Home Ed: 38: May/2013

Ed: 38: May/2013

Yair Lapid's Moment of Truth

Yair Lapid’s Moment of Truth

Experts agree that the Israeli economy, while suffering no major illness, is nonetheless in need of some bitter preventive treatment if it is to avoid serious ailments down the road. At the heart of the situation that Finance Minister Yair Lapid inherited yawns a 4.2%-of-GDP budget deficit, the result of unplanned defence spending in the face of the Iranian threat, as well as expanded social spending following street protests back in 2011.

Israel talks Turkey

Israel talks Turkey

During his visit to Israel in March, US President Barack Obama arranged a dramatic telephone call on March 22 between Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Erdogan. Netanyahu spoke of Israel's "regret for certain operational errors" in the commando assault on the Mavi Marmara. Compensation, he said, would be paid to each of the nine families of the victims killed on the flotilla. The two leaders ostensibly undertook to put their acrimonious three-year-old dispute behind them and normalise relations.

The Biblio File: Scholarshipwreck

Did you know that "the Israel-Palestine conflict" is "the central factor in Islam-West relations"? Not one of a number of factors, not an element of a larger, multi-faceted engagement, but "the" central factor?

Readers of the latest volume in Australia's "Islamic Studies Series" are presented with this "fact" as an attempt to justify a thin book on "Making Australian Foreign Policy in Israel-Palestine" being published as part of its catalogue.

Media Microscope: A week of weak coverage

The death of convicted Palestinian terrorist Maysara Abu-Hamdiya from throat cancer in an Israeli jail on April 2 amid Palestinian accusations that he did not receive adequate treatment prompted rocket fire from Gaza and violent demonstrations in the West Bank.

Coverage of these clashes unfortunately followed a familiar pattern of focussing primarily on Palestinian claims against Israel and on Israeli actions against Palestinians.

The Last Word: Standing Up on the Bus

The Last Word: Standing Up on the Bus

It was horrible to watch, on an ordinary Sydney bus, on an ordinary day.

A male, chronologically an adult, delivered a racist tirade directed at two other passengers.
A young woman who recorded the incident on her phone told media that the targets of the abuse had done nothing which would have prompted such behaviour. The only trigger for the invective was, it seems, the fact that the victims were of "Korean appearance".

As shocking as the racism itself was the apparent non-response of most of the people on the bus.

Margaret and Edith and Immanuel

Margaret and Edith and Immanuel

Transcending sentiment and pragmatic impulses was Thatcher's hard-nosed perception that the qualities of the Jewish community coincided precisely with her own aspirational vision for Britain: self-help and hard work, ambition and endeavour, enterprise, personal responsibility and social justice.

Editorial: A Reminder from Boston

The detonation of two potent bombs at the Boston Marathon on April 15, killing three and injuring 282, demonstrated that the "age" of Islamist terrorism against Western civilian targets - launched by the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks - is not over. The terrorist threat is neither a mere "irritant" nor a thing of the past.

The first step to combating terrorism is to accurately identify the motivations behind attacks. Therefore, in the immediate aftermath of Boston, when little was known, blind speculation about the perpetrator or motives was indeed counterproductive.

Scribblings: Israel’s Emotional Rollercoaster

One of the most interesting and original aspects of Israeli national culture has been the coupling of Israel's Independence Day, Yom Haatzmaut, with the memorial day for victims of war and terrorism, Yom Hazikaron. Yom Hazikaron, is the 4th of Iyyar in the Jewish calendar, one day before Yom Haatzmaut, the 5th of Iyyar. These fell on April 15 and April 16, respectively, this year.


Boston, Chechens and “home-grown” terror

This is a kind of home-grown terrorism, but one that is based on the radicalisation of people coming from the Middle East, Central Asia, even Southeast Asia, that exists in the United States but happens also in Australia and Europe... Besides the nationalist aspect of Chechens, there is also a global jihadist aspect.

Fayyad Out

Fayyad Out

Fayyad's tenure has since been defined by institution-building, including in the areas of finance and security - an approach that became known as "Fayyadism". Security cooperation with Israel became the norm. As violence decreased and order returned to the street, Israel lifted many of its West Bank checkpoints, while the PA built 1,700 community development programs, 120 schools, 50 health clinics, and three hospitals. More than 1,600 kilometres of roads were paved and 1,360 kilometres of water pipes were installed.