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Saturday, 10 March 2007

The Blue Jew Yorker

Untitled from the series: Evening Poetry Walk

Thousands of email spams later and what do I have to show?

One decent email.

A new online Poetry Journal called

The Blue Jew Yorker

Its their first edition, not a bad show for a first!

Full Frontal Judaism
(extract)

To lift up these hills which mutilate
my face like swollen lumps
this plastic surgery of exile
contorting my cheekbones with the bloating, bulging
of a victim’s cry, you see this hunchback
is but a table which got stuck under my shirt while
I was trying to hide under its scared surfaces

Adam Shechter

Any way check them out, be bold
and submit something for their Second Edition.

Bagelblogger

Apologies to the Poet for providing only an extract...

ThanksBagelblogger - Always Fresh!
:
Poetry * Jewish Identity * New York and Poetry * New York and Judaism * The Blue Jew Yorker * Poems from New York * Jew * New York and Jewish * Jewish * BagelBlogger * Bagel Blogger

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Friday, 9 March 2007

JPix3: Last call for Submissions


Hurry!
Get you Photo Posts in Now!
Last call for Submissions for JPix3
Click Read more to find out about
JPix the Photo Carnival for Jewish Bloggers
_______________________________



If you didn't check out the photos of JPix 2 the Jewish Photo Carnival
then your really did miss out on something.

Last call for submissions to JPix 3

Don't forget to get in your submissions for the next JPix 3 carnival

which will be hosted by Batya at Me-ander.

Last Submissions by Sat midnight 10th of March,
Carnival opening on the 12th March

If you have any questions you can email:

JpixcarnivalATgmailDOTcom

________________________

JPix 4 will be hosted by Chaim from Life of Rubin

JPix 5 is still looking for a host so step up and help this carnival
(and get a significant boost to both your traffic and links)

_______________________

Here's a little badge to put on your side menu. Point it to go to:

http://blogcarnival.com/bc/latest_987.html

If you would like to have the submit buttons and
archive buttons there on the side bar of Bagelblogger.

Dont forget the only criteria to entering your photos is:

What is JPix
JPix is a carnival for Jews and their pictures, it doesn't necessarily have to be that 'joyous expression of art' which photography can capture, it doesn't have to be just about photos of Eretz Israel, though they are most welcome, its not even about communicating some deep spiritual meaning in a long photo essay, although that's alright too, its about two things.

You're Jewish and you have photos you want to share, wether they be family, historical, artful, funny, quirky its about sharing, so get your submissions in for the next JPix.

Thank you to all those that submitted their wonderful photos to JPix 1 and JPix2

I look forward to seeing some great photos in the next carnival JPix 3

If you have any questions you can email JpixcarnivalATgmailDOTcom

or Batya at Me-ander or Shiloh Musings

Bagelblogger Get those entries into JPix3..!
* Jpix2 * Jpix 1* Jpix * Jewish Photography * Jewish Photography Carnival * JPix CarnivalJ Pix Carnival * Jewish Art * Jewish Photos and Blogs * Jewish Photo BlogsJewish Photo Essays * Israel and Photos * Jewish Creativity * Jewish * Israel * JewishBagelBlogger * Bagel Blogger *

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Eight months in terrorist captivity as the World turns a blind eye.

10 March 2007

EIght months tommorrow, have passed since the unprovoked abduction of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser on the Israeli side of the Lebanese border, and of Gilad Shalit on the Israeli side of the border with Gaza.
[Click Read More...]

EIght months have passed since the unprovoked abduction of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser on the Israeli side of the Lebanese border, an action that precipitated widespread confrontation between Israel and the Lebanon-based Hizbullah terrorist organization. To date no word has been heard from the two captive soldiers, and neither their families nor the government of Israel have any knowledge of their whereabouts or their current state of health.

Two weeks prior to their abduction, another soldier, Gilad Shalit, was abducted as well, this time on the Israeli side of the border with Gaza. His family, too, anxiously awaits news from him. Especially grave is the fact that these unprovoked abductions were carried out on sovereign Israeli territory.

Taken from their families eight months ago, these captive soldiers are denied the most basic of human rights as enshrined in the Geneva Convention. In a gross breach of U.N. Resolution 1701, the terrorist organizations that carried out these abductions, and Syria and Iran who support them, behave as if these human rights are nothing more than a bargaining chip in their game of negotiation, refusing even to transmit messages to the captives from their families. International bodies who met with the captives' families have also tried to forward messages and letters, but they have been met with a negative response as well.

Neither Israel nor any other civilized, law abiding country can accept this situation. The World speaks of Human rights yet ignores the most basic rights of these kidnapped soldiers.


Gilad Shalit (20) was born on August 28, 1986. He is the son of Aviva and Noam Shalit and the brother of Yoel (23) and Hadas (16).

Gilad was born in Nahariya but was raised from the age of two in Mitzpe Hila in the western Galilee. He graduated with distinction from the science class of Manor Kabri High School. Gilad loves math and sports. He has enjoyed playing basketball ever since he was a child, but is interested in sports in general. He follows the different leagues and tournaments all over the world, from tennis and basketball to cycling and athletics. If you wish to know the results of a tournament somewhere in the world - it’s Gilad you should ask.

Gilad is a well-mannered, quiet and introverted young man. An almost permanent shy and hesitant smile light up his face. Gilad is always volunteering to help everyone.

Gilad began his military service about a year before his abduction - at the end of July 2005. Despite a low medical profile, he preferred to serve in a combat unit, followed his elder brother Yoel into the armored corps. After successfully ended his training, Gilad was guarding and ensuring the security of the settlements around Gaza when he was abducted by terrorists.

Since the attack at Kerem Shalom on Sunday, June 25, 2006, Gilad has been held in the Gaza Strip by Hamas.

Ehud (Udi) Goldwasser (31) was born in Nahariya on July 18, 1975. He is the son of Miki and Shlomo and elder brother of Yair (26) and Gadi (23). He married Karnit 10 months before his abduction.

Udi is a graduate of the science class in the Amal Comprehensive High School in Nahariya. He served in the combat battalion Zabar Givati. After his military service he toured Australia alone on a motorcycle for half a year. Later, he completed his preparatory studies in the Technion and went on to study environmental engineering.

Udi is a kind and much loved person. He is considerate of other people’s opinions even if they oppose his own. It’s fun being in his company. He is a loving and caring person, always ready to offer a helping hand in any situation. He is a man of principles and values, knowledgeable in many subjects. He loves movies, music and spending time with his friends. A motorcycle buff, he has encyclopedic knowledge of all models. As a child he sailed the seas with his father, and has recently got his skipper license for sailing yachts and was planning to sail abroad.

Conservation of the environment is of the utmost importance to Udi. Indeed, he joined a Green group to help clean our nature reserves. Udi loves animals, and although he suffers from a mild fur allergy, he lives with two cats and lovingly adopted an abandoned and injured dog he found in the street. Over the last few years he has developed a great interest in photography. He spends much of his spare time taking pictures of scenery and nature in Israel and abroad. Lately, his hobby has become a profession having begun to take on projects as a photographer.

On July 12, 2006 Udi was abducted to Lebanon after Hizbullah attacked his military patrol.

Eldad Regev (26) was born and raised in Kiryat Motzkin. He is the son of Zvi and the late Tova Regev, and brother of Benny, Ofer and Eyal.
Eldad completed his secondary education at the Yeshiva High School in Kiryat Shmuel. He excelled in biology and passed all his matriculation exams with ease. In spite of his mother Tova's untimely death when he was in the 12th grade, Eldad decided to serve in a combat unit and volunteered for the elite Givati infantry brigade. After his army service, like most of his friends, he traveled to the Far East. On his return he started to work while at the same time enrolling in Bar Ilan University's pre-law preparatory course with the aim of being accepted to the university's law faculty.

One of the qualities that makes Eldad so special is the kindness of his heart – never hesitating to donate and offer aid to anyone in need. Eldad made many friends throughout high school and during his army service, all of whom can attest to his fine qualities.

Among Eldad’s hobbies are football (last year he passed a coaching course - he is a fan of Maccabi Tel Aviv football team), music and books. A fanatic football fan, before being called up for reserve duty Eldad closely followed the World Cup games. He also went to the concert given by Roger Water (of Pink Floyd) in Kerem Shalom.

Eldad was called up for military reserve duty after completing his exams at the preparatory course in Bar Ilan University. Three days before his abduction he visited his family and participated in the annual memorial for his mother. Later, he watched the last game of the World Cup between Italy and France. The following day he returned to the complete the remainder of his reserve duty.

On July 12, 2006 Eldad was abducted and taken to Lebanon after Hizbullah attacked his military patrol.

References:
This article is substantially based on a previous article
Behind the Headlines: Six months in terrorist captivity
which is from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
It is provided here to provide context to visitors of Mr Bagel.

ThanksMr Bagel- Always Fresh!
:
IDF * Missing Soldiers * Gilad Shalit * Ehud Goldwasser * Eldad Regev * Kidnapped soldiers * Jew * Terrorism * Jewish * BagelBlogger * Bagel Blogger

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Thursday, 8 March 2007

They're Coming! The 2007 JIB Awards are beginning shortly.


The 2007 JIB Awards are soon to start, make sure you check out the new Web site at JibAwards.com The Work group has been burning the midnight oil and is working hard towards accomplishing this task. Its important to realise that this years 2007 JIB Awards are a new initiative by small group of dedicated JBloggers.

All the work has been voluntary.

This year's awards are being run by a committee of JBloggers, and with the
approval of the founder of the JIBs, Dave of IsraellyCool

Make sure you stop by JibAwards.Com
We hope you'll participate. Please let all your favorite JBloggers know!
For the Press and Media, here's a Press Release.

Feel free to pass the press release on to any local Jewish media outlets you know of.

Nominations are scheduled to open right after Pesach (Passover), running April 12 - April 19.

For the rest of the schedule and awards, please go to the website.

The New 2007 JIB Award badges will be able to be previewed tomorrow.

Check them out in the Graphics Section.

The Third annual 2007 Jewish and Israeli Blog Awards

Regards the JIB Awards Workgroup

Bagelblogger Always Fresh!
: JIB Rules * 2007 JIB Award Categories* 2007 JIBs * JIB * Jewish and Israeli Blog Awards * JIB Awards and 2007 * JIBawards.com * Jewish Blog Awards * Israel Blog awards * Israel Internet awards * Jewish Blog awards *Israel * Jewish * BagelBlogger * Bagel Blogger

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Wednesday, 7 March 2007

About The State of Israel

Read about the State of Israel
A full profile of the State of Israel including information concerning government and administration, geography and economy

[This is a developing section it's genesis is from an article written in Ynet.com for full credits please refer below]

The State of Israel is a democratic republic in the Middle East.


Israel's Borders

In the West – the Mediterranean Sea and the Gaza Strip; in the North – Lebanon and Syria; in the East – Jordon and Palestinian Authority autonomous territories; in the South – Egypt and the Red Sea. Israel holds territories that it captured in 1967 from Syria (the Golan Heights), Jordan (the West Bank) and Egypt (Gaza). In certain sections of the West Bank, an autonomous Palestinian Authority was established.

Government and Administration

The state of Israel is republic, defined as a parliamentary democracy with proportional representation. The legislative authority is the Knesset and the executive authority is the government. Since the country's inception, no political party has achieved an absolute majority, and thus, all of Israel's governments have been coalition governments. Israel has a president who is chosen by the Knesset once every seven years. His role is symbolic, having only the power to appoint the specific member of Knesset who determines the make-up of the government and to grant pardons.

Israel is administratively divided into 6 districts and 14 provinces. Judea, Samaria and Gaza have a separate administration. Regional authorities – municipalities and local or regional councils – have legal jurisdiction in their area, as well as responsibility for legal services.

The country has a mandatory education law, which states that all Israeli children are entitled to eleven free years of education, from kindergarten to grade ten. For higher learning, Israel has universities, colleges and institutions of religious instruction (yeshivot, midrashot).

The state of Israel has general health care, which provides a medical services package for every citizen. Enforcement of this is split between the Ministry of Health and the health maintenance organizations. Citizens pay a health tax to national insurance.


Official nameState of Israel
GPI22,145 square km
Population7,047,0001
Population growth rate1.39 percent
Demographics - EthnicityJewish 80.1 percent (32.1 percent born in Europe/North America, 20.8 percent born in Israel, 14.6 percent born in Africa, 12.6 percent born in Asia). Non-Jewish (primarily Arab) 19.9 percent
Demographics - ReligionJewish 79 percent, Muslim 17.3 percent, Christian 2.1 percent, Druze 1.6 percent
Official languagesHebrew, Arabic
CapitalJerusalem
GovernmentDemocratic republic
GDP523.852 billion NIS (as of 2004)
Estimated GDP growth rate3.9 percent (as of 2004)
Population under poverty line23.6 percent (as of 2004
Inflation rate1.4 percent (as of 2004)
Unemployment rate10.7 percent (as of 2004
Major industriesSoftware, telecommunications, weapons, phosphates, diamonds, agriculture
Imports34.41 billion dollars (as of 2004
Exports36.84 billion dollars (as of 2004

State of Israel: History

The State of Israel was established in 1948, amidst clashes with British Mandatory forces, Arab residents, and the Arab states which declared war on the nascent state on the very day of its founding.

The struggle for Israeli independence

In the wake of the Holocaust, the Jewish community in the Land of Israel, as well as the worldwide Zionist Movement, became increasingly cognizant of the fact that an independent and sovereign Jewish state was necessary to provide haven for the decimated Jewish nation.

The struggle was conducted on two fronts: an armed and political battle against the British Mandatory forces and a worldwide diplomatic and explanatory campaign, especially in the United States. Concurrently, much effort was invested in the Ha’apalah, the so-called “illegal” Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel, which was, in effect, an attack against British Mandatory policies.

Although Britain emerged victorious from World War II, the country was heavily hit in economic and social terms. Then, during the post-war years, the British Empire began to unravel. Once the British Raj ended in India, the Land of Israel lost much of its strategic importance, as the British no longer required a foothold adjacent to the Suez Canal.

In 1947, Britain requested that the UN retract the Mandate granted to Britain by the League of Nations. The UN appointed a special committee (UNESCOP), which recommended that the land west of the Jordan River be partitioned into two states: one Jewish and one Arab. On November 29, 1947, the General Assembly voted in favor of partition, which became known as Resolution 181. The Jewish community rejoiced, but the Arabs rejected the decision and began fighting the very next day.

According to Resolution 181, the British Mandate was set to expire on May 15, 1948. Since the 15th came out on Shabbat that year, the National Council convened on Friday, May 14, and declared the establishment of the State of Israel. The Declaration of Independence surveyed the historical connection between Am Yisrael (the nation of Israel) and its land and laid out the new state’s founding principles, but specific borders were not mentioned.

In addition, the Declaration of Independence introduced the name of the Jewish State: “We hereby declare that as from the termination of the Mandate… the present National Council shall act as the provisional administration and… shall constitute the Provisional Government of the Jewish State, to be called Israel.” The name was derived from the Land of Israel, the historic name of the Jewish national homeland.

Both the US and the USSR immediately recognized Israel, and additional countries followed suit. However, the Arab League was determined to destroy the new state, and on May 15, the Egyptian, Jordanian (then called Trans-Jordanian), Syrian, Iraqi and Lebanese armies, together with irregular forces from other Arab nations, invaded Israel.

The War of Independence thus evolved from a conflict between two resident populations to a full-fledged war between organized armies. Following a year and a half of fighting, an Armistice Agreement was reached between Israel and most of the Arab countries. Iraq, which continued to maintain a state of war with Israel, remained the lone exception.

From this point on, Israeli history was punctuated by wars with its Arab neighbors. Each war left a unique and lasting impact on Israel’s foreign affairs, economy, and social fabric.

From the War of Independence until the Sinai War (1948-1956)

Even as the war raged, the new state’s institutions were organized. For example, the Assembly of Representatives became the Knesset, and the National Council became the government, under the leadership of David Ben-Gurion. The government assumed the Mandatory Government’s authorities, but since the British left without arranging for an orderly transfer of power, the process was complex and difficult.


War of Independence: Hagana troops practicing (Photo: La'am)

Meanwhile, large immigration waves reached Israeli shores. Between 1948 and 1951, approximately 700,000 Jews arrived; entire communities came from Libya, Yemen, Bulgaria, and Iraq. In 1950, the Law of Return, which granted full Israeli citizenship to every Jewish immigrant, was enacted. More immigrants arrived during 1955-1957, including around 160,000 North African and Eastern European Jews.

As a result of the economic costs of the war and absorbing the immigrants, an austerity program (1949-1952), which involved much rationing, was instituted. In 1952, the government signed a controversial reparations agreement with Germany. Despite the resulting political and public storm, the agreement increased the market’s momentum.

Arab infiltrations began almost immediately following the Armistice. Palestinian refugees would clandestinely cross Israel’s borders, in order to commit crimes and, later, also sabotage. Israel responded with reprisal attacks. Although the process escalated gradually, some historians cite the Black Arrow attack of February 28, 1955, as a key turning point. On that night, the IDF attacked an Egyptian army installation in the Gaza Strip; previously, most of the operations had been directed at Palestinian targets. The Egyptians began organizing bands of Palestinian infiltrators called “fedayeen”, which, in essence, comprised the first Palestinian terror organization.

In September 1955, Egypt signed an arms deal with Czechoslovakia. (In fact, Czechoslovakia, as a Soviet satellite, would be passing on weapons supplied by the USSR.) The huge amount of weaponry involved was unprecedented in the Middle East. Syria signed a similar deal, albeit on a smaller scale. Israelis sensed that “Round Two”, between Israel and its Arab neighbors, was fast approaching.

Israel began strengthening its military ties with France, since Ben-Gurion had insisted that Israel not go to war without the support of at least one major power. France was amenable to Israeli overtures, because the French blamed Egyptian leader Gamal Abed an-Nasser for much of their Algerian troubles. After Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal on July 26, 1956, Britain joined the conflict. On October 22, senior representatives of France, Britain and Israel met in Sèvres, outside of Paris, and agreed to go to war against Egypt. The Sinai War began on October 29.

From the Sinai War until the Six Day War (1957-1967)

The Sinai War ended on November 6, 1956, and, to Israel’s chagrin, the world’s superpowers soon forced Israel to relinquish all its territorial achievements. The IDF pulled back from the Sinai and the Gaza Strip in March 1957, and a UN Emergency Force was mobilized along the border.

A period of relative quiet ensued, and Israel strengthened its economy and developed the national infrastructure during the interlude. Also, the Eichmann Trial, which occurred during this time, increased Israeli sensitivity to the Holocaust. Meanwhile, by 1966, another 300,000 immigrants had arrived. However, in the wake of a severe recession in 1965, immigration rates dropped. Several scandals rocked the political establishment; in particular, the infamous “Lavon Affair” sent shockwaves up to the highest echelons. David Ben-Gurion resigned and left the Mapai party; Levi Eshkol became the next prime minister. Finally, Israel sent out diplomatic feelers to a number of newly independent Asian and African nations, as well as to several South American countries.

In 1964, neighboring Arabs began infiltrating the country again, after ceasing the phenomenon in the wake of the Sinai War. In addition, the Palestinians established the al-Fatah organization, and terrorists entered Israeli territory. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), with al-Fatah at its core, was founded at the end of 1964. Nevertheless, the number of attacks was lower that during 1954-1956, and there were fewer reprisal raids.

A more serious problem was meanwhile developing on the northern border. Following the completion of the National Water Carrier, both Syria and Lebanon repeatedly attempted to divert the sources of the Jordan River; Israel responded with fire. The situation quickly deteriorated, and the IDF and Syrian army were involved in heavy fighting, referred to as “the War for Water”.

At the same time, Egypt expressed concern over the nuclear reactor that Israel was allegedly building near Dimona. After an air battle over the Golan Heights on April 7, 1967, during which six Syrian aircraft were downed, Egypt announced that it was allying itself with Syria. Thus, on May 15, Egyptian forces entered the Sinai, in violation of the agreement signed in 1957, in the wake of the Sinai War. In addition, Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships and ordered UN forces to withdraw from their positions along the border.


IDF Chief Rabbi, Goren, at the Kotel (Photo: La'am)

Israel realized that a war was imminent, and the mood throughout the country was somber and grave. The IDF called up the reserves, and Prime Minister Eshkol, aware that he had not managed to inspire confidence, transferred the defense portfolio to Moshe Dayan. A historical first was achieved when the Herut party joined the newly formed national unity government.

On June 6, the Six Day War broke out, as the IDF went to war against Egypt, Syria, and Jordan.

From the Six Day War until the Yom Kippur War (1967-1973)

In the wake of Israel’s stunning victory in the Six Day War, unbridled euphoria swept through the country. The IDF had acquired the Golan Heights, Judea, Samaria, the Gaza Strip, and the entire Sinai Peninsula up to the Suez Canal (which had been closed to shipping). But most significantly, Jerusalem had been reunified, and for the first time since 1948, Jews were able to pray at the Western Wall. Israel immediately annexed the eastern portion of Jerusalem but declared that other territories were being held in the hope of a peace treaty. “We are waiting for a telephone call from the Arabs,” Dayan asserted.

Yet, despite Dayan’s declaration, Jewish communities were built in the territories. The government officially authorized settlement of the Golan Heights, the Jordan Valley, southern Sinai, and, eventually, also the area around Rafah. However, official policy was more ambiguous in Judea and Samaria, where the government preferred that Jews not move into areas heavily populated by Arabs. Nevertheless, many such settlements were established, with considerable support from numerous government ministers as well as Knesset members. In addition, a construction wave was initiated in eastern Jerusalem, which the Arabs and much of the world insisted on calling “occupied territory”.

In November 1967, the UN Security Council accepted Resolution 242, which included the concept of “land for peace”, but the vote had no practical significance. US Secretary of State William Rogers introduced another peace initiative, which also never took effect but led to the unraveling of the Israeli national unity government. Previously, in February 1969, Prime Minister Eshkol passed away, and Golda Meir took his place.

The PLO built bases in the eastern Jordan Valley and dispatched terrorists into Israeli territory. Several pursuits were launched in the valley (which became known as “pursuit land”) during 1968-1970, until Jordan expelled the terrorists following the “Black September” riots of 1970. Most Palestinian organizations relocated to southern Lebanon and Syria.

Arab terrorism also concentrated on Israeli civilian aviation and targets throughout the world, and high profile attacks were committed in Israel itself, sometimes with the help and support of foreign terror organizations. Several glaring examples included the hijacking of an El Al airplane to Algeria on July 23, 1968, which was the first of its kind; the massacre at Lod Airport on May 30, 1972, which was committed by Japanese terrorists masquerading as passengers; and the abduction and subsequent murder of 11 Israeli Olympians in Munich on September 5, 1972.

In March 1969, Egyptian President Nasser instructed his army on the Suez Canal front to open fire on all exposed targets. Thus began the War of Attrition, which mainly comprised heavy exchanges of fire across the canal, as well as several raids behind enemy lines (on both sides) and Israeli air attacks deep into Egyptian territory. The US was forced to intervene and impose the above mentioned Rogers plan. In August 1970, the war ended, and Nasser died a few weeks later.

In spite of the fighting along the borders, many Israelis felt safe and secure. The country had complete confidence in the IDF’s ability to protect the nation. In fact, for the first time since the establishment of the state, the public believed that Israel’s existence was guaranteed. The severe recession of the prewar period made way for an era of economic growth, and many citizens trusted that the situation would only continue.

From the Yom Kippur War until the Political Upset (1973-1977)

Disillusionment was exceptionally painful. Egypt and Syria clandestinely planned a full-fledged surprise attack on Israel, hoping to retrieve the territories they had lost during the Six Day War. The working assumption was that even if the Egyptian and Syrian armies were unable to regain the land themselves, Israel would be forced to give up the territories, due to the international pressure which would surely result from the war. On Yom Kippur 5733, October 6, 1973, the Yom Kippur War broke out.

The IDF was not prepared. Even though the army soon recovered, – the territory lost on the Golan Heights was regained within three days, and ten days after the fighting began, IDF forces penetrated Egyptian territory, although Egyptian forces were not yet pushed out of the Sinai – nevertheless, the sense of defeat, which had characterized the first few days of fighting, did not abate even once the war had ended.

In the aftermath of the war, an investigative committee, headed by Chief Justice Shimon Agranat, was appointed. The so-called Agranat Commission made several recommendations concerning high-ranking military leaders, including Chief of Staff David Elazar, but refrained from discussing the political echelon.

A number of Arab countries sent troops to fight alongside Egypt and Syria. (Jordan notably stayed away.) In addition, the oil-rich Arab nations, collectively known as OAPEC, announced that they were decreasing production and placing an oil embargo on the US and Holland, due to their support of Israel. Shockwaves raced around the world; the so-called “first energy crisis” had begun. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which included all the OAPEC members, took advantage of the Arab embargo. Crude oil prices quadrupled within just a few months.

The energy crisis threatened most of the world’s non-OPEC members, many of whom blamed Israel. As a result of the war, which was perceived in some circles as an Arab victory, and the deteriorating global economy, Israel lost much of its international standing. Furthermore, the rising oil prices directly affected Israel’s economy, which was largely dependent on oil imports.

Nonetheless, Israel managed to weather the war’s economic fallout, mainly due to unprecedented American aid. Since 1974, American foreign aid to Israel, comprised of both military and economic aid, has equaled several billion dollars a year. Still, the economic upswing of the prewar period was considerably overturned.

The settlement enterprise continued, occasionally accompanied by clashes with the government in places such as Kedumim. Terror persisted as well, including the infamous hijacking of an Air France plane to Entebbe, Uganda. The subsequent IDF rescue mission on July 4, 1976, made headlines throughout the world. On June 7, 1981, Israel conducted another daring raid and destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor a short while before it was scheduled to go live.

The Alignment Party won a proportional majority in Israeli elections held shortly after the war. However, the public no longer trusted the party’s veteran leadership, and Prime Minister Meir and Defense Minister Dayan were forced to resign. Yitzchak Rabin became the next prime minister.

From the Political Upset until the Lebanon War (1977-1982)

The elections of 1977 have been described as a dramatic upset; for the first time in Israeli history, a group of center/right parties, collectively known as the Likud, formed a government. Menachem Begin, who had led the opposition since the state’s founding, became the prime minister. Although the upset can be attributed to the aftershocks of the Yom Kippur War, other factors also contributed to the political turnaround. Wide swaths of the public felt disenfranchised, and great rifts were becoming apparent throughout Israeli society.


Israeli PM Begin with Egyptian President, Saadat
and US President Carter
in Camp David (Photo: AP)

A radical turnabout in Israeli-Arab relations occurred towards the end of 1977. Following clandestine talks between Israeli and Egyptian officials, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat publicly announced that he intended to visit Jerusalem, address the Knesset, and discuss peace. Sadat arrived in Israel on November 19, and Egypt and Israel launched peace talks, under American auspices. Two years later, in 1979, the two countries signed the Camp David Accords. Virulent public storms arose in the wake of the subsequent Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai and the evacuation of Yamit in 1982. A series of governmental countermeasures included the enactment of the Jerusalem Law of 1980 and the declaration of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights in 1981.

One major social development at that time was the growing strength of the haredi sector. Prior to 1977, this closed community had been relatively insignificant; although the haredim always enjoyed Knesset representation, haredi involvement in the nation’s political life was minimal. However, in 1977, Begin invited Agudat Yisrael, a haredi party, to join his coalition, even though the Dash party, comprised of former Alignment members, was larger. As a result, the haredi public’s ranks swelled, and its members became more politically and economically active.

The Lebanese civil war, which had begun in 1975, grew steadily worse, and the northern terrorists became bolder. Israel’s anti-terrorist activities included establishing the South Lebanese Army (SLA) under Saad Hadad’s command and opening the so-called “Good Fence”. Nevertheless, the terror continued, and on March 14, 1978, the IDF entered Lebanese territory as part of Operation Litani. Israel retreated approximately three months later, after a UN peacekeeping force was stationed as a buffer between the Israeli border and PLO positions throughout southern Lebanon. (In effect, the buffer became an SLA-controlled security zone.)

The arrangement soon proved ineffective, and on June 6, 1982, following an assassination attempt on the Israeli ambassador to Britain, the Lebanon War began.

From the Lebanon War until the Oslo Accords (1982-1995)

As opposed to the previous Arab-Israeli wars, the Lebanon War did not end with either a ceasefire or an armistice agreement. In fact, Israel’s objectives were not fully achieved. Although the IDF controlled about half of Lebanon’s territory, Israel had not managed to either destroy the PLO or impose a “new order” on Lebanon. Prior to the war, Israel had envisioned a sovereign Christian-controlled Lebanon which would sign a peace treaty with Israel and conduct full diplomatic relations. However, Lebanese Phalangist leader Bashir Gamayel’s assassination on September 14 shattered all Israeli illusions.

In the wake of the assassination, Christian forces massacred Palestinian residents of the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, thus igniting a storm of protests in Israel and throughout the world. The Israeli government and the IDF leadership were accused of ignoring the massacre, and the Kahan Commission, appointed to investigate the killings, recommended that Defense Minister Ariel Sharon be dismissed.

IDF forces in Lebanon came under continuous fire and were the targets of terror attacks committed by the assorted paramilitary organizations then operating in Lebanon – including those that had initially welcomed the IDF with flowers. In 1985, the IDF began slowly retreating southward, and a “security zone”, under joint IDF-SLA control, was established in southern Lebanon. Relative quiet prevailed on Israel’s northern border, but flare-ups persisted within the security zone.

Socially and economically, this was a tempestuous period in Israeli history. The Likud government, which adhered to a liberal worldview, oversaw certain economic steps which quickly led to a galloping inflation, which had reached 400% by 1983. During that same year, bank shares collapsed, and the Israeli economy was in chaos. Strikes were rampant, and emigration increased. In August 1983, the Lebanese quagmire and the country’s desperate economic straits caused Begin to resign, citing “personal reasons”. Yitzchak Shamir became the next prime minister.

The 1984 general elections resulted in a “hung” Knesset, and a national unity government was formed on a rotation basis. Shimon Peres was the prime minister for the first two years, and then Shamir, maintaining the same coalition, replaced him in October 1986. In order to stabilize the economy, the national unity government took a number of drastic steps, including the implementation of a comprehensive price freeze, and managed to curb the inflation. Nevertheless, the economy did not immediately rebound. During the 1988 elections, the Likud achieved a very narrow margin of victory. As a result, another unity government was formed, but this time, there was to be no rotation. In March 1990, Peres, seeking to regain power, tried to cause the Shamir government to fall. However, the so-called “stinking maneuver” failed, and the Labor party found itself back in the opposition.

Although some Palestinian Arabs had become members of terror organizations and a small number had committed terror attacks, most refrained from protesting Israeli rule. In December 1987, however, everything changed. A wave of uprisings, called the Intifada, broke out in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. Israel proved unable to quell the riots. Shamir even agreed to participate in the Madrid Conference, an international peace conference which included Palestinian representatives, albeit as part of the Jordanian delegation. However, the Palestinian uprising continued unabated.

In early 1991, Israel became an unwilling participant in the First Gulf War. Iraq responded to Coalition attacks by launching Scud missiles into Israel. Although there were few casualities and property damage was relatively minimal, the constant fear of unconventional weapons led to widespread panic. Nonetheless, life quickly returned to normal once the war had ended.

Rabin replaced Peres as Labor party chairman and garnered a majority in the 1992 elections, largely as a result of the optimism generated by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the ensuing large immigration wave which began in late 1989. The economy flourished, and the government’s primary concern was the Intifada.

Clandestine talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials in Oslo, Norway, climaxed in the Oslo Accords. As part of the controversial agreement, Israel accepted the PLO as the official representative of the Palestinians and granted it autonomy over a large portion of Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip. In return, the Palestinians promised to recognize Israel’s existence, to refrain from further terrorist activities, and to end the Intifada. The Accords were signed in Washington on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993, accompanied by a much-hyped handshake between Rabin and PLO leader Yasser Arafat.

From the Oslo Accords (1993) until Today

The Oslo Accords significantly impacted Israel. As per the agreement, the Palestinian Authority (PA) was founded. Shortly thereafter, in October 1994, Israel signed an historic peace treaty with Jordan, and tentative peace talks were initiated with Syria. Israel’s international standing improved dramatically, and immigration continued to soar. In the period between 1990 and 1995, over 500,000 immigrants arrived from Eastern Europe and other locations. In addition, the economy boomed.

Yet, Israel paid dearly for the Accords. The Palestinian attacks continued unabated, and Israel accused Arafat and the PA of not preventing the terror. In addition, the PA established military or paramilitary armies in excess of their Oslo mandate. The Palestinians, meanwhile, claimed that new Israeli settlements violated Oslo “in spirit”.

On November 4, 1995, the so-called “peace process” exploded when Rabin was shot by an Israeli Jew. Peres, who took his place as prime minister, advanced the elections to the beginning of 1996 (direct prime ministerial elections had been introduced in the meantime) and was defeated by the Likud’s Binyamin Netanyahu, whose political views were diametrically opposed to Rabin’s and Peres’. The peace process advanced sporadically at best, and many more Israelis began to vociferously oppose the Oslo Accords. The new government did not last, and Netanyahu resigned in 1999. In May of that year, Ehud Barak was elected as the next prime minister.

Barak was unable to get the peace process back on track. However, he did keep his election promise of an Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon. In May 2000, the last IDF soldiers retreated to the Israeli border; the SLA collapsed; and an uneasy quiet reigned along the northern border. Although the Syrian talks resumed, no breakthrough was achieved. US President Bill Clinton attempted to jumpstart the peace process and, modeling himself after his predecessor Jimmy Carter in 1978, invited Barak and Arafat to Camp David in July 2000. However, the talks failed, and shortly thereafter, in September, the Intifada resumed with a vengeance. Barak resigned at the end of the year, and new elections were held in early 2001. In the meantime, the direct election law had been revoked. The Likud, headed by Ariel Sharon, returned to power.

The renewed Intifada hit Israel hard. Seemingly overnight, the economy plummeted from accelerated growth into a recession (which was further exacerbated by the global dot-com crash); immigration decreased; and Israeli society became more fractured. Sharon’s Likud garnered a large majority in the 2003 elections, and he remained prime minister. Meanwhile, the so-called “Al-Aksa Intifada” raged on, and Israeli efforts to decrease the terror (such as “targeted killing”, a euphemism for assassinating terrorists) had little to no effect.


The Oslo Accord: Rabin, Arafat and Clinton (Photo: AP)

In March 2003, Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, became PA prime minister under Arafat, and many were optimistic that change was in the air. By that time, the Israeli government had declared that Arafat was “irrelevant”. The Palestinians declared a “hudna” (a temporary ceasefire of sorts) and claimed that they were refraining from terror attacks. At the same time, Israel pulled back some of its forces from PA-controlled territory. However, the hudna led nowhere; within a very short while, the Palestinians were once again committing terror attacks, and the Israelis were forced to respond.

Israeli Society: Jewish-Arab Relations

After the War of Independence and the signing of the Armistice Agreement in 1949, officials noted that approximately 500,000 Arabs had fled from the area which was now included within Israeli borders.

The reasons for the Arab flight are sharply disputed. Israel supports the accepted Zionist position that most, if not all, of the Arabs left on their own volition, in order to distance themselves from the fighting and so as to avoid remaining under Jewish rule. In fact, the Arab leadership has been quoted as urging the refugees to flee (and promising them that they would be able to quickly return). Nevertheless, others claim that the Arabs were either forcefully removed or left after being threatened. Some even go so far as to allege incidents of violence against the refugees (including the now-widely debunked Dir Yassin incident).

In any event, the refugee problem was created in the wake of the war. Very few refugees, specifically the wealthy and those with close relatives in the neighboring countries, managed to integrate in their host nations. The rest of them were herded into refugee camps in Judea, Samaria, the Gaza Strip, southern Lebanon and Jordan.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which was established to take care of the refugees’ needs, still operates today. Some Arab villagers, such as the residents of Ikrit and Biram, were controversially evacuated by Israeli security forces; the Ikrit and Biram villagers continue in their decades-long attempt to return to their former homes. Approximately 150,000 Arabs, who were left without their social, political and economic leaders, remained within Israeli borders and instantaneously became a minority.

Demography

Israel’s non-Jewish citizens are not all cut from the same cloth. Most notably, they divide along religious lines; at the end of 2001, 15.4 percent of the total population was Moslem, 1.7 percent was Christian, and 1.6 percent was Druze. Moreover, although most of the Moslems are Sunnis, there are also fewer than 5000 Circassians. Similarly, the Christian population is split between the Greek Orthodox (33 percent of all Christians), Greek Catholics (25 percent), Roman Catholics (20 percent), Maronites (around 5 percent, including many former SLA fighters who fled to Israel in 2000), and others such as Protestants, Armenians, Ethiopian Copts and more. Also, the non-Jewish citizens include city-dwellers, villagers and Bedouins.

Most Israeli Arabs reside in the Galil, the Nahal Iron area, the northern plain (the so-called “little triangle”), the Jerusalem corridor, and the Negev. In addition, some Arabs live in mixed cities, such as Haifa, Jaffa, Ramle, Acre, and others. Most Bedouin tribes can be found in the northern Negev and the Lower Galilee. The Druze are concentrated in the Carmel, the Galilee, and several Golan Heights villages.

Unequal citizens

In the Declaration of Independence, Israel called out to Arab residents of the state to keep the peace and to take part in building the state. Arab residents were offered full and equal citizenship and relative representation in all state institutions, both temporary and permanent. Furthermore, the State of Israel, established as a Jewish state, recognized the right of the Arab minority to religious autonomy. In 1952, the Citizenship Law guaranteed the rights of Arabs who had resided in Israel at the time of the state’s establishment. Israeli Arabs are officially considered full citizens, and they may vote and be elected to the Knesset and local governments.

Nevertheless, historical enmity and political-security considerations ensured that Israeli Arabs would remain under constant suspicion and be treated, upon occasion, with inequality. Thus, for example, when the Arabs parties garnered eight seats in the 1951 elections for the second Knesset, David Ben-Gurion insisted that he would not form a government based on Arab votes. In fact, the policies of most subsequent Israeli governments largely reflected Ben-Gurion’s declaration.

Until 1966, Israeli Arabs lived under military rule, which oversaw their every move and action and impinged on their basic rights. Moreover, starting from the 1950’s, the government began systematically expropriating Arab lands under the Absentee Property Law. Dozens of Jewish settlements later arose on these lands.

Israeli Arabs’ sense of grievance only grew in the wake of the so-called Kfar Kassem massacre on the first day of the Sinai War in 1956. 49 villagers, who remained outdoors after curfew, were shot, and Israeli Arabs were enraged by the light sentences imposed on those responsible for the killings. Furthermore, Israeli Arabs felt that their culture was marginalized and that they were discriminated against in terms of funding, infrastructure development and employment.

The Six Day War

The late 1960’s and early 1970’s marked a significant improvement in Israeli-Arab life. First of all, military rule was abolished. Also, in the wake of the Six Day War, Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip became accessible, and Israeli Arabs were able to renew their familial and economic ties with the Palestinians. In addition, as a result of the Mandatory Education Law, Arab illiteracy rates dropped dramatically from almost 50 percent in the 1960’s to 35 percent during the 1970’s and then to about 10 percent in the 1990’s. Moreover, the healthcare system in the Arab sector was considerably upgraded, and other parameters indicated that Arab quality of life had indeed noticeably improved

However, a new crisis arose with the advent of the so-called Land Day events in 1976. Following a series of governmental decisions regarding Arab land expropriation, Israeli Arabs rioted violently, and several protestors were killed during the disturbances. Since then, the annual Land Day commemorations have become a yearly violent flashpoint between Israeli Arabs and police and defense officials. Also, these events are considered to be a fairly accurate gauge of Arab-state relations.

Palestinian identification

By the early 1980’s, Israeli Arabs had become ever increasingly segregated from the rest of the nation. The Lebanon War in general, and the Sabra and Shatila episode in particular, stimulated Israeli-Arab empathy for the Palestinian cause. During the so-called first Intifada, which broke out in 1987, Israeli Arabs expressed solidarity with their brethren in Judea and Samaria and began to identify themselves as Palestinians.

The Oslo Accords of 1993 had two major impacts on Israeli Arabs. On one hand, the founding of the Palestinian Authority (PA) further increased Israeli Arabs’ sense of Palestinian national identification. On the other hand, Israeli Arabs realized that they were being essentially ignored by the Palestinian leadership and that Israeli-Arab interests were not addressed during the Oslo process negotiations. As a result, a considerable number of organizations were established to handle Israeli-Arab needs and to bring attention to their minority rights as Israeli citizens.

The October riots

Jewish-Arab relations deteriorated rapidly during the bloody riots of October 2000. Then-opposition chairman Ariel Sharon’s controversial visit to the Temple Mount (which either triggered or was used as an excuse for a raging Palestinian uprising) enraged the Arab sector. Shortly thereafter, thousands of Israeli Arabs participated in violent disturbances. Efforts were made to attack Jewish communities; major highways were closed to Jewish traffic; numerous structures were destroyed; and a Jew was killed when a rock was thrown at his vehicle.

Israeli police attempts to quell the riots led to the deaths of 13 Arab citizens; many more were wounded. Meanwhile, some angry Jews demonstrated against their Arab neighbors. Meanwhile, Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip continued to clash with Israeli forces (in the so-called “Al-Aksa Intifada”), and Israeli Arabs evidenced unprecedented levels of cooperation and identification with their brethren on the other side of the Green Line. As a result, suspicions and hostility between Israeli Jews and Arabs dramatically increased.

Israeli Arabs expressed their feelings by largely boycotting the 2001 prime ministerial elections, thus emphasizing their sense of alienation from the Jewish establishment. Then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak set up the Or Commission to investigate the circumstances of the riots and as well as the governmental response, including police behavior, which led to the death of 13 Israeli citizens.

In 2003, the Or Commission publicized its findings, which included a review of Jewish-Arab relations:

“Minority-majority relationships are problematic in every place, and especially in a state that defines itself according to the majority’s nationality… In any event, establishing reasonable harmony in majority-minority relations is a difficult task imposed on every societal sector. This task requires a particular effort from state institutions which express the majority’s hegemony… Refraining from such an effort, or only partially attempting it, creates a sense of neglect and a reality of neglect among the minority, which are likely to become more severe with the passage of time. These phenomena also characterize the Arab minority in the State of Israel, which, in many respects, is the victim of discrimination.”

Arab leaders were skeptical about the report and asserted that the commission was too lenient with those responsible for causing the demonstrators’ deaths. Meanwhile, Israeli Arabs claim that they still suffer from discrimination in terms of public office advancement, employment opportunities, and limited budgets. They cite 2003 statistics which indicate that every other Arab child lives below the poverty line and note that Arab sector unemployment rates are much higher than the national average.

Israeli Arabs also complain about their treatment with respect to construction and urban expansion. According to Arab claims, the government is discriminatory when issuing building permits and does not allow Arabs to either build homes or expand existing structures in order to accommodate natural growth. As a result, Arabs say, they are forced to construct illegally; the authorities, in turn, are then required to tear down these structures. In 2003, over 30,000 houses were built without a permit.

Concurrently, there has been a worrisome increase in the number of Arab citizens of Israel who have participated or indicate that they are willing to participate in terror attacks against Jewish targets. The first Israeli-Arab suicide bomber acted in September 2001, and during 2002 alone, thirty-two terror attempts by Israeli Arabs were uncovered. In addition, Islamism

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The Guardian beats up on Israel again...

Never missing the opportunity to bash Israel, the Guradian have come out with the most slanted pieces of Journalism on the Eurovision Song contest I've seen.

Where as other media outlets are writing that Israel's entry by Teapack in the Eurovision song contest may be banned because of its political undertones, the Guardian has come out and in bold headline type screamed:

Song of terror picked by Israel for Eurovision


The Teapacks will represent Israel in Helsinki for the Eurovision 2007 finals.
Photograph: www.teapacks.com

The Guardian follows with:

It was a choice that perhaps owed more to the public mood than to any cute lyrical hook or novel musical riff. Asked to pick a song for this year's Eurovision song contest, Israelis paid little heed to the eternal Eurovision themes of peace, love and harmony and settled instead for a number called Push the Button about the threat of terrorism and Armageddon.

The track, sung by the Teapacks in English, French and Hebrew, is a confident amalgam of eastern sounds, rock and rap. It was chosen this week as Israel's preferred song in a phone-in television show and the band will go forward to the Eurovision semi-finals in Helsinki in May.

"It has the right vibe and it's multicultural, "said Kobi Oz, the group's leader.

"The world is full of terror, if someone makes an error, he's gonna blow us up to kingdom come," Oz sings. "There are some crazy rulers, they hide and try to fool us, with demonic, technological willingness to harm. They're gonna push the button, push the button."

The band was formed in 1988 in Sderot, a small Israeli town close to the border with the Gaza Strip. As the nearest town, it has been the frequent target of rockets launched by Palestinian militants.

The Teapacks hope to follow in the footsteps of Israel's 1998 Eurovision winner, the transsexual Dana International.

Their song, Push the Button, can be heard on www.myspace.com/teapacks.

____________________________

You've got to love the Guardian, they even manage to turn what in essence is a pacifist song about being not wanting to die into:

"Asked to pick a song for this year's Eurovision song contest, Israelis paid little heed to the eternal Eurovision themes of peace, love and harmony and settled instead for a number called Push the Button about the threat of terrorism and Armageddon. "

Those War mongering Israeli's they can never follow rules can they, they have chosen to ignore the themes of 'peace love and harmony' why can't they just die quietly!

Seems to me, it might be more apt to accuse one of the world's major religions of ignoring :

"themes of peace, love and harmony"

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Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Cyber Jihad: A War without boundaries



CBS 60 Minutes porvides insight into just how troublesome
the internet is to the war against terror,
A piece on the extent and power of Jihad via the Internet.

[Click Read More...]

If the video doesn't play click here:

The extent the internet is being used to wage a Jihad form of cyber war, is not surprising,
that it is being used to train, recruit, motivate and enlist new Jihadist willing to be suicide bombers, comes as a major shock.

Now the West is beginning to fight back

Read More...

Eurovision or Euro blindness? The farce brewing behind Israels entry Who is really 'Pushing the Button' ?

It has been written about, talked about and debated about. It's the hottest topic at the moment in the Eurovision Contest. There is talk that Eurovision is considering to ban Israeli band Tea Pack's entry due to its lyrics on nuclear war.

The film clip from Teapacks features imagery of an 'Iranian looking flag'
with what look like ICBM's coming from the direction of Iran impacting in Israel.

Eurovision Song Contest organizers have threatened they might ban this year's Israeli entry, Teapacks' Push the Button, because of what they termed its inappropriate political message.

The song, to be performed at the contest in Helsinki in May, overwhelmingly won Israel's competition the last Wednesday.

It is sung in English, French and Hebrew and seemingly refers indirectly to Iran's nuclear ambitions and its hard-line leader, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Click here to see Teapacks play :'Push the button'


Kjell Ekholm

It seems that the decision might already have been made if we take the opinion of one of the organisers

''It's absolutely clear that this kind of message is not appropriate for the competition,''

said Kjell Ekholm, an organizer of the contest.

"We'll have all the delegation leaders here in Helsinki next week, and I'm sure we'll talk about this case within the EBU [European Broadcasting Union] group."

From the research that Bagelblogger has done, it seems the problem lays with the so called 'political nature' of the song.
In the European Broadcasting Unions rules for the 2007 Eurovision song contest [pdf] ,in section four: The Entries, clause number 9 which reads:

"The lyrics and/or performance of the songs shall not bring the Shows or the
ESC as such into disrepute. No lyrics, speeches, gestures of a political or similar
nature shall be permitted during the ESC. No swearing or other unacceptable
language shall be allowed in the lyrics or in the performances of the songs. A
breach of this rule may result in disqualification."

What's of special interest is the preceding Clause 8 which allows for changes to lyrics, name of the group, titles, videos, backgrounds etc to be changed before the meeting of the delegates. The meeting of the delegates is next week as previously informed by Kjell Ekholm.

Now I don't have a full translation of the lyrics of the song,(see bottom of this article), but if the lyrics are only political in context to; and with the background video, then by changing the background video as to not display a facsimile of any countries flag, and other subtle changes, then is it fair to pose the question are the 'political underpinnings' which the song is accused of having, still there?

This of course presupposes that the video clearly suggests that Mahmoud is the political leader they're talking about in the verse line "There are some crazy rulers they hide and try to fool us", I think its far to say Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not the only nut on a palm in the middle east.
To me this seems to be more of a pacifist song, expressing concern for dying rather than any grand political statement.
It seems to me lyrics such as:

"And I don't want to die
I want to see the flowers bloom
Don't want a go capoot ka boom
And I don't want to cry",

don't seem to be overly political in my interpretation. Are these lyrics political?
Or is it rather a case of fear of Islamphobia gone hay wire?

Teapack's lead singer Kobi Oz told Ynet.co.il:

“I know this song is not political. Some may think it refers to Israeli leaders, some may think it talks about other countries’ leaders. We are not taking sides. The message we wish to convey is that we all want to live, smell the flowers bloom and have fun.”

Are the shows organisers taking the cowardly way out?

What's even more interesting is why Kjell Ekholm, the Entertainment manager for the Host Finnish Broadcaster YLE has chosen to come out and state

''It's absolutely clear that this kind of message is not appropriate for the competition,''

when Svante Stockselius, the executive supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of the EBU has clearly stated via the Eurovision Israel website in context to the recent days turmoil regarding the Israeli entry to the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest, Push the button, by Teapacks. :

"We have been informed about the situation, but will take no actions of any kind with any of the songs until they are officially handed in, that is next Monday", says Stockselius. "I have no idea why the discussion about the Israeli song came up just now. On Monday we will go through all the 42 songs to see if they are following all aspects of our rules".

In the meantime, supporters of Israel's entry to Eurovision have opened an online petition in favor of the Israeli entry, on Teapacks' website. You can find it at www.teapacks.coo.co.il.

The question remains has Kjell Ekholm jumped the gun in his eagerness
to advocate banning the Israeli band, and if so why is he so eager?

Is Israel being victimised due to ulterior motives?

With Finland being the 2007 host of the Eurovision Song contest, it seems Kjell Ekholm who was the bass guitarist in the popular 80's Finnish rock band Paul Oxley's Unit may have already made up his mind? Ekholm is now the Entertainment Manager for the popular Swedish speaking FST (Finlands Svenska Television) Channel which broadcasts over Finlands airways, and just happens to be the Host broadcaster for Eurovision this year.

Tea Pack's song warns about the dangers of nuclear war, and the lyrics of the song refer to demonic and crazy rulers, and say that he's gonna blow us up to ... kingdom come.
From my knowledge of the lyrics of the song, no particular leader of the insane world, is mentioned.

Now which crime is worse? threatening to commit genocide on a scale that could surpass the holocaust or possibly having a slight political 'flavor' in a peacenik song about not wanting war.

It would seem the Eurovision song competition has some priorities to re-order.

The Eurovision contest will be held in Finland for the first time after the local monster band Lordi was the shock winner of the competition last year with their hard-rock entry Hard Rock Hallelujah.

Of the 18 songs that competed to be Bulgaria's entry in the competition, the one that won was dropped after it emerged that it was a copy of a song by Israeli artists Ron Shoval and Subliminal. The Bulgarian version even kept the original Hebrew-language chorus.

If Tea Packs song does get 'banned and they themselves don't get disqualified, its interesting that the very next song that was voted second was Teapacks Salaam Salami.

and as one commenter [Soccerdad] on Little Green Footballs [#181] said:

"The song makes fun of the concept of land-for-peace using a tongue-in-cheek allegory of a man and his salami sandwich to represent the Jewish people and their homeland. The sandwich owner’s willingness to make peace on the basis of compromise with a fellow who wants his salami sandwich leads to the continuous slicing of the salami and ends with the other fellow throwing him out the window and taking the sandwich."

Even the Band's leader Kobi Oz thinks this is unsuitable for Eurovision.

He was quoted, just before Israelis judged "Push the Button' as their favorite, that:

"The song 'Salam salami' was not supposed to enter the final. We included another song, with lyrics from the bible. When it was brought to our knowledge that it was against the contest's regulations, we replaced it with 'Salam salami'. We believe this song is not suitable for the Eurovision Song Contest ...[ ]"

Too Political

Well if Tea Pack's Song 'Push the Button' is banned for being 'political' this can only be because it advocates peace, if so then why are there so many songs previously which were registered as entries in Eurovision, who clearly advocated peace?

Examples include:

The 1996 entry from Ireland The Voice.
Norways 1997 entry 'Make Love not War'
Malta's Entry in 1999 Believe N Peace
and even Finland's 2005 entry Why? seems to be a song that speaks of violence and advocates peace
Last year in 2006 Cyprus had the song Why Angels Cry

Why the Upraoar?
Simply stated the Eurovision song contest has featured many songs on themes of wanting peace, why the uproar now?

The sad fact is it appears advocating peace has now become a Political Stand, which is a sad reflection on the current policies of appeasement toward those that so willingly advocate war.

If the Finnish National Finals are anything to go by, [they were surrounded in controversy and major voting malfunctions] it would seem Kjell Ekholm, the Finnish member of the EBU Eurovision reference group might want to spend a little more time co coordinating the broadcasting rather than pushing his own agenda's.

Despite the Finnish government supporting the Broadcaster to the tune of 4 million euros for the international broadcast, the series of finals leading up to the National Finnish final were anything but reassuring!

UpDate:
a commentor on Isrealated left this comment on Bagel's aggregated post :

In 1982 the Finnish entry was a very political song solely about bombs, and nobody had a problem with that. Maybe because the bombs weren't Iranian, but American and Russian.

Yet again Israel is singled out.

Enclosed is a link to the (very poorly translated) words to the Finnish entry back in 1982.
The song title literally means "Sleep while bombs are falling" ie to be unaware of imminent danger and/or oversleep.
http://www.diggiloo.net/?1982fi

And here's the hilariously inept video for the song : Here

The Song's Lyrics:

The world is full of terror

If someone makes an error

He's gonna blow us up to biddy biddy kingdom come

There are some crazy rulers

They hide and try to fool us

With demonic, technologic willingness to harm

They're gonna push the button, push the button

Push the bu... push the bu... push the button

Push the button, push the button

Push the bu... push the bu... push the button

There's a lot of suffering

In the streets there's too much violence

And we stand a good chance of staying alive, even unscathed

Tactical advancement of a fanatical regime

A tragic situation that brings tears to my eyes

And I don't wanna die

I wanna see the flowers bloom

Don't wanna go kaput kaboom

And I don't wanna cry

I wanna have a lot of fun just sitting in the sun

But nevertheless

He's gonna push the button, push the button

Push the bu... push the bu... push the button

Push the button, push the button

Push the bu... push the bu... push the button

Messages are exploding on me

Missiles are flying are also landing on me

Cops and robbers are running all over me

And they're jumping me, getting on my case

Alas, alas, answer me, my God, hi

This nightmare is too long

When I'm barely alive and everyone is aiming at me

Maybe it's too late to sing that I gave her my life

Police, rescue team

It made it to the Kdam, a song with no peace

Red is not just a colour, it's more like blood

Again I'm stopping the breathing in my heart

So I won't drop dead

First it's a war, now it's resuscitation

Boom boom, that's what is happening now

In between a rocket and a machete, a viewer and a reporter

Underhanded opportunism and a kidnapee, rain and a heatwave

An escalation in the levels is setting up camp

Nothing, nothing, that's what everyone is doing

Hardliners become more extreme and officers more serious

The naive become more moderate, waiting for the data

And reply (that everyone is helpless)

A world full of demons where we are nothing but pawns

And champions with gambling chips decide the outcome

Sluggish management, a ship filled with water

And everyone is drinking to good health, and drowning

Maybe it's too sharp

We should sing palm tree songs, desert songs with no flags

I'm still alive, alive, alive

And if it keeps on being scary, only then will I say:

I'm gonna push the button, push the button

Push the bu... push the bu... push the button

Push the button, push the button

Push the bu... push the bu... push the button

References:
Eurovil: Israels TeaPacks entry via video
EuroSong contest: Historical archive of songs
Teapacks.com: Home [Hebrew]

Hattip to: Yid with Lid for Song lyric update

Bagelblogger Always Fresh!
: * Tea Pack * Eurovision * Eurovision and Israel * Eurovision. Israel and Teapacks * Eurovision and Jewish * Eurovision and Push the Button *Push the Button * European song contest * Israeli Band and Eurovision * Push the button and teapacksTipex * BagelBlogger * Bagel Blogger *

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Monday, 5 March 2007

World Exclusive! Amir Peretz was set up by the media! He was actually using the binoculars correctly!

Recently the Israeli Defense minister received unfair and unwarranted criticism for his methodology in using binoculars. Now it can be revealed on Bagelblogger in a World exclusive! that in fact Amir was using top secret stealth binoculars.

These are so secret, that the press, the public and even Amir himself didn't know they were in use.

Bagelblogger has obtained some secret field video of Amir using these binoculars, at first what appears to be an incompetent, bumbling fool for a defense minister is quickly shown to be a gross over estimation of his abilities.

These binoculars were specially designed to lull the enemy into thinking Israel's Defense minister was a combination of incompetent, Inattentive, and totally unaware. It would seem the trials were a resounding success.

In doing this, the strategy is they shall underestimate Israel and therefore when the next surprise attack comes from our enemy, (which really isn't a surprise) we shall be ready and armed with sufficient plausible political excuses as to why we didn't see it coming.

This is the Press shot that was shown around the world.

This was taken at a large scale exercise in the Golan Heights
with the new Chief Of Staff Ashkenazi.

At first glance the covers of the binoculars appear to have been left on. In actually fact they are of a special low density carbon kevlar fibre enabling the viewer to see the action exceptionaly well.

These are top secret limited edition, advanced technology, morph and light adjusting binoculars, they are especially designed to see far into the horizon for the direction of developments of political and military events.

They were used by Olmert and Dan Halutz on previous occasions, and covertly enabled Israel to predict with absolute accuracy Hezbollah's previous attack to within a century.

I was privileged to use these advanced binoculars, and
I can assure you they do indeed help you see far into the horizon.

Whilst using them I experienced a vision of the future horizon where Israel was lead by fearless leaders not afraid of making hard decisions. Fortunately Olmert and Peretz were no where to be seen.

Here are the stealth Binoculars in use by Peretz

Here Peretz demonstrates the ease of which
these advanced binoculars make him look incompetent.

Artwork by Bagelblogger: This article is Satire

ThanksBagelblogger - Always Fresh!
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