Israeli News: A Daily Analysis
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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

September 2 , 2007 Awards For Bravery Distributed

The news in Israel today was dominated by a ceremony awarding medals to soldiers who showed heroism in last yearŐs Second Lebanon War. A total of 38 citations were given. This compares to 13 given for the War of Independence. There has been no real norm in the number of citations given out, they have gone up and done over the history of the IDF and the State of Israel.

After watching the ceremony, I have a couple of observations. Firstly, there certainly was true heroism during the war. From the classic case of Major Roi Klien, who jumped on a grenade to protect his men, saying Shma Yisrael as it exploded and killed him, to many cases of soldiers and officers who risked life and limb primarily to rescue wounded comrades. The ceremony itself was moving, and the speeches, particularly that of Minister of Defense Barak, were well written and moving.

The other general observation is how many of the names were Russian. In my youth, I was heavily involved in the Soviet Jewry movement, and later was somewhat involved in their absorption in Israel. It is clear that with whatever problems the Aliyah brought (like all Aliyahs before it), the children have integrated in every way, and contribute more than their numbers to the IDF.

While this ceremony was taking place, the political perspective needs to be kept in mind. On Wednesday the Israeli Supreme Court will take under advisement the timing of the release of the Winograd Commission report. If the release is put off, it will become irrelevant. If however, it is allowed to go forward in the next two months Israel might see a political earthquake.

The police today, in an unsurprising announcement, recommended the indictment of former Minister of Finance Avram Hisrchson on the charge of embezzlement. This is a rather straight forward crime. He is said to have embezzled over 10 million shekels from the workers union he head. He was one of OlmertŐs closest confidents.

Schools opened today in Israel. They opened without any problems and without any strikes.

Finally a few weeks ago I reviewed Foxbats Over Dimona. The authors of the book, E- mailed me on Friday to comment on my review. I have posted below the review, their comments and my response.