One of the things amazing about Israel is its free press. The free press is enshrined in Israel’s Basic Laws, which function as a constitution of sorts. The West takes for granted basic freedoms and individual rights, but Israel is the only country in the Middle East with such freedoms. Interestingly, from the days of the early settlements in the beginning of the 20th century, there was a robust circulation of numerous newspapers, at that time mostly propaganda issued by political parties, often attacking other political parties and their leaders. The only thing changed today is that there is an independent free press consisting of many news reporting services.
Israelis have little patience with political decorum. Everyone is subject to criticism, especially those who serve in the government. Even during wartime, political and military leaders are second-guessed constantly concerning strategy and effectiveness. This is especially true when war ceases. Following the Second Lebanese War in 2006, then Prime Minister Ehud Ohmert was castigated by the press and later by a commission for the conduct of that war. Yet, interestingly, Israel’s northern border with Lebanon and Hezbollah has remained quiet ever since. Now that the current war with Hamas seems to be over, all the Monday morning quarterbacks (or whatever comparable term is used for soccer) are having a field day. Yet, from my perspective I think Netanyahu and his defense minister expertly handled the crisis.
Israel lost soldiers because she was forced to invade Gaza with ground forces to destroy the tunnels. Was the government aware of the tunnels and could they have dealt with them earlier? Absolutely, but it would have meant a war at whatever point Israel took action. Was the extensive destruction of Gaza necessary? Probably. Hamas finally agreed to a ceasefire proposal that was unchanged since Egypt proposed it weeks earlier. The difference makers were the destruction of the tunnels, the killing of key Hamas operatives, the depletion of Hamas rockets, the cutting off of all financing for Hamas operations and the continuing destruction of Gaza infrastructure, sadly leading to many civilian casualties. As General William Sherman from the Civil War said, “war is hell.” There are no nice wars, and there are always civilian casualties.
The key, however, lies in the future. Israel needs to resolve the Palestinian issue. It’s a huge distraction for the country, and it leads to universal international criticism. Whoever is to blame for the lack of progress to resolve the issue doesn’t mitigate the difficult plight of the Palestinian people. Israel is called to be a light to the nations. Now is the time to shine that light and be an example of mercy and justice.
We partners met today to discuss the future. All of us agree the future looks bright. My partners felt we should create a niche for immigration law. One partner already handles immigration to Israel, and, of course, I handle immigration to the US. They also felt we should try and branch into immigration to Canada, England, Australia and maybe some of the EU nations. The big positive is that immigration is a specialized field of law, and, certainly, in Israel there are only a few lawyers that handle immigration to the US. I explained to them the game changer was the implementation of the E-2 visa.
As I’ve explained before, the E-2 visa is an investor visa based on treaties between the US and a foreign country. The E-2 visa program has been approved by both the US and Israeli governments and is simply awaiting the issuance of rules by the Israeli government. Once the rules are issued, the program will be open to Israeli investors to the US and US investors to Israel. My belief is that once the program begins we will be flooded with work, and our firm will need to expand to keep up, especially in the administrative area. Please pray for Israel’s Ministry of Interior to finalize the rules. A good Scripture to cite when praying is from Proverbs 21:1 “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.”
Until I met Chayim, the so-called dishwasher repairman, I really thought Israelis had defeated the generational curse of Jews not being able to work with their hands. The story begins when my dishwasher flashed the D07 code and stopped working. I read on the internet that D07 means the overflow pan under the dishwasher is not evacuating water. Believe it or not, the only solution is to remove the dishwasher from the cabinet and tip it to a 45 degree angle to allow the water to spill out – that’s a 21st century solution for you. So, of course, I tried it. It took me over an hour to remove the dishwasher (now after doing it multiple times, I’m thinking of going into business for myself). So, I tipped the dishwasher to its side, water spilled everywhere and I re-installed it. It worked – great – for one dishwasher cycle. Then, once again D07. Now, the internet advice was call a repairman. Whoopee!
I went to a local repair shop that I had good luck with, but the repairman didn’t go to houses, and I certainly wasn’t going to schlep the dishwasher into the shop. So, he recommended Chayim, meaning life, a clear misnomer. I called Chayim, who spoke almost no English, and explained to him about the dishwasher and the famous D07. Of course, dishwasher must be one of Hebrew’s most un-pronounceable words – mah-dee-chah-kay-leem. I couldn’t remember it if my life depended upon it. Of course, later I found out from my daughter that everyone uses the word mah-dee-ach for short. Whatever. So, he came over. He began by attempting to turn on the dishwasher, but it wouldn’t turn on. Hmmm. He asked if the electricity is working, and I said yes. He checked it. So, he started taking the thing apart. He checked the connections, and suddenly the dishwasher sprung to life, but when he closed it, it went off. So, in 21st century fashion, he began to smack the dishwasher to get it to work. I thought that’s my m.o., and I began to worry.
He then noticed the famous D07. He said he must bring the dishwasher to his shop. Okay. A day later he brought it back. It’s supposedly working. He installed the dishwasher back into the cabinets, but now it’s crooked. He left, and I reconfigured the dishwasher and the cabinet – a dangerous proposition. I finally used the dishwasher after a week of it not working, filling it with the multitude of dishes from the sink and the counter with various kinds of molds growing on them. The dishwasher completed the cycle, but at the end – the cursed D07 showed up again. I called Chayim. He was confused. He came back a day or so later. It didn’t make sense to him. He tried a few things and said he must take it back to the shop. This time he forgot the dolly to carry the dishwasher, so yours truly carried it with him into his truck. A day or so later he brought it back. After he left, I prepared to run the dishwasher when I noticed the utensil basket was missing. I looked around, and it was nowhere to be found. I called Chayim, and he said in Hebrew, of course, “ah, yes, it’s at my shop. Please come and pick it up.” By then, murder was on my mind, but I grudgingly headed to his shop because I knew it would be useless to try and say in Hebrew, “Loser, bring it here yourself.” When I got there, his shop was closed. I commiserated with a couple of delivery men who wondered where he was. I called him again – “Oh yes, I’m only 3 minutes away.” 10 minutes later he showed up; I got my utensil basket and headed home. I ran the dishwasher again. It worked fine, but after turning it off, it wouldn’t turn on again.
I called Chayim, now renamed Mavet (death), and explained it won’t turn on. This time he came over with a replacement three outlet plug, as if there’s something wrong with mine. Duh, the garbage disposal plugged into the same outlet worked fine. Of course, his brilliant maneuver didn’t change the outcome, so he took apart the dishwasher again. By now, he’s frustrated – welcome to the club. He banged the dishwasher a few more times for good measure, and concluded that the switch was faulty. He configured it so I wouldn’t have to use the switch, only the computer pad that regulates the programs and the times. He re-installed the dishwasher for probably the 6th time. He told me he would bring by a new switch in the next couple of days, and he left. Welcome to Shabbat. Later, I attempted to add some more dirty dishes to the dishwasher when I discovered it wouldn’t open. He installed it so when the door opened it hit the wood molding underneath. Well, glory to God. I haven’t used it since. I’m nervous about his new method. I’m sure I’ll get electrocuted. If you don’t receive another email update for a while, assume that’s what happened.