Jerusalem Magazine
July 23, 2006  The 12th day of war.
Over 2,200 missiles have reportedly landed in Israel since this war began, over half of them striking into the cities. A man was killed today driving in his car in Haifa.
Our family in the Golan took to the bomb shelters today. My brother-in-law Danny was called out of the fields, where he was supervising a crew picking pears. Reportedly, Hezbollah is using GPS, maps bought from Israeli traitors, and on-site intelligence, to target Israeli army bases on the Golan.  It is also thought that Hezbollah is bombing the Golan in an effort to draw Israeli response against Syria, who claim the Golan as theirs, and thus open up another front in the war, raising the stakes even higher.
The Lebanese report that over 350 people have been killed so far in the fighting. That’s a terrible and senseless loss of life. But how can those loses be avoided without Israel sitting back and doing nothing while the Katyusha’s land on Israeli towns and cities?
Israel has agreed to a NATO force, like that which disarmed the fighters in Kosovo. That’s probably the best answer.
Meanwhile my wife’s mother Leah has finally realized she’s not going back to Haifa  today or tomorrow, or probably not even for the next week. Her granddaughter Rina and new husband Amos have joined us at home, displaced from their newlywed apartment in Kibbutz HaGoshren, near Kyriat Shomona. We were all together for a nice quiet Shabat.
Today Amos went around looking for work in Jerusalem, to no avail. I made phone calls to various friends and contacts at the Jewish Agency, and the UJA of NYC, LA, and Canada, as well as the JDC.  The Jewish Agency set up programs for children in bomb shelters, day camps for kids fleeing the north in the center of the country, even a tent city near Ashkelon, (not smart given the Hamas kassams from Gaza)  but nothing has been done for to provide employment for the residents fleeing the shooting in the north.
Amos is a masseuse, runs a spa in the Sports Center in Kyriat Shmona, which closed down for the duration. They are now thinking of going back north and working in a fruit packing plant to make some money.But Danny’s wife Alisa called when she came out of the bomb shelter to tell her daughter to stay in Jerusalem, so far a bubble of peace and quiet in a noisy region. Perhaps when the war is over they’ll receive government compensation for loss of income, or tax credits. Meanwhile they’re worried about paying the rent in the apartment they can’t safely live in.
A CNN report of the bombed out Hezbollah neighborhood included footage of the Hezbollah good deeds. These guys played a brilliant game of Patronage right out of the playbook of Chicago’s legendary mayor Richard J. Daley. Southern Lebanon is poor, the Shiites there discriminated against, the population uneducated. Nasrallah grew up poor and went to Iran to study with the father of Moquata Al Sadr. The elder Al Sadr was a disciple of Khoumeni, the radical Moslem cleric who led the revolution in Iran. The same Khoumeni who preached a world-wide Islamic revolution we’re facing today.
Hezbollah opened up soup kitchens, schools, medical clinics, won the hearts and minds of the Shiites in Lebanon, a country made up of Suni Moslems, Druze, and Maronite Christians, all hostile to Shiites. Hezbollah made such a hit with the Shiites that when Nasrallah finally ran for parliament he won a few seats, and I think got a cabinet post. So Nasrallah became part of the Lebanese government. Probably with money to toss around.
But we all know by now that Lebanon is run by corrupt self-interested and usually greedy warlords, either local or from Syria and Iran. The Maronite Christians controlled the ports and did a big business in stolen car parts. Along with the Christians, the Suni and Druze had a handle on the cultivation, harvesting and sale of  Hash-Hish and opium. In fact, during the 1975 Civil War, precipitated by the PLO’s occupation of S. Lebanon, fighting actually stopped during the drug harvest.
Syria is part of this game. Tons of documentation proves that Syria ran a huge counterfeiting ring In the Beka Valley producing bogus $100 bills. Eventually the US mint had to start printing different bills. Syria also controls a large part of the drug trade. When I say Syria, I don’t mean that the government pays for the stuff and gets money back in taxes. According to most reports leaders of the Syrian government are partners in the illicit trade, and pay kickbacks to their cronies to allow it all to continue. If Democracy really comes to Lebanon these guys stand to take a big hit on their Swiss bank accounts. So do many of the other warlords. That’s why no one is in a hurry for Western Style Democracy.
In certain ways, I think Hezbollah may be doing them all a favor, keeping the old game of drugs, thievery, and corruption going.  
But Democracy has its problems. Khoumeni came into a country where the Peacock Throne of the Shah was so opulent that the poor folks in the small villages yearned for just one diamond on the glittering throne. All they got were slaps by the vicious Savak secret police and fiery sermons from the Imam Khoumeni, exiled in Paris, via radio, then secret audio tapes, promising a better tomorrow. In those days Khoumeni was touted as a ‘moderate.’ He promised he’d bring peace and prosperity to Iran. When he took over. Khoumani kicked out the Shah, had 10,000 people killed,  nationalized the oil, and imposed a lot of rules that many Iranians would like to dump, but that’s another matter.
Hezbollah got its followers the same way. These poor schnooks in the South of Lebanon got nothing from the big boys in Beirut, or anywhere else in the world. Only Nasralla wound up getting them a piece of the pie, a lot of it donated from Iran.. He also got them back  some self respect. When Israel voluntarily withdrew from S. Lebanon, leaving the Christians who supported Israel to their own druthers, he was a national hero. (By the way, I ran across one Southern Lebanese Christian, a former soldier in the Southern Lebanese Army, when I was in Buenos Aires. He was a 36-year old bellboy. He said he’d fled Lebanon, after the Israelis left, with his family to save his life. The Hezbollah would have killed him, he said.)
The answer to the problems of Lebanon and other places may lay in Athens. Athen? Sure, the birthplace of Democracy a couple of thousand years ago. Ideas, they said, were more important than the Divine Right of Kings. Equality more important than God-Given right to rule. But is the democracy we practice and preach the same as the original idea? Did the Athenians dream of a 52” wide screen High Definition TV as the goal of Democracy? Do the Lebanese leaders of today really care about the poor in the South of the country? Do they care about equality? Do we?
Ah, but Hezbollah does. The Shiite woman in S. Beirut’s Hezbollah strong hold told a CNN reporter that Nasrallah would rebuild everything. He promised he would and he keeps his world. Don’t you worry.
And if he gets killed, who will care for these people? The Lebanese Government? The USA? Israel? What did we learn from the ghetto riots in the 60’s? Everyone wants their piece of the pie. That’s it. Simple. Hezbollah gives it to them, gets support, and seats in Parliament. Take out Hezbollah, someone better have a plan to replace their “humanitarian aid” with soup kitchens and medical care, and “liberal” education for the poor, and renovations that come without religious or political strings attached. Hezbollah even has trucks that go through neighborhoods fixing windows for free. How ‘bout that?
Patronage worked in Chicago. It works in Lebanon.
If we want to insure that the nations of the world are different from Cuba, which fell under a corrupt USA supported regime to Iran, which fell under a corrupt USA supported regime, don’t fall into the hands of maniacs like Nasrallah, Khoumeni or those moderates of the world the Saudi Wahabis, who brought you the Twin Towers Massacre, then we better get our act together and start sharing the wealth, somehow. Beat Hezbollahites at their own game.
Oh, sure, we tried it in Vietnam, but what happened. We gave the money to corrupt South Vietnamese. We tried it in Iraq, in the oil for food program, and if I’m not mistaken Kofi Annan’s son was involved in some multi million dollar kickbacks.
Tricky stuff, this winning hearts and minds. But if we don’t practice Democracy the way we preach it, we’re gonna either wind up praying five times a day to Mecca or saying hello to a nuclear firestorm.
Meanwhile, friends in my neighborhood have called us announcing their sons’ call-up to their units, heading North, Ultimately they’ll fight in Lebanon, again. Five Israeli soldiers were killed last week trying to capture a tunnel network. And that’s just the first village the Israeli troops came across, but it was the one from which the original “bait” was tossed, when Hezbollah sent a raiding party into Israel and drew in the Israeli  patrol, ambushing the patrol, then the rescue patrol, killing two boys, and kidnapping two others.
Hopefully, the Israeli soldiers will be able to drive the Hezbollah fighters back out of range of the border before the Peace keeping forces are imposed. Hopefully.
July 23, 2006, War in Israel Day 12