Aug 30, 2009 Olmert Indicted, Leviov Almost Bankrupt Shalit Deal Stalls, The Future Face of Education in Israel

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1July09
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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

Sept 1, 2009 Former Ministers go to Jail, Civil War in Yemen, Syria Responsible For Iraq Bombings

Today was a strange day in Israel. It was an annual day of hope, unfortunately marred by disappointment and sadness. Today was a hopeful day: the first day of classes, and this year, the first day of classes opened without any real problems– no strikes not breakdowns, and no classes under Qasasam fire. None of the intrinsic problems of the Israeli educational system have been solved, but for many families this was the day they child/grandchild began first grade, always a milestone.

However, this was also the day two former ministers began their prison sentences. The first, Shas minister Shlomo Ben Ezri, joins a list of former Shas Knesset members and ministers who spent time in the Matisyahu Prison. Ben Izri began a four year sentence for a series of corruption charges and was accompanied by all of the Shas Knesset members. The underlying claim being that Ben Ezri was being unjustly persecuted. Second, Former Finance Minister Hirschson arrived at the Hermon prison accompanied by his two sons to begin serving a five year sentence for embezzlement. Finally, the trial of former President Katzav began today. Katzav is being tried on charges of sexual harassment and rape. A sad day indeed for Israel.

Of course today is also the day 50,000 attended the speech Defense Minister Barak gave to high school students. In the speech Barak made clear Israel will do what ever it can to bring back its soldiers, however, that cannot be done at any price. Some things cannot be done. This was a clear message Israel is not ready to give in to Hamas' demands for the release of Shalit.

Two major recent events have been taking place in the Middle East that have not received much attention in the US. There is a war taking place in Yemen at the moment. It is now a full scale Civil War between the government and Shite Militias. The Shiite militia are being funded and armed by Iran. The Yeminite government has received support from the Saudi government.

Finally, the large bombings in Iraq received a great deal of attention last week, its aftermath, a great deal less. What has happened, as a result, has been complete break in diplomatic relations between Syria and Iraq– relations that have only recently been re-established. The cause, the Iraqi presented proof the recent bombers were trained by and sent by Syrian intelligience services. It seems Syria and its ally, Iran, will not allow a peaceful transition in Iraq.

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