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B'siyata d'shmaya - With the help of Heaven


Shekel to Become Euro?
Another Nail in the Coffin of the Jewishness of Our State

By Shelomo Alfassa
The Jewish Press June 26, 2003

Since the beginning of the Oslo War, member countries of the European Union (EU) have targeted Israel with actions which have negatively impacted the country. For example, Germany suspended arms sales to Israel, Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel issued an order to do the same, and the French continue their fabrications about Israel occupying Palestine, feeding a frenzy of Jewish hatred in the ever growing Parisian-Muslim state.

While on a tour of Arab countries this week, Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi met with Prime Minister Sharon and President Moshe Katzav to discuss the potential for Israel to join the EU. Berlusconi is leading the current discussion, because it is his country which takes over the 6-month rotating presidency of the EU in July. In his address to Sharon, Berlusconi stated, "Israel's natural place is in the EU." The topic of Israel joining the EU is being spoken of increasingly in the media. The EU has an official liaison, and unofficial derogatory mouthpiece, to Israel, Ambassador Giancarlo Chevallard. A critic known to speak of Israeli atrocities, in his newsletter Chevallard wonders why, "Europeans feel disconcerted and increasingly uneasy about being accused of all sort of anti-Israeli sins." Just one year ago the EU funneled 50 million Euros to Arafat to pay his "security officers" and meet other "salary obligations." When criticized about supplying the PA with funding which has been alleged to be used for terrorist causes, Chevallard stated, "I find it hard to believe that we harm Israeli security by providing aid to the Palestinians." This is the same man who once stated Israel is not up to the same standards of practice as the rest of the Western world in practicing, "basic behavior in terms of human rights and human dignity." Chevallard has also chastised Israel for a, "spotty human rights record." Chevallard speaks of Israel in this manner, while conversely seeking to entertain the idea of allowing Israel to join the EU. Could the reason why the EU would want the "bad" country of Israel to join them be for extrinsic reasons? Could this linkage be a way for the EU to control the Jewish state at some point in the future?

While the rhetoric by the EU and Chevallard continues, there is the fact that one of the greatest threats to Israel, hardly yet spoken of, is the potential of replacing the Shekel for the EU's pan-European currency, the Euro. Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain are all nations that have already accepted the Euro as their official currency. Proponents of the Euro stated a few year ago that a European currency would strengthen European identity. Though this might be true, what value-added benefit does this have for Israel? Israel is not a European clone of Germany or Belgium. Israel must remain a Jewish country, an individual national made up of Jewish values and Jewish people. There is no reason to make the Jewish state strengthen its "European identity" when its Jewish identity is its very survival. Assimilation is bad enough due to cultural and social catalysts, we certainly do not need a monetary paradigm added to our destruction.

The simple act of converting from the Shekel to the Euro carries tremendous risks. A study of the Harvard World Model United Nations, a research group, stated that when a country uses Euros, it, "loses its ability to fight inflation, control interest rates, and go into deep budget deficit in order to fight its way out of a recession. The monetary policies of the entire Euroland are controlled not by their respective national governments but by the European Central Bank. Euroland is particularly susceptible to asymmetric shocks, whereby one region is beset by economic woes while others are booming. In this instance, the ECB, which has to oversee the health of the entire Euroland, cannot lower or raise interest rate simply for that one region alone."

Because there is only one Europe-wide interest rate, individual countries that increase their debt will raise interest rates in all other countries. For example, a scenario such as this could work against Israel. The EU countries may (for whatever reason) decrease their intra-EU transfer payments to hurt Israel if so desired. Israel could then be held hostage at the hands of the UK, France, Germany or other member nations. If governments such as these mentioned exerted pressure on Israel to reduce borrowing, or even pay fines if the budget deficit exceeds a reference value, this may have the perverse effect of increasing an existing economic imbalance or deepening a recession. To compound this, if Israel was in a recession, it could longer stimulate its economy by devaluing the Shekel and increasing exports. Who would Israel complain to if the EU, as master of the house, was the one instituting the sentence against the Jewish state? Israel would thus become a slave at the feet of the European Union.

As Jews, we hold in our collective memories, reflections of torture, death and persecution associated with many of these countries. Separating the historic facts and emotional issues associated with using a currency which many of these countries employ would be difficult, but it could be done. However, the Shekel currently offers us more than independence from the EU monetary system-it is a tremendous symbol of Jewish nationality, pride and freedom. First spoken of as the Jewish monetary unit in the Exodus 30:11-16, various Jewish coins were later minted with this same name. Coins of the Jewish people were minted from 175 BCE to 135 CE, with one saying, "Shekel of Israel" on it, and another, "to the redemption of Zion." With the development of the modern State of Israel only 55 years ago, the Shekel was re-instituted as the Jewish system of currency. After being re-instituted after two thousand years, and with all of the speculation on the Israel joining the EU, one now has to ask: will the modern Shekel soon be added to the list of now extinct national currencies such as the Franc, Mark, Peseta, Drachma, Schilling, Lira and Guilder?

A less significant but potentially charged issue is that the country of Israel is not even printed on the paper Euro currency. This begs the question, does anyone think the EU will revoke the trillions of Euros from circulation, just to print a new monetary note which depicts the holy land along with the other EU countries? We'll they just might, and if the EU and its "Quartet" (which include the UN, USA, and Russia), have anything to do with it, it will probably be printed as P-a-l-e-s-t-i-n-e.