Sunday, February 17, 2008

Five Alive

Today marks my fifth anniversary since I made aliyah. Incredible how fast time seems to have flown by. It seems like only a few months ago I sat down in my first Jerusalem apartment to write about my three years in the country or about my engagement during the fourth year. But alas, as I sit down here in the apartment of the still 'recently married' Mr. & Mrs. Piha, I can honestly say that despite the pace of the journey, I've thoroughly enjoyed it ... The wedding planning, the wedding itself, the shabbat chatan, the job, the friends, the footy etc. It's been a fantastic year for me and I just hope it continues in the same fashion.

Monday, February 11, 2008


One of my favorite scenes from Fawlty Towers ... Pure genius.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Pinkie & The Break

Last night was the last tryout for the Israeli-Palestinian team that would compete in the international AFL tournament in Melbourne during August and September. The try outs have been getting more competitive & serious as all the non-Australian influenced folks started adjusting to the game. After the now anticipated running & drills, the coaches decided to have two scrimmages where they'd get a final look at us before the final cuts were to be decided on Sunday. The scrimmage was barely a few minutes old when I went up to catch the ball and felt immediate pain. Despite telling a teammate, "My finger is broken", I carried on running with hope of shaking off the pain. Unfortunately it continued and despite finishing the first scrimmage, the pain was pretty bad so I decided to find some ice or cold water to soak my now bruised and swollen right pinkie. The fact I could move it and clench a fist relieved me - I had probably just jammed it, a common injury I am told.

This morning, I woke up and I felt something was just not right. The swelling, despite it being iced throughout the night, had increased and movement had become far more difficult. I was fairly convinced that it was in fact broken, and unfortunately, x-rays later on confirmed it. So now ... I'll probably be out of commission for a couple of months and I feel my chance to represent this cause has probably ended. If that's the case, I can honestly say it was worth it. Despite not really conversing with my Palestinian teammates, I saw how 'easily' we could form a team when we had a common goal. I know it's just a sport but in a world which seems like it's currently stuck in a dark tunnel, a bright & hopeful light is always smiled upon.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

BARAKing up the Democratic Tree

I admit it. I would have voted for Barak in the last elections if he, and not Peretz, were in charge of the Labor party. I was fairly convinced that the failure of Camp David in 2000 had changed the man in a way that would finally make him a responsible political leader. Well, I couldn't have been more wrong. Barak yet again showed his true colors this week by deciding to stay in Olmert's government despite the harsh words of the Winograd Committee. Unsurprisingly I guess, Barak's campaign promise to Labor MK Ophir Paz-Pines to remove the party from the government when Winograd was published was broken.

It's doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why Barak reneged on his words and stayed with the disgraceful Olmert government. Barak (& Olmert for that matter) realize that the moment this government collapses, the Israeli public will most likely vote in Bibi Netanyahu as the country's next prime minister. These clowns have decided to do anything it takes (including bribing Shas, who embarrassingly represent me) to keep their seats in the current government set up. It is deeply disturbing at how our democracy is working ... but hold your horses, it gets worse.

In an interview today to Maariv, Prof. Yehezkel Dror, a member of the Winograd Committtee, bluntly stated his political stance:

"We must think of the consequences. What do you prefer? A government led by Olmert and [Defense Minister Ehud] Barak or new elections that will give rise to a government led by [opposition leader and Likud Chairman Benjamin] Netanyahu."

I somehow doubt we saw a 'fair' assessment of the government's failures during the war. Sadly, the IDF bore the brunt of the Committee's 'hard work' so that the government could be spared their rightful downfall. This gets even better ... The same 'professor' went on to say it's vital to change "the political culture and the quality of people engaged in politics." The sheer hypocrisy of the comment astounded me ... Dror wants changes & better people in power and yet he wants these corrupt liars to stay in power? Which one is it buddy?

Depressing ... All this country is yearning for is an honest human being to lead us ... If only ...

Justice for Sapir Reservist

In December, I blogged about the Arab teacher who had kicked out a student from his class who had come in to his class in uniform. Despite the 40 colleagues who rallied for him, justice has been served ...

Israeli Arab lecturer told to say he respects students' right to wear IDF uniform
By Tamara Traubmann, Haaretz Correspondent

An Arab filmmaker must declare that he respects the uniform of the Israel Defense Forces in order to continue working as a lecturer at Sapir College, the institution's president, Prof. Ze'ev Tzahor, has decided.

The decision stemmed from an incident in November, when a student on leave from his annual reserve duty showed up in uniform to Nizar Hassan's class. Hassan asked the student, Eyal Cohen, to leave, and when Cohen refused, the lecturer forbade him to talk for the rest of the class. Hassan said that he refuses to teach soldiers, and therefore, Cohen would only be allowed to talk if he came to class in civilian dress.

The incident aroused an uproar, and Tzahor ordered a disciplinary hearing. Last week, the disciplinary committee, comprised of other lecturers at the college, published its conclusion: that Hassan's behavior "merited the harshest condemnation," and that he should be required to apologize to Cohen. While a lecturer has every right to express political views, the committee wrote, he has no right to try to force them on his students.

Tzahor forwarded these findings to Hassan, but added that in making his apology, the lecturer should "discuss respect for the IDF uniform and the absolute right of any student to enter your class in uniform." He added that he would not accept an apology that did not meet this requirement.

Hassan's attorney, Eti Livni, wrote to Tzahor this week and asked him to withdraw this demand, calling it "humiliating, racist and discriminatory" and accusing him of having "caved in to heavy political pressure," including from the army.

In addition, a group of Sapir students plan to demonstrate against Tzahor's decision Wednesday, saying that no other lecturer has ever been asked to declare his respect for the IDF uniform. Some 20 students have signed a letter saying they would leave the collage if Hassan were fired.

In response, Tzahor said: "I did not intend to humiliate [Hassan] or demand an oath of loyalty to the IDF and its uniform, but for Nizar to write a personal letter to the student in which he declares that he respects the fact that the student was wearing an IDF uniform."

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The DOs & DON'Ts of Babycare

Courtesy of Benzi Drori