Tag: Arab-Israeli Conflict

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The Bible has multiple descriptions of “watchmen on the wall” and their purpose. For example: Isaiah 62:6: On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all the day and all the night they shall never be silent. You who put the Lord in remembrance, take no rest, Ezekiel 3: 17-19: Son of man, I have made you a […]

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When I worked for an international consulting firm in Boston in the late 90’s through early 2000, I met some interesting people from around the world – the best and brightest in all fields – manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, hi-tech, aerospace and defense. I worked in a supportive capacity and my job was different every day. I […]

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“People who had come to worship God in the sanctuary of a synagogue were hatcheted and hacked and murdered in that holy place in an act of pure terror and senseless brutality and murder.” I thank the secretary of state for his refreshing moral clarity regarding the attackers and victims.  Preview Open

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A Report From Jerusalem

 

My car being in the shop, I took the bus to Jerusalem this morning. At about 7:15 AM, waiting at the corner of Bar-Ilan and Shmuel HaNavi for the bus to the campus, I heard a police siren. One siren, and you think “traffic accident,” but when six or seven more follow it with drivers honking wildly as they force their way through the backed-up traffic light, you know something is drastically wrong. Whatever it was, it was not close by, but anxiety showed on many faces waiting there, most with cellphones open to call family or check the internet.

On the bus, the driver turned up the volume so we could hear the news, and thus I learned of the attack in Har Nof. That is a “religious” — in Israel, it means “strictly Orthodox” — neighborhood, with synagogues, seminaries for men and women, schools, and large families. My late in-laws used to live near where the attack took place; I have friends who live there now, and several women from my community go there frequently for Torah classes.

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The horrific images we’re seeing in the Middle East belie the larger truth. The Middle East is at its most promising moment since at least the fall of the Ottoman Empire a century ago. Most in the MidEast are primarily concerned with protecting themselves from Jihadists. This includes the Sunni and Shiite Jihadists themselves, who […]

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     I don’t know that much about Joan Rivers.  I know she’s a famous comedian, has been around for decades, and has had a ton of plastic surgery done (which I find creepy).  But I’ve never watched her in anything or her stand-up.      But she’s my hero for today.   Joan Rivers […]

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Martyrdom is not a central theological concept in Judaism. But given the span and scope of post-exilic Jewish history, the fact of Jewish martyrdom is inescapable. So the Sabbath prayer service includes a brief appeal on behalf of martyrs’ memory: Compassionate Father, who dwells on high, in His deep compassion may He remember the pious, […]

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America and Israel: Sentiment and Strategy

 

shutterstock_170342135I was recently at a dinner party in mixed company. The political views of my fellow diners ranged across the spectrum from archconservative to radically liberal. I prefer the sort of arrangement. I’m a bit of a contrarian and I find nothing more tedious than agreement. This is particularly so when, as in this case, everyone at the table is intelligent and articulate.

Because we were a politically minded group, the topics focused mostly on current events, including Ukraine, the Obamacare rollout, and the latest Supreme Court decision on affirmative action. Eventually conversation turned toward the recently failed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and, inevitably, to a discussion of settlements and the Israeli-Palestinian dispute generally.

Opinion at the table was fairly evenly divided, with conservatives taking a staunchly pro-Israeli stance and the liberals (with the exception of one of my friends who is Jewish) taking a more sympathetic view of the Palestinian position. I tend to side with Israel because I admire its liberal democratic values and military prowess, and I consider the Palestinian leadership to be at best corrupt and disingenuous and at worst genocidal terrorists. On settlements I’m fairly agnostic, as I have not taken the time to delve into the intricacies of the subject. To the extent that I care about the specific issue of settlements or even the larger Israeli-Palestinian dispute, it is through the lens of how it affects America and its interests.