This evening our Shavuot festival begins, so today’s blog will be shorter than usual (am off to the kitchen for preparations after writing this).
The main news in Israel this week is about the financial state budget for 2003-2014 which has at last been passed, and made many people angry, because of extra taxes and lower payments for a great many sectors of the population. I believe that the Finance Minister had to make some very hard decisions, because of the financial situation – didn’t have much choice, but for many this makes life difficult..
The problem of locusts has again arisen, evidently the last flight laid eggs (or whatever they do to multiply) which developed a few days ago, and they will begin flying in the coming days. Planes are again used for spraying – hope this time they’ll finish them off completely.
There is now a plan for a large project of building 1,140 Palestinian homes on Israeli state land in Area C of the west bank near the city of Jericho. This project on 1,800 dunams of land will provide a legal housing solution for Palestinians living in illegal homes and unauthorized villages, which are not even properly connected to utilities. The heads of the Palestinian villages and Palestinian Authority have also been involved in this plan.
In Syria the fighting continues, and they also shot across the border into Turkey, killing a great number of people there. When will it end? That’s all for today. For those of my readers celebrating the Shavuot festival I send best wishes. Shalom from Irene
The latest news here for the last few day has of course been about the bombing of convoys of weapons sent from Iran to the Hezbollah terroristorganization who are helping Assad in Syria, an action said to have been performed by Israel, although so far we have not really commented on it.The first attack on such a convoy was said to have taken place early Friday morning, and the second one during the night between Saturday and Sunday.It is known that Iran is arming the Hezbollah, and there is fear that there are chemical weapons too sent to them. Israeli sources, although not givingany details, say that Israel will do everything possible to prevent such weapons from falling into the wrong hands.And we heard that in Washington too, it is said that Israel has every right to defend itself and guard its safety.Our prime Minister Natanyahu is now visiting China. His purpose is for economic reasons, but there it seems they also commented on Israel’s need for peace, and suggested certain conditions, which for us are impossible. We so want these peace talks with the Arabs to start, but without conditions. Our first demand though, is SECURITY.And now to end with a complete change of subject – we again have a couple of wounded (by Assad’s fighters) Syrians in an Israeli hospital, and in a children’s hospital in Israel there are three children from Iraq undergoing heart surgery. They are of course accompanied by their mothers.Enough for today. Shalom from Irene
Last Thursday a drone (small plane without pilot, managed by remote control) was sent from Lebanon and entered Israeli air space near Haifa. Luckily it was observed by our forces before it could cause damage and was shot down into the sea. It is believed to have been sent by the Hezbollah terrorist organization, although they have of course not admitted doing so. This drone incident is a serious provocation and could have caused great destruction.But all is not quiet in the south either, and again a number of rockets were shot from the Gaza Strip. We don’t want another war there, but this shooting can not continue.Israel has clear evidence that President Assad’s army in Syria is using chemical weapons against the opposition forces fighting to bring him down, and now the USA have seen this too. A short while ago this was regarded by America as “crossing the red line”, but so far it seems they don’t want to get involved there.Yesterday we in Israel celebrated what is called “Lag Be’omer” which is actually a date on the Jewish calendar and tradition has it to make bonfires (especially children do this) and roast potatoes, marshmallows and such, and it is believed that during the Omer (from Passover till Shavuot) many years ago, every day, pupils of a certain Rabbi died, but on this day none did so. So it is a happy day, and nowadays the only day during this period when people can get married here.We are going through a sort of unexpected heat wave just now, and this has caused a lot of wild fires all over the country, much damage, but luckily no one greatly hurt.But the fire-brigades everywhere were certainly busy, also planes were used to put out the fires.That’s all for today. Shalom from Irene
The latest news here is about the strike of the different Israeli air-lines, which ended yesterday evening, after the government had agreed to pay foralmost all their security services. The strike began because of an international “Open Skies” agreement with mostly European countries by our Minister of Transportationwhich is believed to lower the price of airplane tickets, because of the competition it will cause. The two-day strike caused much suffering and damage to prospective travellersand it will take some days till all those can fly again to their destinations.
Winter was here again after a relatively warm period – cold, storms, rain, hail, thunder and lightning – most unusual for the end of April. But we hear that many Europeancountries also have uncommon weather this year.
Missiles have again been fired on our southern city Eilat from the Sinai direction, this is the second time in one week. If this continues, we’ll have to respond in some manner,our military and political members say.
Evidently the USA is helping with arms to those in Syria fighting Assad’s regime. We only hope they will not fall into the hands of terrorist organizations.But Israel has also been promised more and sophisticated weapons from the USA, and for that we are certainly grateful.
Now for a couple of more pleasant subjects. A group of Arab and Jewish children from East and West Jerusalem have been meeting every week to work together at apopular nature and excursion center. Together they have grown vegetables and spices together in this “Peace Garden” - got in touch with each other andmost importantly – got to know one another. Eyal Bloch, director of the Peace Garden project said,” Children who were hostile to one another have becomegood neighbours who care for the environment together.”
And I’ll end my blog with sport. An Israeli gymnast won a gold medal . He is 26 year old Alex Shatilov who won the gold medal in the floor exercise finals at theEuropean Artistic Gymnastic Championships in Moscow. Netanyahu even phoned him and and told him that he had brought the country a lot of honour.That’s all for today. Shalom from Irene