Afternoon Tea in Jerusalem Blog

In addition to my work as a business coach, one of my interests is blogging about life in Israel. This is a country full of contrasts – over eight million citizens living in an area the size of Wales. You can see snow and the lowest place on the globe in the same day. Although surrounded by geopolitical extremes, Israel has achieved a decade of high economic growth. My work brings me in contact with an array of new companies, exciting technologies and dynamic characters. Sitting back with a relaxing cup of strong tea (with milk), you realise just how much there is to appreciate in the Holyland. Large or small operations, private sector or non profit, my clients provide experiences from which others can learn and benefit.

So, Israel and Gaza are at it again. To an outsider, it seems simply tragic. But it is more than just an aerial bombardment. So let me try to dummy-down the complexities, as an Israeli who did not vote for the PM in any of the recent elections.

In terms of the conduct of the war – yes, it is a war – I approve of everything I have seen so far from the government. Why? Putting aside the ‘who started it game’, no country has the right to hurl thousands of rockets indiscriminately, at anyone else. Israel must defend itself.

Disagree? Consider you have a child at school. Rightly or otherwise, that child always takes the spot of another kid in the playground, which causes distress. Would you agree to allow that child beat up yours? Unlikely.

That said, there is no doubt in my mind that the events leading up to the latest fighting were totally misunderstood by the PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his cronies in the Likud party. (Likud is the dominant faction in a very fractious temporary government).

To start with, it turns out that the Hamas social media network has been calling for riots for months to take place on Jerusalem Day. The policing of the hot points of the Holy City was shown to be naïve at crucial moments. Rushing into mosques to arrest trouble makers showed old lessons had been forgotten. And the management of the Sheik Jarrah eviction was a shambles.

All of the above are the responsibility of the PM or a close ally. They gave Hamas the excuses they needed. Israel was caught off-guard.

However, let us keep some perspective, the rockets from Gaza are laced with anti-Semitism and terror. They frighten, destroy, maim and even kill. But, they will not destroy the country. Just today, an Israeli e-commerce company has completed a NASDAQ valuation of over US$3.0 billion.

What disgusts me is what happened over the past two nights. In cities known for where Jew and non-Jew literally live side-by-side, vigilantes of both religions took control of the streets. There are stories of of repulsive violence and vandalism from both corners of the ring.

Social media was full of warnings. Police presence was inadequate. Political leadership was noticeable through its deafening silence. I was shocked dismayed and embarrassed.

Yes, of the few exceptions to this was a spontaneous interview with the highly respected Reuven Rivlin, the outgoing President of Israel. About 90 minutes later, the PM also issued a brief statement.

Maybe I missed his wise words, but I have yet to hear from the Minister of Police, Mr Amir Ohana. Known for his close ties to the Prime Minister, he has to accept that under his watch, and I repeat, his police force lost control of the streets in at least four cities!

And that comes immediately after the tragedy 2 weeks ago, when 45 people were crushed to death in a religious ceremony in the north of the country. It would seem that only at the highest of levels did the police approve the security arrangements for the event. To date, no public inquiry has been set up. A disgrace!

The difference between the issue of the rockets and the riots is that the former is a threat to life and property, but it is scenario with boundaries (for now). The latter is vast in depth and represents a direct threat to the core values of a country, based on democracy and mutual respect.

Who gave the PM the right to put this at risk?

For a decade, Netanyahu has kept power by mocking minority groups and dividing society. For the past two years, he has fought his legal battles, maintaining that he run the country at the same time. He has asked for a mandate from the public four times in 24 months, and thankfully has not received it.

For the sake of the future of this country and its values, the man must go, now!

1 comments

  1. Michael Horesh

    For additional perspective, I suggest you look at the posts from Tom Gross:

    [Notes above and below by Tom Gross]
    This is a follow-up to my two dispatches on Wednesday:
    http://www.tomgrossmedia.com/mideastdispatches/archives/001990.html
    There is so much happening at present, it is impossible to cover everything. Here are a small snapshot of items and articles that you may have missed. (I posted several of these items yesterday on my Facebook page. Please follow that page for quicker updates than these dispatches.)
    (This entire dispatch will be posted in a couple of hours here: http://www.tomgrossmedia.com/mideastdispatches/archives/001992.html .)

    PALESTINIANS CONFIRM: MANY OF GAZA DEAD KILLED BY HAMAS ROCKETS
    Palestinian NGOs have been honest enough (unlike the New York Times) to confirm what Israel has said all week: that about one third of the now almost 2,000 Hamas rockets aimed at Israeli civilians in recent days have fallen short and landed in Gaza, some killing Palestinians.
    For example, in this statement, the Gaza NGO “Defense for children international – Palestine” (which is normally very anti-Israel) says that eight Palestinians including two children, died in this Hamas rocket attack:
    “a homemade rocket fired by a Palestinian armed group fell short and killed eight Palestinians, including two children. The rocket landed in Saleh Dardouna Street near Al-Omari Mosque in Jabalia, North Gaza, according to evidence collected by DCIP. Mustafa Mohammad Mahmoud Obaid, 16, was killed in the blast, and five-year-old Baraa Wisam Ahmad al-Gharabli succumbed to his injuries around 11 p.m. on May 10.”
    https://twitter.com/DCIPalestine/status/1392190460093927424
    On Tuesday alone, Hamas rockets killed 16 Gazans, including 8 children, according to Palestinian NGOs. And yet anti-Israel media continue to mislead their readers into thinking that Israeli air strikes caused these deaths.
    In other cases Palestinians have been killed while being used as human shields by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
    ________________________________________
    Persons connected to intelligence circles tell me that the highly successful Israeli air strikes on Iranian and Qatari-funded Hamas rocket and weapon factories of recent days mean that Hamas may run out of long-range missiles within the next hours, thereby making it harder for Hamas to continue to hit Tel Aviv and major Israeli cities. However, Hamas still has thousands of short range-missiles which Israel is determined to destroy before any ceasefire.
    ________________________________________
    A friend tells me, that when Israeli politician Gideon Saar told a CNN anchor two months ago that Hamas could use some of the money it was using to build expensive weapons and rockets to instead purchase coronavirus vaccines, the CNN anchor laughed at him.

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