Monday, October 17, 2005

A few things

. . . before I go to sleep.

1) Tonight I went to a fairly interesting panel discussion about the future of Religious Zionism, sponsored by Yeshiva University. I will try to write more about what was said in a later post, unless I get a paid journalism gig about it. It's a very important topic right now, since the disengagement from Gaza pretty much caused huge chasms within the movement. The disengagement was widely seen in Israel not as an expression of right-wing/ left-wing political divide, but rather a religious/secular divide. To Religious Zionists, it was seen as a tremendous slap in the face (which it pretty much was, given the lack of planning by the government and continued troubles the evacuated settlers are now having getting their lives back together . . . and it's not ONLY because they themselves refused to plan in advance). If the Religious Zionist sector wants to have any say on what happens to the West Bank, they'll have to galvanize and re-unite very quickly.

One possible positive aspect of the disengagement is that it woke up the Religious Zionist sector to realize just how marginalized they had become within Israeli society. As one of tonight's speakers said "The disengagement from Gaza was the second disengagement. The first disengagement was the self-isolation of the Religious Zionists from secular Israeli society." There is definitely a strong awareness now among Religious Zionist leaders that if they ever want to have a significant voice within Israeli society again, they will have to re-engage with secular Israelis. That means living in the same communities; providing palatable programs on Jewish history, culture, and religion; displaying respect for secular Jews; and ceasing to be a one-issue movement (focused on settlements beyond the Green Line) and instead producing religious scholarship on issues such as social welfare, foreign policy, education, and other issues which affect Israelis on a day-to-day level.

2) As most of you probably know already, four Israelis were killed today in two separate terrorist attacks, one in Gush Etzion (close to the home of Treppenwitz) and one in Eli (I think). May the memories of the dead be for a blessing, and may their families be comforted among the mourners of Zion. There was something on the radio about there having been some sort of tension at the checkpoint through which one or more of the terrorists had gotten through, apparently (as I understood with my less-than-completely fluent Hebrew) between Israeli citizens who were angry about the lax security after the terrorist attack. I'm not sure I understood the radio report, though. If anyone has seen any written news reports about the attacks and their aftermath, please post links in the comments.

3) On a less serious note . . . . When it comes to being taken out to eat, making aliyah is a win-win situation.

When friends come from America to visit me, they take me out to eat.

When I go to America to visit them, they take me out to eat.

Like I said, win-win. I win, and then I win again!

(Thanks, Lisa A., for a fabulous dinner last week at Olive.)

4) A funny thing happened this morning. As I've mentioned before, there is an overgrown garden just below my window, which currently is covered with wild shrubs and bushes about as tall as I am. Within this garden live a few of Jerusalem's many, many street cats. It often happens that I am kept awake by the cries of cats in heat. But this morning at around 8:15, there were two cats who were "doing their thing" so loudly and for so long, I started wondering what kind of "kitty porn" they were filming down there. It was unbelievable. They were going at it for ages, with absolutely no inhibitions about who could hear them. I'm telling you, they must have been on some sort of pet Viagra.

Suddenly, BLASH! A bucket-full of water came cascading down from the apartment above me, right onto the cats. I myself gasped in surprise, but the cats both made this sound that clearly meant "what the - ???" in feline.

Well, that ended their "filming" session. Talk about taking a cold shower!

5) If you have not visited my sister's blog lately, I recommend doing so. She's on a roll. And please leave comments -- if only so that she'll stop complaining to me about how no one ever does!

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