Tuesday, 8 December 2009

On Doughnuts, Gilad Shalit and other Chanukah Miracles

  1. When I lived in England, we used to run an ironic Christmas Tree Sweepstakes: the earliest confirmed date for spotting an erected Christmas Tree, indubitable evidence of the commercialisation of a sanctified family holiday (this bit always made me laugh - Christmas has always been commercial), cueing hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth in the petite bourgeois press, like The Mail. In Israel, I gather that the parallel cue is the sale of Sufganiot, Chanukah themed doughnuts. (I've talked about the link between fattening food and Chanukah before, here). For the record, I spotted my first Doughnut tray just after Sukkoth, a couple of months ago. Given the passage of time, I think the true miracle of Chanukah is that I still haven't had my first doughnut of the season. Mind you, it's a matter of necessity - If I'd started eating the wretched things in October, I'd look like one myself by now...
  2. Just for the record: The earliest I'd ever spotted a Christmas tree was on August the 27th, at Selfridges. Quite frankly, it's moments like that make me pleased that I don't live in the UK any more. The thought of enduring a four month run up to Christmas, fake cheer and over-priced tat, Wham's Last Christmas and talk about the Xmas No1, fills me with horror...
  3. Here, we don't have Christmas. Obviously. But there is Chanukah, and to get in the spirit, newspapers tend to look for some feel-good story to cheer the Jewish State up. Something that can be chalked up as a modern day Chanukah Miracle. Usually quite risible, but hey...
  4. This year, however, there is talk about a genuine Chanukah Miracle - the release of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier captured and held by Hamas for the last 3-odd years. There have been a lot of hopes raised and dashed since his capture; but talk about his imminent release have reached a crescendo in the last fortnight, with rumours that a deal has been arranged, that he's been moved to Egypt, that doctors have examined him to ensure that he is in good condition...hell, even Jonathan Pollard has got in on the act.
  5. But - and for once, I'm not being facetious - I don't think it is going to happen.
  6. Think about it this way; Hamas - as did Hezbollah, before them - kidnap Israeli soldiers for propaganda, rather than pragmatic purposes. Let's face it: in general terms, the capture of a few odd soldiers serves no strategic purpose whatsoever. But they do recognise the important psychological impact that it has on the Israel populace, of the capture of a soldier - or, as is more often the case, the holding over of the remains of a dead soldier.
  7. This psychological importance thing, I'm not sure I totally understand entirely. It seems an aggregation of all sorts of things. Perhaps I'll think about it another time. Anyway, the point is that it exists, and that Hamas recognises this state of mind. Thus, its efforts to exchange Corporal Shalit for about 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. And the argument isn;t whether it is a fair swap in itself, but whether a very small minority of the prisoners should be freed because they have "blood on their hands."
  8. So, unless they have completely misjudged the Israeli public sentiment - and I doubt they have, even though Hamas tends to believe what it wants about the "Zionist entity", rather than what is true - there is no way on earth that they are going to award the Israeli public a genuine Chanukah miracle on a platter. It just ain't gonna happen.
  9. So, Shalit's poor parents will continue to wait and hope whilst their son continues to be used as a political football by all sorts of scum, pond life and career politicians. And the newspapers will find another Chanukah miracle.
  10. I've broken. I've just had my first doughnut. God, it tastes good.
  11. And there's this. Can't say I'm surprised.
  12. Time for another doughnut. I'll go back to running in the New Year. Hopefully.

2 comments:

Adam E. said...

There are parallels with the build up of xmas and Chanukah, but I think that the crassness-potential of the latter (thank G-d) pales in comparison...
By the way, I have added your blog to our "bloggers in Israel" list (here; http://writersinjerusalem.blogspot.com) as I think it is worth a look. Hope you don't mind - if you want it removed, let me know...

Goy said...

Nope, don't mind at all...