Monday, September 28, 2009


Ari Bussel

“Israeli society, over all, is moderate centrist, value-driven (even if there are times of crises) and strong. For decades I hear cries from the Right (similar to your own) and the Left, and see what a wonder – not one of these comes into being. I suggest you breathe deeply, calm down and look at the positive sides: a reasonable economy, a stable democracy, fight-to-the-end at public corruption, fight against organized crime, a public health care system, a new and promising education minister, a nation that enlisted and reduced 20% from its home water consumption due to the drought and on and on and on.” An Israeli “Zionist” September 2009 “None of the promises fulfilled, all the warnings coming into being” is the lesson one learns evaluating the “cries” from the Right and the Left. There are numerous success stories – from Israeli companies publicly traded in NY to mega-billionaires living in Israel – but if I were to describe Israel today, I would stay away exactly from these areas mentioned.

There are even more people who live from one pay check to another suffering from chronic overdraft, soldiers who would not go home for the weekend to spare their parents who have little food and those who live below the poverty level, including many foreigners who were brought to Israel as foreign, cheap labor. There is prostitution, violence and Mafia, and corruption has spread through every good parcel, especially at the very top among elected and appointed officials.

The hallmark of the Israeli “stable” democracy can best be described by the byline of a local Beverly Hills non-profit headed by a billionaire who raises funds from others to overhaul the system in Israel, stating that over its 62 year of existence as a modern land, Israel saw more than 30 governments. Another description of the “solidness” of the Israeli system is derived from a guest of the same non-profit organization who just visited Beverly Hills. Ms. Livni, the former Foreign Minister and the head of the opposition was unable to form a coalition government thus necessitating the country go into election mode, following which her party won a majority. Yet she sits in the opposition and does not lead.

The public health care system, the type of “socialized medicine” our own President aspires to institute, has been fast approaching the hallmarks of the USA, from litigation to costly mistakes by doctors who only expedite operations if the patient’s family pays on the side. Some may call it “black marketeering.” No one would use such a system as a teaching tool at a school of medicine.

The Israeli academic system has produced some of the finest “Post Zionist” professors, including those “few on the outskirts” at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, who called last month to “BOYCOTT ISRAEL” since it is an “Apartheid State.” These professors train the next generation of thinkers and influencers.

The brain drain has characterized Israel for the past couple of decades, to the extent it became a hot topic of discussion during the recent prominent gathering of minds at the Herzelia Conference. Many hoped the global financial meltdown would convince some to return to Israel, and decision makers were urged both to prevent future brain drain and prepare to welcome back those who had left.

Is the situation any better at the elementary or high school levels? The reference to a new minister is to differentiate the new minister from his predecessor, Prof. Yuli Tamir, who removed Zionism from the textbooks of Israeli youth. She instituted, instead, the study of “Nakba,” the notion of a “disaster” to those who woke to destroy the infant state but failed. In modern, Post-Zionist Israel, there are some who believe that we must teach the other side’s propaganda as part of the curriculum.

Education in Israel has been recognized as one of the foremost priorities requiring immediate corrective action. Basic math, science, history and languages (other than English and the power of money, greed and “haves” vs. “have nots”) are lacking greatly – similar to what is happening in the USA. In the USA many youngsters cannot tell if Canada is north or south of their country, or where in the world Venezuela might be. Similar examples can be given in many other subjects regarding students in Israel.

A simple process of elimination leaves one with only “water saving techniques” as the highlight of Israel’s current achievements according to this Israeli “Zionist.” A success story? Hardly. Israel knew for many years its main water reservoir, the Sea of Galilee, is at a critical level. One red line was past after the next, but no changes of substance were effected. As the situation worsened and reached a catastrophic and irreversible level, the realization that immediate action is required replaced neglect and inaction.

Short-term measures touted as “success stories” are a miserable cover to consistent failures at systematically addressing a problem. Acute water shortage was clear and visible to all over a period of many decades. Yet neither education and measures to change wasteful habits nor long term planning and the needed investment were in place. The situation is not much different than in Los Angeles, a desert area that despite the image of trees and greenery is fed by aqueducts. Can anyone dismiss years of watering the curves with fresh water with the ten percent mandatory reduction instituted this year?

During this period between the Jewish New Year and the Jewish Day of Atonement, we must think and evaluate. Introspection, as the one triggered by a letter from an Israeli academic from which I quoted above, is a wonderful way to carry out self-exam.

The Israeli is badly mistaken. Israel is weak today. Mainstream Israelis have grown accustomed to the good life after six decades of existence as a modern country. Materialism rules. It results in shortsightedness the likes of which almost blinds the looker. They indulge in today, here and now. They have convinced themselves they are tired of fighting and terrorism. They marvel at their own successes and live in euphoria. They have succumbed to the rhetoric of a skillful enemy and are calling to “give back” the “occupied territories.”

Israelis need to read and re-read the Declaration of Independence. They need to open THE BOOK and start in Genesis. They need to focus of the story of the deliverance from slavery to freedom and independence, the meaning of Shabbat and the existence of the Almighty. Saying is insufficient. Living in all parts of our being is what is missing, and the need only intensifies as our condition continues to deteriorate. Jewish people have a history and, as with all people, when it is ignored or forgotten, tragedy ensues.

Israel will awaken to the hardest hit in recent memory. A generation ago on Atonement Day 1973, Israel was caught off guard. She was attacked. She was completely unprepared despite highly visible warning signs. It took her many, long months and a very heavy price to recoup. She did, but the dream-victory of 1967 will forever be gone.

Now a new enemy has emerged, one who knows how to manipulate the Israeli psych as well as that of the world. We learned to pity a new people, recognize a new dream for nationhood and even use a devised history as justification. The Jewish-Israeli narrative was borrowed and a new “People” dressed up in it. Not surprisingly, we all accepted the story line, for we knew it first hand. Except, it is the story of three thousand years, of a Holocaust and a new birth of the Jewish State, it is the story of the Israelites, from Abraham’s time to the present.

From the Oslo Accords onward, through the Intifadas, presented as legitimate armed struggles against an oppressor, we transposed reality, equating barbarism to the best there is: a state based on Jewish principles.

Suddenly martyrs exploding themselves amidst holiday celebrations, families spending an afternoon at an eatery or youth dancing the night away became “freedom fighters” and their means justified the goal. The goal, for those who refuse to see, is the utter destruction of the Jewish State and the elimination of the Jewish “race.” It is the same drive of the Nazis, albeit in the third millennium.

Humanity stood still and forgot to speak. Out of the horror of death, mayhem and destruction, we were being fed new sound bites – “legitimate struggle,” “Apartheid,” “genocide,” “oppression” – to which new blood libels were added with increasing daily dosage.

New calls to action were being heard: boycott and divest. Fight the oppression.

Israel is being demonized and Israelis participate in this evil dance designed to create a trance during which the body-Israel will be stubbed and mutilated, its limbs torn apart, its organs torn out with a barbaric-satanic roar.

The race intensified. New players entered the arena, including the President of Iran whose calls to wipe the Jewish Homeland off the map and lies the Holocaust never happened are exclaimed from the dais of the United Nations. From the least likely of places, friends turned into enemies, and those on the sidelines suddenly took a courageous stand (albeit self-serving) to side with the Jews.

As we look around we notice the signs. They are clear and appear in greater numbers and with ever increasing frequency. The enemy tells us what it wants – to destroy the Jewish Homeland and then to establish a new caliphate extending from Iran Eastward and Westward until the sphere of influence is all-encompassing. A new era is being ushered in, and Israel is the first to pay the price.

Only when the price becomes so steep, Israelis will ask how have they erred so grievously– from a failing educational system to a health system that is less than desirable, from a new generation that does not want – and does not understand the need – to serve and to protect to a generation that feels it has done enough and it is time for peace. In retrospect Israelis will lament not the craving for peace but the foolishness of their ways. Instead of getting ready, they drifted along a euphoric path toward a dream of peace. This well-intentioned movement turned out to be a death row march to the guillotine.

Wake up, Jewish State. It is on your shoulders the world stands. If Europe and the United States fall, China, India, Japan and the rest of the East will follow suit, for the globe is interconnected, one cannot exist without the other.

Strengthen yourself from within, Israel. Focus solely on education and medicine, science and technology and other advancements. But learn your history and protect the old Covenant, a story told to a child before birth and whispered throughout the ages: The G-d of the Hebrews has chosen His nation from among all nations. A great burden and an even greater responsibility is therefore carried by the Jewish People. Carry it with pride, reignite and rekindle, for you are, and you must forever serve as a LIGHT ONTO THE NATIONS.

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