After our mangal (BBQ) with friends in the forest near Beit Shemesh, a family engagement party in Chasmonaim and the weekend in Zichron Yaakov, I've returned to Jerusalem feeling pretty positive about Israeli life once again.
It wasn't just the countless 100000s of houses and cars with Israeli flags waving, (though that's always good for the soul!) but rather, the (almost) carefree, relaxed (certainly sunny) atmosphere that enveloped the country over the 3-day Yom Haatzmaut holiday. It was a pleasure to see and to feel.
Being Israel though, it is not surprising to return to 'normal' life and update oneself with news of Hezbollah attacks in the North, Madonna and Silvan Shalom's wife's soap opera episodes in Washington and the like.
The impending Disengagement from Gaza has meant the cancellation of the International Gay Parade in Jerusalem - an inititaive that has invited great debate (not always polite!) among Jewish, Christian and Moslem leaders, here and overseas.
The Palestinians commemorated al-Naqba ("Catastrophe") Day as they do each Yom Haatzmaut. This year focused on the Right of Return with Mahmoud Abbas reiterating his commitment to this sacred Palestinian goal. Let's hope that the Palestinians do not allow this goal to drown yet another chance at statehood. While I do not belittle their grief and longing, I would hate to see them "fail to miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity' once again.
Shavua tov - a good week to all!
Michael - KIC Founder