a different side of Israel

Category: Culture (page 10 of 22)

Local Israeli music, art, theater, celebs and talent. Culture in Israel, Middle East and around the world as it relates to Israel.

Now Playing Prison Theater’s Sliding Doors

Can you imagine this scenario – actors in a theater show who are murders and rapists? A new theater show named Sliding Doors which has been running lately as part of a local theater festival is performed solely by a group of young prisoners. These young men, all of whom have been sentenced for long periods of time for committing serious crimes, have been issued a special permission to act and sing in a show composed by them and inspired by their life stories.

Every time the prisoners leave the prison premises for the theater they are escorted by a special unit of prison guards, one guard per each prisoner. They are led handcuffed by their hands and feet until they reach the theater.

Being a sap for the victim’s side, the woman who was attacked or the boy who was beaten, I am usually appalled to hear about rapists and abusers who often do hardly two years in prison. Nevertheless, one must consider the negative effects of prison as well: this cruel institution creates monsters that have nothing to lose when they get out. These guys are only 17. Statistics show that most of the youth that serves time in prison are likely to return. This theater show gives these youngsters a chance to face their inner demons and develop a sense of value for themselves and the outside world. A groundbreaking initiative, the show has won a first place already and may be heading for more awards as it continues to touch audiences and stir conversations.

Israeli Film Festival in UK

Noodle The MovieExciting news for the Israeli cinema: the first Israeli film festival kicks off in London, Britain, showing recent films that have won international recognition as long with some classic Israeli movies. The film that opens the film festival is an award winning film Noodle, starring Mili Avital, which tells the story of a flight attendant who tries to reunite a Chinese boy with his missing mother.

“This Israeli cinema showcase is an opportunity for cinema-goers to experience some of the best of the great films that Israel has produced over the years and also to find out more about the diverse society that exists behind the daily news headlines”

, said movie’s director Ayelet Menahemi.

Israeli cinema has gained world-wide recognition, both from audiences and critics. In the last few years, Israel has produced high quality movies: Walking on Water, Free Zone, Beaufort, to name a few. Remarkably, this year, Israel was nominated for an Oscar in the best foreign film category, and won second place. Indeed, we have reasons to be proud. Even more significantly, Israeli cinema opens a window wide for the world to see what it means to be an Israeli, which is much more than the limiting frame of the Jewish-Arab conflict.

Riding the “Kosher” Bus

In the midst of cleaning for Pesach—or, as they say, making the house kosher for the holiday—I have been pondering the use of the term kosher as it is being applied to Israel’s kosher buses.

Kosher Buses In Israel?The segregation of women on some public transportation in and between religious neighborhoods—literally, sending them to the back of the bus—has caused a outpouring of anger in many circles here and overseas. As always, it falls to the victims themselves to campaign against the infringement of their civil and human rights. Women who do not want to be relegated to the back seats, and who have been humiliated and even attacked for this refusal, are now appealing to Israel’s courts to challenge this arrangement on public buses. They are being supported by overseas groups, including a campaign by the U.S. affiliate of the International Council of Jewish Women, the National Council of Jewish Women, and initial reactions from the judges in these cases agree that there is a clear violation of women’s rights as protected by the law.

For those of us who remember the first acts of the civil rights’ movement in the United States, we are very aware of the significance of segregated buses. We can also attest to the fact that these violations of civil and human rights inevitably lead to violence—in this case, violence specifically targeted against women.

And here is the true point of the “bus situation.” This is not really about seating on buses, or any real attempt to preserve modesty between the sexes. If those behind the segregation of men and women were really acting in the interest of modesty, they should have perhaps followed the example of countries like Mexico who provide women with separate “grope-free” public transportation.

Every woman who has ever used public transportation has experienced sexual harassment of one type or another. The idea of “grope-free” transportation offers separate transportation for women so that they can travel comfortably, without having to fight off the wandering hands and lewd looks of male passengers. Had the “kosher” bus initiators made similar arrangements for the women in their community, I doubt whether there would have been any uproar. In fact, the argument could have been made that there was some forward thinking in this policy, just as there is a strong argument to be made for separate education for boys and girls. (In many research studies, the latter has actually been shown to serve the scholastic and intellectual development of the girls.)

But the point of segregated buses is not to protect the women. Insisting that the women travel at the back of the bus is a symbolic act of patriarchal oppression in a community that feels it has to remind its women of their “proper place.” It has nothing to do with religion, and it is not remotely “kosher.” It is another tactic to enforce the status quo in a community that fears the cracks of gender equality are growing wider.

As we get ready for the Pesach holiday, let us remember that the message of the holiday is freedom. Any perversion of that message is simply not kosher.

Written by Leah A.

Wentworth Miller & Dana International Say Yes

Hollywood actor Wentworth Miller teamed up with the singer Dana International to create a promo for an Israeli TV satellite provider, “Yes”. Dana International is a well known transsexual pop singer in Israel who has made a name for herself internationally as the winner of the 1998 Eurovision song contest.

Miller, who has recently visited Israel plays Michael Scofield in “Prison Break”, an American show that enjoys wide popularity in Israel and across the world.

In the promo you can see Miller attempting to escape prison as he runs into the controversial Israeli singer. In the ad, Dana informs Miller in her usual fashion and sultry English mixed with Hebrew that he cannot escape prison just yet because we, the audience, must still watch season Four.

The subtext of the ad “winks” at the viewers capitalizing on the rumors that Miller might be gay.
While many people find this commercial tasteless, I bet that this is exactly what its makers were after – to provoke and win the audience attention. And boy, were they successful!

Like the famous song goes – “let’s give them something to talk about” – the gimmick works considering the simple fact that everyone in Israel is still talking about this ad!

Good news for reservists

Good news for IDF reservists! Last Wednesday, the Knesset passed the reservists’ act in a massive yes vote. This new bill outlines the rules of mandatory reserve duties, by large improving the conditions for the reserve soldier called for duty. In addition to cutting off the length and frequency of duty calls, the reservists will also enjoy tax breaks and other benefits. Congratulations to the Israeli parliament – finally a positive vote in the Knesset that does not concern MK’s salary raise.

Indeed, Wednesday was not a boring day at the Knesset. The Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert was called by the opposition to make a speech that explained the government’s policy regarding reserve soldiers.

“The opposition’s job in every part of the world is to be an alternative to the ruling party still, I grew up in this house and I have never witnessed such an amorphous and purposeless hearing, which has nothing but to harm the Knesset and its status”,

said Olmert in a speech that lasted embarrassingly about a minute.

Olmert’s government does not seem to say or do much these days. Considering Olmert’s usual self-expression, including his infamous nuclear slip of the tongue, silence might just be the wisest thing for him after all.

A new Israeli comedy about suicide bombers?

The Tel Aviv Cinematheque is showing a new 30-minute comedy called Bombshell about a young Arab female suicide bomber who fails in her terrorist attack.

BombshellThis is a story of a young female terrorist who plans to blow herself up on an Israeli bus. Her plan takes an unsuspected turn when she is running late and misses the bus. Meanwhile another woman, an Israeli, is on her way to a Leftists’ protest. Her name is Gali Fahima- a parody of Tali Fahima, a radical left-wing activist who has been accused of aiding a well-known terrorist leader Zakaria Zubeidi.

Terrorism and comedy – sounds like a paradox? Not to the creator of the film, Atar Offek: “A good satire, as I intended to make it, does not make fun at the expense of the weak ones but at the expense of the powerful forces in society.” “So here, too, the movie does not ridicule terror victims, it ridicules the terrorists and the (Israeli) army,” says Offek.

The movie satirizes the two sides of the conflict- Jews and Arabs who are both depicted as comical and absurd. The movie trailer introduces the audience to the “IDF absurd theater,” showing a Hamas woman with a gun who tells the viewers: “whoever doesn’t come to watch me is a smoked egg.”

This black comedy offers a different perspective on widely debated Jewish-Arab conflict. The relatively quiet period of the last four years has allowed this movie to pass under the sensitivity radar without raising too much public objection. Yet it managed to invoke considerable attention with its provocative outlook. But will people actually buy tickets to watch it?

Many Israelis look for escapism while others might not be so open to humoring this sensitive subject. An important quality of humor in our lives is that it acts as a great equalizer between people of different groups by bringing them to the same level of entertainment for the masses. Perhaps this is the recipe for making the enemy more of a human being and for normalizing life in the shadows of a violent conflict. After all, the basis of comedy is people and their human faults.

Tacking such a sensitive issue with black humor may seem out of line. But what is the purpose of art if not to provoke, shock and give a unique and unexpected perspective on life? The view taken in this film offers an attitude we may consider adopting though perhaps not to such a radical extent – despite the harsh reality we live in we should not loose sight of our humanity and our brilliant ability to make silly mistakes.

Save Savta Video

This is a campaign to keep in touch with the Savta AKA. Bubi – Give her a call, she is alone.
Before its too LATE !!!

Killed Over Parking Spot

Killed Over Parking Spot An indication of an increase in violence in Israel was clearly demonstrated Tuesday when a Holon man, Yosef Bavli, parked his van in a space that was claimed by a neighbor of his, Yaron Kabaz. Kabaz, who didn’t even own a car, was so perturbed by this that he let the air out of Bavli tires. When Bavli came back later with a friend to pick up the car, an intense argument broke out, which ended with Bavli being stabbed to death by the parking space “owner”.

As police officers led him away the accused murderer yelled,

“You want to see a killer? Here you go. It was self defense. He blocked my driveway, what did you want me to do? …. One of them stabbed me in the face with his keys. I stabbed him back like a mother fucker…”

Members of Bavli’s family said afterwards that Kabaz has a long record of being abusive, and that Bavli was a good boy who never hurt anyone. “People kill each other nowadays over the smallest things, even over a dog” a neighbor said.

The alleged murderer was taken back later to the scene of the crime where he willingly re-enacted the incident, using a plastic knife and making kicking motions with his right foot. He seemed very obstinate in his instance that he was only protecting what he considered to be his personal property. The police definitely have other ideas regarding this incident, which they say is one of many that have occurred in recent years all over the country. They denied, however that this kind of incident correlates with any increase in violence. A police department spokesman, Avi Tzbari, said that murders of any type are bad, but this kind was “especially senseless.”

Kabaz, who is alleged of doing the stabbing, has been remanded into police custody pending investigations to determine if he is mentally stable.

Violence among the country’s population has been in the news more than the police would like to admit, however. Whether it be domestic violence, violence among youth, or violence against elderly people, it appears that more and more occurrences are being shown on TV.

Violence associated with increased use of drugs and alcohol has also been evident and this appears to be a phenomenon that is receiving more attention. In the case of what is now being referred as “the parking space murder” Tzbari insists that this is “an isolated incident” and that it should be considered as such. “People get into arguments over parking spaces all the time, but not to this extreme”.

Isolated or not, one man is dead and another is in custody over a matter that should not have been allowed to get out of hand.

Israel Reality Shows Getting More Attention Than News

It’s a fact, and most people in Israel aren’t surprised to hear that Israeli TV reality shows, including Star is Born, Super Nanny, Born to Dance, and Israel’s version of The Survivors, have perpetually received much higher ratings than news and other broadcasts. These programs are not that different from American reality shows, including The Bachelor, American Idol, Trading Spouses, and a host of others.

Reality ShowsMany of these ‘song and dance’ reality shows, involve hundreds of contestants vie for a beginning position that ends up weeks later with only one candidate winning first place. In the most recent of these programs, “Born to dance”, hosted by Israel’s “favorite MC” Tzvika Hadar; three contestants reached the finals, in which a young man named Natanel (pictured) won a first prize of NS 100,000. While this is not big money as compared to something in American or UK TV, it gives the final contestants a lot of exposure that can result in being awarded private entertainment contracts later on. Ratings are very important to these programs and Israel’s two commercial TV channels, Channel 2 and Channel 10 are constantly competing with each other for a big share of the nightly viewing audience. Since both channels have commercials, that “share” is very important as it means more contracts with companies that pay top money for prime-time ‘spots’ on TV.

Star is Born, Israel’s equivalent to American Idol, has produced such talent as Nanette Taib, Shiri Maimon, and Boaz Maudi, this year’s Eurovision song contest participant.

While Channel 2 has the monopoly with the singing and dancing programs, competitor Channel 10 has come up with programs like Super Model and Survivors, which manage to pull in a good deal of fickle viewers who make sure they are parked in front of their plasma or regular TVs when their favorite reality show comes on. The Survivors show, which began with two groups of contestants being “cast” onto a seemingly deserted Caribbean tropical isle (actually a national park in the Dominican Republic), has been on for a couple of months now; and viewers get to watch the intimate trials and tribulations of the participants, who have to endure tropical storms, horrible food, countless attacks by mosquitoes and other insects, as well as undergo very difficult physical contests staged by the show’s MC, Guy Hamerei. As in other reality programs, only one “survivor” will finally prevail to collect a prize of NS 1,000,000 ($274,000) and a new Land Rover SUV.

Indeed, watching these types of programs allows people to momentarily escape the actual reality of life, especially in a country like Israel where the real “reality” often involves terror attacks, and war. At least by getting involved in these programs and having empathy with many of the participants, it takes many peoples minds off ‘the real thing’ that is so graphically portrayed on the news programs nightly.

And if the Israeli reality shows are not enough to excite people, then thanks to satellite and cable TV, there’s always American Idol, The Bachelor, and all the other foreign reality programs to keep even the most discriminating viewer glued to the “boob tube” for at least a couple of hours.

Meet Evan

Meet Evan Fallenberg, an American ex-pat living in Israel, who is now becoming discovered on the world Jewish literary scene. Fallenberg, formerly of Cleveland Ohio, has been living in Israel for some years now, and resides in a small suburban community outside the coastal city of Netanya.
A translator by profession, Evan began to make a name for himself by writing superb English translations for Israeli authors who produced literary works only in Hebrew. One such work, entitled A Pigeon and a Boy, by writer Meir Shalev, won the 2007 Jewish National Book Council Award in the U.S.A. for outstanding Jewish fiction. Evan competed his first novel, entitled Light Fell, which was published by Soho Press in January, 2008. Even though the book has just been released, it has already received excellent reviews by such periodicals as Haaretz, The Miami Herald, The Forward, San Francisco Chronicle, and his home town’s Jewish newspaper: The Cleveland Jewish News. He has also been interviewed by La Bloga, one of Latin America’s most popular web blogs.
I had the opportunity to attend a literary group meeting in Tel Aviv recently, and Evan Fallenberg was the guest speaker. He read some excerpts from his novel which is based on a very intimate relationship between two deeply religious men who left their wives and a total of nine children in order to be together. Although this kind of topic is not fully acceptable by many, especially those in the Orthodox Jewish Community in Israel and elsewhere, the sensitivity and poetic manner in which Evan describes the love these two men have for each other, is even more poignant and touching that the recent Academy Award winning film Brokeback Mountain. So well received is this novel, despite its relatively short “exposure” time on the book market, that the word is out that it may be even in the process of being considered for either a film or television miniseries.
Since many of us attending the meeting are aspiring authors, Evan’s advice concerning having works published was taken in enthusiastically by all in attendance. One bit of advice that I picked up on was that in order to have a literary or commercial work published, the writer must first be sure that the book is “ready for publishing”. This includes having others read the finished manuscript and give their opinions on it. Also, it is important that the author feels that the book is really superb, as how can one expect to have a work published if not liked by the one who wrote it?
Light Fell is definitely only the beginning for this very personable guy who appears to have a bright future in the literary world. In addition to his translating and work and novel writing (he is well into writing his next novel already) Evan conducts literary workshops and writing retreats for aspiring authors.

Why is Amy So Great?

Amy WinehouseSeveral days ago, following her sensational capture to no less than 5 Grammy awards, probably the most any singer has ever accomplished at one presentation, this blog had an article dealing with Amy Winehouse, one of the most talented music artists of all time. But with all this in mind, and in light of the 24 year old artist’s strange and kinky personality, many people are trying to find out just what makes Amy tick.

A psycholinguistic analysis of Amy’s words reveals a deep seated fear of planning for the future. Not a fear of the future itself, just planning for it. This fear is so wide and deep that it manifests itself in major decisions as well as trifle ones. She refuses to be involved in any marketing decisions concerning her new CDs because these decisions address forthcoming events. According to Amy: “I just wrote the songs, and I sing them. That’s pretty much it for me. I guess the rest of it’s all record company stuff, right?” Note the words “just,” “it,” and “all” in the phrases “just wrote the song,” “that’s pretty much it for me,” and “the rest of its all record company staff.” She detaches herself from anything that involves planning for future events.

When interviewed not long ago, she was asked what she would do if she was working in a position like a secretary (something she did try once with disastrous results) and he boss asked her to order some new stationary:

“Well, I was the sort of secretary where it’d be, ‘Amy, make me a cup of tea’, ‘No, fuck off’. You should call Rymans (a UK specialist supplier of Stationery and Office Products). for their catalogue Hang on, are you taking the piss out of me? You fucker! Really? Call Rymans. Or.. Are you being serious? Just go to another secretary and get her to order it. You were taking the piss, weren’t you?”

Amy’s reaction to being asked to perform such a mundane task as this is just part of her complicated makeup that also includes a strong fear of any kind of planning for the future, which includes even something like ordering something.

The future, or planning for the future, seems to be scare Amy so much that she is said to do the exact opposite, rather than even think about making any future plans. This might explain her escapism into both drugs and alcohol, both of which are often used by people wishing to escape reality.

Amy’s pre-occupation with past includes her personal fashion including 1960’s style “beehive” hairdos, as well as a liking for music and singers from that period, including groups like the Supremes and the Shangri-Las. Amy’s Jewish background has resulted in her considering an album of “cool Jewish Hanukah songs” as she said recently that there weren’t “any cool Hanukah available for Jewish kids”. Maybe this idea is going against the grain of her disdain to make future plans.

Liking things from the 1960’s isn’t anything to be ashamed of, as that period is one that many people, especially that of a large group known as “baby boomers”, still have fond memories for. For one thing, the music from that period still excites and turns people on. Maybe with this in mind, Amy has a good point in preferring that period, compared to what is going on in our ‘Brave New World’.

“Beaufort’s” Loss is Israel’s Gain?

Beaufort 2008 OscarFinally, the voting of the Hollywood Film Arts Academy is in and the Israeli movie Beaufort didn’t win the Oscar. Losing out to another foreign language film entitled The Counter Fitters, many members of the Israeli film arts industry are perhaps a bit disappointed that this movie, based on the experiences of an IDF combat unit in a bunker atop the ancient Lebanese Crusader fortress of Beaufort, didn’t result in Producer David Silver and Director Joseph Cedar mounting the stage for the first time to give their acceptance speech for the coveted award.

Or, was perhaps losing the Oscar really a blessing in disguise?

The film was produced in 2007 following the book written by Ron Leshem, as is based on true experiences of members of some of Israeli’s top Golani Brigade solders who were literally holed up in a number of bunkers along the ten kilometer “security zone” that Israel held onto for nearly 20 years following the 1982 Peace for Galilee operation, otherwise known as the 1st Lebanese War. Their experiences, followed by the decision by then Prime Minister Ehud Barak to pull all Israeli troops out of Lebanon is a move still being criticized by many in Israel to this day, and rejoiced by many others; especially the families of the soldiers who lost many of their comrades during the final months until the pull back in May, 1999.

Since the film’s script does not portray Israel combat soldiers as the strong, courageous soldiers that used to be appropriate metaphors for the Israeli Defense Forces, winning an Academy Award for a portrayal of a top military combat unit cast in an entirely different light, might have only put “salt on the wound” of a still festering sore. This insight is also very plausible in the aftermath of the 2006 Lebanese II war in which Israeli combat units, particularly reserve units were sent into southern Lebanon in the final 48 hours of the war without adequate training and equipment, including basic combat rations and even fresh water.

In a way, in many Israeli peoples’ minds, the fact that this film didn’t win may be better in the long run as present top IDF officers, including the new Chief of Staff, are trying to upgrade and improve the IDF’s image; not only to Israel’s enemies, but to Israeli citizens themselves. Any acclaim over winning an Oscar, despite what it could have done to bolster the local film industry, might wind up doing more harm than good to the country’s national image; an image that Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, repeatedly castigates as being severely weakened in the aftermath of both the 1999 re-engagement and Lebanon II.

This year’s Academy Awards presentation ended with a number of lesser known actors winning the top awards, including best actor and actress. There was some respite for Jews living in Israel and elsewhere when the Cohen brothers won the awards for Best Director and Best Picture. That’s nothing new, as Jews has been very dominant in the Hollywood film industry almost since it’s beginning in the 1920’s.

As for disappointed Israeli actors and film moguls, there’s always next year; and perhaps they can come up with some film subject matter that is a bit less controversial.

Second Jerusalem Snowfall and Climate Changes

Jerusalem Snow
Picture: Noam Honig for Ynet
It’s very rare that Jerusalem receives two snowfalls in one year. But Tuesday’s new white out makes many wonder if there is indeed a connection between this kind of phenomenon and climate changes that are attributed to global warming. It has already been noted that January has been recorded as the coldest in more than 15 years, and although the winter of 2001-02 saw it snow three times in the Holy City, overall temperatures so far this winter have been colder.

This brings to mind the environmental movie made in 2004 by former U.S. Vice President and now Nobel Peace Prize laureate Al Gore; who did an excellent job of explaining why the word’s climate has been so crazy, and what are the main causes of this change. Israel’s weather patterns have been changing and this may explain why there are sometimes freak rain storms in September and May, unusually hot weather in early June, and definite winter weather in mid to late February.

Global warming, according to Al Gore‘s presentation, is causing the earth’s Polar regions to thaw out at an alarming pace. This also holds true for many alpine regions, such as the Andes Mountains in South America, and even the Himalayas, which contain the world’s highest mountains. The phenomenon of global warming and depletion of the earths’ ozone layer, does not necessarily mean that the earth is heating up overall. What is does mean is that the resulting change in the world’s ocean currents, both warm and cold, have having major affects on the world’s climate. This may explain why so many deadly storms, including hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones and tornadoes have been causing such much death and destruction in many parts of the world while other areas are experiencing severe drought.

Israel, like other eastern Mediterranean countries, relies on rainfall that comes from storms occurring in Europe, which eventually make their way east. Many times these cloud formations do not reach us since they are literally ‘pushed away’ by strong, dry eastern air currents which come from the Arabian Desert and other arid eastern regions. While our levels of precipitation may not be entirely connected with weather changes caused by global warming, there is widespread agreement by meteorologists that recent erratic climate changes have been influenced to a certain extent.

According to what is noted in Mr. Gore’s documentary, if present levels of hydrocarbon emissions are not reduced, in less than 25 years the polar ice cap may melt almost entirely during the summer months. This also holds for the massive ice shelves that surround Antarctica, the world’s seventh continent. If this happens, not only will weather patterns be greatly effected, but oceans and seas, including the Mediterranean, will rise high enough to at least partially submerge many coastal cities, including Israeli cities like Tel Aviv and Haifa.

All this is definitely food for thought; especially in a part of the world that has a constant fresh water shortage. So we should enjoy the snow that is falling here, as some of this water will eventually reach the underground aquifers and also our main fresh water source, the Kinneret. Who knows, maybe snow will fall in March as well.

After Imad Mughniyeh

A lot of “whodunit” speculation is going around as to who really was responsible for the assassination of senior Hezbollah member and arch terrorist Imad Mughniyeh, who was taken out last Tuesday evening by a bomb planted in his Pajero SUV in central Damascus. Mughniyeh’s followers, in the Hezbollah immediately pointed their fingers at Israel, with Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah declaring that his organization is declaring “open warfare” against Israelis and Jews everywhere in world. Naturally, this threat has set alarm bells ringing in both the Israeli government and military, with strict warnings being issued to overseas Israeli diplomatic missions, as well as to Israelis planning either business or pleasure trips abroad; especially to Muslim and Arab countries, including Egypt and Jordan.

Responsibility for Mughniyeh’s death has been denied by Israel, and so far American government spokespersons have also denied involvement. This could mean, therefore, that perhaps the man who has been referred to as the world’s most feared terrorist since Carlos the Jackal, may have been taken out by those a lot closer to home. Consider the following, especially after the double spectacles Thursday of the terrorist being laid to rest in south Beirut, and the commemoration of the third anniversary of the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. Why these two events need to be analyzed for their relevance to each other is that:

1. Both events occurred on the same day.
2. Only an estimated 10,000 people, most of them militia members, showed up for Mughniyeh’s funeral.
3. Close to 100,000 were present at the rally for Hariri. This large number represented Lebanese from all parts of the religious and political spectrum, many of whom had been active in the demonstrations following Hariri’s death that resulted in Syria pulling its troops out of Lebanon, ending a 25 year presence.

Ten thousand against 100,000; that’s a big difference and seems to indicate that except in Hezbollah’s strongholds in south Beirut and southern Lebanon, a great number of Lebanese are interested in a better future for their country. This future seems to be desired without the likes of groups such as Hezbollah; whom many in Lebanon consider to be a nothing more than proxies of Iran.

For this reason, it is evident that Mr. Mughniyeh had many enemies within Lebanon as well as outside of the country. It was revealed that he had only recently arrived in Damascus, after entering Syria on a fake passport. He may have been on the run from Lebanon following a series of bombings that he could have been responsible for.

Taking this and other possibilities into account, Imad Mughniyeh’s assassination may very well have been the result of his deeds simply catching up with him; not only from countries where many of these acts were carried out, but from members of his own countrymen as well. Perhaps even some of his fellow Hezbollah party members, including Sheikh Nasrallah himself, decided that it was simply time for Mughniyeh to go. Whatever the reason; good riddance.

Bye Imad

Imad Mughniyah, one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, and perhaps second or third on America’s and Israel’s “rogue gallery” finally was caught off guard in Damascus on Tuesday night. The Hezbollah terror mastermind, who is alleged as responsible for a great deal of the terror attacks in Lebanon and elsewhere since the early 1980’s was blown up by a car bomb in the Syrian capital where he has been residing for a number of years.

Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Ladin still has the “distinction” of being No. 1 on America’s Most Wanted criminal list.

Beginning with the car bombings of American and Israeli bases in Lebanon, and including the kidnappings and murders of high ranking American military and diplomatic officials, including CIA Beirut head William Buckley, Mughniyah was also responsible for several international attacks including the on the Israeli Embassy and cultural center in Buenos Aires in the 1990’s. As one of America’s top wanted, he carried a price on his head of $25 million, the same amount as Al Qaeda head Osama bin Ladin. He was also responsible for the hijacking of a TWA airliner which resulted in one American being killed and the rest of the passengers held captive in Libya for 17 days.

His death is said to have caused by a bomb planted inside the headrest on the front seat of his Mitsubishi Pajero jeep. It was definitely a professional job, which is why the Hezbollah have immediately blamed “the Zionests” for carrying out the hit. But
Imad had many enemies who wanted him dead, including the CIA and even groups within Lebanon, such as the Philange Christian militia whose leader, Bashir Jamil was alleged to have been assassinated by either the Amal militia or the group that became known as Hezbollah. Mughniyah may also have been involved in the assassination for billionaire and former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.

Israeli diplomatic missions worldwide are on a state of high alert following the attack, especially in light of Mughniyah’s funeral being today, which will probably be the center of another mass anti Israel demonstration, including a few choice words by Hezbollah’s General Secretary, Sheikh Hassan Sayed Nasrallah. What makes today’s event even more provocative is that it coincides on the third anniversary of Rafik Hariri’s assassination, meaning that there is bound to be conflict between the two groups. Mughniyah’s funeral is to be held in South Beirut, Hezbollah’s stronghold.

If it turns out that the assassination of Mughniyah was not a CIA or Israeli act, it will be interesting to see who turns up to claim the $25 million bounty that was still on his head as the time of his death. Who knows? Perhaps this act was either carried out by the Syrians (who are a bit strapped for cash these days) or even by Hezbollah people themselves who would put the reward money into Hezbollah’s general fund to assist the “poor people of Lebanon”. That would be a real slap in the face for U.S. President Bush and his Administration.

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