Samuel Clemens ("Mark Twain") went to Palestine. This was his impression of pre-Zionism Palestine: A desolate country whose soil is rich enough but is given over wholly to weeds. A silent, mournful expanse. We never saw a human being on the whole route. There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country. Silent... mournful... desolate... almost deserted. I find it interesting in general that commentators here think that a gov't spending money to promote patriotism is "brainwashing" and in general a bad thing. Much like pledging allegiance to the flag in the US???
Reformists are in the lead in Iranian parliamentary elections (dpa)
from the article: How school trips to Hebron resemble visits to Auschwitz