Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Do You Speak English?

If it wasn't for al-Qaida, Livingston and friends, I would have thrown this spicy article at you a few weeks ago. Nonetheless, have a read now and and then come back here and keep KIC-ing on...

So I decided to present this article to the group at Ulpan Etzion last night to whom I facilitate a Current Affairs session each week. I was desperate to know whether it was just me, or whether this article is in fact incredibly out of place in a mainstream newspaper's website. Yediot is one of the big dailies in Israel. It is not a tabloid or a gossip magazine for sure, but this little piece makes it read like one.

Most of the olim at the Ulpan tended to agree with me - that such material should not be published in your local daily, taken home to millions of Israelis each day and that lies around for kids and teenagers to read. More than that, it is published in English on the Internet for everyone to say - "Hmmm that's the Israeli view on life then". Internet readers who would include the Jew looking for the latest Disengagement news, or the potential immigrant, the student doing research or the surfing anti-Semite.

There just seems to be something unhealthy and even unwholesome about the article. In a country where we hoped to be different and separate ourselves from Western society's fascination with sex and the like, I wonder whether we could at least let Israeli teenagers (and adults) discover temptations without providing provocative cheerleading from what is a respected news publication. Sure, it's a column on 'Singles' but still...

The English speaker might be gold according to Ram Gilboa but frankly his article fails to appear on my medal table of top opinion pieces.

Take a look at the feedback posted below his article and add a comment to this KICblog so we know what you think...

Away from picking up tourists, PM Sharon is off to President Chirac in Paris today for what is billed as more than a small warming of relations. As this article reports, Israel appears to be benefiting internationally as a result of Sharon's bold but controversial Disengagement Plan. The benefits were illustrated pointedly last week when the UN Security Council (including France!) rejected a Palestinian request to hold a session to discuss Israel's Security Fence. This was a very refreshing stance taken by 4 of the 5 permanent Council members who hold veto powers.

Yet, I am not convinved. We are all well aware that the Israeli media and world leaders are being 'kind' to Sharon's government right now in order to see off threats to the Disengagement Plan. We've unwillingly played this diplomatic game in the past and I imagine the rules of the game are going to return to normal come post-Disengagement. Israel will again be placed under pressure to concede and to surrender even in the face of terror even when other countries swear that they never will.

I'm never sure whether we should take too much notice of world leadership. Still, that leadership appears to hold great sway with Israel's leaders and therefore such a UN Security Council decision deserves some recognition (and sense of satisfaction) even if it might not be a sign of truly brighter diplomatic days ahead.

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