Wednesday, April 26, 2006

More followups

As long as I'm following up on old postings...

1. Roadkill myths
Final numbers for 2005 (see the official statistics - PDF) indicate that road fatalities fell significantly in Israel (448, down from 480 in 2004), to the lowest absolute level in the last 14 years. Taking into account the continued population growth, the fatality rate per capita fell to its lowest level ever, at 6.5 per 100,000. Fatalities per distance driven, the most meaningful way to assess road safety, fell below 11 per billion kilometers for the first time (previous low: 11.6 in 2003).

My series on road accidents in Israel can be found here: I, II, III

2. Women and Torah reading
As noted earlier by Shira (Leibowitz) Schmidt, the respected Prof. Eliav Shochetman has published a rebuttal of those who claim that halacha allows women to be given aliyot (Sinai journal, vol. 135-136, 5755/2005). It has also been published separately as a 78-page pamphlet.

I haven't seen the article, but a summary can be found (in Hebrew) by columnist Shaul Schiff of the religious newspaper Hatzofeh.

My series on women reading the Torah can be found here: 0, I, II, III, IV, V, VI

I hate to say I told you so...

1. Biur Chametz, Wednesday, September 28, 2005:
But it's hopelessly naive to think that Israel has the power to unilaterally determine its permanent border. A border by definition has (at least) two sides. So long as the Arabs refuse to accept our self-declared border, it will remain up for grabs.

Take the Golan Heights, for example. Or eastern Jerusalem. No country recognizes Israel's sovereignty over them, despite decades of formal annexation to Israel. And no country will until our enemies do. Until such time, they're on the negotiating table, whether we like it or not.

Unilateral withdrawals, aside from destroying Israel's military deterrence and undermining those among the Arabs who support a negotiated agreement, simply cannot achieve the objective of finalizing Israel's borders. The Arabs do not recognize the Israel-Gaza boundary as an international border, and, following them, neither does the United Nations or any individual nation.

2. Haaretz, Wednesday, April 26, 2006:
Sources: U.S. won't view pullout line as final Israel-PA border
By Shmuel Rosner, Haaretz Correspondent

WASHINGTON - The United States will not recognize a border created after a unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank as Israel's permanent frontier, senior U.S. administration members said in unofficial conversations.


However, a number of sources said unofficially that they believed the administration would probably support such a withdrawal, but would not recognize it as one "after which there would be no more need for negotiation," according to one source.

One official said he believed the U.S. would agree to see the post-withdrawal line as a temporary border, "which would become permanent, obviously with slight changes, following future negotiations between Israel and the PA."


If the Israeli withdrawal receives the blessing of the international community, "it will be assuming that any reduction of the occupation is good for both sides, but it certainly won't be support for a new border," a source in Washington said.

Any reasonable interpretation of international law, a legal expert said Tuesday, "cannot allow recognition of a border that was determined unilaterally."

Indeed. A "unilateral border" is an oxymoron. "Following future negotiations between Israel and the PA" means the Arabs have a veto over any international recognition. Israel simply will not have "permanent borders" until our enemies agree to them. And there's no prospect of that happening without a major geopolitical upheaval.

If Olmert thinks we have a compelling national interest in destroying more Jewish communities, let him make that case. But don't try to sell us fantasies about "setting Israel's permanent borders".

Monday, April 17, 2006

That A-Z meme

Tagged by Soccer Dad, who brings me out of hibernation now that all my chametz has been biured.

Accent? What accent? Everyone else has an accent!

Okay, call it an Average American, national news anchor accent. Mild enough that Brits have thought I was Canadian (yuck!).

Mostly wine: dry red, semi-dry white. Don't drink beer - never tried it. An occasional whiskey, though I'm not sure what the big deal is. Fruity liqueurs are nice.

Chore I Hate:
All of them. Mostly, though, cleaning the house. It never ends!

I can stand them when others take care of them. Won't pet them myself.

Essential Electronics:
The Internet. All of it. What did I ever do without it?

Favorite Perfume/Cologne:
They're all the same to me.

Gold & Silver:
Waste of money. Wife disagrees.

See Siblings.

Depends on my bladder.

Job Title:
Software Engineer. Maybe even "Senior" Software Engineer, for what that's worth.

One. Not including me and my wife.

Living Arrangements:
Apartment with unaffordable mortgage.

Most Admired Trait:
Ability to explain complex things clearly. And simple things obscurely.

Number of Sexual Partners:
I thought it usually involved two?

Overnight Hospital Stays:
None, thank God.

Opening bills and bank statements.

Kermit: Bear left.
Fozzie: Right, frog!

Jewish, Orthodox (Modern).

See Zodiac Sign.

Time I Usually Wake Up:
The word "usually" doesn't make sense in that context.

Unusual Talent:
Playing The William Tell Overture by tapping a ballpoint pen against my front teeth.

Vegetable I Refuse To Eat:

Worst Habit:
All of them.

Now and then. I like to see what's going on in there.

Yummy Foods I Make:

Zodiac Sign:
See Hometown.

I tag: Jack the Shack ("Jack not name - Jack job!"), Am Echad (the blogger, not the defunct political party), Trilcat (just married, and currently at a juggling convention?).