Summer of Love

This article currently appears on Israelink:

Summer of Love

“Take me down to the Paradise city, where the grass is green and the girls are pretty, take me home” – sings Guns ‘n Roses front man, Axel Rose, who will be performing in Tel Aviv this summer. Well, the song could literally be about Israel because Tel Aviv is the paradise city where the grass is green (thanks to Israeli agricultural ingenuity) and the girls are pretty and to many a visiting rock star, it feels like home.

Just ask another great rocker- Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, who was so taken with Israel, he told star struck fans at Ha Yarkon Park that he was making Aliyah. Jewish Agency Chairman, Natan Sharansky, wasted no time in telling the rocker to walk this way to where he could fill out the appropriate forms.

Steven Tyler sings “Crying” in Tel Aviv

What is the appeal of Israel to so many rock stars? This coming summer is really proving to be the summer of love (and depleted bank accounts) as we debate who to see. Guns n Roses or Britney, bitch? Rod Stewart or Radiohead? Bryan Adams or Foreigner? Decisions, decisions, oy vey! Hardly a week goes by without an announcement of another major act visiting our shores.

Comfortably dumb

BDS poster boy, Roger Waters, must be about to have an apoplexy. The comfortably dumb Pink Floyd star’s favourite past time is sending letters to visiting bands encouraging them to join the boycott of Israel. He has succeeded with a few but the majority are fed up with Water’s acting like just another p**** in the wall! Clearly he needs an education and Radiohead front man, Thom Yorke, was more than happy to school Waters saying in a statement, “It’s deeply disrespectful to assume that we’re either being misinformed or that we’re so retarded we can’t make these decisions ourselves,” Yorke said. “I thought it was patronizing in the extreme… it’s really upsetting that artists I respect think we are not capable of making a moral decision ourselves after all these years.”

18812142_2119620908264504_9055700430629109760_n

Bow chica wow wow! More and more big name bands are deciding to see Israel for themselves and formulate their own opinions. They realise that music can help by not just building bridges between Israelis and Palestinians but also heals wounds. The legendary Carlos Santana, played to a capacity crowd in Tel Aviv and so did the soulful Alicia Keyes before him but what makes them extra special is that they both made the effort to use their epic star power and encourage music programmes for both Palestinian and Israeli children. Music has the power to build the connections that politics cannot.

All we are saying is give peace a chance

What BDS also neglect to tell you is their methods of discouraging artists from performing in Israel are not restricted to letters from the dodgy Roger but they also use tactic of intimidation and threats of violence. Legendary Beatle, Paul McCartney and numerous others including Mali’s Salif Keita have spoken about how they or their band members have been threatened by BDS activists. One can only look to social media to see how they are subjected to a barrage of abuse and outright lies.

In an interview with JCPA researcher, Adam Shay, McCartney was quoted as saying, “I got explicit death threats, but I have no intention of surrendering. I refuse to cancel my performances in Israel.”

8321363088f909b294b87a141b88e294

Even electro virtuoso, Moby, said that said that the intensity of the attacks against him before he came to Israel made him suspicious that this “wasn’t an objective movement that was concerned with people’s welfare, but with something dark and dubious.”

The jig is up and the BDSholes have been exposed yet again for the hatemongers that they are and their abject fear that people may visit Israel, in this case world famous celebrities with a massive fan base, and see something that they like or even…shock….horror……the truth!

One thing is for sure, Israelis are going to keep on rocking and enjoy our summer of love.

Summer-of-love3

Advertisements

From Wonder Woman to wondering women

Read all about Wonder Woman on Israelink right here:

Wonder Woman and wondering women

Wonder Woman is exactly that. She stands for justice and truth, compassion and kindness. Wonder Woman is so fabulous, even her accessories are indestructible and face it, who doesn’t love fashion that has truth wielding super powers?

It seems quite fitting that the bodacious Gal Gadot, one of the best Israeli exports since Waze and Mobileye, fills this iconic role. Beautiful, with Amazonian proportions and a deep love of her home country, Israel, Gadot is the perfect choice. While there are some who have sour grapes (yes you, BDS!) it hasn’t stopped her meteoric rise to the top and record-breaking box office takings. Talk about girl power in a rocking outfit!

wonder-woman-gal-gadot-ultimate-edition-1024x681

Our gal, Gal in action

Wonder Woman has super human strength, longevity and mind blowing reflexes – well, what do you expect from someone who served in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces)!  She is a celebration of feminism and femininity and we Israelis are kvelling, we are so proud of our gal, Gal.

A neighbourhood of no’s

Women’s rights in the rest of the Middle East are not as wonder-ful. Often relegated to second class status, our sisters in our very volatile neighbourhood do not enjoy as many rights as their Israeli sisters do. Israel’s detractors (yes, you again BDS!) would have you believe that women in minority communities in Israel are oppressed and subject to racially discriminating laws. This is so untrue, in fact, the Israeli Justice Ministry just swore in its first Qadi, a female sharia judge.

wonder-woman3-700x466

Adv. Hana Khatib sworn in as first Qadi by President Rivlin 

For most women who live in the region, the Middle East is just a neighbourhood of no’s. No rights to vote, own property or business, no rights to as lucrative an education as their male counterparts, no rights to the freedom of expression or sexual orientation. In Saudi Arabia, where women’s rights are at an all-time low, women are not even allowed to drive or go anywhere without a chaperone. In many countries women have to cover their faces as well as their bodies and the effective message is that they have been silenced. In some instances women are subject to the most inhumane torture, female genital mutilation, for fear that she may enjoy sexual pleasure.

Where women have been raped or fallen in love with someone who is not their chose match, they are often blamed and face honour killings, a hideous phenomenon which has left many dead or severely disfigured as a result of these heinous acts of retribution that seldom, if ever goes punished.

While women around the world celebrated International Woman’s Day on the 8th of March, Palestinian women in Hamas governed Gaza were prohibited from enjoying similar festivities.  Hamas did this without a giving a reason and the territory continues to become more and more “conservative” and have imposed a strict dress code on women and banned them from smoking in cafes.

Unorthodox treatment

It is not just Muslim women who suffer from inequality. Christian women have been raped and sold into slavery or killed as the Islamic State continues its march of destruction through the neighbourhood.  Very little has entered the global consciousness about the situation facing Middle Eastern Christian women. There have been no marches, no protests and no vigils.

In some ultra-Orthodox sects in the Jewish community, women are also discriminated against. The horrendous trend of spitting on little girls who are not dressed “modest enough” or the relegation of women to sitting at the back of the bus has raised the ire of many women in Israel. While we enjoy considerably more rights than our sisters in the rest of our Middle Eastern neighbourhood, like many western women we continue to fight for the improvement of the status of women in areas like salary suffrage and employment equity.

The difference is that we can – we have a voice and nobody is scuppering to silence us.

d7d2437a731b9aaaa6d642bb9cc2d4cf

Blazing a trail

In fact, Israel can boast about remarkable strides in women’s equality. We can lay claim to one of the first female Prime Ministers in Golda Meir, Nobel Prize winners in science and other fields, Arab women who serve in the diplomatic corps, who are beauty queens and even win cooking competitions like Masterchef. In Israel, women can be pilots, pioneers, entrepreneurs and home executives, ballerinas and superheroes. They can be anything they want to be. We can blaze a trail for our sisters across the region. Nobody is stopping us.

It is only fitting that we add Gal Gadot, to the pantheon of Israeli Wonder Women.

Sara Zoabi shares her love for Israel

The pursuit of justice and equal rights for women in the Middle East requires super human effort and dedication. It requires giving the voiceless a voice, uplifting the downtrodden and advocating for the powerless. Women in the Middle East have been wondering for a long time – who speaks on their behalf?

Perhaps Wonder Woman, with her dedication to the pursuit of justice and her exceptional longevity is the super hero women in the region have been waiting for. Some might say it is a Herculean task. I say it is a job perfect for Wonder Woman.