Tuesday, November 28, 2006

That's going to help!

News update: Ehud Olmert is "disappointed" by the firing of Kassams into Israel, in breach of the ceasefire. Well now, that makes things ok. Disappointment is really going to save lives.

Partners in peace? Wake up Olmert, and smell the coffee before that's blown up too.

It Never Stops

Accusations of Jewish manipulation and control have existed for centuries. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a ficticious manifesto which was written by the Tsarist Secret Police, a propaganda publication which has since proliferated and been kept alive, most recently being broadcast as a 41 part series in Egypt. It is impossible to count the number of times officials from Muslim countries have blamed Israel and the "Zionists" for controlling the media, the banks, the weather. You name it, we control it.

The most famous pack of lies in recent years came from the outgoing president of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, who told a summit of Islamic leaders that "Jews rule the world by proxy", arguing that the world's 1.3 billion Muslims shouldn't let the Jews control the world's outcome anymore. This was not only believed, but wildly applauded by all in attendance.

So, it should really come as no suprise that Israel and the Zionists are once again being blamed for the world's atrocities - Darfur, this time. Silly me, all this time I had been under the impression that the government-backed Janjaweed had been targeting ethnic groups and committing genocide. Nope, I was wrong.

Sudan's president claims that reports of genocide were fabrications which were "all part of an Israeli-led worldwide conspiracy". Never mind the reports from the UN and various human rights organizations, stating that over 400,000 people have been murdered. Ignore the horrific tales emanating from refugee camps, where women talk of group rape while their family was forced to watch, and having their husbands and sons murdered before their eyes. Apparently, media coverage of Darfur was being orchestrated by Israel, in order to aide Western society in their wars in Israel, Afghanistan and Iraq.

There is a part of me which says that this man should simply be pooh-poohed, that there is more evidence than could be documented which conflicts with his claims. However, experience has taught me that there will be those who will believe every word, internalize it, and further vilify Israel and the Jews, adding on another reason to continue the muslim vendetta against Israel. No matter how Tzipi Livni tries to paint Israel as a fun place, no matter how many meetings there are between Israelis and Palestinians, the problems in the Middle East will never be resolved until the muslim populations begin to take responsibility for their actions, stop blaming the Jews and stop entrenching their populations in fallacies and vilifications. Only then, might the world have a chance at seeing peace.

Suprise, Surprise

After you live in Israel for a certain period, you begin to understand the peculiar lingo which is bandied around by politicians and other public figures. Therefore, I shook my head with weariness at Ehud Olmert's defeatist proclamations of peace, splashed across the morning newspapers. His announcement comes the day after a ceasefire was declared between Gaza and Israel. A ceasefire during which 5 rockets already hit Israel. It is a well-known fact that the only time terrorists seek a hudna (ceasefire) is when the Israeli army is actually doing their job and eliminating terror threats.

Imagine my "suprise" to see this excerpt in an article on ynet:
"The ceasefire offers a period of calm for our fighters to recover and prepare for our final goal of evacuating Palestine," said Abu Abir, spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, a Hamas-allied terror organization in the Gaza Strip responsible for many of the recent rocket attacks against Israeli communities. "We will keep fighting Israel, but for the moment we will postpone certain part of the military struggle," Abu Abir said.

How many rounds of this will it take for the government to turn down one of these "ceasefires"? How many more suicide bombings will it take? How many more renewed rounds of Kassam attacks? Where are the Palestinian voices saying they will do all they can to stop Kassam fire and terrorists, so that Israel and the Palestinians can engage in a true peace process, one with solid foundations, and not one built on a skimpy skeletal frame, camouflaged by smoke and mirrors.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Day I Made the Driving Tester Cry

I'm back. As I said in the last post, Washington DC was our next destination. I've been here for two months, hubby for three, and it's been an interesting (if somewhat boring) experience thus far. We made the fiscally responsible choice of suburbia over Dupont Circle or Georgetown, and as a result I'm going slightly desparate housewife-ish. But we're meeting nice people and most importantly, I've found three H&M's nearby...

Part of relocating to a new country, as many of you know, is having to establish your existance. Opening a bank account, getting cell phones, a land line, etc. Maryland has a law which states that if a person moves from overseas to Maryland, their license is valid for only two months. As that period was rapidly approaching, I made an appointment to transfer my license. By transfer, I mean I had to take a 3 hour drug and alcohol awareness class (which I finished in under an hour) and then take the theory and practical tests all over again. I read and reviewed the driving laws, filled up the car and made my was to the DMV. I was confident in all but one thing - my parallel parking.

Now, before you start making female driver jokes, let me make it clear that I am an excellent driver, with an admittedly aggressive/defensive streak, but I've never had an accident in the 5+ years that I've had a license, but average parallel parking skills. However, in the two months since I've arrived, I have not needed to parallel park once. Nope - not a single time. Therefore, the night before the test, I pushed the boundaries of my marriage and placed hubby in the passenger seat and drove around till we found a street with some cars that I could park between. After an hour's practice, I felt confident of my abilities, and we went home. Hubby received big brownie points for his equanimity and the ability to remain calm under bad parking.

Day of the Test - I sail through the theory exam, mentally hit myself for giving my true weight on the license and not taking of 10 pounds, and head around the back of the building for the practical exam. As the tester walks towards my car, I mentally groan. He appears to have all the humanity of a corpse. I put on my brightest smile (thank you mom and dad for 2.5 years of braces) and cheerfully greet the tester. He asks to see my license and says,
"Oooh, an Israeli license! What part of the country are you from?"
I sense an ally and make my move.

"Jerusalem. It's gorgeous. Have you been?"

I make a friend. To make a long story short, the tester was a Republican, pro-Israeli/anti-Muslim war veteran. I played my cards right and we end up shmoozing for 15 minutes before the test begins. At one point in our conversation, I mention that both of my grandfathers had been WW II veterans, and he asks if I've seen the Holocaust Museum in Washingon DC. I tell him that I'm a tour guide at Yad Vashem. He then does something I've never seen a middle-aged male driving tester do. He begins to cry.

"I'm sorry, the Holocaust just upsets me so. Those people..."

As he composes himself, I pat his hand and lay the final snare to ensure that I pass.

"Don't worry. It's wonderful that you can feel so deeply in this time and age."

Cue the violins and gagging sounds.

When I slightly bungled the parallel parking, the tester walked me through it and ensured that I got perfect marks.

To make a long story short, I now have a lovely Marlyand license with a FANTASTIC picture. When I called hubby to tell him that I made the tester cry, his (predictable) remark was:

"Was your driving that bad?"