Thursday, June 17, 2021

My Story 'Rakiya' in Print

My short story 'Rakiya' was published in Vagabond, Bulgaria's English language magazine, back in December, but I only received copies in the mail today!

The long delivery time can probably be blamed on the COVID-19 pandemic which interrupted many things such as international postal services.

In any case, it is very exciting to see the story in print!

You can read 'Rakiya' on the Vagabond website.

Monday, June 7, 2021

What Israel Needs Now

I would never have imagined that I would one day support Bennett as my country’s leader.

According to outgoing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s new coalition is coming together only because votes have been “stolen from the right [and given] to the left.” In his words, the coalition formed by Prime Minister-designate Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid is “the greatest election fraud” in the history of democracy.

"Let go," Bennett beseeched Netanyahu in a televised address. "Let the country move forward." Bennett called on Netanyahu not to leave “scorched earth” behind him.

A unity government to bring our country back together

I have voted for the leftwing Meretz party in every election. Israel’s incoming government will be its most rightwing ever (despite Netanyahu’s repeated assertions that it will be a radical leftwing government). Still, I support it.

Meretz is one of eight political parties in the parliamentary coalition that will form the government. Rightwing parties, leftwing parties, religious Israelis and secular Israelis, and for the first time ever, an Arab Israeli party.

Habitual liar

What was so wrong with Netanyahu, Israel’s leader for the past 12 years (and 3 additional years in an earlier term of office)? Sure, he helped Israel get the vaccines necessary to combat the coronavirus crisis (although he totally mishandled the crisis due to political considerations, whereas Bennett offered a solid, carefully thought-out plan for recovery), and established formal peace agreements with four Arab countries, and kept Israel’s economy on track through difficult years, but he did this at a high price for Israel’s democracy. Netanyahu is on trial for corruption, in three separate cases. He is a master politician who will do everything possible to stay in power, including by lying repeatedly to the public.

“I have never negotiated with [Mansour Abbas, leader of the United Arab List party],” Netanyahu stated yesterday. According to Abbas, the two held many negotiations over the past few years on “forming a government, joining a government, and preventing a government.” Abbas will be part of the coalition that will replace Netanyahu.

(This is just one example of Netanyahu's blatant lies.)

Unprecedented warning

Protests against the new government are legitimate, Bennett said, but a "violent machine” was acting against the new coalition through “a funded and directed operation.”

The previous evening, Shin Bet leader Nadav Argaman warned that “this discourse may be interpreted among certain groups or individuals as one that allows violent and illegal activity and could even lead to harm to individuals.”

Analysts suggested his words came in the wake of rabbis who called on their public to do anything possible to stop the new government. In 1995, rabbis issued similar statements and a short while later, one of their followers assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Israel is on tenterhooks these days, and anything could happen before the Knesset votes on the new government. Bennett and Lapid are carefully navigating their way forward, despite ongoing protests and harassments.

I hope and pray that they will succeed.

Image from Naftali Bennett's Twitter feed.