Sunday, 29 January 2012

'God rules all in 2012 Israel, even the state', by Gideon Levy

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/god-rules-all-in-2012-israel-even-the-state-1.409739

Published 01:43 29.01.12
Latest update 01:43 29.01.12

God rules all in 2012 Israel, even the state

Israel: Not what you thought, not what the world thought, not what Israelis imagine themselves to think. Israeli society isn't secular, it isn't liberal and it isn't enlightened.
By Gideon Levy

God exists. Eighty percent of Israeli Jews can't be wrong. And it is precisely for that reason we must say: God protect us from the results of the poll (conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute's Guttman Center for Surveys and the Avi Chai Foundation ). While it is conceivably possible to deal with that burning, wholesale belief in the divine, what do we do with the "You chose us" part? Seventy percent of respondents said they also believed Jews are the Chosen People - and that frightening parameter is only on the rise.

You have to give it to the pollsters. They let the cat out of the bag. To paraphrase the Haaretz advertising slogan from the 1990s - Israel: Not what you thought. Not what the world thought, not what Israelis imagine themselves to think. Israeli society isn't secular, it isn't liberal and it isn't enlightened. Were they permitted to respond freely, it's doubtful that 80 percent of Iranians would say they believed in God; it's doubtful there is any other free nation on the planet, with the possible exception of the Americans, that would produce the same results. But there surely is no other nation on the planet that is so secure in its arrogant certainty that it was selected from all the other nations and raised above them.

The findings of this powerful poll are the most important key to understanding Israeli society and the conduct of its governments. It is the only prism through which it is possible to comprehend the occupation, the racism, the Haredization and the capitulation to the settlers. In our hearts, we think: This is our destiny. If in any enlightened society settlers and the ultra-Orthodox would be treated as marginal, eccentric, messianic groups, the attitude toward them in Israel comes from a very deep place within the "secular" society. If in any enlightened society the occupation stirs protest and revulsion, the attitude to it here is based in a religious belief that justifies all its iniquities.

The survey proves that we are all "hilltop youth," and that most of us are Sicarii. Expressions of racism toward Arabs and foreigners, Israel's arrogant attitude toward international opinion - these too can be explained by the benighted, primeval belief of the majority of Israelis (70 percent ) that we enjoy complete license because You chose us. Even the religious character of the state, which is much less secular than we tend to think - no buses or El Al flights during Shabbat, no civil marriage, no unkosher hotels, a mezuzah on the doorjamb of nearly every home and a rising number of people who kiss it each time they enter or exit - all this can be explained by the survey data.

There is much less religious coercion than it would appear, much more willing dedication to the caprices of Jewish fundamentalism. From now on, it can no longer be claimed that the secular majority has acquiesced to the religious minority; there is no secular majority, only a negligible minority.

In contrast to most European states today, in Israel "atheist" is a derogatory term that few people even dare to say, much less use to identify themselves. In such a country, it is impossible to speak seriously about secularism. We should admit the truth, which is that we are an almost religious society and a state that is almost based on religious law. There's no need to keep counting the number of people wearing kippot, headscarves or shtreimels. Bareheaded people are in the same camp: They accept the character of their state, where the religion is the state and the state is the religion, all mixed together. There's no need to keep being shocked by religious extremism - being religious, whether moderate or extreme, is all the same, and it's the majority here.

From Jenin to Hebron, we are in the West Bank above all because the majority of Israelis believe that it is not only the land of the patriarchs, but that this fact gives us a patrimonial right to sovereignty, to cruelty, to abuse and to occupation - and to hell with the position of the international community and the principles of international law, because, after all, we were chosen from among all other peoples. From Bnei Brak to Mea She'arim, these Haredim are, to a large extent, us, just with different dress and languages - more extreme versions of the same belief.

Perhaps it was inevitable. A state that arose on a certain territory and conquered another territory and has remained there nearly forever, all on the basis of Bible stories; a population that never decided whether it was a nation or a religion; and a state that purports to be a "Jewish state," even if no one has any idea what that means. All these cannot exist with no foundation - a chosen people that believes in its God. That is Israel, circa 2012. God have mercy on us.

5 common regrets in life

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5 common regrets in life

Posted by Jeff bowes [User Info] [Email User] on January 29, 2012, 10:59 am

Nurse reveals the top 5 regrets people make on their deathbed
by Caroline | on January 11, 2012

By Bronnie Ware (who worked for years nursing the dying)
For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality.

I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never
became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a
result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical
details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end.
That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again. When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

Source :http://www.ariseindiaforum.org/nurse-reveals-the-top-5-regrets-people-make-on-their-