Soccer Dad has started a weekly roundup of the Jewish or Israel related blogosphere called Havel Havalim , which is Hebrew for Vanity of Vanities (the opening line of the book of Koheles/Ecclesiastes). I nominated myself to do this week's edition, and given that I mainly read South African or political blogs, this exercise introduced many new blogs to me.
And so I present to you, this week's edition of Havel Havalim.
The main item of interest this week will be the JIB (Jewish and Israel Blog) awards. Israellycool has finalised the list of finalists and you can see the list of finalists by clicking here. Yours truly made it onto the list of finalists for the best new blog category. Each person will be allowed one vote and the polls will be open from Monday morning until Sunday morning.
Earlier last week there was much talk of a possible cease fire between Israel and the Palestinians and Jewlicious asked if it will include the permissibility of mortar fire. This was in response to the way Hamas used the death of a 10 year old Palestinian girl as a pretext to fire mortars at Jewish towns and villages. (MediaBackspin has more here, including an HonestReprting communique.)
Elections were held in Gaza where Hamas won 7 out of 10 councils. Freinds of Micronesia comments here.
Smooth Stone paid great attention to the rhetoric of Abu Mazen (aka Mahmoud Abbas) who promised Hamas a return to armed struggle if all fails.
At my place It's Almost Supernatural, I wrote a summary of a chapter of Ephraim Karsh's book "Fabricating Israeli History" where Karsh points out the faults of the "transfer" theories put forward by Israeli "new historian" Benny Morris.
The Head Heeb wrote an analysis about the change in the JNF's land tendering policy where JNF land tenders will now be open to all. The Head Heeb also has an interesting post discussing the breakdown of IDF soldiers killed during the intifada, figures reflecting the percentage of soldiers killed in combat units. The figures nowadays reflect the actual breakdown of Israeli society which in effect explains the ineffectiveness of the left-wing refuseniks who typicaly come from the middle and upper class secular ashkenazim - which is a group that is becoming less and less important in the IDF. Jonathon points out that the trend in these figures suggests that the IDF, which was previously left-of-center, could shift to become slighlty right-of-center.
But his death makes me think that the rest of us should occasionally reflect a bit harder about why we find it so easy to condemn the likes of Prince Harry, a silly, thoughtless boy, and so hard to condemn Philip Johnson, a brilliant, witty aesthete. Or why it was thought scandalous when an allegedly anti-Semitic Ukrainian businessman was allowed to ride on Colin Powell's plane to Kiev last week, while Johnson, who once wrote a positive review of "Mein Kampf," lectured at Harvard University. Or why the Nuremberg tribunal didn't impose the death penalty on the urbane Albert Speer, Hitler's architect, or why the Academy Awards ceremony in 2004 solemnly noted the death of Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler's filmmaker, or why Herbert von Karajan, a Nazi Party member who never apologized at all -- party membership, he once said, "advanced my career" -- continued to conduct orchestras in all the great concert halls of Europe. We may think we believe any affiliation with Nazism is wrong, but as a society, our actual definition of "collaboration" is in fact quite slippery.
Biur Chametz has an interesting post on Literature and ideology.
Finally, Secular Blasphemy links to an obviously biased article on Abu Mazen by the terrible twins Hussein Agha and Robert Malley. The authors are convinced that Abu Mazen will succesfully end terror and they comment that once done, the ball will be in Israel's court. Secular Blasphemy points out that it is only a reputed hardliner (Sharon) that will then have the credibility to convince Israelis that it will be time to make painful concessions.