Beyond the Cusp

May 5, 2016

Ancient Thoughts and the World Today

 

I read an e-mail article which listed what it claimed in its title to be “20 Quotes From Ancient Greek Philosophers That Liberals Still Don’t Understand” and four of these in particular got my brain reeling, drowning in swirling daydreams and thought perhaps it might be fun to share. I found myself gravitating to three philosophers where one was the most gifted student of the other and the other their sole peer. Below are the thoughts in decreasing order of relevance, or at least in ease of application and understanding. This dictates we tackle them in reverse order working from the sublime imperatives from which we then reach the inevitable brutal and undeniable truth.

 

“Republics decline into democracies and democracies

degenerate into despotisms.” – Aristotle

 

“This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs;

when he first appears he is a protector.” – Plato

 

“A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion,

a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true.” — Socrates

 

“The curse of me and my nation is that we always think things can be bettered

by immediate action of some sort, any sort rather than no sort.” – Plato

 

 

Plato Socrates Aristotle

Plato Socrates Aristotle

 

That places our starting point with Plato and the concept, “The curse of me and my nation is that we always think things can be bettered by immediate action of some sort, any sort rather than no sort.” This is true in every government which depends on the opinions of the people discerned through an elective process. Be the system parliamentary, republic, direct democracy or other form where the voting public consists of eligibility of the greater part of the adult electorate and where promises gains votes those promises will come fast and loose. This will inevitably lead to greater and greater promises which will become more and more immediate often inventing problems and difficulties which are designed for easy quick solutions which can be readily enacted and implemented despite there being no reality to both the invented problem and an easy answer. Everything becomes something which requires an immediate solution and this demand continues to grow and now the people soon demand that even the greatest difficulties of the world be solved with the same brilliance, alacrity and without difficulty or complications. The expectations have become unrealistic but then when the people are demanding miracles, those who desire to hold office will make promises which they know cannot be solved with promises which they know will never be solved and only lead to greater problems as the half measures designed as quick actions which are definitive, definitive failures causing more and deeper problems. The demand for immediacy by the public eventually leads to the need for a savior.

 

That brings us to the next quote from Socrates which states, “A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true.” This is where taking the false promises of charlatans who are the sole makers of empty promises selling them as definitive solutions to the most knotty and complex of problems starts us down a slippery slope. These have the ability to sell a framing of the problem in such a way that their solution appears obvious but nobody seems to think why if the solution which now appears so simple, easy and immediate that it did not appear for the last body of officials. Nobody wants to question whether the defining of the problem has been molded and crafted simply to facilitate the elevation of the individual and not done to reach a viable solution. These charlatans always play emotional weaknesses and know the desires of the people more than they understand the problems but emotionalism plays well, think Donald Trump with one difference, imagine Trump with a solution to the Middle East which is easy, immediate and apparently just hidden from view in such a way that only Trump could see it. Of course Donald Trump has not put forth such a solution and instead has simply sold that things will be great, trust Trump, great. Well, it is so completely different than Yes We Can. Both “Make America Great Again” and “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth” are empty boasts on which all problems can be put aside as the personality is sufficient to repair every problem. These set up a system of morality which is made of empty platitudes that caught the people up in an emotional defining of the world and choosing a leader purely on emotion which eventually leads to disappointment making the situation primed for the next step.

 

We go back to Plato where we read, “This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.” When the solutions are minimized such that false solutions become the norm, we reach a mire so deep that only a savior is believed to be the only possible solution. A person who is charismatic and has a plan, a plan that sweeps the public up with the promises, causes them to fall head over heels for the man with the plan which will heal their nation and restore it to greatness and return every glory which was once true and real. The savior and restorer of the greatness are seen as one who will revamp the government and streamline the process and accomplish that which formerly was not possible. The protector comes with promises if only you can and will trust what he knows must be executed to bring about the future promised by this protector. The promise is that once they are loosed from the restriction built into government and being freed from the tethers designed to limit and constrain government, but the savior cannot be constrained by such petty inconveniences. The releasing of the tethers and streamlining the methodology leads only one place, tyranny, and tyranny inevitably leads to one thing, despotic ruin.

 

This last revelation finished the slide defined so accurately by Aristotle who stated, “Republics decline into democracies and democracies degenerate into despotisms.” The Republic was seen as the finest form of governance no matter the style, be it direct elections, parliamentary or anything between or alongside where the people hold the power and the government has to respect the people’s power. With time the republic governance reaches a point where their society actually needs minimal government and definitely does not need any interventions, new laws, programs or anything else but the government has to find relevance in order to form promises around which will grant them the support of the people and result in their next election. This leads to demagoguery and populism which tend to bring an end to the slow and deliberate governance and replace it with governance which has a tendency to divide the populace into groups based on positions on issues, some real and some manufactured by the politicians themselves. Such governance works by promising larger groups of citizens benefits which will be paid for by smaller groups treasure, usually unwarranted wealth made by abusing the workers and these political riders of white horses topped with a wide brimmed white Stetson hat riding off into the sunset after collecting the votes of the masses. This results in a government which will end in bloated inefficiency where the promises have far outstripped revenue collection and has built a deficit which only grows along with the government. The collection institutions are inefficient often using half the collected wealth simply to finance their department making it obvious an impediment to balancing the budget as that cost is rarely figured into the formulas promoted by the political charlatans.

 

As noted above the situation reaches some critical point where the population is primed for a savior, the one who can return sanity and prosperous times. This promise keeps growing and as this savior has made some progress they start to complain how the government itself is preventing them from rescuing the society from itself. Slowly but surely they strip down the government taking over one layer after another until they no longer stand for reelection, their continued leadership has been accepted as permanent. Soon the other governing bodies are replaced with sycophants and lackeys making them simply the echoes of the dictator allowing for them to hold ultimate power and makes for efficiency in all operations which saves revenue which further permits the dictator to show success after success.

 

But even an all-powerful dictator runs into problems eventually as they too continue promising more and more until it becomes necessary to find new sources of revenues. This has historically led to wars which eventually make for the end of the rule of dictators as once they start to attack neighbors, the neighbors are likely to form alliances and end the spread and conquest of the dictator and after conquest the people may eventually make their way back to representative governance. The one rule is that the generation which falls and allows the rise of a demigod will not return to free governance with it more often taking many years, even centuries, before the people will be permitted to rule themselves. This is evident today as Europe and the Western world is slowly lurching its way down that well-worn path to ruin while developing nations have shown a sign of seeking to develop representative republic governance, what Aristotle, Plato and Socrates all believed was the most favorable form of governance.

 

Where on this merry-go-round your nation is can be figured simply by measuring the freedom each has as an individual and the size and scope of the governance. In all situations where the people are more powerful than the government and are capable of changing the entirety of their legislature and their leaders with regular elections, that would point to a society with a great deal of freedom and is a republic. With the power shared or favoring the government agencies over the people, then one is likely no longer in a republic but in a mere democracy, a good place from which an engaged population can turn things around. But if the governance is under a single person or small cabal which is unelected and not dependent on the approval of the people and rule as they wish, that is the final stop of a democracy where it dies and will not be reborn during the lifetime of any of its citizens, even any infants born during the year of the final elections, a meaningless election at that.

 

That is both the end of freedom and the start of the path back to liberty, freedom and the rights of man. The unfortunate truth is that the vast majority of humankind has never known freedom or even truly elected governance and probably never will. For this majority of the planet will require great expenditures by the free world to instruct, educate, form and develop the basics, principles and understanding of the mechanisms required. After the entire world finds itself on the merry-go-round where we slide from freedom to despotism and finally revolution and a return to republic and the new optimism which will eventually end in disappointment until humankind learns to control their appetites and refuse to follow demigods who promise perfection and untold riches and joys, delivering none of them and few promises being realized. Perhaps that is our fate or maybe we will eventually learn to control our slide of our own personal weaknesses. Perhaps we will learn and our species finally break free of petty differences, greed and acting in a manner which eventually leads to our subjugation when our greed outpaces our good sense. Perhaps.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 12, 2016

Thoughts on the World on This Day

 

The negotiations between Turkey and Israel are proceeding as if running uphill through thick maple syrup. The Turkish Foreign Minister claims that the next high level meeting will end with an agreement. The Israeli negotiating team in London, England stated that these most recent negotiations showed no progress and that the impasses remain. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin recently stated matter-of-factly that there can be no rapprochement between Turkey and Israel until Israel ends the naval blockade of Gaza and ends the occupation by Israel of Palestinian lands. This would appear to be a deal breaker making any return of normal relation impossible. We find this wonderful news as we believe that Israel normalizing relations with Turkey, a Muslim country which plays both ends of Islam against one another, is just one more sycophantic symptom of Israeli leaders belief they must please the whole world, even or especially their enemies. This game should become fun to watch as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is to visit Turkey this week and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman is also to be in Turkey starting from Monday. The presumed leader, or at least high ranking servant of the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, of Shia Islam is to visit Turkey at the same time as the presumed leader of the Sunni world visiting Turkey should provide some amusement. It should end up like a man handling his mistress while on a business trip where his wife arrived to surprise him.

 

On to Iraq and the failures of its government and the surprises when viewing exactly who is upset. The thought was that the Shiite population in Iraq with the assistance from Iran would be in a virtual; perfect world. There are a few problems with this situation which were not anticipated. The biggest problem is the really, really low oil prices. This is due to Saudi Arabia’s assault on Iran through flooding the market with low priced oil knocking the profit out of much of the world’s oil production. This low price has forced the closure of numerous fracking sites as the price of reaching the oil was too expensive even though the shipping costs were minimal. The actual aim by the Saudis was Iran and their allies in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere. The American Fracking concerns were a secondary target which the Saudis are more than happy to see abandoned as they became economically unviable. If the United States were playing the game long term they would have stepped in and subsidized their oil and gas industry in order to send a message to the Saudis that the United States will be in this game and not abandon being internally provided and succumbing to the Saudi pressure forcing them from viability just so the Saudis can raise prices later and have everybody dancing to their tune. The additional fact that the Russians are also caught in the vice of the Saudi ploy was simply icing on the cake.

 

When the legacy for the Obama administration is being written it will hopefully have a few chapters which will require waiting until the complete story had played out in Iraq. President Obama was handed an Iraq which was mostly a done deal and took a concerted effort to completely erase all the hard work which had led to that point and somehow President Obama managed to mishandle and fumble that handoff within two years. Why two years? That was because it took that long for graft and greed to destroy all the hard work which had all but solved almost every issue. All that was left to do was oversee the government and make sure that they did their jobs and did not steal everything which was not nailed down. There was also the little thing called treating the people fairly. The initial problem which would have signaled there was a problem would have been the Kurdish areas as they already had a regional government which was up and working and thus had a means of voicing their displeasures. The next area one could look was the Sunni areas which also had a built in warning system, namely the Sunni Ministers who were arrested or fled the government before being arrested and subsequently tortured or murdered. Even had all these gone by undetected, even a blind man should have picked up on the increasingly violent Shiite demonstrations rising against the Iraqi government and the return of Moqtada al Sadr to prominence. The last item would have been the acceptance of the Islamist terrorist entity ISIS growing to such prominence unopposed initially by the government in Iraq as they had warnings galore that all was not well in the central Sunni areas which were the first to show displeasure and finally did turn to the Sunni terror state which proved to be a nightmare but were unable to receive any support fighting ISIS when they might have been most easily defeated from the central government leading to the middle of the country to simply fall into the arms of the Sunni Islamists.

 

Another area which the Obama government got wrong was Egypt where President Obama gladly backed the Muslim Brotherhood and was so infatuated with their rule that they completely ignored the Egyptian people who rose up against the Muslim Brotherhood whose mismanagement of the economy and infatuation to the point of obsession with applying the Sharia and doing so as quickly as possible that they missed all the warning signs. When even Turkey’s President Erdogan tells you that you are attempting too radical an approach and agenda and that they would be better served to slow their pace of incorporating the changes, then you might have a problem. Their refusal to adjust led directly to the coup by the military which then installed a temporary government while elections were held. The military showed more sympathy for the people than had the government of the Muslim Brotherhood. This led directly to the ouster and outright banning of the Islamic Muslim Brotherhood who had simply tried to do too much too fast and won itself the ire of the people.

 

The next boondoggle was Libya and the terrorist overrunning of the Benghazi Consulate. This required the willful blindness of both the President and the Secretary of State. Of course both of these individuals were more concerned with the reelection of President Obama which largely led to their ignoring repeated pleadings for greater security and additional people in Benghazi. Then followed the dropping of the ball through a clumsy cover-up designed to put off any bad publicity by a willful media. The needless deaths of four Americans was something which screamed to be heard and was simply too great a tragedy to be swept under the rug. That did not matter as the reelection went as planned and the revelations about Benghazi slowly emerged and by that time the American people had moved on. Nothing was going to damage the administration this late in the game, but the end of Benghazi has not been heard from as it will most definitely return loud and clear should Hillary Clinton be the Democrat candidate for President this coming election cycle. The televisions will carry wall-to-wall video of Hillary before the Senate committee investigating Benghazi stating, “What difference now does it make.” That is when Benghazi might finally be felt.

 

In Israel it is everything normal all upsides down. Israel is still being accused of colonialism by the conquerors of their homeland from in the early seventh century. The Arabs were simply the last of a whole host of colonial enterprises all attempting to dislodge the Jewish People (the Israelites) from their native ground and capital city of Jerusalem. It started with the Babylonians who were felled by the Persians who gave way to the Greeks who morphed into Rome which split into the Byzantines who lost out to the Arab Muslims and now that the aboriginal peoples are returning to claim their homelands from the greatest colonialists who spread and even outdid the British and are crying foul. If anybody can find a people who are still a viable people who predate Kings Saul, David and Solomon and predate Joshua it would be quite interesting. The Arabs broke out of Arabia in the early seventh century and have been proudly declaring their intent to conquer the globe and they are calling the Jews colonials?

 

What could be more ludicrous than that? Additionally, in order to assure he has the title President for Life and to never hold another election for the “Palestinians” Abbas has now established a Kangaroo Constitutional Court to declare election are not possible because Israel did it. He has refused to hold elections knowing a snowball would last longer in Hell than he would in office if elections were held and he has a ready-made scapegoat which the European and United Nations are more than happy to blame along with him. How the Palestinian Authority refusing to hold election in the lands where they have been unfortunately granted a semi-autonomous rule can be somebody else’s fault is beyond logic, but since when did logic ever come into play if the Jews can be blamed.

 

Meanwhile Europe is in panic mode because their great plans on inviting anybody claiming to be a refugee from a conflict in the Middle East is not working out as planned. Imagine that. Who thought for a moment allowing herds of people whose standing is living in a governmental system where fair elections are the ones where they know the outcome only days in advance of the voting instead of years and the Europeans cannot understand what went wrong. Still, the Europeans continue to demand that the Israelis allow any and everybody who desire to vote and claim residence for their elections vote for their parliament, the Knesset, and cannot understand why Israel would balk at such a demand. Some people, and by this we are referring to the people who are in power and are completely unable to see what is plainly before them. Perhaps it is time to clean house Europe.

 

The American primaries are continuing and both parties are now wishing they had a viable alternative to their frontrunners. The Democrat elite are sold on Hillary because she and Bill still have the FBI files on most of them. The Republicans had seventeen candidates so have no one to blame but themselves for not straightening things out before it became Cruz or Trump or who are you kidding from Ohio where he won you know. If we had to pick the race now it would be Bernie feel the Bern Sanders against Cruz but as long as the Democrats pull the rug out from under Hillary once again thus making her honorary Charlie Brown and the Football award winner, then Bernie wins against either frontrunner of the Republicans. Yes, the Americans know he is a socialist and really do not care as he has the most experience in government yet is probably the most outsider of them all having never joined either Party. Yep, the democrats are going to nominate an Independent over the actual Democrat in the race. What next?

 

Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders

 

 

Oh, even Putin has pulled most of his troops out of Syria leaving in as many as required to protect the naval bases they have there and leaving Assad clinging to power and Iran equally hard. The Russians never were actually fighting the Islamic State and why should they as it is not their problem and the Islamic State is not so stupid as to tug on Superman’s cape or anger Putin, there is little difference except Russian revenge is swifter. That leaves Syria as the most dysfunctional nation on earth with Iraq right behind. The next after that are Pakistan, North Korea tied with Greece and Greece has a wider glimmer of hope named German Banks. The European Union is nervously awaiting the vote this fall by the British on whether to remain even loosely attached to the European Union and the Brits are really glad they continued to hold on to the Pound Sterling and only accepted Euros in trade. Meanwhile, I am sure there are politicians worth their salt in France and Germany thinking of returning to the Franc and the Mark. If they ever actually do that, the European Union is dead, done, fini!

 

China is in the midst of a quiet disaster waiting to happen as they have not met growth projections for a year and a half. They are reacting as one would expect, returning to the good old ways of managed economy with the central government reverting to their communist roots. This will simply exacerbate the problem and that will drive them further still from any capitalist economic engines and back to their five year plans. That will work exactly as it did when it drove them to try capitalism except this time it will be seen as saving them from capitalism. Somewhere along the way China came to believe that capitalism could never slow down and growth would be a constant ten percent or higher. That proved to be a tad too optimistic so they are slowly dismantling the entire effort and returning to what they know will fail, but at least they will control the failure and will blame it on capitalism and become even more draconian and this should tumble China from economic dynamo feeling a small crunch to economic basket case rushing headlong to the bottom but doing so in a controlled manner. Their controlled crash will resemble an Airbus A380 whole wings and tail rudder fell off at 35,000 feet. Anybody standing between China and rock bottom should look up and be prepared to dodge a falling giant.

 

More disjointed news next time we feel our minds slipping and have no actual subject for an entire article, Thanks for your patience.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

February 1, 2016

Blessings We Have Found in Israel

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Israel gets some bad public relations if one depends on the news, editorials, talk radio and just about any mass media, even movies and other entertainment. Living in Israel very quickly dispels all the lies. Are there a few choice people who might make one take a less than superb view, but such are rare and even they warm with time. Needless to say, not knowing or speaking the language causes some difficulties but there is almost always somebody there to lend a translating hand. There was the time we were at a McDonalds and the woman at the counter spoke no English and two what had to be young High School age girls came in and realizing the communication problem immediately became our translators without being asked. Generally there are those who willingly offer to give directions to whatever place you need to find in ten minutes to make the appointment and it is your first time in the city and you got off the bus where you thought was the closest stop. That time we only missed by one or two stops and had to walk about a mile or so, you get used to walking in Israel because so much living is city center style European life, an initial system shock after life in the outer suburbs in the United States.

 

Our friends, acquaintances and relatives are quite surprised when we relate the ease and general atmosphere in Israel. When we tell them that we have found Israel more accommodating and generally having a softer and more easy and comforting nature they tend to express great surprise. One might expect that in Israel life would have an edge on it with the constant threats from virtually any direction and the added unpleasant surprise with the Iranian nuclear threat and President Obama and his team’s animosities and threats thrown at Israel but they would be quite wrong. Probably the best description we could give as a true barometer of Israel and Israelis would be to take everything ever attributed to Israel and her people by the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Human Rights Commission or virtually any other United Nations agency etcetera and take it all and place the initials of the United Nations in front of them but in small letters and then read the entirety as one word. An easy example would be if some United Nations commission claimed Israelis harbored a genocidal hatred then all one need do is take the two words and place the letter un in front giving you ungenocidal and unhatred and you would produce an honest appraisal. Sure it would take ignoring your spellcheck and do some translations where ungenocidal would become accepting of others people who are different and unhatred would become lovers making the entire accusation translate into accepting and caring for peoples who differ from Jews and accepting, caring and considerate of people who are of any other stereotypical, racial, religious or nationality different from Israeli or Jewish. A closer inspection of Israeli actions around the world will better exemplify this example.

 

When Haiti was struck by that devastating earthquake, the Israelis were amongst the first to have responders on the ground evaluating any special needs. Israel had the first field hospital which was equipped with X-ray equipment, a gynecological unit, a neonatal unit, burn center, surgical rooms, prosthetics and physical therapy, emergency room, and virtually every department and specialists which was on the ground and set up within six days of the earthquake. This hospital remained on the ground even after the search and rescue units had stood down. Israel also opened clinics in areas where urgent care not requiring the abilities of a full hospital were present and when the Israelis left Haiti a number of these clinics remained completely equipped with diagnostic, monitoring and other equipment and Israel had trained people in the area such as orphanage, school or other personnel who would be capable of offering care after the Israelis had left.

 

When Typhoon Haiyan spread destruction throughout much of the Philippines, Israel arrived with an one-hundred-forty-eight person team, including search, rescue and medical services and a fully functioning field hospital with one-hundred tons of aid. Making rescue and aid assistance even more difficult was when the typhoon struck, the region was still reeling from the Bohol earthquake in October before. One of the more interesting reports on the Israeli presence at the time was on television news where an on the scenes reporter had been directed to a small village not on one of the main Islands by the Philippine government when she requested assistance in reaching the “most remote village” to report on how they were coping with the aftermath of the storm. Imagine her surprise to find a clinic operated by Israelis already set up and operating while training the local villagers on how to treat people for emergency aid and familiarizing them with the equipment which the Israelis would leave behind as well as the clinic itself with one Israeli aid worker to remain behind and work for the next six months or so with the villagers to assure that they have received whatever training might arise.

 

When Nepal recently had their massive earthquake, once again Israel was amongst the first to respond and the operation was much like the one in Haiti with one exception which was remarkable; Israel took care to the most remote of places, some of which had rarely if ever seen support even from the Nepalese government where Israel set up satellite care units often referred to as clinic in a backpack, though we would hate to have to carry such a backpack, they are quite heavy (pictured below). These remote aid clinics provided urgent and critical care close to the, and often on the, mountain slopes treating climbers and vacation goers as well as native Nepalese citizens. They also operated as a remote triage for when victims were stabilized and given what treatment was available at the clinic and once the patients were stabilized for transport having them taken to the main Israeli or other field hospital.

 

 

The Israeli and Nepalese medical staff who operated the IsraAID mobile clinic in the village of Tar, ten hours northeast of Kathmandu. (Photo credit: Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)

The Israeli and Nepalese medical staff who operated the IsraAID mobile clinic in the village of Tar, ten hours northeast of Kathmandu. (Photo credit: Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)

 

 

Israel has sent aid groups to other areas struck by natural calamities with teams having gone to Japan after their earthquake and tsunami disaster, Myanmar after the tsunami, Turkey after they suffered an earthquake and offered assistance to the United States after hurricane Katrina swamped New Orleans and destroyed entire fishing towns along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, and reportedly one of a very remote few to offer assistance to the United States. When one considers the Save a Child’s Heart program and how it saves children of all ages who have debilitating if not life-threatening heart problems as well as setting up entire departments in hospitals around the world and training their staff and physicians on how to diagnose and treat these children including training the heart surgeons on how to perform these sensitive and vital surgeries, Israel leaves all the equipment the staff was trained on with the hospital.

 

And the Israelis you meet, see, work with and just generally run across are some of the most patient people and really do try to help in their own manner. They may sometimes have difficulty in expressing things in English but many are actually happy and anxious to use their English and respond well when one states the words in the correct syntax as that is important to them. Sentence structure in Hebrew is different than in English and thus literal word for word translations quite often makes for what at first one takes as Yoda speak from Star Wars, perhaps it was direct translation of Hebrew to English that was the basic transference used to make Yoda syntax. Our Hebrew is embarrassingly inadequate to even make a scheduled appointment and get the day of the week correct not to mention the time as some places use a twenty-four hour clock which reminds all of military times.

 

Then there is a tight knit group of what are referred to as Anglos, basically English speakers, and we have events, trips, sightseeing, Torah, Talmud and Bible classes for men and women and we have found our level of social activities is vastly more active and on a level of friendliness equal to our best of times and friends back in the United States. Another thing which leads to such is that Israel is a rather small nation, approximately the size of New Jersey, though that is misleading as the southern two-fifths, or forty-percent, of Israel is made up of the Negev Desert which is rather sparsely populated. Where New Jersey has a population of nine-million, Israel’s population is just over eight-million. Of course there are some groups who pretty much stick to their own group of like-minded and religious viewpoints such as the Haredi. In much of Israel where there is a mix of Arab and Jewish populations there is no evident difference in the treatment and the interactions are natural and as normal as humanly possible. In the area we reside there are Arab and Muslim stores and employees in larger stores or other places of employment are seamless as to their fitting into the society as a whole. At the regional hospital there are Muslim and Arab nurses, physicians, technicians and all positions and everything functions, as we said, seamlessly. The street signs are all written in Hebrew, Arabic, and English with some towns sporting French or Spanish or Russian, though we have yet to see one which had more than four languages and usually just the three required languages. What is always amusing is when a store has its name actually an English name but the letters on their sign is in Hebrew. What gets confusing is that when you read some of these signs you try to think what the prefixes and suffixes are as Hebrew has many words result only in a letter prefix or suffix. Some examples of prefixes are the ‘v’ which means ‘and’ along with an ‘h’ which means ‘the’ while the suffixes often give one the gender of the word as well as if it is singular or plural or includes the speaker or listener in the plural group and so on. Over half of learning Hebrew are the prefixes and the gender and singular versus plural of the words. Someday we will get a reliable translation program for our phones, or should we call them what the phones have become, life assistants and general applications from pictures to recordings, getting e-mail, surf the Web, record our every move and change of mood on Facebook, well, not quite, and most important movie or still camera and recorder.

 

Basically, virtually everything UNcomplimentary about Israel are UNtrue. Contrary to popular belief they are not contrarians. Israelis are like all peoples, there are the great, the good and the we wish they were nicer types. Many fall all over themselves attempting to make our lives as stress free as possible which had to be stressing on them. Of course it might be that as the ancient Hebrew scholars made a point of hammering into our stories and writings, people will only treat you as well as you treat them and life can be like a mirror to one’s soul which is revealed by ones actions when it appears nobody is watching, because, as we are taught in Judaism and is likely taught though with a slight difference, there is always somebody watching us from on High and nothing escapes that view as our innermost thoughts to our most expressed emotions. We can also count that such observations tell whether we’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake. Still, there is something else which permeates through the society at large. There is an air of optimism and hopefulness. You feel a vigor for living life and finding meanings where other places simply ignore and accept things as is. In Israel there is this striving to be better as a people and as individuals. There is also a level of acceptance which makes one more comfortable simply being themselves as all will be just fine in the end. There are more young children than we were used to in the United States. This too adds to the optimism as a society with declining populations is what is destroying Europe right before our eyes. They are dancing their last dance in Europe and if things continue as has been the scenario we in Israel will become all the more isolated and an Island of freedom and democracy in a sea of misfortune. There is still hope for Europe but only if they turn their ship of state around and rediscover what gave them the impetus to live life to the fullest and explore the world, that spark of life which made passing their ideas and ideals on to the next generation, something difficult to do when there are so few children born to the indigenous Europeans. Israel will only grow stronger as the Jews of Europe make their final decision and that plague may soon prove to be a prophesy for the United States though that need not be their future written in stone. The United States has a far better opportunity to reverse the slipping trend before the slope becomes too steep and wet for any traction and down becomes the only direction. We are both glad we have come to Israel and Israel has proven to be a wellspring of optimism and life, a future of light and enlightenment, more than a completion as it is an opportunity to grow with such splendor and a kaleidoscope of choices each colored so vividly and vibrant. It is really hope eternal or as close as we have seen on Earth. It is great to be at home, the home which was destined and a good, no, great home it is and will grow from there. Needless to say, but we do not expect the United Nations to understand as they are the people of ‘UN’ and that sums them up in total.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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