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Israel & the Near East


The Palestinian Mandela? The Palestinian Mandela?
Tuesday, August 9, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

To his Israeli backers, Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti is the "Palestinian [Nelson] Mandela."  That image—of a principled, graying freedom fighter with the courage to move his people toward reconciliation—is promoted by political and cultural figures on the Israeli Left.
Mourning, Memory, and Art Mourning, Memory, and Art
Monday, August 8, 2011 by Richard McBee | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

David Roberts (1796–1864) was a Scottish painter who in the late 1830's traveled extensively in the Levant and Egypt documenting "Orientalist" sites in drawings and watercolors. Among Roberts's paintings was a massive 1849 work, The Destruction of Jerusalem.
John Lennon and the Jews John Lennon and the Jews
Friday, August 5, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

"It's not cool to be Jewish, or Negro, or Italian. It's just cool to be alive, to be around." So said Aretha Franklin. I know, because my father used to have the soul diva's wisdom hanging on the wall of his study at home. He also used to walk around in a t-shirt with "Miscegenate" emblazoned across the chest.
Hizballah in America Hizballah in America
Thursday, August 4, 2011 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Hizballah is a Shiite Muslim movement, Iranian-created and -funded, which strongarms Lebanon through threats and violence, assaults Israel with rockets obtained through Syria in contravention of UN resolutions, and is funded through massive criminal enterprises. And it has arrived in the Americas.
Radio Israel Radio Israel
Monday, August 1, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Radio in Israel is as ubiquitous as hummus, falafel, and politics. During their morning and evening commutes, motorists as well as bus passengers (captive to the listening tastes of their drivers) are likely to be hearing either one of seven Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) affiliated stations or one of two Army Radio outlets.
No Room in Zion? No Room in Zion?
Thursday, July 28, 2011 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Tent camps are appearing across Israel in protest over the high cost of housing. The high cost of everything in Israel (recall the cottage cheese boycott earlier this year) has led to widespread economic and social dissatisfaction, with otherwise serious commentators making overheated analogies to Tahrir Square and the Arab Spring.
Minorities in the IDF Minorities in the IDF
Wednesday, July 27, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Recently, while driving by the Israeli settlement of Nokdim (where Avigdor Lieberman lives), I picked up a hitchhiking soldier. We started chatting, and I asked the soldier his name. "Mustafa," he said. "You're a Muslim?" I asked. "Yes," he answered, "from Haifa."
The State of the Arab State The State of the Arab State
Tuesday, July 26, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

From the Mashriq to the Maghreb, one end of the Arab world to the other, people are contemplating where the six-month-long upheavals that began with the Arab Spring are fated to deliver them. Those with longer memories may recall an earlier experiment at reshaping the political contours of Arab governance.
The New Biblical Archeology The New Biblical Archeology
Monday, July 25, 2011 by Alex Joffe | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Every summer, the Israel Antiquities Authority holds a reception for foreign archeological teams excavating in Israel. This year's reception was attended by over 200 archeologists, who are investigating sites ranging in age from the Paleolithic through Islamic periods.
The Loyalties of the Sephardim The Loyalties of the Sephardim
Friday, July 22, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In a recent Haaretz column, Gideon Levy, the radical leftist polemicist, sounded the warning that Israel's religious Zionists—"the knitted skullcaps"—have joined hands with the ultra-Orthodox and the Sephardim to form "a united tribe of zealots."
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Editors' Picks
Courting Change Mati Wagner, Times of Israel. As chief justice of the Israeli Supreme Court, Dorit Beinisch brought the judiciary into the thick of public debate. Her successor, Asher Grunis, will favor a new era of judicial restraint.
Chained Melody Uri Zer Aviv, Haaretz. In its heyday, the Mizrahi Orchestra numbered 36 musicians, who uniquely preserved Jewish music from the Babylonian Diaspora. But amid financial woes, its future looks bleak.
Tiptoeing Around the Tal Law Jerusalem Post. In responding to the ruling that the law which exempted Haredim from military service is unconstitutional, Netanyahu must resist the political temptation to force Haredim to serve.
The Lost Left Michael C. Kotzin, New Republic. The eyewitness accounts of late Mandate Palestine by the journalist I. F. Stone recall a time when the Left was capable of sympathizing with Palestinians without attempting to delegitimize Israel.
Losing the Temple Mount Amir Shoan, Ynet. The Muslim waqf which oversees the Temple Mount is allowing archeological sites to be bulldozed, in contravention of the law. But instead of intervening, the Israeli government is covering it up.
Madness and Messianism Chris Nashawaty, Wired. Jerusalem Syndrome, whereby visitors to the city become convinced that they are the messiah, is a recognized psychological condition. Yet Jerusalem's go-to psychiatrist still hopes one of his patients is the real deal.
My Kingdom for a Horse! Ziony Zevit, Bible History Daily. The received wisdom holds that a horse was a rare sight in ancient Israel. But new scholarship reveals that a developed chariotry formed the military backbone of both the Judean and the Israelite monarchies.
A New Kind of Enemy Mitch Ginsburg, Times of Israel. Outside of immediate family, the chances of a Jew finding a suitable bone marrow donor are slim. But by taking bone marrow samples from conscripts, the IDF is shortening the odds.
Jewish Literacy and Jewish Imagination Samuel Lebens, Haaretz. If they wish to make an impact, progressive Jewish activists and thinkers must learn to speak the language of Judaism.
Among the Insurgents Jonathan Spyer, Tablet. Smuggled into Syria, a reporter finds that the Free Syrian Army lacks leadership but is fiercely united against Bashar al-Assad and Iran.