22 thoughts on “Nice work if you can get it”

  1. I wonder if they could be trying to beat the draft…. Also wonder what portion of this is funded by American charities.

  2. Latter-day Levites?

    Numbers 16:7-11

    “…You Levites have gone too far!” Moses also said to Korah, “Now listen, you Levites! Isn’t it enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the Israelite community and brought you near himself to do the work at the LORD’s tabernacle and to stand before the community and minister to them? He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near himself, but now you are trying to get the priesthood too. It is against the LORD that you and all your followers have banded together.

  3. Of course, when Al Jazeera decides to tackle the issue of Middle East governments wastefully subsidizing the teaching and practicing of religion, it focuses on Israel and Judaism. What choice did it really have, given that the leaders of Muslim nations never ever ever spend any money at all on promoting Islam?

    Nice to see Al Jazeera looking out for the Israeli taxpayer and the financial well-being of the Jewish state.

  4. On the one hand you could argue that this is no different than a country deciding to subsidize the arts. Of course, it’s not like there is much new thinking or insights coming from the ultra-orthodox of Israel (you’d have to travel to New York for that).
    Admittedly, my bias is toward secular, so I see this as burden on the state. It’s also one of the reasons I don’t like multi-party parliamentary systems or proportional representation; the margin parties get out-sized power. Finally, I personally find that many Ultra-Orthodox in Israel have taken an attitude of entitlement that I do not like. Particularly, especially, because they do not contribute to the defense. The Israeli economy is not immune to the same pressures as Greece and they will have to cut off the welfare queens at some point.

  5. Thanks for taking time out from Japan blogging to report an utterly irrelevant anti-Israel piece from an Arab news agency. No matter what the time or place, it’s always good to kick the Jews, right?

  6. So is the content of the report wrong or is it just irrelevant because an Arab said it?

  7. M-Bone. Don’t pretend you’re naive. Would you expect a fair and balanced report from the Israeli press about Hamas? Why would you look to Al Jazeera for news about Israel?
    Peter. What does the story of Korah have to do with modern Orthodox Jews? If you actually know the story of Korah, then you know it is an outright insult to make that comparison, and you can expect people to be “indignant” when they are insulted.
    You guys are either ignorant or biased.

  8. Sorry Elmer Fudd, school me: Why is it entirely disingenuous (or even offensive) to compare the Levites to the modern Orthodox Jews in Israel?

    PS: In what part of your comment did you answer M-Bone’s question?

  9. I’d like to think that some part of the Israeli press could do a “fair” piece about Hamas. In areas that I am familiar with (like archeology) I know that Israeli academics have written some very balanced things on controversial issues.

    In any case, I still want to know if the numbers stated in the piece (which was based on an Israeli report, no?), etc. are faulty or if you just have a beef with Al Jazeera and/or Arabs.

  10. “Would you expect a fair and balanced report from the Israeli press about Hamas? Why would you look to Al Jazeera for news about Israel?”

    Leaving aside your ridiculous comparison between Hamas and Al Jazeera (especially since Al Jazeera in Arabic and in English are two very, very different new organizations), in fact, Al Jazeera sometimes provides FAR better news on Israel than any of the other major English channels.

    I remember very well that at some point, I think last year, I was traveling and staying in a hotel that had Al Jazeera English, as well as all of the major American channels and BBC World. I happened to be in my room as the results were coming in for the Israeli parliamentary elections, and not only was Al Jazeera the only one of the channels providing live coverage AT ALL, the coverage was impressively neutral, and expert, without even a hint of anti-Israeli or anti-Jewish sentiment. They did hours of the live election coverage that normally networks only do on their own country, and I found it very good. Of course I can not speak for the 99.99% of their coverage I have not seen, including the hours of news that day that I did not watch, but I was impressed by their coverage of Israeli domestic politics. (I am aware that the Arabic channel has given voice to some nasty people and comments, but they are editorially separate.)

    And incidentally, are you unaware that there are many in the Muslim world with anti-Israel views that consider Al Jazeera to be too pro-Israel? And that Al Jazeera is frequently censored by the governments of Arabic/Muslim countries for daring to report stories critical of the government?

    In short, they are hardly perfect, but to put Al Jazeera up their with Hamas is just ridiculous. Or perhaps you can’t tell the difference between Al Jazeera perhaps the most moderate Arabic news channel, and Al-Aqsa, the violently anti-Israel/Anti-Jewish propaganda television channel that is ACTUALLY run by Hamas?


    And a sample of what you see on Al Aksa: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gi-c6lbFGC4

  11. As for the story itself, I myself am secular Jewish US citizen who is highly offended by the idea of any government giving any official support to religion. As I see it, the idea of Israel as a Jewish state is torn between the religious and ethnic concepts of what it means to be Jewish, but as an atheist I can only feel comfortable with the ethnicity-based determinations, and am rather disturbed at the amount of power that the rabbinical authorities have in Israeli family law and immigration law.

  12. Roy perhaps you are right to have such confidence in the free and open Arab press. And it is your blog so of course you can write whatever you want and I can and will look elsewhere. But do you not see that this article is (1) way out of character, “one of these things is not like the other,” compared to all the other postings on this blog, raising questions about the motivation in posting it (2) you may be an atheist who travels extensively throughout Arab nations, but have the self respect to not attack your own people in a forum devoted to Japan, because you will not get any reasoned refutation, and readers will see only a negative view of Jews and Israel. If you want to have that debate, why not go to a forum on that topic, where the readers will at least get to see people defending both sides of the debate. As for me, I am too lazy to provide that function here and am signing off. Have a nice life

  13. “compared to all the other postings on this blog”

    Really? We talk about education, grants and scholarships, government support of cultural endeavors, etc. all the time.

  14. I am sure the Al Jazeera news team pats itself on the back for its even-handedness each time it manages to get through an entire report on Israel without lapsing into explicit anti-semitism.

    Its bias, rather, comes in its selection of news topics. Why report critically on government subsidizing Judaism in Israel, when the Islamic regimes in the region are much, much more heavily involved in subsidizing Islam? A report shorn of this context is irresponsible journalism at best, and anti-Israel journalism at worst.

  15. ju2tin, I expect that Al Jazeera probably has some amount of critical coverage of Arabic funding of religious fundamentalism, but that’s just a guess as I haven’t seen nearly enough of the channel to say. But watching this report, I found the focus less to be about the fact that Israel is funding Judaism than the fact that they are funding an enormous and unsustainable welfare state. The religious aspect seemed kind of incidental, especially since it also pointed out that a significant part of the ethnic Palestinian Israeli citizenry is also on welfare, and economically unproductive.

  16. A TV news channel that’s biased?! I never heard of such a thing! I’m going to write an outraged letter to the Emir of Qatar right now!

  17. I’d rather have a channel with a consistent but relatively manageable bias than one that’s both insane and terrible, like Fox News, or one that’s just biased towards generally sucking, like CNN.

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