Sunday, October 29, 2006


Oh, me! Oh, my! I am soooo busted.

My darkest secrets are now known in the holy city Tzfat.

One of the city's keenest sleuths discovered (on Google) that I am an Anarchist and who knows what else.

See: for the who knows what else.

I do hope they are discreet and don't let the other 5 E9 people on the planet who don't have access to internet know about this.

I'm a marked woman. I'm the Hester Prynne of Tzfat. I have been branded with a huge scarlet A inside a huge black O. Oh, no!

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat (Safed), Israel

Response to

"אנחנו עדיין ממתינים להסברים על התנהלות העירייה במהלך המלחמה"

מיום 27.10.06, גליון 771 (1007).

When I saw a post on the English-speakers' Tzfat Yahoo! group that said that if Dr. Stern were to run for Mayor the poster would vote for him; I did not take the statement any more seriously than the offhanded comment of one person.

Having read the above-mentioned article; I see that Dr. Stern's group, תנועת המחאה נגד העירייה is claiming that they have had a number of people turn to them with the suggestion that they form a political party "שתנסה להשפיע בעיר
למען הצדק".

While they do not claim that they intend to do so in the immediate future, they do state that: "אך לא מן הנמנע כי הם יצטרכו לעשות זאת בעתיד".

That they will have to form a political party???

My first thought when I read this was (I will paraphrase and clean up the original version of the expression): Forming a political party to for the sake of increasing justice is like being promiscuous for the sake of increasing virginity.

Are they really so naïve?

Do they really believe that they can take part in the government and come out smelling like roses?

How is it that the corrupt politicians that we see at every level of the government got to be that way? They became politicians, that's how! Most young people who go into politics start out with altruistic intentions. They are also filled with the delusions of grandeur that accompany youth and they honestly think they can change the fabric of society. Something terrible happens to them once they are in the system. They either play according to the rules of the game, thus becoming corrupt, or they leave politics after a very short term in office, battered, bruised and disillusioned.

Dr. Stern is not a young man. He is a physician. He is familiar with the politics of the medical profession and the Ministry of Health. I am amazed that he would consider something so foolhardy.

There are two possible outcomes that I can foresee.

1) He and his party will get a mandate or two and sit helplessly in the opposition accomplishing nothing.
2) A miracle will occur and the honor of being Mayor of the august City of Tzfat will be bestowed upon him.

It is general knowledge that it is not the politicians in office that weild most of the power, but the jobniks who have been sitting in their offices for years and years.

On the Municipal l level he will be forced to tow the line of the Municipality as laid down by the old time jobniks – the people that no Mayor would dare fire.

Outside of the Municipality he will have to make the ugly deals like the one that brought about the crisis with Mamlakhti Aleph and Mamlakhti Gimmel.

As the Mayor of Tzfat, he will likewise have to play "scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" on the national level with the seasoned politicians in the Knesset and the high-ups in the Ministries if he would hope to see one single grush for this city.

He cannot hope to retain his integrity if he goes into politics. No one ever did. The best way to divest oneself of every last trace of honesty and character is to become a politician.

There is no such thing as a political party for the sake of justice. Government and justice are contradictions in terms. That is necessarily so. Just people do not wish to govern others. They wish for people to learn to govern themselves. They wish to increase independence and societal maturity. They advise people to wean themselves from the childish addiction and magical thinking of believing that the government will save them.

Could anything be more ridiculous than reporting the corruption of a city official to a state official? Once again cleaning up and paraphrasing an old expression: You don't scare a prostitute with a sexual organ. That is what this organization did. They sent copies of the reports they received from residents of Tzfat to Ehud Olmert even as protestors held daily and nightly vigil calling for the resignation of the national government.

They also sent copies of the reports to מבקר המדינה. Even the best of the מבקרי המדינה can do nothing more than produce an annual report. Typically no action is taken whatsoever on those reports. Looking at the internet site of the Office of the מבקר המדינה, we see so many reports, each containing so many reports of neglect, foul-ups and outright illegitimacy that it would be impossible for each matter to be treated, even if the good will to right the wrongs was present, which it is not. The current מבקר המדינה is not known for being among the best that ever occupied the position. If the most effective מבקרי המדינהeffected virtually nothing, we would not be well-advised to place our hopes in him.

חברי, משיח לא בא. משיח גם לא מטלפן – לפחות לא מן אף כנסת או עירייה.

שלמה דברת is right to tend to the matter of getting "תשובות לאירועים רבים חריגים שצצו בזמן המלחמה". In my opinion, getting involved in politics will restrict their ability to inform the public about what happened rather than enhance it.

The article also states that until recently מר דברת, was theמנהל הפרויקטים של שקום שכונות בעיר. I take note that there is no definite article before the word שכונות. Perhaps the עיריה never intended to rehabilitate all of the neighborhoods that need it, but only some hand-selected שכונות. I never so much as heard of מר דברת until I read this article, despite the fact that I live in שכונת עופר, the most problematic neighborhood in Tzfat and the one in the direst need of rehabilitation on so very many levels. There is no evidence of any rehabilitation of שכונת עופר. This being the case, מר דברת will forgive me if I am not entirely convinced that צדק is uppermost in his mind when he considers his political future.

Here's a challenge for you שלמה: Prove me wrong. Do something real, meaningful and lasting for שכונת עופר. Even though you are no longer the מנהל of הפרויקטים של שקופ שכונות בעיר I am sure that your word still carries weight in the department and a recommendation to take שכונת עופר under their wing coming from you will be taken seriously. I will cooperate with you in any way that I can that does not compromise my integrity.

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan

Translated by Daniel Dotan

Thursday, October 12, 2006

When I consider the various schools of Judaism, such as they are nowadays; I feel like Goldilocks. One is too hard, a second too soft, yet a third too middling – and all entirely too Procrustean.