Feb 11, 2009

Wearing my politics on my sleeve...

I have to admit that I didn't check out what the candidates in yesterday's Israeli elections think of glass. In the larger scheme of things, while I hope they love glass as much as I do, I also hope they have other things on their mind. After all, we are expecting them to lead Israel into a bright, safe, democratic future, and I'm not personally expecting any of them to show up asking me for stained glass lessons.

And I will also publicly admit this shocking fact: I voted for Liberman. I don't think he is a fascist - I think he has focused on an important concept that is vastly lacking in Israel, even among Jews - loyalty to our country and to our right to exist as a democratic state. I think Americans who live in the US, where people stand up for the anthem, salute the flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance every morning as young students (with their hand over their heart, no less) can not understand the reality of living in a country where 20-25% of the population desires to see your government, and the majority of the population, destroyed and replaced with a different country with Islamic rule. Intolerant, violent Islamic rule, I might add. Imagine if 25% of the American citizens in the US supported or practiced terrorism to force collapse of the US government and turn the USA into a new, recognized province of Iran or Syria. Take a look at how the Hamas operates in Gaza and think - would you want to live there? I don't.

Living in the South of Israel, where the percentage of Arab population (to our north) and Bedouin population (to our south) is much higher than in the center of Israel, I live near towns that no Jewish Israeli in their right minds today enters - and that includes our medical services and our law enforcement agencies. Some of these areas are so dangerous that just for driving through them you can be murdered. In other areas, particularly to the south, we see wide-spread homesteading by Bedouin, an activity not legal in Israel nor tolerated when done by Jews, but ignored in the Bedouin sector for fear of inflaming them into an uprising. Unfortunately, as these "towns" spread, the crime rates in the neighboring Jewish cities rise, particularly burglary and car theft. As well, the driving practices in many parts of the south are so dangerous that serious accidents are the norm, and I've already heard more than one story of a Bedouin using his vehicle as a weapon, deliberately and repeatedly attacking a car driven by Jewish Israeli with their truck until they managed to cause a serious crash. Israel handles these as "accidents" rather than attempted murder, because its easier in the short run. In the long run, all this adds up to a lot of lawlessness that is fairly tolerated.

So I voted for Liberman, because I think that Israel has a very serious, internal problem with security and safety. I do not think that all Muslims are bad, I do not think that they should be removed from Israel if they want to live here peacefully and can accept Israel's right to exist as a democratic state, and I think that Palestinians should have their own country that they rule however they want. I just don't think that they should have all of Israel for that country, and I think that people who break the law, Jewish, Christian or Muslim, should go to jail for it, rather than have their actions tolerated or ignored - or somehow justified - because of their political or religious background. And I think that Israel, as a state, has the right and obligation to defend itself and its existence without apologizing.

If believing that Israel has the right to exist and that I have the right to live in a democratic country that is ruled by law rather than terror makes me a fascist, so be it.

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