Friday, April 29, 2005

The New Republic Online: College Coarse

The New Republic Online: College Coarse

I can't stand religionists of any stripe, and Israel has plenty of those. Somehow, though, the State that supports them still earns my admiration.

"In practice, aside from being the only country in the Middle East where academics enjoy complete and unrestricted freedom of expression, Israel has done far more to promote education in the Palestinian territories than has any other country. The West Bank and Gaza universities were established by Israel in the first place--neither the Jordanians nor the Egyptians, who conquered these territories during the 1948 war, had allowed universities prior to 1967. During the two decades preceding the intifada of the late 1980s, the number of schoolchildren in the territories grew by 102 percent, and the number of classes by 99 percent, though the population itself had grown by only 28 percent. Even more dramatic was the progress in higher education. At the onset of the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank in June 1967, not a single university existed in these territories. By the early 1990s, there were seven such institutions, boasting some 16,500 students, as compared with 6 in Israel and 7 in the Irish Republic. Illiteracy rates dropped to 14 percent of adults over age 15, compared with 69 percent in Morocco, 61 percent in Egypt, 45 percent in Tunisia, and 44 percent in Syria."

That's taken out of context. Click the link above to read the whole piece, in which Efraim Karsh, head of the Mediterranean Studies Programme at King's College, University of London, complains about some ignorant partisanship.

Last night some TV channel showed the old Charles Bronson movie about the Raid on Entebbe. I was around way back when the actual events occurred, and these were among the events that still causes me to wish the Israelis well, despite stupid biblical claims to land, extremist settlers and so on.

I wonder if the Israelis really do have 120-odd neutron bombs. I hope so, because they'll probably need them.

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