Time for a “good news” posting, or at very least one that has a solid focus on the good stuff. We badly need the balance in these difficult times, fraught with tensions.
Actually, we begin with an incredible and inspiring story:
Earlier this month, Shachar Kugelmas, a young Jewish Israeli woman got married. Her father, planning a special surprise for her, invited Muawiya Kabha, the Muslim paramedic who saved her life back in 2009, to the wedding.
Ten years ago, Muawiya was working with United Hatzalah, which, operating on a neighborhood basis, responds to about 1,000 calls daily across Israel, averaging three minutes or less.
Shachar had been in a very bad car accident when the call went out to Hatzalah, which sent two ambulances. When Muawiya arrived at the scene after two minutes, he found Shachar was trapped in the car and had no heartbeat. A doctor, who had ridden on the other ambulance, told Muawiya that he had pronounced her dead, and that they should work on the driver.
But – as he related to Shachar’s wedding guests – Muawiya had other ideas: “…what I felt from above is that I still needed to try and save her.” He worked on her for 40 minutes, part of the time while she was still caught in the car. By the time they reached the hospital, her heart was beating again. At that point, he related, he still thought that “the Angel of Death might have beaten me, but I knew that I had done everything I could to try to save her. In the end, I must have done what I needed to do because look, Shachar is with us.”
Muawiya then turned to a weeping Shachar. Usually, people thank him, he said, but he needed to thank her:
“People ask me all the time, how do you keep going after all the death you see in your work. The answer is here, Shachar. I am able to continue my work because of you. Because I saved your body. But you saved my soul. Every time I remember calls that I have been to, I remember you and your smile. Thank you, thank you. Mazal Tov. I love you both.”
See a video here (with English subtitles):
This is how it should be. This is how it was: A story of love and hope and coexistence. Share this broadly, please.
It was not just the bride who wept, it was every guest there.
Ayelet Shaked has just announced that she is going to head the New Right party – the party established by Shaked and Naftali Bennett when they broke away from Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home); New Right failed to pass the electoral threshold in the April election. Bennett will take the number two spot.
What is significant here – and good news – is that there is talk of Shaked joining up with the Union of the Right (which is Habayit Hayehudi and National Union) for the elections, with Shaked heading that joint ticket. I will provide more information on this as it emerges, but this is the first political/ electoral news in a long time that feels potentially positive to me.
Without a unified right, the danger remains very real that the right bloc would not secure a majority in order to establish a coalition. That’s the stuff of nightmares. Even in the best of circumstances, it’s still touch and go.
The Union of the Right is launching a video campaign calling on Shaked to head a joint list. That campaign was initiated before Shaked’s announcement, but is right in line with it.
The theme of the campaign: “Let’s run together now – we’ll argue later.”
Polls show that a merger of the parties – it would be a technical merger – does best with Shaked at its helm. A current poll indicates it would garner 13 mandates.
Prime Minister Netanyahu is not directly involving himself in what’s going on now, with regard to the party mergers, but says he will intervene if matters fall apart and there remains the prospect of lost mandates. He is painfully aware of the dangers of losing mandates.
There is still the matter of Otzma Yehudit, which must join in a merger with the Union of the Right in order to pass the threshold.
And then, to recent statements made by US Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt in the course of an interview with Judy Woodruff on “PBS NewsHour” last week, with regard to the “peace plan” (emphasis added):
Asked what responsibility Israel bore for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said that Israel, which is not to blame, is “trying their best … under very, very trying circumstances...
“I think that Israel is actually more the victim than the party that’s responsible.
“From the moment of its formation, they were attacked multiple times. They continue to be attacked with terrorism. So — I’m not sure I understand the premise of the question.”
He further objected to the term “occupied” in reference to Judea and Samaria. “I don’t even like the word ‘settlements.’ I think it’s a pejorative term. I use the term ‘neighborhoods’ [or] ‘cities.’”
How about that, my friends. Who could have guessed we would hear this?
Elsewhere, Greenblatt indicated that the plan does not promote a one-state solution. What it will advance still remains to be seen.
It should be noted that recently Netanyahu indicated unease with the proposal in the “peace plan” for a road and then a railroad line to run from Gaza to Judea and Samaria, in order to facilitate commerce. The prime minister’s unease has to do with security. In response, Greenblatt expressed surprise, because, he says, the prime minister knows that the US is concerned first with Israel’s security.
And here we see a bit of that naiveté, which the Americans reveal time and again, whatever their sincere intentions. It is a given that Hamas would find a way to use this linkage to get weapons and terrorists from Gaza to Judea and Samaria.
While we are speaking about Americans:
Israeli Ambassador to Israel Ron Dermer has now said that Israel will permit the two Congresswomen, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib to enter the country in spite of their overt support for BDS:
“…out of respect for the US Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America, we would not deny entry to any member of Congress into Israel.”
I think this was a proper decision, for there would have been quite a furor if we had denied entry to US lawmakers. What seems to me more important is what happens after they get here:
It is pretty much a given that they will want to find “evidence” of the “occupation” and the mistreatment of Palestinian Arabs. We cannot force them to meet with anyone they don’t wish to meet with, or visit any sites they would rather not see, but every effort must be made to provide them with experiences that have the potential to affect their thinking.
If they refuse, then we can, and should, create a bit of a furor of our own about their unwillingness to learn the facts.
Nadav Shragai has written an important and extensive article for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs: “The Truth about Jerusalem’s City of David – The Lies about Silwan”
It provides important information about Jewish history in Jerusalem, and the current situation, that everyone who cares about Israel’s rights in the land hopefully will want to see.
His conclusion (emphasis added):
“When Palestinian media cry out that Silwan is in danger, they lie twice: once, because the Israeli excavators and authorities do not move in the City of David without the authorization of safety engineers, and they comply with the strictest standards; and a second time, because the City of David, which covers about 15 acres, constitutes about 6 percent of the territory of Silwan.
“When Palestinian leaders and clerics cry out that the excavations in the City of David endanger Al-Aqsa, they are deliberately lying. The excavations do not extend beyond the wall of the Temple Mount compound. For years, Israel has made sure to excavate around the Mount and not under it. That was the case regarding the Western Wall and along the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount, and the same is true regarding the City of David. Even when the excavation comes close to the wall of the Mount from the south, it never goes beyond it. The visitors who walk on the Pilgrimage Road, or through the “Herodian drainage tunnel,” ascend to the Davidson Center, which is at the foot of the walls of the Mount and not within it.
“Hence, it appears that, as in the case of the Temple Mount compound, the acrimony and slander concerning the City of David stem in part from the inability of the inciters to deal with the Jewish past of the site, which is adjacent to the heart of Jerusalem – the Temple Mount.
“At a time when Palestinians are rewriting the history of Jerusalem – both the Jewish and the Muslim history – and trying to prove that they were in the city before the Jews were (despite what modern research tells us), the City of David is for them another item in their large fabric of denial of any Jewish tie to Jerusalem, its sites, and its holy places.”
The full article:
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.