Showing posts from May, 2014

No Cash Please

Did you know that 23% of Israel's economy is black market? For comparison, according to Globes , developed Western economies are around 10% black-market. This huge amount of black market money means the State of Israel is losing out on 30-40 BILLION shekels of tax revenue each year. Adding these missing funds to the budget would significantly increase Defence, Education, Health, Transport and many other aspects of Israel's national needs. Also, in light of high-profile recent bribery and corruption scandals in Israel, the use of large sums of cash has been a back-door for crime and corruption. According to a new proposal from the Harel Locker Committee on financial reform, the use of cash will be limited for business transactions to 7500 NIS, and later further restricted to 5000 NIS. Private individuals will be limited to 15,000 NIS cash spending. For individuals, I can think of buying cars, apartments, weddings/simches - as some of the few transactions whic

When Democracy Isn't

Egypt is currently holding a three-day election-fest for their next President. With just one real candidate and a lame duck standing, the result is considered a foregone conclusion. The only credible candidate is Abdel Fattah el-Sisi , who seized power in a coup from the democratically elected President Mohamed Morsy in July 2013.  Morsy had ruled Egypt as a result of his overwhelming electoral victory on 30 June 2012, until the coup on 3 July 2013. Morsy's 'crime' was being the leader of the too-popular Islamic Brotherhood/Freedom & Justice Party. This time around, the Islamic Brotherhood has been totally banned in Egypt and most of their leadership has been imprisoned, including Morsy himself, or are in hiding.  This is reminiscent of the only democratic election ever held in the Palestinian Authority.  In an open electoral contest, which included both the PLO/Fatah and Hamas, in 2006, Change and Reform/Hamas gained 44.45% (74 seats); Fatah ga

Believe The Child

By Kind Permission of Dr Michael Salamon Psychologist & Author of "Sexual Abuse in the Jewish Community" ADC Psychological Services It sounded just a bit too quiet when her 12 year old son and his friend were supposed to be playing in his bedroom so Mom decided to check in and see what was going on. “What I saw” she told me “practically gave me a heart attack.” Mom walked in on the two boys undressed and physically pleasuring one another, she said “in a way that I never thought they could possibly know at this age.” I asked her how she handled it. “I sent the other boy home and sat my son down for a conversation. I did my best to stay calm and I asked him how long this type of behavior has been going on. He seemed very honest when he said since he was 10. I am still shocked by that answer. So I asked him when it started and who taught him these things.” This particular Mother’s answer is not that significant. What is essential is that I have heard the same story

Our Own Worst Enemies - Tag Machir/Price Tag

The debate continues, with each new report of "Price Tag" ( Tag Machir ) activities, whether these crimes should be defined as "terror"? I don't believe a single respectable politician, writer, leader in Israel, has ever publicly supported "Tag Machir". Indeed, there is across-the-board consensus that the acts of vandalism, hooliganism, racism, are abhorrent in any civilised society, and certainly in Israel. There has recently been a high-level push, including ministers in the current government, to re-define Tag Machir as "terrorism". Such an appellation would grant the authorities draconian powers in monitoring, apprehending, interrogating, trying and imprisoning suspects, who are typically teenagers, armed with nothing more offensive than a marker pen; as well as to outlaw any second-circle of supporters (finance, logistical, political support, etc). To me, and to the majority of the government (which has so far resisted

Holyland in Our Own Backyard?

Massive Building Projects in Beit Shemesh The Corrupt Holyland Building Development  The dramatic sentencing of Ehud Olmert to 6 years imprisonment for bribery, should open our eyes to the possibility of corruption in our own back yards. Olmert's line of appeal to the Supreme Court is going to be: 1. Ehud Olmert himself didn't receive any bribes - at worst, his brother Yossi did. 2. There is no concrete evidence that even his brother received a bribe. This defence is unlikely to be accepted, because what Olmert is describing is exactly how a sophisticated operator would take a bribe. Olmert, a seasoned lawyer and savvy politician, would not have left an obvious paper trail between the Holyland building permits and his personal bank account. Instead, according to the findings of the court, the contractors paid his (heavily indebted) brother, Yossi, and they didn't even leave a paper trail for that transaction. The bribery of officials is an ancient ar

A Jewish Orthodox Therapist, and the Suicidal Gay Client

(This distressing story is true, and published here with permission of an involved party). "Robert" was a secular male client of an orthodox psychotherapist here in Israel, who we will call "Dr Avi" Robert told Dr Avi that he is extremely depressed. This depression had been a long term problem, but it had recently been exacerbated. Robert explained to Dr Avi that he is gay, and that his male partner had recently walked out on him. Robert was so upset after the break-up, that he was even feeling and acting suicidal. "I have hung up a rope with a noose in my room," Robert explained. "If I reach the stage that everything is totally hopeless and I'm ready to kill myself, everything will be ready". During Dr Avi's session with his clinical supervisor, the idea came up of Dr Avi inviting Robert's boyfriend to the therapy sessions, to see if they could patch up the relationship. Dr Avi and his supervisor, who is also ort

Rabbi Saved By A Miracle

Srugim has reported that Rav Chaim Gantz, Head of Maaleh Eliyahu Yeshiva in Tel Aviv, was almost killed during a hike last week through the Golan Heights with his Yeshiva. The group of students and teachers were climbing a narrow path, winding hundreds of metres above the Jilabun River. Rabbi Gantz slipped over, then rolled three meters down the slope, and to the gasps of horror of his students, over the edge of the sheer precipice. Miraculously, Rabbi Gantz fell onto a tree, where he remained suspended "between Heaven and Earth". Two students climbed down and succeeded in reaching Rabbi Gantz, and managed to stabilise him on the tree, which jutted out horizontally from the cliff. They remained perched there for two hours, until a mountain rescue team arrived at the spot, and successfully brought the rabbi and his heroic students to safety. In an emotional Seudat Hodayia (Thanksgiving Celebration), Rabbi Gantz told his story, at times overwhelmed with emotion.

Video For Yom Ha'Atzmaut - 66 Years; 66 Heroes

Touching Song for Yom Hazikaron

Performed by my nephew and niece Shmuel and Hadar Perednik....

Anti-, Non- and Post-Zionists

There are three groups of Israelis who do not celebrate Independence Day. The Israeli Muslim Arabs, Ashkenazi Chareidim and Left-Wing Post-Zionists. For very different rationales, these three groups have ideological objections to: 1. The Creation of the State of Israel a. Israeli Arabs - due to the Jewish nature of the State and the "occupation" of Arab territories b. Chareidim - due to religious objections to establishing a Jewish State prior to the Messianic era and the secular nature of the State and its Founders. c. Post-Zionists - some post-Zionists acknowledge the importance of the establishment of Israel, however believe that, with a flourishing and secure state which exists today, it has run its useful course and a new direction is required; others, based on New-Historians, hold that the State was established in an act of injustice to Arabs and of racist prejudices in favour of Jews. 2. The Army a. Israeli Muslim Arabs (ie excluding Druse and Bedo