Thursday, January 25, 2007

Interview with Batya

Batya lives in Israel and writes an excellent blog Shilloh Musings. Her wit wisdom and passion eminate from her post. Unlike our domestic interviews, I take a different approach. My goal is to give you something you don't know. There are many excellent blogs that focus on Israel such as Shiloh Musings and of course Pam of Atlas. The focus of this interview will try to remain on every day life. By now if we aren't aware of the issues you haven't been reading the right blogs.

1 You recently returned from a trip to Kever Rachel or Rachel's tomb? Did you have to arrive on a special bus. Does one have to make reservations or can anyone just get on board the bus.

2 Have you been to the Cave of the Patriarchs. Is this a much larger site than Kever Rachel that seemed somewhat cramped from your pictures.

3 In the American Political Stystem we have two major parties Brand A and Brand B and a series of oddball parties. In Israel you have a coalition system so minor parties can have some influence through coalitions. Most of us are familiar with Labor, Likud and the religious party can you describe some of the smaller parties
that are less familiar to Americans?

4 This may sound odd but I haven't been able to discern exactly what the Kadima Party stands for. I understand Sharon founded it, but I am seriously at a loss to pinpoint what their philosophy is?

5 Americans are very familiar with the kibutz. However, many have never heard of the term Moshav? What are Moshavs and are they still around.

6 What American TV programs can you watch on TV? Are there any that stand out?

7 In America we have a phenomena of talk radio. This describes a type of radio show where the format is mostly political. The host takes calls from the public on the hot topics of the day. The debate can get fairly heated. Does this type of radio show exist in Israel?

8 In America post highschool education is paid for by the student or his family. Does the state pay for higher education?

9 Isreal does have socialized medicine. Do you wait in long lines to see the doctor?
Do you pay for pescription drugs or is this included in the plan?

10 How does the Israeli government raise funds? Do Israelis pay an income tax or sales taxes? Are taxes a major political Issue?

11 Israel like America also has immigrants, are there major problems with immigrants
failig to learn Hebrew. In the United states there are enclaves where English is seldom spoken.

12 Israel has mandatory military service. There are exemptions for some very religious types. Is there an exemption for childern in single parent families? Is there a type of psychiatric disqualification for the mentally unstable.

13 In Israel a new driver must take a twenty hour class. Is this all classroom time or does this include time on the road with instructors?

14 What is the red sauce that Israelis put on their falafel? I rarely see this red sauce even in NYC?

15 How far is the Dome of the Rock from the Wall? I am told the wall is much smaller in person than it appears in pictures.

16 Is the environmental movement in Israel a major political force.

17 Are there any tourist attractions that you think people over look, because there
are so many sites to see,

18 Many Americans do not have a firm grasp of the Druze and the Bhai. Can you describe them for those of us who are unfamiliar with those terms. Do the B'hai serve in the military?

19 If I were visiting your community what types of resturants would I find?

20 Are American films in Israel shown with hebrew subtitles or is the dialouge dubbed
into Hebrew?

21 I sometimes am frustrated by Americans who think they are all experts in Israeli politics. Is there a mind your business type of attitude amongst some Israelis. I remember telling of some Europeans in NYC who were lecturing me about George Bush?
Do Israelis experience similar reactions to mine when foreigners lecture them about
their own internal politics?

22 Do you feel the world holds Israel to lofty standards while holding the adjacent states to none?

23 What are Mizrahi Jews? I am familiar with Askenazim and Sephardic types. Is this a new term used to describe Jews from Arab lands? Is it used in Israel itself?

24 In NYC there is some disdain from the more secular types towards the religious. Does a similar situation exist in Israel?

25 Are there still some minor tensions between Sephard and Ashkenazim? Are intermariages between the groups common?


Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

Kadima! (let's go!) laMiklatim! (to the bomb shelters!)

That's what they stand for.

nanc said...

excellent questions. i anxiously await the answers.

The Merry Widow said...

Batya, Batya,Batya!
I'm looking forward to this one!
Beaker-You do terrific interviews!


VerityINK said...

You're interviewing Batya! Our Batya from FPM? Good deal!

beakerkin said...

No this is the Batya from Shiloh Musings. The other Batya is very imressed with Shiloh Musings.

Batya said...

Oh, my. I didn't know there'd be so many people waiting. Before I start, I'd like to say that I have another blog, and you're all invited to visit them both.

I didn't expect so many questions. I'll do my best to answer in one go, but I may take a break and do it in batches. Please don't get angry!

I generally go to Kever Rachel in a bus hired monthly by Shiloh women, but there is public transportation, and anyone can go.
they only allow bullet-proof buses.

2. Cave of the Patriarchs is much larger, and it's not walled in.

3. There are a number of left-wing parties, all pretty much the same as far as I'm concerned. On the right, there's just the National Union, which got seriously diluted when it joined forces with the National Religious Party. No other right wing party passed the minimum percentage to be elected. There's also Yisrael Beitenu, but since they joined the coalition, I don't consider them on my side.

4. Kadima does not have a political ideology. Tzachi Hanegbi, a senior member, called it a supermarket. The politicians all have strong selfish egos, and they'd "stab anyone in the back to get ahead."

5. Moshavim are still around. The question is; are kibbutzim? Moshavim are similar to classic kibbutzim but with more private ownership. Today most kibbutzim are really like moshavim, and moshavim are like yishuvim, small towns with communal features.

6. In my house, there's the news and CSI and Law & Order. That's it. I also buy movies on DVD.

7. Radio talk shows are also popular in Israel. One of the reasons the government closed down Arutz 7's public radio was its popularity. Bus drivers played it.

8. Israeli universities aren't as expensive as the states, since they are rarely private. There are a few private colleges which take more money and lower grades.

9. quasi-socialized medicine
There are a number of different "sick funds" and different deals besides the basic, which is covered by National Insurance payments, which come out of our salaries. You don't need to work full-time to be covered.
There are small clinics and short lines where I am. Today most doctors take by appointments.

Most medicine is subsidized.

I'll answer the other questions after dinner!

beakerkin said...

I didn't realize the comedic posssibilities in question 4.

Batya said...

Part 2
10. We have both income tax (very high) and sales tax, which is included in the retail price.

In the higher income brackets, it's 50% plus, but the really rich people, like rich people all over the world, know how to pay less.

11. the most incompetant Hebrew-learners are the English speakers, known as "anglo-saxonim."

The Russian-speaking immigrants and others know how to learn. The Ethiopean, Amharic speaking have sociological problems, though things are improving.

12. Lots of left-wing kids get exempt, for ideological reasons. There's medical profiling which includes psychiatric deferments. A disproportionately high percentage in elite units and officers are from religious families. The non-religious and left serve less enthusiastically. (please correct spelling when needed)

13. There are "theory lesons" and car mechanic requirements besides driving lessons.

14. Hot red pepper.

15. The Western Wall is on the west side of the Herodian-enlarged Temple Mount. The Dome of the Rock was built by the Moslems on the area where the Jewish Holy Temple once stood.

The area next to the Wall is large, but I can't give you measurements off-hand.

16. Environment groups are fringe here. The country is more neuveau riche. (spelling?)

17. There are so many places to see here in Israel. One over-looked site is Shiloh, the Ancient Tel. It's set up for tourists.

18. I must admit that I don't know much about the B'hais.
What I know of the Druze was learned when my son was in the hospital and he had a Druse roommate. I spent a lot of time talking to the boy's uncle. They serve in the army, the men do that is. The women marry young. It's a religion that not many understand, since it's not taught to all of them.

19. We don't have a restaurant in Shiloh. The community isn't large enough to financially sustain one. There is a caterer, grocery store etc.

20. Subtitles are used, except for little children's movies.

21. I think most people should be careful how they voice their opinions. The worst is the "paternal" type. The real problem is that most Israelis want the approval of other nations. That's a great danger, since the world doesn't care if we, G-d forbid, would be destroyed.

22. true
Worse is that Israelis are following that absurd perverse "morality," which no other country in the world follows.

23. Mizrachi means "from the east." The term refers to two different groups, those from North Africa, and the old-time National Religious.
makes no sense

24. Yes, it's one of the factors between the "elitist" media etc and the rest of the country. Your ordinary Israeli is more traditional. And in YESHA more spiritual and religiously observant.

25. Here in Shiloh, we don't feel the differences. There are many couples from various ethnic communites, and many of our kids have married from different "eidot," communities. My daughter, who's Ashkenazi, is married to a guy whose parents are both from Tunisia.

If you want to know more about me, visit my blogs!!

Mr. Ducky said...

Rather dissapointing answer to number 22. Would you give concrete examples?

Mr. Ducky said...

Recently western governments met to pledge several billion to Lebanese reconstruction after Israel caused major infrastructure damage, a major environmental catastrophe and widespread loss of life.

How much did Israel, the country most resposible for the calamity contribute and is this an indication of their "higher standard"?

beakerkin said...

Lets see how much should Lebanon pay for allowing a terrorist group to attack Israel from its soil?

Anonymous said...

Beak, Lebanon was doing great, their economy was blooming, and the new Democratic government was working, but as usual the Radical Muslims, decided to kill that, and once again here we go again with Lebanon.

There is a good argument that they should have just killed off these Hezbollah slap nuts, instead of appeasing them, here we have a good idea of what happens when you lose your nerve with terrorists, there like roaches if you don't kill them all, they will breed some more out!

This is why Iraq is so important now, because if we don't squash the terrorist in Iraq now, they will just overrun the nation a couple years down the line, there is a lesson to be learned from Lebanon, exterminate the enemy, or else they will take back over.

nanc said...

quite insightful, batya.

pardon my ignorance, by why is there a caterer and no restaurant?

batya - if the rest of the world followed what you call "this perverse reality" wouldn't we all be better off? israel has taken turning the other cheek to ultimate levels.

i am comforted only by knowing the G-d of israel will set all right in your part of the world. man cannot fix what is going on in the m.e. no matter what we may think.

“Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars.”
—Zechariah 11:1

FLORIAN said...

Ducky: Batya's answer to #22 is perfectly reasonable and in fact true. Why else do you think that Israel is public enemy #1 at the UN? Israeli troops always tend to the wounded enemies who minutes before tried to kill them--Palistinians and Hezbollah terrorists kill wounded Israelis on site--no mercy or quarter given. Israel doesn't hold it's enemies for ransom like the Muslim vermin do. In any case, nothing short of national mass-suicide by Israeli's would be enough to satisfy the UN and the corrupt international community. Which is why I commend them for defending themselves.

FLORIAN said...

Great interview Batya! I'm impressed with the wealth of knowledge and experience you have. It's too bad (and a crying shame) that Israel has socialized medicine. That's a crime against humanity. If Shrillary or Barack Osama Hussein Obama gets elected here by mob rule in 2008 we'll be headed for the same treacherous road.

Z said...

Ducky, will you NEVER get it? Why do you continue to put your head in the damned sand? OH, sure, Israel's to blame for ruining the infrastructure of a country many of whose more violent inhabitants want Israel wiped off the map and continue to lob missiles over at any chance they get. Gee, I guess they must miss Israel's infrastructure, right? They go out of their way to miss it? How big of them.

Sometimes I have to laugh at people who're so unwilling to see the truth.......I count you in that number. Always have.

Trouble is, you and your ilk will say the same about Iran when things really heat up. Ahmedinejad is saying now that he wants OUR and Israel's extermination and you're probably wondering what we did to make him feel like that..... suggesting it's our fault. I'd still be smiling at your thinking if I didn't know there are so many like you and some of them are even in our senate........nowadays I'm laughing less because your naivite is so dangerous.

Sometimes, war is the right thing to do. Israel had every right to what they did to Lebanon. Hopefully, we can avoid doing the same or far worse in Iran...before they do it to us, so happily and with the seeming consent of America's Left.

Batya said...


OK, Israel's "socialized medicine" isn't a government body. It's not really "socialized medicine." There are various "health funds," called "sick funds," and people choose which to join, and the National Insurance payment goes to the fund of one's choice.

The perverse morality, which I've written about a lot, endangers our soldiers. Many have died, since army actions are planned to protect terrorists. That's how my neighbor, Avihu Keinan, was killed.

Hizbollah dominates southern Lebanon and they attacked Israel first. Why haven't the European "do-gooders" contributed to the rebuilding of the Israeli North? or the Israeli south from the Arab agression there?

The Merry Widow said...

Morning, Batya. Thanks for answering the questions, it gave some necessary "on the ground" facts that are often missing from the lamestreammedia!
Another sad truth is that when those who walk in darkness are in charge, they will try and drag everyone else down with them, they are suicidal! The thing is, not everybody else is!


FLORIAN said...

Batya: I'm just not for having socialized medicine--having young "Billy" paying for old "Ronny's" healthcare. God Bless you Batya. I pray for Israel and Israeli's all the time.

kuhnkat said...


if the majority of the fighters are RELIGIOUS, it makes it easy for me to understand why the LEFTARDS persist in their IMMORALITY. After all, they are just getting those religious animals who cause all the trouble killed.

Little Che Duckshit should be behind them instead of trying to get them wiped!!


Batya said...

Your comments are just wonderful.
As I said Israel's health system isn't really socialized; it's affordable. Of course it's not so simple, since not every medication is subsidized, and certain treatments need special permits, etc.

The army includes a wide range, but not as high percentrage from the fringes, extreme Left and Chareidi religious.

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