Wednesday, January 31, 2018

How BDS helps to destroy the Palestinian economy

The Palestinian Authority (PA) needs Israel--if, that is, the PA wants to create a viable state. The reason is simple: Israel can solve the problems that disable the PA. 

For example, the PA needs water. Israel is a water superpower. 

The PA needs a stronger food-supply system. Israel is a world-class expert in agricultural sustainability.

The PA needs modern, good-paying jobs. Israel is a high-tech superpower.

The PA needs innovative thinking to survive. Israel is ranked 10th in the world for innovation (Michelle Jamrisko, Wei LU, "The US drops out of top 10 in Innovation ranking", bloombergnews, January 22, 2018).

Israel is not selfish about its talents. It's willing to share--if, that is, the PA is willing to ask for help. 

Without Israeli help, the PA has problems gaining access to air and sea passage into and out of the PA. Without cooperation with Israel, the PA lacks access to world-class medical services. Without cooperation with Israel, the PA can't get enough water for its citizens.

Palestinians', however, don't speak of 'cooperation'. They speak of 'normalization'. The PA says, 'normalization' with Israel is forbidden.  

Forbidding normalization with Israel affects Palestinian lives at all levels, every day. Take, for example, going to the movies in the PA. In October,  2017, the PA held a 'Days of Cinema' festival in Ramallah, chief city and nominal capital of the Palestinian Authority. One film, The Insult, directed by Lebanese Ziad Doueiri, was scheduled to be screened. But it was banned ("Palestinian journalists come out against BDS movement, Ramallah Municipality for banning Lebanese director Zia Doueiri's film in Ramallah", memri, January 22, 2018). 

The film is about a legal dispute between a Lebanese Christian and a Palestinian refugee (ibid). The banning of the film had nothing to do with that theme. The ban also had nothing to do with the contents of or dialogue in the film. The film was banned because it violated a prohibition against  'normalization' with Israel.

The ban was put into place because the director was accused of maintaining relations with Israel that could be "classified as normalization" (ibid). The specific sin he had committed was that he had--G-d forbid--filmed a movie in 2012 in Israel

For its part, Israel had no problem with this filming. Israel allowed the man to do his film. Israel cooperated with him.

It's Palestinian leaders who have a problem with such cooperation. They'd rather ban a film because its director had once made another film in Israel than allow Palestinians see it. That's how horrible 'normalization' is.

The Palestinian ban against 'normalization' is no small issue. It's pervasive (Jonah Naghi, "Why is  normalization with Israel stigmatized in Palestinian society?", forward, May 30, 2017). It limits and restricts Palestinian life-choices on a daily basis, for good reason: anti-normalization advocates understand that the more interactions PA residents have with Israel, the greater will be the desire for 'normalization' with Israel; and the greater the desire for 'normalization, the more inclined PA citizens may be to ask the PA why it doesn't offer what Israel offers. 

Anti-normalization advocates fear such questions because such questions suggest that Israel isn't evil. Such questions suggest Israel has something to offer. They might also suggest that PA leaders may be failing their citizens.

The PA antidote to such questions is to follow a BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions)-led anti-normalization campaign. True, BDS anti-normalization efforts in PA territories don't have universal support (Asaf Romirowsky, "The anti-Israel movement's anti-normalization campaign", nationalpost, August 3, 2016). PA residents simply know too much about Israeli culture, entertainment and shopping opportunities to give universal support to BDS. But the BDS anti-Israel ideology is strong within the PA leadership structure. Hence, the ban on this film.

BDS certainly has a point here. How can you destroy your enemy when too many of your natural audience have no problem 'normalizing' with that enemy? 

BDS doesn't care what Palestinians want. It promotes only its 'struggle against normalization" (ibid). 

This 'struggle' is the key BDS value. It is not a struggle for peace. It's a struggle against the existence of Israel ("BDS is against the very existence of Israel", mizrachi, no date,  retrieved January 30, 2018). 

As a result of this 'struggle' to destroy Israel, the Palestinian people suffer. Because of the BDS campaign against 'normalization', even film-viewing is limited in the PA. 

Israel has much to offer the Palestinian Authority. Israeli skills could shrink PA poverty and build the kind of middle class a viable state needs in order to flourish. But those things won't happen for the PA. Anti-normalization will make sure of it. 

This BDS-driven campaign is not a recipe for communal survival. It's a recipe for a self-induced Palestinian disaster that will hurt Palestinians themselves far more than it will hurt Israel.

It will destroy the Palestinian economy.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Women's rights, women's safety--and Israel

As you saw in yesterday's post, "The UN's anti-Israel record in 2017", tuviabrodieblog, January 28, 2018), the UN Women's Rights Commission voted in 2017 to label Israel as the world's only violator of women's rights (ibid). In that same essay, you read that it was the NGO (Non-Government Organization) called, unwatch, which outed that outrageous condemnation for what it was: a gross lie (ibid). Now, you can take a look at exactly how delusional that lie is.

One truth about how safe women in the world are comes from the market research group, newworldwealth. This group gathers statistics to identify and rate wealth issues in the nations of the world (Homepage, newworldwealth). One such issue they have recently surveyed is called, safest countries for women (Chris Pash, "The 10 safest countries in the world for women", businessinsideraustralia, January 23, 2018). 

 This data-gathering group claims there is a 92% correlation between historic wealth growth in a country and women's safety levels within that country (ibid). This suggests that a country which offers women a high level of safety won't be an economic 'basket case'. Such safe countries will have wealth--and a history of wealth growth.

This criteria is strict. Not all countries make it to the survey's top 10 list. Not all wealthy countries make it to the top 10. 

Germany, France and the UK, for example, didn't make it to the most recent top-10 list. Neither did Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium, Italy or Ireland. 

Now, women's relative safety in a country isn't necessarily the same thing as women's rights in a country. But there's a high correlation between the two because when women's rights are violated, their sense of safety diminishes--and vice versa. 

The UN defines 'women's rights' in almost exactly these terms: for the UN, women's rights mean to  provide a safe environment for women. Such rights protect women from discrimination and gender-based violence, ("Women's rights are human rights", ohchr, 2014,  p 1, 12). Women's rights mean to protect a woman's ability to have a say in controlling her own fertility (ibid, p 13). Women's rights mean having the right to be free from coercion (ibid, p  13). 

I suggest to you that the higher the degree of woman's rights a woman finds in a country, the greater will be her sense of safety in that country. Indeed, when you see the countries on the top 10 list of 'safest countries for women', you find countries having among the highest commitment to women's rights: the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada.  

I suggest the reverse is true. That is, when a country  consistently violates women's rights, women don't feel safe. 

This brings us to Israel. The UN Women's Rights Commission  may have voted to label Israel as the world's only women's rights violator, but the fact on the ground contradict that label. On the top 10 list of 'safest countries in the world for women', Israel is ranked number 8. The USA is number 9.

Did the UN Women's Rights Commission condemn the USA as a women's rights violator? No, it did not.

No Arab country appears on this top-10 list. The Arab states which surround Israel do not provide the same degree of safety for their women as Israel. They also fail to provide real women's rights. 

Israel provides women's rights,  even to Israeli Arab  women.

By voting to label Israel the world's only women's rights violator ,the UN Women's Rights Commission betrays the women it's supposed to protect. Instead, it spends its time and attention demonizing the world's only Jewish nation.

How do you think that's going to affect the UN's credibility? More important, how does that anti-Israel vote help protect women in Arab countries (and elsewhere) who suffer discrimination, gender-violence and sex abuse?

That anti-Israel vote doesn't help anyone. It leaves the most vulnerable women unprotected.

It renders the UN useless.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The UN's anti-Israel record in 2017

Here's a report from unwatch, an organization that monitors how the UN acts towards Israel (hint: the UN acts with extreme bias against Israel) ("The top 10 most insane UN anti-Israel actions for 2017", unwatch, December 20, 2017). 

Some of the anti-Israel UN actions you'll read about below are so outrageous, you'd think we'd just laugh at them. But no one's laughing. The UN was deadly serious about these votes.

Here's a question: are any of the UN actions below really outrageous? Judge for yourself. 

I've edited this report:

10. The U.N.’s Beirut-based agency of 18 Arab states published a report accusing Israel of “Apartheid.”
In response, UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer took the floor to ask Algeria, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, Yemen, and the others, a simple question: "Where are your Jews?" For once, the room was silenced. UN Watch’s speech went viral on the Internet:

This video of Mr Neuer's remarks here were viewed 5 million times worldwide.

9. The U.N. women’s rights commission condemned Israel as the world's only violator of women's rights. Real abusers of women’s rights, such as Iran, Yemen, and Afghanistan, were ignored.
The next month, UN Watch exposed the UN's election of Saudi Arabia to this same women’s rights commission—and the fact that at least five EU states voted for the Saudis. The story went viral, and created a major scandal in Belgium, where the prime minister eventually admitted their vote and apologized. Here's the video about Saudi Arabia, and why its election to the UN Women's Rights Council is so outrageous (note: unwatch does promote itself in this video--but it's still worth watching:

8. In June, 2017, 16 U.N. agencies signed an agreement with the “State of Palestine” to spend an unprecedented $18 million--not to fund programs for PA residents or to build desperately needed infrastructure for the Palestinian Authority, but to fund 'lawfare' attacks against Israel. This agreement didn't mention how these attacks represented a form of warfare against the Jewish state. Instead, the agreement spoke of human rights, international law and “accountability”.
Such an anti-Israel U.N. commitment is part of a larger UN campaign to erode Israel’s ability to defend itself from terrorist attacks. As noted by foxnews, “UN Watch, an independent monitoring group based in Switzerland, was one of the first places to highlight and criticize this kind of U.N. spending; executive director Hillel Neuer called on the United States, Canada, and Australia and other democracies to ensure that their taxpayer contributions are not being misused to support an escalation of (politicized) attacks against Israel.”

7. In October, U.N. Palestine Rapporteur Michael Lynk issued a report advocating an economic boycott of Israeli companies.
When Lynk arrived at U.N. headquarters in New York for his annual press conference, he was startled when three different journalists challenged him over his biased report and mandate. The reporters were prompted by unwatch's complaint letter to the Secretary-General which objected to Lynk’s call for a boycott and his ignoring of human rights abuses by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. Lynk falsely claimed to be “unaware” that he could actually speak about Palestinian violations of human rights.
Thanks to UN Watch’s campaign, the U.S. government issued a statement saying that “Mr. Lynk’s remarks, and the very existence of this report, underscore the Human Rights Council’s chronic anti-Israel bias. The United States will continue to oppose attempts to undermine the UN system through actions that unfairly target Israel.”

6. The UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) singled out Israel as the only violator in the world of “mental, physical and environmental health”. Under pressure from Syria’s Assad regime, the WHO also deleted parts of a report on Israeli actions in the Golan Heights—because they were positive to Israel. 

5. Dubravka Simonovic, the U.N. expert on vioence against women, visited Israel and the territories and concluded: When Palestinian men beat their wives, it’s Israel’s fault.
UN Watch’s executive director took the floor to challenge the U.N. investigator’s report: “Why did you fail to mention that official Palestinian TV regularly broadcasts Islamic preachers who tell the people how to beat their wives?”
In reaction, the Egyptian chair of the meeting broke with parliamentary protocol: “I would like to say thank you, but I can’t,” said Ambassador Amr Ramadan. “Because I think that you need to respect this council more."

Here is the video: 

4. In its ritual annual scapegoating of the Jewish state, the UN General Assembly on November 10,  2017 adopted 20 (sic) one-sided resolutions against Israel—and only 6 resolutions on the rest of the world combined. [On December 21, 2017, at an emergency meeting called by Arab and Islamic states to condemn the United States over its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a 21st resolution was adopted criticizing the Jewish state.

3.     UNESCO negated its own mandate to protect world heritage by adopting a resolution recognizing Hebron—second holiest city in Judaism because of the Tomb of the Patriarchs—as a Palestinian-only world heritage site.
In July, 2017, unwatch revealed that UNESCO had rejected its own experts’ advice, who opposed this Palestinian nomination on account of failing to properly recognize Hebron’s Jewish and Christian heritage ("Hebron vote: UNESCO heritage body denies Jewish and Christian heritage in Biblical city", unwatch, July 7, 2017)..

2. UNRWA launched a global campaign showing the picture of an 11-year-old girl, “Aya from Gaza,” in a bombed-out building—portraying Israel as the cruel cause of this child's pain. But unwatch exposed the photo as a fraud: the photo  was actually from the Syrian civil war. The story went viral online. UNRWA suffered massive embarrassment, and was forced to remove the photo worldwide.

1. The office of U.N. human rights commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein spent the past year preparing to inflame the anti-Israel boycott campaign by drawing up a blacklist of companies that do business in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem and other Jewish communities over the 1949 armistice line. The report is due to be submitted this month, and presented before the council in March. UN Watch will take the lead in countering the blacklist, what Nikki Haley this week called the “ugly creation” of the UNHRC.

The UN is no House of Humanity. It doesn't care about helping people.

Instead, it's become a House of Hate. The hate of--and prejudice towards--Israel may well be the only important agendas the UN works at successfully. 

The UN doesn't care about truth, either. It won't investigate its own crimes (Rebecca Ratcliffe, "Senior UN figures under investigation over alleged sexual harassment", guardian, January 25, 2017). It chooses to hide its crimes, not uncover the truth about those crimes (ibid).
How do you think all that is going to work out?

Friday, January 26, 2018

Today's cartoon: a sign of the times?

Worried about your country's unemployment rate? Worried about the economy in your country? Worried about what your country's politicians are doing to your country?

On a more personal level, are you worried about your job? Worried about your children? Could you use a little good luck for a change? 

Today's cartoon is not a cartoon. It's a sign someone created. 

It's a sign for us all. It reminds us where all good fortune comes from. 

If you and your political leaders could use some good fortune, this sign says it all.

Is this the sign for our troubled times? (see below):

Blessed, Earth, and Genesis: I WILL BLESS THOSE

Want your country of residence-in-exile to be blessed? 

Tell your country's leaders to support Israel. 

Want to be happier? Convince your country's leaders to support Israel.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Arab countries are pariahs, not Israel

The anti-Israel world behaves in a straight-forward manner: it declares how awful Israel is. Then it shouts that Israel is a pariah nation.

Well, according to the blog, elderofziyon, that 'shout' is completely false. In fact, according to one measure of a country's 'acceptability', the real pariah isn't Israel, but the anti-Israel nations surrounding it.

Here's the blog post. It's from October 26, 2017:

  • Thursday, October 26, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

Passport Index ranks all national passports by a "Power Rank" of the number of countries a passport holder can enter without a visa.

This is a pretty good metric to determine which countries are isolated from the world and which ones are full members.

This year Singapore ranks first, with 159 countries that a Singapore passport holder can visit freely,  followed closely by Germany with 158.

Israel is ranked 50th out of 199 countries with a score of 137, which isn't a stellar score. But considering that most Muslim majority countries would not allow people with Israeli passports to enter altogether, it is a respectable score.

How does Israel compare with other countries in the Middle East and North Africa?

Israel is not isolated at all. It is more a part of the community of nations than every single one of its Arab Muslim critics.

So for all the people who have dedicated their lives to telling the world that Israel is a pariah nation - you are once again proven to be liars.

My comment:

Some 27 years ago (in November, 1990), the jerusalempost’s Yaakov Kirschen used a drybones cartoon to illustrate Israel’s reputation as an ‘international pariah‘ (Herb Keinon, “Is Israel really a nation that dwells alone?”, jerusalempost, December 2, 2017)“Good news, bad news about the community of nations?”, one man asked the other in the cartoon.

“Yup”, the second man replied. “The good news is, the world has finally united. The bad news is, everyone has united against Israel” (ibid).

 Such isolation might have been an Israeli truth in 1990. But that's no longer true (ibid). 

The only place Israel is isolated is at the UN, whose influence has plummeted and whose performance-to-help-humanity has been weakened because of corruption--and because of sex-crime charges against UN 'peace-keeping troops' that never get addressed. But in arenas where the true ability to help humanity counts--security expertise, cyber safety, water technology, scientific and high-tech creativity--it is Israel who excels, not the UN. 

The nations of the world know this. On the international stage, nations beat a path to Israel's gate (Keinon, ibid).

Israel has changed since 1990. It's no longer  a pariah. It's a 'go-to' source for science  advancements, information resources, protection skills and medical miracles.

The real pariah nations are those whose citizens are stuck because of their government's evil ways. These citizens are isolated. They can't use their country's visas to travel freely. On the international stage, they are unwanted.

If you want to identify who these unwanted, pariah nations are, don't look at Israel. Look at the Middle East Arab nations that surround Israel.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Advice for Abbas about Israel--from someone who should know

Palestinian Leader Mahmoud Abbas has an obsession with the Jewish Israel. He wants to get rid of it. He wants to replace it with a Muslim state. He can't wait to make that exchange.

We know he wants to do this because his Palestinian Authority (PA) keeps publishing maps of his new Arab Muslim 'Palestine'. His map always shows the same imagined goal: 'Palestine' replaces Israel. 

Here's the 'Palestinian' map:

Image result for Sweden approves borders of ‘Palestine’ with Israel erased
from: Ilya Meyer, " Sweden approves borders of 'Palestine' with Israel erased", timesofisarael, December 3, 2014)

The plaque this woman holds shows the exact shape of modern Israel. But on this plaque--and on all other PA maps of 'Palestine'--the image presented isn't Israel. It's Abbas' Muslim 'Palestine'. 

Check online for the map of Israel. Israel is the shape you see above. 

But on this plaque, you don't see anything marked, 'Israel'. The image above is a picture of Israel being renamed.

This woman here isn't holding an Israeli flag along with this image. She's holding a 'Palestinian' flag for this image of 'Palestine'. 

Abbas' 'Palestine' is meant to replace the Jewish Israel. Every 'Palestinian' knows this. 

The map in the picture above does not suggest a two-state solution. It doesn't show two states for two peoples living side-by-side in peace and security (the West's mantra since George Bush One for ending the Arab-Israel conflict). Instead, this map suggests a one-state solution--an Arab state in place of the Jewish state.

That isn't a sign of peace. It's an image of Islamic conquest. 

Palestinians are obsessed with this goal. Abbas promotes it. He can't turn away from it.

Here's some advice for Abbas from one who knows all about becoming obsessed with attacking the Jewish people. Yes, this particular advice is pure fakery. But it's fakery with a point.

It's fictitious advice to Abbas from the ancient Pharaoh of Egypt--the Pharaoh of the Jewish story of Exodus from Egyptian slavery. This advice comes for the satire site, preoccuppiedterritory. It has no date, but I retrieved it before my computer began to freeze up during the last week of December, 2017. I've heavily edited this 'advice' to fit my format:

We Ancient Egyptians Could Have Warned You About Trying To Drive Jews Into The Sea

By Pharaoh
Not that I expect the Arabs of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries CE to take my advice, but back in 1948 I’d have counseled against attacking the nascent Zionist state. My cavalrymen and I could have told you what happens when you attempt to push the Jewish people into the sea.
Now, it’s true our two conflicts against the Jews are different in many ways. But several similarities should have alerted the Syrians, Jordanians, and the heirs to my once-great civilization, the Egyptians, not to get too ambitious about attacking Israel.
For one thing, in both modern and ancient cases, our problems began when we refused to accept the power of the Jewish G-d. You refuse to respect that, you'll end up feeling entitled to keeping Jews close only to have them do your bidding. The Jews wanted then--and in 1948--to establish their own land. We said, no. We responded with violence, we ancient Egyptians and twentieth-century Arabs. We attacked the Jews to destroy them.

That didn't work. We lost, disastrously.

A big problem is, you won’t see any soul-searching going on among either the ancient Egyptians or 20th/21st century Arabs. You will notice that my scribes and historians went light on the negative aspects of my rule. They  preferred instead to dwell on my successes only. This neglect of reality might seem familiar to modern-day Arabs. To put it mildly, modern Arab culture, like mine so long ago, discourages any thought of accepting blame for failures. We get into trouble because our cultures reject any honest appraisal of what we do wrong.

We ancients and moderns are kindred spirits: the modern Arabs are not the first Arabs to grab the opportunity to miss an opportunity. I had multiple chances to Let His People Go. But each time, I chose to give my pride priority over intelligent decision-making.

That was a grand mistake--and it's being repeated again. Imagine the prosperity, serenity, and grace that would characterize a Middle East in which I, the great Pharaoh, had endorsed the freedom and sovereignty of Israel; imagine the prosperity, stability, and advancement in the Arab Middle East if only modern Arabs had embraced the reassertion of Jewish sovereignty in 1948.
But you go ahead and keep trying to drive the Jews into the sea. As you do that, stay in touch. Let My People Know how that’s working out for you.

Does this ancient 'Pharaoh' offer Abbas good advice? Yes,  he does. Will Abbas listen? No, he won't. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Computer update

Well, it's been almost three weeks since my computer began to freeze up. I've been looking for help, but haven't found anyone I feel comfortable with, to have them work on this machine. 

Even when I find repairmen who speak English, I find their personalities a bit too 'quirky'  for my taste. I feel reluctant to trust my machine to them. When I speak to them, their responses to my questions don't leave me with much confidence in them. 

The man I did trust to work on my machine is no longer available. He went out of business in late October, 2017. 

 Absent any good choices, I've started that most dangerous of journeys--fixing this thing myself. This is a pretty dangerous decision because, in my humble opinion, I know nothing--literally--about fixing computer problems.

So far, I've been lucky. I've discovered that a Windows 10 update--one of which completed at about the time my 'freezing' problems began--can cause a PC to freeze up. I have tried to execute a fix for this 'freezing' problem--per a Windows-oriented fix-it website. But as I began this effort, I discovered an interesting issue: you must first open your Windows in order to complete the 'fix' for this Windows problem. This is an interesting issue for me because when my machine freezes, I can't open my Windows.  

One of the websites I went to said that this is, indeed, a nasty problem for anyone trying to self-fix a Windows-update problem. When your Windows won't open, you can 't fix anything related to Windows.


It took me the better part of a week to figure out how to get my Windows to open when the computer was frozen. Don't ask me how I did that. I just kept trying trial-and-error. Every one of my trials was an error--except, of course, the last one.   

Since then, I've been able to follow a prescribed 'fix' each time the computer freezes, though I can only do a modified 'fix' because I can't find all of the listed 'prompts'. This means that, after  completing my 'fix', I can use the computer. But only for short periods of time.  

Obviously, this isn't a true 'fix'. But it is progress.

I'm working on a couple of new ideas. Yes, I might be the blind man about to blow up his computer while he thinks he's actually making progress. But then, well, who knows. I might get lucky.

Maybe I can even publish an essay or two this week.

We'll see.

Thanks for your patience.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Computer issues

My computer has begun to 'act up'. I had trouble yesterday with 'freezing up' issues. Today, I couldn't even get the machine to start until just a few minutes ago--close to 5 pm my time. 

I sat down to work this morning before 9 am, my time. That adds up to a lot of wasted time just to start to work. 

I've done some trouble-shooting today. Maybe, things are fixed. Then again, maybe not. 

My ability to post essays could be affected. I may need to spend time sorting this out, not writing. 

I'd say, please check into the blog every other day, to see if I've been able to write/post. After all, this problem could be short-lived--perhaps just a two-three day affair. Or, it could be worse. It could take two-weeks to fix. I don't know yet. I'll let you know when I think I'm 'in the clear'.

Thanks for your patience.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Will Israel be hit by a punishing storm?

After some four years of near-drought for Israel, 2018 has begun with a weather bang. Rain, flooding, mud and even snow in Israel's North (Yocheved Laufer, "2018 hits Israel by storm", jerusalempost, January 1, 2018) have descended upon the Jewish land. 

For four years, Israel has had 'not enough rain'. Now, after multiple public prayers for rain, Israel threatens to become very, very wet. 

The Israeli cities of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Yafo, Afula, Arad, Ariel, Ashdod, Beer-sheva, and most points in-between (that is, most of the country) all report forecasts of either rain, storm, thundershowers, thunderstorms or heavy rain for tonight-tomorrow. The cities of Beit Dagan and Haifa have already had half-an-inch of rain in a single two-hour period (Ahiya Raved, Ilana Curiel, "Israel rings in 2018 with heavy rainfall", bridgesforpeace, January 2,  2018). 

Please note, in a desert country like Israel that's not accustomed to or equipped for heavy rain, a half-inch in two hours is 'heavy'. Even the true-desert cities of Mitzpe Ramon  and Dimona have wet forecasts for tomorrow. In places like these, even light rain can have a 'heavy' (dangerous) effect. 

Just days into 2018, there's talk of road closures from flood, mudslide or too-slick roads (Kristina Pydynowski, "Rain to raise risk for localized flooding from Israel to southern Turkey for Friday", accuweather, January 4, 2018). We're being reminded about roads known to be susceptible to flash-flooding (Chana Roberts, "Israel faces stormy weekend, with chance of flooding", arutzsheva, January 4, 2018). 

We want rain. We need it (Mordechai Sones, "Water authority to farmers: we have no water left for you", arutzsheva, January 4, 2018). The problem is, too much rain too quickly might cause more harm than good. 

Tonight, suppertime in Israel, our family members return home from work (or pass through our home (metaphorically speaking) on their way to their own home). As each arrives, we hear reports of warnings they've heard during the day:

-don't leave home at all tomorrow (Friday); 

-don't drive--the roads will be too slippery;

-keep children home who would otherwise travel by van to school;

-make sure you zip, batten down and lock anything that might allow rain to seep into your home;

-don't even think about shopping tomorrow.

-make sure you stay dry.

Will these rains really come? Will Israel experience a gentle, multi-day nourishing rain tomorrow and Shabbat--or will the Jewish land be punished by a harsh and dangerous rainfall?  

More important, will the predicted rainfall be sufficient to help our farmers?

The answers to these questions, of course, can be found in the heavens. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

My predictions for the Arab-Israel conflict in 2018

Today, we stand at the beginning of a new (secular) year, 2018. If you surf the internet, you might have already noticed how many pundits are making predictions for 2018. If such predictions catch your eye, you've come to right place. 

You should know just one thing. There are only two predictions here. But they're good ones. They'll actually come true during 2018.

My predictions begin with a fiction--an untrue, fictitious letter written fictitiously in the name of Israel's national intelligence agency, Mossad. 

The piece of fiction below comes from the satiric website, preoccuppiedterritory. It has no date. I retrieved it January 2, 2018. In any event, I believe it's less than 3 days old. 

I've edited the essay to fit my format. My 2018 predictions follow the essay:

"We Were Going To Undermine The Muslim World, But You’re Managing That By Yourselves"

By The Mossad
As part of our ongoing mission to keep Israel secure by clandestine means, we have long pursued strategies that might involve creating instability in enemy regimes, depending on the situation. But in recent decades our expertise has grown rusty, since we seldom need to lift a finger to undermine Muslim countries in our region. You do it so well on your own.
Once upon a time when the Jewish State’s existence was less secure and its enemies more confident, we had to develop strategies that called for much more drastic measures against neighbors who threatened to drive us into the Mediterranean. Sometimes that meant arming and training our enemies; sometimes that meant selling weapons to enemies of our enemy; sometimes it meant selling weapons to two warring enemies to keep them distracted with each other instead of shooting at us. But all that hasn’t been necessary since the 1990’s. 
It would be nice to take credit for fostering the long-term developments in the Arab-Muslim world that have led to the instability we see in our region, but let’s be honest: we’re good, but we’re not THAT good. We could never have engineered all the systemic failure, dysfunction, mistrust, ruthlessness, cynicism, fatalism, and despair found in today's Arab world. You did these things all by yourselves. Congratulations!
Our motto is, never underestimate an enemy. Our hostile neighbors have shown an immense capacity for certain accomplishments, and we must respect them for those achievements: dismal economic performance, rampant poverty and disease, civil unrest, a penchant for genocide, political repression, corruption, and devotion to an honor-shame culture that causes misery, not happiness. We had nothing to do with any of those "accomplishments". You fellas did that all on your own. 
Of course, nothing we can do will change your fundamental, existential need to blame someone else for your failings. Accepting that you have to fix your flaws would imply that you have flaws, and that would be a source of deep shame – and we know you couldn’t have that! It's far better to say your faults lie elsewhere, perhaps with the Jews--but definitely not with you. 
You just keep telling yourself that, and we’ll just keep sitting here, bored in our Tel Aviv headquarters, wondering if we’ll ever need to do anything to you that you’re not already doing to yourselves.
My first 2018 prediction: Israel's Arab Muslim enemies will remain chaotic, genocidal and dysfunctional. They will not change a thing. 

My second 2018 prediction: these Arab-Muslim Jew-haters will once again show the world how ruthless, murderous, corrupt and repressive they can be--towards their own people.