Lay of the Land Weekly Newsletter – 2nd July 2020

Unveiling the contours and contrasts of an ever-changing Middle East landscape

Reliable reportage and insightful commentary on the Middle East by seasoned journalists from the region and beyond

Home

https://layoftheland.online

Like this content? Please share and tweet it to your friends and followers.

Please visit/ join/follow us at:

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/LotLSite/

Twitter: @LayOfTheLand5

 

The Israel Brief Logo.jpg

What’s happening in Israel today?  See this week’s daily ‘The Israel Brief’ broadcasts on LOTL  YouTube by seasoned TV & radio broadcaster, Rolene Marks familiar to Chai FM listeners in South Africa and millions of American listeners to the News/Talk/Sports radio station WINA broadcasting out of Charlottesville, Virginia. You can subscribe to LOTL news from Israel and enjoy at a time of your convenience.

https://layoftheland.online/2020/07/01/the-israel-brief-29-june-01-july-2020/

Articles

(1)

South Africa Hangs in the ‘Balance’

South Africa’s Chief Justice under fire for acting like a judge!

By David E. Kaplan

image004 - 2020-07-02T114441.889
The Honourable vs the Dishonourable. South Africa’s Chief Justice Mogoeng (right) criticised by ANC national spokesman Pule Mabe (left).

What is South Africa coming to when its ruling ANC government lambasts its Chief Justice for exercising the very traits that led to his appointment to the highest judicial office in his country? For suggesting to apply “balance” and “open-mindedness”  – the very attributes expected of a judge-led ANC’s National Spokesman, Pule Mabe to rebuke Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng for fairly applying his judicial mind to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

https://layoftheland.online/2020/06/30/south-africa-hangs-in-the-balance/

(2)

The Union of Jewish Women South Africa

Proudly serving the Jewish and broader communities

By Bev Goldman

image014 (23)

 

In a country having the highest incidence of unemployment in the world and where poverty and crime are appallingly rife, South Africa can be thankful to the Union Of Jewish Women (UJW). With branches in most of the country’s main cities supporting so many diverse projects, its volunteers are committed to investing in all the people of South Africa to create a better quality of life for all.

https://layoftheland.online/2020/06/30/the-union-of-jewish-women-south-africa/

 

(3)

“Weighing in” on Lockdown Eating

By Justine Friedman

image015 (16)
Food for thought. No way out, the kitchen beckons.

Under immense pressures during the lockdown, it is hardly surprising that people are eating the wrong foods and in excess. Consume sound advice rather than unnecessary food with this clinical dietician who helps you identify the “triggers” so as to avoid the reflexive raid on the pantry or fridge.

https://layoftheland.online/2020/06/29/weighing-in-on-lockdown-eating/

.

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs

The Israel Brief- 29 June – 01 July 2020

 

The Israel Brief -29 June 2020 – Israel COVID update. GOD TV licence suspended. Sexual misconduct and the UN.

 

 

 

The Israel Brief -30 June 2020 – Israel COVID update. Annexation update. UK Labour leader takes stand against anti-Semitism.

 

 

 

The Israel Brief -01 July 2020 – COVID updates. Will the annexation happen? PM and AG go head to head.

 

 

 

 

 

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs

South Africa Hangs in the ‘Balance’

South Africa’s Chief Justice under fire for acting like a judge!

By David E. Kaplan

Should not a country’s Justices – even more notably its Chief Justice – be imbued with the qualities of “open-mindedness”; of willing to hear and consider the views of all sides of a case?

In other words, possessing a mindset that is  “balanced”.

 Law students, long before they ever enter a courtroom are only too familiar with the Latin phrase Audi alteram partem meaning “listen to the other side”, or “let the other side be heard as well”. It is the principle that no person should be judged without a fair hearing and in which each party is given the opportunity to respond to the evidence against them. It is a fundamental principle of legal systems the world over and most certainly in South Africa where I studied and practiced Criminal Law. I quoted it regularly, not so much in court where it was self-evident but in social situations whenever I was ‘accused’ of defending clients who “were obviously guilty”.

I would reply:

Audi alteram partem”.

Everyone deserves a fair hearing.

That same principle to people should apply no less to nations  – and in this case – the State of Israel. South Africa’s Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng understands; his ruling ANC government clearly does not.

image002 - 2020-06-30T124400.105
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. (Picture: Puxley Makgatho)

The ANC viciously turned on its Chief Justice following Mogoeng’s recent participation in a webinar hosted by The Jerusalem Post where he lamented his government’s “lopsided attitude” toward the Israel-Palestine conflict, adding that “it would have greater influence if it displayed a more balanced approach.” Mogoeng took part in the webinar along with South Africa’s Chief Rabbi, Warren Goldstein.

image001 - 2020-06-30T135136.000
The Three Chiefs. (Press on the picture to watch the discussion) South Africa’s Chief Justice, Mogoeng Mogoeng, Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein with Jerusalem Post Editor-In-Chief Yaakov Katz moderating the discussion on Zoom. (Photo credit: screenshot)

The response was quick. The ANC’s National Spokesperson, Pule Mabe, said Mogoeng had entered the arena of “political commentary”, which could make him vulnerable to adjudicating on human rights matters in the future.

How so? By exhibiting understanding and exercising balance?

Is this not what one would expect from a judge, particularly from a Chief Justice?

The ANC spokesperson added:

 “It was rather unfortunate for the Chief Justice to state that the ‘South African government policy was binding upon himself and that he was not seeking to reject it’, but then clearly and openly opposes it as a citizen.”

image003 - 2020-06-30T125244.013
ANC spokesman Pule Mabe. (Photo by Gallo Images / City Press / Denvor de Wee)

The expectations of a judge relate to law, not to a political party’s policies not yet embodied in law. There is no law in South Africa – not yet at any rate –  that says a person, or a judge cannot express a viewpoint advocating open-mindedness and balance.

Yes, South Africa has “downgraded” its diplomatic relations with Israel, but it was an executive not a legislative “decision” to recall its ambassador. South Africa still runs an office in Tel Aviv that is staffed dealing with bilateral issues between the two countries. It is hoped that full diplomatic relations be resumed sooner rather than later.

Rather than criticize Mogoeng, the honourable Chief Justice should be praised for exercising the characteristics for which he was most likely first appointed.

South African citizens are cognisant that their country has uniquely three capitals – Pretoria the administrative capital, Cape Town the legislative and Bloemfontein the judicial. It is not so much the separation – geographically – of the three cities across the country that is significant but more the metaphor of the ‘separation of powers’ between the three branches of government. Chief Justice Mogoeng was not acting contrary to any law; he was questioning a prevailing controversial policy motivated by the BDS movement that is committed to Israel’s destruction, that he felt was not in his country’s best interests. The Chief Justice’s position is supported by South Africa’s own intent as seen over the years from the days when Nelson Mandela was president.

– How often has South Africa expressed that it would like to be a player in trying to resolve the intractable Israel-Palestine conflict?

– Have I not personally heard each South African ambassador to Israel remark every year on South Africa’s Freedom Day celebrations in Tel Aviv, how South Africa can, with its expertise in conflict resolution, help bring the parties together to try reconciling their differences?

– How often have I heard the response of Israeli politicians welcoming and thanking  South Africa’s offer with the words: “We have so much to learn from your experiences and expertise in conflict resolution.”

Well, you cannot be a player, or expect to be a player, if you are openly one-sided, only criticize one party to the conflict and display little or no understanding of the concerns of the other party to the dispute. This is something a judge would be keenly aware of and this is what Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng was expressing when he added at the webinar:

As a citizen of our great country, we are denying ourselves a wonderful opportunity of being a game-changer in the Israeli-Palestinian situation.”

South Africans should be proud of their Chief Justice for acting like a judge instead of him now being targeted by his government!

Following the webinar, the Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has had many an insult hurled at him. According to some, he should “shut up and focus on judgements”, that he “is a disgrace”, “ignorant”, and “should step down”.

On the contrary. Born to a father who was a miner and a mother who was a domestic worker, young Mogoeng became politically active at high school and was briefly suspended for organising a memorial to the victims of the Soweto uprising. Senior Mogoeng knows all about the struggle and the issues involved.

No; he should not “step down”. On the contrary, the people of South Africa should “step up” to support him.

 

 

 

 

 

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs

The Union of Jewish Women South Africa

Proudly serving the Jewish and broader communities

By Bev Goldman

Founded in 1931 with the aim and objective of serving both the Jewish and broader communities, the Union of Jewish Women South Africa provided welfare projects during the depression years and later during the racially restrictive period of the National Party rule.”

These are the opening comments on the webpage of the Union of Jewish Women South Africa (UJW): inspiring, impressive and edifying.  They encompass how Jewish women rose to the fore to alleviate the incalculable distress suffered by those in South Africa who were most disadvantaged by both international and local happenings and legislation.

UJW2.jpg

And for almost 90 years, the organisation has faced, and done its utmost to mitigate and ameliorate the profusion of challenges which have confronted citizens in this beautiful yet troubled country.

Today the UJW continues to carry out the invaluable welfare projects which were the reason behind its establishment, but they have broadened, multiplied, increased in size, scope and diversity; and most important, they are nation-wide – from Johannesburg and Pretoria through Cape Town and Durban to Port Elizabeth and East London, as well as rural areas across the country.

I often think of the words of Albert Einstein which resonate so strongly with me:

The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving.” 

This perfectly describes the women of the UJW – they give and give, they give of their time and energy, their commitment and dedication, their sympathy and understanding, their love and support, but with no thought of receiving and no wish to receive.  They nurture, they nourish, they educate, they empower, they feed, they strengthen and support, because for them it’s the giving that matters, but the giving with a purpose and an end in sight, understanding that “It is only in the giving of oneself to others that we truly live” (Ethel Andrus).   

So, what exactly does the Union of Jewish Women do?  Who are its beneficiaries?  Who are its recipients?  And, where are they?

Whew! Such questions require reams of answers, reams of details, and a long and comprehensive history more suited to a book than an article.

So instead I’ll give a brief overview of many of the projects, bearing in mind always that the beneficiaries and recipients are the needy, the dispossessed, the indigent, the homeless, the desperate; infants, children, adults and the elderly; those unable to care for themselves, unable to feed themselves or their families, lacking the basics of education or the ability to be financially self-sufficient, lonely and isolated, impoverished and despairing.

The UJW runs feeding schemes and soup kitchens for those who have no food.

It gives blankets and warm clothing to those who have none.
It provides special Baby Bags, filled with all the necessities for new-borns, to new mums, many of whom having given birth in clinics or hospitals then must leave with their babies wrapped in newspaper or towels.

image007 (81)
Facing the Future Today. Through its passion, commitment and dedication, the Union of Jewish Woman South Africa are committed to the country’s future

It sustains pre-school and nursery school children with food and clothing and educational material like stationery and craft supplies to stimulate their little minds.
It provides for children who are sight-impaired, a handicap which adds to their distress.

The UJW does outstanding work in South Africa’s outreach communities, in a country which has the highest incidence of unemployment in the world, almost the highest gini coefficient, and where sadly poverty and crime are rife because living standards of millions are so pitiful.

It assists creches in townships with construction needs and play equipment, with full day care, with early childhood development programmes, with meals.

It provides food for children of refugees and foreign nationals, for those who live on the streets and have neither shelter nor sustenance, for patients in hospices.

It packs parcels for Rape Crisis victims; it feeds new moms who have just given birth.

It brings light, life and succour to thousands who are marginalised, who have fallen through the cracks, and who receive no support from either government or local council bodies because they are deemed ‘invisible’.

image002 - 2020-06-29T150336.727
Durban. Guests from the Open Air School, Tafta (Frail Care Centre) and community members making sandwiches on Mandela Day.

The UJW takes great care of the elderly in the communities.
It offers assistance in the form of meals and clothing to Jewish families wanting to celebrate the Sabbath and/or religious festivals in the traditional way.

It provides meals 365 days a year to 160 elderly members of the Jewish community; it offers elderly lonely people opportunities for socialising through its luncheon clubs; and at its various Friendship Club events attendees are given birthday gifts, bingo prizes and treats for tea.

It hosts pre-Rosh Hashanah and Pesach braai luncheons and annual Chanukah parties.

It runs special club projects for the elderly.

It provides panic buttons to senior citizens living on their own which reassure them that in the case of any emergency, help is almost immediately there.

The UJW always assists local Municipal Emergency Services with household equipment, blankets and clothing in times of disasters like shack fires and floods.

It upgrades and improves facilities at homes for the aged, at hospitals, at synagogues, at schools.

It empowers women – and some men – through its Sewing Schools and Literacy Centres, providing opportunities for them to become self-sufficient or gainfully employed.

image005 - 2020-06-29T150814.579
Helping the Blind and Partially Sighted. Donations from the Union of Jewish Women are essential in ensuring that no blind child or adult coming to the Nkosinathi Foundation or visited by the Foundation goes hungry.

It nurtures and stimulates people with early symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer by encouraging them to participate in regular group meetings.

It holds Domestic Workers Appreciation mornings where domestic workers are cherished and spoiled with lectures, teas and goodie bags.

Mitzvah Day is a Jewish-led day of social action that brings together thousands of people all over the world, on one day, to give their time rather than their money to make a difference to the local community around them. In South Africa the UJW spearheads this wonderful initiative in a number of different ways, including entertaining residents at retirement homes; providing special lunches for the indigent who reside at shelters for the homeless; providing lunches for the residents of state-run institutions for adults with mental and physical disabilities and simultaneously assisting with gardening and painting some of the houses; brightening up playgrounds at schools to give the children something exciting to which to look forward when they return to school after holidays; giving solar lights to families living in abject poverty and squalor in squatter camps to “bring light to the people”; holding blood drives; distributing knitted beanies and teddies to children in oncology wards; preparing sandwiches for hospital outpatients.

Mandela Day is marked every year on Nelson Mandela’s 18 July birthday, and it celebrates Madiba’s life and legacy in a sustainable manner.  The UJW plays a pivotal role in Mandela Day celebrations across the country, and just a few of the initiatives have included providing many hundreds of new school shoes and pairs of socks to school children, some of whom go barefoot all year long; distributing hundreds of toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste to children who have never had their own, and simultaneously educating them in the importance of brushing and caring for their teeth and general dental healthcare; baking and donating cupcakes to children who for the first time in their lives taste and enjoy a cupcake; providing blankets to residents at aged homes; kitting out soccer teams with uniforms and soccer boots; giving jackets and coats to homeless persons battling the winter cold; entertaining children at homes for abandoned children with a fancy dress party and a super tea and gifts afterwards; gift bags for “gogos and grampas” (the African words for  grandparents); toys, clothes, blankets and books for schools, homes for vulnerable children and creches; soup and sandwiches for the many street people in various regions.

image001 - 2020-06-29T150006.095
Cape Town. One of UJW’s 2019 Mandela Day projects in Cape Town was a special fancy dress party hosted by the Simcha Group at Noluntu Kitchen.

The International Council of Jewish Women (ICJW) is an umbrella organization representing Jewish women and women’s organizations in 35 countries on 5 continents. Its mandate is to confront and respond to the concerns of the Jewish community and women in general in the countries where its affiliates are active. The Union of Jewish Women of South Africa is the only South African body affiliated to the ICJW, and members have held, and hold, executive positions on the body.

While all the above information is more than merely a nutshell of who the UJW is and what it does, it doesn’t adequately describe the effect of these actions on the innumerable beneficiaries and recipients.  It doesn’t describe the joy and excitement of the children who receive their first ever cupcake, their first ever pair of shoes, their first ever and their own toothbrush and toothpaste, their first ever set of crayons, pens, colouring books, storybooks, soccer kits.  It doesn’t describe the gratitude of the elderly who for the first time in many years can see the winter months through with warm blankets and wholesome food in their tummies.  It doesn’t describe the astonishment and thrill of the homeless who had long accepted being invisible in society but are suddenly recognised and nurtured and give their dignity back again.  It doesn’t describe the immense gratitude of the senior citizens who are able to participate in social events to assuage their loneliness and to know that their needs are being met.

image004 - 2020-06-29T150601.111
Johannesburg. Weekly Friendship Club lunches are attended by seniors who enjoy a 3-course lunch and entertainment. Once a month birthdays are celebrated with a delicious birthday cake.

The smiles on the faces of the recipients, the hugs from the children, the handshakes from the men who believed assistance was only ever given to women and children – all these are what fill the hearts and souls of those who work for the UJW and who do so not for reward or acknowledgement but because they believe so strongly in Tikkun Olam – healing the world in the best way that they can.

The late President Mandela once called the UJW the community’s “best-kept secret”. But it is not a secret – it is there for whoever needs it and wants it, and it never fails to honour its mandate.

To quote Erich Fromm:

Not he who has much is rich but he who gives much.”

About the writer:

Bev Goldman.jpgBev Goldman national vice-president of the Union of  Jewish Women South Africa, worked for many years in education and journalism, and she holds a master’s degree in Feminist Literature. Prior to joining the SA Zionist Federation where she dealt with media and education for 12 years, she was the editor of the ‘Who’s Who’ of Southern Africa; a member of WordWize which taught English language skills to Russian and Polish immigrants in South Africa; an occasional lecturer in English at RAU (now the University of Johannesburg); and Director of Educational Programmes at Allenby In-Home Studies.  Currently, she runs the Media Team Israel for the SA Zionist Federation; she sits on the Board of Governors of the Rabbi Cyril Harris Community Centre (RCHCC); she is an executive member of the International Council of Jewish Women (ICJW); and she edits and proofs Masters and PhD dissertations.

 

 

 

 

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs

 

“Weighing in” on Lockdown Eating

By Justine Friedman

At a recent gathering of friends in Israel (we are allowed to be doing that now!), a good friend announced that “food is the enemy”. This gave me a lot of pause for thought as I examined the source of this challenge levelled against an essential element that literally keeps us alive. Without air, water and food we would certainly not be alive. So why is this life-giving source of nourishment seen in such a negative light? Corona or Covid-19 aside, this is a lifetime battle that many face, and at this time of varying stages of lockdown, the proverbial elephant in the room is front and centre.

Weighing in on Lockdown Eating2
Lockdown has resulted in many living a sedentary lifestyle. Exercise is important (Illustration: Onkarnath Bhattacharya).

Social media is inundated with posts that range from fitness gurus posting Zoom lessons on different exercise regimes to the latest recipe craze that MUST be baked and enjoyed and re-baked and consumed again. From banana bread to apple fritter loaf that surely has enough sugar to make the least at-risk person diabetic with one bite, food seems to be the focus of how we are filling our time. Eating is more than just a physiological need that we fill. As human beings, we are so tied in with the emotional and social aspect that food provides. At a time like this, where socialising is not the reason for relaxed eating, the emotional aspect is the biggest trigger. Many of us are eating in response to a variety of situations and emotions. Currently, I believe that the biggest triggers are the lack of our normal routines, of purpose, boredom, anxiety, and fear over the future be they financial, health or family related. We also have non-stop access to our pantries and fridges.

Weighing in on Lockdown Eating5
It is important to make healthy food choices for our families during this stressful time.

On the flip side, many of us are in the mind-set of allowing ourselves the pleasure of eating as so many other external restrictions are being imposed on us, so why worry about what we are eating on top of all of that.

 My biggest concern as a clinical dietician with these triggers is the increased risks we face when poor food choices combines with a more sedentary lifestyle and increased stress. Without listing facts and figures, the risks for heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and high blood pressure are increased substantially.

Weighing in on Lockdown Eating4
Many of us crave the comforting carbohydrates of chips and sweets but there are healthier alternatives. (Image: Istock)

So how do we take better care of ourselves at a time like this, bearing in mind that there may also be a lack of availability to some healthier options? How can we minimise the risks that we could face even when less than nutritious choices are available?

Awareness is the starting place.

Before eating, stop and reflect on why you are feeling a need to eat in the first place. Is it true physiological hunger or is it an emotion or boredom that triggered you?

If the latter, pause before eating and allow yourself the opportunity to identify what emotion has been triggered in you. The trick here is to name the emotion. So, if for example you identify that you were feeling angry, sad or anxious, say to yourself:  I am feeling ANGRY/ SAD/ ANXIOUS. Say it out loud or to yourself. The key is to name it and say it. So often the reason we are eating is to suppress this emotion. However, once it is acknowledged, the desire to eat and hence the need to suppress it often goes away as does the desire to overeat.

Weighing in on Lockdown Eating3
We are feeling overwhelmed by the mounting stress and the unknown and are resorting to emotional eating.

This is the starting point; to understand WHY we are eating in a reactive way.  By acknowledging and addressing our emotions, we can then make a more level headed choice – instead of a knee jerk decision – on whether to eat or not to eat.

When emotions dictate our food choices, the underlying craving is often for a food that will give us a specific feeling. Sugar, baked goods, chocolate, crisps and gummy sweets all hit the spot in the moment, but the rebound effect leaves one feeling flatter and in need of more of the same pick-me-up again. This creates a vicious cycle of cravings and energy dips. The only way out of this is to keep your blood sugar levels as balanced as possible throughout the day by eating smaller and more frequent meals and snacks. If you experience stressful triggers and are hungry with a lower blood sugar level, then you are more likely to fall victim to these foods.

Weighing in on Lockdown Eating6
Sweets temporarily bring comfort but leave us craving more.

Another factor is the ongoing debate around carbohydrates and the role they play in nutrition. Not all carbohydrates are created equal. By this, I mean that there are more complex and wholegrain options which may also be completely natural such as sweet potato, potato, oats, quinoa and corn and then some more processed but not unhealthy options like rice, pasta, low GI and rye breads. The closer any food is to its natural form will always be best utilised by our bodies for fuel, and the energy in these foods will be metabolised more efficiently. The more processed and preserved a food is, the less efficiently the body functions in response to eating it. What we eat with a carbohydrate is also incredibly important. If we are eating lean protein choices with a moderate amount of healthier fats and salad and non-starchy vegetables, our bodies handle it well. However, should we combine a perfectly nutritious potato with high fat like cream, cheese and butter, the meal now becomes incredibly unhealthy. So, it’s not just about one specific food group but how the different food groups are combined together that can either enhance health or create disease.

Weighing in on Lockdown Eating7
Wholegrain options are much better alternatives to preserved, processed foods.

I would love to tell you all to go ahead and indulge and allow yourselves the enjoyment of cakes, biscuits, banana bread and the like; but the truth is – weight issues aside – they just aren’t nutritious not for our bodies nor for our emotions, and certainly not for the attainment of a positive state of mind. If you must have them, then consider the quantity and limit the intake. Take a smaller amount, put it on a plate and eat it slowly savouring every bite.

As for those who really want to make better choices and who would rather avoid the vicious sugar craving cycle, here are some healthier options to keep on hand.

Sugar free-salt free peanut butter which is delicious on a slice of thick toasted low GI bread. If you must make it a bit sweeter, rather add a dash of honey yourself than choose the option with sugar added. Other savoury options to put on are avocado, low fat cottage cheese, tuna with a light mayonnaise or boiled egg with some light mayonnaise. And please leave off the margarine or butter!  Add tomato, cucumber, a chopped pickled cucumber for some extra flavour.

To avoid the tiresome activity of preparing salad vegetables, I always advise my clients (and I do this myself!) to keep ready cut salad veg in the fridge. This allows you to easily add it to any meal without the added hassle of preparing anew each time.

For the colder winter evenings and days, make some homemade vegetable soup with vegetables like baby marrow, carrot, celery and a little sweet potato. A hearty vegetable soup goes a long way to filling the gap.

Raw nuts (in moderation) and seeds also make for a great snack and keep the body in a less inflamed state due to their healthier fat component. Almonds, cashews, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds are a great nush option. Combine this with a fresh piece of fruit and your blood sugar will stay stable for longer periods.

My last piece of advice is to remember to stay hydrated. Yes, drinking 8 glasses of water a day is important. When our bodies are well hydrated, they function better; and thirst can also mimic as hunger if you haven’t had enough water to drink. So, stay off the cold drinks and fruit juices. Be mindful of too many cups of tea and coffee and hot drinks like hot chocolate. Good old water or even a tasty herbal tea is first choice.

Weighing in on Lockdown Eating9
Make sure that you stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water.

This advice covers the general healthy population. If you suffer from any medical condition and you have been given sound nutrition advice from a registered dietician, please follow it. If you are concerned about your health, or you feel that your emotional eating pattern is something that you would like to address, seek out a certified dietician who does not promote fad diets and who will look at your eating in a holistic way. You are more than what you eat – and any advice that you are given should take more than just food into account.

Struggling with thoughts (specifically obsessing over food related issues) and feeling that “food is the enemy” does not need to consume our lives. There is a way to learn to make peace with food. Yes, we need food to survive, but let us also turn our food experiences into ones of nourishment for body, mind, and soul.

 

 

About the writer:

1581402634466blob.jpg

Justine Friedman (née Aginsky), Clinical Dietician (RDSA) and Mind-Body coach, made aliyah from Johannesburg, South Africa in November 2019 with her husband and their two children. In Johannesburg, she was a successful clinical dietician, coach and speaker who ran her own private practice for 17 years. Justine is passionate about helping people, and women, in particular, achieve greater degrees of health in their mind, body and soul. She is based in Modi’in and loves the challenges and successes that living in Israel has to offer.

 

 

 

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs

 

 

 

Lay of the Land Weekly Newsletter – 25 June 2020

Unveiling the contours and contrasts of an ever-changing Middle East landscape

Reliable reportage and insightful commentary on the Middle East by seasoned journalists from the region and beyond

Home

https://layoftheland.online

Like this content? Please share and tweet it to your friends and followers.

Please visit/ join/follow us at:

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/LotLSite/

Twitter: @LayOfTheLand5

The Israel Brief Logo.jpg

What’s happening in Israel today?  See this week’s daily ‘The Israel Brief’ broadcasts on LOTL  YouTube by seasoned TV & radio broadcaster, Rolene Marks familiar to Chai FM listeners in South Africa and millions of American listeners to the News/Talk/Sports radio station WINA broadcasting out of Charlottesville, Virginia. You can subscribe to LOTL news from Israel and enjoy at a time of your convenience.

https://layoftheland.online/2020/06/24/the-israel-brief-22-25-june-2020/

 

Articles

(1)

Storming Statues

Frenzied removals from their proverbial pedestals

By David E. Kaplan

image006 (99)
Protector needs Protection. Defender against global oppression, Churchill today under attack.

With the toppling of Washington in Portland and the boarding up of Churchill in London, it would seem few statues of yesterday’s heroes are safe today.  Not true. Those stone and bronze kings, queens, statesmen and religious leaders who persecuted Jews are unlikely to make the frenzied ‘Hit List’!

https://layoftheland.online/2020/06/21/storming-statues/

 

(2)

Cancelling “Cancel Culture”

By Rolene Marks

image004 - 2020-06-25T214647.225
Public Shame. Mob mentality mobilizes against those with divergent views.

Whatever happened to the art of conversation and polite debate?” when people engaged in “robust, often passionate discussion” without fear. In the era of social media, the writer explores the disturbing new phenomenon of people being “cancelled” or culturally blocked from having a prominent public platform or career by public shaming.

https://layoftheland.online/2020/06/23/cancelling-cancel-culture/

 

(3)

Wanted: A Runner with Soul

By Stephen Schulman

image012 (37)
True Grit. Flanked by the Ben Dors, Gil defiantly crosses the finishing line in Berlin.

Behind reaching the highest peak or finishing line on their soles is an organisation with soul. Israel’s 180° organization founded by the father and son team of Offer and Gai Ben Dor, empowers people with disabilities and special needs to fulfil their dreams.

https://layoftheland.online/2020/06/24/wanted-a-runner-with-soul/

 

 

 

 

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs

 

The Israel Brief- 22 – 25 June 2020

 

The Israel Brief -22 June 2020 – Israel COVID Updates. Director of Yad Vashem steps down. Tel Aviv recognises same sex unions.

 

 

 

The Israel Brief -23 June 2020 – Israel COVID update. Annexation updates and Roger Waters loses his mind on Hamas TV.

 

 

 

The Israel Brief -24 June 2020 – Israel COVID Updates. Latest on annexation/applying of sovereignty. Strikes in Syria kill 7.

 

 

 

The Israel Brief -25 June 2020 – Israel extends travel ban. Car ramming – what actually happened? Israel might only absorb Ma’ale Edumim.

 

 

 

 

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs

 

Wanted: A Runner with Soul

By Stephen Schulman

In the cold winter pre-dawn darkness of 2005, in a parking lot in Tel Aviv, Offer and Gai Ben Dor, father and son, were expectantly waiting for a meeting. Both Offer and Gai, seasoned long distance runners, had come to volunteer in response to an internet ad:

“Wanted: A Runner with Soul!”

The sender was Beza, a young Ethiopian born Israeli in his early twenties. Blind from birth, deserted by his father, at the age of seven he had immigrated to Israel with his mother and now wished to fulfill his long held dream of becoming a runner.

The mission was a daunting one for them all. Gai recalls: “Here in front of us was someone of my age who was completely physically unfit who could barely run twenty meters. Not only that, but he was a heavy smoker too! To achieve any result involves a grueling regimen of daily runs often in inclement weather that demands physical stamina and mental discipline. So, we knew that a long road lay ahead of us.”

A blind runner needs a companion to run beside him/her and they are joined together by a short strap with wrist loops. With the passing of time, a closeness and comradeship evolves where they can sense each other’s status and needs. Being the eyes of the blind person, the sighted runner develops sensitivity to perceive any obstacles that might hinder his/her partner’s physical progress – something a sighted runner takes for granted.

With the passing of time, Beza’s determination together with the love and dedication of the Ben Dors, began to pay dividends. Graduating from 5 to 10 kilometer runs, they ran 21 kilometer half marathons. From there, it was a natural advance to the full marathon – an exhausting 42.2 kilometers! Beza had heard that the Paralympics were to take place in Beijing in 2008 and expressed his eagerness to take part in the marathon. There was only one obstacle – you had to be in the global top 30 of blind runners, have a minimum qualifying time to earn a place and Beza was very far from it!

With this aim in their sights, all three of them started training in earnest and participating in overseas events. Failing to achieve the desired result in the Berlin Marathon, they had one last chance in the forthcoming event in Amsterdam. Gai recounts: “We were close to the finishing line and looking at my watch, I realized that we were going to make it. I unfurled the Israeli flag in my pocket and with tears of joy, together we crossed the finishing line – Beijing awaited us.”

wanted runner with soul2
 Marathon Man. An advocate, CPA, entrepreneur and social activist, 180°’s  Gai Ben Dor with blind Beza at the 2008 Paralympics (photo Raz Livnat).

The Beijing Marathon was arduous: Beza sustained a leg injury and was flagging, but with the continual support of Offer and Gai, he persevered. Entering the stadium for the final lap, the roar of encouragement of the 91,000 spectators infused him with fresh strength. They released the wrist strap and Beza ran alone and unaided for the last 30 meters to the finishing line!

Fresh from his accomplishment and with Nepal in close proximity, Beza expressed a further wish – to climb Mount Everest! Once more, all three of them accepted the challenge and made the climb of 5,500 meters all the way to the base camp: Gai recalls the difficulties encountered: “You not only have to cope with the difficulty of breathing in the oxygen depleted air, but have to deal with guiding over rocks, crossing rivers and transversing crevasses”. Upon finally reaching the base camp, an exultant Beza exclaimed: “The view here was worth the climb!”

wanted runner with soul1
Seeing is Believing. Offer and Gai Ben Dor climb Mount Everest with Beza who is blind in 2008. (Photo: Gai Ben Dor)

Helping Beza achieve so much had been an enlightening and transformative experience. Returning home, Gai decided to help other handicapped people and in addition to his studies became a running instructor to help disabled people through sport.

In 2016, Gai, together with his wife Adi and his parents Offer and Orit, decided to promote their vision by founding the social organization, 180°, aimed at the empowerment and social integration of people with disabilities and special needs through sports and educational programs.

image006 (98)
On Track. Sights set on the finishing line for this blind participant in the Tel Aviv Marathon.

 Since its inception, 180° has gone from strength to strength and now runs many groups that encompass participants of both genders and all ages, irrespective of their backgrounds. Each of the groups is headed by a qualified running instructor and each participant has his/her own permanent volunteer. This approach is mutually beneficial since a bond develops between the two, the volunteer gains greater empathy and understanding whilst helping the partner regain self confidence and belief in self.

image002 - 2020-06-24T153144.547
In The Vanguard. Members from 180° that aims at empowering and socially integrating people with disabilities through sport participating in the Tel Aviv Marathon with Gai and Offer Ben Dor (left).

Gai and Adi are aware that those with disabilities are not granted the same opportunities as others, very often in sport. There is a lack of the appropriate frameworks, a lack of understanding of their needs and very often social exclusion that leads them to lose faith in their own abilities. The founding of 180° created a framework that brings people together and through sport has helped those physically less advantaged and those with special needs to attain greater self-esteem and consequent self-actualization.

image009 (54)
V for Victory. Gai Ben Dor (left) and wife Adi, a  running trainer and responsible for the marketing and collaborations of 180° with young volunteer (right).

A few years ago, Gili joined the group. With a severe case of cerebral palsy and confined to a wheelchair, his main physical exercise was limited to manipulating the joystick. Nevertheless, his dream was being able to walk. With the aid and dedication of Gai and his volunteers, he began to stand on his own feet and progress. After two years of practice, with support on both sides, he completed a 5 km walk at a special event in Berlin. “Helping Gili was physically demanding but seeing the finishing line  approaching and crossing it with him, for us all, was intensely satisfying and a profoundly moving experience!”

wanted runner with soul3
Go Go Gil. Gai Ben Dor and his father Offer accompany Gil who has cerebral palsy, across the finishing line during a 5K race in Berlin. (Photo: Gai Ben Dor)

Another project of 180° that is close to Gai and Adi’s heart has been the initiative to establish 180° Education – running groups in elementary schools to inculcate in young people the values of tolerance, understanding and helping others less fortunate.

 These are running groups in elementary schools with the intention to inculcate in young people the values of tolerance, understanding and helping others less fortunate. Handicapped children are teamed up with classmates in order to train together in preparation for athletic events. By so doing, the helper learns empathy by aiding a partner and facilitating his/her social inclusion.

image004 - 2020-06-24T151935.412
Helping Hands. Volunteers from 180° guiding a visually impaired participant in the Tel Aviv Marathon (courtesy 180°)

 Gai states: “I truly believe that when people are doing sports activities together, they go through a process that creates a relationship and removes the barriers between them. I also believe that sports help people to develop self- confidence, a sense of ability and higher self esteem!”

What a wonderful way of making our world a better place!

 

 

180° is a social organization aimed at empowerment and social integration of people with disabilities through sport and educational programs

Read more: https://www.180sport.org/en

 

 

 

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs

 

Cancelling “Cancel Culture”

By Rolene Marks

Whatever happened to the art of conversation and polite debate? There used to be a time when we could engage in robust, often passionate discussion and if we had divergent opinions, we would politely agree to disagree and then move on. No friendships were ended. No ties were cut. Nobody was “cancelled”.

Cancel culture is an ugly new phenomenon and lately it seems to be gaining a stronger tailwind than ever before. One only has to visit the social media platforms of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to see how anyone with a different opinion from the “woke” norm, are summarily subjected to online abuse and then cast aside. Cancelled. Persona non grata. You will never work in this town again!

Cancelling “Cancel Culture”2

It would appear that the first casualty of this is nuance. Understanding the complexities of issues is important if we are to find middle ground – and tolerance. Somewhere and nobody is certain when we lost our ability to politely and respectfully debate, discuss and engage in discourse.  Having an opinion today can get you into serious trouble. As the momentum from Black Lives Matter protests grows around the world so to increasing extremism of some elements within the ranks that are pushing an agenda.  One of the issues of this agenda is erasing those parts of history that explain the injustices of the past because they don’t support a narrative that the movement would like to promote. Statues, movies such as the classic “Gone with the Wind”, product branding and even great literary works like “To kill a Mockingbird” seem to have no place in current society because there may be references to inequality and racism.

From New York to South Carolina, and from London to Liverpool, statues are being pulled down off their respective plinths. The war on history and culture has started. But will cancelling important historical narratives really bring about racial equality or justice?

Cancelling “Cancel Culture”4
Cancelling Columbus. A group of protesters pulled down a statue of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

 

The only way to move forward, to teach tolerance and help to heal and understand the injustices and hurts of the past so that we can all do better is to have nuanced, robust and even painful conversations.

When Apartheid fell in South Africa, there were hearings conducted between victims and perpetrators of the racist system. The intention was to try and heal some of the terrible pain of the past and to help each side understand each other’s experience. Perhaps this is needed in other parts of the world so that the perpetrators can understand and learn, and we can all work towards a better, more just and tolerant society.

image004 - 2020-06-23T170507.347
Tackling Truth. Maybe the world could follow the South African example following the fall of Apartheid when hearings were conducted between victims and perpetrators of the heinous racist system.

It is not just around issues of race where cancel culture is flourishing. Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling, created a storm that had muggles on social media channeling their inner Voldemort. All jokes (and bad references to the wizarding world) aside, Rowling’s attempts to explain her position regarding the transgender community. The row began after Rowling responded to a headline on an online article discussing “people who menstruate” by writing in a tweet: “I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

image002 (12)

Critics accused her of being transphobic, but Rowling said she stood by her comments, saying it “isn’t hate to speak the truth”. Rowling took umbrage to the definition of women as “people who menstruate” and in an impassioned essay warned of the erosion of the identity of women.

Rowling was summarily called a “TERF” – transgender exclusionary radical feminist and cancelled across social media. Even the stars of her movies, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, whose careers were effectively birthed by the series, criticized Rowling. Was this because they honestly took offence or because they themselves were fearful of being cancelled should they be seen NOT to take a stand?

image003 - 2020-06-23T171703.487
Storm on Social Media. Famed British author of the Harry Potter fantasy series has dared to challenge the cancel culture narrative.

Cancel culture which is favoured by the far left is the most illiberal form of liberalism. There is nothing progressive about killing debate – or careers.

There is also a difference between cancel culture and holding someone accountable for their actions. By removing debate and discussion, the ability to teach the importance of taking accountability and the relevant consequences falls by the wayside.

The one area where cancel culture seems to have disappeared is around antisemitism. This ancient hatred is allowed to go unchecked. It is quite unbelievable that while the world holds important and necessary discussions around race, the rising discrimination and hatred targeted at Jews is roundly ignored.  Those of us active in the fight against antisemitism are routinely told “don’t make it about you”. This is an appalling double standard. Jews are paying with their lives having been killed in synagogues, museums, grocery stores and in their homes from Pittsburgh to Paris. The time for silence is over.

image005 - 2020-06-23T170638.322
Antisemitism Neglected. A reminder of the unending hatred of Jews, a person pauses in front of Stars of David with the names of those killed in a deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue, in Pittsburgh in October 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The only way to fight racism is to deal with all forms of hatred and prejudice. Fighting racism effectively should not be done at the expense of promoting another form of prejudice, including antisemitism.

Cancel culture is dangerous.  At a time when the world has become more and more polarized, we can ill afford more divisions, let alone shutting down conversation and people entirely. The dangers of this kind of extremism supported by the far left are that eventually the pendulum will swing in the opposite direction and give a tailwind to the alt-right.

The only way forward is to seek middle ground and engage in discourse and education.

 Perhaps the time has come to cancel this cancel culture?

 

 

 

 

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs

Storming Statues

Frenzied removals from their proverbial pedestals

By David E. Kaplan

Well, there should be some comfort in that it is less harmful to fell an enemy made out of stone or metal than human flesh but where and when will it end?

image002 - 2020-06-21T172203.379
World’s protector needs protection. Statue of Winston Churchill boarded up ahead of Black Lives Matter protest in London.

What heroes of history that inspired at the time a statue, can structurally stand the test of time? If the pulling down of General George Washington’s statue, as occurred last Thursday in Portland, Oregon and that a statue of Sir Winston Churchill in London’s Parliament Square had to be boarded up, then few kings or queens, generals or their soldiers, philosophers, writers or poets, adventurers and explorers or even religious leaders are safe!

image001 - 2020-06-21T170947.078
How the mighty have fallen. A statue of George Washington was pulled down from the lawn outside the German American Society in Northeast Portland on June 18, 2020. Rebecca Ellis/OPB

Maybe Israel is thankfully free from attack here! Apart from a bust of David Ben Gurion at Israel’s international airport and a comical statue of the first Prime Minister on a beach in Tel Aviv doing a handstand in a bathing costume, there are no official statues of its leaders or anyone else for that matter.

image003 - 2020-06-21T171228.320
Only time BG had his head in the sand. Statue of Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion doing one of his famous handstands on the Tel Aviv beach.

Of course, statues are not just material but are the embodiment of ideas and beneath the veneer in the current climate, lies the heinous legacy of slavery. However, to Israelis and Jews, coupled with the systemic racism embedded in American society is the concern of the spike in global antisemitism. It is hardly surprising why there is increasing immigration of Jews to Israel from those regions where it is most felt.

From a parochial perspective one can ask if there is a global calling for the pulling down of statues, why mostly focus on the 19th century; why not start say in the ancient land of the Pharaohs? There are the statues of Ramesses II, considered the principal villain of the Exodus story. Unlike the pha­raoh “who knew Joseph”, the pharaoh of Moses was cruel and vindictive and when Moses asks him to release the Israelites, Pharaoh makes the slaves work even harder. (Exodus 5:7-8). So evil was this Pharaoh, it took no less – according to the Bible –  God’s intervention to free the Jews from bondage, annually celebrated on Passover each year.

Should we expect today’s Egyptians to tear down statues associated with ancient slavery?

Of course not!

There are no shortages of statues in England to “the hammer of the Scots”, King Edward I who in 1290 ordered the expulsion of the entire Jewish community from England. The edict was only overturned during the Protectorate more than 350 years later, when Oliver Cromwell permitted Jews to return to England in 1657.

image004 - 2020-06-21T171911.307
“Hammer of Scots” To ‘Expeller of Jews’. Statue of Edward I “Longshanks” near Burgh by Sands who expelled the Jews from England in 1290.

Do the lives of Jews matter enough that there should be a demand for the removal of the statues of King Edward I and some of his royal predecessors who had little problem persecuting the vulnerable Jewish community of their realm?

In Germany there is no shortage of statues to the influential and esteemed religious thinker Martin Luther – the seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation but who would clearly qualify today as a racist.

image006 (97)
Close to home of the ‘Black Live Matter’ movement is this bronze statue in Washington DC of Martin Luther who advocated setting fire to Jewish homes, synagogues and schools.

In a paragraph from his “On the Jews and Their Lies” , Luther deplores Christendom’s failure to expel the Jews. Moreover, he proposed “What shall we Christians do with this rejected and condemned people, the Jews”:

First, to set fire to their synagogues or schools … “

Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed.”

Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing, and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them

Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb …”

Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside …”

Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them …”

Seventh, I recommend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow …”

Considered a powerful influence this 14th century thinker on the 20th century Nazis, should not the statues of Luther who advocated the felling of Jewish life, so too be felled?

Of course not!

While for a time, the French crown was happy to have Jews in its lands paying taxes, however, that all changed in 1394 when Charles VI suddenly demanded they leave the country once again. Permitting a brief period to sell their possessions, the Jews of France were given the royal boot and there was hardly a Jewish presence in the land again until the 1700s, when Jews fleeing violence and discrimination further East arrived in Alsace and Lorraine. By the eve of the French Revolution, there were roughly 40,000 Jews in France.

XIR164763
Royal Boot. Statue at the Palais de Justice in Poitiers of King Charles VI who expelled the Jews of France in 1394.

Should the many statues of Charles VI inspire a storming today for the people of France that over two centuries ago lead to the ‘Storming of the Bastille’?

Of course not!

What of the statues of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon who sponsored the exploration of the Americas but also spearheaded in 1492 the expulsion of the Jews of Spain with the edict known in Spanish as Decreto de la Alhambra, Edicto de Granada? Only in December 1968, was this vile edict formally and symbolically revoked!

Monumento a Isabel la Católica (Madrid) 04b
End of an Era. Statue in Madrid of Isabella of Castile who together with her husband, Ferdinand of Aragon ordered the expulsion of Jews from Spain.

Should their statues not go the way of today’s discredited racists?

Of course not!

Systemic racism as with antisemitism should be addressed seriously not cosmetically. It is easy to ‘attack’ statues, but to assail deep-rooted hatred is far more complex.

But this is what is required!

The images in the media of the storming of statues reminded me of that famed dystopian novel by the American writer Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 that so intrigued me as a teenager. First published in 1953, Fahrenheit 451 presents a future American society where books are outlawed, and “firemen” burn any that are found. Irrespective of its content, all history and knowledge recorded in books are to be destroyed. Could ‘suspect’ statues face a similar fate?

Storming Statues3
Hot Stuff. As resonant today as it was when it was first published in 1953.

Personally, as a lover of history – I enjoy being exposed to the statues of historical characters as I do exploring castles and cathedrals, fortresses and forts as well as the battlefields of Waterloo, Crecy, Agincourt, Towton, Yorktown, Gettysburg and closer to home – Megiddo and the Old City of Jerusalem. There will always be reason to find fault with the relics of the cataclysmic encounters of the past, but should we expunge their presence?

Monumental Milestones

It was illuminating however, to discover gestures of monumental understanding by Israel following its wars with Jordan and Egypt with whom it now enjoys peace agreements. Soon after the 1967 Six-Day War ended, East Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents wanted to erect a monument to the Jordanian soldiers who had died in the battle for the city.

Faced with this request was Meron Benvenisti, the new Israeli administrator over Jerusalem’s eastern sector and later a Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem. He understood that there was formidable opposition to the idea among the Jewish residents of the recently unified city. As he later explained, “it was as if relatives of World War II German Luftwaffe pilots killed in bombing raids over England were demanding a memorial in Trafalgar Square.”

Storming Statues4
Honouring Jordan’s Fallen. The monument for the Jordanian soldiers who died during the 1967 Six-Day War near the Muslim Cemetery along the Eastern Wall of the Old City near Lion’s Gate in East Jerusalem Israel.

Navigating delicately through a labyrinth of emotion and sensitivities, Benvenisti approved the erection of a simple marble obelisk commemorating the Jordanian soldiers who died defending what had been the Jordanian-held sector of the city. Benvenisti hoped that it would help reduce intercommunal hatred and consolidate coexistence and while that may not yet have materialized, the monument still stands at the northeast corner of the Old City.

No less remarkable is that not far from the “Ad Halom” Bridge in Ashdod, stands a memorial to the Egyptian soldiers who died invading Israel in 1948. It was constructed as part of the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty, where  Egypt agreed not to dismantle and to protect two existing memorials in the Sinai to fallen Israeli soldiers.

As was pointed out in a 2012 Times of Israel article:

  “Imagine a memorial in Paris to the German soldiers who died invading France in May of 1940 or a statue honoring the 65 Japanese airmen who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor.”

It would be unthinkable!

Nevertheless, an obelisk of red Egyptian granite with an inscription honoring the Egyptian war dead, in four languages – English, Hebrew, Arabic and Hieroglyphics – stands for all to see and honour.

image010 (50)
Pursuance of Peace. The obelisk memorial to the fallen Egyptian soldiers from 1948 in Ashdod, Israel is an inspiring monument to creative diplomacy and reinforcing the quest for peace.

Despite the hatred and threatening nature imbedded in the rhetoric of Israel’s once neighbouring enemies, Israel is proud to honour with these monuments, the dead of those Jordanian and Egyptian soldiers it once fought against.

There will be no dismantling in Israel of these monuments. Rather, they serve as structural reminders on our landscape to preferably pursue peace rather than war.

Maybe the only contribution I can safely add to this complex debate is to suggest that statues or monuments in the near future should be to our heroes in the medical profession who during the current Corona pandemic are risking their lives and of their families. These are men and women who soldier on not to HURT but to HEAL.

In this, we may find a global consensus.

 

 

 

 

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs