The year to be

There will not be a war this summer because we won’t be able to deal with it. It’s impossible to conduct a war in a place where the only thing influencing public opinion is how many soldiers will be killed

A year has passed since the war. Dan Halutz returned to Israel and there was no blast of trumpets. He dined at Turquoise, a restaurant facing the sea off the Tel Aviv coast. He looked content. People looked but no one bothered him. He continued looking content. Peretz doesn’t have a job any more either. No one bothers him either. But he doesn’t look content.


So what has the year brought us? Olmert, our memories, and the totally absurd anxiety attack over the prospect of a war this summer. “There will be war this summer,” we tell one another, as if in Israel’s history, there has been a war that was preceded by some kind of early warning.


So hear this from me. According to my most reliable sources of intelligence: There will be no war this summer. How do I know? The same way those who espouse the opposite point of view know. Besides, it's already summer isn’t it?


And there will not be a war this summer because we won’t be able to deal with it. It’s impossible to conduct a war in a place where the only thing influencing public opinion is how many soldiers will be killed. There is no battle that one can wage, no offensive that starts, no military general or politician who will take the risk.


We have lost the ability to admit there is such a thing as justified losses. No one thinks anymore that ‘it’s good to die for our country,' or even reasonable to die in its defense. We want our wars to be games in which our score is zero while all the dead are on their side. That’s not going to happen.


When the second intifada erupted, Ariel Sharon appeared before the nation and delivered one of the driest speeches in the history of the country. He told us: “I am expecting you to endure.” In other words, he was telling to us that we have a good chance of being killed. Then came the wave of terrorist bombings and we showed our ability to endure even though we didn’t always understand why.


This changed during the last war. Every Israeli mother now knows the phone number of the unit officer, the Knesset member, the Channel 2 television news analyst and of the members of the expected commission of investigation. Maybe this is democracy and maybe that is what is expected from a society that is as intense as ours, but it’s no way to conduct a war. Not in the summer and not in the fall.



After the bill to ‘limit access to adult internet sites’ passed its preliminary reading in the Knesset, the ministerial law committee approved it as well. The enlightened person who submitted the bill was none other than the Minister of Communications, Ariel Atias, of Shas. It won’t be long before visiting sites offering “abominations, violence and gambling," will require you to fill-out a questionnaire with your personal details and an official humiliating declaration stating that you enjoy watching the wonders of hot Ulrika of Sweden. If your internet supplier does not comply with the law, then the company could face up to a year in prison and a fine of NIS 20,000 ($5,000).


The law raised an interesting question: How do you define abomination? I mean you can find the full uncensored text of Adolph Hitler’s "Mein Kampf" on-line. No one ever breathed his last while looking at Ulrika’s melon-sized breasts of silicone, but more than 50 million people died during World War II as a direct result of the ideology espoused in the abominable book.


So if we agree that "Mein Kampf" is an abomination, may I continue? What about the writings of Nasrallah or Ahmadinejad? And if the problem lies in the pictures, then what about the photos from Darfur currently on exhibit in the Holocaust Museum in Washington? Is it okay to allow Israeli youth to see children who are starving, women dying (and for Minister Atias’s information, they are not just starving, you can also see their breasts) and men bleeding, people whose limbs have been amputated. So that’s okay. Isn’t that an abomination as well?


And if the objective is to get parents to tighten their surveillance, then can I block access to anything said by Rabbi Meir Kahane? If he was banned from spewing his racist incitement in the Knesset why is it allowed in my home? And what about those who urge a return to the faith? As a concerned secular parent, I know very well that the internet is a major tool for them in order to reach Israeli youth. Actually I wouldn’t mind keeping an eye out for them. It’s just a shame that by keeping an eye on my kids they won’t understand the well-known expression of the Jewish sages, that if one fool throws a stone down the well, even 10 wise men cannot retrieve it.



ADI, the Israeli organ donors association, asked me to take part in their new radio campaign and I was glad to do it. Israel has a serious deficit of organ donors compared with the West. In Europe nearly a third of the residents have signed the donor transplant card in order to save life. In Israel, only four percent of the population have signed the card. I have one in my wallet. It’s green and laminated and says that even though I have devoted my life to nonsense, at least something will come from me after I die.


The reason there are so few donors in this country is that baseless rumor that physicians are quick to confirm the death of patients in order to harvest their organs. Nothing is more ridiculous. Israeli law stipulates that death can only been determined in the presence of two physicians who do not deal with transplants, are not connected to the patient and do not know whether the patient has an ADI card. Therefore there is no way that someone can unilaterally decide to pull the plug on you.


By the same token, there is the supposed dictate that transplants are forbidden according to Jewish law. Every rabbinical commentary on the subject says that transplants are considered pikuach nefesh - saving a life. Rabbi Yuval Sherlo has written on the subject: There is no greater privilege in the world to come than donating an organ. Saving a life is like saving a whole world.


Even on the day when souls will be redeemed say most of the rabbinical scholars; there is nothing to worry about. The Almighty will see to it that everyone gets their organs back whether they were donated or just rotted and disintegrated in the grave.


After we finished recording the public service advertisement, the ADI people asked me what I would like written under my photo in their brochure. I thought about it a little and in the end said: “Donate your organs. Have a heart.”



פרסום ראשון: 07.20.07, 16:43
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