Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Israeli Elections or Living in a Banana Republic

My wife, our little baby, and I went walking last night to vote in our local Israeli Municipal elections: mayor and local council seats.

When we presented our identities my wife was told she could not vote; someone else had already voted under her name and identity number.

While I suspect fraud, and have some reasons for suspecting fraud, for the sake of argument, lets say it was an error of some sort. Mistakes happen in every part of life, including elections. However, the comedy of errors that followed have cemented in my mind the complete lack faith in the Israeli government as an elected government.

She was told she could not vote.

I asked the officials if she could have a provisional ballot, a vote that goes into a box with other discrepancies to be dealt with later, but at least not to deny her vote entirely. No. Nope. No you can't vote. Too bad so sad.

I asked if there was a form to complain or make a record of this event. No. Nope. No forms. Too bad, so sad.

I asked if there was someone, an official to speak with. No. Nope. No one you can speak with. Too bad, so sad.

We were advised to file a complaint with the police. The policeman in the hall would not take the complaint. The 2 policemen in the squad car outside would not take the complaint. We could go to the central station in the next town to complain. And you must go in person because they don't handle complaints over the phone. Because at 9 pm at night, with a baby that's what we're going to do, go to the next town to the central police station to file a complaint. I wonder how people without a car, or suffering mobility issues, seniors, how do they handle these issues?

Mistakes happen. But these elections reveal the truth of Israeli elections, they are not fair. There is no system of checks and balances. There are no official reports of discrepancies and no system in place to deal with these issues whatsoever. Israel is not a democracy, it is a banana republic.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Yair Lapid - Thoughtless & Clueless Part 2

I may be picking on Lapid a bit. But he is representative of this new wave of center-left Israeli politicians who are mistakenly driving Israel to sectionalism  nativism, and ultimately civil war. Lapid's compromise on Army service is the Ultra-Orthodox dream.

Right now, Israeli-Arabs and Ultra-Orthodox Jews army deferrals exist outside of the law. The Israeli supreme court deemed racial/ unequal deferrals to be illegal.

Lapid has a grand compromise - create an national service track for these groups of citizens and keep them separate from the main.

His faulty logic is that by keeping these groups separate it will magically lead to their integration.

What he seems to not comprehend, is that if his compromise is agreed upon, it will codify and enshrine in law the lack of army service for the ultra orthodox and Israeli arabs.

I have 2 children. My religious brother has 8. It appears, based on the current trend and systems and compromises,  likely that my 2 children will do the army while my brother's 8 will do national service.
It may not work out like that, but it's an example of what happens daily in Israel. One group's children goes to the army, others do not.

I don't want that discrimination enshrined in law.

And I don't want the Arabs and Haredi citizens of Israel to be classed as 'other' to be enshrined in law.

Think of popular sovereignty in the US, think of Dredd Scott, think of of all the compromises that ultimately enshrined slavery legally until only a civil war could reset the legal clock.

Lapid's compromise is the express train to civil war in 50 years.

Compromising on discrimination is no compromise at all.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Why Yair Lapid Disgusts Me

The USA has a long history of compromising with discrimination. They compromised on issues of slavery - The Missouri Compromise of 1820 - when the North and South agreed that states below the Missouri line would remain slave states and those above would be free. The compromise of 1850 - doing away with the line and replacing it with popular sovereignty - allowing new territories to vote on slavery when becoming a state. Even the great emancipator - Abraham Lincoln - did not run on an abolitionist - anti-slavery - message. He wanted to prevent the spread of slavery to any new territory but he ran on the campaign that he would not touch slavery in the south - a compromise which the South rejected in favor of secession.

Immigrants - Women - Homosexuals - America is littered with the corpses of compromise. Finally Finally, The US is approaching the time when discrimination and racism may be stricken from it's laws.

And in Israel the parties that claim the center -left, like Yair Lapid, want to continue the tradition of compromise.

Compromising on discrimination is not a compromise.

He claims that his plan is a reasonable compromise: that in 5 years the Israeli ultra -orthodox and Israeli Arabs will begin reporting to the IDF at which point the IDF will decide if the conscripts must serve in the army or  do some form of public service.

Hey Lapid - if public service is the same thing then have the Harediim and Arabs do the army and let the seculars do public service!

For reasons to numerous to get into, everyone winks and smirks at the idea of public service; joke of a program.

Lapid wants this compromised form of equality of service, but what about life equality? Civil Marriage? Gay civil marriage? Civil divorce? Public Transportation on Shabbat? You can't be a little bit pregnant and you can't accept just a little discrimination.

I admire the Ultra-orthodox parties, they have their issues and they fight for them with focus and determination. Lapid is fighting to be the next Stephen Douglas: the man whose great compromises won him the senate debates against Lincoln, but lost him the presidency.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

You shouldn't need to be a lawyer

You shouldn't need to be a lawyer to go shopping.

I went to two grocery stores in upscale secular neighborhoods in Israel.

The first one only suffered from  terrible customer service. After waiting in line for over 10 minutes they finally opened a 2nd lane. When I told them that I forgot my membership card, they couldn't find me by my ID number, which was an almost five minute process. Rather than swiping a store card, the clerk wanted me to fill in forms for a new card. I told the clerk that I'd now spent over 15 minutes in line and I just want to pay and leave. Finally I walked out and left my items on the conveyer belt.

I took a pic of my card when I got home: here it is jagoffs.

Then I went to one of the Super-Sols, where I am also a member. Again, with the long lines with one cashier until a 2nd was opened... or maybe she was opened but just moving so slow you couldn't tell.

Throughout the tedious and arduous checkout process I kept stopping the clerk and asking, isn't that a buy one get a 2nd for 50% off? As I had purchased significantly more than I'd planned because of the prominent sale displays throughout the store on set aside shelving with sale signage.  But not everything in those spots are on sale. They mix in a variety of non-sale items which look eerily similar to the sale items.

And I bought 300 grams of smoked salmon.  The price at the deli was 14.90 per 100 gram. At checkout it came up as 190.80 per kilo = 19.80 per 100. The clerk didn't believe me so we walked to the deli counter. I showed her the displayed price of 14.90 per 100. She didn't understand that 10 X100 gram = 1kg. and that 190.80 was not the correct price. Another 5 minutes of that.

OMG, it was a tues late afternoon. This is when they are slow!

But at least their prices are high.

I'm less disgusted with poor customer service than I am with conscious efforts to deceive one's customers and that's how shopping at Super-Sol felt. But both experiences were horrendous and similar events occur with far too much frequency.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

We'll Back your strike on Iran
And then we'll baptise your dead to Mormonism. 
Created by Daniel Goldmeier

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A bastard.
Israel has laws who he can marry.

60 years ago, another country had racial purity laws for whom he could marry.

Created by Dan Goldmeier

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Only 1 kind of black Israeli is asked to die for their country.

Created by Daniel Goldmeier