Thursday, February 17, 2011

Why is there No Revolution in Israel?

Israel's economy is booming:
The Israeli economy easily outstripped forecasts in last year's final quarter, achieving annualized growth of a stellar 7.8 percent. While growth rates in other developed countries range from vanishingly small to around 3 percent, Israeli gross domestic product grew 4.5 percent last year, the Central Bureau of Statistics said yesterday.
This is yet another indication of the fact that things are going well in Israel at the moment. They don't always, and whenever they do they can be reliably counted upon not to by-and-by, and even when things are momentarily pretty good, they're never remotely perfect. Still, as such things go, Israel is doing well right now. Since reliable polls always tell that even when things aren't going well, Israelis tend to be proud of their country and confident about their future, you can see why this particular moment might not be a good time to bring masses of peeved folks onto the streets to kvetch about the government.
Unless you live in the Israeli branch of the far-Left alternative universe, that is. If you do, your personal situation is probably fine, you're employed, you travel often to visit like-minded friends and colleagues in other lands, you haunt the usual eateries and cultural events where folks like you congregate and bemoan how bad things are, and you're convinced that the end of the world is nigh or if it isn't it ought to be. Recently you've had the added aggravation of living in one of the few Middle Eastern countries where the government can't be toppled by mass demonstrations. (Because the government routinely gets toppled at the ballot box, once every 3 years on average).
As such folks go, Meirav Michaeli isn't particularly rabid. In the taxonomy of Israelis with odd positions, she's somewhere at the edge of reasonable left-wing, looking yearningly leftward over at the loonies and wishing she could join them, but not managing the trick since she's not fundamentally against the idea of a Jewish state. Nor, it must be said, can anyone castigate her for deep thinking. She's a secondary media celebrity, whose main distinction is a comical attempt to sanitize the Hebrew language of its gender conjugations. (David Ben Gurion also once tried to ban a useful Hebrew word, and was heartily laughed at by everyone, but in the meantime he also founded the state, won a war, brought in a million Jews from less hospitable climes, and generally kept himself busy).
So, here's Michaeli agonizing about how the Israelis are too dumb to emulate the Egyptians. To be honest, I'm not certain I quite understand what she's trying to say, but it's sure to give you something to smile about, and that can't be bad.


Silke said...

I haven't read the piece but judging from the photo Haaretz posted Israel is in dire need of a gender revolution or quotas or whatever else can be done to break up this ol' boys' club

that said, I am far from being convinced that things have improved overall since women have direct access to power, for individual women at work yes, but politics in general?

BTW a blog named "treppenwitz" has coined an IMHO lovely word for current "lefties"

Pity Acitivists

which makes me think that their generous commiseration is another way of telling "them" that "we" are superior i.e. colonialism in a new garment

He has coined another word I like quite a bit "Omphaloskepsis" - for me Omphalos is closely linked to Delphi's Pythia but Wikipedia says the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem has one also, so I my associating it with the indecipherable predictions of the Oracle gets it all wrong.

Silke said...

highly recommended for the so inclined

IOT: Maimonides 17th February 2011
Dienstag, 13:33
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life, times and legacy of the great Jewish medieval philsopher, Maimonides. Also known as Rambam, Maimonides was a philosopher, theologian, lawyer and physician whose works are still influential today. Melvyn is joined by John Haldane, Professor of Philosophy at the University of St Andrews; Sarah Stroumsa, Alice and Jack Ormut Professor of Arabic Studies and currently Rector at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; and Peter Adamson, Professor of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy at King’s College London.

19.4 MB
Weitere Informationen …

and this is the website

Barry Meislin said...

I'm not sure it's always possible,
but if you read "Haaretz" as parody, it's a lot better for one's peace of mind, not to mention one's heart, kishkes, etc.

Y. Ben-David said...

Michaeli is also the grand-daughter of Rudolf Israel Kasztner and has made a career out of santizing his reputation. In today's post-Zionist climate, his actions are now viewed as much more kosher than they were once.

Silke said...

I've recently heard several book reviews on Kasztner on German radio (I forgot whether there are currently one or two books out there) and I was given the impression that Kasztner was killed by fanatics who got if not all so most of all wrong.
I think the headline gives you the idea. I lack the knowledge to judge for myself and German book reviews tend to read more like sales pitches than like reviews but I object on principle to headlines along the line of the one here

Zionist Juice said...

i hope this one is no true:,7340,L-4030069,00.html

Just a Thought said...


"Israel is in dire need of a gender revolution or quotas or whatever else can be done to break up this ol' boys' club"

Why? As you yourself said, it doesn't really seem to make much difference to a country's overall conduct. I'd argue that the range of good and bad acts by women in power will be no different from men in power, for the exact same reasons of state and human character.

As examples:

1. Thatcher started a war (justifiably or not).
2. Meir almost lost Israel by 1973 mis-caculations.
3. Indira declared herself a dicator.
4. Photos of the Anschluss show as many women as men screaming adoration.
5. In the last Weimar election, as many women as men voted for the NSDAP.
6. Elizabeth I subjugated Ireland.
7. Maria-Theresa and Catherine joined Frederick in partitioning Poland.

Anonymous said...

Stranger than fiction.


NormanF said...

Israel is the only Middle East country with a fast growing economy and the only one in the OECD with a solid fiscal record.

I don't see the Likud being voted out in the next election when things are so good. Why mess with success? Netanyahu looks set for another term in office no matter how much the Far Lefties at Haaretz kvetch against it.

Y. Ben-David said...

Norman F-
I wish I could be as optimistic as you are. In 1992 and 1999 incumbent Likud governments were voted out in spite of the fact that there was calm in the security realm and economic progress, although in 1992, there was a large number of new Russian olim who needed jobs and it took time for the economy to adjust to this mass aliyah. The winning formula for the Left was "the Likud sold us out to the Haredim". All you need is to shift about 6 seats in the Knesset results from Right to Left and the Likud is out. This bloc shifts back and forth depending on the security situation...if things are quiet, these voters feel they can worry about internal problems and so they fall for the demogoguery of the Left, but when there is violence, their "right-wing" instincts take over.
Of course, the irony is that when the Left wins, they also include the Haredim in their coalition and they actually give them more! They can get away with it since most of the media supports the Left and so they keep quiet about what they are giving the Haredim.
However, I must point out another important 1992 and 1999Likud was badly split internally. If Netanyanu can hold things together, as he seems to be doing this time, hopefully, the outcome will be different.