a different side of Israel

Tag: Channel 10 (page 2 of 3)

Life after 50 in Israel

Reaching age 50 can be an exasperating experience in Israel’s increasingly sophisticated job market. The problems of 50+ persons in finding suitable employment was again brought to light recently on Channel 10 TV; in which Mr. Oded Levinton, Manager and Treasurer of the “Fifty Plus/Minus” foundation, reiterated the difficulties that older people have in finding suitable work in Israel’s technical and youth oriented economy.

Mr. Levinton, who himself has not held a regular job for more than five years, said that more and more people in this increasing age group, many of whom are highly qualified, are finding the ‘windows of opportunity’ are becoming narrower and narrower, with only less desirable low paid jobs available. According to Mr. Levinton, employers feel ‘uncomfortable’ to hire an older worker, even though that person has qualifications that can be used. “It appears that in the end, an employer prefers to hire a younger person, even though that person may not have the skills that are actually needed. The employer appears to feel ‘uncomfortable’ and even ’embarrassed’ by having to ask an older, experienced person to perform a menial task such as sorting out incoming mail or making a cup of coffee for persons attending a morning meeting.

Also on the program was a representative from the government employment office’s Institute for Skilled Workers, known in Hebrew as the Lishkat Ha’taasuka. The representative said that his agency is very much aware of the problem that older workers face, but that this is a world-wide phenomenon that is a reality of our modern, technical oriented age when people are retiring later and living longer. He continued by saying that efforts are now being made to pay more attention to the plight of older workers, especially those over age 50, with more re-training programs being offered.

Re-training programs? This idea has been used before, but still doesn’t solve the problem of employers passing over older people in favor of those who are considerably younger. And for those in the 60+ age bracket, the situation is even more desperate, with virtually no opportunities available.

While Israel is now considered to be a free market economy, and fewer jobs are guaranteed anymore, the time may have come for everyone to realize that with former ‘baby boomers’ from the 1950’s and ’60s either approaching or already in this age group, more attention had better be made to try to help older workers find suitable employment, other than jobs on the lower work rungs of the career opportunity ‘ladder’ which pay no better than minimum or near-minimum wage, and are usually on an hourly basis with virtually no social benefits.

Since some of the readers of this web blog may be in the age group already, or nearing it, reader comments will most certainly be welcome. This is a problem that may get worse before it gets better, and will affect more and more people, unless solutions are found to help put this able and qualified manpower pool to better use.

Not Jewish?! What Are You Doing Here? (Part 18 London)

I got an email about 30 minutes ago. Jill wrote me and asked if she can write her column again. Shit yes, I said 🙂
So after a long break (October 2006) here she is and hopefully for a long time. Welcome Back Jill !!

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, Part Eight, Part Nine, Part Ten, Part Eleven, Part Twelve, Part Thirteen, Part Fourteen, Part Fifteen, Part Sixteen, Part Seventeen.

For those of you who were reading the ‘Not Jewish? What are you doing here?!’ column that was running in OJ a few months ago, you may remember that the story came to an abrupt halt with a rapidly worded entry that glossed over my last three years in Israel and fast forwarded to packing boxes and flying out to England, to where my boyfriend Saar, a singer/songwriter, had been offered a job recording with a London-based Italian record label.

Now I was no fan of London; I had lived there before, holed up in an overpriced flat in a northern side street, commuting with the miserable masses to the City, where I worked 13-hour days in a banking job that I didn’t even understand. Swaps, it was called, the basic concept of which still eludes me to this day, and the office was such an uninspiring place of stagnant boredom that a chronic fear of formal working environments has stuck with me ever since. The job, for what it was, paid ridiculously well, however (the silly amounts of cash involved in this type of work being the only reason anyone could ever possibly put themselves through it on a daily basis) and allowed me to then travel round South America, which is where I met Boaz, for whom I moved to Israel, to then split up with him, nearly move back to England, then meet Saar and end up staying, and for whom it now looked like I was going to move back to England. After all, when you’re an Israeli musician with a lifelong dream to take your talents abroad and you get offered a job in London, you pack your bags as quick as you can and you go.

Anyway, I thought, I could use a break from Israel for a while.

Packing UpThings had been a little tense to say the least. In fact most days at that time, about one year ago to the day, I was sweating away in my Dizengoff apartment, glued to the 24-hour news reports of Lebanon II, waiting for the rocket warning sirens that were resounding throughout the North to reach Tel Aviv. I was arguing with the va’ad beit (superintendent) of my building, who was refusing to unlock the door to the bomb shelter, for reasons I discovered only after I had thrown a mini hysterical fit in the stairwell, forcing him to reluctantly open it up. The room was dank and dark, full of dust and cobwebs and the abandoned junk of present and former residents of the flats above.

“You’ll have to clean this place out, just in case,” I’d said to him, making out in the squalid darkness the remains of a dead cat that had obviously been trapped down there since the last Gulf War.

“You clean it out,” he’d retorted, locked the door and trounced back upstairs where the sound of the news floated out through the open door of his flat.

Yelling some frustrated and undoubtedly wholly incorrect Hebrew at him about it all being on his head if they bombed and we had nowhere to go, I’d marched back up to my own flat where, of all the ironies, I was working on a travel guide to Israel that had been commissioned by a British website.

While I was trying to lure readers to the ‘magnificent landscapes of the Galilee’, the very people who lived there were sitting in their bomb shelters – watching the news –and the area’s hotels had long been emptied of the visitors who had been the signs of the first real tourism revival since the Intifada.

They were tense and confusing times. And very sad. There was less of the defiant togetherness that had characterized the worst days of the Intifada; the mood was very low and very bitter. Soldiers complained their objectives were unclear, that equipment was short – as was food; northerners shrieked at the government for not doing more, those under constant bombardment spat at Tel Avivians for sitting in cafes and going to the beach, while the world spat at Israel for its bombing of Beirut.

Most people I knew spent each day dreading that their husbands, brothers or sons would get sent to the front, or clinging to their cell phones waiting for the SMS that would tell them they were safe back from an incursion and in Israeli territory. Because soldiers were dying – and that’s the one thing that Israel can’t take.

The country’s tolerance levels when it comes to dying citizens far exceeds what it can take when boys in uniform start getting killed. For when a soldier dies, the whole national psyche goes into deep mourning. It’s a strange concept to understand and one that generated much debate among friends and colleagues at Haaretz, where I worked. Why is a soldier’s death so hard to take? Perhaps it’s because a soldier is never just a soldier in Israel but a brother, son or husband, because they are something everyone can relate to; perhaps because of the place the army is given in the media and within society as a whole, that it represents Israel’s youth and future, it’s ability to defend itself; perhaps because the army is Israel and a death reflects a vulnerability that no one wants to see, or perhaps just because they’re young, good-looking kids who should be studying and traveling and living life and when is this whole bloody cycle of death and hatred going to end? But when I found myself in floods of tears at a Channel 10 report interviewing the family of a dead soldier, in a way that I had not cried for victims of suicide bombings, I knew that I had stepped deeper into the Israeli consciousness – and that a bit of a break wouldn’t do any harm at all.

“OK so let’s move to London,” I said to Saar…

Year To The Second Lebanon War

La Plage
Uploaded by Lisang

There has been a great deal of talk about the anniversary of this war. You can read about Lisa and her adventures in Beirut. She was also on Channel 10 last night (Great Interview !!!) and she talked about life in Beirut a year later. This morning Yediot Achronot had a whole spread about Rinat Malkas who was in Bint Jebel last week as well and her experiences in Hezbollah country.

So we really want to know where we stand when it comes to our Northern neighbors. We watched some TV programming on the before and after of this war. People that lost their life, family, legs and in some cases much more. The situation of the bomb shelters in Israel that according to government officials are 95% redone and ready, although the cameras must have seen the other 5%..
The 22 year old kid (soldier) who lost his leg in the war and how happy his parents are because it could have been much worse, and how he copes with his new situation.

Then there are the families of the kidnapped soldiers who are still waiting for a sign of life, mostly from our government…and who want us all to keep the pressure on. This war is not over. It’s just taking a break. It seems like everyone knows it.

Live Earth – The Aftermath

The concerts attracted audiences from all over the globe, with live music in major world cities ranging from Sydney Australia to New York. Some of planet’s most well known entertainers took part, including Black Eyed Pea, Madonna, Phil Collins, Police, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Snoop Dog, and more. Even Israel had its own version in central Tel Aviv, playing ironically only meters from the spot where Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated in November, 1995. The message was clear enough, as expressed in a taped message by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore: the world is getting hotter due to Mankind’s abuse of the environment; and as a result, severe and even drastic changes are already occurring to the earth’s climate – changes that could prove fatal to many of our planet’s inhabitants in the coming years.

And in addition to the live concerts, the events were watched on T.V. the world over by at least 2 billion souls.

Little Israel, with a population of over seven million, is getting its share of the effects of global warming, the consequences of which were being shown to both the concert attendees at Rabin Square as well as to people sitting at home. Some of what is bringing on these changes in Israel, and the end result, including rising temperatures and coastal sea levels were also talked about by Channel 10 media personalities, including the fact that most of the country’s fresh water supplies, including the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee are heavily polluted; and that high air pollution levels in major cites result in the death of at least 600 people annually. With more than 1,000,000 cars on the country’s roads, at least 60% of them are leased vehicles given to employees of high tech and other companies. This fact alone, auto exhaust fumes, is responsible for 92% of the country’s air pollution problems.

Israel’s mounting problem with solid waste disposal, including hazardous industrial chemicals and other compounds was also mentioned, though not covered enough, considering the country’s problem with both ground and air pollution.

So now, just a few days later, have any changes occurred since Live Earth that can be spoken of in real terms, since the music ended? After the concerts, most people rode home in either their own cars or in public transport conveyances, some of which are also major contributors to air pollution. Ramat Hovav, Israel’s frequently talked about industrial waste disposal site, is likely to remain polluting the country’s entire southern regions for years – if not generations – to come. And the country’s ground water aquifer is becoming harder and harder to purify as more and more surface pollutants continue to contaminate it.

Madonna, one of the London concert’s guest performers and a champion of world social and environmental issues, made a very important comment by hoping that people attending the concerts will not only listen to the music but get the message of what needs to be done to prevent the end results of global warming. Many people say that the consequences of environmental pollution will eventually be far more serious to Israelis that any security problem short of outright nuclear war.

And so, people still clog the highways with their “lease-mobiles”, still throw their rubbish on the country’s beaches and in the national parks, and literally thousands of plastic bottles and other similar non-biodegradable items are seen lying forlornly everywhere. For those who aren’t aware, those plastic water and soft drink bottles are estimated to take at least 800 years to disintegrate; and the polymer composition of the plastic is very carcinogenic.

Three days later and nothing seems to have changed. – so far anyway. The future of global warming to inhabitants of this region is one in which rising sea levels may inundate parts of Tel Aviv and other coastal cities, and surface summertime temperatures may be similar to those presently in places like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. One can only wonder what the climate in those places will be like a mere 50 years from now.

Live Earth; save the planet. We all have a lot to do in order to make this dream become reality. We all live on an island we cannot leave. And unless we make a greater effort to reverse the environmental problems we all face, the future may not be very pleasant for any of us. So, make the effort and dedicate one day a week as a car-less day; and try to conserve both energy and water supplies, as well as pick up and dispose of trash more properly. Wash dishes by hand and hang out clothing to dry in our abundant sunshine. And take just one less shower per week.

It’s our world, so let’s improve it!

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…

Channel 10 reports 15 Killed In A Week Of Accidents is Reasonable

15 Killed March Weekend (Hat Tip: Ynet – Avi Muaalem)
The first thing I heard this morning on the news is the weekend blood report. We had over the weekend 6 people killed in car accidents: A police officer father of 3 was killed, a 14 year old on a tractor, a 33 year old motorcycle rider, a 75 year old man killed in a head to head collision and a mother and daughter.

This is all on top of a horrendous car accident that killed 5 co-workers from Egged (Bus Transportation Company) last Thursday, on their way back from work. The accident is believed to be the result of failure to stop at a Red light and alcohol might be a contributing factor. Since the beginning of the year there were 85 killed in car accidents.

Avi Dichter, Minister of Internal Security, asked the chief of police to prepare an “emergency plan” to combat the increase in accidents.

What is really concerning is this. The Channel 10 TV news commentator after describing the carnage this weekend ended the story with:

“..our reporter added that even with the high number of accidents this weekend, we are still below the number of dead for the same period last year”.

Well, that’s great then. We are doing okay! 15 is a reasonable number as long as we “make the numbers”. Is this a joke? Did someone actually listen to this report?

Virtual Tour Of Israel’s Nuclear Plant In Dimona

I came across this on YouTube and I never even saw this on Channel 10 TV when it originally aired.

No Comment…

The Benny Sela Effect

Benny Sela Caught
The Benny Sela effect is ongoing and will likely cause some changes in the way things are done by Police in Israel. There is no doubt that the embarassing escape and the much publicized multiple sub standard handling procedures by Police will have to be reviewed and taken to heart.

Benny Sela was caught late Friday (14 days after his escape) and from the way the story unfolds it seems that he decided to slow down and get caught. In his last hours he stole a car and went by some relatives (who refused to help). At this point Police got many tips from people letting them know where he was seen and by the time the road blocks in the North were set up it was a matter of time. The Police rejoiced. You could see the relief everywhere you looked. In fact maybe a little too much. Some pictures the next day had Police detectives forcebly holding up Sela’s head for the photographers. Chief Karadi said that it was the media’s fault (haa??).

Benny Sela told reporters that he mailed a letter the day before his capture to Amos Yaron – the chief investigator reviewing the escape and the way Police managed the transfer of the prisoners that day. Sela complained that he has been stabbed and beaten and despite repeated requests for help he was ignored.

The day after his capture, the Minister of Internal Security, Avi Dichter, received a letter from Sela’s mother. In the letter she wrote that although she didn’t approve her son’s behavior she felt that his ongoing abuse was wrong. She added (mockingly) the her son made fun of the Police and showed the country that the Police force is fibble, weak and unable to deal with smarter people. Basically calling them dummies.

Tomorrow there is a TV show on channel 10 – “Wanted – A Police Force”. I don’t have to explain what’s it going to be about…

Moshik! has the cops coming back from the “post capture” party and the Amos Yaron report is waiting on the windshield.

“We had ‘normal’ sex!”

Larissa Trembovler (Picture by Ofer Amram for Ynet
Interviewed on media programs such as Channel 10, Larissa Trembovler, wife of convicted murderer, Yigal Amir, described her 10 hour connubial visit with her husband. “We had sex together like any normal married couple. I hope we will have more opportunities to be together in the near future.” While not going into graphic detail, Larissa seemed happy concerning her first intimate contact with Yigal, after so long a delay. The short liaison, carried out in a special room set aside by Ayalon Prison authorities for such allowed visits by spouses of convicted prisoners, provided the couple with a full sized bed, shower facility, and even snacks provided by the prison administration; plus soft drinks which Amir brought with him to their ‘honeymoon suite’ as many are dubbing it.

Whether or not this visit results in Larissa conceiving a child is too early to predict, especially due to her age, 39, and from their short time together. The former psychology professor already has four children from a previous marriage; and raising another child under the circumstances that he or she would the child of the man who assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, is psychologically problematic in its own. The fact that this event happened at all is a wonder as just a couple of months ago, even allowing Amir and Trembovler to have a child via ‘invitro-fertilization seemed unlikely to happen. Now, this request was surpassed by allowing them to have intimate physical contact, enabling Amir to “know” his wife and possibly “open her womb”.

Many individuals and organizations, including Peace Now, are vigorously protesting the allowance of this event to occur, even though it is now a ‘done deal’. The couple is slated to be allowed another such visit in six months time, perhaps sooner.

Many other convicted prisoners serving live imprisonment have not been allowed such a gesture, are one wonders why the governmental authorities relented in this extreme case. The Rabin family, for one, is very upset over this lenient gesture towards Amir being granted. And with the possible including of Avigdor Lieberman’s ultra-right wing political party into Ehud Olmert’s governmental coalition, many wonder what will happen next. Will a possible future right winged government decide that Amir was misguided into committing this heinous act, and should be set free? Or, perhaps, his wife will be hired as a prison psychologist and will be allowed to move to the prison and housed with Amir in special accommodations on the prison grounds? This entire tragicomedy may someday be made into a full length movie or docu-movie; and might even be directed by some internationally famous person like Michael Moore. To quote a song composed by the rock group Bachman-Turner Overdrive in 1974: “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet!”

And yup, I suppose we haven’t.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

MirrorAfter been delayed for more than a year, the TV show “Ha’Mara’ah” (“The Mirror”) broadcasted two weeks ago on channel 10. The show, presented by Orna Datz, follows 13 people – 12 women and one man – that share a dream of becoming more beautiful.

Datz’s previous show, “Mahapach” (“transformation”), “renovated” people with new hair, makeup and wardrobe. On this TV show, the measures are much more extreme and the participants undergo plastic surgery, dental treatment, diet programs and are isolated from their home and family for two months.

Every week, we are acquainted with a new “heartbreaking story”, which begins with an exposure of sadness and inferiority, continues with painful surgeries and dealing with the outside and inner changes and ends in front of the mirror – after the participants haven’t seen themselves for over two months – with a new body and face and new unprecedented self confidence.

It’s easy to criticize this new show: Does appearance really that matter? Is there also an inner and moral change? Is the inner change influenced only by the outer appearance? And will these people get a new beginning, due to their new looks?

But first, I’d like to try and point out the small positive aspect I can find: the participants in the show feel they are stuck in their lives. They are not happy and they don’t allow themselves to grow and try new opportunities, only because of the way they look. Unlike the American version of the show, “The Swan”, where the participants end the show’s process looking like molded Barbie dolls, the Israeli version is less radical (probably due to less money).

After watching the first two episodes, I found out that in my opinion the participants didn’t transform very dramatically. The major change was felt by the participants, which claimed to have gained higher self esteem, better mood and a fresh approach towards life. Maybe that is the push they needed to move forward their lives.

It’s an undeniable fact that our culture is deeply influenced by fashion and beauty. And the least you can feel is some empathy towards the people that were born less fortunate and esthetic comparing to the parameters that were defined by modern society.

But, of course, in conclusion, I have to raise a very big dissatisfied flag on this show. Do the participants really need those painful surgeries, which are not obligatory, in order to feel more happy and content?

Each and every one of us has their good days, where we feel satisfied with our looks, and our bad days, when we are less pleased. But doing such a drastic step as displayed on this program – is not such a self evident step to most of us.

I really feel that in our days, when plastic surgeries are affordable to almost any one, too many people run and choose to go under the knife. When instead they could choose so many other options (like sports and fitness).

It’s good the show was “buried” in the late time slot that it’s in. The less people (mainly girls) that watch it and will be influenced by it – the better!

The Mirror, Channel 10, Thursday, 23:05

Exclusive – Ron Arad Video Interview

Ron Arad Video InterviewChannel 10 News in Israel has acquired the full rights to broadcast the video featuring Ron Arad, the Israeli flight navigator who was captured in 1986.

Although initially the family, press and the Israeli government had reservations as to the authenticity of the film, it is now believed to be authentic and is estimated to have been produced in 1988.

The video will be included as part of a two night mini series that will also include excerpts from an interview in captivity with Elhanan Tenenbaum, the Israeli businessman who was abducted in Dubai in 2000 as well as photographs of the three soldiers kidnapped on “Har Dov” near Lebanon in 2000.

The mini series will be shown today and tomorrow simultaneously with the screening of the series in Lebanon by LBC, the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (The original broadcast rights holder).

(Photograph courtesy of Channel 10)

Me Watching You Watching Me

This is how absured this thing is. I saw this as well yesterday and Lisa got it on her blog (WELL DONE !!). Check out her post on the live follow up across the border via television – all in realtime.

Live on Al Manar and Channel 10

What The Hell Is Going On

I hadn’t turned on the news and was working away in that zone of focused concentration that comes along every so often – quite ironically on a tourism piece for a British website – when Saar walked in the house, immediately turned on the TV and said, “Haven’t you seen all the balagan?” And there went my totally focused concentration and with it any need to be writing tourism pieces for British websites.

What the hellAnother two soldiers kidnapped on the northern border, the live news reports on every channel told me, then rumors about the ones who were missing, later the news that 4 were dead and 4 missing and then the confirmation that 8 were dead.

And then massive Israeli air strikes on southern Lebanon and Hezbollah started raining down Katyushas on the north, or was it the other way round, I can’t even remember and can’t keep up with just how fast things have exploded into catastrophe.

The next morning we wake, weary-eyed from a late night watching the round-the-clock coverage of the tragedy as it unfolded, and turn on the TV to see that rockets have hit Nahariya. Nahariya!

“Call Shelley,” I tell Saar, which he does after a couple of seconds it obviously takes his mind to absorb the information. Shelley, his sister, is already a good hour into her escape to Tel Aviv and launches hysterically into descriptions of whistling rockets, incessant booms, billowing smoke and fire and a house near her that was hit.
What the hell was going on? Katyushas in Nahariya? Bombs in Beirut?

A heavy depression hangs over the Haaretz offices when I come into work. It’s definitely a depression, not a panic, a depression, mixed with concern and a deep sense of confusion. Weren’t things slowly, ever so slowly, maybe, just maybe showing some slight hint of a sign of improvement not that long ago? How could the rug have been so quickly swiped from under our feet?

More strikes on Beirut and the news that Rosh Pina had closed its airport and then that rockets had hit Safed. I was there last weekend.

Everybody’s cell phones keep going off as we’re trying to put the weekend pages together, pages that normally attempt to bring some color for a Friday morning, maybe some art pieces, a few light features, but no one’s in the mood for cooking columns this week, and the pages are devoted to analyses and pictures of devastated buildings, blown up roads, rubble and fire.

“Can we call it war? Is this a war?” the editor’s asking. “Not yet, we can’t say war, throw that picture, change the headline.”

“They’ve hit Haifa!” someone shouts.

“My son’s there…”, “My daughter’s there…” and all the cell phones start ringing again.

I MSN Lisa, who generally knows everything about everything: What the hell is going on?

Iran, madness, crazy, Syria, Nasrallah, world opinion, U.S., UN, she gives me her sharp analysis and it doesn’t do anything to calm the slowly rising anxiety I am feeling in my stomach.

In the office, the discussion has moved on as to whether the suiciders on buses were worse (yes) and what would happen if they hit the oil refineries in Haifa, and general consensus settles on the word disaster.

But they won’t hit the refineries, right? Saar calls, “They’ve never hit Haifa before.”

Iris’ phone rings, and from the long conversation that proceeds in German we gather it’s her parents urging her to come home. And leave Elad? she says after hanging up. His army unit is based in the north and the emergency call-up orders for reserves are already in the post.

We send our paper to the printer and hand over the baton to the night desk.

In the morning, big headlines, red pictures.

All day we flick through the channels, CNN, BBC, Sky News, Channel 10, Channel 2, back again. We hit Nasrallah’s building. “Yes!” says Saar, his hands in the air. But the World Cup was last week.

The death toll rises, Beirutis flee, Nasrallah’s still alive. I turn back to my tourism piece as the planes are flying overhead. A Canadian friend pops up on MSN. We chat late into the night.

It’s only been four days and it feels like months already. This is madness. I check Lisa isn’t in the north and press her for more insights. Regional conflict or brokered ceasefire, Saudis, deep shit, things are BAD in Gaza ….missile in Tiberias!

Nasrallah says that Tel Aviv’s next.

But they can’t hit Tel Aviv.

Right …

Election day views from Tel Aviv

Rabin Square Tel Aviv - Elections 2006Elections are in full swing here and regardless of your political inclination you can’t ignore the fact that the process itself works. Voting rates as of 7:00 PM are still low, actually very low, only around 47%. The various experts predict a “low” 60% rate by tonight. Really it’s all relative though and at the end of the day Israel is a political country. The morning shows today interviewed kids “play voting” and when I think about the fact that in most western countries kids still need to be taught who the country leaders are, I feel proud.

Great walking around Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, the center of the happening today and into tonight. A nice day for a political celebration and for those that still feel like democracy does not work, you’re invited to take a look and learn. Every political party (no matter how ridiculous) is there trying last minute recruitment efforts, a huge line up for kids who also have special play voting booths, families, music and activists “flying” their political colors. The whole area is heavily guarded of course, there are currently over 60 security warnings, 14 of them targeted to election events, and both police and army are at the highest state of alert. Israeli democracy in its purest form !!

Channel 10 Elections BroadcastChannel 10 News did a very smart thing and took over the entire event placing a clear studio in the center of the square with entertainment stages, Mini Israel display for kids and snack bars all around the square. Felt a little like an amusement park. Keep an eye on this news network, they’re making the right moves, have a real fresh way of presenting the news and are innovative.

So what’s the scoop and what are people talking about. Well the old news on the street is that Kadima will take it. They are sort of the default option and represent the “CENTER”.

Kadima poster Elections 2006 Ehud Olmert is okay, he had a little bit of a rough time getting into the shoes of Sharon and there was talk of his political track record and capabilities, there was also a scent of some dubious business dealings. He managed to get passed that for the most part. Olmert’s family stayed out of these elections and he ran on his own in the campaign.
The one rising star and a woman I fully expect to be Israel’s next Prime Minister is Tzipi Livni. The woman is giving off some great vibes, is getting noticed and as far as the Kadima lineup is concerned, is definitely a top tier asset. As Foreign Minister she is taking her first steps and besides, taking that position from Shimon Peres was really sweet. He was PISSED.

The obvious weak links in Kadima are Shimon Peres who now seems to be suffering from credibility issues and who is a long standing symbol of what being a loser is all about. The man has even lost the title of biggest political loser to Menachem Begin, if you can imagine that. Peres was a misunderstood academic who was respected for years but who has over time proved to be in love with being in the limelight at all costs.

Anti Corruption Campaign Israel Elections 2006The other weak link is the number 9 candidate, Tzachi Hanegbi, a corrupt slime that manages to keep slithering away from one scandal to the next. This man while in the Likud single handedly appointed over 80 Likud Center Party members into various positions in government. He is now being charged with election corruption, breach of trust and deception. This is a man who is making some voters a little uncomfortable with Kadima.

EMET or Labour party. Well there are some great people there. I even like Shelly Yechimovitz and really like Amir Peretz. Unfortunately, the discussions always come back to two main issues. Fear of business and economical growth slowdown that will be brought on by a strong socialist agenda. We all know how well that worked out for the communists…
The other issue, and I feel bad saying this, is Peretz and his English. I think he is great but in today’s world if you can’t speak English you have nothing to do in politics and especially if you are going to lead a country. PERIOD. I come from a long line of Labour supporters and still I can’t handle the English or lack there of. I keep imagining Peretz speaking in the United Nations or visiting the US and giving another one of those speechs and I start sweating.

Elections in Tel AvivFinally, Likud. Likud has really one very big weakness that’s preventing people from voting for it and people I talk to seem to agree on this. Benjamin Netanyahu.
I have some good friends who although I believe they are politically confused (and I forgive them), are true Likud supporters and even activists. A good friend who has voted Likud for years met me right after voting and admitted he couldn’t do it. “Just can’t vote for Bibi again”. Bibi is not believable, not credible and some say not human. He is a political opportunist and someone who is desperate to get into power at all cost. The biggest running joke is his panic and sweating attacks. The Hamas fear campaign in this election was just another nail in his political coffin in the eyes of many voters.

Every major network is broadcasting from Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square and this will go on into the night. Keep an eye and wish us luck…

Election Fever

by Liza Farachdel

Three weeks away from the elections, and I haven’t a clue yet as to who will get my vote. First of all, given the recent game of musical parties (similar to musical chairs, except that when the music stops, you’ve got to join whichever party you happen to be closest to; strangely, the maturity level of the players is very similar to the maturity level of those who play the actual musical chairs game), I can’t keep track of which politicians are in which parties.

With politicians switching alliances more frequently than I change clothes (does that say more about them or more about me? Never mind, don’t answer that…), it’s impossible to know what any of them truly believe, which, unsurprisingly, directly affects my ability to actually believe anything they say.

What makes these elections more interesting, though, are the repercussions that recent Palestinian elections will have on the various party platforms. Parties that previously advocated peace talks as a primary feature on their agenda are being forced to search for different issues on which to focus, given that negotiating with Hamas is not really seen as a big vote-getter these days. As such, security continues to be an important issue, especially now that an organization advocating Israel’s destruction has become the major player in the Palestinian political scene. Welfare and economic issues are also featuring prominently, with each of the main parties scrambling to get its message across that only their party can save the economy and the country.
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