It isn't easy living in a country with six million nervous Jews, with another six million or so overseas always worrying about us and themselves, and a couple of million others here, mostly Arabs, most of them forbidden by their leaders to enjoy the status quo.

 
Jews have been demanding more since whoever was the first prophet, claiming to hear the voice of the Lord.
 
The latest offense to my good sense came from an overseas Jew, who another described as "probably the most respected Jewish leader in New England," writing that his dream of bringing Ethiopians to Israel was threatened by "a nightmare of racism and violence."

If such a creature wants to describe a nightmare of racism and violence, he should begin with what is closer to him in Boston, or any other large American city.

Boston's murder rate in a recent year was 8.0 per 100,000 population, while Israel's was 1.8.


Sure, the situation of Ethiopians here, as well as the other problems perceived by those always looking for them, is far from ideal.


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Paradise hasn't arrived. However, Israeli Ethiopians (or Ethiopian Israelis), as well as single mothers, the handicapped, Holocaust survivors, old people generally, and untold numbers of other claimants have received considerable attention from Israel's policymakers. Some do better than comparable populations elsewhere. Activists in behalf of all demand more. The competition is intense for the public money politicians are willing to take from us as taxes.. And Paradise is not likely to be delivered  by the most recent government chosen by an imperfect set of political arrangements.


Israeli and Diaspora Jews who worry that Israel is not providing enough to its needy in order to meet their sense of morality should take account of its economy. Israel may be one of the world's wealthiest countries, but it is not near the top of that category. Critics who hold it to the standards of public service available in the wealthier European countries should realize that a nation's economy is one of the major influences on its level of services. And Israel also has a defense burden that--in relative terms--dwarfs those of any other democracy.


Are the prospects any better for American, Western Europeans, or the people of a few other places that qualify for the label of civilized?


We must remember that politics is the essence of civilization. It provides for discussion and then voting in order to reach decisions. The votes may be of the entire public to choose a leader, a committee in the legislature to decide on the wording of legislation, or any other forum that decides things of importance.


As James Madison wrote all those years ago, the key of good government is competition. No one person should be able to decide anything of consequence alone.


It's never perfect. Often it remains with disappointed, frustrated, and even angry opponents of the outcomes..


But there is no better way.


Israel's election results provides unparalleled opportunities for cynics and comics.


The cartoonist for Yedioth Aharonoth portrayed an assembly of already named and aspiring ministers, and labeled it "Many troubles."



The only smile in the cartoon appears on the face of Minister of Justice designate Ayelet Shaked. The newspaper's commentators described her appointment as a product of the blackmail that the last party holdout was able to demand for joining the government. Ms Shaked is likely to become the world's prettiest Minister of Justice, and has already been featured in a cartoon expressing Sara Netanyahu's worry about her husband's wandering eyes.


America's politics isn't shaping up much better, except perhaps for the cartoonists, with the favorite to win one of the prized nominations an old woman married to a sex-obsessed old man . Britain just illustrated how one of its major parties could nominate a Jew, who most of the Jews in the country voted against.


Yet neither Israeli, American, nor British citizens should worry too much about losing their place near the top of the 193 member countries of the United Nations.


Meanwhile, the darling of the world's majority are so far from getting their act together as to be providing other material for cynics and comedians.


Palestinians continue with their campaign to turn back history, but are not getting far. Each day they illustrate the political principle that those who demand too much get nothing.


Some want things to go backwards to 1967. Some want 1947. All must be wary, insofar as Palestinians hadn't created themselves as a people many years before 1947. And then families now calling themselves Palestinians were living in Syria, Egypt, Arabia, or elsewhere.


The Palestinians have received another supporting announcement from the White House, expressing opposition to another Israeli decision to build more houses in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo. That was the neighborhood where a low ranking apparatchik caused a crisis by announcing an earlier decision to build when Vice President Biden was visiting.


Currently there are about 20,000 residents in Ramat Shlomo. All, or almost all are ultra-Orthodox Jews  One doubts that the Palestinians want them for their own, or that many of Ramat Shlomo residents are inclined to move for the sake of Palestine. Likewise, one can be pretty sure that few non-ultra-Orthodox Israels would welcome the prospect of Ramat Shlomo's people as their new neighbors.


Beyond Ramat Shlomo, there are about 600,000 Israelis living on what Palestinians call their own land. Or maybe all eight million of Israelis, minus the two million or so who already call themselves Palestinians.


We shouldn't forget that a great deal of political activity is the carrying out of routines. Likewise in everything else we do in life. We're all used to doing what we've been doing for a long time, and continue almost all of it without thought.


This includes criticizing Israel, and repeating the mantra of "two-state solution." For those 600,000 of us Israelis living beyond the lines defined by the 1948 armistice, the well established routines include continuing with our lives, where we are.




 

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