Archive for July, 2011

There is much unrest these days in Israel, but this time for economic reasons. There are demonstrations going on for three completely different subjects – food prices, doctors’s working hours and wages, and the high price of housing, both for buying apartments and renting them.
 
The prices for some dairy products have since gone down, because of what was called the “cottage cheese boycott”, but it is expected more will get cheaper soon.
 
The doctors in hospitals have been striking for some time now, they perform mostly only urgent and life-saving operations. The emergency departments, Intensive Coronary Care Units and Oncology etc. are working as usual,  but out-patient departments are mostly closed, and the hospitals keep a Sabbath minimum working crew of doctors. Evidently mostly the interns worked 24 hour shifts a great number of times in one month and the wages of all doctors are relatively low for the work they put in. Talks are being held with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Finance, but so far no decision has been agreed on by all, and it is the sick people who are suffering.
 
Great demonstrations are going on in different towns, mostly young people, protesting at the high prices for buying or renting apartments. They have set up “tent cities” in many places, taken over large areas, blocked roads and demand that the government be responsible for building cheaper housing, that the ordinary people can afford.  Prime Minster Binyamin Netanyahu will meet again with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Attias in an attempt to complete the formulation of economic and social steps toward solving the housing crisis, we all certainly hope something positive will be done.
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On Monday fires broke out in the forests next to Jerusalem in five different places, so far no one knows if they were lit accidently or maybe purposely. It took much labour putting out the fires, and the terrain was difficult to get to – the fire fighting was mostly done by planes, and some buildings surrounding the city, including the “Yad-vashem Holocaust memorial” had to be evacuated.
 
During the last week, many more rockest and missiles than usual are being fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel, and Israel has been retaliating with planes. But I doubt if this will stop them, as we are so careful not to hit civilian areas ( quite the opposite to what they do, they try their best to kill and cause damage). If we were to hurt civilians, the whole world would be up against us again as usual. What the Arabs do to Israelis never seems to be noticed!!! And today we heard that one ship of the planned “flotilla”  (which is certainly not sailing for humanitarian grounds and is carrying anti-Israeli activists) is on its way to Gaza. We can’t let them through, they may be carrying weapons for them. And talking of weapons, we are told that with all the trouble and uprising in Syria still going on, the Syrian government is sending arms and rockets to the Hizbullah in Lebanon. These include Scuds with a range of 700 kilometers and can prove a great danger to Israel in the future.

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I know I’ve mentioned the flotilla which intends to sail to Gaza before, but although it has had some backlags, damage to ships (for which Israel is of course blamed), forbidden to sail from different countries (Greece, Turkey, Cyprus etc.) they still intend to break the blockade we have to prevent weapons being smuggled in. These ships are of course only a provocation, as there is no lack of food, medicine or any other humanitarian supplies in the Gaza Strip area – quite the opposite it seems, they are building new shopping malls and hotels there now. Our defence Minister Barak said “It is clear to everyone that Gaza , ultimately, is open to all civilian products.” If the people on the ships have anything they really want to deliver to Gaza they could do so through the Israeli Ashdod port, or the Egyptian El Arish one in Sinai. It worries us what will happen when this flotilla which is said to contain dangerous chemicals, meets the Israeli navy.

Now again the subject of peace talks. Natanyahu repeated that the Palestinians recognition of Israel as a Jewish State is “basic requirement for peace”. He told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas just to say the six words “I will accept the Jewish State”, just as he himself has said numerous times that he will accept a Palestinian state.” But it seems that these words will not be spoken, and in September the subject will be taken to the U.N.O. where there is always a great majority vote for every notion against Israel. Netanyahu said, “I stood before my people numerous times and said that I will accept a Palestinian state. Now President Abbas must stand before his people and he has to say these six word, ‘I will accept the Jewish State’.” 

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