Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

Monitoraggio attraverso i media internazionali delle elezioni in Israele del Febbraio 2009

Jeremy Bowen election diary

Posted by gaetanoditommaso su 10 febbraio, 2009

BBC Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen’s diary of the Israeli election.

9 FEBRUARY It was sunny and warm in the Jewish settlement of Ofra in the occupied West Bank this morning. Yoram Cohen was inspecting his vines.

He is a winemaker with a growing reputation. The wine critic of the Israel daily Ha’aretz, Daniel Rogov, recently gave him 90 points for his Cabernet Sauvignon. Most Ha’aretz readers are from the side of Israel that believes that the settlements have been a disaster for the country.

Yoram grinned. “If I wasn’t from a settlement Rogov would have given me an even higher score.” Ofra was founded in 1975. It has acquired a well-established air that makes it feel permanent. The trees are tall and thick. Gardens have well-established shrubs. You can see why many Israelis believe that the settlements are going to be here for ever.

Israelis classify their political views according to what they think about the idea of exchanging land Israel has occupied since the 1967 war for peace with the Palestinians – or in the case of the Golan Heights, with Syria.

Those who believe in the idea most – who also think Israel needs to get out of places like Ofra – call themselves left wing. Those who hate the idea are on the right, and among them, the settlers are a powerful and dynamic political force.

Yoram believes that the land was given to the Jews by God. Part of his vineyard looks a bit of a mess, because it has been the seventh year in the planting cycle and according to Jewish religious law he has let it go fallow.

Like many Israelis of all political views, even on the last day before the polls opened he wasn’t sure which party was going to get his vote. He joked about it.

“My heart tells me to vote for the right wing but my brain tells me to vote for the left because the left goes to war when we need one, and the right does the opposite of what I want.”Yoram didn’t like Ariel Sharon’s decision to pull soldiers and settlers out of Gaza in 2005. He said that when it came to it he would probably vote for one of the small right-wing parties.

The election, as ever in Israel, is dominated by the Palestinian issue. But no party has made a convincing case of how to deal with it.

Israelis have become very sceptical about the prospects for peace, just like the Palestinians. Years of bloodshed and failed negotiations have left big scars.

Yoram Cohen has learnt to ignore politicians.

“Thirty-five years ago Henry Kissinger told us we’d have to leave and we’re still here. We’re building, putting in more grapes. Politicians just talk. I get on with my life as if there isn’t a question mark over it.”

His wine, by the way, is excellent.




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