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Thursday, April 26, 2007

The difference between a Jew and an Israeli

On Wednesday night, YNet ran a nasty piece from one Idan Ben Barak, an Israeli living in Australia who urges fellow Israelis to leave the country and move elsewhere.
They say that if you put a frog in a pot of lukewarm water and slowly heat up the water, the frog would not feel the gradual heating and be cooked without even attempting to jump out. For 60 years now we've been so scared of the Arabs – actually, why 60, 100 at least – that it's the only thing we see. All the rest is marginal.

Corruption? Road accidents? Pollution? Poverty? Who cares about this nonsense? Two Qassam rockets just landed in Sderot and Ahmadinejad again made some belligerent statements. We've got action. Who has the energy to deal with the small stuff? And meanwhile, the country is crumbling in our fingers. Slowly but surely.

We already got used to it: There's no minister who isn't facing a police investigation. Every police chief comes with a scandal and every IDF chief of staff is a failure. The universities are suffocating, while colleges are flourishing. Everyone is studying law and business management in order to learn about how to move money.

Anyone who's worth anything in science and technology goes abroad to pursue a career, because there are no research budgets in Israel. And let's say we're able to give rise to and even keep two or three brilliant minds here, what exactly are we going to do with all those ultra-Orthodox guys who study Torah instead of serving in the army or working? Who will keep Israel afloat in 15 years?

We tried to build a country that would be a safe place for the Jewish people and that will allow us to live there in peace. It didn't work out. It turns out we can't have it all. Perhaps it's something about the Jewish character, or perhaps it's the fact that we got stuck in the Middle East of all places, and maybe it's just bad luck.
There are more 'problems' too - follow the link and you will find them. And Ben Barak's solution?
And by the way, they say that thing about the frog, but they're wrong. If you try to slyly cook a real frog, at some point it will feel that it's too hot and jump out much before you reach boiling point. I wish for all of us the kind of healthy instincts a frog has.

You need to jump out of the pot. Move abroad, while it's still possible. True, for Israelis "abroad" equals "America," but you may be surprised to hear that it's not the only option. There are several countries in this world that would be very glad to get a second-hand Israeli in good condition. Canada is one of them. So is New Zealand. There are many others.

At the end of the day, gloomy prophecies and unflattering comparisons to other countries is not what will get you to board a plane. After you debate, look into it, consult, examine the details, and do the numbers, you'll be left with one question: Do I have the guts to do it?

Leaving Israel is a risky business. Not because of the departure itself, as after all we can always go back, and many people indeed to that – but rather, because it forces you to deal with yourself. It's a process of the most in-depth self-examination, whether you like it or not.
Compare Ben Barak's solution to that of two Jews who probably would agree with much of Ben Barak's criticism: Professor Yisrael Aumann and Professor Aharon Ciechanover, Nobel Prize Winners:
Aumann and Ciechanover found a way out of their shared pessimism in their Jewish roots. "As a scientist, I am only a tourist in the palace of the Holy One, blessed be he," said Ciechanover, "who discovers secrets of the universe that he created, systems that were hidden in it for millions of years. If there are apparent flaws in them, I try, through medicine and science, to fix them."

Aumann stroked his white beard – just as my own grandfather did, according to the only photograph of him that survived the Holocaust and his escape – and said, "I feel the same way you do – I feel the same way you do."

...

The politicians, in the opinion of the two Prize winners, have stained public life with their behavior. Prof. Ciechanover said, "Our leadership is always raising moral questions; the public's trust in it has been lost completely. Of all the national symbols, only the anthem and the flag are not yet subject to investigation by the Attorney General or the State Comptroller. All the other symbols have already been consumed."

"With such leadership," adds Prof. Ciechanover with great passion, "It is not surprising that the people's internal cohesion is weakening. The external enemy does not scare me; with the help of technology and wisdom, we will find a cure for it. What do worry me are the processes within Israeli society itself. They are the destructive ones. Even our army failed [in this summer's war in Lebanon] morally and practically – just look at the way the IDF is now investigating itself!

...

You could have "starred" in any university in the world. Why are you here?

Prof. Ciechanover: "Because I was born here and I want to live in a Hebrew-speaking environment, in the State that I fought for and in which I believe—on account of the long history of my people – it is important to live. This country is the essence of my existence. My parents came to Israel as Jews from Poland because they wanted to establish a state in which no one would call them Zhid – a Jewish state in which they could live a free life. They knew what they were aiming for. But this is not necessarily true of all Israelis. Our internal cohesion is falling apart; the rifts are growing from within.

"I grew up with clear values, and, to my sorrow, I see around me their steady erosion. At this juncture, we have lost sight of our goal, and have no one with his hand on the rudder."
Part of Israel's problem is that the Ehud K. Olmert's of the country are trying to cater to the Idan Ben-Barak's of the country and convince them to stay. I disagree. Let the Idan Ben Barak's leave and take their empty 'Israeliness' and destructive cynicism with them. The country is better off without them. In a survey published for Independence Day earlier in the week, 50% of Israeli Jews said that they are Jews first, 45% said that they are Israelis first, and 5% said that neither label best describes them. We're still ahead but just barely.

3 Comments:

At 12:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi

Please consider writing news pieces or an op-ed for Jewrusalem: Israeli Uncensored News. We strive to present different views and opinions while rejecting political correctness. Ideally, we try to make the news "smart and funny." Thus, your input is very welcome.

Best,
Alex
www.jewrusalem.net/en

 
At 7:41 AM, Blogger M. Simon said...

Carl,

Have you seen this?

Haditha Bombshell - Intel Evidence

MSM falls for enemy propaganda.

 
At 9:44 PM, Blogger bernie said...

If only American liberals would likewise move to Canada or Australia; who needs them?

 

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