Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What's going on?

Having a a young baby has made it harder to blog as I haven't had time to write or to compose my thoughts over the past couple of months. Over the past two months I could have written about the great hope of the negotiations restarting but I am glad I didn't because it was always obvious that they would not lead anywhere. That was the case when the Americans were putting huge pressure on Israel and the Palestinians to restart negotiations, and yet there are no huge benefits to negotiating where there are no clear solutions.

In the Jerusalem Post two weeks ago the new British Ambassador to Israel said that it was a great job to have because in international diplomacy, the Israeli-Palestinian issue is the most important issue to solve.

However, for Israel what has 18 years of negotiation achieved. When peace was closest in the 1990's and then 10 years ago at Camp David,the result was continuous suicide bombs killing hundreds of Israelis. Living on Emek Refaim in Jerusalem, I am continuously reminded of this when I walk past the memorial signs on cafe's that were blown up during these terrible times.

However, now when we are living in relative tranquility (albeit with the threat of rockets from Hamas in Gaza and a nuclear bomb from Iran) what would be helped by having proper negotiations. At the same time the Palestinian's are benefitting from huge economic growth in the West Bank (and so probably the best standard of living the region as ever had).

That is why neither Israel or the Palestinians are shouting for peace negotiations to carry on. As Israeli's we don't want the threat of a return to the intifada where it was not safe to go outside, with the potential of having the West Bank turn into a terrorist state as in Gaza. While the Palestinian's don't want to have to give up anything to Israel. They don't want to have to give up any land in the West Bank to Israel and they certainly don't want to have to accept (for all-time) Israel as a Jewish state and the Jewish homeland.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

David Cameron v Shimon Peres

This has been an interesting couple of weeks being a British and Israeli citizen, with the British Prime Minister David Cameron firstly commenting in Turkey that Israel had to stop making Gaza a ghetto. Shimon Peres Israel's President hit back in an interview last week that the Britain's leadership is again anti-semitic.

I have been warning for the last couple of years that it has been increasingly difficult to be a supporter of Israel in Britain, with the dominant view being that Israel is punnishing the Palestinians, while the opposite is often the case. So this spat is no surprise to me.

Since coming to power Benjamin Netenyahu the Israeli Prime Minister has continually tried to make it possible to have peace talks with the Palestinians but their leader Abbas continually comes up with new reasons to say he wont talk. He has even started saying that before making any decision he has to get the support of the Arab world. (So maybe it is time for Israel to negotiate peace with the whole Arab world rather than just the Palestinians. This may also show that Israel is the small country defending itself against the big Arab world that for the past 60 odd years has in the most part even refused to accept Israel as a country.)

Israel has even had to again come under military attack from rockets from Egypt on Monday (in addition to the constant - if reduced rocket levels from Gaza) and yesterday from Lebanon. So this shows that Israel is still in a war with its Arab neighbours when we have to continue to defend ourselves.

This may not suit the British foreign view that needs Middle Eastern business and oil, and as Shimon Peres highlighted virtually always has backed the Middle Eastern Arab's over Israel. However, I thought David Cameron was different. I thought he understood that democratic countries have to defend themselves against terrorists, this includes Hamas which is continually calling for Israel's destruction. That is why Israel needs to protect itself by controlling what goes into Gaza.

David Cameron always likes to say he is a friend of Israel. So my message is that David - when you become Prime Minister you have to make clearer decisions - so you can't just be a friend in good times but also when we need your help. If you do this, life for everyone in Israel and the Jewish people of Britain will then again become easier.

Monday, June 07, 2010

I feel disgusted

Last week's incident involving the flotila of boats trying to break into Gaza is continuing to dominate the news in Israel and around the world, and I really am shocked and disgusted at how the outside world appears to be viewing these actions. Israel is a very vibrant democracy and as a people we have many different views on most issues but the support for the army's actions has been virtually unanimous and shocked at how the world has viewed these actions.

I can understand the general view of the majority activists and citizens around the world who I genuninely want to help the people of Gaza but sadly are not aware of the full picture. Are they aware though that the reason Israel and Egypt have the blockade of Gaza in place is because Hamas undemocratically overthrew the Palestinian Authority that was previously ruling in Gaza after Israel withdrew from the territory in 2005.

Israel has continuously been told that the Palestinians will agree to peace with Israel if we withdraw from their territory, but are you aware that since 2005, Hamas and their supporters have been constantly firing thousands of rockets into Israeli towns to try and kill as many Israelis as possible. There have been more rockets again this week. This is another reason why Israel is not letting in material to Gaza that Hamas can be used to make rockets.

The third reason that Israel is maintaining its blockade is because for over three years Hamas has been holding captive the Israel solider Gilad Shalit, who they kidnapped from Israeli territory. Since then no one has been allowed to meet with Gilad Shalit, not even the Red Cross.

So I can understand that if you do not know about these issues you would want to let aid into Gaza. Something which Israel is constantly doing by sending food and aid into Gaza, so the people are not starving.

Sadly though there were at least 50 people on one of the boats that were not interested in peaceful measures but wanted to attack Israel. On their journey they even recorded measures saying they wanted to die as martyrs in a fight with Israel, and told Israeli soldiers to go back to Aushwitz. These terrorist supporters were only interested in killing as many Israelis as possible which they tried to do.

The Israeli soldiers therefore had to defend themselves and that is why the world seems to be so critical. This is because unlike in previous centuries where Jews who were attacked were unable to defend themselves. The Jewish State of Israel now has an army that knows how to defend itself and that is what the world does not like.

That is why there is all this critism of Israel for defending itself, while there was no critisms of actions in Thiland, Chechnya, Sudan, the Congo and yes even by European troops in Afganistan. That is why I am disgusted because the world does not care about armies defending their citizens unless it is Israel, and I really don't know why that is.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Israel's response to the Gaza Ships

Yesterday was a difficult day for all Israelis and those that care about Israel, as we all want to live in peace. Sadly though sometime when Israel's safety is put at risk, it has to take actions which are not always easy, especially when its citizens and soldiers are attacked.

As whenever Israel is forced to defend itself it comes under huge international pressure and so we have to clearly state our argument about why Israel's actions were correct, below is my attempt at this.

  • Yesterday was a tragic day which must be fully investigated and we must learn lessons for the future.
  • The events occured when activists were attempting to illegally enter Israeli borders on the way to Gaza.
  • Gaza is ruled by Hamas a terror organisation which calls for Israeli destroyed through violence and is illegally holding an Israeli citizen captive.
  • Israel does not have peaceful neighbours but neighbours which want its destruction and so needs to take actions to defend itself and Israel's citizens.
  • Israel has the right to ensure to check what passes its border into Gaza, as Egypt does. And Israel does allow humanitarian goods into Gaza.
  • The activists on the boat were told they could come to Israel and have their goods inspected before having humanitarian goods allowed into Gaza.
  • The activists on the boat refused to come to an Israeli or Egyptian port as requested and so Israeli soldiers were sent to six boat to persuade them to do this peacefully.
  • The Israeli soldiers were not armed for battle, only with pistols tucked into their backs.
  • On one of the six boats, the activists, many supporters of extremist-Islamist groups, were preparing for a battle, with knives and metal rods.
  • When the soldiers landed on the boat they were attacked and some had their guns stolen and shot at.
  • One soldier was even trampled on as they attempted to throw him overboard.
  • Therefore, the handful of soldiers were being attacked by a lynch mob of peace activists, and had to defend themselves
  • Only after fourty minutes of combat with this lynch mob did the soldiers have to use live-fire to defend themselves.
  • Luckily after hundreds of years of Jews being attacked by lynch mobs, the Jewish people now have a State and an army that is able to fight back and defend itself.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Am I now part of the British establishment?

As I was watching the re-election of the Speaker in the British House of Commons on Tuesday, I was pleased to see that my three former colleagues on Barnet Council; Matthew Offord, Mike Freer and Jane Ellison had got themselves the best seats in the House, sitting right behind David Cameron. I would like to congratulate them on becoming MPs and hope they enjoy their new jobs and serve their communities well.

I would also like to congratulate Luciana Berger a new Labour MP. I have known Luciana for about 10 years since our time at the University of Birmingham, where we worked well together to represent Jewish students both locally and nationally in NUS. I may even have helped Luciana on the first step of her political career, when I was her campaign manager for her successful election to NUS West Midlands Regional Council. It may not have been her most important election it has helped her to start what I am sure will be a very successful political career. Over the past few years we may not have agreed with each other on all issues but I am sure she will be one of Labour's few good MPs and one day could become their first female leader.

So now that I know four MPs well am I part of the British establishment?

Friday, May 07, 2010

Election Results Part 2

A new day has dawned in Israel, but it is not yet clear wha the new day will bring in Britain.

As the results are coming in, it is increasingly clear that the Conservatives willbethe largest party but it is still unclear if they will have a majority. I congratulate my former colleague Jane Ellison the new MP for Battersea.

What is shocking though is how so many areas couldnt allow everyone who chose to vote. Britain ismeant to be a leading democracy.

6am - what is happening in Hendon?

6:12 the lib dems have again been all talk and lots of failure

6:35 - Pleased to see Jaqui Smith has gone, possibly the worst Home Secretary ever.

6:45 - It is too early for Conservative s to celebrate but according to BBC figures of seats in
Conservatives have 210 andy the others 213 so Conservatives are just under 50% at the moments and if they keep up the results could be just about able to have a majority in Parliament.

7:50 appaently maathew offord has just arrived at the hendon count he probably wanted a good sleep

8am - Labour twitterer says they are behind both in Finchley and Hendon

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Rolling Election Blog

With just half an hour to go until the polls close in the UK, I will try and provide information on what is going on both for UK and Israeli readers. As its already almost midnight here in Israel not sure I will stay up for the first few hours, but I will see how I go. All times below are Israel time.

The first few interesting things I have seen is the Labour MP for Hendon desperately trying to persuade twitter followers to vote for him this evening, by saying that is supporters in Burnt Oak are flooding out to vote. If I was him I wouldnt be sure they are Labour voters anymore.

23:30 - ICM are saying that Conservatives will have 39% of the vote. With Labour and Lib Dems together. I think therefore a Conservative majority.

23:35 - The beginning of Sky new's election coverage is boring, why start an hour before anything happens?

23:40 - I am predicting a Conservative majority of about 20 seats. The polls may have been quite close in recent weeks but I believe that all the hard work that the Conservative machine has put in over the past few years to identify and persuade their supporters to have voted today will pay off and see them get more of their supporters out than the other parties. Do the Lib Dems even know where their new supporters were and did they come out to vote today? I dont think so.

23:50 - The Lib Dem candidate in Mill Hill has been recording high turnout in Mill Hill but not sure who is voting. This will be very interesting in the local Barnet election but as there have been no Labour tellers there how can Dismore even say he represented the whole constituency?

00:00 - Exit poll says Conservative larges party 19 short of a majority, with Lib Dems having less seats than in 2005

00:03 - According to the Exit poll Gordon Brown would not even have a majority with the Lib Dems in coaltion with only 314 seats. So looks like the end of Labour Government

00:15 - Nick Robinson of the BBC says that based on exit poll Gordon Brown does not have to resign as Prime Minister until Parliament returns, given that he never wanted to go to the British public for a vote, will he try and hang on?

00:20 - the first seat to announce will be interesting because we will see the change in the vote percentage from 2005, the exit poll does not show it, so the public cant make their own interpretation of todays vote.

00:55 - the first seat announces Labour is down 11.7%, Lib Dems down 0.6% and conservaties up 5.2% a swing of 8% if this is the same across the Country would be a large majority for Conservatives.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Liberal Democrat Leadership continues its attack on Israel

Happy Israeli Independence day. It is great to be celebrating 62 years of Israeli independence and everything that our small country has achieved.

Sadly though, according to the UK's Jewish Chronicle, this week the Liberal Democrats are continuing to attack Israel and to even question our motives.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Remembering Israel's Heroes

As we come to the end of the 62nd year of independence for the modern State of Israel, today (Rememberance Day) is a chance for us to remember the 22,682 Israeli heroes who have died fighting to create and defend this wonderful country.

I made aliyah after the age I was required to serve in the IDF and I do not know what it is like to service or to see a friend in action (and I hpe I never will). I have a huge gratitude for every soldier who has served in the Israeli armed forces working to defend our State of Israel. Sadly, this appears to be a duty which will not go away in the near future.

However, defending Israel from enemy attack is not the only action that defenders of Israel currently have to carry out. Sadly we are also living in a world in which the deligitimisation of Israel's right to exist is become an equally important duty to defend. Over the past ten years like thousands of other Jewish people and supporters of Israel around the world, I have strived to defend Israel and this is something that we have to continue to do and to not give up in what is another battle that we must not lose.

Just this week the British Advertising Standards Agency ruled that the Western Wall can not be used in Israeli tourism adverts, as they say this misleads the public about what is in Israel. This is just lunacy. Ask any person around the world about it's number one tourist site and the Western Wall will be virtually everybody's answer. However, the Advertising Standards Agency have fallen into the trap that this part of Israel is on occupied territory, and accept the Arab argument that there is no Jewish historical heritage in Jerusalem. This despite the Western Wall and the Temple which it is a part of, has been part of the Land of Israel for over two thousand years, but was occupied by Jordan for nineteen sad years from 1948 to 1967. This is just the latest fight in the battle to defend and save Israel.

However, within Israel we have also had the shocking news, this past week which shames the memory of our fallen soldiers. It was reported this week that the officials and politicians including the two former Mayors of Jerusalem have allegedly been involved a bribery scandal to approve a planning application for the Holyland development. As someone who was a politician in London who decided on planning applications for developments I understood that when I made decisions I had to make these based on what was best for local people and the local area. The public trust politicians to make the right decisions and when they receive money to support a development they should feel ashamed. I hope as the investigation continues the alleged guilty officials and politicians admit they were wrong and apologise for these disgraceful actions. Our brave soldiers have given their lives for this country and when politicians and government officials brake the law for their own gain, they should hang their heads in shame.

I hope as we enter Israel's 63rd year, we are able to experience the start of the beginning of peace, where Israel just like every country in the world is rightly accepted and that our leaders show the decency that we the public expect of them.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Why Israel is important - an answer to anonymous

This Thursday Foreign Affairs will take centre stage in the British election when the Sky News Leaders Debate gives Cameron, Clegg and Brown the chance to give their views on political affairs.

I am sure in view of this an anonymous commentator asked me the following two questions.

Anonymous said...
I fail to see why "anti-semitic" and "anti-Israel" are concatenated into one criticism of Britain.And who was in Israel before the Jews? Can they have the whole land back, if they want it? (Of course not. And jolly lucky not one claims pre-ownership of England, as far as I know.)
11:53 PM
Anonymous said...
I should have made the last comment in more detail - I was, and am, angry at your question: "Who should Jewish people vote for in Hendon?". You are saying that it is most important (beyond anything else) for the election of a representative of one sovereign nation (Britain) to be purely on the basis of support for another sovereign nation (Israel).
12:12 AM

I have always said that the people of Britain should vote for the Conservative Party and Matthew Offord the Conservative candidate in Hendon because they will bring about the real positive change that Britain needs to improve the failing economy and ensure a Big improved society. However, in a seat like Hendon where there is a large Jewish community, the public should be aware of the canidates views on Israel and domestic Jewish issues, issues which are important to the Jewish community in Britain. On top of all that Israel should be an important ally to Britain in the Middle East, as the only truly democratic and peaceful country in the Middle East. For that reason in my view Israel should be an important (but for many not dissisive) issue in seats such as Hendon.

Sadly, while anti-semitism has been around for thousands of years, in recent years in Britain there has been a sharp rise in critisism of Israel, which is also being used as a new excuse for carrying out anti-semitic attacks. Sadly, these attacks seem to be mainly carried out by left wing supporters who seem to believe that they can attack Jews because they do not accept the actions and even the existence of the State of Israel.

In terms of who lived in Israel before it became a Jewish country, the Bible says it was land occupied by Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites, and Girgashites.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The election gets exciting

Two weeks into the election campaign and I can see why most people get put off by elections. Having campaigned locally in all elections since 2001, this has been my first real opportunity to see how campaigns are reported on the news, and I have to say they don't make it look very interesting to the public. That is why I think change was needed with the introduction of debates, so that voters can actually here from the leaders themselves instead of boring news reports.

(I hope this change is also coming in a positive way for Spurs who I am currently watching beat Chelsea. I think my daughter Maayan may be good luck for Spurs, as they have only lost two games in the past two months.)

The debates were interested and clearly show that the British public want a change from a tired, sleazy government led by Gordon Brown who can only offer a negative campaign.
Nick Clegg did do very well making clear that he believes he can offer a difference. However, while they are now clearly doing well in the polls, as the British public look for something different. How will he do when they realise what his policies are such as entering the Euro, letting out prisoners, scrapping Britains nuclear defence and raising taxes.

The Conservatives also offer a change by giving the British public a chance to rule themselves instead of by bureaucrats through a new modern Big Society. My tip to David Cameron is that as he prepares for the next two weeks of campaigning and debates is that he gives up on preparation, he looked too much like he was trying to show he was the leader. Instead he should be more natural and show with his natural debating skills why he will bring a real positive change to Britain.

Anyway lets see what happens.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Holocaust Rememberance Day

Today in Israel is Yom Hashoa, the day when we remember the victims and the heroes of the Holocaust. Last January at the London Borough of Barnet International Holocaust ceremony I was privelaged to be able to speak about my grandfather Herbert Goldsmith. I am pleased to share my speeech here.

Holocaust Day Speech -January 2009

1. Seventy years ago this month in January 1939 my grandfather Herbert Goldsmith escaped from Nazi Germany on the Kindertransport to England.
2. My grandfather was born in 1922 and was named Herbert by his parents Moritz and Wilehmine Goldschmidt.
3. They lived in Delmenhorst a small town, near Bremen in northern Germany, which had a Jewish community of about 200 people.
4. My great-grandparents owned a clothes and linen shop.
5. As a child my grandfather attended a small Jewish school in the local synagogue.
6. My grandfather and the other Jewish children were able to play and be friends with the non-Jewish children.
7. In 1933 when Hitler and the Nazi Party came to power things began to change.
8. This included a law that non-Jews were not allowed to use Jewish shops, including my great-grandparents. Nazi officers stood outside and prevented people from entering.
9. By 1936 Jews were no longer to have non-Jewish friends.
10. By this time my great-grandparents had had to close their shop and move house as their home was surrounded by members of the Nazi Party. Herbert’s mother therefore became the sole earner as a seamstress, with my great-grandfather unable to find work.
11. In 1936 my great-grandparents in 1936 decided to send Herbert to Arlhem Jewish horticultural college.
12. This was so as to make it easier for my grandfather to have a skill which he could easily adopt anywhere in the world.
13. This later came in use, when after the war he settled in Golders Green and opened a nursery.
14. By 1938 the Jews of Germany had practically been removed from all public life.
15. Then came the events of Kristalnagt (the night of Broken Glass) on 9 and 10 November 1938, when the Nazis in Germany destroyed 267 synagogues, killed 100 people and smashed 7,500 Jewish stores.
16. In addition my great-grandfather was one of nearly 30,000 Jewish men incarcerated in concentration camps. My great-grandfather was incarcerated for three weeks.
17. My great-grandparents then realised that there was no future for Jews in Germany and worked to arrange to send Herbert and his brother Charles to England.
18. My great-grandparents had a cousin who lived in Golders Green, who was amongst the Jewish Community here lobbying the Government to allow Jewish refugees into England.
19. Following Kristalnaght the British Government agreed to admit Jewish children up to the age of 17 from Germany.
20. My grandfather Herbert and his brother Charles were therefore able to escape Nazi Germany in January 1939.
21. However, my great-grandparents were not able to escape.
22. My grandfather therefore communicated with them by letter, but shortly after the war began was never able to hear from them again.
23. My grandfather Herbert, as a 16 year old was one of the oldest children of the Kindertransport.
24. In England he was fostered by a cousin of my great-grandparents, who lived on The Vale in Golders Green and had one daughter called Rosalie.
25. Herbert and Rosalie began to develop a relationship, which was to continue with the start of the war.
26. However, with the start of the war, my grandfather as a German refugee was interned to a camp on the south-coast.
27. Despite escaping the persecution of the Nazi’s, the conditions in the interment camp for my grandfather and the other refugees, many of whom were Jewish were very poor.
28. These conditions were worsened when my grandfather was among the German refugees interned in 1940 to Australia by the British on the SS Dunera
29. In 1941 Britain offered the German Jews a chance to stay in Australia or to return to Britain and join the British army.
30. Due to the relationship that he had developed with Rosalie he decided to return to England.
31. Back in England, my grandfather joined the Pioneer Corps in 1943 and later in 1944 he married my grandmother Rosalie in Bradford, where she was serving during the war.
32. Following D-Day my grandfather served in Normandy and Holland.
33. With the end of the war my grandfather served as a translator for the army in Germany, where he was posted back to his home town in northern Germany.
34. My grandfather was always proud to say that he enjoyed punishing the former Nazi commander of his home town, who he had remembered from his time in the 1930s.
35. Following the end of the war my grandparents returned to The Vale in Golders Green, where they lived with Rosalie’s parents.
36. In the year’s following the war my grandfather put much effort into achieving retribution for the Kindertransport refugees, by seeking pensions from the German Government.
37. My grandfather was rewarded for this work in 1999, shortly before he passed away, when the German Government presented my grandfather with the Cross of the German Order of Merit for outstanding contribution to Fostering British German relations and German Jewish reconciliation.
38. My grandparents were able to have three children and I am one of eight grandchildren.
39. One important lesson I learnt from my grandfather is that it is important to put in effort to help others.
40. My grandfather was lucky to escape the worst experiences of the Holocaust and to have children and grandchildren who have contributed to society.
41. However, six million Jewish people, including one million Jewish children were not able to escape the Nazi’s and were murdered solely for being Jewish.
42. Therefore, as we remember the most horrifying genocide in history, when the Nazi’s attempted to destroy an entire people, we should also consider the lost children and grandchildren who were never born.
43. The Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sack’s describes how out of this Valley of Death the Jewish people have recovered and achieved one of its greatest era’s with the rebirth of the State of Israel and many great contributions across the world.
44. However, how much greater could the achievements of the Jewish people have been, if we had not lost the six million, and the tens or even hundreds of millions of children that could not be born.
45. On this Holocaust Day, I therefore ask you to remember what caused the Holocaust, so that we can stop similar occurrences from ever happening again.
46. And to make up for what could not be achieved by both the children who were murdered but also the children who were not born…
47. I ask you to consider how we each can individually help to make our society stronger.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Who should Jewish people vote for in Hendon?

In what I have previously described as an increasingly anti-Semitic and anti-Israel Britain, it is important that the Jewish people and supporters of Israel have an MP that is a vocal supporter in Parliament. Therefore I believe it is vital that the next MP for the Hendon constituency - as well as other MPs - with a large Jewish community be a strong supporter of Jewish and Israeli causes.

In Hendon there are luckily three candidates that will support these causes. However, I feel the Liberal Democrat candidate has an uphill struggle given that Liberal Democrat policy is not to support Israel as a Jewish State. While, I am not a fan of the Labour MP Mr Dismore, he has been a good supporter, which under a Labour Government has been important given that most of the Labour Party seem now to be anti-Israel, especially under the leadership of Gordon Brown.

However, I would like to highlight my friend the Conservative candidate Matthew Offord, who since I have known him as proven that he is a strong supporter of both Jewish causes and of a strong and secure Israel. Both as the Deputy Leader of Barnet Council and as the Conservative Candidate to be an MP. Matthew has shown that he cares about Jewish and Israeli issues and would therefore make an excellent supporter for the Jewish community as an MP for Hendon. Below I highlight some of these issues.

Matthew Offord has visited Israel a number of times and supports a strong and secure Israel

Matthew Offord has called for the banning of the anti-semitic group Hizb ut-Tahrir, something Labour have refused

Matthew Offord has supported Benjamin Pearl's campaign for more Jewish schools in Hendon

Matthew Offord has led the fight against anti-semitism in Hendon

Matthew Offord has been a vocal supporter of the Holocaust Educational Trust and the need to remember the lessons of the Holocaust

Matthew Offord has supported JNet a local Jewish radio station

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

A chance for hope and change in Britain

I had some mixed feelings yesterday, watching the beginning of the British election campaign. If I had still been living in London I would have been helping lead the election campaign for Matthew Offord the Conservative candidate for Hendon.

While I am pleased not to be having to take part in the hard slog of delivering leaflets across the constiuency, I am missing not canvassing and thinking what residents real views are (often very different to how the media report it). Interestingly, canvassing and political campaigning does not seem to happen in Israel outside of elections. However, I am sure Matthew Offord's Conservative team in Hendon, will be upping their canvassing on top of what I am sure will be a number of deliveries of leaflets across Edgware, Hendon, Burnt Oak, Colindale and Mill Hill.

Watching yesterday's coverage showed me why the Conservative's will definitely win the election. My first rule of elections is that positive campaign's win elections. Yesterday, it was clear that David Cameron is going to promise the Conservative's will make positive changes to Britain. In contrast the Prime Minister Labour's Gordon Brown, was only warning about the damage of Britain's future from a change. If this pattern continues it will ensurely see David Cameron become the British Prime Minister in a month's time.

On the web at the time of writing, Matthew Offord again seems to be the only candidate happy to be campaigning. In contrast the Labour MP Andrew Dismore, one of the MPs who got in trouble for his expenses, seems to have given up the goast, with his website saying that he his no longer an MP. Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats in Hendon don't even seem to have a website. So it appears that on the 2nd day of the campaign, only the Conservative's Matthew Offord is really interesting in campaigning for a better future for the Hendon Consitutency.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Happy Pesach

After a two month break from here I am back. Happy Pesach to everyone reading this, I hope you are having an enjoyable and restful week (I am certainly enjoying it after all the cleaning, which I think destroyed my finger tips).

For those of you that don't know, the main reason that I have taken a break is because on 15 February, Sonia and I were pleased to have a beautiful baby girl called Maayan Hadassah. I never really realised how tiring have a baby is, but it is an amazing feeling. Maayan was born at Tel Hashomer hospital in Ramat Gan (just outside Tel Aviv) and for parents considering where to have the birth I would recommend it for the care that was received, although it is very busy.

The past two months have also seen some other memorable moments.

We have now been living in Israel for over a year . As I wrote last year at Pesach we are able to celebrate living in the land of the Jewish people something which until the past century has not been possible for thousands of years. It has been really amazing to again see the whole country get ready for Pesach, in the place where it is meant to be celebrated. I feel so proud that Maayan will be able to grow up speaking Hebrew and enjoying living an easier Jewish life in Israel.

After living in the city of Modiin for just over a year, at the end of this month we will be moving to Jerusalem (just off Emek Refaiim). Modiin has been a good place to start as we settle in Israel, it has excellent facilities for young families and feels open and green. It is also generally cheaper to buy/rent in then Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. However, Sonia and I are both used to big cities like London, and Modiin is definitely a quiet commuter town and not a city at the moment. We are therefore moving to Jerusalem to have more of a city life and breathe in a few more urban fumes. I hope this offers some advice to anyone making aliyah.

In the news front the past couple of months have also been very busy with the alleged (probable) Mossad killing of a Hamas leader and Dubai and Britain expelling and Israeli diplomat. I believe both countries were right in their actions and had to do what they had to do, something which all countries would do if the opportunity occured.

Sadly though the US President has again become an unfair critic of Israel -who does not seem to fully understand the Middle East situation - just as he was this time last year (after a few months break I hoped he had learnt from his mistakes) in what I believe is his aim to appease the Islamic world. I hope this dangereious situation is reduced and Israel and the USA can again be close allies, which most Israelis and Americans want.

Over the next couple of months I look forward to commenting on the Middle East process and of course the British election. I hope to provide an interesting analysis especially on the British election from the position of a former politician their who can understand and explain it but now from a spectators position.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Winter Rain

Back in October I was asking when winter is going to come to Israel, and over the past couple of weeks it has started to feel a little bit like winter (or for an Englisman more like early autum). I have even had to start wearing a jumper and coat occasionally.

We have also had quite a lot of decent rain so that instead of what I thought were just ditches along roads, have actually become streams. The media has been saying that this will help Israel's water levels, after having five very dry winters, but we are told we need lots more rain to get to a good level.

And yet no one is quite sure how much water we now have because the staff at the water company are on strike refusing to do their work. Their reason for striking is that they have been asked to work a little harder. This extra hard work is because a few months ago the Knesset decided to increase bills by 50% this year (approximately 24% now and the remainder later in the year), so the workers have said that is too much work to determine what the new charges will be for us customers. Therefore, I am still waiting to get my more expensive water bill.

There has been quite a lot of criticism of this increase in the price of water. However, in a country where we use more water than comes down in rain we do need to find a way to manage water levels better. I would have prefered the orginal proposal to create a varying price increase depending on how much water is used, though I can live with this increase. This is because while it will mean us paying a lot more for water now, we are told this will be used to build more water desalination plants.

Therefore instead of relying on unpredictable rainfall, Israel will be able to desalinate even more water and so over the next decade be able to have enough water to easily meet the demand. If this is planned properly, in a region which suffers from droughts, Israel may even be able to export some of its water and help in the future to bring our water bills down.

In the meantime lets hope we get plenty more rain (and I get to see my physical geography lessons come to life) and that I actually get my water bill so I can see for sure how much it has increased.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

The worst thing said yesterday by Gordon Brown

Yesterday was not a good day for Gordon Brown, but I was further saddened by an answer he gave to a Labour MP during Prime Ministers Question Time.

Gordon Brown agreed with his Labour colleague that Israel must stop pressuring the Gaza strip by lifting the 'siege' and went on to say that Israel must work with the Palestinian State.

This is yet a further sign of the British Labour Government's lack of support for Israel. How can Gordon Brown say a siege must be lifted against a terrorist-run region, where Israel's Gilad Shalit is still being held hostage.

We also now know that the Labour Government is going againt the rest of the western world by already saying Israel must work with the Palestinian State. As far as I was aware their is still no Palestinian State, and this won't come about while the Palestinian's refuse to negotiate with Israel.