Today's news from Israel suggests that the impasse over the tied election result may lead to a neutral party being asked to intervene in helping form a unity government; perhaps some say, Barack Obama.
How sick is this !
When - oh when - will we start acting like a sovereign Jewish state, rather than a vassal of the US?
We are not New Jersey, Puerto Rico or Hawaii.
We need to start looking and acting as if we can do our own thing - even if it turns out sometimes to be the wrong decision.
Has America not made its own mistakes? Like electing a socialist, pacifist president with an agenda of appeasement whose first act has been to pass a trillion dollar bailout plan which he apparently hasn't had the time to read through?
Until and unless Israel is prepared to act decisively in its own national interest - instead of always reacting to US, EU or Palestinian pressures - the Jewish state will never be taken seriously at any level.
I don't know who Fiamma Nirenstein is, but her latest blog entry deserves to be publicised. The translation follows:
We didn't expect what you see now in the picture. This is the square of the Italian Parliament in Rome , Piazza Montecitorio: you can see the Palace on top of the square, and in front a lot of Israeli flags. That was yesterday night from 6,30 to 9,30 pm. What you cannot see here, is the extraordinary number and variety of members of the Parliament, about 100 from all political sides, that took the stage during our marathon: for about three hours we have been speaking about the role of Israel, its right to self defense, its moral height, its fight in name of all of us, of our civilization and values, against the wild hate of the Islamic jihad represented by Hamas.
It seems to me that for the first time in the too long history of the Arab Israeli conflict, apart from a minority of crazy leftists and fascists that took the street on anti-Semitic slogans, we have obtained a huge consensus about one critical point: this is not an episode of a local conflict, there is nothing in it that reminds the land for peace theme that has characterized the Palestinian issue. This is an episode of the attack against the western world, and Iran has a lot to do with it.
The change of attitude is great: the dictatorial religious nature of Hamas and the democratic, civilized nature of Israel are seen face to face for what they are al least by the European elite at large, dead and wounded notwithstanding, and there rises an identification with Israel against a regime that uses human shields and promises slaughter of Jews in its charter.
What happens today, at least in Italy , is the defeat and fall of the leftist ideologies: ideology has been the fig leaf that has allowed to justify all the most violent crimes and most disgusting verbal attacks. If Arafat launched the terrorist Intifada, if he promoted the martyrdom of children in public speeches, the ideologists were ready to justify him with the issues of occupation, the Palestinian misery and loss of any hope. Not the same with Hamas.
History, in Italy , has brought to a profound crisis the ideology of revolution and the justification of any cruel attack against a pretended unjust imperialist order. That time is in good part over, nobody will see Hamas as the resolution of the problem and not as the problem itself.
I also think that the word "peace" has lost that healing meaning that it had until yesterday. The new non-ideological point of view sees that there is no peace when one of the contenders doesn't want it, and that even if the world in the short run asks for a truce, in the long run requests a defeat of Hamas.
Well, yesterday night many people, Ministers and Members of Parliament, composed a very new, interesting puzzle of opinions. I think that when you are not overwhelmed by exotic thirdworldism, the images of children educated as hate machines, the speeches of jihad leaders, from Ahmadinejad to Nasrallah, to Hanje, that deny the holocaust and promise death to Jewish and Christians too, have on us a result of great disgust.
Westerners, thanks God, can still be disgusted by an uncivilized level of political speech. But most of all, in the Parliament square, many of the Parliament Members said: "I love Israel ".
There are some striking parallels between the global financial crisis and the leadership of Israel, as the discredited Seventeenth Knesset is finally dissolved.
The financial meltdown was caused by banks investing many billions of dollars worth of ordinary people's savings in dubious mortgages. Sound mortgage banking was always based on simple principles: advancing funds against the solid security of 'bricks and mortar' which is realistically appraised and whose borrower has the means of repaying interest and capital. One-by-one, in a commission-fuelled orgy of power-selling, these principles went out of the window.
First came the grant of non-status mortgages. Borrowers didn't need to prove their income, or even that they had a job. Next came valuations and margins. Where a 70 percent mortgage used to be granted against a fair appraisal, banks would now lend their non-status borrowers up to 100 percent against valuations which ranged from over-enthusiastic to downright fraudulent. Last to give way was the 'bricks & mortar' rule which always ensured that the bank could walk up to the property and repossess it. Now they got to granting non-status mortgages, for 100 percent of inflated valuations … on what? On trailer parks. Now, presumably, we could expect to see sheriffs putting up roadblocks to repossess mortgage security on the interstate.
After a while these worthless mortgages started piling up all over Wall Street and Europe. They started smelling rotten. The sanitised version of an old saying goes: "If it looks like s*** and it smells like s*** and it feels like s***…it has to be s***."And so, just like sewerage and toxic nuclear waste, the banks sent this stuff off for ‘treatment and reprocessing’. And back it all came, ever so fragrant and beautifully wrapped in perfumed packages with exotic names like Collateralized Mortgage Derivatives, and an unlimited glossary of innocuous acronyms from MBS's to CMO's.
The net result of all this is that the financial security of our homes, pensions and families had been put in dire peril by the very people in whom we had entrusted our life savings. Now this rot has become toxic and billions have been lost, with hardly a single household left unscathed.
Switch now to Israel.Millions invested their money, their hopes and their future in making a home in Israel. They expected its leadership to make good on those same mortgage principles: an honest statement of values, security for their homes and an expectation that they would deliver what was promised.
The people deserved better than what they got; a subprime government, toxic with 'non-status' ministers who didn't even have to prove their worth or ability to deliver. This betrayal was never more clearly exposed than by the sight of Amir Peretz peering through binoculars with the lens caps still on. For sheer political expediency, Olmert put this trade union boss in charge of Israel's defence whilst putting former IDF chief-of-staff General Shaul Mofaz in charge of buses and transportation.For minister of finance, Olmert chose Avraham Hirschson, who has been charged with theft forgery and embezzlement of millions in public funds.
Jewish homes in Sderot and Akko have never been less secure because of Kadima's miserable failings and, for the evacuees of Kadima's unrepentant disengagement policy, far too many are still living in trailer parks of the kind that – in the USA - will never be mortgageable ever again. As for future expectations, the Kadima leadership was so steeped in corruption and self-interest, that it had no means to deliver anything other than more arrogance to its citizens and contempt for the democratic process.
Having reneged on virtually all the values it espoused at the time of the election, Kadima has, through the blatant corruption of its leaders, disgraced the Jewish nation in the face of the world's press and public opinion. This worthless cabinet of 'yes men' could not summon the guts to walk out on Olmert after the loss of the Lebanon War, nor after Winograd 1, nor after Winograd 2 … nor after any one of the succession of corruption charges and investigations that followed.
In surviving, even to this very day, Olmert has shown himself to be the most skilful and thick-skinned leader ever to occupy the prime minister's office. If only he had used those skills to protect his people just as artfully as he has in self-preservation, he could have been our greatest leader ever. Instead he has betrayed us all and disgraced our people in the eyes of the world. He has sent mounted police on pogroms against Jewish settlers, whilst shipping armoured vehicles and rifles to Mahmoud Abbas. He has repaid rocket attacks from Gaza with 'confidence building gestures' to the Arabs. Up to the start of Cast Lead, the confidence of our Arab neighbours had never been higher - to utterly destroy the increasingly timid and enfeebled Jewish state.
Lest you've become bored of hearing so much of this before, let me say this is not just another anti-Olmert diatribe. It leads to an important question.
Having been so utterly betrayed, embarrassed, disgraced, enfeebled and unquestionably put at substantially greater existential risk by this corrupt and incompetent government … can you imagine anyone voting for them again?
And yet, astonishingly, the early polls taken when elections were announced showed Kadima at close to level pegging with Likud, and are still the same on the eve of this election! The government of Kadima looked corrupt, felt corrupt and smelt corrupt. Now it tries to repackage itself under the ‘fragrant’ leadership of Tzipi Livni.People should not be fooled. Kadima is still subprime and toxic.
The party whose name means 'Forward' threatens to take us all the way back to the 1948 armistice lines. When the late Abba Eban dubbed these as 'Auschwitz Borders' he was speaking at a time when Arabs were running barefoot in the Sinai. Now they are running hundreds of the world’s most sophisticated missiles through tunnels under the desert.
Existential realities in Israel often change by the week. Elections only come round every 3 or 4 years. There are only so many mistakes our people can make before the damage becomes irreversible.
We can’t afford more mistakes with our leadership.
Unless you visit such obscure websites as ABC of Australia, you might well have missed this story:
Hospital hit by two shells in Tamil Tiger stronghold 2 January 2009 The United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross say a hospital in Sri Lanka's northeast has been hit by two shells, killing two people and wounding five. It's unclear who fired the shells but the government blames the Tamil Tigers. Part of the hospital has in the past received Australian funding, including aid money to build a blood bank. [ABC – Australia Broadcasting Corporation]
Compare this to the banner headlines and worldwide condemnation of Israel's shelling of a UN school in Gaza.
Former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau is one of my all-time favourite people. His brother's account of their deliverance from the Holocaust is a true inspiration to all those who believe (or seek to believe) in divine intervention for the fulfillment of a personal mission in this world. I was taken with this extract from an interview he gave to Hamodia on the eve of his address to the UN General Assembly for International Holocaust Day. (Click the clip to enlarge and read).