First off, there's Sharon Bird, federal Labor MP for Cunningham (NSW) and shadow minister for vocational education. Needless to say, Sharon was mightily impressed with Israel. No 20s/30s fellow-traveler on a propaganda tour of the Soviet Union ever sang the praises of the Workers' Paradise quite as sweetly as Ms
"The uplifting and encouraging part was that people were profoundly determined to get on with their personal lives... I think that's a testament to a people who have unfortunately had to do that too many times." (Rambamites report back, The Australian Jewish News, 16/10/15)
Just think. Everywhere else on the planet people are determined to get on with their personal lives, but only in Israel are they profoundly determined to do so! Their secret? Practise. They've unfortunately had to do it too many times!
What can she possibly mean by this? I guess it's got something to do with the Ay-rabs. After all, how distracting, even profoundly so, must it be to have to shoot them, blow up their homes, burn down their olive trees, and generally liberate the land from under them, while at the same time you're flat out chasing a dollar, popping out kids, fiddling with iphones and so on.
"The enormous creativity and innovation in Israel... the capacity to solve problems, the water issues, was astounding, to turn their ingenuity to supposedly insurmountable problems. We're trying to build innovation in Australia and you've got such a great model in Israel... I think you can learn a lot from that culture."
To take but one example. Just before Israel came into being, around 1947 to be precise, there were simply too many damn Arabs there. In fact, they were a majority in the land! Imagine! Luckily, the Jewish minority, born problem solvers to a man, were able to use their incredible ingenuity to solve this supposedly insurmountable problem.
Led by their Problem Solver-in-Chief, the ingenious David Ben-Gurion (formerly David Grun of Plonsk, Poland), they hit on an absolutely brilliant solution: to even up the numbers, to get a bit of demographic parity, hell, maybe even to turn a majority into a minority - the Holy Grail of solutions! - they simply drove the Arabs out and grabbed their land, no questions asked, all over Red Rover. Pure fucking genius!
Just imagine, if we took a leaf out of Israel's book and applied that kind of problem-solving nous to, say, Australia's hospital waiting lists, which just seem to grow longer and longer, leading to a supposedly insurmountable problem (since people seem to have this ridiculous idea that they have some God-given right to be cured. Talk about a sense of entitlement!).
Why not go for the Israeli solution? Just bomb the bloody hospitals! Hey presto! No more waiting lists. I mean, think about it, any hospital waiting lists in Gaza?
"She said visiting Jerusalem was an extraordinary experience and noticed its contrast with modern Tel Aviv: 'It spoke to me about the richness of the Israeli experience, its depth and breadth'."
Now who'd have thought that Tel Aviv, built in the 20s, would be different to Jerusalem, which has been around, like, forever? Thank you, Sharon, for enlightening us on this.
You know, the amazing thing about the rambamming experience is that those who undergo it can look at Israeli-occupied/annexed Arab East Jerusalem, sometimes known as the Old City, and see only "the richness of Israeli experience." Interesting that.
OK, I'm off - profoundly determined to get on with my personal life.
Tomorrow: 'Insights' from Israel by Terri Butler MP