Friday, November 13, 2009

The Reverse Mifgash/Weekly News Roundup, November 7 - 13, 2009

The Reverse Mifgash: Apologies for not writing a Weekly News Roundup last week. I was very busy participating in the Reverse Mifgash, and was unable to bone up on my Israel news-reading in time. What's a Reverse Mifgash, you ask? Well, in Hebrew, Mifgash means 'encounter,' as in an encounter between Israelis and Americans, only, unlike a traditional Birthright trip, this Mifgash takes place on American turf. It's a reverse Birthright, if you will. A lot of planning, money-raising and coordination went into this 10 day, free trip for the eight Israelis, and it really turned out quite well. While they were here, the Israelis took in our fair city quite a bit, including: volunteering at the DC JCC, a tour of the Washington Post, the US Holocaust Museum, a comedy show by Benji Lovitt (of What War Zone), Shabbat services and dinner at the DC JCC, and plenty of nights out for alcohol consumption. I participated in much of it, including a Phone-a-Thon to raise money for future Birthright trips, and had a great time, as did the Israelis. On to the news...

The Abbas Bluff: Let me get this straight, Mahmoud Abbas is threatening to quit as president of the PA, and willing to give up the figurehead power and millions of dollars in western aid money that comes with the job? Please. He's about as likely to quit as I am to be offered the job after he leaves. But Abbas threatened to quit anyway, due to the lack of progress in the 'peace process.' Then again, we have heard this before, and the old man still collects a check. I'm not biting.

Israel gets a Brazilian...Trade Deal: Shimon Peres went to Brazil earlier this week to sign a free trade deal with the largest South American country. The Brazilian government also signed a deal to buy $350 million worth of Israeli unmanned drone aircraft. On the other end of Israeli/Brazilian relations, around 40 pro-Palestinian Brazilian protestors waved banners that read 'Shimon Hitler' in honor of President Peres's visit. Nice.

Tel Aviv Bans Horse-Drawn Carriages: This week, the bustling metropolis that is Tel Aviv finally banned the use of horse-drawn carriages within the city limits. As of now, Tel Aviv is the first city in Israel to institute this ban. Perhaps the rest of the country will follow suit, but Israel's sizable Amish population is unlikely to stand by idly while its only mode of transport is outlawed. Ahh, Amish jokes.

Have a good weekend, folks.

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