I’m going to be living in Israel from early January to the end of July, 2012, and I’m very excited (and somewhat nervous) to be going. I haven’t lived in Israel since the 1998-99 academic year (long ago, when Bill Clinton was still president!) and I know it’s changed quite a bit. I’ve observed that in my (almost) yearly visits back, but the changes seem to be accelerating, according to all the news reports I’ve been reading. The government is very right wing, much more so than when Sharon was prime minister or even the last time that Netanyahu was prime minister. The latest proposed bill is one to ban the earliest and latest Muslim call to prayer (azan) from being sounded from the mosques, on the pretext that the sound bothers hundreds of thousands of Israelis. I’ve been visiting Israel since 1983, and I lived there from 1987-89, 92-93, and 98-99, and I’ve never heard a single person tell me about how disturbing they found the call to prayer. I think this is simply another way that the government is trying to pander to the most extreme of the settlers.