We sit here in Israel, one eye on life, the other on the clock, counting the moments until the ceasefire expires, waiting for the “boom” that is sure to come. And then, when it arrives, we reset the clock like an egg timer — counting the seconds of the next short-term ceasefire. The question is never “Is this peace?” The question is “How long until the first ‘rocket’s red glare’ disrupts this deceitful quiet?”
Maybe one has to be a bit meshugga to live here, but the way the world looks from where I sit, there is no sanctuary from crazies anymore, and no matter how challenging things are here, it seems the world at large is a much crazier place.
Before I enumerate several of the world’s more pronounced ticks and incoherence as reasons for living in Israel, I will give a two-word positive reason: Birkat Kohanim. That is reason enough. End of story. Once every day and on Shabbat a double portion, like manna, the Kohanim ascend the bimah and sustain the kehillah of Israel with benedictions. This religious rite has been performed for an uninterrupted chain of days, dating back before we were exiled from the land by the Romans.
The benefits of the bentching are multi-fold: We the non-priestly are the better and safer for it, and it gives these Sons of Aharon an extra reason to get the day started with a special sense of purpose. I have had this confirmed by a number of my friends who are Kohanim, who have even described this as “the highlight of the day.” So either way, Kohen or non-Kohen, everyone wins every day — not just on holidays.
Now, on to a world gone mad:
Let’s start with the world’s largest authorized and subsidized loony-bin, the United Nations, otherwise referred to behind its back (and it is a very broad back) as the United Nonsense. It is difficult to take seriously an organization that is putatively about human rights, yet populates all its rights commissions with nations who are the principal offenders: Iran was appointed to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women.
The U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is dominated by nations such as Pakistan, judged by human rights advocates as chronic violators of essential freedoms.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay condemned Israel for not sharing its Iron Dome defensive technology with Gaza and its Hamas leadership. Outside of the utter insanity of that remark, it inherently encourages an arms race.
It is from this locus of logic that the inspired decision was made to have the Canadian legal expert and renowned anti-Israel activist William Schabas head the commission investigating Israel for “war crimes” committed in the defensive engagement, Operation Protective Edge. Dr. Schabas’ positions are so noxious that his countryman, Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, responded negatively to the news, correctly criticizing the U.N. Human Rights Council (under whose auspices Mr. Schabas will operate) as “a sham,” and denouncing the investigation as “an utter shame [that] will do nothing to promote peace and dignity in Gaza for the Palestinian people.”
As for Mr. Schabas himself, a Canadian Foreign Ministry statement declared, “His opinions against Israel are known to all, and prove without a doubt that Israel cannot expect justice from this body … The report has already been written, and the only question is who signs it.” Schabas, when given the theoretical opportunity to put any world leader in the dock to be tried for war crimes said — on record, without hesitation — Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. And then, a moment later, he announced his runner-up to be Nobel Peace Prize winner and noted “peacenik,” then-president Shimon Peres. Justice is not only blind but apparently senseless as well.
Added to this pile-on against Israel are the threatened boycotts of arms shipments by both the United States and Britain. The White House is peeved because it feels Netanyahu pulled an “end around” and did not go through usual channels to replenish arms during the war in Gaza. As stated by members of the U.S. defense community, Israel followed accepted and appropriate protocols in replenishing its stock during Operation Protective Edge. Obama, with his popularity in a nose dive, is thought to be jealous of Netanyahu’s approval ratings both in Israel and in the U.S., and this has been offered as a reason for this tempest. Ironically, Obama is making more noise over arms to Israel than over Iran’s furthering its nuclear program. The White House should turn “pink” in shame.
Not to be outdone in illogic, Britain announced that, if there is a resumption of hostilities in Gaza, it will deny certain arms shipments to Israel outright. What that means on a practical level is that Hamas can start the battle and Britain will make Israel pay the price. Win-win for the terrorists of Hamas.
While we are “visiting” the United Kingdom, supermarkets in Ireland and England have been savaged by anti-Israel demonstrators who have removed everything from the shelves that they “suspected” is from Israel. The floors were littered with every imaginable item. If someone needed to shop, they would have had to crawl on the floor to find products. In the English supermarket, the kosher goods were removed, and the store clerks said it was done in support of the people of Gaza.
Israel is no less guilty of inane behavior by providing electricity, water and other basics to the Gazan people, who overwhelmingly seek to destroy Israel and all the Jews in it. Whoever accused the Jewish people of being the smartest of all the nations did not “get the memo” from the government committing itself to protecting the Gazan people. We may as well follow U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay’s idea of sending Iron Dome batteries to Gaza — but wait a second, the Gazans no longer need Iron Dome defense, because Israel is running out of missiles, because Britain and the U.S. are embargoing Israel.
Speaking of missiles, Hamas has sent a flurry of its calling cards to the south of Israel. See what happens when you take both eyes off the clock and focus them on living? A war breaks out. There is so much more lunacy out there to discuss; come to Israel so that we can talk in person. If that invitation doesn’t close the deal I have two words that surely will: Birkat Kohanim.
Meir Solomon is a writer, analyst, and commentator living in Alon Shvut, Israel, with his wife and two children. He can be contacted at email@example.com.