ISRAELI MOTHER GETS RARE GIFT FROM PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT
AN Israeli woman has given birth in a Palestinian hospital, an extremely rare occurrence that won her flowers from the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas.
Nisreen Chayedri, who grew up Jewish but converted to Islam, according to the Associated Press (AP) said that she was shopping in the West Bank town of Ramallah on Wednesday when she went into labor. Her husband rushed her to the nearest hospital, where she delivered a baby boy.
While Jewish Israelis are barred from visiting Palestinian areas because of security concerns, Israeli-Arab citizens can, though not many do. Few would use the Palestinian medical system, which is far less developed than the Israeli one.
Chayedri said she received VIP treatment. The hospital found a Hebrew-speaking doctor to translate, and she got a visit from Ramallah's mayor and a bouquet from President Mahmoud Abbas.
Meanwhile, a decade ago, Ehud Barak was a popular Israeli prime minister and war hero on the historic verge of making peace with Syria and the Palestinians. Today, he is widely reviled as the country's most despised leader.
In his current post of defense minister, Barak has created enemies everywhere. Following a series of high-profile blunders, he is now blamed for everything from the collapse of peace talks with the Palestinians to the disintegration of the iconic Labour Party to infighting roiling the top military echelons.
Barak 'will not rest until everything is destroyed,' wrote newspaper columnist Ben Caspit, who once co-authored a glowing biography about Barak and his heroic military exploits. He now accuses Barak of turning the Israeli military 'into something between a viper's nest and a cuckoo's nest.'
Barak's troubles could also lead to problems for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Seen as a lone centrist in a coalition dominated by hard-line ideologues, Barak has played a key role in the government, projecting moderation and responsibility to the general public and to the international community. In particular, he still serves as the prime minister's point man to the United States.
But in recent months, Barak has increasingly become a liability for Netanyahu.
He shook up the political scene last month when he defected from the center-left Labour Party, depriving him of a strong political base. With the Israeli media lambasting him almost daily and the public angry over his political machinations, his days in politics could be numbered. Opinion polls indicate that if elections were held today, Barak's newly formed Independence Party would barely squeak into the 120-seat parliament.