Where I come from, a 'mate' is a genuine friend through thick and thin. (He's also the 6 foot 6 inch stranger who just poured beer on you at the rugby game - but I digress...)
So London Mayor Ken Livingston has found a mate - someone to have a beer with over a meeting about how to sympathize with suicide bombers (even those who kill British and USA soldiers). I'm not certain that MP George Galloway and Livingston will require any time to get acquainted either. They've both been outspoken critics of the war on terror and Israel for some time. It's really only that they're continuing the show after the July 7 London attacks that is a touch surprising. Still, mates who play together, stick together. Crooked but true brotherhood!
Yesterday's Galloway statements deserve a read and PM Blair will need to decide how to deal with this, seeing as these comments represent encouragement of and incitement to terrorism - undoubtedly!
Here at home, the week is still unfolding. I found it fairly difficult to watch the Israeli TV news last night. Though the confrontations between orange protestors and police were fairly calm and 'reasonable', there was some coverage of police dragging away kicking and screaming women and this did pull on the heart strings. It hurt to watch, not because of one's political leanings but simply because after decades of fighting off our enemies, it is hard work to watch mates (and the Jewish family) confronting each other in battle over the land.
It took its toll on IDF soldiers too. Young and old orange people are putting huge psychological pressure on soldiers - not through any demonic means, but by shmoozing and using personal contact and emotion. These tears I imagine are only a sign of the tears of all that are yet to come. Tears of pain between mates, peas of the same pod.
Legally, of course, the attempts (some successful) to reach Gush Katif last night are undesirable. It is a closed military area and the Knesset or Cabinet have voted in favor of Disengagement several times now. The road blocking of yesterday (which saw my wife stuck in traffic for 2 hours) is also not being tolerated by the legal system.
These actions are illegal because Parliament and the courts have decreed as such. Yet I remain satisfied with the relatively sound leadership of the Rabbonim, MKs and Yesha leaders who are leading the protests at Ofakim. There have been leaders who have not followed this example, but those who are the official mouthpieces are promoting steadfastness but a total rejection of violence.
We can only hope that when push literally comes to shove, the restraint from police and protestors will hold strong. It's not easy when you're standing eye-to-eye with your brother or your sister or your mate.