Saturday, May 08, 2010

Richard, Ron & Tzippi

While I was waiting at the dentist on Wednesday morning, I picked up the Yediot Achronot newspaper on the floor. The main story was about Richard Goldstone, the man responsible for the one-sided report on the Gaza war that even he said was flawed. The story bought to light how Goldstone was responsible for sending as many as 28 blacks to the gallows as an Apartheid era judge in South Africa. By the next day, the story was in the Jerusalem Post and Goldstone defended his decisions, "I was part of a system and had to respect the laws of the state." I was startled a man who's held in such high esteem by the international community could defend his actions that way. No one forced him to be a judge in South Africa - only he is responsible for putting himself in the position where he could do something he claims he was so opposed to (capital punishment). Alas, he did what he 'had' to do ... even if it meant turning his back on his own 'values'.

When Goldstone's name first hit the headlines many months ago, I asked some friends in the Johannesburg community what they thought of the man. They said that Goldstone would do anything to further his own political career. Knowing now how he willingly became an active cog in the Apartheid system and his similar eagerness to be a part of the UN's Gaza War report, their comments seem to have been right on the money.

Does anyone know if Goldstone gave any TRC testimonies?


Last week, Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai caused an uproar by slamming the private Haredi education system (though he did mention similar issues with secular & Arab private schools, he specifically focused on the Haredim). While it seems that his speech stems from hatred, he does touch on an important issue that I think is critical to Israel and her education system, “There is no other democracy in the world where the government funds private schools. If you want to fund a private school, you need to fund it yourself.” If private schools want to follow a different curriculum than that stipulated by the Education Ministry (though I think this curriculum needs ‘refreshing’), they have every right to do so. But they shouldn’t be funded by the government. It's only unfortunate that Huldai's message comes off
as (or maybe is?) so hate filled -


Haaretz's weekend edition contained an interesting interview with Tzippi Livni, the head of Kadima. Two points about the lady:

- I found it very odd that during the political tension between the US and Israel Livni remained so quiet. She's never shied away from taking shots at any of her political rivals, but here was a golden opportunity to do so and she remained mute. My guess was that Livni thought that US pressure would topple Bibi's government and would allow her the chance to establish a government. Now that it seems the US-Israel relationship is back on track and her 'hopes' for Bibi's collapse dashed, Livni is opening her mouth again, slamming Bibi and stating that the Likkud and Kadima need to unite in the Knesset. I wonder what stopped Livni from joining the coalition when Bibi was given the task to create one last year? Oh wait, you were too busy sulking about the election 'loss' or hoping that Bibi's coalition would fall to put the country ahead of your political career?

- Part of the interview revolves around the need to change three elements within Israel - education, military/national service & work. While I do agree with the need to change all three (and I'm happy Livni also stressed 'Jewish studies' along with civic studies for education reform), I just find it rather telling that she's pushing this a few days after Huldai's comments and news that Yair Lapid may be part of a new party pushing for the same reforms. I think this highlights what Shaul Mofaz said about Livni's inability to lead. I just hope she never gets close to being our Prime Minister again.

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