a different side of Israel

Tag: Europe


At least seven people have been killed by a Warsaw flood, as officials closed the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial site last Tuesday to protect its archives and artifacts.

Heavy rains in central Europe also caused flooding in areas of Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, with rivers banks bursting and leaving low-lying homes and roads inundated.

Thousands of residents were evacuated and electricity was knocked out in most surrounding areas. Rail travel was paralyzed, making some areas unreachable.

Hungary’s Prime Minister, Gordon Bajnai declared a state of emergency in the northeastern Borsod-Abauj-Zemplen county. Those suffering financial losses were able to claim compensation.

In Krakow, an important bridge was closed as the waters of the Vistula River nearly reached it.
At Auschwitz-Birkenau, which draws about a million visitors per year, authorities carried historical documents and artifacts, including brushes and bowls which once belonged to Shoah victims, to the upper floors of old barracks, which are now used to house educational and memorial exhibits.
As waters rose in the nearby Vistula and Sola rivers, the museum was closed – the first time this has happened due to a flood.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk of Poland went to the area to meet with angry residents of the village of Proszowki, near Krakow. They complained of not receiving sufficient help.

Iran, The Eurovision, and Us

Israel’s fortunes at the annual Eurovision song contest have never been easy, even though we have won the contest three times during its 51 year history. Israel first entered the contest in 1956, and often, the voting results from participating countries have been laced with controversy in regards to biased opinions against the Jewish State. This year, following a number of political controversies that have placed Israel in even more difficult relationships with the E.U. and other European countries, our song entry, sung by imported performer Eddie Butler and a mixed chorus group of Israeli and Afro American singers, finished almost last with only 4 votes, and these coming from (of all places) France.

Israeli singers, including ones like Sarit Hadad and Shiri Maimon, have recently managed to hold their own against the European hordes, and walk away with at least a feeling that they finished respectfully, despite all the negative flack being thrown at them by an increasingly hostile Europe. Last night’s poor results on behalf of the “European Jury” may cause future Israeli native and guest singers to think twice –even thrice – before making the trip to this contest again; this time to be held in Helsinki Finland.

Speaking of the Finns, their ‘heavy metal’ version of The Rocky Mountain Horror Show was nothing less than absolutely disgusting. Many other countries, including Sweden, Germany and even Russia (which came in second) had much better songs than the Finns whose living in Lapland must be so boring that they have to go to these extremes to win a song contest. Their gyrations and bizarre costumes were so grotesque that any sane person can only wonder if the Continent of Europe is once again slipping back into the Dark Ages, like what occurred following the destruction of the Roman Empire by the Huns and Visigoths during the Fourth and Fifth Centuries C.E.

This entire scenario comes on the heels of what has been going in Iran, courtesy of their astute president Mahmoud Admadinejad, who recently proclaimed that Israel is a non legitimate country and therefore should be “wiped off the face of the map”. This almost happened last night in Athens, as it became obvious that no voting country was prepared to give Israel even the least bit of praise or consideration. The four votes that France did give us were most likely because French Jewish citizens, especially the younger ones, got on the phones and cast their vote for the Jewish State. In a way, this was very fitting as more and more French are making Aliyah and purchasing properties in Israel, as they appear to see the writing on the walls concerning their future in the French Republic.

Iran even went one step further in regards to it’s own Jewish community by discussing in Parliament the possibility of passing a law similar to the ‘Nuremberg Laws’ passed by the German Third Reich in the mid 1930’s requiring Jewish citizens to wear stars to identify them as Jews. Though not yet passed into law, the mere discussion of this possibility already has Iranian Jews a bit worried, with their lovely President already being compared to Adolf Hitler.

Not that Israel’s song would have won, but it would surely have finished in a much better position had these modern day ‘Huns’ not been out to assist Mr. Ahmadinejad in his plans. As the saying goes: today the Eurovision, tomorrow Kristalnacht!”

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