-- December 25, 2011- Daughter Inducted, Meshal Changes Tune, Apple in Israel

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Israel Update
A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

December 25, 2011- Daughter Inducted, Meshal Changes Tune, Apple in Israel

Today was one of those landmark moments in life. My middle child, second daughter, Tali began her service in the IDF. Twelve years ago my oldest daughter began her service, now it's Tali's turn. I am full of pride in my daughter who could easily have avoided service in the army, but decided to fulfill her obligation as someone who was born in Israel.

That pride, of course, is tempered by the nervousness every parent has when his or her child enters the army. That concern is further amplified by concerns about the direction that the country is going in so many ways. My daughter's draft reminds me of one of my most important conversation in the army. It was my encounter with another soldier, whose father had fought in 1948. At that moment, I came to my own political view that has remained unchanged for 35 years. I was worried then, in the mid 1970's, that my children would one day have to serve in IDF and possibly fight in a war. I hoped there would be no need for them to serve and certainly no more wars. I did not then, nor do I now, look at the world through rose glasses. Sadly, I believe it's likely our neighbors do not wish us well, or even really want peace. Then, as know, I just wanted to know that whatever government we have was doing all they could to pursue a peaceful tomorrow, so if war ever came and my children might be called to fight, I would know that at least we had done all that we could.

When I went into the army, Yitzchak Rabin was Prime Minister. When my oldest daughter enlisted Ehud Barak was Prime Minister. In both cases, I was sure that if there were a small chance for peace the government would find the way to bring it about. Unfortunately, as my daughter Tali begins her service I have no such confidence.

Talking about a chance for peace, Khaled Meshal, the head of Hamas has been making some interesting noises in the last few days, as Hamas and Fatah finalize their merger talks. Meshal has said that it's time, at least for the moment, "to give up the armed struggle, and instead to turn to large-scale non-violent protest"; following the lead of the "Arab spring". This will without doubt put Israel in a difficult political position, but it marks a major change for Hamas

The issue of religious extremism continues to bubble up here, with Bet Shemesh being a place of major confrontations. Today, a Channel 2 News crew was attacked there. See the following video from an earlier broadcast. The politicians have all decided to speak out on the subject. PM Netanyahu said today that discrimination against women would not be tolerated.

I forgot last week to write on something that was big news (at least for my family as Apple developers for the last 30 years). Last week Apple decided to make an Israeli company its largest ever acquisition. However, more important, Apple has chosen to open its first development center located outside of Cupertino, CA in Israel.

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