דצמ' 25 2015

מאמר שפורסם ב- Jerusalem Post

מאת: נחמן שי נושאים: תקשורת

Is Barkat forsaking Jerusalem? – M.K. Dr. Nachman Shai

Let’s go over a few facts, not rely on impressions and feelings: Jerusalem is deteriorating.

Nir Barkat probably wouldn’t admit to this, but he’s a mayor in transition. On Tuesday, he announced that he’s joining the Likud and setting his sights on a position in national politics. Granted, in the same breath he declared that he would continue serving as mayor until 2018, but what if the national election is moved up to 2017, for example? From now on, Barkat has one foot out the door. He might not admit this, but his priorities have completely changed. And this is a darn shame, because Jerusalem desperately needs an engaged, full-time mayor now more than ever.

Let’s go over a few facts, not rely on impressions and feelings: Jerusalem is deteriorating.

This is happening first and foremost because of the demographics, the social composition of the city and the urban structure. Jerusalem now lags behind 15 other Israeli municipalities.

You need to take a look at and memorize these statistics. According to data that were published this week, poverty rates in 2014 rose to 46.1 percent in the region and 48.6% in Jerusalem.

In east Jerusalem, the situation is even worse. We should be very proud of ourselves (not). We love investing in the eastern part of the city, unless it happens to be in education, infrastructure, housing or garbage collection. The gap is greatest with respect to poverty: Over the last year, the poverty rate in east Jerusalem increased by 5 percentage points. As of today, 79.5% of east Jerusalem residents live below the poverty line.

And among children, the number is even higher: 83.9% of children living in east Jerusalem are poor.

You might retort that in reality they are enjoying a high standard of living since they benefit from National Insurance Institute payments and from Employment Bureau services.

Well, I’m sorry to rain on your party, but according to Israel Social TV, it turns out that Arabs living in east Jerusalem have a hard time navigating the Israeli government’s bureaucratic labyrinth and as a result many of them do not receive NII payments or other benefits they deserve.

Despite the fact that 13% of the country’s poor people live in east Jerusalem, only 2.7% of NII income support payments reach families in east Jerusalem.

Sixty-nine percent of income support claims made by residents of east Jerusalem are denied, the vast majority on the grounds of failure to submit the correct documents or failure to show up as required to the government employment office.

Jerusalem is at the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

If you’re curious what a binational Israel might look like, just come to Jerusalem and see for yourself. There will be two peoples: Jewish and Arab.

At first, the Jewish one will be slightly larger in number than the Arab one. This small numerical advantage will keep the Jewish public happy for a number of years, but then the demographics will begin changing. At some point, we will turn into a Jewish minority ruling an Arab majority.

And then we will face the real dilemma: Do we offer true civil and political rights to the Arabs with whom we share this space between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River? Voting rights, as we all know, were denied to residents of east Jerusalem.

Can we deny voting rights to Arabs living in Judea, Samaria and Gaza as well? The third intifada is knocking loudly on our door. The terrorism we are experiencing is more violent than the first intifada, but less violent than the second one. Even so, 23 Jews have been killed in terrorist attacks in the last few months, many more have been injured and treated for shock, and countless Israelis have been too scared to leave their homes. This is the goal of terrorism. It is no surprise, of course, that most of the attacks have taken place in and around Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the gateway to Israel. Some 350,000 Palestinian live here and thousands make their way across the city daily.

It should be of no surprise then that terrorists are carrying out so many attacks in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is at the heart of the conflict, the city that is holy to three religions, with the Temple Mount the focus of religious extremists on both sides who irresponsibly fan the flames of fire.

This is how it will be in a binational Israel – constant friction between the two communities everywhere they come into contact, and slowly spilling over into each other’s neighborhoods.

There is no way we can completely isolate the Palestinians, build hermetically sealed neighborhoods, make sure they don’t drive on streets used by Jews, or have any connection with our schools. This is called apartheid, and under no circumstances do we want to live in an apartheid state. We want our home to be Jewish, democratic, Zionist, peace loving, with a Jewish majority and an Arab minority that enjoys full civil rights as citizens in any democracy would want.

I am against dividing Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is my city and the city of my parents. My father, Eliezer z”l, was honored as a Distinguished Citizen of Jerusalem (Yakir Yerushalayim).

I believe that there is so much we still need to build in Jerusalem, to strengthen the city economically and socially.

But the current city leadership does not understand the severity of the crisis we’re experiencing.

Nor does the mayor realize that what happens in Jerusalem affects the outcome of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Therefore, we must grit our teeth and suffer the pain that’s involved in making difficult decisions, such as deciding whether or not we should disengage from neighborhoods in east Jerusalem and turn control over these areas to the Palestinian Authority. No, this does not constitute a division of the city. Rather, it is a wise move that will save us from the demographic imbalance in Jerusalem. Such a move would still allow Israel control over and full access to religious sites that are holy to Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

The government must make Jerusalem one of its top priorities, ahead of the North or the South. We’re always searching for the periphery, but it is here right under our noses. There is a geographic periphery, and then there is the obvious and painful social periphery.

Mayor Nir Barkat has worked very hard to make improvements, and he has accomplished many great things during his tenure. But will others be able to cope better with the fear and radicalization that are taking place in the city? Barkat’s campaign posters against Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon that were pasted around the city called on the latter not to forsake Jerusalem.

Now it’s time for Kahlon to turn the tables and ask the very same thing of Barkat.

The writer is a member of Knesset (Zionist Union), chairman of the Knesset Lobby for Jerusalem, member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense committee, and a doctor of political science and communications.

Translated by Hannah Hochner

Link: http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Is-Barkat-forsaking-Jerusalem-438372

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דצמ' 25 2015

מאמר שפורסם בעיתון גלובס – חבל הצלה לעיר הבירה

מאת: נחמן שי נושאים: תקשורת

לממשלה אולי יש זמן, אבל ירושלים אינה מחכה לה

בשבוע שעבר התחוללו כאן עוד שני פיגועים גדולים. האחד, פיגוע דריסה נוסף בתחנת אוטובוס בירושלים, עם מספר נפגעים רב ביותר; ופיגוע שני, דוח העוני של הביטוח הלאומי, שחשף מחדש את עלבונה של בירת ישראל, הענייה בעריה, עיר שמידרדרת במהירות גבוהה ביותר ואווירתה מדכדכת.

ירושלים היא העיר שלי, אני חי בה כל חיי, הוריי חיו בה, אבי היה מיקיריה, ואני יכול עתה לקבוע בוודאות: בואו לירושלים, עכשיו, בואו לא רק ל"חמשושלים", כשם מסע שיווק של העירייה; בואו כדי לראות את תמונת העתיד של ישראל – כיצד תיראה העיר, לכודה בין כל משבריה, החברתי, הלאומי, הכלכלי. במונחים של כימיה, ירושלים היא נייר הלקמוס של הקונפליקט היהודי-ערבי, והוא אדום עכשיו, אדום יותר מתמיד.

קודם כול הנתונים: חלק גדול מפיגועי האינתיפאדה השלישית התרחשו בירושלים ובסביבתה. לא מפתיע. ירושלים היא המפגש המיידי והנגיש ביותר בין הפלסטינים לבין הישראלים. בטרור הסכינאים והדריסות, זהו תנאי ראשוני, וירושלים מספקת אותו ביד רחבה. משום כך הוא גם רחוק מן העין הישראלית, ירושלים רחוקה, ומה שרחוק מן העין רחוק מן הלב.

יתרה מזו, ירושלים עצמה, נאמר את האמת, היא כבר עיר דו-לאומית. היא מייצגת מיעוט פלסטיני גדול, כ-40%, שתוך עשור או שניים ישתווה למספר היהודים בעיר, ואחר-כך צפוי להפוך לרוב. מאז 1967, גדל מספר הערבים בעיר פי 3.5, ומספר היהודים רק פי 1.7.

זוהי גם תמונת העתיד של הסכסוך הבלתי פתיר בינינו לבין ערביי ישראל והפלסטינים. במרחב בין הים למדבר היחס הוא כבר כמעט 50:50 עם רוב קטן ליהודים, שילך ויתכווץ בעתיד. זוהי התחזית הדמוגרפית הבלתי נמנעת לקונפליקט הלאומי בין שני העמים. ומה הוא יצר? מלכוד בלתי אפשרי, שבו התסכול הכלכלי, החברתי, הלאומי והדתי, מוליך את היהודים והערבים לחיכוכים בלתי אפשריים, עד לפיצוץ גדול שאיש אינו יכול לתארו.

בצד החברתי, אנחנו עוצמים עיניים ומסתפקים בצקצוק שפתיים. על-פי דוח הביטוח הלאומי, העוני במחוז ירושלים עלה ב-2014 בכל מדדי העוני; 46.1% במחוז, ובעיר ירושלים 48.6%. אצל ערביי מזרח ירושלים התמונה עגומה הרבה יותר – תוספת של 5% לעוני בשנה האחרונה, וכיום 79.5% הם עניים. העוני מטפס כאשר מגיעים לילדי מזרח ירושלים, ביניהם, 83.9%! הם עניים. בפעם הבאה, לכשייצא ילד בן 13 למסע דקירות, תשאלו אולי מה מניע אותו ליטול סכין או מברג, ולחפש מטרה יהודית.

אז יש לנו משבר לאומי ומצוקה כלכלית, והתנגשות דתית בעיר הזו, הקדושה לשלוש הדתות, שנאבקות עליה ואינן מוכנות לוותר ולו על ס"מ אחד. בעולם שסביבנו, שבו מחריפה והולכת מלחמת הציביליזציות החדשה, מייצגת ירושלים נקודת-חיכוך מיידית, בין האסלאם ליהדות. איני רואה באופק שום הסדר שיכול לספק את כולם, חוץ מאותו סטאטוס-קוו שברירי, שהקיצוניים משני הצדדים, עושים הכול כדי למוטטו.

בעוד הערבים אינם ממהרים לשום מקום, ותפיסת הזמן שלהם היא, כי מה שלא יעשה השכל, יעשה הזמן, אנחנו אמורים לחפש פתרונות, ולשאול את עצמנו כיצד לצאת מן המלכוד הזה? והתשובה היא אחת – הסדר מדיני, ומהר. הסדר שינתק אותנו מן הנטל הכבד הזה, הכלכלי, החברתי, הדתי, הלאומי, וכן, גם הנטל המוסרי. ברור שלא נוכל להמשיך כך. חזקים וגדולים מאיתנו כשלו. תלמדו היסטוריה, קרובה ורחוקה.

אבל מאחר שהממשלה אינה יכולה – ו/או אינה רוצה וכנראה גם וגם – להתמודד עם האסון הממתין לפתחנו, מוטב שתמהר ותושיט מיד לפחות חבל-הצלה לירושלים. וכך אולי היא תצליח לכבות את השריפה הזאת, אולי תצליח להרגיע את הרוחות לרגע, לשבריר זמן.

אולי הממשלה מחכה, אבל ירושלים אינה מחכה לה.

הכותב הוא חבר-כנסת מטעם המחנה-הציוני, חבר ועדת החוץ והביטחון, וד"ר למדע המדינה ולתקשורת

לינק: http://www.globes.co.il/news/article.aspx?did=1001089856

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דצמ' 04 2015

מאמר שפורסם ב- Jerusalem Post

מאת: נחמן שי נושאים: תקשורת

Between Berlin and Jerusalem – M.K. Dr. Machman Shai

In Berlin at this time of year, the sun sets early and the cold of early winter is in the air. The streets are lit up by thousands of small lanterns that have been hung throughout the city to herald the upcoming Christmas holiday. No matter what craziness is happening around the world, no one can take away from the Germans the happy feelings that accompany the winter holiday season.

I was visiting Berlin recently with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and a number of other Knesset members to attend the celebratory events in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany.

How quickly the past and present have become interconnected. The moving memorial ceremony took place at Platform 17, the location where so many Jews boarded trains that took them to concentration camps. Just 100 meters from where we stood, there were still trains coming and going; life goes on. Every corner here reminds us of the past, and also makes us proud of the rebuilding, empowerment and new leadership.

It was the week the EU recommended that its member countries mark all products coming from the territories, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. Israel looks up to Germany, and hopes to carry out great cooperation with this ally. If any country has a chance of putting a stop to the anti-Israel bias, it’s Germany, the strongest and richest country in Europe.

But it’s unlikely this will happen, since Germany is obliged to follow EU regulations like all the other countries in Europe and mark products coming from the territories. Volker Beck, president of the German-Israeli Parliamentary Friendship Group and a true friend of Israel, recently told me, “The labeling of products will not end even in 10 years,” but then added, “But don’t worry – this is not BDS and not a boycott. That is prohibited by law.”

Israel considers the marking of its products an outright anti-Israeli move, and many people even go so far as to call it anti-Semitic. But here in Israel, we view things differently. Marking products is a consumer service which clarifies a product’s origin, which is acceptable since consumers should know where products originate.

The part that Israel finds problematic is not that Israeli products will be labeled, but that this ruling is not being applied to other “occupied” areas in counties like Cyprus, Western Sahara and China.

Many Israelis are asking why Israel is being singled out.

Israel’s response to the marking of its products therefore appears to be exaggerated.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu resembles Don Quixote who would rush out to battle with windmills. His recent public battle with President Barack Obama over the Iranian nuclear agreement ended in defeat. He should have quickly learned his lesson from this encounter. Public confrontations such as this might improve his image at home, but they do nothing to improve Israel’s precarious position in Europe.

Proclaiming that we are severing relations with the EU on the subject of political negotiations (when was the last time we even held such negotiations?) is an act of desperation that merely demonstrates how helpless we feel. Israel has not succeeded in convincing Europe that it is serious about reaching a two-state solution.

The opposite is true – more and more European countries are convinced that Israel is slowly trying to annex more and more territory so that it can rule over the Palestinians in a one-state solution.

These threats that Israel is making against the Europeans, that we won’t include them in negotiations, are ridiculous.

Expressing no confidence in the same EU that has worked for decades to help Israel achieve such a high economic status will just end up hurting Israel in the end. The marking of Israeli products might possibly cause a decrease of a few tens of millions of dollars in exports, but Israeli exports to Europe amount to billions of dollars, so this won’t seriously harm the Israeli economy. Thirty-one percent of Israeli exports are to Europe. If we lose this market, which one will fill the void? China? India? Abu Dhabi, where Israel has just opened an Israeli International Renewable Energy Agency office? The Europeans want to see progress on the political front. They’re reinforcing and financing the Palestinian Authority because they don’t want to see all of their previous investments come to naught.

They’re extremely concerned that the Palestinian Authority could implode, and they’re afraid terrorism could increase, which would be bad for both the Israelis and the Palestinians. They view themselves as true partners in Israel’s quest for a political settlement. The message to Israel from Europe and the EU is clear: Find a political solution and stop building settlements that hinder the chances of reaching an agreement.

Have the courage to look for a solution, reach it and implement it.

Then, and only then, will products from Israel cease being marked. Only then will other EU initiatives directed at pushing negotiations forward also be stopped. And only then will Germany mobilize and begin helping Israel, as we have learned during our many meetings with the Germans that they want to do.

We need to remember that Europe is not our enemy and that Europe is not the problem. In fact, Europe holds one of the most important keys that will help us solve our problems.

Translated by Hannah Hochner.

link: http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Between-Berlin-and-Jerusalem-436274

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אוק' 26 2015

מאמר שפורסם ב- Jerusalem Post

מאת: נחמן שי נושאים: תקשורת

The hearts and minds of the Israeli people – M.K Dr. Nachman Shai

Israel is standing strong in this war against terrorism. Despite the difficulties, Israeli forces are once again using all of their energy and resources to combat terrorism.

The debate about whether or not a third intifada has begun is over.

We are indeed experiencing an intifada. Period. For years we haven’t experienced such intense terrorist activity in Israel. Just by looking at the pure numbers we can see that this is so. The beginning of this intifada can be traced back to Rosh Hashana, which took place just a few weeks ago, a classic moment for a conflict to begin.

Naturally, we are busy reporting the details of these attacks: How many casualties have there been? How many wounded and how seriously? Was the terrorist killed, too? This is the physical front, the meeting point where the attacker comes into contact with our security forces.

Israel is standing strong in this war against terrorism. Despite the difficulties, Israeli forces are once again using all of their energy and resources to combat terrorism. Large numbers of Israeli police officers and guards have been stationed in sensitive locations and are making Sisyphean efforts to create as high a level of deterrence as possible.

The main difficulty in preventing “lone wolf” attacks is of course the lack of available intelligence. It is practically impossible to know when a terrorist who is working on his own will pull out his knife and stab a passerby. Israeli security forces are trained and highly successful at sniffing out terrorist cells and foiling attacks, but they have not figured out a way to locate a teenager who took a knife from the kitchen that morning.

We do not yet know what form this current intifada will take.

The first intifada, which began in 1987, was primarily a civilian protest and was based mainly on demonstrations in which women and children also participated.

The level of violence was relatively low and quite primitive.

In the second intifada, which began in 2000, the Palestinians became much more sophisticated: They sent suicide bombers in unprecedented numbers who blew themselves up in crowded population centers throughout Israel. Most Palestinians stayed home and remained uninvolved in terrorist actions, and were content to let a few select men and women carry out the suicide attacks.

In this current wave, a new intifada is beginning from a relatively low point: Knives and screwdrivers are being employed, as well as cars to run people over. Incidentally, terrorists used bulldozers in the past for just such purposes.

The media are the most visible and immediate partners of terrorism. This is the platform that enables Palestinians to leverage the terrorist attacks they commit. In addition to the physical damage they inflict, the video clips of these events spread on the Internet at the speed of light.

The attacks that have been taking place over the last few weeks have been low-level and thankfully there’s been a relatively small number of casualties.

The main problem, though, is how these attacks have affected the lives of the millions of Jews living in Israel, which was in essence the attackers’ main goal.

Even if there were no media coverage, I believe that these attacks would still be taking place, because this is the method the Palestinians have chosen to carry out their struggle. However, when video clips of the attacks are viewed millions of times on social media, when the Palestinians realize that a huge percentage of Palestinians, Israelis and Arabs through the Middle East have seen the gory stabbings of Jews for themselves, they realize that the conflict has reached a completely new level.

Over the years, the Palestinians have become experts at how the Israeli propaganda machine works. They know that they’ve broken the Israeli monopoly on information. In 1987, Israel easily got away with declaring an area a closed military zone and successfully preventing the international media from entering.

But now in the age of Internet, such an announcement would ring hollow and would be pointless since smartphones are so prevalent. There are hundreds of cameras filming activity in real-time at every location and as a result, there is footage available of every attack that has taken place.

The prevalence of cameras is a huge change from the previous two intifadas and terrorists are taking full advantage of this medium.

Many of these images and videos end up going viral on social media within minutes, as well as being featured on more traditional media outlets. Now that anybody can film an incident with his cellphone, our ability to manage or control information has all but disappeared.

The rules of battle have changed. It’s no longer the Palestinians against the Israeli security forces. The public is now the one providing the information, as well as the one watching the battle on smartphones and computer screens the world over.

In this modern technological age, every person is a potential journalist who is gathering and disseminating information.

The normal process in which a professional journalist gathers information, processes it and edits it into a story is absent. Raw footage with no context, validation or control flows directly from bystanders’ cellphones out to the world.

Israel is having a hard time functioning in this new reality. As a liberal, democratic state, Israel has imposed limitations on itself as it aspires to uphold freedom of speech and human rights. It cannot prohibit photographs from being taken, nor can it prevent them from being uploaded to the Internet. Israel is in a weak position with respect to the coordination between governmental and nongovernmental bodies in its effort to deal with these issues.

Israel’s diplomatic history is rife with examples of failed political maneuvers and military blunders. More than once, we succeeded militarily, but lost the PR battle. We have a large number of professionals who are working together at a high level of professionalism, and yet we still fail again and again due to the government’s inability to construct a national network of public diplomacy that can focus on the correct strategy within the global arena.

Year after year, reports from the state comptroller and government commissions of inquiry have called for the establishment of such a system. This third intifada has caught us unprepared as dozens of Israel’s governmental, public and private bodies, both locally and abroad, scramble to deal with the crisis.

Even within the cabinet, the ministers are squabbling among themselves and budgets remain ridiculously low.

To win hearts and minds, the prime minister must immediately appoint one of his ministers to lead all public diplomatic affairs for the time being. He could try to do this himself, however to the best of my knowledge there are only 24 hours in a day.

Israel will gradually succeed in curbing the number of terrorist attacks and in lowering the flames of violence. But none of this can happen if we do not succeed in our battle for hearts and minds.

While we are in the midst of a crisis, it is difficult for our leaders to deal with this front, and during periods of calm, often it seems like such issues are of marginal or little importance. As a result, Israel misses the opportunity over and over again to establish an organizational plan for times of conflict, which unfortunately don’t look they are going to end any time soon.

The author is a member of Knesset from the Zionist Union and a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Translated by Hannah Hochner.


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