A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘israel

[NEWS] Some Friday links

  • Al Jazeera follows the story of the hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians deported from Saudi Arabia and observes that Russia is competing for influence in Central Asia with a rising China.
  • Businessweek suggests that, coffee notwithstanding, McDonald’s still has significant troubles business-wise. As well, the secession of Crimea may undermine Ukraine’s potential for offshore oil, while Israeli migration to Germany–especially Berlin–in search for a better standard of living is a problem for Israelis.
  • CBC notes that Ontario car manufacturers are worried by the new free trade agreement signed by Canada with South Korea, and presents Canadian doctor Danielle Martin’s defense of medicare in front of a questioning American congressional committee.
  • Der Spiegel‘s English edition notes that crystal meth use is taking off in Germany.
  • The Inter Press Service notes the sufferings of African migrants to Europe and observes that a railroad in a poor north Brazilian state has not brought riches to the locals.
  • Wired examines the evolution of extinct aquatic sloths and notes weirdness in the centre of our galaxy that may indicate dark matter is somehow being annihilated there.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • io9 links to a map showing the Milky Way Galaxy’s location in nearer intergalactic space.
  • The Big Picture has pictures from the Sochi Paralympics.
  • blogTO shares an array of pictures from Toronto in the 1980s.
  • D-Brief notes the recent finding that star HR 5171A is one of the largest stars discovered, a massive yellow hypergiant visible to the naked eye despite being twenty thousand light-years away.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes recent studies suggesting that M-class red dwarfs are almost guaranteed to have planets.
  • Eastern Approaches argues that the lawsuits of Serbia and Croatia posed against each other on charges of genocide at the International Court of Justice will do little but cause harm.
  • Far Outliers explores how Australian colonists in the late 19th century feared German ambitions in New Guinea.
  • The Financial Times World blog suggests that, in its mendacity, Russia is behaving in Crimea much as the Soviet Union did in Lithuania in 1990.
  • Geocurrents notes that the Belarusian language seems to be nearing extinction, displaced by Russian in Belarus (and Polish to some extent, too).
  • Joe. My. God. notes the protests of tens of thousands of Orthodox Jews in New York City against mandatory conscription laws in Israel that would see their co-sectarians do service.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that, in pre-Israeli Palestine, local Arabs wanted to be part of a greater Syria.</li?
  • Otto Pohl notes the connections of Crimean Tatars to a wider Turkic world and their fear that a Russian Crimea might see their persecution.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that Venezuela has attacked Panama in retaliation for a vote against it by confiscating the assets of its companies there. In turn, Panama has promised to reveal the banking accounts of Venezuelan officials in Panama.
  • John Scalzi of Whatever is unimpressed with the cultic adoration of Robert Heinlein’s novels by some science fiction fans.

[NEWS] Some Friday links

  • io9 shares wonderful illustrations of Titan’s methane showlines.
  • The Atlantic Cities notes that the coastline of Louisiana is receding so quickly mapmakers are hard-pressed to keep up.
  • BusinessWeek wonders how great cities, like New York City or Rome, reconcile change and tradition.
  • Christianity Today features a Philip Jenkins article noting that the origins and alliances of the Crimean crisis can be traced back at least as far as the Crimean War.
  • Ha’aretz notes that Israelis are moving to Tel Aviv, abandoning peripheral areas (with large Arab population) like Galilee and the Negev.
  • MacLean’s notes that condo construction is set to boom in Toronto.
  • Tablet Magazine notes that Crimea, immediately after the Second World War, was positioned as a potential homeland for Soviet Jews.
  • According to Time, changes in Canadian immigration law may be discouraging rich Chinese immigrants.
  • Universe Today notes that China’s Yutu moon rover can’t properly move its solar panels.

[BRIEF NOTE] On the controversies of intermarriage in Israel and the dim prospects for peace

The Times of Israel is one of many people reporting on the controversy apparently awakened in Israel by the news that Yair Netanyahu, son of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was involved in a relationship with a non-Jewish woman.

Yair Netanyahu is “spitting on the grave of his grandfather and grandmother,” Dr. Hagai Ben-Artzi, brother of Sara Netanyahu, said Monday of his nephew’s relationship with a non-Jewish Norwegian woman.

News that the prime minister’s son, who is 23, is dating Sandra Leikanger, 25, was first reported by the Norwegian daily Dagen. The tall, svelte blonde met the younger Netanyahu at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, where the two study.

[. . .]

Earlier on Monday, ultra-Orthodox Shas MK Arye Deri responded to news of the relationship by saying, “If God forbid it’s true, then woe to us, woe to us.”

Deri told the Kol Barama radio station the relationship was no mere personal matter because Netanyahu is a “symbol of the Jewish people.”

“I know friends of mine who invest tens of millions and more, hundreds of millions to fight assimilation in the world,” Deri said.

By contrast, Rabbi Amnon Bazak of the Har Etzion yeshiva defended the prime minister and expressed the hope that should Yair choose to wed his present girlfriend, Leikanger would undergo a conversion to Judaism prior to the nuptials.

[. . .]

The Israeli organization Lehava, which says it aims “to prevent assimilation in the Holy Land,” called on Netanyahu on Sunday “to prevent this relationship.”

“Your grandchildren, as you know, will not be Jewish,” Lehava director Bentzi Gopshtain warned the Israeli premier in a Facebook post.

1. It’s worth noting that Netanyahu’s failure to defend his son’s relationship in public marks him as not a very good father.

2. It’s also worth noting that very many Israelis find this abhorrent. To wit:

Yossi Sarid, a former Israeli education minister and onetime leader of the secular-rights party Meretz, called the younger Netanyahu’s love life a “private matter.” But he said the uproar among the religious was “nonsense.”

“It’s not fair. You can’t expect fairness from those people,” Sarid said. “They don’t like non-Jews. They don’t like non-Orthodox Jews. They are behaving as fanatics everywhere behave.”

3. It’s also worth noting that this has become a problem that has become more acute in recent years, as immigration has introduced people of multiple religious backgrounds, few of which are strictly Jewish enough to suit the ultra-Orthodox, to Israel.

Noah Slepkov, an associate fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute, said the debate reflects changes taking place within Israel.

While intermarriage has long been a “huge deal” in the United States, he said, where roughly half of American Jews marry outside the faith, it has been a nonissue in Israel because Jews and Arabs almost never marry.

But that has begun to change, due to an influx of foreign workers and the trend of Israelis studying and working abroad in an age of globalization. “It’s certainly a trend that’s at the beginning,” he said, but one that nonetheless can make conservative Israelis feel threatened.

He said the criticism of Netanyahu’s son was counterproductive in a country that increasingly finds itself isolated.

4. It’s further worth noting that Israel is the only high-income democratic state I know of that has laws forbidding intermarriage across religious–hence ethnic–boundaries, Greece having abolished its laws giving marriage over entirely to clerics in 1983 and Lebanon not quite counting as a democracy.

5. Imagine, for a moment, if the Norwegian media was in an uproar because the son of the Norwegian prime minister was in an intimate relationship with an Israeli Jewish woman. What would this say about Norway?

6. Here’s a thesis: so long as Israel maintains these laws, it’s going to be incapable of peace. How is it possible to respect someone if you want to use the state to keep them, or anyone like them from joining your family? How, if you exclude people of other backgrounds from your intimate communities on general principle, can you really empathize with them, truly like them as opposed to tolerate them? And how tolerant are you, really, if you don’t intervene as other people force their particular choices on everyone?

7. It won’t necessarily matter that Israel does so, since if anything its neighbours–all countries which also ban intermarriage–are even further down the rabbit hole of state-enforced ethnoreligious purity than Israel is.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 11, 2014 at 3:46 am

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Bruce Sterling at Beyond the Beyond links to an argument claiming that classical standard written English is on the decline because so many more users of English are writing than ever before.
  • Centauri Dreams has more on the migration of our solar system’s planets early in their history. Jupiter’s inward migration may have given Earth oceans; will systems without Jupiters, only Neptunes, have watery rocky worlds like ours?
  • Crooked Timber’s Corey Robin takes one Jewish woman’s narrative about feeling at home in Israel and starts a whole discussion on the Middle East.
  • Far Outliers notes the rapid and thorough assimilation of Basque descendants and Basque cultural elements into the modern Philippines.
  • Geocurrents shares French satirical maps of their own country.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen suggests, after Bryan Caplan, that immigration does not have any effect on the American welfare state.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer shares cites to interesting books on migration.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Marc Rayman describes the Dawn probe’s painstaking deceleration as it moves to its Ceres encounter.
  • The Signal wonders how to enculcate a love for electronic data, in the way that other formats–books, for instance, or LPs–have their own aficionados.
  • Towleroad cites a gay Christian apologist who started a minor controversy by calling GLBT identity a choice.
  • Window on Eurasia shares a Russian writer who argues that there is no impending Cold War over Arctic seafloor with Russia’s neighbours.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell, meanwhile, takes issue with an account of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s errors in the financial crisis that doesn’t take into account the choices of Thatcherites to enable the RBS to go overboard in a financialized economy.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly points writers to evidence that editing can be a harsh and thorough process: a photograph of one of her own drafts.
  • Centauri Dreams notes that a recent study of the distribution of different sorts of asteroids in the asteroid belt suggests that the planets in the early solar system were exceptionally mobile, with Jupiter’s inward migrations perhaps tossing enough icy bodies our way to give Earth oceans.
  • Discover‘s The Crux points out alleged photographic evidence of an alien base on the Moon is no such thing.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to Stephen Hawking’s paper on black holes, which apparently argues they don’t destroy information so much as garble it.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a recent study suggesting that the Alpha Centauri system is quite full of dust.
  • The Financial Times‘ World blog notes that the dustup over Oxfam and Scarlett Johansson’s involvement as spokesperson for an Israeli company making use of West Bank resources highlights Israel’s growing issues.
  • Joe. My. God. notes a recent Washington Post-ABC poll suggesting that Hillary Clinton is far and away the Democratic Party’s favourite for the 2016 presidential election.
  • Dave Brockington of Lawyers, Guns and Money takes issue with Niall Ferguson’s argument that Britain should have stayed out of the First World War.
  • Marginal Revolution notes a recent paper suggesting how Catalonia might progress to independence from Spain, in the context of shared debt.
  • Thought Catalog’s Shawn Binder writes about how homophobia can intrude even within same-sex relationships.
  • Torontoist notes a major billion-dollar development at Spadina and Front that would literally create a new neighbourhood.
  • Towleroad observes that billionaire Cecil Chao has withdrawn the dowry he offered to potential suitors of his lesbian and coupled daughter Gigi, without acknowledging her actual relationship.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

[LINK] “A tale of two passports”

Efrat Neuman’s Haaretz article of the 15th of April describing how many Israelis who have ancestral claims to citizenship in one European Union member-state or another are trying to claims these citizenships, for reasons of personal advantage or security. Needless to say, it can be rather fraught, especially for Israelis whose ancestors–or who themselves–fled those member-states.

In the past few years, arranging a European passport has become a flourishing industry in Israel, with a plethora of websites explaining the rights one can expect to receive and explaining the factors that might facilitate the process. There are attorneys who specialize in the issuing of passports by different countries and check entitlement to naturalization, as well as translation and notary services.

The upsurge began about 10 years ago. Until then, most Israelis did not consider a Polish, Hungarian or Romanian passport to be of any value. These countries were not considered attractive targets for emigration, and their passport was no better than the Israeli one. But in 2004, 10 states were inducted into the European Union, mainly from Eastern Europe. The new member states included Poland, Hungary, Latvia and the Czech Republic. Romania and Bulgaria joined in 2007. Ever since, a Romanian passport, for example, is no longer considered merely a Romanian passport: Now it is a European passport that opens the door to life on the Continent, facilitating free passage between countries, easy movement of workers in EU member states ‏(subject to some restrictions‏), free university studies ‏(in some countries‏) or low tuition fees, entry without a visa to the United States and most other countries, and also commercial advantages.

[. . .]

Not everyone wants to receive a foreign passport, even if they meet the requirements. Seven years ago, when Romania joined the EU, Michaela’s children tried to convince her to apply for Romanian citizenship so that they, too, would benefit from citizenship and a foreign passport that would grant them free access to EU states. But she refused. As a Holocaust survivor whose family was expelled from the village in Romania where she grew up, she wanted nothing to do with the place where she was born and raised.

Not long afterward, the children traveled with their mother on a “family roots” trip to Romania. Her daughter recounts that after seeing up close the places where she spent her childhood and hearing at length what happened there, they for the first time identified with Michaela’s refusal to turn the clock back.

Similarly, the 60-year-old father of Gabi vehemently refuses to accept a foreign passport. However, after Gabi pressed and begged − on the grounds that it was worth having an option if something bad ever happened in Israel − his father reluctantly began the process. He traveled to the village in Romania where he was born to obtain his birth certificate, inquired as to the cost of submitting the request − and then regretted the decision.

Interestingly, the reason he gave was his children: He did not want them to have any incentive to leave Israel. Gabi’s father claimed that his own mother, who survived the Holocaust, had not relinquished her life and citizenship in Romania so her descendants could later do the same vis-a-vis Israel. The family disagreement has been raging for 10 years, and Gabi is still trying to persuade her father to change his mind.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 28, 2013 at 3:56 am

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • The Burgh Diaspora writes about the linkages between population and economic change.
  • Centauri Dreams examines the discovery of stellar parallax and its use to determine the distance to the stars in the 19th century.
  • The Dragon’s Tales examines computer models of the settlement of the Americas. The model of migration across Beringia remains intact, while transpacific migration can’t be excluded but can’t be supported by evidence, either.
  • Eastern Approaches chronicles the ongoing ferment in Slovenia and the Czech immigrant history in Texas.
  • At A Fistful of Euros, Edward Hugh warns that the seemingly inevitable slow-motion economic slide of Spain, trapped in the Eurozone and with an aging workforce, may be echoed more broadly.
  • Language Hat comments on the NHL’s Punjabi-language broadcasts.
  • Normblog’s Norman Geras assesses the moral implications of factories in Bangladesh in the light of the recent disaster (1, 2). More subtle and useful responses than a reflex action of shutting them down are needed.
  • Torontoist details historical patterns of neglect of the site of Fort York.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy’s Eugene Volokh notes a court ruling in Israel which allows Jewish women to pray in front of the Western Wall without being arrested.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the ruralization of Dagestan’s cities as the local Russian population leaves and rural migrants arrive, and the transition in Chechnya in the past decade towards a centralized and hierarchical culture under Kadyrov.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes UKIP’s desire to not bother researching and developing policy options on its own but rather borrowing them from established think tanks.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Behind the Numbers’ Carl Haub notes that several countries have seen their demographic transitions stall above replacement levels, notably post-Soviet countries but including outliers like Israel and Argentina.
  • Beyond the Beyond’s Bruce Sterling describes the reception given to Buffalo Bill and his Wild West show in belle époque Europe.
  • Centauri Dreams’ Paul Gilster goes into detail about the implication of the discovery of hydrogen peroxide on Europa’s surface, and its implications for life in Europa’s oceans.
  • Crooked Timber’s Chris Bertram argues that while Margaret Thatcher may have managed to Americanize the United Kingdom, she certainly didn’t make it more egalitarian or meritocratic.
  • Daniel Drezner wonders if the collapse of China’s overextended financial sector could have implications for the future of the Chinese government.
  • Eastern Approaches has three recent posts of note: one regarding political maneuvering around arrests in an increasingly autocratic Ukraine; one from Hungary describing the resignation of a deputy governor of the Bank of Hungary, Julia Király, over concerns that the Orbán government’s populism could threaten the country’s future; and one from the Czech Republic, about an almost pleasingly non-catastrophic transition from one president to another.
  • False Steps’ Paul Drye goes into detail about the orbital mirror proposed by some people in Nazi Germany. It would have worked, but just have been impractical.
  • Geocurrents links to a map of endangered languages around the world.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that official Argentine statistics might understate levels of poverty, but also notes that levels of poverty have improved markedly over the past decade. Why bad statistics, then?
  • Torontoist blogs about a new tool library in the neighbourhood of Parkdale.
  • A report from Towleroad: apparently it’s possibly to identify who, in a same-sex relationship, is more likely to be a top than a bottom and vice versa, on average.
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