I celebrated my birthday last week. With friends and family visiting from the U.S., it seemed more like an all-week affair rather than a one-day celebration. Out for jazz one evening, several evenings out for dinner and dessert, a walk through the Old City and some time at the Wall, an afternoon of wine tasting in the Jerusalem hills. All and all, a fun time and a nice reminder of the delights of contemporary Jerusalem and the surrounding area.
My birthday wish? Easy: I wish that Ministers Bennett and Yaalon and a few others would stop throwing personal barbs and insulting Secretary of State John Kerry, and I wish that Secretary Kerry would stop giving them every excuse possible to do so.
Bennett and Yaalon? They are just beyond any sense of respect and dignity when it comes to how one addresses the chief of foreign affairs, even one you might vigorously disagree with, of the greatest power on earth and the one country that Israel so critically depends on. Express your disagreements? Sure. Personally insult and make insinuations about motivations? Beyond stupid.
Kerry? Needs to take some courses in diplomacy and in psychology. Telling Israelis that they take the good life for granted, that they've grown complacent, that they don't know what is in store for them, that they are living in an illusion, is no way to influence or motivate them to take risks. One doesn't have to be a genius, or even Secretary of State, to know that.
Lately the Secretary has begun to resemble a low-level New Jersey gangster a la a James Cagney movie. He never says he is going to burn down the building, or blow-up the car, or, God-forbid, harm the kids, but he seems darn close to saying that we'll have what's coming to us if we don't cough up the dough by Friday: