January 22, 2012- Soldiers Can't Travel on Trains on Sunday Morning, Muslim Clerics Call for the Death of Jews
The news in Israel today was dominated by a strange decision of the government to no longer allow soldiers to ride the railroads on Sunday mornings for free. The reason for the change was that the trains had become severely overcrowded on Sunday mornings. Instead, alternative buses were added as a substitute mode of free transportation for soldiers. To say this decision was not met with understanding is an understatement. As a parent of a soldier who is directly affected, I understand the anger. The odd thing, again, is the total tone deafness of the government towards popular sentiments regarding their actions. In the wake of the summer's protest, the government does not understand what will happen. I will pay for my daughter to take the train. Thankfully, I can afford to pay. However, once again, the children of those who can not afford to pay will have to get up even earlier and travel longer to get to their army bases on time.
The other major news story is that of a sermon by the current Mufti of Jerusalem. The Mufti gave a speech at a Fatah rally quoting one of the Hadith of Mohammad on why its good to kill Jews. The speech, parts of which were posted online, has caused quite a stir. Mufti Muammad Hussein claims he was quoted out of context, you can decide.
This comes on top of a speech by a leading Egyptian Salafist, Hazem Shuman, who called for the extermination of the Jews. (See Egyptian Cleric Calls For the Extermination of the Jews). There are days when it's hard for me to try to understand what reality I live in. On one hand, on a day-to-day basis, I worry about the first story, living on a block where there are coffee houses that are packed until the wee hours of the night right around the corner. On the other hand, less than 50 miles from where I live, there is a cleric whose statements about Jews can give Hitler a run for his money. In addition, in Egypt, a few hundred miles away, Islamists have now won control over 70% of the parliament. I am not sure I can fully come to grips with these very contradictory elements of life. I guess the very fact that I have a daughter serving in the army, who is, for the moment at least, carrying around an M-16, reminds me that however wonderful Tel Aviv may be, this is not Miami Beach after all.