Beyond the Cusp

December 9, 2019

A Quick Look Around the World

Filed under: Israel — qwertster @ 2:54 AM
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Even reading just a few articles this morning, we see that things have not drifted too far during our absence. Despite this static appearance, we realize it may take some time to get back in gear. Apparently, Turkey still wants to destroy the Kurds and the world is mostly just shrugging. We stand with what we have always stated, we support the establishment of the nation of Kurdistan. Of course, the world would never take such an honorable and wise move.

 

Our Idea for a Proposed Kurdistan

Our Idea for a Proposed Kurdistan

 

Apparently, Israel is still heading to the next election, which we fully support. As has oft been attributed to numerous people who worked and wrote around the times of the American Revolution, “The government which governs best governs least.” Without any currently empowered Knesset, we need not fear new rules and regulations, just a government finally working with relative efficiency. If that appears to be cynical, we plead guilty as charged.

 

The American Presidential carnival, provided for our perusal by the Democrat Party, has slimmed in numbers but not in coming amusement. We look forward to gaffs, but their positions of higher taxes and less freedoms are going to be a hard sell. All that will be needed is some honest reporting, who are we kidding, or other politicians simply revealing the reality they are peddling.

 

On another front, the United States is still as divided as ever with a sizeable number of Americans so opposed to Trump that they will never forgive him for winning the election. Israel is also divided in such a condition that electing a new government appears impossible. This is further indemnified by a number of parties and candidates running under the claim that they simply are not Bibi Netanyahu. These coming elections in the two nations will bear watching and writing our commentary as they proceed.

 

Well, we may as well be honest and admit that typing and publishing is posing to be a greater challenge than expected, or just as difficult as suspected. We will eventually either return to posting somewhat rambling articles or, and more likely, we will learn brevity and staying on subject. Until our next venture into parking in computer chairs and making new posts, hopefully with a good dose of foresight, we hope this small taste of our returning to our abnormal sense, we hope we can make this trip together.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

October 7, 2019

Israel Government Election Potentials

 

Israel held their second elections in order to attempt and allow for some governing coalition to be possible in mid-September. The April elections were inconclusive as the so-called right-wing parties; the religious, nationalist, conservative and/or Zionist parties, reached sixty mandates, one short of the necessary sixty-one mandates. The main reason that no government was able to be formed was due largely to two distinct reasons. The main reason which the media latched onto almost immediately, that Yisrael Beiteinu under the leadership of Avigdor Lieberman made demands which, if adopted, would have cost the support of the Haredi parties and cost the coalition more mandates than Yisrael Beiteinu could add to the attempted coalition. His main efforts demanded that the Haredi lose all or virtually all their deferments from IDF service, requiring all students attend public schools with their Torah and religious schooling being relegated to an after-school activity and other demands for mainstreaming the Haredi communities even against their resistance. The September voting realized the same divide as the April elections and left the sole formation of a government requiring what is called a unity government with Blue-White and Likud sharing the office of the Prime Minister and working together despite their disagreement on virtually every point of governance. Perhaps this is the ideal time to try and explain and define the differences which has the Israeli population so evenly split in halves making forming a government difficult, not impossible, just very difficult.

 

BTC Israeli Election Banner

 

The main points demanded by Avigdor Lieberman is a good starting point as all his policy proposals are largely based on a single premise, forcing the Haredi to meld with the whole of the Israeli society and removing the exceptions they have earned from previous governments. The two main points were education and IDF service. Avigdor Lieberman is making these demands despite strong evidence that the Haredi communities are inexorably moving to meld into the mainstream society even if at a fairly slow rate. He demands that the Haredi be forced to immediately meld into Israeli society losing all deferments for Torah scholars, their religious schools being replaced by the students being placed into the public-school system relegating Torah and religious studies to an after-school exercise. To a neutral observer, one would have to believe that Avigdor Lieberman holds the Haredi and religious communities in contempt and desires to destroy their independence and separation from normative Israeli society. He has attempted to force some of these concepts into law with little if any success and has now decided to demand these concessions up front, taking no chances. As noted above, the Haredi and religious communities have been slowly but surely moving towards melding with the rest of Israeli society without any pressure from the government. They are following the same process as the rest of Israeli society no matter their origins. No matter which groups one would choose to observe, be they the Russians, Haredi, Western European, Eastern European, Ethiopian, North American, South American or some other more exotic of Jews returning to their homelands of Israel, after three, four or at most five generations they are mostly merged with the rest of Israeli society. Their former native tongue is less used even at home except when the grandparents visit as their Hebrew leaves something to be desired.

 

There exist numbers of Haredi entering the IDF completely voluntarily despite being eligible for deferments. Haredi women have already been working with their forming companies themselves such that they can have a comfortable work environment. The Haredi men are lagging behind their better halves, but the number of Haredi men entering the workforce has increased year after year. But this rate, despite showing signs of increasing, apparently is not sufficient for Avigdor Lieberman who would prefer to force it into an established fact already achieved. The Haredi, according to him, have become too large a liability and, if not addressed by the secular community, will soon bankrupt the economy. But, even some in the Haredi community have already realized that their communities are threatened should they continue resisting normalization and are making sure that their children are adequately educated to enter the job market. We expect with time that the male Haredi communities will also form their own start-up companies just as their women are already pursuing. The problem with caving to the demands by Avigdor Lieberman, and similar demands from Yair Lapid of the Blue White Party, is it will very probably cause the slowing of the normalization of the Haredi community as they react to what they perceive as an attack on their way of life. Sometimes, attempting to force change on a community results in the retarding of their changing in the desired direction.

 

The question is why Avigdor Lieberman is pressing to force things on the Haredi communities which they are already starting to do on their own. The reason is almost purely political. His Yisrael Beiteinu Party had been losing support as their membership aged. His very public insistence on forcing the normalization of the Haredi community, including attacking their school systems, is designed to bring additional voters into his party, or at least voting for his party. Lieberman is tapping into some of the far left and far right and other pro-secular (read anti-religion) Israelis in addition to his normal voting support. His tactic has worked to this point, but only time will tell if this choice will prove all that advantageous with time. The surprise was that Yisrael Beiteinu would not be part of any right-wing coalition without some major concessions. This has been the sticking point making the forming of a coalition by Prime Minister Netanyahu as Avigdor Lieberman has all but refused to join such a coalition unless the Haredi Parties and communities allow for his life-changing new laws demanding their complete surrender to a secular life. This would lead to the Haredi not sitting in a coalition where Avigdor Lieberman’s demands were being met. On the other side, Blue White Party cannot form a government even with the mandates coming up just a few votes short. In order to form a governing coalition, Blue White Party would be required to persuade the Arab Parties, or at least a fair number of these parties consisting of Arab, Communist and other parties. The problem with such a coalition is that once again Avigdor Lieberman. Should he ever sit in a coalition with Arab Parties, his support would all but evaporate and it would be the end of his political life. This is the conundrum faced by both the Likud Party and the Blue White Party in forming a ruling coalition.

 

Some have suggested that Blue White might persuade one or both Haredi Parties into forming a coalition with their holding the Prime Minister office. Should Blue White attempt such a coalition, they would run into a large difficulty. Avigdor Lieberman is far from the only politician who desires forcing the immediate normalization of the entirety of the Haredi communities. Another politician who has made much of his name by making these demands is Yair Lapid, the number two (or three depending who you ask) person in the Blue White Party and one who would share the office of Prime Minister should they manage to form a coalition. Blue White would be required to disband their relationship with Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid Party. This would severely cripple any hopes of forming a coalition even should they be able to bring the Haredi onboard. The only other means, according to almost all observers, is for the Likud Party and Blue White Party to ameliorate their differences and find some common ground. Yair Lapid would be required to forgive his demands on the Haredi and Likud would need to back off their promises for annexation of the Jewish communities in the Shomron (West Bank) and both come to terms on several other issues including some concerning economic policies. This eventuality, to us, appears to be next to impossible. Yes, the two parties might manage to reach sufficient agreement to form a unity government, but any such governing coalition would be unstable and unlikely to last more than a few months, maybe a year. Such a government is not a solution and there may not be any viable solution considering all the particulars.

 

That leads to consideration of what might resolve this situation of such an evenly divided nation. The first point which is required to be considered is how seriously the average Israeli has been affected by there not being a coalition or Knesset, Israeli parliament, addressing any problems or difficulties since April and now a second hung election not producing a coalition. If the numerous people we have interacted with are any example, Israel is mostly functioning smoothly without any ruling coalition and a functioning Knesset. The government is still functioning largely fine as the several departments remain staffed and are simply quietly doing their jobs and providing their services. There will not be any new laws or regulations without the Knesset, but many would claim that such is a good thing. There is a better than even chance that there will be no government formed from the September elections and yet another election may be required.

 

The divide in Israeli society is not as extreme as these vote tallies appear to indicate. Much of the divide is a result of the ramifications of the devastating Oslo Accords. On the political right, there is a strong resistance to the “Two-State Solution” because of the allowing for an Arab state in the heart of Israel holding the overlooking mountainous region around the Tel Aviv metropolitan region where over three quarters of Israeli population, production, utilities and almost everything else exists. Their fear is simply rockets threatening the tallest skyscrapers of Tel Aviv using line-of-sight-targeting as well as increasing terrorism as a result. Many who still support granting the Arabs a state in most, if not all, of the Shomron believe what their far left leadership claim that by giving the Arabs these lands, despite all their promises to continue demanding more, will bring peace and security if only those religious zealots on the right would come to their senses. For those who wish to know exactly what any Arab state in the Shomron would become, they need look no further than Gaza where the Arabs were given their own region completely devoided of any Israelis since early September of 2005 as a result of the Gaza withdrawal which resulted from recommendations initiated by United State Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and fully backed by President George W. Bush and pressured by them upon the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who was required to form a new government in order to find sufficient support for enacting their insistent demand. Despite such evidence, much of the world still insists that Israel surrender everything and anything the Arab powers demand. There is another divide within the Israeli Jewish community, namely the religious and the secular. Even the religious have a divide between Haredi and the other factions including Reform Judaism, Traditional Orthodox, Reconstructionist, Conservative and other non-Haredi religious Jews. People need to understand that Judaism is different than other religions as the Jews are also a People. This leads to there being Jews by birth but not practicing Judaism as their religion with some actually having joined a different religion while being born and remaining a Jew biologically.

 

What will happen if Israel is required to hold a third election within one year? Well, Israel will be the butt of additional late-night jokes on television as well as at the water cooler. We are used to such things and will survive, if not thrive. The outcome of such a future election will be largely identical to the average of the two former elections. The possibility that there will result a government coalition is fairly slim. What has been frustrating is that the voting has favored a right-wing coalition approaching sixty-percent of the votes cast. With a couple of right-wing parties not attaining threshold, their voters were not included with those attempting to form a coalition. The left-wing and Arab parties formed partnerships such that all their voters would have party groups which would pass threshold. One reason that some of these right-wing parties failed to reach threshold was due to misleading polling which showed them receiving two to three times as many votes as they actually attained. What was interesting was that the further left the polling data, the higher these parties were polled to receive. There are those who believe that these misleading polling numbers were intentional hoping to prevent these parties from accepting joining other parties and thus wasting right-wing votes. So, we have conspiracy theorists here in Israel, we are not surprised. Whether or not the right-wing smaller parties will have learned anything remains to be seen. We can expect the polling results to be just as slanted attempting to reduce the representation of these supporters of these parties should they remain running alone. The other problem is something unique to the Israeli parliamentary system. Both Likud and Blue White were guilty of this problem as they each spent more time attacking the parties who would be their normal parties than those on the opposite side politically. With the predominant campaigning being used to maximize the two largest parties by attacking the smaller parties with similar or more polarized positions hoping to gain more mandates for themselves at these other parties’ expense. This may be part of what has led to the hung elections as it might be costing their potential coalition mandates as a result. Additionally, there are the misrepresentations which are almost always a part of any political contest. Israelis are fortunate that life remains largely unaffected by the political impasse being faced. Still, President Rivlin is pressing the two large parties to find some means of working together in a unity government. Thus far, we are facing a situation where leaders of Blue White refusing to sit in a government where the Prime Minister is under investigation of misconduct, even if the investigations are found to be purely politically motivated. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Netanyahu is not ready to pass the leadership of Likud. Perhaps the upcoming Likud primary election scheduled in the near future will solve that situation by choosing a new leader. The odds of such are almost nonexistent, but stranger things have been known to happen and we will just need to wait and see what the future will bring.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 22, 2019

Terror Strikes Sri Lanka

 

Already the death toll has been reported to be approaching three-hundred and is likely to exceed that number when the final count is known plus approximately five-hundred have been wounded after three churches and three hotels were targeted with explosions this Sunday in Sri Lanka. The hotels struck were the Shangri-La, Kingsbury Hotel and Cinnamon Grand; all of which are high end luxury hotels favored by tourists, specifically European and other Western nations. The churches attacked were St Anthony’s Church in the capital, St Sebastian’s in Katuwapitiya, north of Colombo, and local media has also reported a church in Batticaloa in Eastern Province (maps posted below). The targets are obvious, western tourists and Christians attending Easter Mass. We pray that these are the last of such on this day so holy to much of the world. Yet another attack has been reported at a house in Mahawila Gardens, Dematagoda which caused an ensuing fire.

 

Sri Lanka Map Displaying Terror Strike Locations

Sri Lanka Map Displaying Terror Strike Locations

 

 

Central Colombo and Terror Bombing Locations in the Capital City of Sri Lanka

Central Colombo and Terror Bombing Locations in the Capital City of Sri Lanka

 

There is no mystery to why terror strikes holy places on the most holy days of the year. In military jargon, these are target rich environments, when your main two goals are to murder as many infidels as possible and causing fear around the world for as many people as possible. The next question would be, why Sri Lanka. One reason is that the terrorists have easy access and another is these attacks will make the news across the world potentially causing some to forgo Easter Services this year. To some in Islam, this would prove a lack of faith and devotedness by Christians thus proving to them that Islam is the superior religion, the more powerful religion.

 

There have been signs that the Arab and Islamic world, the ones the mainstream media always adds the classification of extremist or other denotation implying that they are not “real” Muslims. But Muslims are encouraged to attack non-Muslims, specifically Christians and Jews (some fatwas include Buddhists and Hindus as well as any idolater, agnostic, atheist or any unbeliever essentially as they have expanded definitions in the Quran over the years broadening the areas and regions which are to be brought under Islam. Eventually, Allah has promised that Islam will be the only religion practiced on the Earth. We found these definitions explaining the difference between offensive Jihad and defensive Jihad and under what conditions each is practiced. Assuming we read them correctly, every Muslim leader is required to employ offensive Jihad against the Kuffar such that there would never be the need for defensive Jihad as the Muslims would always be the aggressors which would so terrorize the Kuffar that they would live in abject fear too frightened to attack the Islamic regions because of their greater strength. From what we read, the Muslims are either performing offensive Jihad to sufficient levels, otherwise they will face defensive Jihad. This would imply that Islamic nations which border any non-Islamic nation, they are either to make periodic attacks, at least once or twice each year, so as to place the fear of the Jihadists to such a point that these nations would never even consider attacking their Islamic neighbors. What if their neighbors had no intention of ever attacking their Islamic nation? This would be interpreted as proving any offensive Jihad was working exactly as in the Quran and the Hadiths. This is a self-fulfilling set of prophesies as if an Islamic is attacked, it is punishment for not being forceful enough in their offensive Jihad and if they are not attacked, that is because they have fulfilled their required offensive Jihad.

 

The terrorist attack in Sri Lanka is not an isolated case. Across the world there have been a consistent number of terrorist attacks mainly on Churches, Synagogues and Temples. There is the ongoing war waged by Boko Haram against the Christians and Animists in the regions centered on Nigeria but spreading across the entirety of the African Transition Zone (see map below). It was in response to these attacks that the French deployed troops to Mali to assist in preventing an Islamic takeover of that nation by force. The problems in Somalia are threatening of spreading into Kenya and there is still ongoing violence by the Sudan against the breakaway nation of South Sudan. Many of these internecine wars have existed for years and have simply become more intense over time. This violence is in addition to the tribal warfare still going on across Libya. And the violence between Islam and the rest of the world is not limited to Africa.

 

African Transition Zone

African Transition Zone

 

Terror has become a worldwide epidemic reaching into virtually every nation. In France over five-hundred churches have been firebombed or otherwise attacked since 9/11. The number of attacks worldwide is absolutely astonishing as depicted in the map below. We believe the yellow dots are domestic terror attacks such as the referenced “lone wolf” terror attacks while the red are parts of international terrorism. The numbers of attacks are indicative of where Islam is targeting. Currently the concentration has been in the Western world, specifically the regions under Judeo-Christian influence and the regions neighboring Muslim countries. Watching the news, one does not get much of a feel for the frequency and near universal direction where these attacks have targeted. The media attempts to cover up terrorism by downplaying the attacks. Often, as soon as such violence is perpetrated the media and the applicable law enforcement agencies including, or especially, the FBI immediately claiming that the attack definitely is not terror related. Then, after a few days when the news of the attack is all but forgotten comes the admission that it was indeed a terrorist attack. This is already counted as old news as the attack was days ago and the media has moved on thus the admission becomes back page news buried deep in the paper.

 

Terrorism Attacks 1970-2015

Terrorism Attacks 1970-2015

 

Eventually, the terrorism will reach such a point that it will no longer be something which can be ignored or minimized. When the people finally call upon the government to stand up and actually act to prevent these attacks. The people will demand that the government not only address the terrorism within the national boundaries, but to attack the sources and remove the people who are behind the attacks wherever in the world they may be found. Until that point is reached, these attacks will continue and only increase in frequency and severity. When will the world finally take the spreading terrorism seriously? Not until it becomes such a problem such that it can no longer be ignored. Government seldom take care of problems when they might be easily addressed but wait until the problem becomes impossible to leave along the side of the media coverage and becomes central to the news cycle as it has risen beyond any reason. This is a growing problem that will be pushed aside and the claim that it is beyond their ability to address as the government will wait until the people are willing to accept further curtailing of their freedoms in response to the attacks. The government never wants to address problems until they can use the problem in order to gain additional power depriving the citizens of rights such that the government gains more control. The government will demand that the people grant it additional power and accept restrictions to their freedoms before they will finally act and accept that the problem exists. Some places have already reached the point where they had no choice but to address the problem such as Israel, African Transition Zone, India and a growing situation across Europe. The United States is trailing Europe by a mere five years or there about. How long before this reaches a head? We wish we could tell you but that is beyond our ability of prognostication.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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