a different side of Israel

Tag: Bill Clinton

The Vanishing American Jew

Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of one of the most prominent American families, is marrying a Jew, Marc Mezvinsky, who comes from a family of businesspeople and politicians. At one angle we might say, this is great. Look how far Jews have come in American society; and isn’t it wonderful that gentiles, today, accept Jews into their very families. But at another angle, we should be concerned – very concerned.
The answer is simple: We must congratulate the church in America, in its ability to befriend and stand by the nation of Israel; and especially its success in ridding itself of the anti-Semitic elements, which the history of old Christian churches, which have found a home in America, are all too laden with.

The Clinton’s are true friends of Israel and the Jews. When Hillary spoke, as first, on the Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Day, she began her speech by quoting the weekly Torah parsha. It should be noted that few Israeli politicians ever do this. Hillary proved that she is a very hip shixa. During the fight to restore Holocaust victims’ property from banks in Switzerland, Hillary recruited Bill to the effort. This does not make it right for a Jewish boy to marry into their family – especially because Chelsea has no plans to convert.

The number of mixed marriages in the Diaspora has increased by 200% in the last 50 years. About 55% of all Jewish marriages are mixed ones. In one-quarter of families, the children of the next generation will no longer be associated as Jews. A look at the future shows that within a number of generations, American Jewry will nearly disappear.

The sad part is that not only is this opinion obsolete in the American mind, both gentile and Jewish, but it is so taboo to say Jews should romantically stick to Jews, that I risk being called a racist. The truth is our nation’s impressive longevity and survival depends completely on our solely sticking to one another. Assimilation and mixed marriages destroyed entire European communities, even before the Holocaust.
Judaism, as opposed to its sister religions Christianity and Islam – is not a missionary religion. It does not seek to increase the number of its believers. Not by persuasion and not by force. At the same time it is also not a closed religion, which people cannot enter. Those who wish to join can do so, but under the conditions and stipulations of Jewish Law.

Just something to think about,
Next Year in Jerusalem

Arnold Does Jerusalem

arnold schwarzeneggerIt ain’t Clinton, Mr. or Mrs.

It ain’t Tony Blair, Mother Teresa or Kofi Annan.

So who could it be coming to our Holiest City, searching for bits and pieces of peace…that is if the Messiah does not make a cameo?

Why it’s the Terminator! And he’s coming to pump J-town up!

That’s right. Cali Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger is making a stop in Zion, on his way to Mess-o-patamia.

The ex-body builder, ex-action hero, ex-Austrian, American politician will give his spin on the Middle East situation at a forum sponsored by the Saban Center for Middle East Policy.

Who else will be in the audience for this star-studded affair? No not John and Sarah Connor. However, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, Israeli PM Bibbi Netanyahu and others have RSVP’d.

The policy group, affiliated with the Brookings Institution was set up with the help of Haim Saban

After the Israeli capital, Conan the Barbarian is off to meet U.S. troops in Iraq, then Graz, Austria, the town where the big baby was born. The trip is to be held under the auspices of the California Protocol Foundation, a nonprofit group affiliated with the Chamber of Commerce.

Liking the Kid or Is Obama good for Israel?

Are Israelis really for Obama? I am not sure. I came across this ad for Obama. It’s a campaign piece but it made me think a little.

Today the front pages of the newspapers were showing the pearls of wisdom provided for us by the good Rev. Jessy Jackson. I clearly remember the famous Haimi speech that basically flushed Jessy’s political career down the toilet – that was one of those “brilliant” moments that I just know left Jessy scratching his head for years to come.

Since then Jessy tried to stay relevant (even remembered) and whenever possible tried to stick it to Israel. So I guess when I see that he suggested that he says that: Obama will be less of a friend to Israel and will be better for Palestinians, I am a little skeptic.

I asked my nephew (4 yrs old) about his opinion. These days I think that his opinion is actually as relevant as anyone I see on the news.. And he had a simple answer. I showed his both McCain and Obama on TV (he recognized both) and asked him who he preferred – “I like the kid” he said. You know what, I have a feeling he is right and that he is predicting the future.

McCain’s woman strategy was a good idea on paper but not the “woman at all cost” execution. Palin is a problem and a tough pill to swallow for probably the one group he was mostly trying to reach – Women. My Mom (self proclaimed old school lady) was first very impressed – she loved the fresh attitude and the glasses were just fabulous…. But then some cracks appeared. The talk about Anti Abortion, Pro NRA and the fact that she had such a narrow point of view of life (mostly from Alaska) started making her a little nervous.

Let’s face it – Sarah’s views belong in a different century and of all demographics women, are the one group that knows it. Can the US really afford to go marching into 2010 with a leader (any leader) that feels its a sin to abort a pregnancy no matter the circumstances? Wasn’t this issue laid to rest ages ago?

I like John McCain. I am more confident that he is the better leader for Israel-US relations. Period. No doubt. I think that Obama is young and inexperienced. I think Obama is Naive. Can Obama get past that – can he learn and improve? Yes.

Look at his track record during these elections:

In these elections Obama proved a couple of things. He has the balls to bypass the Clintons (no small thing). He had a good potential running mate there with Hillary that would have taken him all the way to the brass ring but she would have stabbed him in the back the first chance she would have had.
What’s worse, Hillary comes with a built in Ex President with an over developed ego that makes her even more difficult to control and predict.

Joe Biden was a good choice. Obama brought in a “deal maker” to make those uneasy political moves he is going to need some grease and Biden is the right Mechanic for the job.

Now back to Pailin. If anything happens to John (God forbid) SHE WOULD BE PRESIDENT! Let me say that again: Sarah Pailin would be the US President!

And now for a commercial break…


Olmert Under Investigation – Again

This is from the NYPost

A Long Island mogul is at the center of a sensational bribery scandal that could bring down embattled Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, The Post has learned.

Millionaire financier Morris Talansky – who runs an investment firm out of his tony home in Woodmere – allegedly passed money to Olmert while the politician was mayor of Jerusalem in the ’90s, sources said.

In a highly unusual move, Israeli authorities have barred the country’s media from publishing Talansky’s name – revealed now in The Post – saying it could hamper their investigation. Israeli media has referred only to the involvement of an “American businessman.”

Talansky is apparently set to sing to Israeli authorities about his alleged role in the scheme, sources said.
“It looks serious, and it looks like they have a state witness” in Talansky, one source said.

Talansky – a philanthropist and political contributor to everyone from Rudy Giuliani to Bill Clinton – is in Jerusalem, where he has an apartment, preparing to head to a closed-door court hearing as early as today, sources said.

The 75-year-old was earlier questioned about the alleged scheme almost immediately after arriving in the country for Passover, and he implicated Olmert, sources have said.

It was unclear what the alleged payments to Olmert were for, but sources said they involved hefty amounts of cash.

Talansky repeatedly appears – sometimes under the nickname “The Laundry Man” – in the logs of financial dealings kept by Olmert’s longtime aide, Shula Zakan, a source said.

Olmert was grilled by investigators Friday. He has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

The allegations are only the latest in a string of woes for Olmert, who has battled past charges of government corruption and questionable personal business practices.

“But this time seems very serious, and it seems eventually, we don’t know if it will be days, weeks or months, in the end, he may not be able to continue to be prime minister,” one source said.

A man answering the phone at Talansky’s multimillion-dollar mansion in Woodmere yesterday said, “He’s not available.”

Talansky lists himself as CEO of the Global Resources Group, a self-described financial-investment firm.

Ehud Olmert 2008Ehud Olmert , the Israeli Prime Minister, is again suspected of corruption. On Friday, police investigators including the Head of the National Fraud Unit came knocking on Ehud Olmert’s door at his official residence in Jerusalem. Olmert was questioned on suspicion of receiving bribes from an American businessman a few years ago.

The prime minister answered all of the investigators’ questions on the subject, and will continue to cooperate with all legal authorities to the extent he is required to do so,” said the official statement from Olmert’s office.

Another official statement from the Prime Minister’s office said he “is convinced that with the discovery of the truth in the police investigation, the suspicions against him will dissipate.”

The Israeli Prime Minister might be facing serious allegations. Can Olmert politically survive this last high profile interrogation that connects him to severe corruption affair? In the last few years, Olmert has demonstrated fantastic survival skills in the political arena.

A senior source has told the media in response: “Olmert is in a grave situation, it is doubtful whether he will be able to continue to hold his position.” In the meantime, Ehud Olmert denies all allegations.

Israeli ministers certainly make police forces work hard these days. Israeli former finance minister , Avraham Hirchson, also faces criminal investigation , suspected of being involved in the embezzlement of 10 million dollars, partly from a charity fund.

The list does not end here unfortunately.
I guess many MKs will not be celebrating Israel’s Independence Day next week.

T.A. Stocks in Freefall

There’s an old saying that says “whatever goes up must come down”. And in reference to world stock bourses, including the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, “coming down” is looking like nothing less than a catastrophic free fall. After dropping an average of nearly 3 percent yesterday, today’s opening looks like it could end even worse as stock markets all over the worlds are falling between 7 and 10 % per day over the dismal news concerning the problems of the American economy, still considered as the largest economy in the world.

There are a number of reasons why all this is happening, including the energy crises, global warming and climate change, the continuing aftermath of Al Qaeda sponsored terrorism, and perhaps (for the outgoing Bush Administration anyway) the nearly 5 year disaster known as the U.S. led invasion of Iraq. As for Israel, the economy here is heavily tied to the fortunes of the American Economy as Israel’s biggest economic pluses in recent years have been connected to technologically based industries, especially information technology and bio-technology. Due to Israel’s mounting political problems in the aftermath of the 2006 Lebanese war and the conflict with the Palestinians in which most European countries consider Israel as an occupying aggressive oppressor of “Palestinian rights”, Israeli companies have had to rely more and more on the USA to market both products and services.

With crude oil prices hovering at close to the $100 per barrel mark, and after the U.S. Treasury has wound up spending over $200 billion in it’s continuing war against insurgents in Iraq, these and other problems, including the mortgage loan crises, have brought the American economy to the brink of what is being talked about as a major economic recession; one even greater than the one of 1991-94 that resulted in the U.S. President George Herbert Bush (G.W.’s dad) losing his re-election bid to Bill Clinton, and at least half of the workers in high paying aerospace industries in California and other states looking for $1,000 per month sales jobs in cities like Atlanta.

The “R” word, meaning recession, is definitely being talked about these days, and is bound to arrive at Israel’s doorstep sooner or later. After all, the Tel Aviv stock indexes have been rising too high for too long, and as other bourses start “heading south” stocks in Israel are bound to go that way too. Many Israeli companies, especially the high tech ones are posted on the NASDAQ, the American “over the counter” stock exchange that for years has become one of the most popular indexes for technological based companies to be listed on. These stocks are often very fickle and any reverberation in economic fortunes can cause them to fall quite rapidly. Many NASDAQ listed stocks are selling for as much as 30 times the actual earnings of the companies they represent, which mean that a lot of speculation is involved in pushing up their trading value.

As a result, they are now leading the markets in a very troubling direction. Everyone will be watching which direction Wall Street will head today, following the breaking news announcement that the US Federal is lowering its prime lending rate by 0.75%. The Dow dropped by 500 points on Monday and even the Fed’s attempt to bring stability into the financial markets may not be enough to stop the fall, as the problems of the mortgage crises and other financial concerns remain. Most home mortgages are fixed rate ones that keep the same interest rate during the life of the loan.

What the intermediate to long term outlook for Israel’s economy will be as a result of these market flip flops remains to be seen. But for sure, if the “R” word becomes reality in America, it’s bound to reach Israel sooner or later.

Olmert’s Last Stand

Many of you may recall that infamous episode in American history when U.S. Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer and his 7th Calvary regiment were defeated and massacred by Sioux Indians led by Chief Sitting Bull in the Battle of the Little Bighorn. That historical episode, which took place in the summer of 1876, reminds me of another “last stand”, still being played out Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is becoming embroiled in so much political and personal controversy that he very much resembles Custer in many ways.

For one thing, Mr. Olmert directed then IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz to wage war against the Hezbollah in Lebanon in July 2006, and Gen. Halutz (a real-life stand-in for Gen. Custer) vowed to “blast Lebanon back into the Stone Age”. Well, blast he did, but much of northern Israel got ‘blasted” as well by at least 6,000 Hezbollah fired rockets. Now, with himself under criminal investigation for a number of offenses, the P.M. is desperately pulling at straws to try to work out some kind of deal at the upcoming “peace conference” in Annapolis Maryland. Recent public opinion polls conducted in Israel have resulted in at least 53% of the population believing that Olmert should be suspended from his position as prime minister until the investigations are concluded. Olmert has other ideas, however, and appears to be trying to keep his job by making the impossible become reality in a deal with a Palestinian leader who only represents a portion of the entire Palestinian People.

Of the people polled, at least 65% also believe that Israel shouldn’t withdraw troops from the West Back as they fear that a similar result will happen as did in Gaza following the unilateral pullout in August, 2005. The respondents said that they fear a an even bigger danger, with much of Israel’s most populated areas put in direct line of fire from Kassam and Katyusha rockets. An even larger number of respondents (77%) fear that PA Authority President Mahmud Abbas does not have the strength to win out over a possible take-over in the West Bank by Hamas, as occurred in Gaza.

Olmert appears ready to do whatever he feels necessary to make a good impression at the conference, despite whether or not the result will be good for Israel. What is presently going on in both Israel and the Palestinian Authority is vastly different than the situation prior to the Camp David meeting in July 2000, when then P.M. Ehud Barak offered P.A. Chairman Yasser Arafat nearly all of the Israeli occupied lands, including most of East Jerusalem, on a silver platter. The result of this was not only Arafat’s refusal, but the Second Intifada uprising less than three months later. Though not mentioned in the opinion poll, it’s interesting to note that Ehud Barak is now Israel’s Defense Minister.

What will happen at “Camp David III” remains to be seen. But with the P.A. now split in half and Olmert himself under investigation, the results of the George Bush sponsored Annapolis meetings will most likely not be any more productive than the Bill Clinton sponsored Camp David one.

Meanwhile the “Indians” are tightening their circle around “Custer” and his men and Little Bighorn II will probably end up a similar way.

Winograd Commission Website Goes Live

WinogradAs some of you may know the commission to investigate the events of “The Second Lebanon War” (the name of the war is now official) has now launched a website.
The Winograd Committee is going to announce its conclusions and the vultures are worried. There are plenty of speculations as to the effect these conclusions will have on Olmert’s government and whether or not will he actually be held responsible. Amir Peretz, the worst Minister Of Defense ever, will likely take no responsibility personally and is likely to effectively bring down the house with him rather then admit failure.

One does have to wonder though what Olmert was thinking when he placed someone like Peretz in such a sensitive position. There has to be a limit to business in government and when it comes to Defense, Olmert fudged it.
After his “I am not popular speech” a week ago (Really? We didn’t know…), he tried to bare all and speak to the people. Doing a “Bill Clinton from the heart” speech in Israel is fine if you’re dicking around with Cigars but not when it comes to a war that gets your population killed…

Today Channel 10 actually showed the election time campaign for Amir Peretz for example, where he talks about the social reform the Labour party will lead. Beautiful promises about fighting for the weaker classes, the old, the poor and the needy. After his reign that pretty much describes the Ministry of Defense. Maybe the poor and the needy came out better off then if he was in charge of their welfare…

Newt Gingrich’s not-so-new Revelations

NewtThe American presidential race is off with a bang, and this fact is none the less dramatized within the Republican Party. One of this party’s presidential hopefuls, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, has made his presidential bid even more ‘interesting’ by his recent disclosures that he had an extra-marital affair during the period prior to impeachment proceedings against former U.S. President Bill Clinton. The revelation by Mr. Gingrich shouldn’t be startling to anyone who is familiar with the former Georgia Congressman, who made a similar disclosure during the investigations against President Clinton. Gingrich, who as the 59th House Speaker held one of the most powerful political positions in America, eventually resigned this position, as well as his seat in the House of Representatives. The incident also cost him his marriage as well.

Following his resignations, Gingrich disappeared temporarily from public life but later resurfaced as a guest commentator for news media programs, such as Fox News. With a number of Republican and Democratic ‘wannabe’ hopefuls already throwing their hats into the political arena, including former New York mayor Rudolph (Rudy) Giuliani, many people are wondering why Gingrich has suddenly decided to bring his questionable past to the fore front once again. By declaring that he has asked for God’s forgiveness for his extra marital activities, Gingrich appears to be trying to vindicate himself by comparing his affair to that of former president Bill Clinton by saying that Clinton’s crimes were much greater due to the former President’s attempt to cover up his relationship with a junior White House aid, as well as other crimes, including contempt of Congress.

Gingrich’s desire to run for the American Presidency lumps him together with other Republican hopefuls, with Rudy Giuliani being considered the apparent front runner. Giuliani himself has had a very “colorful” personal life, including being married twice and having a number of extra marital affairs. Perhaps Mr. Gingrich feels that by “letting it all hang out” he can put this sordid business out of the way and then proceed to clean up his political act. Most Americans, however, are not so keen on accepting his attempts to turn over a new personal and political leaf. It is still very early in the campaign, and there are surely many more capable candidates out there with much cleaner personal and political ‘laundry’ to display.

Gingrich’s appearances on several American talk shows, as well as being a guest commentator on Fox News, indicate that he might become an acceptable journalist or talk show host; and this may be his best ‘calling’ in respect to his personal future. He could wind up being a permanent member of the Fox News staff; or even the host of a program such as The Tonight Show, presently hosted by TV personality Jay Leno. After all, Gingrich has plenty of material to use in the program’s beginning monolog.

At the end of the day, Mr. Gingrich’s political antics may remind many of words immortalized by American circus promoter P.T. Barnum, who said that “you can fool some people some of the time, but not everyone all of the time”.

Q&A With A Beirut Resident – Part 1

The following is part of a series of discussions by one of OJ’s writers and a Lebanese person living in Beirut (going by the name of VJ) who is very concerned with what is now happening to his country. His full comments concerning the Israeli-Lebanese problem will be included in next posts. These were some of the questions VJ had for our writer.
These are all personal views.

Dear Sir,

Well I always thank you for your replies, although they are always shorter than mine. But, now that I understand your situation, I salute your hard work.

I won’t take much of your time in this e-mail. I just need a quick reply from you on a few questions based on our previous e-mails to see where we’ve reached in our agreements or disagreements. I’d like to see where you stand regarding those main issues:

Do you agree with me that many of the Israeli policies in the region for the past several decades have proven to be one of the main reasons behind many of the conflicts and wars we’re experiencing today? This war included?

As (former) U.S. President Bill Clinton once said, “It depends on what you mean by ‘reasons’ and ‘policies’. You may recall my writing that military response by Israel, since independence in 1948, has been the result of being confronted by force. This was especially true when after being in existence as a declared independent state less. than 24 hours, Israel was aggressively attacked on all fronts by a much larger and better equipped Arab Legion. The term ‘confrontation’ also has included drastic economic ones as well, as in the 1956 Sinai Campaign when Egyptian President Nasser tried to nationalize the Suez Canal as well as Block shipping in and out of the Gulf of Aqaba. The Six Day War of 1967 began due to the same Mr. Nasser again attempting to put an economic stranglehold on Israel, as well as massing troops and armor for an eminent attack on Israel. Israel just decided to beat him to the draw by attacking first. All the rest of the conflicts have been the result of being attacked or confronted by either direct military force, or by acts by guerilla forces or terrorists. This includes both previous confrontations involving IDF forays into Lebanon.

Some policies which now appear to have created more problems than solutions, have been the intense settlement policies of previous right-winged governments; involving both the West Bank and Gaza – resulting in two ‘intifadas’ and the present state of near-anarchy in Gaza and PA “governed” parts of the West Bank.

As for this present state of affairs in the conflict involving both our countries, all this might not have happened if an elderly man, lying comatose in Tel Hashomer Hospital, had been able to still be heading things, instead of the ones who are now governing in his stead. I won’t comment more on this problem as others, more qualified than myself, already have.

Do you agree with me that the IDF’s military strategies have proven, at least in this war, to be ineffective to a great extent?

I’m definitely not an authority on military strategy, other than what I’ve often seen on good war movies. My two article series: A Hill Too Far; and the one I wrote concerning whether the tank is still an effective instrument of modern warfare, notes my comments concerning battlefield strategies. Again, though professing not to be an authority on such matters, putting an Air Force Commander in the position of Chief of Staff, is not something I would have done, if in a position to do so. As for who is presently sitting in the chair of the Defense Ministry, I don’t need to comment on this any further.

Do you agree that many of the IDF’s military actions are planting more and more hatred within the hearts of innocent civilians who are seeing their families dying every single hour?

Definitely! How can people hold any regard for us if we’re trashing their country, no matter what the reason? That your country’s government didn’t do anything to try to disarm the Hezbollah, despite a U.N. resolution requiring the Lebanese government to do so, means that most Lebanese either accept the Hezbollah within their midst, or are simply too intimidated to try to throw them out. It is true that they (Hezbollah) have provided various services and helped rebuild your country following the ravages of both the Civil War, and the 1982 Lebanese War. Those services, however, have come at a price. And even if Hezbollah helps rebuild Lebanon after this conflict ends, you may wake up one day to find yourselves living in a Narsrallah ruled Islamic Republic, similar to (or even worse than) Iran; complete with strict Sa’ari Islamic Law.

Be safe.

Sexual Harassment at the Top

Allegations by several women that Israel President Moshe Katsav made advances of sexual and provocative nature towards them, is another episode in what appears this time to have reached to very top of the country’s government and moral structure.

Katsav, appointed to the largely ceremonial position three years ago, following a long career in public service, is being accused to making improper advances, towards women who worked as his assistants during various parts of his career, going back more than 15 years when Katsav served as Transportation Minister. The allegations, falling into the framework of what is now referred to as sexual harassment, are under investigation by the police; and have reached the point where talk is going about that President Katsav should consider resigning his position, scheduled to end one year’s hence. This event is not the first time that a government official has been accused of such behavior. Former Defense Minister and Transportation Minister, Yitzhak Mordechai was indicted and convicted of such behavior during his transport ministerial term in March, 2001. Mordechai’s withdrawal from public office, due to allegations of sexual harassment from one of his subordinates, not only created a public scandal but resulted in his divorce from his second wife, Kochi, who was nearly thirty years his junior.
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Slick Willie Does Jerusalem!

By Denis Schulz

Ex-president William Jefferson Clinton has been out of the loop for about five years now. That’s a long time for a politician but he still gets around quite well for a gentleman of his advanced years. He was in Jerusalem last week to honor the late Yitzhak Rabin on the 10th anniversary of Rabin’s assassination. On Saturday (Nov. 12) Slick Willie spoke to an admiring throng at the King David Hotel. These are not his exact words but they are close and may well reflect his inner thoughts.

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Remembering Yitzhak Rabin

Yitzhak Rabin MemorialThe last few days were dedicated to Yitzhak Rabin and his assassination on November 4th, 1995. Ten years after the murder the country paused to remember the event and the fallen leader. All week television broadcast various documentaries and articles about the man, the final days and the Israel he left behind. Rabin’s death symbolized the end of a particular brand of Israelis for many people, the loss of innocence in a way and a departure from the “brutal honesty” that was so much a part of Yitzhak Rabin’s legacy.

The memorial in Tel Aviv Sunday, the official remembrance ceremony at the gravesite in Mount Herzel in Jerusalem and finally the official launch of the Yitzhak Rabin Center for Israel Studies last night were just some of the main events held.

Notable speeches where given by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who recalled the friendship and personal history they shared. He remembered their differences and the respect he always felt for the man. In September and October 1995, Sharon was one of several political leaders that preached against Rabin’s way and wasn’t addressing any of the hateful posters in the crowed showing Rabin in an SS uniform or wearing the Palestinian headdress. Moral responsibility is not big for today’s political leaders in Israel.

The Clintons were very much an important part of these events and in particular Bill Clinton was notable. The man loved Rabin and his words touched people. It seems like his appearance as an independent non political figure allowed him to speak from the heart and in people responded. He spoke of Rabin’s legacy, the dream of peace they both shared and his personal memories in warm, personal tones. In his speech Clinton spoke to Israeli politics in general as well, he spoke of our ability to accept the possibility that we may be wrong, as a crucial step in holding any meaningful debate. True to so many of the political life in Israel and the Middle East, the conviction and belief in a cause does not cancel out the validity of opposing points of view.

Hillary Clinton speaking at the dinner right after her husband was also remembering the times with Rabin and especially her experiences with Lea. She commended Lea as a wife of a military leader, statesman and politician, acknowledging with a nudge to Bill that it was very hard work. The crowed laughed. At that moment one could understand what made the Clintons so likeable in Israel. The awareness that they were as human as anyone else and that despite their personal issues they continued together has made them a very strong couple and one that can withstand future political challenges.

After Ariel Sharon made his speech he was rushed off by security. Broadcasts were paused to allow him the time to leave and it made me realize what a profound effect Rabin’s murder had. This event, the most heavily secured in the country’s history, was still not safe enough for the Prime Minister.

In a time where corruption lies and deception are rampant in Israeli politics, people like Yitzhak Rabin would have no room. In his final days Rabin was physically attacked and warnings by the security services were shrugged by him regularly. He refused to use the bullet proof Cadillac because he hated the symbol on the hood. He turned red in anger at protestors and yelled back at the crowds when he was hackled in speaking engagements. Never hiding behind heavy security and never shying away from an opportunity to speak to his people. The nation of Israel was his to argue with, fight for and lead and he did it in the most personal way he could, with as little barriers as possible. That was his way, for better or worse.

On the way to the Peace Rally in Tel Aviv on that fateful night security services warned of a definite threat on his life. He leaned over to Lea and asked her if she was afraid. She was but true to her Israeli nature answered no. He smiled and said well I guess we’re going then. He wouldn’t have it any other way and anyone who knew anything about the man would know that.

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