Archive for October, 2012

I will start today’s blog with a subject not connected with the Middle Eastern region, because it is much in the news here, and it is rather frightening. I am of course talking about the Hurrican Sandy on the east coast of the U.S.A. which we hear caused (and is still causing)much damage and even loss of life , no electricity in some places and such. So I wish all my readers in that area, that they, their families and friends will not suffer (have not suffered) in any way from the hurrican.

17 years have passed since former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assasinated by a young fanatic Jewish Israeli, and this last Sunday many memorial services took place all over the country, even in schools. The main event was on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem where both President Peres and Prime Minister Natanyahu gave speeches, and it was attended by many well known figures. It was a very moving ceremony shown on TV, and one of its main points was the fight against fanaticism.

The coming Israeli elections in January, are also much in the news, especially the unexpected unification between two parties, the Likud
with Natanyahu at its head, and “Yisrael Beiteinu” with Lieberman leading. Not all, even in the Likud, are happy about that, but polls reveal that they will get a majority of the votes, but not enough to form a government on their own, but will again form the basis of the new coelition government .

A subject I have unfortunately often written about is the rocket shooting from the Gaza Strip, but it never seems to stop. This week rockets even reached the Negev town of Be’er Sheva, and schools were closed, it being to dangerous for the children to be in unprotected buildings. During the last week there must have been over 100 rockets fired in all directions.

And in Syria all continues as usual, much shooting, killing, although there was supposed to be a truce during a Muslim festival which took place. No end is seen to this so far.
That’s all for today. Shalom from Irene

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The Finnish ship Estelle, carrying pro-Palestinian activists, which I have mentioned before, reached Israeli waters on its way to Gaza and was asked to turn back or sail to the Israeli port of Ashdod. The people on board refused all requests to divert their course, and declared it was their intention to violate Israel’s naval blockade on the Gaza Strip and bring humanitarian goods. There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza and all regular articles are let in there by regular channels and it is certain that this ship’s coming was only a provocation. When it became clear that those on board had no intention of cooperating, navy commandos took over the Estelle without the use of force, even offered the activists food and water and insured that all were in good health. The ship was then directed to Ashdod and it is expected that deportation proceedings will be taken for the people abroad. The ship was searched and to our great surprise no real humanitarian good were found. An army spokesman said that anyone seeking to pass humanitarian aid to Gaza could do so legally via land crossings in coordination with Israel. Prime Minister Natanyahu later added, that surely Syria these days was in great need for humanitarian aid.

An earthquake and Sunami exercise took place in Israel this week. It was mostly for training emergency services in case of such a disaster, and the electric corporation, water company, people inpublic buildings, hospitals, schools and such, and not many regular citizens took part, but all defence, police, medical, firefighting and similar departments took part. Israel is situated in a dangerous zone for earthquakes.

I read something in a paper that really amazed me . An American Muslim who is knows as a strong anti-Zionist, Salam Al-Mariati, has been sent to an international “Human Rights” congress in Poland by the U.S. office for foreign affairs. In the past he has accused Israel of many crimes, including the 9/11 tragedy of the twin towers, what happened in Iraq, Egypt and other Muslim countries, and now even blames Israel for the problems with Iran’s building nuclear power. The foreign affairs department say Al-Mariati’s inclusion in the group sent to Poland is to show the different backgrounds of the American people. Really ?? Can this be !!
There will now be a new subject in High Schools for the Bagrut exams (Ministry-of-Education end-of-high school examinations) and that subject is “Road safety” and will include the part needed for passing the Israeli driving test on “theory”.The pupils who pass this exam at school, will be exempted from passing “theory ” when taking their driving test.
Enough for today. Shalom from Irene

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As we had been expecting for some time, elections will be held in Israel, evidently on January the 22nd. Prime Minister Natanyahu said that after speaking with all his coelition partners he concluded that he was unable to pass the 2013 state budget and had no other choice. There are too many different parties in the cabinet, all wanting funds for their own “needs”, whilst there are urgent necessities for more essential ones. Natanyahu said” My obligation as prime minister is to put the national interest above all else, and therefore I decided that the good of Israel requires going to elections now, as soon as possible”.

Our neighbouring country Syria is not only continuing shooting its own citizens but now have a bad relationship with Turkey, after having fired across their border, with Turkey shooting back. And to make things worse, a Syrian plane coming from Russia, passing over Turkish territory was ordered to land, and searched for weapons. The plane and its passengers were allowed to continue after parts of its cargo were seized.Turkey says that evidently some of it were arms, although both Russia and Syria denied this, saying there were only some technical items on the plane. Russia (and Syria) are of course very angry. Now we hear that both Turkey and Syria will no longer allow civilian planes from each others country, to pass over their air space.

Last week I mentioned the ship sailing under the Finnish flag, carrying activists from different countries. Israel has warned Finland over the weekend that it will stop this ship if it tries to break the blockade to Gaza. The ship is expected to reach here in about a week. If it has normal goods to deliver they can be transported through normal channels. We sincerely hope there will be no violence.

Antisemitism is on the rise in all countries in Europe, especially in France and England, where there have lately been many incidents, not only of graffiti, destruction, vandalising of Jewish buildings like synagogues and graves in cemetries, but also actual physical violence to Jews. In France a number of terrorist groups were discovered, with stockpiles of weapons. Those arrested, all Muslims, hold French citizenship, are not new immigrants, and even live in good districts in different towns. What is the world coming to? Returning to Nazism?
Shalom from Irene

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On Sunday a small unarmed aerial vehicle (a drone) flew over southern Israel from the direction of the sea through the Gaza Strip. It evidently did not carry explosives, and was probably sent on an intelligence gathering mission. Israeli airforce planes followed it for a short period, and were then ordered to shoot it down, which they did over an unoccupied region so as not to cause damage. This was a most flagrant violations of our airspace, and it is still not sure who is behind it, although our guess is Iran or the Hizbullah organisation in Lebanon.

Another flotilla a Swedish boat called “Estelle” has sailed from Naples in Italy, in order to challenge the so-called “Gaza Blockade”. Israel is trying to prevent arms being delivered, but all humanitarian goods can easily be sent there by regular systems. The ship, containing 17 activists from around the world is believed to arrive in just over a week. Hopefully there will be no violence when it arrives, and the goods it is carrying will be delivered by normal channels.

And for a change there was co-operation between Palestinians and Israelis when both sides jointly toiled to provide the Gaza Strip with its first speed internet service. The foreign relations department has said that it will allow Gazans to connect to the world and hopefully peace. Israel is fighting terrorists in Gaza, not its civilians who until now had used an internet system from the 1990ties which was very old and slow. But since the new system has been installed, as usual, there has been a daily barrage of rockets from Gaza into Israel, yesterday 55 rockets, – yes fifty five in one day fired by Hammas. And that day was another Jewish Festival.

We then celebrated the “Simhat Torah” festival (the meaning “rejoicing in the law – Torah” in Hebrew. Each week during the year, a set portion of the Torah is read and this cycle finishes at Simhat Torah, and begins again with the reading of the Bible, book of Genesis. People sing and dance holding Torah scrolls in the synagogues, that is our rejoicing. Will close now. Shalom from Irene

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