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What I really do (IDF version)

What I really do (IDF version)

These images have been making rounds over the past 4-5 days on facebook, thought I would put a hand in and produce my own version… being in the IDF some good classic perceptions… There is so much misconception, of course this isn’t going to solve anything. But it’s just another way to show the lighter side of things.


I’m not crazy about these images, can you suggest better ones?

Presentation: at Shorewood High School

Presentation: at Shorewood High School

Invited to speak at Shorewoord high school last Tuesday, after memorial day, was a pretty exciting prospect for me. David Shayne and I were sent to this via StandWithUs, Seattle (although I wasn’t aware that I was representing them at the time).

First time in a non-Israeli high school. So it was interesting to see the front office, which seemed very service oriented, with waiting chairs, and trophies in the background.

The rest of the school unfolded as you walked behind it. It reminded me of an army base where classes are actually just collections of buildings joined together after being placed on an asphalt tarmac.

The big shocker of course that the school had multiple entrances, no security guard or guards and no one even looking and who comes or goes. I suppose there is a camera system and teachers keep a look out, but how different!

Back home schools are fenced off, with an armed guard at the entrance and a single point of entry. Their normal sense of security for me feels like an anomaly.

We gave our talk in the library, with two classes joining together each time. They seem to have a weekly Middle East conference where each student is given a country from the region to represent (they included also the non Arab Middle East, not sure if Afghanistan made it in). The topics they seem to be debating in terms of our silly conflict were:

– One state versus two state solution

– Refugees

– Settlements

And a few other things (don’t remember them all), thus basically adopting an Arab (extremist) narrative (there are more moderate ones, not calling for a one state solution or the return of refugees), I didn’t see any Israeli concerns on their whiteboard, which was disappointing.

Sadly I couldn’t record the Q&A session, which was interesting. Will do better next time.

As requested, here is the power pointPeace-in-Israel-and-Palestine

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.