Monday, August 29, 2005

My last disengagement post - a summary of emotions

These past few weeks have been very interesting, to say the least. It's been pretty incredible (and not necessarily in a good way) to see how high emotions have risen as a result of the disengagement. While speaking to my parents over the weekend, they asked me what the feeling was like in Israel these days, and I suggested that they check out the Israeli blog scene. Let's face it. We run the gamut of the political spectrum, and the disengagement really put us to the test. Buttons were pushed, battles were fought, and it was often truly scary to witness the venom being exchanged, as people took passionately opposing opinions on a myriad of disengagement-related topics, including the use of children, acceptable levels of resistance, and of course, the actual act of leaving Gaza.

It's been quite the eye-opening experience, and I know some of the events that I've witnessed - both good and bad - will be forever burned into my brain. I never imagined that I would feel such empathy and sadness for those settlers who left on their own, packing up their homes and families, opting to avoid clashes with security forces. Nor will I soon forget the raging anger I felt while watching those who stayed behind - their violence against the soldiers, their defiance, their complete disregard for law and life. I knew ahead of time that it wouldn't be easy, but I don't think I fully realized just how ugly it wasn going to get. Red lines were not only crossed, they were obliterated. Who would have thought that youngsters would taunt and argue with soldiers while their parents simply looked on and watched, or permit them to take place in physical altercations such as what happened in Kfar Darom? Who could have imagined that parents would allow their children to be portrayed as Holocaust victims, stars on their clothes and crying, marching with their hands in the air? Who would believe that Holocaust imagery would be used repeatedly, as though we can even compare people being evicted from their homes and compensated to people being forced to go through the horror of the concentration camps and marched to their deaths? Not to minimize the pain these people are feeling over losing their homes, but please. There can be no comparison between what has happened in Gaza to the greatest tragedy ever to befall the Jewish people.

I have to say, I have been reading blogs on and off for several years now, and I have never seen such fierce writing and commenting on the Israel-related blogs in all that time as I have during the time leading up to and including the disengagement. I have discovered things about myself - some of it not too pretty, and learned some intense lessons. If we can all say the same, then perhaps it wasn't all for nothing. Despite the intentions of some individuals to thwart the disengagement, Israel has managed to leave Gaza. We must now do what we can as a nation to heal the wounds and help those rendered, for all intents and purposes, homeless. The government must do everything in its power to ensure that these individuals can start to rebuild their lives as smoothly as possible, and while there may be small pockets of success here and there, I'm willing to bet that there's still so much more that can and should be done.

As for those who endangered the lives of members of our security forces and committed various other crimes (including all those soldiers caught stealing items from empty homes in the settlements), well, let them rot somewhere. Their actions only served to make a fragile, difficult situation even worse. They are a disgrace to this country and deserve to be treated as such.

On this note, I want to say that I'll make every effort to stop writing about the disengagement (barring any exceptional events that I believe require commentary). It is time for us to start picking up the pieces and move on to other subjects, before it consumes us completely.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Tips and Tricks: How to remove a blog from your blogroll

Oh dear.

I've been on the sidelines throughout the disengagement, watching with interest and sadness the nightly TV broadcasts but leaving out the politics from this blog. Ha, not that I've been blogging that much, it has to be said. She has been doing the dirty work for the past few weeks and doing it very well, I think.

However, after one or two bloggers out there, and one in particular, you can probably guess who, have been sending bullying, self-righteous emails to She because she happened to have a strong opinion on's time for me to throw my ha'penny in.

We don't pretend to be the BBC or CNN, we are but a simple blog with a few readers. We write about what we want to write about, without any intention to incite or hurt anybody. It is just our opinions, straight-forward, sock-it-to-ya opinions. We don't dress it up with all kinds of sugary gunge for a band of worshipping readers to fawn over. We certainly don't claim any moral high-ground. Our original aim was to post interesting articles that would interest some, most probably not all. We also wanted to shake up the Israeli blogging scene a little, because there seems to be this annoying 'clique' of writers who really need to get out more.

If some blogger decides that he wants to throw his toys out of the pram and delist us from his "preciousssss" blogroll, what can I say? Maybe "get a life"? Possibly "grow up"? How about "go back to your worshipping readers and stay there"? I know what, let's be equally mature and delist him from our blogroll. Voila. Sad bastard.

Really, one or two of you bloggers need to get a fucking life. Stop analysing every single word printed, stop trying to find the wrong in everything, and above all, if you don't like what we write, don't bother coming back.

As for the rest of you, we really love you. Honest!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

We've had a bad day

I'm sitting here at the computer listening to some good mellow songs. I'm a big believer in music setting the mood, and right now, just to give you an idea of the way I've been feeling lately, I keep hitting the replay button on Daniel Powter's "Bad Day". There's just something about the song that moves me, and I suppose it has to do with everything that's been going on lately.

To show contrast between what's been happening in Gaza and how it's affecting people in Tel Aviv, those reporters not sent down South have been plying their stories from some of the sandy spots in the city, interviewing folks on the beach. While I can certainly understand the desire and the need to escape from reality, I was actually quite shocked by the amazing display of apathy. These people didn't seem to care that our country is being ripped apart by an issue that will change the face of Israel forever, that history is being made right under their sunburned little noses, that nothing will ever be the same.

I suppose for them, maybe it won't. They will continue to live their lives as if nothing has changed. I just can't understand it. I am in favor of the disengagement. Despite the fact that my heart repeatedly broke as I watched people's sadness and unbearable despair unfold on television as they packed up and left their homes behind, I truly believe that this is still the right thing to do. However, I am still human. What kind of monster would I have to be not to be moved by the images we have seen? It is these people, the ones who chose to leave prior to the deadline, who are heroes deserving respect and to be treated with dignity for their courageous decision and actions. In my eyes, courage lies in making the difficult choices and following through, and that is what these people have done. They have made the decision to do what they can to move forward, to put their lives back on track. They have chosen to do the very best for their families and for the State of Israel, and for this, they should be commended, and provided with whatever assistance is necessary to help them in any way possible.

On the flip side of this equation, of course, are those who have chosen to stay behind and fight. I am truly appalled and sickened by the things that I've seen and heard. Their actions are positively shameful, and I cannot believe the depths to which they are sinking in this battle of brothers. When all is said and done and the security forces have managed to evacuate everyone, what will become of our country? What will it take to heal the wounds inflicted by this necessary move that is just so painful? Is this only the beginning of something, or does it end once all Israelis are out of Gaza? I fear for the immediate future of our nation as I hit the replay button to hear Daniel Powter's words yet one more time.

Monday, August 15, 2005


* apply annoying mobile phone ring tone of your choice *

What is it with this country's fascination with mobile phones? Come on, seriously, what is this Israeli obsession all about? After x many years here, I've still yet to get my head round the takeover of this country by small appliances that are getting ever-smaller and ever more fully-featured. Don't get me wrong, I love a lot of gadgets out there, but the need for the latest Samsing or Shmokia just doesn't do it for me...

I've just had a phone conversation with a friend of mine who was talking about something or other when he suddenly started raving about his latest phone upgrade. As he raved on and on, I had to hold back the yawns, but ooops, no good, the barrier was broken and the more he raved, the more my eyes filled with yawn tears (you know what I mean, right?). Voooommm, right over my head.

As for phone etiquette, forget about it. Israelis have no idea. Absolutely none. Cinemas, theaters, shows, none are safe from the invasive ring tones that punctuate the room/hall. Chatting with a friend over coffee? Watch his participation in your conversation disintegrate upon the first shrill ring of his mobile. Sit there gormlessly while he carries on an animated and yet totally meaningless conversation over the phone. 5 minutes later, if you're lucky, you'll manage to continue where you left off.

Yet when the mobile phone companies construct massive erections (ooh lovely!) in order to expand the phone networks reception, the nation (including the PM) rebels. OK, none of us want one of these monsters greeting us when we look out of our balconies, but isn't this the price paid for a phone-filled population? Aren't we quick to bad mouth the phone companies when we can't get reception somewhere? Shouldn't we just accept the fact that phones are here to stay and in order to cater for their ever expanding range of services, an ever expanding number of antennas is needed? Perhaps soon, we won't be raving about the latest phones, but the latest antenna upgrades we've purchased...

Yes, I do have a mobile, the same faithful model for the last 3 years. What always makes me laugh is when a phone addict sees my phone and starts pawing it with some kind of grudging admiration and jealousy. You see, my phone's from England and is not sold over here. And yes, I've lost count the number of times I've said that to people...

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Children's Property Rules

Just received the following via email (in Hebrew), and thought I'd share it with you all...

  1. If I love it, it's mine.
  2. If it's in my hand, it's mine.
  3. If I can take it from you, it's mine.
  4. If I had it in my possession several minutes ago, it's mine.
  5. If it's mine, it shouldn't in any way ever look like it's yours.
  6. If I build or do something, all pieces are mine.
  7. If it looks exactly like mine, it's mine.
  8. If I think it's mine, it's mine.
  9. If it's yours and I steal it, it's mine.

Got it?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

And now for something completely different...

Okay. I am completely disengaging from the still-raging debates going on in the bowels of this blog, so to speak, as it's starting to make me dizzy (though that could also be due to the fact that I'm starving, as we approach the lunching hour).

I am a big fan of the Harry Potter books, and have just finished number 6 after pre-ordering from When they first came out, I didn't understand what all the hype was about, and why adults were running around reading children's books on their own. When an opportunity presented itself to read the first one, I figured I'd give it a go, as I wanted to see what everyone was talking about. Well, suffice it to say, I was hooked. And lucky. When I finally got around to reading that first book, four books had already been published, so I was able to read them one right after the other. Waiting for numbers 5 and 6, was a different story, and I suffered just like everybody else. Now that I've finished number 6, I find myself, along with everyone else, waiting for number 7 (anyone know when it's coming out?).

I think the main reason why I like the Harry Potter books (aside from the wonderful writing itself), is that they allow me to escape deeply into another world - a world of wizardry and excitement where anything is possible and everything is magical, and all is seen through the eyes of a child. An appealing combination, given the state of the world these days. Not surprising that it is wildly popular, reaching even the most surprising corners of the earth. Like the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

Apparently, Harry Potter tops the reading list among these folks, with translations of the first four books being passed around in English, French, Farsi and Russian, with an Arabic version on order. There have also been requests for the movies. I guess if anyone feels the need to escape from the reality in which they live, it would certainly be these individuals. Who knows - perhaps they're searching for ideas for escaping from their own little Azkaban...

Anybody got an invisibility cloak to spare?

Sunday, August 07, 2005

A brilliantly written article...

Uzi Benziman of Haaretz has written a most eloquent article regarding the failure of the right-wing leadership to rein in the extremists in its midst. While the leadership is to be complimented for its quick condemnation of the recent terror attack in Shfaram last week, they must also do more to root out these fanatics. To not take action would most certainly be detrimental to the settler movement, as it will be forced to prove its legitimacy in the wake of such actions perpetrated in their name.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

A few more words on the subject, because I just couldn't help myself

Not surprisingly, I am still getting flack for my previous posts. I know He was hoping that we'd take break from politics (sorry, He), but I just felt that I had a bit more to say on the subject. What follows is a paraphrasing of a response that I just sent to a reader who was particularly upset by what I wrote. I won't give away the reader, as the identity is between the reader and myself, but I will add, in case said reader is miffed that I'm using the response as the basis for a blog entry, that I had been considering an entry of this nature even prior to reading the email that I received, and took this as a sign that something needed to be written here.

I believe that I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that I want to believe that the majority of people supporting anti-disengagement do not perpetrate these acts, and I'm sure that it's not everyone. However, I still stand by my comments though, in that I am disgusted by the acts perpetrated in the name of the anti-disengagement movement. Perhaps I could have used different phrasing to more carefully emphasize the distinction between people. What is interesting, however, is that people who are in favor of the disengagement (or at least not distinctly anti-disengagement), read what I wrote in precisely the way that I intended it - not as an attack against everyone in orange, but against those who perpetrate the acts in the name of "orange", so to speak.

What the regular "oranges" don't seem to realize, is that most of the "blues" believe that all of the oranges support these activities, because it is what we are shown on television and what we read in the newspapers. Everyone knows someone whose car antenna has been vandalized, and we see what the right-wing politicians are saying, how they are planning to tie up the security forces, etc. If you read some of the other left-wing blogs, like Dutchblog Israel, for instance, you will see that he expresses similar sentiments, though not as strongly as I do. Clearly, there is a problem here, and it's not just with me. Admittedly, I was a little shaken up by the overwhelming responses that I've received, and I've begun discussing the issue with friends and colleagues, taking a more neutral stand than usual, and what I've discovered is that most people do not distinguish between the "different shades of orange", because they haven't been convinced that it's necessary to do so. Sad but true.

Perhaps there are a majority of oranges who don't support these activities, but if so, they are a silent majority. In the same way that people don't believe that there are many Palestinians who want peace because they don't talk about it publicly, the blues are believing the worst of the oranges, because we don't hear anything else. And, when I so much as made a peep (ok, a very loud peep) in condemnation of what's been happening, all the oranges read that I was attacking their entire camp, and began to attack me back, often getting quite personal. With the exception of one or two people, hardly anyone on the right actually wrote that they condemned the actions as well, or tried to distance themselves from these actions. Again, sad but true.

Anyone who knows me, knows what my sense of humor is like, and knows that I can be quite sarcastic and cynical. I can accept that people have clearly misunderstood some of the things that I said in a tongue-in-cheek manner, not knowing me or the way I am, and for that, I am sorry. However, I also think that the more sane folks on the right have to be more vocal in their condemnation of acts being perpetrated in their name. I think it's wonderful that there are activities in at least one yishuv where they do just that, but it seems to me that this has to be shown to the "outside world". We are the ones who need convincing that there are voices of reason among you, and that the hooligans among you do not represent you. Patting yourselves on the back behind closed doors will not help your cause if people don't know that it's taking place. In the truest of Israeli traditions, it would seem that the majority of oranges are victims of their own poor hasbara, because the word just isn't getting out there. If you don't believe me, ask anyone who is even marginally pro-disengagement (and not some serious lefty like me), just like I did.