Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Reservists - The Good & The Bad

We'll start with the bad ...

In a rather disappointing article, 40 colleagues rallied in support of Nizar Hassan, a Sapir University teacher who kicked out an IDF reservist from his classroom. Last month, Eyal Cohen, an intelligence officer in the reserves, was asked to leave Hassan's class after coming to it in his army uniform ... Hassan's reasoning? He does not teach soldiers, policemen and officers in uniform. When he refused, Hassan hurled negative comments at him and the IDF. Hassan, on a temporary contract warning him against mixing ideology and politics in his lessons, was rightfully suspended. However, 40 of his colleagues are now protesting to have him reinstated. Mind boggling eh? His supporters should be ashamed - throwing Cohen out of the class is a gross violation of academic freedom. Hassan has no right to decide who he teaches based on dress code - and he should be severely reprimanded and warned that any other outbursts will result in his termination.


And now the good ... Haaretz reports that the cabinet has approved a package of benefits for reservists. I think this is a good start to bolster and support a sector of our country which too often is taken for granted. Although Gabi Ashkenazi, the IDF Chief of Staff, reacted positively to the news, the reservists' organizations were unhappy with it overall. The chairman of the reserve soldiers forum, Aleh Minkowsky, was unhappy with what seems to be just a baby step, "All the cabinet decided was to set up a ministerial committee, which would present a plan to implement the benefits within 45 days." Ro'i Ron, the head of the Baltam reservists movement, also voiced disappointment, "We demand larger financial benefits, based on the average wages rather than minimum wages. Reservists must receive a meaningful compensation, like the one proposed in the bill submitted by the reservists. The cabinet's decision brings us no significant tidings." While I understand their frustration, Rome wasn't built in a day ... This is a positive step and it needs to be built upon.


Hanukkah is tonight ... So on that note, a piece about Hanukkah in the Soviet Gulag by Natan (Anatoli) Sharanksy.

Happy Hanukah! !חג חנוכה שמח

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