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“Yesterday at dawn Ro’i was murdered… The quiet of the spring morning blinded him and he didn’t notice the ambush in the field… let’s not accuse the murderers today… for eight years they have been sitting in their refugee camps while we build our country in front of their eyes on a land of their old villages and forefathers… a group of Jewish youngsters, sitting in Nahal Oz, are carrying on their shoulders the heavy gates of Gaza…. This is our destiny and this is our only choice of life here: to be ready, to be armed and to be tough… we have to be able to defend ourselves…. Let’s face it: If the sword falls out of our fists, our lives here are cut off.”

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Keynote: Honouring Gilad Shalit, Stroum JCC

Keynote: Honouring Gilad Shalit, Stroum JCC

I had the sad, great honour of being the keynote speaker in a community ceremony for Gilad Shalit at the Stroum Jewish Community Center, Mercer Island, Seattle.

They were looking for an ex-Israel Defence Force to provide a talk on Staff Sergeant Gilad Shalit. Shalit is an Armoured Corps soldier who was kidnapped inside Israel by the Islamic Resistence Movement (Hamas) in June 2006. He is still held in captivity and denied visits by the Red Cross since 2006.

Click below to hear audio:

Israel defeated

Israel defeated

The elections are over and once again I find myself wondering why on earth we actually went to elections in the first place. We had a nice little war, everyone’s ego grew the dead were buried the hacked limbs were thrown out and nothing changed. 1,300 dead from the other side of the border and half measures taken to actually change how this region ticks make you wonder. Why was this war waged in the first place? My thought is that as the big parties benefited from this no one wanted to stop it. Indeed, no small political party made it into the Knesset.
The thing with wars (I think this is my 7th) is that they cast aside any non-security agenda. No one thinks. There is this great little blog I used to read regularly called “haokets” (העוקץ) which means “the scam” and it was a clever thing written by some of the top left wing professors in the arena of social sciences. They spoke of neo-liberalism, human rights, public policy, economic paradigms, all the good stuff. Not a single security issue was ever raised. In came the war and it all went to hell.

Scathing reviews of how evil the army is and the main political parties are for not stopping the genocide and atrocities. On and on and on. I just lost my favourite blog, dammit! The problem in this country is that while internally there is a clear division of right and left in terms of the political division this is not the case in terms of the social \ civil issues. I, for one, would be considered far left in terms of everything but foreign policy and even then there are many, many shades of gray involved in this.

The war and wars in general in this country keep the clouding peoples judgement and ability to think in a critical manner on the social and political issues at hand. In essence what I’m saying is that for each war we win (opposed to common views Israel has yet lost a single war), or for each war the army wins the people of Israel suffer a defeat. A lack of civil society and an obsessive shallow discussion of policy which is determined in terms of “how hard should we bomb the Arabs” does little justice to the art of running a nation.

In summation: fight the wars, if need be… but stabilize the political system so policy can actually be set and strategic planning can actually take place. Don’t semi attack Gaza, occupy it and go for regime change, don’t play around with supporting the Palestinian Authority, close a deal with them and take the army out. Now we are done, we can commit to meeting foreign policy goals we can focus on patching up a deeply polarized society with growing unemployment, a drop in educational performance, an alienated Arab minority, traffic jams, poverty, the lack of separation of church from state and all the good stuff that makes up a sick society.

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