As befits a country with a major focus on hating Jews and Israel, Saudi authorities are quite upset that the Ministry of Commerce overlooked this major faux paus, especially considering the fact that the pencils were well-marked with a Hebrew logo.
The pencil affair was exposed by a Saudi reporter on the Saudi website Jazan. The reporter wanted to know how such a major scandal could have been missed by the Ministry of Commerce. It's reassuring to know that hard-hitting, unafraid investigative reporting is being done in Saudi Arabia.
As if the pencil debacle isn't enough big news coming out of the kingdom, there is a major development in women's rights: Saudi men are no longer permitted to sell women's lingerie.
One might have thought that the ultra-conservative nature of Saudi society would have long ago dictated that women sell lingerie to women. But that was not the case. Apparently the need to keep women unemployed, non-driving, and totally dependent on men previously outweighed the embarrassment women felt buying lingerie from men in this conservative society.
Now, however, the combination of the need to have more women work and the demands of women who were embarrassed to purchase their lingerie from men, even when they could not be identified due to their burkas, has forced the kingdom to take dramatic action. So now the government is dictating that men stop selling lingerie, thus allowing women to move into the trade.
One might wonder why a government has to dictate who sells a piece of underwear, but apparently that's what makes it a dictatorship: it micro-manages minute and private aspects of people's lives with no apparent concern for the wishes of the people involved. Of course, it might not be all that complicated. It could just be that the king and his princes like focusing on issues relating to women's undergarments.
And, of course, since women still cannot drive in Saudi Arabia and need a male handler to appear in public, it is far from clear that they will be able to assume their new role as lingerie sales persons. What then? Androgynous robots?
No one need worry that this focus on pencils and panties will divert the kingdom's attention from one of its primary occupations: hating Jews and gays.
Ynet reports that state-funded books in Saudi Arabia continue to teach kids that the "hour (of judgment) won't come until Muslims fight Jews and kill them."
Ynet quotes Ali Ahmed, director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs in Washington, D.C., as saying that the books, which are funded by the Saudi government, teach ninth graders that the elimination of the Jews is imperative.
According to Ahmed, another book teaches 10th graders to cut off the hands and feet of thieves. The books "depict women as weak and irresponsible" and "call for homosexuals to be put to death."
With all the attention given to Saudi education after the 9/11 attacks, the kingdom supposedly committed to eliminating hate from its educational materials. Apparently there is an exception for Jews and gays.
All of this should make you feel just great about the recent announcement that the U.S. is selling Saudi Arabia 84 new F-15 fighter jets and upgrading 70 more jets. This is part of a $60 billion deal that will also supply the Saudis with helicopters, missiles, bombs, and delivery systems.
The deal was announced from Hawaii by Administration officials. Too much sun?
Broncos and Tebow beat the Steelers. Proves that Jesus was following the game? Where does that leave Rabbi Schneerson (the deceased Chabad rabbi who some Chabad followers believe will be coming back as the Messiah)? Will he be helping out any quarterbacks or concentrating on the NBA?
It's about time: MSNBC might fire Patrick Buchanan because of racist and Jew-hating views the neanderthal expresses in his new book. This bigot's hateful and backward views are old news to just about everybody except MSNBC.
Can a newspaper have OCD? What prompts this question is some reading and math done by Ron Dermer, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's Senior Advisor, in explaining why the Prime Minister rejected The New York Times's offer to him to write an op-ed. Dermer's research found that in the three-month period of September to November, the Times and its International Herald Tribune had published 20 op-eds about Israel. Twenty op-eds about a country smaller than New Jersey and with seven million people! And, surprise, 19 of the 20 were anti-Israel. Fair and balanced.