Stampede and injuries at Beitar Jerusalem soccer game
Photo: Channel 10
Anti-Olmert demonstration
Photo: AP

Elections now?

What do people want from Olmert? He promised to unite the country, and he has

Now, immediately, right away, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert must be fired. Without delay - elections now. It’s not necessary to wait for the Winograd Commission’s final report nor the outcome of the police investigations. It’s not necessary to wait until he fixes the mistakes. There is no time. Nu! Yallah! What are you waiting for? You remember what was said - haste is dangerous



After the demonstration (calling for Olmert and Peretz to resign) I met Rabbi Uriel Genzel at the beach. He is the community rabbi for the settlement of Revavot. The weather was perfect. The ice in my diet drink sparkled as we spoke slowly about life. An hour later another buddy of mine plopped down. Chanoch Marmari, the former editor-in-chief of Haaretz today teaches at the Bezalel Academy of Art in Jerusalem. He also has a clever column and sits on the board of The Center for Jewish Arab Relations.

I introduced the two and we changed the drinks to white wine.


After 10 minutes we learned that they were both at the demonstration. One was with the ‘orange’ (anti-disengagement) crowd and the second sat at the trendy Tel Aviv restaurant "The Brasserie" located just across from Rabin Square, enabling one to protest with a martini. Both were amused to know that they were there together. They both said – slightly shamefacedly – they felt strange but thought it worthwhile to be there to show democracy in action. So, I said to them, what do you want from Olmert? He promised to unite the country, and he has.



Benyamin Netanyahu told the Knesset: “Most of the country understands that those who have made the mistakes are not those who can fix them. They are responsible for the failures.” Oh, Bibi what are we going to do with you? Every word you said is so true but why arm your rivals with your ideas?


Speedy trial

A student called me very upset. “How can you not write about the university students strike?” she yelled at me. “Do you not see what is going on?” I said I did indeed see. “So”, she said, “why aren’t you writing about it?” I told her it was because I do not support their strike (other than more financial assistance for the needy). She was shocked.


Young people are always surprised to learn that not everyone sees the world the way they do. It’s part of their conservatism. What are you studying? I asked. “Law,” she said. In Israel today there is a lawyer for every 202 people. A Knesset survey finds that Israel ranks first in the world in terms of the number of lawyers per person. In Japan for example, there is one lawyer for every 5,000 people. Even in the US it is 1:272. The State of Israel does not need any more lawyers. They get in the way and block up the system, create a backup in the courts. With all due respect, I told the girl, I don’t feel like paying for the fact that you will receive your diploma and then you’ll do an advanced course in contract law. What will you do to me then? The answer, I guess, is that she’ll continue to learn at my expense and then she’ll sue me.



The Romans appointed Herod King of the Jews and his tomb was found at the flat-topped mountain site of Herodian earlier this month after 30 years of archeological searching. He was a cruel and violent ruler our Herod, an irrepressible political manipulator and serial killer of his wives and adversaries. He was also the guy who defended the nation of Israel against a Roman invasion and converted the modest Temple built by Zarbavel into one of the architecture wonders of the ancient world. He established Sebastia and enabled the Houses of Shammai and Hillel to flourish with Jewish scholarship and all his life defended the national Jewish identity. And the Jews, like Jews, cursed him. They began to miss him when he died.



There was an 85 percent turnout in the French elections. Only 63.5 percent of registered voters in Israel went to the ballot box during the last national elections. Here we vote on the issues of war and peace, on the future of settlement, Lebanon, the Iranian nuclear program, the disengagement, 1.5 million hungry children, a collapsing health system and an education system that is failing. Their only concern is a couple of cars that were set on fire.



I swear to you that only 24 hours before the stampede and injuries at the Teddy stadium in Jerusalem I already sensed that this season was going to end badly. It was during the match between my favorite soccer team, Maccabi Tel Aviv, against Maccabi Herzliya. Yanik Kamanan, a dark-skinned player for Herzliya almost left the pitch in tears after bearing the brunt of racist barbs from the crowd of idiots who call themselves fans. He had no idea who these people were nor what they wanted. I have no idea what they say to themselves. They aren’t even angry with anyone. I mean we won 3:0


Like all the games this year, I watched this one at home. Once I would go to the games with my kids. But today, no way. There is something disgusting and scary about the conduct at the games that I cannot abide.


Moni Harel, Hapoel Tel Aviv's team manager (yes there is a team by that name but no one really knows why) caught up with me recently and told me what it’s like for him. He spoke about the fans who assure him they have a stun grenade with his name and the name of his children on it; about stones thrown at him that missed their target by only a fraction of an inch; of the lunatic, frenzied pursuit of management and the players after every loss. Harel is a big guy, close to six foot but you can see that he is scared. “It’s only soccer,” he told me. “Maybe I am a crappy manager and they need to fire me but what are we talking about here? A game. Everyone knows that this will have a bad end. They won’t settle down until someone is killed.”


Well, no one’s been killed but there are 50 people injured, two of them seriously. So for their sakes and for Moni’s but mostly for the honor of Yanick Kamanan, I translated the following excerpt from the “I have a dream’ speech of Dr Martin Luther King.


“There is something I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads to the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”


Maccabi lost two points for some technical nonsense. No one was penalized for the jeers.


פרסום ראשון: 05.17.07, 21:10
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