It’s been a crazy few days. Rosh Hashanah is coming, and I have been going back and forth to Yaffo, appearing on i24 News four times in the past three days. This afternoon I was asked to appear again. I sent in my latest Newsweek story before I left for the studio.
After my appearance, I stopped in Shuk HaCarmel to buy a few things. At the same time, I was listening, and partially watching Trump’s speech at the United Nations. While his statements on North Korea were troubling (has he never heard of Teddy Roosevelt’s famous quote “talk softly and carry a big stick”??), and his talk about Iran is reckless, since the U.S. does not have a plan B (although I was on the air the other night with an Iran expert who believes that U.S. sanctions alone could collapse the regime- I do not buy that) what was worse, was the end of the speech and his calls to blatant Nationalism. His calls to Nationalism has brought out the worst humanity has to offer. He envisions a world opposite to the world that I had hoped my children and grandchildren would inherit from us. It, of course, got worse, when Prime Minister Netanyahu stated:”In over 30 years in my experience with the UN, I never heard a bolder or more courageous speech”. So now I can be embarrassed to be an American, and to be an Israeli at the same time.
On Sunday I participated on a panel in which one of the topics discussed was the crisis between American Jews, and Israel. While others focused on the Kotel agreement, I said the issue is deeper and relates to values. A prime example of this, is the Israeli government’s enthusiasm for Trump, at a time where most American Jews feel very differently. Today’s speech and Netanyahu’s response underscores that.
We live in a strange country at a strange time. On Friday it was officially announced that the wife of the Prime Minister Sara Netanyahu is going to be indicted for misuse of public funds. No one in the right mind believes that her husband was not aware of what was going on. All last week the news was filled with stories of different people arrested all of them confidants of the Prime Minister. (See my Newsweek story) . But tonight what is happening in the streets of Tel Aviv? About 100 people have come out for the demonstration against corruption, and 14,000 or more are taking part in a rally for animal rights and favoring vegetarianism.
Most of those attending the rally against corruption were people in their 50’s,60’s and 70’s. The speaker called for Bibi to resign and described the many corrupt things that have happened, and gave a preview of some of the things that have not been understood by the public yet.
The large rally for animal rights was filled with young people including some of the younger members of the Knesset. It was well organized and the crowd was enthusiastic. They seemed strangely hopeful that they would make a difference.
I interviewed a few of the marchers and asked them why they came out. Two young women said because they cared about animals. I asked why not go to the rally against corruption? They shrugged and said they cared about corruption, but animals are something that tugs at your heart. They said animals cannot speak for themselves. When I asked another couple why did they come out for animal rights and not for the slaughter in Syria (there were a couple of rallies at the Russian Embassy where 100 people showed up)they also shrugged and said they really care about animals.
We are at a strange place. Young people want to express themselves but seem convinced that when it comes to politics or even economics it’s impossible. Instead, they seem to be directing themselves to a nice generic cause- where they cannot fail, after all, there are more vegans and vegetarians in Tel Aviv every day.