Archive for June, 2013

With the encouragement of U.S. Secretary of State, there is now a possibility that Peace Talks will take place between Israel and the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, if the latter makes no preconditions. So far due to preconditions it has been impossible to hold talks, and even now Abbas has hinted that talks will only be for a certain time period, and evidently if they don’t go “his way” he will stop them. At a conference in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Natanyahu said,”The only way to end negotiations for peace is to begin them. We’re ready to negotiate peace without preconditions. Till now every time the government gave the Palestinians what they demanded for preconditions, they made additional demands. Our main object is peace, safety and recognition of Israel as a Jewish State.”
Again rockets have been shot into Israel from the Gaza Strip, our air force responded this time. No country in the world would allow shooting into their territory without  reciprocating,
but Israel is usually blamed fordoing so.
I mentioned some time ago that gas has been found in Israeli territory, and now there have been discussions of how much should be kept for Israeli use and how much for export (which of course is good for our finances). After much talk, it was decided only to export 40% and leave the rest for local use.
In Syria the fighting continues, with Iran and the Hezbollah terrorist organization helping, and Russia supplying arms to Assad’s armed forces. Yesterday it was said that Assad’s troops used chemical arms again – which of course they have denied. Lebanon is not happy either with the fighting, fearing it will pass into their territory.
Hope to have better news next week. Shalom from Irene
Prime Minister Natanyahu visited Poland last week, not only to meet Polish government high officials, but also for the opening of Block 27 at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State museum
This Block in the terrible World War II death camp has recently been renovated by the Israeli “Yad Vashem” holocaust museum. The 1,000 square meter exhibition in the two floor block consists of several spaces, each dedicated to a different part of the Holocaust, including one devoted to the 1.5 million children who were killed. The exhibition also includes a 2 meter high “Book of Names” that lists the names compiled by Yad Vashem of 4.2 million Jews murdered by the Nazis. The book includes empty pages at the end for additional names, as Yad Vashem continues collecting the names of victims. (not all are known). Natanyahu said” We will never be helpless again. The State of Israel will do whatever is necessary to prevent another Holocaust. We must not be complacent in the face of threats of annihilation (Iran and many Muslim groups are threatening Israel), and can not wait for others to do the work for us”.
Presidential elections took place in Iran and Hasan Rohani , the most moderate and liberal candidate won by over 50% of the votes. He said he was willing to speak to Western countries, but has not mentioned stopping the development of nuclear power. That evidently is up to the Prime Minister there.
Our neighbouring country Egypt may go to war – this time not with Israel, but with Ethiopia. Evidently Ethiopia is building, or intends to build a giant dam across the river Nile in Addis Ababa, and this will surely reduce the flow of the river when it arrives in Egypt. Egyptian President Morsi said that he understood the need for development in poorer nations but said Egypt would not accept any water reduction in the river Nile. “Egypt does not want war with Ethiopia, but will keep all options open.
I have mentioned before that Israel has been treating some wounded Syrians in our hospitals, but now we even had one sent directly by a Syrian doctor, with a handwritten note attached to the clothing of a Syrian man in critical condition. The note began with the words “Hello distinguished surgeon” and gave details about a gunshot wound in the chest, shrapnel damage, heavy abdominal bleeding and more. He ended with the words,”Please do what is necessary and thanks in advance.” Of course the patient is getting the best medical care. But will Syria ever be willing to make peace with Israel?
Our President Shimon Peres is celebrating his 90th birthday these days, and even ex-president Bill Clinton is here to be with him. In a speech Clinton joked about Peres, calling him a
visionary who looked into the future (a better one ) but had also promised him to come and celebrate his , Clinton’s) 90th birthday with him.
Enough for today. Shalom from Irene
Last week Austria announced that they would be evacuating their UN peacekeepers from the Golan Heights on the Syrian side of the border, evidently because of the regional tension there and fighting between Syrian troops and and the so-called “rebels” near the Kuneitra crossing. The 1.000 strong United Nations Disengagement Observer Force has been monitoring this border for the last 40 years and the UN secretary hopes other countries won’t follow Austria in this.
Syria now accuses Israel of siding with the “rebels” especially as we have received some of their wounded in our hospitals. They are threatening us, and Prime Minister Natanyahu has replied that we will not sit by peacefully if attacked.
In another few days elections for president will take place in Iran, but whoever wins, it looks as if all their candidates have the same view concerning nuclear power building and will go on with that as we say “full steam ahead”. That also means that all the sanctions put on Iran are so far not stopping them from trying to make a nuclear bomb.
In Israel there are some difficulties with the ultra-religious groups, who object to the new government plan of taking their young men into military service. There have been violent demonstrations, mostly in Jerusalem and Bnei-Brak, even with arrests made by the police. And now we hear that even in New York, the ultra-religious Jews were demonstrating in favour of our Israeli ones. The ones here only want to spend all their time studying religious subjects, very few even go out to work and they live on donations, (government funds too).
That will be all for today. Shalom from Irene
Due to economic difficulties, prices are going up in Israel, and of course many are complaining, especially because the VAT (value-added tax) rose from 17% to 18% at the beginning of the week. which will affect the lower and medium  income groups more than others. Petrol has also gone up in price, and many industries, even the military have to lessen their expenditure.
In Syria the fighting continues, Assad’s forces have been joined by the Hezbollah organization and are also helped by Iran, and being sent weapons by Russia. Who knows what the outcome will be? It seems that the Muslim Sunnis and the Muslim Shiites (different sects in their religion) are not exactly on the best of terms. And in Turkey there is also much unrest, with many violent demonstration, the police using gas to put them down.
Israel has put up a temporary hospital near the Syrian border, which is to be used for humanitarian purposes for their wounded, but we have made it clear we will not accept Syrian refugees, who so far have found safety in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
Today we heard that about 500 Arab teachers will be employed in Jewish schools here for teaching mathematics, sciences, English and Hebrew in the near future – so far they have only been teaching in their own schools. This will make for better assimilation.
Around a million Jews came to Israel after its establishment, from Arab and Muslim countries, being forced to leave all their property behind. Now those still alive are being asked to tell (and write) their history, how it was to live in their former countries and such – their history should not be forgotten.
Enough for today. Shalom from Irene