Monday, June 13, 2011

From Safed to Rome and Obama can wait

Beautiful is the city of Safed, a city of picturesque winding alleys at the top of a mountain in Galilee, an ancient city with a history of wars as well as spiritual events. Nowadays, the name of Safed became known in particular due to the famous Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, who from his Safed seat is publishing ever new rabbinical rulings and manifestos strictly forbidding the rent of apartments to Arabs. Young adherents of Rabbi Eliyahu wander the picturesque alleys of Safed, holding petrol cans, ready to set on fire the cars of those who dare to defy the rabbi's ruling.

Two weeks ago Rabbi Eliyahu traveled to Jerusalem on Jerusalem Day, so as to meet Prime Minister Netanyahu and applaud him for his promise to build ever more housing for Jews-only all around Holy Jerusalem. And the Prime Minister quickly organized a return visit to Safed. Not only did Mr. Netanyahu come personally to Rabbi Eliyahu's hometown, but he brought with him all his cabinet ministers with their spouses and partners and the government-loyal Members of the Knesset. And while strolling leisurly through the alleyways of Safed, the Foreign Minister fondly recalled a nice experience associated with Safed. Many years ago, when he was still General Manager of the Likud Party, Avigdor Lieberman had been able to establish the Likud branch in Safed in precisely the same house where Mahmud Abbas was born and grew up, and which, hahaha, the Palestinian Authority President had not seen since he was a young boy. A journalist present described the jolly good spirit.

And suddenly, a weird message from Washington. "President Obama is waiting for Israel's response to his proposal to resume peace talks with the Palestinians on the basis of the '67 borders, with the possibility of swaps of territory. The Palestinians have already agreed, and now the ball is in Netanyahu's court". Come on, who wants to talk with the Palestinians? We have far better talking partners! Directly from Safed, the PM with nine of his ministers set off to another ancient city, Rome, there to meet with good old friend Berlusconi. "We have no better friend than the Italian Prime Minister" declared Netanyahu. (What Italians think about Berlusconi is another subject...)