This week Israel Independence Day passed quietly, people celebrated, went on picnics in national parks, beaches and forest areas and there were no terrorist acts, although there had been some warnings, and our security forces were on “stand-by”, and the movement in places of believed danger were limited. The Palestinians especially like to perform their despicable deeds on Jewish holidays.

     Strangely enough, most of the news here these days concerns an international subject, the “Swine Flu”. So far there are two cases of this in Israel, evidently on their way to recovery, and five others were hospitalised, but laboratory results showed that four of them did not have this disease, one other is still waiting for the outcome. But an open phone line has been set up for people to ask questions about the Swine Flu, and the most often asked question apparently is “Should we abstain from going abroad?”. The answer is “No, you can go abroad, but go to Mexico only if it is really only of great importance.”
  At Ben-Gurion Airport a temporary clinic has been set up, and people who had lately been in Mexico are examined for any signs of the disease, but even if there are none, they are told to stay in their homes for a week in quarantine.

     And now I’ll return to a sad subject I know I have mentioned before in my blogs – the kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, who is being kept by the Hamas terrorist organisation for three years. His father is now in Washington D.C. talking to certain people in the government, asking for help in getting his son released, and our Prime Minister Nataniyahu, who gave a short speech at the main Independence Day ceremony, said it was his duty to return Shalit home safe and sound to his family. he didn’t mention how he intended doing this, and I sure hope he will succeed. But even so, no one knows what condition Shalit is in, if he is alive even. No one, not the International Red cross or any other organization has been allowed to visit him –  but the nations of the world stand by silently. Now if Israel were to keep a Palestinian in prison without visiting rights, there would be a great outcry against us.

I’ll end today’s blog by mentioning something completely different – taxes. Evidently a law has been passed which will allow working mothers to pay less income tax if they have small children either in day-care centers or looked after by private caretakers. I don’t know how this is in other countries, but here it will surely enable more young mothers to go out to work. Oh, and before I forget, the tax on cigarettes has been raised I believe by 1%, doesn’t sound much, but evidently will add millions of Shekels to the government treasury.  That’s it for now. Shalom from Irene


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