Happy 10th New Year from Israel

This piece is the first in a series from our many contributors over the last 10 years of service to the Boulder Jewish Community, commemorating our 10th Anniversary this fall.

Dear Cheryl and David, and the Boulder Jewish Community:

Shaul Amir

Congratulations on the Tenth Anniversary of the Boulder Jewish News! How time flies…. It is ten years ago that I first wrote to the BJN; then it was for Rosh Hashanah and in addition to the traditional seasonal greetings, I took the liberty to write some impressions from Israel.

When I read the piece again,  it seemed to me as though much of it could have been written today. Today, ten years later, the fundamentals are still here. The bad ones still want to kill us, the world in part still hates us, there is no solution to the Palestinian problem on the horizon, Netanyahu is still the PM etc, etc, etc.

Let me start though with the good news.

  1. Israel and some Arab countries (Qatar,  Kuwait, The Emirates, Bahrein, Abu Dhabi and of course Saudi Arabia) are more open to us; not for their love to us but for the reason (taken from a phrase in Arabic) “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. It is clear that it is a global phase of Shiites (Iran as the leader) vs Sunnis feud. 
  2. Israel’s relations with Egypt is also improved due to a good cooperation in the war against terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula.  
  3. We have success (for the moment) at keeping the Iranian forces (the Revolutionary Forces, Al Quds) in Syria under tight control, very good security perception, intelligence efforts and execution of our PM and our military forces. None the less a bit less success with handling Gaza daily demonstrations and rockets shooting at Israel as well as tension with the Hezbollah on our Lebanese border.  
  4. People in Israel live like they are in Rome before the fall of the Empire, buying cars, traveling abroad and fill the restaurants day in and day out.

All of the above leads me to what I see under the surface through the eyes of a 73-year-old who has seen too many wars, lost too many friends and loves Israel to no end.

  1. In the last five years under Netanyahu we have the largest economic deficit we ever witnessed.
  2. In the past five years our famous medical system is collapsing for lack of hospitalization beds, bad planning, lack of new hospitals, lack of places for specializations that leads to tenure (Budgets, Budgets, Budgets)
  3. Our transportation system is at a standstill (literally).
  4. Our famous agriculture is dying due to lack of long term planning, water shortage and lack of encouragement subsidies to our growers. 
  5. Our secular education system has been hijacked by a religious Minister who entered religious contents to school by replacing secular subjects.
  6. Last but not least (and the list is still long), CORRUPTION!!! Our PM is under three indictments of Fraud, Bribery and Breach of Trust. He called for a second election (four months after the previous one) after failing to form a coalition that will legislate laws which will immunize him from prosecution. He appointed with his majority in the Parliament a State Comptroller who will not investigate any political corruption and already dismantled the special unit who is supposed to be doing just that. The State Attorney General (Mandelblit)  is his appointee after serving under him as the Government Secretary.  The same Mandelblit that is stretching time with the indictments is trying to dissolve and soften the severe charges. It is the same Mandelblit that reduces six indictments against the PM’s wife to one in which she was found guilty.
    We have a Minister under suspicion of bribery, fraud, money laundering and breach of trust which will be indicted after the elections. Another one was indicted and had to resign his post. A deputy Minister of Health who is under charges of aiding a pedophile who was tried and found guilty in Australia and is finding refuge in Israel with his help (allegedly).
    A high ranking member of the PM’s Likud party has 12 bribery, fraud and breach of trust charges against him and is the next in line to be appointed as a minister.

All of the above are only the tip of the iceberg of corruption leading me to protest twice a week in the heat of the sun for the last two years and more. I know that all of you love Israel unconditionally and want to see Israel as a light unto the nations. I know that no matter whether you are a Democrat or Republican your loyalty to the US is not, will not and can not be questioned regardless of what your feelings for Israel are.

I only hope that in the coming elections we will see a change. Perhaps with all the challenges and dangers around us, it is time not only for a unity Government but unity among ourselves as well. 

I wish you all yet again Happy Jewish New Year, a year for unity, unconditional love and of course much health to all of us. 

Shaul Amir
(always part of the Denver-Boulder Community).

About Shaul Amir

Shaul Amir has served two terms as Shaliach to the Denver area from Israel, the most recent combined with directing Allied Jewish Federation's Israel Center from 2002 to 2007. He and his wife Kika now live outside Tel Aviv and enjoy welcoming visitors from Colorado to Israel.

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