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Back Home in Israel
Last uploaded : Saturday 2nd Nov 2002 at 21:20
Contributed by : Sheila Raviv


1st November, 2002

Shabbat Shalom everybody!

Well, we are back home in the most beautiful city in the world. My husband Zvi has been travelling the breadth of the United States, and visited Mexico City. He sat with many famous folk, and talked in churches from San Diego and LA, through
Dallas, Monroe and Atlanta to end in Miami. He also managed to see family and friends. My visit was almost exclusively family, and lots of them thank G-d.

Both of us found ourselves answering similar questions. Why is the Israeli PR effort so ineffective? Why do so many Israeli spokespersons speak mediocre English? Why do the Palestinians achieve so much more air-time? Why do the
attacked always come off as the attackers? Why don't the settlers get out? What about the UN? Why Ariel Sharon?

The first question is difficult to answer. On the one hand many news networks do not use the footage prepared by Israel television, or statements put out by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, preferring to use the reportage of Ha'aretz as the source for information. This is a clearly anti-establishment left-wing newspaper and serves the bias of the likes of CNN and BBC. However, I do feel that there are many faults in Israels "hasbara". If the existing system
hasn't been effective, find a different one, fast.

Spokespersons. A valid comment. We have so many young IDF officers, of both sexes, who look good and are highly eloquent and erudite. We also have
civilians who are fantastic commentators on the Middle East situation without being puppets of the government. They do not have to be accentless, but able to express themselves with confidence and respond with quiet assertiveness,
not just in English, but for each of the major languages, including Russian and Chinese.

Palestinian air-time? We come back to the question of democracy against tyranny. In a democracy, one cannot give immediate responses to military questions. Every instance has to be investigated before a statement is made.
That is how a democracy works. Saeb Erekat can appear on the screen within seconds and make any wild accusations that he deems suitable to his

He can create pathos, fury, tragedy to suit the moment, not weighted down by the need for truth. Israeli spokespersons have to "go through the motions" of a modern society with a conscience. Immediacy crates drama, drama creates audiences, audiences generate advertisements, advertisements PAY. Simple.

Now for the settlers. What are settlers, when you take it down to the most simple definition? Settlers are Jews who have bought land, or occasionally won it through war, and want to live in their own homes, not bothering anyone

For many it is a matter of living on their historical, biblical homeland. They have
no wish to throw anyone else off their land, and often provide employment for their neighbours. I am not talking about any illegal settlements, or loony fringe movements, just the normal places like Ariel, Efrat, Ma'aleh Adumim, subrubs
of Jerusalem, ordinary folk who just want to go to work and come home at the end of the day. Jews who live among non-Jews. Is that a crime? Is that a reason to throw them from their homes? Isn't that what most of you are doing at this very moment? Living as Jews in a land that may be Catholic, Protestant,Communist, even Moslem yet still free to live there and be Jews...are you
not settlers by Mr Arafat, CNN, BBC and the United Nations' definition?

The UN is an ineffectual organisation whereby states who pay no dues and are subsidised by the free world get to run the show and direct the Security Council when they threaten an entire area and Human Rights when they have none.

Why Ariel Sharon? He may not be the prettiest guy on the block, but he has acted with far more restraint than any other western leader would have shown under the curcumstances. Stop believing the constant subliminal brainwashing
of the media. He is effective, he is restrained and he has drawn the country together behind him.....despite the wishes of the likes of Fouad Ben Eliezer!!!

Being in Britain and seeing wonderful old friends and a plethora of family, watching my niece do a fantastic job of her Bat- Mitzva, talking of the past and understanding what a glorious country I live in, puts everything into perspective. I went to the House of Lords, at the invitation of my childhood friend Lord Stone of Blackheath. I met Lord Janner too. These wonderful men, proud Jews, spend much of their time trying to further understanding of Israel and of the true situation in the Middle East. Kol Hakavod.

As Lord Stone led me through the "secret" tunnels, under the buildings of the Palace of Westminster, toward the tube station - I thought....."Gosh, these ancient and historic passages used to escape from the Cromwellians or the Roundheads are only 3,000 years newer than the ones in Jerusalem"!!!!!

Shabbat Shalom, dear friends, from one Welshwoman who is very happy to be home.



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