a different side of Israel

Tag: Avishay Braverman

Don’t Mess with Lieberman

When a “hot-tempered” Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened Syria he was not necessarily expressing the sentiments of every representative of the Jewish country.

Last Thursday Lieberman warned Syrian President Bashar Assad, that in the event of a war with Israel,

“not only will you lose the war, you and your family will no longer be in power.”

During a business conference at Bar Ilan University, Lieberman said,

“Whoever thinks (Israeli) territorial concessions will separate Syria from the axis of evil is mistaken. Syria must be made to understand that it has to relinquish its demand (that Israel cede) the Golan Heights.”

His chutzpa is to be admired, but he was undermined by his colleagues:

“The foreign minister is busy with internal politics rather than diplomacy,”

Minorities Minister Avishay Braverman (Labor Party) said to a cultural forum in Ramat Hasharon on Saturday:

“Given Israel’s sensitive position in the international community, we are in need of diplomacy and a responsible and prudent foreign policy, not a policy that is driven by domestic political considerations.”

It is not that Lieberman’s sentiments were disagreeable, but it took Prime Minister Netanyahu to clear things up:

“Israel aspires to peace accords with all of its neighbors. We have done it with Egypt and Jordan and we can do it with Syria and the Palestinians…There are conditions for this. Negotiations must take place without preconditions that mean huge concessions on Israel’s part ahead of time. Also, the accord must finally be accompanied by security agreements in order to last for generations.”

Netanyahu also presented to his cabinet his plan to limit dependence on oil:

“Certain countries which control oil support terror…This is a global problem that requires international effort. I spoke of this with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the Polish prime minister, and others, and they have expressed interest in this issue…This is an effort that will not bear fruit within the next two or three years, but within a decade we may reach a solution, for example on the issue of dependence on oil for transportation.”

What’s In A Name

What’s in a name? Well, plenty if Israel Transport Minister Israel (or is it Yisrael) Katz has anything to say about it. Katz, a strong right-winger and well known for his often controversial opinions about the Land of Israel (which in his mind includes the entire map of Israel, including Gaza and the West Bank, as well as most of Jordan).

What's In A Name - JerusalemKatz is now trying to push a bill through the Knesset that will require all English versions of road signs, such as Jerusalem, Tiberius, and Caesarea, to be changed to transliterations of the Hebrew version; meaning that Jerusalem will now be spelled Yerushalayim, Tiberius Tiveriya, and so on. Nazareth will become Natsrat and Caesarea will become Kesariya. Arab versions of these names will also be changed to “help bring about more uniformity” according to Yeshaayahu Ronen, head of the ministry’s Transportation Planning Department.

Arab Knesset members, most notably Dr. Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List , Ta’al), denounced the proposed changed as “a blatant de-legitimizing of the Arab language in Israel”. Tibi, who was interviewed along with Katz on Channel 2 TV, said that this will never come to pass” and Al-Quds (the Arab name for Jerusalem) will remain Al-Quds, along with other Arab names of towns, such as Shefa-Amr (the Arab name for Shafaram)”.

In a way, the idea might help making road signs easier to read, as there are often many versions of some names, such as Caesarea, which is often called Qesarya, Qesariyya and Ceysaria.

The political ramifications of objections by Tibi and other Arab parliamentarians are obvious; and if this new bill includes towns in the West Bank, then Arab names like Nablus will become the Hebrew biblical name Shechem. During their television appearance together, MK Tibi said that the government might do well to consider the logistical and financial aspects of such a move “and spend the money that would be required for all these sign changes on better uses, such as improving the infrastructures of Arab towns”. Minister of Minority Affairs Avishay Braverman, appears to be in agreement with MK Tibi, and added that the money that would be spent on such a project should be used to “install much needed signs in Arab communities”.

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