There are problems and there are problems… There is no question that the 1,000,000 residents under fire in Israel have what to worry about. And to be clear, we all know that the missiles have been flying, and landing, for much more than the past week. They have been flying for years. Since both after, and even before, we left the Gaza strip. And yet, what’s it like to have those missiles land, and sometimes kill, in addition to the minute by minuet struggle of financial struggle?
What is it like to not know when the cut-off-your-electric-bill-for-non-payment missile lands. Or the, there’s-no-milk-in-the-fridge missile lands. Yes, its a daily struggle that pervades the entire country, not just the south (or Tel Aviv…), but 20% to 30% of the population.
This is not to belittle the real life threats of death, or best case scenario, destruction of ones home of course. Its just help keep in mind some of our other struggles as well.
Posted by admin under Child Poverty, Children, Crime, Disposable Income, Divorce, Getting By In Israel, Green Charity, Perspective, Poverty in Israel, Self Improvement, Social Justice, Solutions to Poverty, Terrorism and Poverty, Torah, Tzedakah, Uncategorized, Unemployment, What can "I" do, What can THEY do, World Poverty
Years after the expulsion from Gush Katif. The story of one family. Social workers needing social workers
No words needed….
A close look shows that the economic advances have actually increased the stark class polarization in Egyptian society. The official government statistics show that poverty increased in 2008-09 from 20 percent to 23.4 percent. But the poverty line is absurdly low: some 40 percent of Egyptians live on less than $2 per day. A third of the population is illiterate.
With millions living so close the edge, the government has maintained a tradition, established in the Nasser era, of subsidizing staple foods for the poor. The last popular upsurge against the regime in fact came in 1977, when, under pressure from the IMF, the Sadat government reduced subsidies on several goods. In the riots that followed, people attacked government buildings in Cairo and other cities.
“The infamous 1977 riots deeply unnerved Egyptian policymakers and left a legacy of government caution not only toward food policy reform, but economic reform more broadly,” wrote Tamar Gutner in a study of the politics of Egyptian food subsidies. Full article.
Jonathan Rosenblum reviews the book “A Lethal Obsession” and through the book (as if we did not know…) we say that yes, poverty is important but in perspective, the Jewish people have much much larger threaths:
No matter how many prizes Professor Robert Wistrich’s massive tome A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad garners the book still deserves more attention than it has received. Indeed no amount of attention would be sufficient.
Its packed 938 pages of text reflect neither authorial grandiosity nor editorial lassitude. The copious detail amassed is required in order that Wistrich’s central arguments not be dismissed as cherry-picked quotes used to exaggerate the seriousness of the phenomena under discussion. Random House, a commercial publisher, did not request him to cut a single sentence.
A Lethal Obsession stands as a refutation of three widespread misconceptions fostered in the West, partly out of ignorance and partly out of fear. The first is that radical Islam is a relatively minor phenomenon in the Muslim world. The second is that the Palestinian-Israeli dispute is primarily about borders, and amenable to solutions on that basis. And the third is that a nuclear Iran can be deterred in the same manner as the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
On his recent visit to India, President Obama provided a good example of Western ignorance or dissembling with regard to radical Islam. Asked about jihad, he began his reply, by insisting that jihad has several meanings in Islamic thought. Wrong. In contemporary Muslim discourse, jihad invariably refers to conquest to establish the domain of Islam.
The president went on to state, “Islam is one of the world’s great religions, which has been distorted in the hands of a few extremists.” As Wistrich makes clear, however, Islamofascism, with its death cult and cosmology of civilizational struggle between the forces of righteousness and demonic evil (with the Jews or Israel always at the center), holds in thrall millions of Muslims, from alienated Muslim youth in Europe across the 57 Muslim states.
Nazi race ideology found fertile soil in the Middle East. Hitler was a hero to the founder of Syrian and Iraqi Baathism, Michel Aflaq. Haj-Amin al-Husseini, the founding father of Palestinian nationalism, recruited Bosnian Muslims for Hitler’s extermination of Balkan Jewry. In wartime broadcasts from Berlin, he extolled Hitler for having fully grasped the nature of the “Jewish peril” and for “having resolved to find a Final Solution to liberate the world from this danger.” Haj-Amin synthesized Nazism with the teachings of “the Prophet” on the perfidy of the Jews in all times and all places – “bloodsuckers of the nations and corrupters of morality, incapable of loyalty or genuine assimilation.”
Sayyid Qutb, theorist of the Moslem Brotherhood, of which Hamas and Al Qaeda are but two of the more unsavoury offshoots, wrote in his Our Struggle with the Jews (an echo of Mein Kampf) of “the liberating struggle of jihad” that can never cease, and threatened any Muslim regime that should contemplate any form of accommodation with Israel. (He was executed by Nasser.) For him, as for so many Muslim thinkers after him, the very existence of the state of Israel represented the measure of Muslim world’s degradation and moral bankruptcy.
Virulent anti-Semitism, Wistrich quotes the dean of Middle East scholars Bernard Lewis, “is an essential part of Arab intellectual life.” The Protocols of the Elders of Zion has been reprinted in countless editions in almost every Muslim country. It climbed to number two on the Turkish best-sellers lists in 2005, at a time when Turkey was still a strategic ally of Israel. Egypt, a nation nominally at peace with Israel, recently broadcast a 24-part TV dramatization of The Protocols.
Conspiracy theories about Jews are readily believed throughout the Arab and Muslim world. Jews are the all-purpose explanation for the Islamic world’s weakness and failure vis-à-vis the West, and a metaphor for all the disorienting aspects of modernity and globalization. Iranian-sponsored Holocaust denial is but the most repugnant of those conspiracy theories. In Pakistan, like Iran a Muslin nation with no border or national dispute with Israel, two-thirds of the population did not discredit the claim that Jews were behind 9/11 and were told in advance not to show up for work that day.
The Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979 – a revolution without borders, according to its leader Ayatollah Khomeini – raised the pride and hopes of downtrodden Muslims around the globe. And with the Soviet expulsion from Afghanistan, the fall of the godless Soviet Union, and most recently the emergence of a nuclear Iran, a narrative of Islam ascendant and ready to confront the corrupt, Jew-controlled West has inflamed millions of Muslims. Determination to extirpate the cancer of Israel is the key element allowing Shiite Iran to gather the Sunni Muslim street to its banner. Not surprisingly, a 1999 poll by American University of Beirut of the Arab world found: 87% support Islamic terror attacks on Israel; 70% opposed peace with Israel; and 54% advocated a war of annihilation against Israel.
WISTRICH TAKES AIM at the idea that Palestinian nationalism has come to see the struggle with Israel as primarily one over borders. Just the opposite: Islamic theological elements play an ever larger role among Palestinians, and not just among followers of Hamas. Arafat proclaimed in Venezeula in 1980, “We shall not rest until we return to our home, and until we destroy Israel.” He never veered from that goal in front of his own people. Speaking in Arabic in Johannesburg in 1993, after the signing of the Oslo Accords, he assured his audience that Jerusalem is exclusively Moslem, that the only permanent state in present-day Israel would be the state of Palestine, and that the peace process would end in a complete Palestinian takeover.
From the outset of Oslo, as Wistrich documents in copious detail, the PA media has been permeated with the most naked religious and racial hatred of Jews. Sermons urging believers, “[H]ave no mercy on the Jews, no matter where they are, in any country. Fight them. Whenever you meet them, kill them,” are broadcast live on the PA’s official TV channel. When Jews are discussed in PA textbooks, it is only to recite the same litany of their immutable, negative traits from the days of the Prophet to the present. Zionism is portrayed as a modern expression of the Jews’ essential evil. And finally, suicide bombers are endlessly glorified in the official Palestinian media as holy martyrs, with sports tournaments, streets, and town squares named in their honor.
Whatever points of ideology divide the PA and Hamas, writes Wistrich, they fully agree that: Zionism is a “criminal conspiracy” against the Palestinian people, Israel’s creation was a satanic, imperialist plot, and Palestine is an Islamic land, one and indivisible. How, Wistrich wonders, will generations raised on such beliefs make a stable, long-lasting peace with Israel in any borders?
MOST CHILLING is Wistrich’s lengthy unraveling of the theology of the Iranian Revolution. From early in his career, Khomeini applied to Israel Hitler’s description of Jews as “cancer” that must be exterminated. He was obsessed with conspiracies of the “shrewd” Jews for world dominion.
Every Iranian leader since 1979 has followed suit. Former president Khatami, the “liberal” reformer, spoke of Israel as “an old wound in the body of Islam that cannot be healed.” And Ahamadinejad’s “moderate” rival, former president Rafsanjani, mused in a public sermon at Teheran University that “one atomic bomb would wipe out Israel.” Long-range missiles are paraded in Teheran bedecked in signs proclaiming, “Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth.”
Ahmadinejad and his sponsor Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei combine the desire to wipe out Israel with an apocalyptic eschatology. Ahmadinejad’s spiritual mentor Ayatollah Mezbah-Yazdi taught that human agency can speed the return of the Hidden Imam or Mahdi, the Shi’ite messiah, through sufficiently cataclysmic events. The final jihad, in Yazdi’s teaching is that against the “Great Satan” and his smaller brother. Ominously, Ahmadinejad refers frequently, even in public, to communications he receives from the Mahdi.
The millions of Iranians who would die in the conflagration are no concern. In one of his first TV addresses after his first election, Ahmadinejad praised suicide bombers: “Is there an art more beautiful, more divine, more eternal than the art of the martyr’s death?” he asked. Ahmadinejad served as a volunteer in the Iraq-Iran War in the Basij Mostazafan. The Basij sent thousands of young children marching to their deaths clearing Iraqi minefields with their exploding bodies.
To ignore Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric today, Wistrich comments, is tantamount to ignoring Hitler’s threats against world Jewry prior to the Holocaust. Worse, since Ahmadinejad’s pursuit of eschatological conflagration, not subject to rational calculation of the balance of forces, will soon be linked to the power to release nuclear weapons at the push of a button.
Is hope that sanctions will do the trick adequate in face of the magnitude of that danger?
Some people in Israel live under constant stress. And when I say “stress” its not what many think about, war, terrorism, and the like. No, its a whole different area of life. Its financial life in the Holy Land.
The though that some (MANY!) in Israel are not quite sure how (IF!) they will be able to buy a bag of milk in the morning (for the Kids!) is of course quite distressing. And no, I am not talking about those who chose not to work. I am referring here to those who work very hard and yest still cannot make ends meet. And NO, it has nothing to do with lifestyle. Its has to do with the cost of living in relation to ones income. Oh what a life…
Quite true at the national level. Sometime not so true at the private level. Many people are truly victims of the society in which they live. That said, here’s an interesting insight from Israpundit.
Pre-1967 Israel has almost no natural resources, and it certainly lacks the oil wealth of its Arab neighbors, but it is among the richest nations in the region. That is because the Jewish immigrants brought Euro-American culture that promotes diligent work and technological innovation, including ways to turn deserts into gardens. While Israel’s dirt-ignorant, primitive, and savage Arab and African neighbors still batter women to death with stones while they cripple people for life by cutting off hands and other body parts, Israelis discover ways to help paraplegics walk again.
Common sense says that people who look for and discover ways to restore damaged limbs and bring unprecedented mobility to paraplegics are going to be far wealthier than those who think in terms of whipping, mutilation, and stoning. Israel’s self-earned wealth and prosperity are daily reminders to Israel’s Arab and African neighbors that most of the latter’s poverty is entirely of their own choosing, and that they deserve to live in filth and squalor. As the old saying goes, you make your bed and you lie in it.
A look at Freedom House is a good indicator of whether a country will be poor or rich; wealth tends to correlate with political freedom and civil rights. Haiti is, for example, rated “partly free” while Somalia, the place where a girl was stoned to death in a stadium, is rated “Not Free.” Although the earthquake in Haiti requires a charitable response from the civilized world–”there but for the grace of God go I”–Haiti and Somalia have chosen a low standard of living so that is what they deserve. Now consider Israel’s Arab neighbors, most of which are similarly homo sapiens by birth but subhuman by choice.
Country Per capita GDP (IMF) Freedom House rating
United States $46K Free (highest freedom rating)
Japan $33K Free
Israel $28K Free
Saudi Arabia $23.4K Not Free *
Iran $11.2K Not Free *
Egypt $6K Not Free
Jordan $5.6K Partly Free
Syria $4.9K Not Free
Sudan $2.4K Not Free
Somalia $0.6K (CIA Fact book) Not Free
* Qatar, which is “partly free,” has the highest per capita GDP. With a population of only 900,000 living on top of “black gold,” even the Beverly Hillbillies would be on top of the list. On the other hand, oil-rich Saudi Arabia and Iran have lower per-capita GDPs than resource-poor Israel and Japan. This attests to the inferiority of their societies and culture, and that is why they hate the Jews. (Perhaps the Japanese are too far away to hate conveniently.)
I am a little baffled as to why political commentators have been slamming President Obama for his supposedly sluggish response to the botched Christmas Day terrorist attack.
After all, press reports stated that just minutes after the drama unfolded, Obama “left an Oahu golf course abruptly” — mid-round! – and that his “motorcade raced back to the [president’s vacation] house in a dramatic fashion” so that he could attend to the crisis. What more could you ask for from a Commander-in-Chief?
Oops! Those reports do not describe the president’s reaction to learning about what was almost the worst terrorist attack on American soil since 9-11. Rather, they describe what Obama did Monday following news that the son of a member of his entourage had sustained a bump on the chin from an errant surfboard
Would that our president had reacted as swiftly to news of the near murder of 288 Americans over Detroit. Instead it took him three days to adequately respond while a concerned American public was forced to endure the spectacle of Obama’s Keystone Kops flounder and fail on every relevant point of the near disaster.
During the seven-and-a-half years of the post 9-11 Bush administration, a common refrain was that it was not a matter of if the next large scale terrorist attack on America would occur, but when. While there is a lot the American military, Homeland Security and other agencies can do to tighten security, we were told, there is only so much that can be done in a country as freedom-loving as America.
Still, Bush’s administration took seriously the charge to provide for the common defense, and no other major attacks took place on American soil. It is an accomplishment for which the much maligned former president received little of his well-earned praise.
Horrifyingly, President Obama’s response to the events of Christmas Day typifies his administration’s languid approach to the various threats to America’s security. While it may be difficult to protect this nation, it certainly comes with the job description. His lackadaisical handling of national security renders us profoundly and increasingly vulnerable to attack.
The Obama administration has banished the term “war on terror” from its vocabulary. Instead, America is battling, in Obama’s words last week, “a far-reaching network of violence and hatred” that produces, in the words of his secretary of Homeland Security, “man-caused disasters.” Caused by whom one might ask.
Such euphemisms are rooted in a stifling political correctness about the nature of the enemy America faces. Political correctness also prevents the administration and most of the media from identifying radical Islam as a cause, much less the main cause, of terrorism. No matter that the terrorists themselves seem at pains to broadcast that it is their religion that prompts them to commit their murderous deeds.
Obama has said terrorists have a “lack of empathy for the suffering and humanity of others…most often, though, [terrorism] grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.”
But we know that’s not true. The would-be Christmas Day bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, is the son of a rich Nigerian banker who attended a prestigious London university. Fifteen of the 9-11 hijackers were from high income classes or middle class. And so on.
It’s not about poverty. It’s about religion. As a former Taliban official has said, “The Americans are fighting so they can live and enjoy the material things in life. But we are fighting so we can die in the cause of God.”
And as former Muslim terrorist Hassan Butt wrote in The Guardian in 2007, “…what drove me and many of my peers to plot acts of extreme terror within Britain, our own homeland and abroad, was a sense that we were fighting for the creation of a revolutionary state that would eventually bring Islamic justice to the world.”
The administration’s foreign policy is animated by the idea that America can best defend itself by conducting a vast public relations campaign, with the president himself as chief spokesman. That explains the seemingly endless string of presidential speeches to foreign audiences apologizing for America and bowing to foreign demands.
Despite the endless sanctions by the U.S. and United Nations, in December it was reported that Iran is now testing a “neutron initiator,” which can detonate a nuclear warhead and has no peaceful purpose. And Iran has begun testing missiles that can reach Israel and Europe.
But the administration seems to have decided that it will not respond with force if Iran develops (if it has not already developed) a nuclear weapon. Obama’s open hand approach to Iran has been met with the iron fist of the Mullah’s regime. In a moment of candor in December, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted, “I don’t think anyone can doubt that our outreach has produced very little in terms of any kind of a positive response from the Iranians.”
A year-end Rasmussen poll found that public confidence in the conduct of the “war on terrorism” has collapsed during Obama’s first year. When Obama was inaugurated, 55% of likely voters believed that we were winning and the terrorists were losing. But by December 29th, only 36% of voters still felt the U.S. was prevailing.
That’s not surprising. A recent Rand Corporation report stated that of the more than two dozen homegrown terror plots uncovered in the U.S. since 9-11, ten surfaced in 2009. That puts “the level of activity in 2009 much higher than that of previous years,” Rand senior adviser Brian Jenkins told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in November.
The Rasmussen poll also found that following the botched Christmas Day plot, nearly 80% of respondents believed it was likely that there will be another terrorist attack in the U.S. in the next year, “a 30-point jump from the end of August when just 49% of Americans felt that way.”
Through his hollow words and listless response to terrorism, Obama in less than a year has transformed the notion of When-Not-If from a warning into an inevitability. Whether he likes it or not, keeping Americans safe from terrorist attack is not optional, and if lives are lost, he will be held responsible.
If the world continues to tolerate the worst of humanity, can we really expect to combat something much “smaller” like poverty? Here is PM Netanyahu on the right approach for all humanity:
- 07 May Thoughts of Kindness
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