THEMA AGNOSCO //
Jacob Atkins, freelance journalist. I don't tend to this blog at all (as you can probably tell) except for using it as a spot to compile my published work. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, 12 September 2016
US election: Trump campaigners confident of votes from Israel
“I feel a Trump presence in the room,” observes Hilla Benzaken, shuddering for effect. “I can feel this presence just hovering over the country. Just saying his name makes me uncomfortable, I feel like it’s the end of days or something.”
Benzaken has just been in the audience of a nonpartisan forum that listened attentively, if not always politely, to a debate between a Democrat and a Republican on the subject of who should be the 45th president of the US.
She is registered to vote in Massachusetts. But the debating room in a modern community centre, adorned with a US flag, is 8876km away — in the seaside Israeli city of Netanya.
You can read the full story, published in The Weekend Australian, here
When a large black-headed ground snake was discovered slithering about the halls of the Knesset — the Israeli parliament — on a scorching summer’s day, it elicited guffaws among the political correspondents that the reptile would feel right at home.
Capturing the non-venomous creature and releasing it back into the wild would have been a simple task had the Knesset’s newest member, Sharren Haskel, been at work, thanks to her years of experience with Wires, the NSW wildlife rescue organisation.
Ms Haskel, 31, was last month sworn in as a representative for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, fulfilling a political ambition that had flourished since return to Israel three years ago.
In the winter of 2013, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak stepped across the Egyptian border at Rafah and made a rare visit by a head of government to Hamas-ruled Gaza. Razak, whose country does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, told reporters: “We believe in the struggle of the Palestinian people. They have been suppressed and oppressed for so long.”
It was crystal clear which side he was on. Yet all that time, his country was importing more and more Israeli products — but not talking about it much, certainly not in Gaza.
Official data published by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) tells of a booming, but very discreet, trade relationship that is blossoming between the two countries, despite a hawkish prime minister in Jerusalem and Razak’s Islamist and proudly pro-Palestinian government in Kuala Lumpur.
IN the northern Iranian city of Mashhad, in the years before the Islamic Revolution, there lived a young man called Vali. He was fascinated by the foreigners passing through his remote city. Many were heading into Afghanistan, back when it had a prominent spot on the hippie backpacking route. You can read the full story here Originally published in The Weekend Australian on July 27 2013.
Satire has long held a valued place in Israel’s public discourse. With a political situation that veers between grimly serious, to hysterically daft and back to tragic, Israelis need a pressure valve. What better way to try and come to terms with the political reality than by having a good belly laugh it?
For Hebrew-speaking Israelis, there have long been comedians willing to send up the most send-uppable of public figures. The classic is the current President, Shimon Peres, who for comedians must surely be a gift that keeps on giving. Ariel Sharon’s rotund gruffness and Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu’s omnipresent smirk are also favorites. Indeed, Netanyahu implicitly acknowledged the strong following satirists have in Israel with his recent appearance alongside his "Eretz Nehederet" doppelganger.
The full story can be found here (for free if you register for or subscribe)
As thank-you letters go, it is fairly unusual. Thank you so much for your sperm. This is essentially what Kelly Osterberg and her female partner wrote to the man who donated his sperm so that they could have their baby boy, Wyatt, in February 2012.
When they donate to sperm banks, men have the option of explaining their motivation for a big decision that doesn't necessarily spring to mind on a rainy day.