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Rape, occupation and racism - all a day’s work in Israel

Inside Katsav’s brain

I got to the office minutes before the judges handed down their sentence. It was just enough time for my colleagues to gather in my office and bet how much our former President, Moshe Katsav, would get for being a serial rapist.

He raped women when he was Minister of Tourism. Between trips abroad, promoting tourism for Israel, thinking up campaigns to bring tourists to the holy sites, fighting for his ministry’s budget, between all that – Katsav had one thing on his mind: “Man, that secretary is fine! I gotta get a piece of that!”.

He sexually harassed women when he was President of Israel. Citizen Number One. Between shaking the hands of prime ministers and kings, accepting letters of credential from new ambassadors, sitting shiva with families of terror attack victims, between all that – Katsav had one thing on his mind: “Man, my personal assistant is hot! I wonder if I can do her in my office!”

When the judges found him guilty a few months ago, they used harsh words. Which is why I thought they’d be hard with him now with the sentencing, too. But others thought they’d go easy on him, because after all, he was president once.

And when I mean hard, I mean what a rapist would usually get. Eight years would be considered severe here in Israel. Easy would be around four.

He got seven. Seven years for causing eternal damage. To numerous women.

But hey, what should I expect from the Israeli justice system, that just to weeks ago handed down a fine of 1,000 shekels to a drunk driver who seriously injured a young girl and crippled her for life, turning her into a vegetable.

Palin gets lost

Sarah Palin is visiting Israel. I would usually have a lot of fun with a topic like this, but I’ve been pretty preoccupied lately.

But still, one has to say something about her notorious geographical skills. Apparently, she was on her way to Bethlehem today, only to turn around at an IDF checkpoint because she didn’t know it was in occupied territory.

I even heard that after dinner with Netanyahu last night, she told reporters she could see Iran from his balcony.

Oops, sorry! We killed some kids!

As the day proceeds, I see on the web that things are heating up in the south. They shoot rockets and mortars, we shoot artillery and drop bombs.

Oops, we killed an 11 year old and 16 year old. Sorry!
Trespassing my way home

Work is finally over. As I drive back home through Jaffa, I can’t help shake the feeling I get every time I drive through – I feel like a tresspasser.

On the radio they’re playing Hadag Nachash. Although I’m agnostic, I do thank God for Hadag Nachash. They’re basically the only guys in this place doing protest music. The song is “I believe”. Here are a few lines:

“I believe that as of today
our responsibility for not achieving peace
is great and significant just as much
as all our neighboring countries
and I also believe that we’re going around in circles
that there’s no chance that another war will help
and that all the talk on fighting terror
is just to impress the enlightened world
I believe we should invest in education
That our priorities should be just the opposite
that the executive salaries are outrageous
that the Kirya should be moved
I believe there’s no equality here
that the racism inside us will bring a disaster
that if we don’t do something, we won’t understand
and we won’t be able to celebrate another 60 years”
I had the privilege of seeing these guys in concert. They were amazing. And what was even more amazing, was that all these kids around me, these teenagers and twenty somethings, were screaming the lines you just read, by heart. Singing left-wing (or at least left leaning) lyrics with all strength they could muster.
That concert made me feel good. It gave me hope.

But I still felt like I was a visitor in Jaffa.
Nakba, shmakba

As I write these lines, the Knesset is about to pass two bills which I and my colleagues here have written about extensively on +972. One of them is the bill that will legalize “acceptance committees” in communal settlements in the Galilee and Negev. These committees can say “no” to you if you don’t fit with their “social fabric”, or shall I say, “cramp their style”, or to put it really bluntly – “if you’re Arab. Or gay.”

The other law is the Nakba law, which will bar organizations from receiving public funding if they are “undermining the foundations of the state and contradict its values.”

I’m too tired to think of anything new to say about this. Honestly.
Those Japs had it coming!

And then, Ynet tells us why the tsunami happened[Heb]. Apparently, according to an important rabbi who goes by the name of Rabbi David Tabersky, it’s because Japan has incarcerated two of his pupils for drug dealing. “The Japanese don’t get why they’re being hit again and again. If they want this to stop, they should free the two boys jailed there, and then they will see salvation.”

What a day…

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    1. 7 years zeh tov maspick!

      Reply to Comment
    2. purplehelen

      I was a mitnadevet on 2 kibbutzim and studied in Binyan Goldschmit at Hebrew U in 1995/6. I’m British and not Jewish. I have both Israeli and Palestinian friends. I deplore the way your country is going.
      Thank you for this site. It restores the faith somewhat. Please don’t stop.
      An Israeli/Canadian friend and her Israeli/Swiss husband feel strongly unable to ever return to Israel, even for a visit, having previously both made aliyah, and loved living in Israel, due to the right wing turn Israel has taken.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Igor

      You’ve just omitted the punchline of this song (the refrain): “And nobody gives a shit”.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Igor – you’re right, I didn’t get to the chorus…

      Reply to Comment
    5. Tamir

      Thank you… My heart also breaks.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Rachelle Pachtman

      This would be hilarious if it were not so tragic and depressing. I’m still hoping to make Aliyah to do social justice work. I must be nuts. I just can’t believe these are Jews.What happened to gmilat chesed and welcoming the stranger? Haven’t we always been the “other” and shouldn’t we know what that feels like?

      What short memories. Should I have my head examined?

      Reply to Comment
    7. Jeremy

      My god, those are the worst lyrics to a song — EVER! They’re worse than “Friday.”

      Reply to Comment
    8. What’s Friday?

      Reply to Comment