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Carmel forest fire

  • What if Israel is hit by an earthquake?

    Considering Israel lies near the Syrian-African fault line, and has not suffered from an earthquake in a while, we should all be concerned about ill-preparedness. Israel's recent experience with a natural disaster (tragic, although milder than what happened in Japan) showed the terrible consequences of erosion in public services. And even the most obvious lessons have not been learned (Hebrew). Whether in preparation for disaster or for war, civilian lives remain unprotected in Israel.

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  • Israel leaves its own civilians defenseless as war looms

    There is a direct connection between the Israeli government's disdain towards casualties among the "enemy's" civilian population, and its indifference to the fate of its own civilians. The next war, unfortunately, will probably see both groups badly suffer. As I have written here in the past, there are strong indications that Israel may be inching towards war with several of its neighbors. We have good reason to believe this war will have a devastating impact on the non-Israeli side. But what about ordinary Israeli civilians? How will they fare in such a war? Sadly, it seems there is cause for…

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  • Israel's unaccountable executive

    My op-ed in the Jerusalem Post today discusses the serious problem of Israel's accountability mechanisms, in the context of the Carmel fire: No society is perfect, but democratic nations are able to examine themselves and learn from their errors. Strong countries are not afraid of admitting mistakes. Democracy’s underlying premise – that government is the servant of the governed – relies on a commitment to self-scrutiny. Unfortunately, in Israel the lack of a proper culture of accountability has been demonstrated in several recent developments. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s extraordinary – and eventually successful – efforts to avert a parliamentary committee…

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  • Carmel scapegoats III: the meaning of responsibility

    The settlers and the ultra-orthodox are not the cause for Israel's collapsing public services. The professional middle class, which considers itself a "silent majority" of "responsible citizens" but is quite the opposite, should take a hard look in the mirror. This is the third and final installment in a series of posts, examining arguments, which have resurfaced following the Carmel fire, that assign the blame for Israel's problems to the ultra-orthodox or the settlements. To read the first post, dealing with the ultra-orthodox, click here. To read the second post, dealing with the settlements, click here.  The debacle surrounding the…

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  • Put out our fire and go back to where you came from!

    Doesn't matter how you look at it, or what excuses you come up with. It's just plain embarrassing So, how embarrassed was I when I read this news item today, about Palestinian firemen who helped put out the fire in the Carmel but were refused entry to Israel to honor their efforts? On a scale of 1-10 , it sent violent shivers down my spine, making it an 11. And the PA reaction even makes us look worse. We could use a lesson or two in diplomacy from these guys: "It's not clear how the same firefighters who got permits…

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  • Carmel fire scapegoats, part II: the settlements

    The settlements are a moral and practical disaster, but they are the symptom rather than the cause of Israel's ills. This is the second in a series of three posts, examining arguments, which have resurfaced following the Carmel fire, that assign the blame for Israel's problems to the ultra-orthodox or the settlements. To read the first post, dealing with the ultra-orthodox, click here. The third and final post will examine the myth of Israel's "silent majority" of "responsible citizens".   The settlements are a moral and practical disaster. They have already exacted a brutal toll from Palestinians, but eventually, Jews…

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  • Carmel fire scapegoats, part I: The Ultra-Orthodox

    In a series of three posts, I will examine arguments, which have resurfaced following the Carmel fire, that assign the blame for Israel's problems to the ultra-orthodox or the settlements. In this first post, I argue that the ultra-orthodox play a marginal role both in Israel's economic and social problems, and in the shaping of government policy, aside from freedom of religion issues. They are, in fact, a convenient scapegoat which allows major interests to avoid discussions that could jeopardize their privileges. In the second post  of the series, I will examine how a similar dynamic unfolds in regards to the…

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  • Carmel fire: the price of the treasury's policy

    The firefighters' lack of readiness not accidental, but a result of long-term economical policy. Last morning, making my Friday shopping at the local grocery, I heard a woman hissing that we should catch those Arabs who lit the fire on Thursday and burn them alive, like the 40 prison guards cadets. I butted in. “And what if these were yeshiva boys?”. “What?” “I said, what if the fire was caused by yeshiva boys, like last time (Hebrew). Would you like to burn them, too?”. She muttered something, paid, and was gone. And that, more or less, is what protecting PM…

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  • The Carmel disaster: My forest is on fire

    The weird vibes actually started the day before. Something just didn’t feel right. And then it began. Cellcom, Israel’s largest cell provider, crashed. Totally. For the whole day. 3.5 million users with dead phones. Cellcom also happens to be the supplier of phones to the newspaper I work in - which meant that either reporters kind of had a day off, or if they were responsible enough - found a land line and got in touch. I even talked to a few of them through Facebook. Social media saves the day... Thursday, around noon - Mom sends me an SMS…

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