-- November 1, 2011- Less Rockets in the South, Ridiculous Reaction to UNESCO, Iran

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Israel Update
A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

November 1, 2011- Less Rockets in the South, Ridiculous Reaction to UNESCO, Iran

It was a day of relative calm in southern Israel today. By late afternoon there was hope that a ceasefire had been reached. A lone Qassam missile fired early this evening shattered that hope, at least temporarily. Egypt is said to be working behind the scenes to bring about the ceasefire.

Unfortunately, Israel has even less good options than it did a year ago, before the fall of Mubarak. A ground attack on Gaza is almost unthinkable at the moment, given the current state of uncertainty in the Arab world, combined with Israel's negative public image these past two years. Luckily, the Iron Dome anti-missile system is working, and successfully protecting Beersheva and Ashdod. In a few weeks a third Iron Dome battery will be operational.

Meanwhile, members of the government are sending additional hints that if the world does not stop Iran Israel will have to. This seems more and more like a campaign to pressure the world to take action.

Israel has reacted to UNESCO's decision to admit the Palestinians as full state members with a self-defeating proclamation. The government announced a plan to speed up building in the Jewish areas of East Jerusalem, as well as, Gush Etzion. These are areas that the government stated will remain part of Israel in any settlement. That makes the current decision ridiculous. The areas are clearly areas that will remain in Israel and the Palestinians know that. Therefore, announcing more building in these areas does not put any pressure on the Palestinians. This building only harms Israel's public image in the world, since most of the world is unable to distinguish between areas that will remain in Israel and not. So all the government has done by making this announcement is further hurt Israel’s image, without leveling any pressure on the Palestinians.

A growing controversy in Israel is the refusal of Orthodox soldiers to hear the singing of female singers at performances. A few months ago a few soldier were ousted from officers course for failing to follow orders to return. Now three leading Rabbis from the "Orthodox Zionist" camp are calling on the army to stop forcing male soldiers to hear female voices. This is part of larger and more troubling trend with ever more segregation of the sexes in almost every level of Orthodoxy.

Today's article by Richard Goldstone in the New York Times stating that Israel is not an Aparthied State received a tremendous amount of coverage in the Israeli media, with the article being cited in both print media and radio and television.

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