Friday, September 18, 2015

Surely Erela Would Call You

Curiously enough, one of the most recognized voices in Israel belongs to a woman whose claim for fame has nothing to do with her personal qualities or her accomplishments.
Her voice is not special either, but when, all of a sudden, the phone rings and the words "it's Erela speaking," are heard, the person on the other end of the line knows that good things are about to happen.
Erela who calls from Israel's State lottery is a real person. Her name is Erela Eidinger and she has worked in that organization for thirty years. Part of her job is to place calls to subscribers of the State Lottery to inform them about the prize which they won as a perk for being in that program.
Please keep reading in the Times Of Israel

Saturday, September 12, 2015

"I Am A Camera": Visiting Kiryat Arba And Hebron

We were standing in Kiryat Arba at the grave of Baruch Goldstein, who, in 1994, perpetrated the massacre at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. On the tombstone in Hebrew was the inscription: "the holy Baruch Goldstein who gave his life for the people of Israel, its Torah and land  and had clean hands and a pure heart." The grave is located in Park Kahana, named after the militant extremist Rabbi Meir Kahana, a man whose political party Kach was banned by the Israeli government for being "racist” and "anti-democratic."
Suddenly not far from us I noticed a boy, of about 12, crying bitterly. He was one of the settlers children at the park, a man was comforting him as the boy kept saying “They call the holy Baruch Goldstein a murderer.”
In saying “they” he meant us,
Please keep reading in the Times of Israel

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

“When I want Something I Get It:” Benjamin Netanyahu's Desires

The idiom “a picture is worth a thousand words” was reversed yesterday at the Israeli Knesset, and a brief (six words) sentence in Hebrew “when I want something I get it”  became stronger than thousands photo opportunities.
Our prime minister spoke yesterday, for the first time, like a true leader, with conviction and passion. I was almost proud of him.
But unfortunately Benjamin Netanyahu’s desires are not about ending world hunger or bringing peace to our region.
If, as he himself admits, our leader is relentless, even unstoppable,when he wants something,  my only conclusion is that Netanyahu doesn’t want to end the conflict in the Middle East and to bring about peace.
It is not that I hadn't suspected it before, but often we learn more about people from what they don’t say than from their actual words.
I don’t wish to believe that the Israeli leaders do not care about the well-being of the Israelis and the future of the country, and all they do in the Israeli Knesset is to make petty deals and pay bribe. However, to the regular Israeli, like me, it surely seems like that.
Thus rather than being impressed with the determination of Mr Netanyahu, I was shocked  again at the depth of his cynicism.
We were taught to admire the ethos and the seriousness of the Netanyahu family.  It is sad when all that is reduced to consummating the romance with the gas tycoons over Israel’s future natural resources.
In the beginning of September Benjamin Netanyahu met with the representatives of the movement Women Wage Peace, who sat in front of his home and fasted for 50 days to commemorate the 50 days of Operation Protective Edge in summer 2014.
Unlike Sara Netanyahu who had met the women earlier and chided them for not sitting outside the residence of the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, her more experienced husband, our prime minister pretended to care about the movement and created goodwill by stating that he was ready to meet Abbas with no prior conditions.
The prime minister was photographed with the women, and he told them "we want life security and peace for our children." But he never said that when he wanted something he got it, probably because peace is not something he really wants.
Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, as a member of the movement Women Wage Peace I also want life, security and peace for everyone. I and 15000 other women and men do not want to worry every time our children go back to the army whether we will see them again. We also don’t want the future citizens of Israel, our soldiers, to be scarred for life from what they experience in the occupied territories, it is a horrible price to pay.
For the New Year, I hope that all the creativity and energy that our leaders put into one gas deal will be diverted into a  plan  to promote  peace in our region and that Israelis and Palestinians will finally get what we want --- a  future.

The essay appeared in the Times Of Israel

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Poor Woman’s Lamb: The State Of Israel And Its Widows

After my husband died I was entitled to survivors benefits from the Israeli university where he taught. There were all kind of documents that I had to sign in order to complete the transaction, but one paper was especially problematic. It was a contract which specifically stated that in the event that I got remarried I would no longer be eligible to continue getting my late husband's pension.
I was shocked, I knew about the draconian policies regarding military widows, who lost their benefits if they chose to remarry (that law was changed only in 2009). However, this was not the army,
Please keep reading in the Times Of Israel