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An Arab from Kalkilya faces trial for imprisoning his own daughter. Since she turned 11, her father routinely clubbed her. She lived in a lavatory, leaving it only at night to clean the house.

The army is expected to prefer Italian to Korean suppliers in its touted billion-dollar purchase of training fighter jets.

Both Italy and South Korea are offering to buy Israeli military hardware in excess of the billion dollars, so the deal is mainly about choosing a future partner. And though our government leans toward the Italians, the Koreans are much more important to us.

First, the South Koreans have access to the best intelligence and information on the North Korean nuclear program. Unlike Italy, South Korea has a dynamic economy and a strong army. We should therefore work much more closely with the Koreans than the Italians.

Our country sabotaged the new round of peace talks with Palestinian Arabs in Amman by refusing even to present them with a map outlining Israeli border demands. And what can Netanyahu do? He cannot agree to the same border adjustments as were offered by Olmert—or any border adjustments, for that matter, because of his coalition partners. At the same time, the Palestinians cannot agree to anything less than the borders they refused to accept with Olmert.

And so we conduct peace talks for the eyes of Americans.

New sexual harassment allegations have been brought against Natan Eshel, a very close Netanyahu advisor who allegedly called a female staffer and sifted through her e-mails. This is hardly a crime, but it shows us something more important: our prime minister, the person who must lead the nation in the war with Iran, cannot choose his own advisors wisely. Indeed, what kind of person hires an advisor with a habit of harassing good-looking females?

Netanyahu and Eshel

Tel Aviv municipality claims to be working ‘to the best of our ability to help the population of refugees and infiltrators.’ Every day during the winter, those criminals will be receiving food, blankets, and warm clothes.

It never occurred to TA municipality to distribute blankets and warm clothes to needy Jewish families.

A small demonstration assembled at Tel Aviv train station to protest the Tal law, which offers some benefits to yeshiva students to induce them to serve in the IDF.

Citizen equality is all very fine, but why not start with the Arabs, who do not serve in the army or National Service at all? One might also point out that close to half of Tel Aviv’s atheist youngsters dodge the draft.

The Pentagon has asked for $82 million to upgrade its bunker-buster bombs because they cannot penetrate Iran’s mountainous hideouts. It’s a surprise that the Pentagon is unprepared to deal with these subterranean strongholds: many experts, notably from Russia, have been telling them that all along, based on their own Afghan war experiences.

But why wait until the bunker-busters can be upgraded when we can use tactical nuclear weapons?

Bunker-buster bomb GBU-57

The government approved a phased 31% increase of the electricity tariff over the next three years, allegedly because the Egyptians have ceased supplying us with gas.

Which is odd, as we were buying the gas at close to the market price, even though Egypt sold it to the supplier at well below the market. Also, since the cost of gas makes up less than 40% in the consumer tariff, it is quite impossible that any sensible rise in the price of gas would affect the consumer tariff by a third. This reasoning makes sense if we recall that the price of electricity will be increased over three years. It is completely implausible that the power monopoly would absorb the losses in the meantime; thus we can deduce that the utility breaks even but wants to increase its profit.

After the Saudis invested 300 million dollars in Twitter, the social network agreed to block content for regional users. Facebook has already adopted a similar censorship policy.

Their move blocked hopes that social networks can revolutionize protest movements in dictatorships by allowing such movements to function without leaders or offices.

The White House, while spending considerable money on bombs and aid, neglected to address this major development, which shields totalitarian countries from democratic protests.


The first stage of the Red-Dead will transport just 200 million cubic meters of water annually. Half of that volume will be delivered to Jordanian desalination plants, and the balance will go into the Dead Sea.

But about half the Dead Sea belongs to Jordan, and after a peace treaty with the Palestinians Israel will own only a quarter of the sea. Thus we will pay close to 300 million dollars to supply Jordan with water and to refill the sea, of which we own only a small part.

Iranian oilThe Iranian parliament will discuss the immediate cessation of oil exports to Western Europe if the EU adopts a phased embargo.

The Iranian move is highly sensible: it makes it impossible for the EU to openly adapt by switching to other suppliers. If the Europeans decide to abandon Iranian oil in the future, they will lose it immediately.

With this possibility in mind, the EU is unlikely to institute an embargo on Iranian oil.

The case of the Syrian town of Zabadani on the Lebanese border proves that Assad is after the rebels and does not seek the senseless massacre of his citizens. In Zabadani, town elders agreed with the Syrian army that local residents—who are armed, like most Arabs in the region—will push the rebels out into Lebanon, clear the streets of barricades, and generally cease hostilities. For its part, the Syrian army undertook to refrain from entering the town.

So far, the agreement holds.


After more than a decade of strained relations following Hamas’ attempts to sabotage the monarchy, Mashaal visited the Jordanian king for a long discussion. The bottom line was Mashaal’s announcement that Palestine is for Palestinians and Jordan is for Jordanians. In theory, this is a pledge to refrain from meddling in Jordan, whose population is 3/4 Palestinian.

Jordan’s Abdullah thus hopes to secure himself against yet another Arab Spring revolution, which in his country would be spearheaded by the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Abdullah is especially concerned about Assad’s survival, expecting the Syrian ruler to retaliate for his treacherous support of the rebels by aiding the MB in Jordan.

But Mashaal’s promise is worth nothing. Hamas won’t sit on the sidelines while the Brotherhood overthrows the Jordanian monarchy, and neither would he ignore Palestinian demographic dominance in Jordan.

Mashaal and Abdullah

Salafists in EgyptThe US Ambassador in Egypt met with Salafist leaders. The move is ground-breaking, as White House officials have refused to meet with the Muslim Brotherhood for decades, and the Salafists are the most extreme sort of radicals. Salafists advocate the extreme form of Sharia, militancy toward Israel, and terrorism. These views have made them the second-biggest political party in Egypt.

The Americans’ intentions are transparent. We have seen this before in Israeli relations with Hamas, and previously with Hezbollah. The idea was to nurture a small ultra-radical offshoot, which would counter a major terrorist organization (Fatah and Amal, respectively) without a chance of growing big precisely because it is too radical to attract mainstream supporters. That reasoning has proved wrong repeatedly, and has resulted in the creation of Al Qaeda.

Now the White House is gambling that the Salafists will curtail the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose 49% win came as a surprise to no one but Washington officials. Salafists will agree to cooperate with the Americans precisely because they advocate the most radical form of Islam, which sanctions any deceit in pursuit of its goals.

In any conflict with the MB, the Salafists would win. Though the MB theoretically enjoys broader support, much of this support comes from urbanized liberals who care about their mortgages more than political ends. The Salafists can bring a much more militant crowd into the streets.

With the latest round of US sales, the Saudi air force will become significantly larger and more advanced than IAF. Israel is already inferior in numbers to the combined Arab forces.

But that has been the historical norm. Our pilots have always been trained to fight superior enemy forces. The problem is that for 38 years they have had no real combat experience. Training is all very fine, but our pilots lack those daily encounters we used to have with Egyptians. IAF has become accustomed to slam-dunk raids against Palestinian and Lebanese targets.

MKs have fielded a second law aimed against Yair Lapid, a silly and opinionated journalist who has decided to run for a seat in the parliament. The new law will require aspiring politicians to disclose their sources of income as soon as they announce their decision to enter politics, even before they are registered for elections.

Clearly, the law is absurdly broad, and it also makes little sense because laundering political donations through a fund is a slam-dunk affair.

But even more absurd is that the Knesset is so weak intellectually that its members tremble at the prospect of competition from a sharp-tongued journalist.

Yair Lapid

The trade union monster is threatening a general strike over the government’s refusal to hire directly those employees who now work for the state through private contractors.

As everyone understands, outsourcing to private firms makes state operations cheaper and more efficient, but the trade union is bent on extracting benefits for its members at the expense of the general population.

An Arab robber at Nazareth-Illit post office shot a Jew who tried to stop him. The Jew, a father of six, had come to pick up his disability benefit check.

January 2012
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