’s no pro-Israeli or pro-Palestinian. There’s pro-solution.”   

Friday, 5 August 2011

a long time coming...

.... this post, that is. July has been unbelievably hectic, with me working 4 mornings a week on the Young Learner's summer ESL programme as well as 3 afternoons with my regular adult ESL class. I know it's not even full time, but with a 3 year old and a hubby who is lovely but can't cook, there just aint enough hours in the day.

July has been a crazy month all round, really. The Arab Spring rumbles on and nothing much seems to be getting achieved in Libya. And all that's been achieved in Syria is the death of more innocents, with no sign as to how long the rest of the world will allow it to continue (what can 'the rest of the world' even do???)

Meanwhile over in Norway, more atrocious evidence of man's inhumanity to man, as well as sheer evil and stupidity with the actions of Anders Berivik killing 76+ people in some blind, hate-filled, misguided attempt to show the evils of multiculturalism, he only succeeded in increasing hate towards himself.

And of course, that same weekend, we lost a great talent and voice in Amy Winehouse. A woman whose voice and lyrics spoke of the pain and raw emotion she tried to deaden with drugs and alcohol. A sad but hardly unexpectedly early end for Amy, means she joins the 'ranks' of the other tortured yet talented souls in the 27 club - Hendrix,  Joplin, Jones....

I truly hope August is a more august month for this little planet we call earth. I could do with some good news, as could we all, I expect.