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History & Politics

Guaranteed in America Guaranteed in America
Friday, October 22, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Why should the Netanyahu government place any faith in the incentives offered by President Barack Obama in return for an extension of the moratorium on settlement construction? So grumble some Israelis, pointing for added emphasis to Obama's refusal to honor an earlier, Bush-administration pledge to Ariel Sharon.
Bi-Polar Europe Bi-Polar Europe
Tuesday, October 19, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Last month, Western intelligence services uncovered a plot by Arab men holding European citizenship to carry out simultaneous shooting strikes in France, Germany, and Britain.  The United States apparently thwarted the attacks in a targeted killing campaign using drone aircraft against suspected Taliban- and al-Qaeda-backed terrorists along the Pakistan-Afghan border.
All in the (Economic) Family All in the (Economic) Family
Friday, October 15, 2010 by Sam Siegel | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

"PM Orders Panel to Attack Economic Concentration," read the headline of a news story in the October 14 Haaretz. The high-level body, appointed by Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is tasked with proposing legislation to increase competition, restrict "large-scale pyramid-type holdings in public companies," and take other steps to improve stability and efficiency in the country's economy. Some worry that the move will fail, or that the hour is already too late. And thereby hangs a tale.
Rav Ovadia Rav Ovadia
Tuesday, October 12, 2010 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

One of the more outsized personalities in Israel's history is Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the longtime head of the Shas political party, who has just marked his ninetieth birthday.  The foreign public knows of him, vaguely, as a right-wing fanatic. But the truth and perhaps the tragedy of the man are far more complicated and fascinating.
The J Street Scandal The J Street Scandal
Monday, October 11, 2010 by Benjamin Kerstein | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The recent scandal involving the lobbying group J Street, a liberal organization founded in 2008 that bills itself as "pro-Israel and pro-peace," may seem to some like a tempest in a teapot. In fact it is very significant, especially to anyone concerned about Israel, its future, and its relationship to the United States.
The Unlovable Avigdor Lieberman The Unlovable Avigdor Lieberman
Wednesday, October 6, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Avigdor Lieberman's September 28 speech at the UN General Assembly—delivered in English and broadcast live by Al-Jazeera—was not well received at home. Nahum Barnea, the doyen of Israeli left-wing columnists, dismissed his country's foreign minister as a "clown." The editors of Haaretz urged his prompt resignation.
Religion and the IDF Religion and the IDF
Monday, October 4, 2010 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Profound changes have been occurring in the officer ranks of the Israel Defense Force, and not everybody is happy about them; some, in fact, are downright alarmed. The figures tell the story: back in 1990, kippah-wearing soldiers from the country's "national-religious" community—that is, religious Jews distinguished by their deep attachment to Zionism, Israeli nationalism, and, in many cases, the settlement enterprise—comprised a mere 2.5 percent of graduates from the army's course for infantry officers. In 2007, the figure peaked at more than 31 percent, a number totally out of proportion with the number of religious-national soldiers serving in IDF infantry...
Mr. Abbas, Tear Down This Wall! Mr. Abbas, Tear Down This Wall!
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 by Sol Stern | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

While the world's headlines focus with exaggerated alarm on Israel's lifting of its ten-month building freeze within Jewish West Bank settlements, an issue of far greater moment for the prospects of peace in the Middle East goes determinedly unaddressed. This is the matter of the "right of return" of Palestinian refugees—a subject on which the Obama administration, a fierce promoter of the building freeze, has been strikingly silent.
Hamas Looming Hamas Looming
Monday, September 20, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Mahmoud Zahhar, a senior Hamas figure, was being ever so slightly disingenuous when he told the BBC that his movement would not attempt to halt the talks between Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu because in any case they are bound to die a natural death on their own.
A Tale of Two Lobbies A Tale of Two Lobbies
Wednesday, September 8, 2010 by Ruth R. Wisse | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The problem of the Arab-Israel conflict begins with the term itself, which misrepresents the unilateral Arab war against Israel as a bilateral dispute. Unilateral aggression is not unheard of—when did Poland ever aggress against Germany or Russia?—but nothing in United Nations history compares in intensity or fixity with Arab belligerence toward Israel, a UN member state. 
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Editors' Picks
The Myth of Sepharad Teresa Calders, Esperança Valls, Catalan International View. Although Jews of Iberian origin are now referred to as Sephardi, the Jews of the Kingdom of Aragon shared neither language nor liturgy with their brethren in Castile and Andalusia.
Israel's un-Bernanke , Jerusalem Post. While most central banks have reduced interest rates to record lows to maintain housing prices, the Bank of Israel’s Stanley Fischer has resisted following suit.  Will he stay the course?
Stalin’s Jewish Spies Baruch Sterman, Rarest Blue. While Stalin was persecuting their coreligionists at home, a disproportionate number of Jews dutifully served him by spying on America’s nuclear research.
Crypto-Jews vs. the Catholic Church Paul Foer, Chananette Pascal Cohen, JNS. As Hispanic Crypto-Jews rediscover their spiritual heritage, many have also discovered the material heritage stolen from them—and could sue the Catholic Church to get it back.
Worlds in Collision Steven Shapin, London Review of Books. When Immanuel Velikovsky sought to explain biblical events in terms of astronomy, he ended up in a violent collision with the scientific establishment. 
The Age of Islamism Hussein Agha, Robert Malley, New York Review of Books. Far from being a democratic revolution, the fall of autocracies across the Arab world represents Islamism’s final victory over Arab nationalism—and the beginning of a project to restore the caliphate.
Saving Sergeant Netanyahu Mitch Ginsburg, Times of Israel. Following his late brother Yoni to become a commando, Benjamin Netanyahu almost met Yoni's fate in his first battle: “I was nearly killed in a firefight inside the Suez Canal. I mean that literally.”
Get Carter? Jonathan Neumann, Standpoint. Americans might have thought they had dispensed with Jimmy Carter in 1980. But Ruthie Blum argues that Obama does a pretty good impression when it comes to the Middle East.
Forging Ahead Hershel Shanks, Bible History Daily. What do you do when the geologists say your ancient inscription is genuine but the philologists say it's a forgery?  Trust that lesser-known academic quality—common sense. 
Obama, Romney, and the Jews Ruth R. Wisse, Wall Street Journal. Voters will not necessarily have Israel in mind—but for those who do, the choice has never seemed clearer.