Saturday, January 18, 2003

"Jenin, Jenin" is a film made by Israeli-Arab actor Mohammed Bakri which contains personal accounts (and I also heard "reenactments") of "events" from the mythical Jenin massacre. The Israeli film censor deemed the movie inflammatory and banned it from being screening in theaters, but it is being shown nonetheless.

This article describes a screening of the film to skeptical and critical viewers at a college in Tel Aviv. Bakri excised parts of the film before showing it to Israeli audiences. David Zangen, an endocrinologist who did reserve duty together with the IDF unit that fought in Jenin appeared at the screening to debunk the film (in an earlier article translated here Zangen showed that the most dramatic personal accounts from the film can be easily shown false, such as an allegation about a destroyed wing of a hospital)..

A women's leftist group called "Bat-shalom" put on a showed the film Jerusalem and accompanied it a panel of representatives from four different political parties (Collette Avital from Labor, Meretz, Hadash, Green Leaf). Apparently they did something similar in Tel Aviv.

I'm curious as to what extent the film is being shown and abroad and in Arab communities here. It was screened at film festivals in Rome and in Amsterdam where it apparently won a prize. This German-Jewish site takes a positive view of the film. Here's a report on a screening being cancelled (I think), in Padua, Italy. And this Italian site discusses the film in pretentious critical jargon.

Update: Another article on the film.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Masters of the Obvious II Bret Stephens on why it's so wrongheaded to think that suicide bombing is an act of desperation.
Sam Rivers (!) is playing four concerts with the Israeli Camerata at the end of the month.
Masters of the Obvious This essay critiques Mitzna's plan for unilateral withdrawal, and criticizes Mitzna as an ideologue in a post-ideological era.

Author Yossi Klein-Halevi thinks that Sharon is a flexible pragmatist, and not the settlement-boosting former general that Thomas Friedman portrays..
I'm skeptical about this, though it sounds well-sourced. Seen nothing remotely related in the Israeli press.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Here's a translation of a message that a friend in Tel Aviv received from her employer:

1. Currently we are involved with emergency planning for our office. Among other things we intend to verify that it will be possible to continue to provide service to our clients even in the event that (some or all) employees are unable to travel to work, or in the case that the office itself is damaged. In such an instance, there will be activated a central computer database with our business data.

Since our supply of laptops is limited, we are asking that you investigate the possibility of using your private computers to connect to the office.

Please fill out the attached form and return it to xxxxx.

2. At this time, we present a special offer from Kavei Zahav to our employees for installation of ADSL at a special price.

Sunday, January 12, 2003

This past weekend was great weather for hiking up north, and for sitting out on the balcony at the kibbutz guest house. T. and I hiked in the Carmel forest, at Nahal Tavor next to Kibbutz Gazit (above), and walked up the said-to-be-volcanic Karnei-Hittin (of which a photo appears in Mark Twain's Innocents Abroad).

Next to the highway just north of Netanya there's an open field where some people propped up row after row of placards saying "Mitzna is virtuous" (or something like that) with a picture of Mitzna looking virtuous. At Kibbutz Gazit there were signs for Meretz. At the adjacent Arab village (Kafr Mizr?), the popular party was the one with a 2 letter logo that included the Arabic letter that resembles an epsilon.

The kibbutz where we stayed caters to a religious clientele. So instead of regular cable TV, there were Saudi cable channels (eg, Showtime Arabia), that showed airplane versions of Hollywood movies.

When I travel up north I try to stay clear of the Wadi Ara highway, especially at night. There hasn't been much trouble on the road recently, but the area is prone to infiltrations like the one tonight where 3 terrorists entered Moshav Gadish and killed a father of four (report).

Marchamont Needham asks some questions:

What happens if Shinui ends up holding the balance of power? What's the chance they'd join a left-wing coalition with Labor? If they join with Likud, what limits does that place on Palestinian policy? Can you make a right wing coalition based on Shinui and Likud that doesn't include the religious parties? Can Shinui co-exist in coalition with any of the religious parties?

If the religious keep their draft exemptions, etc., but are cut off from special funding by the state, will that blunt the resentment of most secular Israelis? That is, do they mind forking over tax dollars more, or do they mind the (informal) special status accorded the religious?

Shinui could join a "centrist" coalition together with Labor and Likud, if Labor were willing to go that direction. The arithmetic wouldn't countenance them joining a left-wing gov't, and I think their leadership wouldn't be interested either. In their campaign, Shinui is trying to "triangulate" on the security/Palestinian issue saying: we're not overaggressive like Likud or pushovers like Labor. Shinui can NOT coexist with religious parties, which will make coalition-building hard for Sharon.

It's difficult to imagine signifcant change regarding Orthodox draft exemptions and funding. Maybe funding would be reduced somewhat, but the Arab parties also support the Large Families law, and the IDF is not in any hurry to draft thousands of Hasidim etc.

More: RibbityFrog mentions that some people think that a Likud-Labor-Shinui coalition would undermine core support of the Likud. Gil says that the leader of Shinui has said he would be willing to be in a coalition with the National Religious Party, as their supporters serve in the Army and are not reliant on gov't assistance; but the NRP might be more hesitant.