Everyone living in Israel gets the chance to show guests around their lovely country and spout off little tidbits of history that make them seem like experts. And tourists coming to Israel hope to be guided around by someone with a little knowledge of history. Tel Aviv University just made that a whole lot easier by offering online history courses – for free! Yes, you heard that right. No fees and no strings attached. So for anyone who’s been harboring a desire to know more about Israel’s history, now is the time to sharpen your pencils, plug in your computers and learn. TAU is partnering with Coursera, which is an online educational company working with top universities around the world to empower people with free education.
It certainly looks like while I’ve been away visiting my parents, grandparents, and friends in Chicago, your typical, run-o-the-yard Mil’ East tyrant unleashed a chemical attack on those pesky rebels that just keep on coming back no matter how many virgins up above Hezbollah has amassed under its TNT-packed belt. What I’m actually trying to say is that it’s time, oh yes, it’s time…for yet another Havel Havelim Blog Carnival and this one isn’t to be missed!
This past April 15th, when my parents were visiting in Israel, my father and I had a unique opportunity to attend a Yom Ha’atzmaut picnic organized by a group of former refusniks (Jews who spent many years trying to leave the Soviet Union). We were invited because my father had studied Hebrew under the tutelage of Arye Volvovsky (of Efrat) who ended up spending three years in a Soviet prison for his “anti-government” activities.
When it comes to morality, Israel has been accused of the worst crimes one can imagine in its 35+ year old conflict against the “Palestinian people,” an entity unknown prior to around 1976, when arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat rose amongst the ranks of his Egyptian classmates, and, along with a bunch of individuals who on both a physical and mental level can be compared best to Freddy Crugar/The Three Stooges, founded the PLO, an organization with the stated claim of “liberating Palestine.”
Displayed on the wall on the right are Moroccan brass Chanukah oil lamps, replicas of those made in the 18 th and 19th centuries; modern brass Chanukiot; and many different kinds of hamsas, the five-fingered amulet used decoratively and in jewelry, said to ward off “the evil eye.”
As US-Russia relations have hit a post-Cold War low, Israelis are left wondering if Russia would be a better, more stable ally for Israel than the U.S. has been. This isn’t an altogether hypothetical question: the USSR started out supporting Israel and turned towards the Arabs after the Six Day War when it became clear Israel wasn’t about to become another puppet Communist regime.
I woke up today with that sinking feeling: I remembered that day when I was living in Skokie and attending junior high school. Those were some of the happiest days…