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Issue No. 142 28 June 2002  

Safety First
This week's Safety Summit, called by the Carr Government, is a timely opportunity for the union movement to put occupational health and safety into a contemporary perspective.


Interview: Safe as Houses
Labor Council secretary John Robertson outlines the union movement's priorities in the lead-up to this week's Safety Summit.

Safety: Ten Steps to Safety
On the eve of the NSW Safety Summit, Workers Online went looking for the ten biggest workplace health issues and what needs to be done to address them.

History: Staying Alive
Neale Towart winds the clock back to discover that contemporary arguments that regulators should stay out of workplace safety and let the market do its business are nothing new.

Unions: Choose Life
While Commissioner Cole struggles with the concept of unions trying to improve workers� wages, out in the real world, bosses daily thumb their noses at safety authorities, as Jim Marr discovers.

International: Seoul Destroyers
The rise and rise of the Korean national football team in the World Cup competition was more than matched by the rise and rise of the number of imprisoned Korean trade unionists.

Corporate: Crash Landing
Did Ansett workers� productivity really crash Ansett? Jim McDonald weighs up the evidence.

Activists: The Refusenik
At 20, Rotem Mor has spent more time analysing how he will live his life than most people twice his age. A month in prison and another 18 serving in the Israeli army saw to that.

Review: Dumb Nation
Michael Moore's new book, 'Stupid White Men' exposes the rorts behind the Bush presidency with bitter humour, writes Mark Hebblewhite.

Poetry: Helping Out The Rich
From proposals to 'deregulate' (ie raise) university fees, to attempts to restrict workers' right to strike in the name of 'genuine' bargaining the Government's rhetoric about helping out the battlers is wearing just a bit thin.


 Redundancy Bonus for Members Only

 Tax Office Backs CFMEU Case

 Lib MP Named in Cole Commission

 Sentencing Guidelines for Safety Breaches

 Revealed: Costello�s Hit List

 Virtual Cold War Over

 Safety Lock-Out Enters Second Week

 Unions Seek Talks With New Airport Owners

 Journos Attacked by NRMA

 Strip Bosses Face Dressing Down

 Beattie Called Into Bargaining Impasse

 Nurses Deliver Largest Ever Petition

 US Braces for its Own Waterfront War

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Back to the Future
McKenzie Wark argues that the future of the book relies on the future of a sphere of public debate.

Chain Reaction
The Big Australian discovers a uranium mine it never knew it had, a corporate fraud sparks a worldwide market plunge and the price of investing ethically.

The Locker Room
Three Colours Blue
After a World Cup that saw post-colonial cultural theorists chanting 'we beat the scum one-nil' on the Terraces of Inchon, it was the natural order of things that prevailed, writes Phil Doyle

Poll Positioning
Unions Tasmania secretary Lynne Fitzgerald gives an overview of the State Election called earlier this week.

Week in Review
The Weight of Office
Apart from the Teflon John, power walking at his own pace, would-be leaders everywhere turned in shockers as Jim Marr discovered.

 Link Wages to CEO Pay
 Voodoo Unionism
 Good News from the Pilbara
 Go Mark, Go
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The Refusenik

By Jim Marr

At 20, Rotem Mor has spent more time analysing how he will live his life than most people twice his age. A month in prison and another 18 serving in the Israeli army saw to that.


Rotem's website sets out the following personal prescription...

- I am committed to act upon my truth as I have found it to be, and constantly create possibilities that stem from that truth

- I am committed not to judge a person by actions he has made in the past

- I am committed to recognise those places where I have not been true and share them with others

- I am committmed to share the truth as I see it with others so they may take from it what they desire for themselves

- I am committed to listen to all people and recognise the power that lies in their truth as if it was my own

- I am committed to constantly explore my truth and allow myself the possibility of a dynamic truth

- I am committed to do as best I can to support and help any person who requests so

There are thousands of people in Israel who say that Mor, and those like him, should be committed.

Undeterred, he will begin a speaking tour next month aimed at convincing Australians they should question and challenge the policies of his country's military-dominated Government.

He wants to meet Palestinians while he is here, to develop relationships, and build bridges that might lead to just solutions to the problems confronting their homelands. A practical first step, he suggests, would be to seek invitations to address schools with large Moslem rolls.

"Undoubtedly, me and other Israelis have to make those links. Talking, understanding each other, that's where this issue begins and ends.

"I will talk to anyone and I will listen to anyone. If a guy from Hamas wants to be my friend, that's fine. If we make a strong enough bond then he won't be a guy from Hamas any more.

"Our main message, though, is that there is more than one voice coming out of Israel. There are many voices with different ways of approaching the conflict.

"Some, for example, argue that ending the occupation is the goal. I don't believe that myself but, obviously, it would be a good place to start."

Raised near Jerusalem, Mor spent four years in Canada where his father worked for a Zionist organisation. Slowly, he began questioning the accepted political wisdoms he had grown up with.

But it wasn't until he was drafted on February 15, 2000, that he confronted them head on.

After 18 months, feeling more and more like an imposter, he did the increasingly-thinkable, requesting a release from the Ministry of Defence, on grounds of conscience, and sending copies of his letter to the UN, Amnesty International and Israeli Peace Groups.

That action cost him a month in prison and five more, reporting to base then going home, while the heirarchy tried to sort out its dilemma.

"I had personal issues about the way you were treated in the army but, more importantly, I was concerned about what was becoming of my country," he explained.

"As a citizen, I am very concerned about what is happening in the territories right now and what happened, historically, in Lebanon in the name of Israel.

"As a soldier, I am worried about the occupation but I am also worried about the power of the military. You look at its influence on the Israeli Government, public companies and private companies.

"I didn't want to serve political fanatics and I didn't want to serve the Settlers, so I made my decision.

"Besides, I wasn't a very good soldier. I wasn't awful but I wasn't very good either.

The highlight of his military career, he says, came with an unexpected promotion to sergeant. It took authorities a week to discover the computer error.

Mor says while the "refusenik" stance isn't popular in Israel, it is gaining some acceptance.

There is a difference, he says, between the general response and the specific attitude of individuals he confronts with his reasoning.

He, and other "refuseniks" are supported by Israeli groups New Profile and Yesh Gvol, which can be translated literally as "there is a border" or colloquially as "enough is enough".

Since arriving in Sydney he has linked with Jews For Just Peace, the group organising his speaking tour.

There has, however, been a personal cost.

Mor's family, like those of most Israelis, has strong military links. His brother and father still hold defence force ranks.

He came to Australia, two months ago, because his family was here but it wasn't until they returned to Israel that he agreed to mount the public stage.

"Politically, it was easy once I made up my mind but, personally, it was very tough.

"Some of my family accepted what I had done because the accepted me for me but my Dad was a little bit harder," he admits.

But he is buoyed by growth in the Refusenik movement. Hundreds have quit the armed forces to face prison and other sanctions. More than 1000 younger compatriots have indicated they will resist the draft.

Eventually, Mor wants to go home.

"I'm doing this because I love my country and its people," he explains. "I care what becomes of us and our neighbours. If I didn't, I would just start a new life and forget about the place."


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