Tuesday - Too good to be true
The deluge of good news, on a variety of fronts - coinciding with this year's Purim festival - demands we pause from our usual dreary agenda to offer praise where it is due.
To Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz, for acknowledging that he had no good reason for dragging out the indictment of former president Moshe Katsav. "I have issues with procrastination," he noted, "but this time I think I really am ready."
To former Supreme Court president Aharon Barak, who admitted that "Judges should not dominate the process of selecting judges. We need a system with checks and balances," he told the Bar Association.
Law and order was further boosted when Israel's crime syndicate - moetzet gedolei ha'avaryanim - declared its constituents would no longer engage in human trafficking, extortion or the drug trade. A top mobster confessed: "We have become nothing more than Hebrew-speaking thugs. Enough!"
THE Finance Ministry deserves our esteem for promising it would pull out all stops to fast-track completion of the express rail line linking Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, making it operational by 2012.
El Al lifted spirits by announcing it would not follow Ryanair's lead of making passengers pay for the right to relieve themselves on flights. "It's clever of them to offer free bottled water while charging for the use of the toilets, but we intend to focus on long-term customer loyalty by giving economy class passengers 15 percent more leg room," said spokesman Matos Avir.
Editors of the British newspapers The Guardian, The Times and The Daily Telegraph made encouraging headlines by jointly pledging to take a more balanced stance in their coverage of Israel and leave the task of delegitimizing the Jewish state primarily to The Independent. In a related praiseworthy development, the ombudsman at the International Herald Tribune admitted that using a photograph of Arab women marching past the ruins of a bombed building in the Gaza Strip as the paper's lead photo on International Women's Day was "tendentious."
Kol Hamusika, Israel's classical station, struck a positive note by promising to play music listeners might enjoy instead of the atonal post-modern din which dominates its playlist.
We're impressed, too, that Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker decided to forgo a trip to the Gaza Strip and focus attention instead on genocide in the Sudan. "Sure I could jump on the anti-Israel bandwagon," she said. "But Palestinians capture a disproportionate amount of press attention, which detracts from far more pressing issues."
SPAIN is to be congratulated for repealing a law allowing its courts to apply "universal jurisdiction" to harass Israeli security personnel involved in the 2002 liquidation of Hamas terrorist Salah Shehadeh. A Spanish legal scholar explained: "We just felt that with our history of inquisitions and persecution and false neutrality during the Holocaust, we really had no moral standing to denounce Israelis for defending themselves."
The organizers of the UN Conference on Racism (Durban II) deserve appreciation for cancelling the event because "the enterprise had devolved into a frenzy of non-governmental Jew-hatred."
HERE AT home, we are delighted by the IDF's announcement that, for the first time in decades, the West Bank will not be sealed off from Israel proper over the Purim holiday. With the notion of Palestinian Arabs blowing up buses or threatening children's Purim parades now fantastical, the need for closures is, thankfully, obviated.
India is to be commended for its pledge of $5 million to help rebuild Sderot, matching its $5 million for similar reconstruction in Gaza. To the Palestinian Authority's credit, it has rejected the cash, saying it couldn't account for billions of dollars in previously donated international contributions. "What we really need," said Mahmoud Abbas, "is not more money but a trusteeship for Palestine to help us create a culture of tolerance and respect for minority rights."
But the ultimate praise goes to Iran, which now admits that it has been working on an atom bomb, but has decided to stop as a result of a vision which came to Ayatollah Khamenei. "The Prophet sent an angel to tell me that God wanted the Children of Abraham to work out our differences amicably," he told a delirious throng in Teheran's Revolution Square.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
It's Purim all over ...but, Jerusalem Celebrates Purim on Wed
I am a Jerusalem-based journalist and political scientist and a senior editor at The Jerusalem Report focusing on the Jewish World. I’m a former editorial page editor at The Jerusalem Post and was founding managing editor of Jewish Ideas Daily. Over the years I’ve written for Newsmax, Israel My Glory and a range of other outlets. I was also editorial director for www.balfour100.com and recently published THE BALFOUR DECLARATION SIXTY-SEVEN WORDS – 100 YEARS OF CONFLICT. Before making aliya in 1997, I worked in NYC government and as an adjunct assistant professor of political science. My memoir about growing up on the Lower East Side (well, it is more than about that) THE PATER: MY FATHER, MY JUDAISM, MY CHILDLESSNESS is available via online booksellers, Amazon kindle, and (select) in brick and mortar bookshops. By arrangement, I brief individuals and groups visiting Israel on the conflict and Jewish civilizational issues. Let me hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org
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