December 17, 2008
The deaths of 25 Russian travel agents (and the injuries of another 33) in yet another horrific crash on Israel roads is sadly something that doesn't surprise most of us anymore.
Anyone who has visited the amazing country that we proudly call our own is all too aware of the reckless driving practised by many of the countries' citizens. That the crash was caused by coach drivers racing one another on a narrow stretch of road, makes the tragedy all the more heartbreaking.
The Transport Ministry in Israel has to do something to change the situation. More people die as a result of the appalling driving than through any terrorist attack. How many more shattered families does it need for effective measures to be introduced?
I've been on the road where the accident has happened and you have too probably as it is on the way to Eilat - a very popular destination. Need I add more?
It's the sinking feeling you get when you realise that yet another crooked member of our glorious tribe has been scamming people out of billions. Bernard Madoff is accused of a $50 billion fraud, yet you know that everyone will remember him as the "thieving Jew".
Working in a Gentile school, I have to field questions from kids about "Jews and money". It really doesn't help my case when I open up the paper and see articles about Madoff. His actions are a "chillul Hashem" - a desecration of G-d's name - and all he has achieved by ripping people off is to further cement in peoples' minds the unfortunate age-old connection between Jews and money.
I would like him to come to my school, face my students and tell them, without a hint of irony that he has amassed a recent fortune by conning his fellow human beings. Then he can answer questions like "why are the Jews so rich?" and "why do they live in such big houses" from teenagers whose antisemitic world-view is not surprisingly shaped by the likes of Bernie Madoff.
Then again, he probably didn't think of that when he set up his fraudulent scheme.