Hanukkah,  Israel

Lighting candles from Sderot

Every year about this time, I do my bit to defy the BDS movement by ordering “Made in Israel” Hanukkah candles.

This year I noted something different on the package. The manufacturer of the candles has moved from Tel Aviv to Sderot.



While I hope the employees in Tel Aviv were offered a chance to keep their jobs by moving to Sderot, I do feel good that I’m helping, in some small way, the economic development of the small town in southern Israel has been the prime target of rocket attacks from Gaza. Locating in Sderot, of all possible places, seems like an act of defiance against Hamas and other enemies of Israel who believe they can terrorize the population of that town into giving up and moving away.

Kol Ha’kvod. (Of course, as a socialistic type, I hope they provide their employees with decent wages and working conditions.)

And speaking of Hanukkah…

President Obama wisely invited Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin to meet with him in Washington and to participate in the annual menorah lighting at the White House.

You can see that Obama enjoys Rivlin’s company a lot more than that of Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Rivlin is a Likudnik who opposes a separate Palestinian state. He is also an outspoken defender of equal rights and decent treatment of Israel’s Arab population. He recognizes the dangers to Israeli democracy posed by Jewish intolerance of Arabs as well as Arab intolerance of Jews.

Although the Israeli presidency is largely ceremonial, Rivlin’s voice is an important one in defense of democracy and tolerance.

Meanwhile, despite denunciations of Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim positions from all points of the Israeli political spectrum, Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with Trump when he visits Israel later this month.

I hope Bibi has second thoughts about the damage that a meeting with the poisonous demagogue Trump would do to the perception of Israel in the world, including the US. Trump claims to be pro-Israel, and no doubt he is in some ways, but when he spoke to the Republican Jewish Coalition, he indulged in tired stereotypes of Jews as sharp business practitioners who use their wealth to influence policy.

Update: This just in: