It seems to me that some of the keys to becoming a successful businessman are optimism, perseverance and ingenuity. If life hands you lemons, start a lemonade stand. If your pipes leak, then you’ve got yourself the makings of a drip-system irrigation business. And if all you’ve got is manure, well then, start selling fertilizer. You know how it is, take what you’ve got and make the best of it.
So what do you do when you’ve got a regime in possession of an arsenal of long-range weapons, making no effort to hide their malintent towards you, hard-charging toward nuclear weapons capabilities? This is the current dilemma facing Israel.
Israel's survival depends on its military hegemony in the Middle East to keep it safe. A nuclear Iran changes that calculus, and not necessarily by threatening Israel with nuclear annihilation. It is the prospect of an Iran that is emboldened, emboldened to use its proxies in Lebanon and Gaza to terrorize Israeli civilians in the North and South and an Iran that is emboldened to threaten America's Arab allies in the Gulf, which will lead them to pursue their own atomic weapons. The prospect of a power shift in the Middle East and the arms race that might ensue in the Arab world has the international community most frightened.
It is obvious that a child is a human being that should be always offered protection, care and respect. No matter how one behaves, she or he deserves embracing and love. The case of Naama Margolese proves that this perception of childhood might be far from true in some societies.
The girl in question was spat on because she was considered to be dressed immodestly. Arguing what is provocative and what is not seems to be out of place in the context of a child who became a tool in a game of rancor between adults. Apparently, the tensions that have been covered under a thin coat of political correctness and deceptive gestures were released in a most unimaginable way. Naturally, the ultra orthodox tendencies have been present in discussions, they evoked various actions or protests, but the harassment of Naama might have opened a way to privately managed social anathema. From the perspective of a student living in the UK, this type of extremism channeled to an unprotected and evidently innocent being is simply unconceivable. The added religious background of the whole event makes it even more dreadful. What is more, some environments tend to argue that the harassing behavior of those spitting on a girl was an expression of religious emotions. No other logic can be more ludicrous.
I am a women, a mother, a Jew. I have been educated at University and in my Jewish home. I see things happening around me, both the good and the bad. However, one would imagine that in today’s society there is a certain level of freedom, tolerance, respect, the ability to live without fear, to feel safe and to have human rights protected.
Who gives someone the liberty to humiliate, bully, or harass another human being, especially a younger person? Surely this is not fear but possibly some combination of a lack of education, discrimination, hyper-nationalism, extremism, and self-anti-Semitism within the one country that Jews were waiting for. Why is this happening?
Naama’s story reached many people in the world, through the written press and TV outlets. After reading about the story you ask yourself, “is this actually possible”?
Having grown up in quite a secular Jewish family in Ukraine, I’ve never truly associated myself either with Israel or with religious Jewry. However, I have always cared about what was happening in both Israeli and Jewish religious society, realizing that these two groups are often the most visible and most easily associable faces for Jews around the whole world. My experience has shown me that whatever happens in these two domains immediately becomes attributed to all other people of Jewish origin.
ACCESS Global Voices, continues its debate of the role of religion in politics…
As a Polish sociologist trying to understand the case of Naama (the young religious girl who was spat on and verbally abused by extremist Haredim in the Israeli town of Beit Shemesh) only one thing comes to my mind: that today’s culture and society have been created entirely by men and for the sake of men.
The rules behind today’s culture are no longer logical because they were invented with an assumed willingness on behalf of women. Its entirety must instead be based on heterogeneity, geographical diversity, genuine differences, and continuous changes. Culture as opposed to Law doesn’t need to be completely inclusive or fair-- it doesn’t have to relate to each individual or group in the same way. However, Culture must never be formed in order to restrict or narrow, rather it must serve to motivate and improve.
We must be willing to stand up and take our society back from the ultra-Orthodox.
Seven months ago, my daughter was born in Jerusalem. For both sides of the family she was the first one in many generations to be born in Israel, in Jerusalem no less. My joy at her birth and her upbringing in Jerusalem is tempered however by fear and concern as to what kind of city and country in which she will grow up. As one who chose to live in Israel, my Zionism did not end with my aliyah here, rather it only begins now by playing an active role in shaping the Jewish State, the place where I chose to live my life and raise my children.
Lately in Israel, there’s been a wave of media coverage surrounding the relationship between the Haredi community and the rest of Israeli society. This avalanche stems from a number of recent stories including: a Haredi man spitting on a young religious girl walking on her way to school, Haredi soldiers disobeying orders by walking out of an official ceremony where female soldiers were singing, attempts to create gender-segregated public buses, Haredi men verbally assaulting women on buses, efforts to remove images of women from public advertisements, and the vandalizing of stores because of the books they choose to sell. Efforts to promote, and sometimes even enforce, notions of religious acceptability vis-à-vis “modest” dress and Sabbath observance have occurred --- sometimes sporadically, sometimes more consistently --- for quite some time.
In March of 2009, I was one of 100 or so Israel supporters that attended the Sweden-Israel Davis Cup games in Malmö, Sweden. The Baltiska Hallen Arena, where this sports event was held, holds 4,000 seats; however, no public ticket sales were allowed due to security concerns. This resulted in those attending being either Swedish Tennis Federation bigwigs or, people such as myself, those associated with the Jewish Community or the Israeli Embassy.
This absurd version of home court advantage may well have been a contributing factor to the Swedish team, although seen as favourites going in, ending up losing the games to Andy Ram's side. Outside the arena the tension was palpable. Hundreds of police officers besieged the surrounding area, creating an environment that is very far from what one would expect of a friendly sports event in peaceful Sweden. At the same time in central Malmö, a 12,000 people strong demonstration, where violent far-left activists, as we are well acquainted with from G8 and WTO summits across the globe, joined forces with pro-Palestinians and neo-Nazis. The common denominator was that they were all looking for a fight as well as a common enemy, and a Jewish-Israeli team playing a "white sport" such as tennis did the trick.
Since my teenage years I’ve been fond of Franz Kafka – it all started when I read his novella “The Metamorphosis” for the very first time. I have always been fascinated ever since by his talent of having such an unexpected and unforgettable impact on his readers. Therefore I’ve come to view Kafka not only as one of the great authors of his time, but actually more as the greatest novelist of the entire 20thcentury.
When I was a teenage kid growing up in Germany and becoming a worshipper of Kafka’s literary work, something very similar was emerging on the other side of the world; a young generation was growing up inside of Iran with Kafka as well. But those readers, unlike myself, were experiencing Kafka under extremely different circumstances-- they were reading his work secretly.