Archive for January, 2010

The Haiti disaster is still much in the news, especially as there have been two more earthquakes, though luckily weaker than the first one. There have been some miraculous cases of saving of life, of people found under the rubble even after 10 days without food and water, but I believe the rescue teams have now given up this work, and most efforts are given to providing food, shelter and medical services to those left alive. In many countries in the world, including Israel, people are donating money for this cause. So far, the Israeli field hospital is still working full-time, and  even has incubators for babies, x-ray machines and the like, but will probably close soon. Now we hear that Israelis and others want to adopt orphans from Haiti – but I wonder if this will really happen- the Haitis will surely object..
Today, January the 27th, is the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the largest Nazi death camp Auschwitz. In 2005 the United Nations General Assembly designated this day as International Holocaust Remembrance Day (IHRD), an annual day of commemoration to honour the victims of the Nazi era. Every member nation of the U.N. has an obligation to honour the memory of Holocaust victims and develop educational programs as part of an international resolve to help prevent future acts of genocide. The U.N. resolution that created IHRD rejects denial of the Holocaust, and condemns discrimination and violence based on religion or ethnicity. But of course unfortunately not all UN member states think this way, and so many, mostly Muslim ones, would like another holocaust with its complete destroyal for Israel.
Israeli President Peres is now in Berlin and will address the German government tomorrow, and Prime Minister Natanyahu is in Poland, at former Auschwitz concentration camp, for  the Remembrance ceremony. In Israel we commerate Holocaust Remembrance Day, a week before Israel Independence day. It is impossible to do too much remembering.
Some two weeks after announcing that a physical barrier needed to be built there, and  two weeks before the initiative is to come before the cabinet for approval, Natanyahu personally visited Israel’s southern Sinai border to take a look at the area. He noticed the problem of illegal infiltrations was even greater than he had at first believed. If the border with Egypt is not closed, then al-Qaida may use Sudanese refugees making their way into the country as cover to infiltrate and set up terrorist cells in Israel. Therefore a physical barrier is of greatest importance.
And now we hear that Egypt is doing something similar with the Gaza Strip border. Much to the anger of Hamas, they are  going to build an underground defence wall against tunnel building. President Mubarak of Egypt said that  the Hamas organisation was not only smuggling material and weapons into Gaza  through their many tunnels, but also terrorists out of Gaza into  the Sinai desert of Egypt and it was his job to defend his citizens.
I’ll end with a local subject, which is rain. Although it is really so blessed after so many drought years, it came in such great quantities during a short period this last week, that it has even caused some damage. There was flooding not only in the south, but also in the north and led to much damage to agriculture and even buildings. Well the saying is “It never rains, but it pours” . Seems true here. At least the water level in Lake Kinneret which had been dangerously low, has risen. With these words I close today. Shalom from Irene

Of course regrettably these days so many news items all over the world, have had to mention the terrible disaster in Haiti after the earthquake there, and a large number of countries in the world have sent help-teams and money  for aiding the unfortunate people.  Israel too, is amongst those giving help. Two El Al planes took off from Ben-Gurion Airport on Thursday night carrying a 121-member delegation that included 40 doctors, five search-and-rescue teams,with specially trained dogs for searching for survivors in the ruins. A field hospital has been set up. We hear that another plane is now leaving Israel with more medical equpment and materials.

Prime Minister Natanyahu said amongst other words,” Given Israel’s security needs, we have accumulated much search and rescue experience over the years. We have applied this experience previously in disaster scenes throughout the world – in Mexico, Argentina, Armenia, Kenya, Turkey and elsewhere. I hope and wish that the Israeli mission will succeed, this time as well, in saving as many lives – children, parents and families – in Haiti as possible. This is in accordance with the best Jewish tradition of aiding one’s fellow men.”  One thing is strange though. So far I have not heard of many  (if any) Muslim countries giving aid to Haiti. Where are all those oil-rich Arab countries when it comes to helping others?

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There are now evidently new rules for some ultra religious schools. Rabbis of a number of congregations insist that the children have no contact with the internet, it may show them “bad” ways of life, and therefore the pupils in their educational institutions must bring a form in writing from their parents that they have no computer connection to the internet. They seem to forget that we are living in the year 2010.
Some weeks ago I mentioned that our opposition leader Tzippi Livni could not visit London for fear of arrest for so-called “war crimes”. Now we hear that the same is happening to a number of Israeli army officers. England so far is the only country with such conditions. And who decides what these “crimes” are”? There are countries purposely committing much worse ones, but these
for reasons “unknown” are ignored.
The New Year 2010 has begun, and I hope it will be a better one for the whole world, with less violence than the previous one. Here in Israel we’ve already had new rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, to which we reacted by bombing more of their “under-the-border tunnels”, which has angered them and they are threatening revenge. But terrorism doesn’t occur only in Israel. Only a few days ago we heard that in Pakistan  about 70 people were killed in a suicide bombing during a football game. Will the murder of innocent people ever stop?

And as for politics, a subject I usually never want to write about. The leaders of our main parties are what can be mildly labled as “not on the best of terms”, after a meeting, and the Kadima party may even break up. Unfortunately we have too many political parties in Israel, and it’s difficult forming a co-elition government.

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