Thursday, January 5, 2012

Thursday January 5: Israel's Wake-Up Call

By Sylvia Gurinsky

The 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin didn't do it. But perhaps the harassment of an 8-year-old girl - and of various girls and women - has given Israel its wake-up call about the dangers of its extremists - and the complicity of its government in letting this behavior go on.

The level of observance of the thugs responsible for harassment, segregation of women on buses and other wrongdoings is less important than the fact that they're not acting like Jews at all. There is no derech eretz in their behavior.

There's only hypocrisy in the behavior of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Many will never forget the anger of Leah Rabin at Netanyahu for his role in encouraging the atmosphere that led to her husband's murder. This time, in order to keep his seat, Netanyahu has made numerous deals with the devils - the right-wing parties - and allowed them to skip responsibilities to pay taxes, serve in the army and take on many other duties of being an Israeli citizen. Numerous people supported by those parties don't even believe in a state of Israel, and providing any government financial support to them makes no sense.

The Israeli Knesset should end such subsidies and start a true government reform process so prime ministers won't be held hostage by fringe parties.

Other political leaders have simply used the harassment issue for their own gain - most notably former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who blew chances last fall to be on the correct side of the economic inequality protests and the release of Gilad Shalit. She doesn't come off as a true believer, only an opportunistic one.

It's ridiculous that a country whose third prime minister was a woman (Golda Meir) should have moved so far backwards in the 38 years since her tenure ended.

Meir once said, "Whether women are better than men I cannot say - but I can say they are certainly no worse."

Many Israeli men and women have shown the better with their courage in fighting the extremists. It's up to them to lead their elected government to do the same.

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