Nothing much new here in Israel. The usual Kassam rocket shooting from Gaza, although rather less than usual this last week, but enough to let us know that Hamas is ruling Gaza. And our usual rsponse of planes dropping a few bombs, mostly on tunnels and some on known terrorist concentrations – we try to avoid civilian areas.
And in parliament, Natanyahu is trying to keep his coelition government together – a difficult task as it’s made up of so many different parties with different views about everything, whilst he is being pressured into giving in to Palestinian and American demands concerning the building freeze. And as Palestinian president Abbas has said even recently and in no uncertain terms, that he will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state, there seems no point in making more concessions, especially as they also demand a “Law of Return” for the now millions of Arab refugees (they were a few tens of thousands when they turned into “refugees”), who could so easily have been settled in the many large Arab countries, instead of being kept in camps for so many years (supported financially by many countries of the world). Anyway, I don’t see any real peace-talks in the near future. They only want land, and evidently their only concession to us is to stop killing Jews (and who knows for how long this might last?).
Iranian President Achminijad visited Lebanon last week, where he was well received, especially by the many Hizbullah terrorist organization members who have taken over the country and see him as a hero. His constant statements which imply that Israel must be destroyed, that Israel has no right to exist are “honey to their ears”. He is supplying them with rockets and other arms, and hopefully this will not lead to another war with us. Achminijad also visited South Lebanon near the Israeli border, this being a special provocation to Israel.
Now for a subject a bit different. 100 years have passed, since the first Kibbutz, Degania, situated next to the Lake Kinneret, was established, and there are  celebrations for this. Shortly after, more kibbutzim, communal settlements, were built all over the country, on land belonging to Jews. All members lived under similar conditions, had the same rights, worked the land, even ate the same food in the communal dining room, and at first children lived in special “Children’s houses” not with their parents, whom they could only visit a few hours every day. This later changed, and today more changes have taken place, nearly all kibbutzim have been transformed into private units, each family looking after its own members, getting paid for work, and paying for the different services the kibbutz offers. Practically nothing communal any more.
It is now also 15 years after the assasination of our former prime minister Yithak Rabin by a young Jew who did not agree with Rabin’s political views. Even today there are some who agree with him, but on our news programs mostly Rabin’s supporters are given the right to state their views on this unfortunate event. Makes me think of the media in other countries, where not all opinions are always allowed to be heard, especially good opinions about Israel. That’s all for today. Shalom from Irene

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