Israel and its necrophiliac neighbors (ISRAEL HAYOM OP-ED) Ruthie Blum 04/27/12)
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A recent poll indicating that Israelis are a happy lot caused some
critics to get their feathers ruffled. After all, this is a country
in turmoil, with every kind of external and internal problem under
the sun, from socio-economic gaps to global warming and everything in
between. We’ve got missiles flying from Gaza, and not enough bomb
shelters. We’ve got a nuclearizing Iran, and not enough gas masks.
We’ve got all the latest pharmaceuticals, and not enough money to
include them in our health baskets. We’ve got teen violence and
demography problems, religious-secular struggles and increasing
divorce statistics. We’ve got illegal immigrants, housing shortages
and wage stagnancy. We’ve got high taxes and skyrocketing gas prices.
We’ve got obesity and anorexia, OCD and PTSD. We’ve got it all – and
So what in the world do we have to be happy about? Why, with all the
misery and mayhem, did we celebrate the country’s 64th birthday with
such pomp and circumstance? How could we have "ooohed and aaahed" at
the fireworks signaling our celebration, and then gotten up fresh and
early to head out for barbecues in bumper-to-bumper traffic, flags
fluttering against our windshields?
Where do we come off not only experiencing well-being, but admitting
to it in surveys, when we should be moaning, groaning and kvetching?
Far better analysts than I have tried to figure this out. Some
attribute it to our psychological make-up; others to misleading
survey questions. And then there are those who proudly point out that
Israel isn’t that high up on the happiness scale, since Scandinavia
supposedly trumps us, due to all the freebies its populations enjoy
from their governments.
Nor do I know too many individuals, in Israel or any place else, who
walk around talking about how happy they are. In fact, most people
seem to expend their verbal energy on emphasizing what’s lacking in
their lives, not what is abundant. So I’m not sure which Israelis
were actually polled on this score.
But I will say that, in the global scheme of things, our societal
living conditions are plum.
While we go about our daily business of survival – which includes
worrying about overdrafts and overeating, passing exams and getting
passed up for promotions – our neighbors in the Middle East are
living in the Middle Ages.
These neighbors reside about an hour’s flight from Tel Aviv, in
virtually every direction. But to get to any of their capitals, we
would do better to board a time machine than a plane. That Damascus
has become a bloody battlefield is old news already. And the
conclusion about it in the West is typical: Syrian President Bashar
al-Assad has to be stopped. Better yet, he has to follow the other
autocrats ousted by the “Arab Spring” uprisings. Indeed, the harshest
attacks on U.S. President Barack Obama on this issue consist of
accusing him of leaving Assad in power to slaughter his people.
While it is true that Obama has been on the wrong side of every
single global crisis – Syria among them – there is one crucial detail
usually omitted from the ongoing narrative about the events that have
been taking place in the Muslim-Arab world over the past 16 months:
Whatever else has been going on in this region since December 2010,
when a Tunisian street vendor immolated himself in front of a
government building, it sure isn’t democratization.
Proof of this lies in what has ensued since a number of autocrats
have been toppled, with the help of the Obama administration.
Take Egypt as the prime example. The minute former President Hosni
Mubarak was forced to abdicate his rule, the Muslim Brotherhood and
Salafis slithered their way into every nook and cranny of the
political system, and transformed Egypt – a Third World country
allied with the U.S. for strategic purposes – into a medieval fiefdom
keen on renewing its jihadist ties to the Islamic Republic.
The latest abomination emerging from Cairo (the capital where Obama
made his first monumental speech of appeasement to the Muslim world)
would be hilarious if it wasn’t so horrifying.
According to the Dubai-based, Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news channel,
two new laws are under consideration by the new Egyptian parliament.
One of these would lower the age at which a girl can be married to
14. The other would permit a husband to have sexual relations with
his wife’s corpse for up to six hours after she is pronounced dead.
The latter bit of proposed legislation comes a year after a cleric in
Morocco brought the topic to light. Since Morocco is a very modern
Muslim country, and the cleric – Zamzami Abdul Bari – is a modern
kind of mullah, he determined that wives, too, can have sex with
their dead husbands. His additional assertion that pregnant women are
permitted to drink alcohol raised an even bigger stir.
This week, Egypt’s National Council for Women appealed to the
parliament not to pass the legislation, which it sees as a setback
for the benefits it had managed to garner under Mubarak’s regime.
(This was largely due to Suzanne Mubarak’s attention to women’s
rights, such as being able to obtain a divorce from abusive husbands.)
The struggle isn’t over, but one thing the Islamist parliament
members all agree on is that the achievements made on behalf of women
were “destroying families” – and good riddance to Mrs. Mubarak for
having had the nerve to mess around with Shariah (Islamic law).
Personally, I feel no sympathy for the feminists in Egypt. They were
part and parcel of the Tahrir Square demonstrations demanding
Mubarak’s ouster, even while being molested and segregated by their
male “Arab Spring” counterparts. Some “Facebook Revolution” that
turned out to be.
Now back to Israel, where Facebook has been the vehicle through which
we have been showing off the steaks we grilled yesterday, with
chocolate-stained children in tow and husbands hamming it up for
iPhone photos. Necrophilia is something we don’t even know how to
spell, let alone debate in the Knesset.
We may have our share of woes. But considering the way a growing
proportion of the world lives, we’ve got plenty to be happy about.
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