Marian Lebor's blog

A positive story to celebrate 17 years of living in Israel

By Marian Lebor, August 3, 2011

Today is exactly 17 years since I came on aliya with my family. While I do sometimes despair at the various goings-on here, I have never regretted making the move.

I've documented many aspects of Israeli life in columns that I wrote for the JC and Jewish News. More recently, I've been making films about Israel with my colleague and fellow former Brit, Sally Halon.


Alice Walker: Will you carry a letter for Gilad Shalit to Gaza?

By Marian Lebor, June 24, 2011

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker is joining an international flotilla of boats sailing to Gaza aboard "The Audacity of Hope". Writing on the CNN website, and in much more detail on her blog, she explains why:


Yelena Bonner on Gilad Shalit's human rights

By Marian Lebor, June 19, 2011

Yelena Bonner, the outstanding human rights activist and former Soviet Union dissident, died 18 June 2011, one week before the fifth anniversary of the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit.

Here is part of Yelena Bonner's memorable speech to the Oslo Freedom Forum, delivered just over two years ago when she was 86.


At last: the Israeli spring

By Marian Lebor, June 17, 2011

For those of you who have been waiting for Israelis to emulate their Arab neighbours and get out there on Facebook, Twitter and the streets to demonstrate and demand change, that day has finally come. And what is the major issue that is making Israelis’ blood curdle? Cottage cheese.


On the Buckingham Palace Mirpeset

By Marian Lebor, April 27, 2011

Finally, I’m relevant in Israel. My opinion is sought; my knowledge is useful. As soon as people realise I’m originally from Britain, they want to know details about the Royal Wedding. Yes, stories about it are already appearing in the Israeli media, which doesn’t usually carry such frivolous news items.


Confined to Baraks

By Marian Lebor, January 17, 2011

Well, well. The day I have long hoped for has arrived - sort of. It has been announced that Ehud Barak is leaving the Labour party. Don't get too excited. He's not r-e-s-i-g-n-i-n-g. Please. Israeli pols don't do resigning. They leave to go on lucrative lecture tours, to begin prison sentences, whatever, but they always come back.

The Labour party has no place in this government and the task now is to elect a leader who commands and deserves respect, who will regroup and rebuild the party. There are MKs in Labour's ranks who qualify. Let's hope he or she is elected.


Heroes and villains

By Marian Lebor, December 20, 2010

Firefighter Danny Hayat died yesterday of the injuries he sustained in the Carmel Forest fire. He was severely injured as he tried to rescue prison cadets from the burning bus. He leaves a widow who is about to give birth, two young sons, parents and siblings. Unthinkingly he risked, and has now given, his life to save others. That’s what true heroes do. That’s what our emergency service personnel and those of our children who serve in the IDF are trained to do. Risk everything, without thinking twice, to rescue people and to protect Israel.


Could this be the end of the petek?

By Marian Lebor, December 14, 2010

History was made today when the money refund law came into force. At long last, Israeli consumers can take back
goods and receive a refund rather than a credit note, which in Israel is a tiny piece of paper known as a "petek". And perversely, the higher the value of the credit note, the tinier the petek will be.

Or can they?

According to today's Globes:



By Marian Lebor, December 8, 2010

Excellent piece by Akiva Eldar in today's Haaretz, asking why we need a record 29 ministers (out of 120 MKs) if we then outsource two key post- Carmel fire jobs to Joseph Ciechanover, who will lead efforts to salvage Israel's relations with Turkey, and to Netanya Mayor Miriam Feirberg, who will oversee compensation for victims of the fire.


Crisis management

By Marian Lebor, December 3, 2010

So now we know: a small fire was spotted by a pilot giving a flying lesson and he reported it immediately, but it took more than two hours for fire-fighting aircraft to arrive.

Haaretz reports:


A catastrophe

By Marian Lebor, December 2, 2010

It was late afternoon when I heard the horrific news of the fatalities in the fire which is still raging out of control as I write. I’m reminded of the Maccabiah bridge collapse and the Versailles wedding hall disaster – both avoidable tragedies which unfolded right before our eyes.

It is too early to suggest that mistakes have contributed to the outbreak or the extent of the fire, or that it was an act of arson. Right now we must all help those who have suffered directly in any way we can.


Leaky wicks

By Marian Lebor, December 1, 2010

It’s one of life’s less rewarding jobs: removing the wax that accumulates on the menorah through the eight days of Chanukah. I’ve bought so-called dripless candles like I do every year, but it’s dollars to doughnuts that the wick still won’t be thick enough to prevent the leaks.


Di kfar - enough already? Not just yet. I’m still enjoying the hot heir

By Marian Lebor, November 18, 2010

Two days on, and I’m not quite ready to stop my media intake of the newly engaged William and Kate. I’m not getting my information from any Israeli newspapers – and that’s precisely the point. Here in Israel, there’s no such thing as front page tittle-tattle about local celebrities. The news is always about politics or political figures. The best we got today was a story about Bibi Netanyahu’s son holidaying privately in America with a state-funded bodyguard. Wow. That's sure to provide endless fascination for the masses.


One likes this

By Marian Lebor, November 8, 2010

I see the Queen has launched a Facebook page for the British monarchy. According to today's Daily Telegraph, "The British Monarchy page provides a hi-tech version of the traditional Court Circular, detailing the daily engagements of members of the Royal Family and allowing users to comment on the arrangements. The new Facebook page has been described as 'the final frontier' of the Queen's foray into digital technonogy."


Remember, remember the 4th of November

By Marian Lebor, November 4, 2010

I remember exactly where I was fifteen years ago, on the evening of Saturday 4th November, when I found out that Yitzhak Rabin had been shot.

My family had just come home after spending a really enjoyable Shabbat with a group of friends in a field school in northern Israel. The glorious weather meant we’d been able to go on a couple of long walks in the beautiful countryside.


5 is the new 6 in the land of no milk and honey

By Marian Lebor, September 16, 2010

It is 7.30 am and I have cooked the pre-fast meal for tomorrow, been for a walk, sent out several emails, and prepared notes for a meeting I have later this morning. I say this not to boast that I’m superwoman, but to illustrate that in Israel it is now officially winter time. No, not wintertime - we’re still in T-shirts and sandals and will be until at least November - but winter TIME. We’ve moved the clocks back one hour, so 5am is the new 6am. Habitual early risers like yours truly are now up even earlier.


How predictable

By Marian Lebor, September 1, 2010

How predictable. Peace talks – no matter how slim the chance of success - have always been a pretext for terror. Even during the Intifada, when terror attacks occurred on an almost daily basis – and sometimes more than once a day - we dreaded visits from American and European special envoys because we knew that as night follows day, there would be an attack specifically timed to coincide with the peace mission.


Think the peace talks are moving too slowly? Poke Bibi

By Marian Lebor, August 31, 2010

Benjamin Netanyahu now has his own wall and it has nothing to do with security.

The Prime Minister's Office Media Division announced yesterday that it has recently launched a new YouTube channel with videos in Hebrew and English, including the PM's speeches and trips. It has also begun updating the PMO Facebook, Twitter and Flickr accounts, as well as integrating them onto the general PMO website.


Andrei Sakharov and Gilad Shalit

By Marian Lebor, July 8, 2010

Russian dissident Andrei Sakharov was one of the greatest recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize and one of the greatest proponents of human rights. I shall be at Ginot Sakharov this afternoon as the march for Gilad arrives in Jerusalem to remind the world's human rights community of its responsibility to protect Gilad Shalit.