a different side of Israel

Tag: 1948

Happy Birthday Israel

On Monday, just ahead of the 62nd Independence Day, the Government Secretariat published rare papers documenting the first government meeting in Israel.

The meeting, which was held in Tel Aviv just two days after the state was established on Sunday, May 16, 1948, centered on a debate about the selection of ministers and updates on the war situation at the front.

Cabinet Secretary Tzvi Hauser said:

“It’s exciting to see with the perspective of time gone by how things were handled, and how historical decisions still affecting our lives today were made.”

David Ben-Gurion, serving as both prime minister and defense minister, opened the meeting with this speech:

“We will open the first meeting of the provisional government and hear a report by Moshe Shertok (Sharett). I assume as self-evident, if there has not been a decision on this matter yet, that any discussion during these meetings, whether important or not, is certainly confidential and no one is permitted to discuss it with anyone else, not even his close friends or confidantes, because these are matters of the state and not of the people participating in these meetings…The situation in Tel Aviv is well-known – explosions. I do not have any details on the last bombing. This morning four port workers were killed…The Egyptian columns are progressing from the south. There is an unconfirmed report of a naval landing around Majdal (currently Ashkelon). Posters aveeenistributed in the Negev calling on Jews to surrender. A convoy of 200 vehicles has arrived in Beersheba…The pressure on the way to Jerusalem and its surroundings has been relieved. We conquered Latrun but were taken out of there. The Arabs got hold of a treasure – one of the new cannons and a few armored cars… We have conquered nearly all of Jerusalem, from the heart of the entrance… and the Old City, which is besieged by Jews nearly on all sides. The Jews in the Old City are besieged by the Arabs.”

Ben-Gurion then continued on listing the ministers, 12 in all. Minister of Immigration and Health Haim-Moshe Shapira told those who were present:

“I am presenting the question of the assembly of the system. Each should do as he sees fit.”

Foreign Minister Moshe Shertok, who later served as prime minister under the name Sharett, said:

“Half of the Jewish settlement is comprised of natives of Israel. They have no association with this word. The other half contains many Yemeni Jews, Germans, and others who have no such association. This word may have the connotation of bragging, but it is a nice Hebrew word with a pleasant sound to it. Trustee is unacceptable to me because there is a concept of trustee for a trust fund.”

Compensation Instead of Right of Return? Or Extortion Instead of Demise?

Obama With Mubarak In Egypt
A new buzz is coming around the corner today. Word has it that US President Obama and Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak are meeting at the White House to discuss resolving the Middle East conflict by offering compensation to Arab refugees of the 1948 War of Independence instead of having millions of them and their descendents flood the Jewish State.

First, let’s state the obvious, and from there we’ll proceed to the less obvious, and finally to the hidden. As for the obvious, let’s say it like it is. If millions of Arabs flood Israel in return for some kind of peace agreement, then every Jew in Israel will either be slaughtered by the newly found Arab majority, or otherwise be expelled if they are brave enough to put up a fight, and the Jewish People will find themselves, once again, landless and wandering in yet another exile.

Here’s the less obvious. Which “Barak” is missing in the meeting between President Barack and Mubarak? That’s right, Ehud Barak. Not that he must personally participate, but when discussing Israel’s future, wouldn’t it be best if all Bara(c)ks are present and Israel were actually…represented, in the room I mean, discussing if it would like paying billions to Arabs who live in Abu Dhabi somewhere, probably working at an oil rig? What we have here are two countries with their own interests at heart discussing the future of another country without her consent. Doesn’t this seem a bit odd to you? It shouldn’t, because it’s well known that both Barack Obama and Mubarak are not fans of the current Israeli government, and especially Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. It’s to be expected, this kind of thing.

Here’s the hidden. We always hear about these holistic comprehensive grandiose Middle East Peace Plans, most recently a 57-state solution involving the withdrawal to the ’67 borders followed by pan-Arab recognition of Israel, with the help and applause of the European Union etc. etc. But is the Israeli compensation of Arab refugees of ’48 that holistic? Or is it actually one-sided?

Personally, I’d be perfectly happy compensating every single ’48 Arab refugee and all of their descendents if the Arabs compensated every single ’48 Jewish refugee from their countries, and we could even get the EU into the fray as they generally love to be on these issues by having England, France, and Spain compensate the descendants of the 13th, 14th, and 15th century Jewish expulsions from their respective countries as well (AKA, all of us). As a matter of fact, I’d be willing to completely forgive all debt and have everything cancel out, have all monetary transactions not take place in the first place and call it a deal. I think it would just be easier on all sides, and we could all save a LOT of money on bank fees.

Having just the Jews pay the Arabs, sounds like extortion to me. Agree? Disagree? Let us know!

Tel Aviv’s Obsessed with Sushi

As the thunders of war echo from the South, residents of Tel Aviv continue their daily routine.

Two unrelated anecdotes:

  1. I happened to hear a 90 y/o woman speaks a week ago. She currently lives in Tel Aviv, and still volunteers in the Civil Guard. She had experienced the horrors of war in Poland back in 1939, and then lived to see all of Israel’s wars throughout its 60 years of existence. During this fascinating story of hers, she was telling us how she had escaped with her family to Tel Aviv during the War of Independence in 1948. They had been coming from some other town (I don’t recall which one) and when they arrived at Tel Aviv, they were surprised to see people singing and dancing in coffee shops. “Don’t you know there’s a war going on?”, they has asked people around them. Well, apparently not much has changed in this context in the past 60 years. Dear Tel Aviv residents, you’re in good company.
  2. Israeli far-right-wing politician Avigdor Lieberman was caught saying last week Do to Hamas what the US did to Japan. I believe he was talking about a nuclear holocaust, but let’s not forget yet another serious effect the American involvement in Japan has caused. I’m talking about Sushi of course. Thanks to America’s warm embrace of the Japanese cuisine, this seaweed/rice/salmon delicacy has spread the world. As a resident of Tel-Aviv myself, there isn’t a single day that goes by without my mailbox being infiltrated by a colorful throwaway that notifies me of — yet another — Sushi restaurant that opens in town.

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