Bird’s Eye: In geology, a fault line is…. Oops, already done that. When we read about conflict regarding Israel, it’s usually Jewish Israelis versus Muslims, or Palestinians, or Druze, or Iran, or Israeli non-Jews. Well, now conflict is rising between Israeli Jews and Israeli Jews, whether over new and outrageous restrictions on women’s rights, settlers’ rights, or whatever. As always, the most savage critiques come from Israeli papers, as Bradley Burston (Haaretz) finds a story that sums it all up.
* In Israel, Women’s Rights Come Under Siege PostPartisan – The Washington Post
Women are forced to board public buses from the back and stay there. Billboards with images of women are defaced. Public streets are cordoned off during religious holidays so that women cannot enter.
Saudi Arabia in the misogynistic grip of sharia law? Sadly, astonishingly, infuriatingly, it is Israel under the growing influence and increasingly assertive demands of the ultra-Orthodox.
* Israeli Military Base Attacked By Jewish Extremists In West Bank The Guardian
A gang of 50 Jewish settlers and rightwing activists have broken into an army base near the Israeli settlement of Kedumim in the West bank, setting fire to tyres and hurling rocks at both Israeli soldiers and Palestinians. One settler forced open the door of a jeep carrying the Efraim Regional Brigade’s commander, who was hit in the head with a rock and suffered minor injuries. Soldiers managed to force the group back outside the base after several minutes but by the time Israeli police arrived at the scene, most of the attackers had fled. Only two were arrested.
Yaakov Peri, formerly head of the Israeli intelligence agency Shin Bet, says that moral judgments aside, unless dramatic actions is taken by the the government, army and intelligence to address this trend, extreme settler groups may drive Israel towards religious conflict. For this reason, he claims Jewish extremists now pose a greater threat to Israeli security than terrorism.
* Teaching the Horse to Starve Bradley Burston Haaretz
A balagula, a wagon driver, shuffles into the town inn, crestfallen. “What’s the matter?” the innkeeper asks, pouring him a drink.
“I was so close. So close,” the balagula replies. “My plan … I could feel it was going to work. Every single day, I gave my horse a little less to eat. Training him. Everything was going great. But wouldn’t you know it – just when he’d learned to eat nothing – just then, he falls down and dies.”
It’s all you need to know, this one shopworn Yiddish joke. The one that explains the whole of this inexplicable Israel at this New Year.
We all know who the balagulas are. The foreign minister who doesn’t believe in diplomacy, the finance minister who doesn’t believe in economic opportunity, the health minister who doesn’t believe in doctors, the minister for fostering aliyah who extols an Israeli ad campaign for America which directly offends U.S. Jews.
Day by day at home, this Israel teaches the horse to starve when it demands more and more of the non-Haredi young and provides less and less: in return for less education, more fees, in return for more inequitable army duty and taxation, less affordable housing.