10 March 2019   Leave a comment

Venezuela has entered the fourth day of a nation-wide electrical blackout and food is rotting, water is scarce, hospitals cannot keep their patients alive, and gasoline is only sporadically available. It is hard to imagine what the situation is given our dependence upon reliable electricity. The blackout stems from failures at the Guri hydroelectric power plant which President Maduro blames on sabotage and his critics blame on governmental incompetence. If the blackout does stem from a cyberattack on the electrical system, it would represent an unprecedented escalation in warfare and unquestionably a crime against humanity. It would also break an incredibly important taboo which the most developed countries in the world would regret.

Guri Hydroelectric Plant

Israel is holding national elections on 9 April and the campaigning is fierce. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing a significant challenge. He has served as Prime Minister 4 times and has held that position since 2009 as head of the right-wing Likud Party. This time, however, is is facing possible indictment on corruption charges and a robust challenge from a centrist political party led by Benny Gantz, a former military chief of staff, and Yair Lapid, an ex-finance minister. In media exchanges with a prominent Israeli actress, Rotem Sela, Netanyahu made some rather extraordinary comments. According to The Jerusalem Post:

“The prime minister was responding to an Instagram post from Sela, a prolific and popular TV host and star of The Baker and the Beauty. Sela took to Instagram Saturday night to criticize Culture Minister Miri Regev and a journalist who interviewed her that evening.

“’Miri Regev is sitting and explaining to [Channel 12 news anchor) Rina Matsliah that the public needs to beware, because if Benny Gantz is elected he will have to create a government with the Arabs,’ Sela wrote on Instagram, alongside a photo of the culture minister. ‘Rina Matsliah is silent. And I ask myself: why doesn’t Rina ask her in shock: ‘And what’s the problem with the Arabs???’ Dear God, there are also Arab citizens in this country.’

“Sela continued and asked: ‘When will anyone in this government tell the public that this is a country of all its citizens, and all people are born equal.’ The actress said that ‘the Arabs are also human beings. And also the Druze, and the gays, and the lesbians and… gasp… leftists.’”

Netanyahu’s response is difficult to interpret within a traditional understanding of democracy.

“‘First of all,’ Netanyahu wrote in a Facebook message Sunday morning addressed to actress Rotem Sela, ‘an important correction: Israel is not a country of all its citizens. According to the Nation-State Law that we passed, Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish nation – and its alone. As you wrote, there is no problem with Arab citizens – they have equal rights like everybody and the Likud government has invested in the Arab sector more than any other government…..’

“After telling Sela that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people alone, Netanyahu then launched into his campaign motto: ‘It’s either a strong right-wing government led by me, or a weak left-wing government led by Yair Lapid and [Benny] Gantz, with the support of the Arab parties.’”


Israeli Arabs make up about 17% of the Israeli population. It is very difficult to determine how the Israeli citizens will respond to Netanyahu’s comments.

Posted March 10, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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