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Israel & the Near East


Returning to Pearl Harbor Returning to Pearl Harbor
Wednesday, December 7, 2011 by Micah Stein | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

On Sunday, December 7, 1941, Vernon Olsen was a 21-year-old seaman assigned to mess hall duty aboard the USS Arizona, a battleship moored in the calm waters of Pearl Harbor.  At 7:55 that morning, the ship's air raid alarm sounded.
The Evil Inclination The Evil Inclination
Monday, December 5, 2011 by Raphael Magarik | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The yetzer hara, usually translated "evil impulse," is an elusive rabbinic concept. The words derive from God's observation in Genesis 8:21 (paralleled earlier in 6:5) that "the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth."
From Bucharest to Jerusalem From Bucharest to Jerusalem
Friday, December 2, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The cabinet of Romania headed by Prime Minister Emil Boc came to Jerusalem on November 24 to hold a joint session with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government. Boc spoke eloquently of the two countries' common security concerns and shared views on peace and security.
Love, Marriage, and the Israeli Rabbinate Love, Marriage, and the Israeli Rabbinate
Monday, November 28, 2011 by Elli Fischer | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The organization Tzohar is fighting for the right to perform its popular "alternative" weddings in Israel. A recent dispute with the Ministry of Religious Services was apparently resolved after a media war, frantic mediation, and a high-level Knesset meeting.
In November, the Arabs Said “No” In November, the Arabs Said “No”
Monday, November 21, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

There are no uneventful months in the tortured history of the Arab-Israel conflict. November is no exception.  It was on November 2, 1917 that British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour sent Lord Rothschild a letter—the Balfour Declaration.
Israeli Intransigence? Try Palestinian Rejectionism Israeli Intransigence? Try Palestinian Rejectionism
Thursday, November 17, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The conventional wisdom in diplomatic and media circles concerning the Israeli-Arab conflict is that Israeli intransigence—especially on the building of West Bank settlements—is the dead weight that prevents the achievement of a two-state solution.
On the Road Again On the Road Again
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 by Diana Muir Appelbaum | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The chronically tense relations between the Israeli government and Bedouins in the Negev—where unrecognized villages are built, razed, and built again—are certain to grow even more tense with the Israeli Cabinet's recent approval of a plan that will recognize about half these villages but demolish the other half.
Finally, a Palestinian “Peace Now”? Finally, a Palestinian “Peace Now”?
Monday, November 14, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

What if a group of youthful Palestinian activists, fed up with Hamas and Fatah for leading the Palestinian Arabs over and over down bloody, self-defeating dead ends, were to emerge as a new political and social force—something like a Palestinian "Peace Now"?
Ladies in Waiting Ladies in Waiting
Wednesday, November 2, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The winter session of the Knesset began this week and, in what is surely a sign of the times, two of its most closely watched stories involve female political leaders.  One is a rising star; the other is struggling to stay alive.
The Great Orthodox Comeback The Great Orthodox Comeback
Tuesday, November 1, 2011 by Lawrence Grossman | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The resurgence of Orthodoxy may be the most profound, and is certainly the most surprising, transformation of Judaism in the past 60 years. 
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Editors' Picks
In Defense of Jewish Nationalism Robert Wolfe, New English Review. The Jewish national movement is now composed of religious nationalists, secular nationalists, and Jewish loyalists. What it lacks is a conception of Jewish nationalism that can appeal to non-Jews.
Cyrus the Unappreciated Great Daniel Johnson, Standpoint. No Gentile is treated with such reverence in the Bible as Cyrus. But his example shows just how alien Iran's recent rulers are to the long history of Persia and its people.
War Diary Matti Friedman, Times of Israel. "Arab Legion reported to be trying to smoke out the Haganah who had entered underground channels . . ." Excerpts from a British clergyman's 1948 journal.
Bon Voyage? Benjamin Ivry, Forward. Flaubert and other nineteenth-century French travelers in Palestine groused about wild dogs, the hygiene of the locals, the blight of tourism, and the taste of Dead Sea water.
Haredim in the Holocaust Meir Wikler, Haaretz. While Yad Vashem downplays the experiences of the religious in the Shoah, Haredim have authored their own books and are building their own museums to teach their children and to memorialize the slain.
A “Holocaust Complex”? Yair Sheleg, Haaretz. It is not only the Israeli Right that was traumatized by the Holocaust and thus views the world with apprehension. The Israeli peace camp also has a distorted view of the world due to that very same trauma.
Israel, Where's Your Instagram? Matt Marshall, VentureBeat. Israeli entrepreneurs are hitting base hits all year long but they can't seem to get into the World Series.
Abba Eban The Mike Wallace Interview. Arnold Toynbee, says Eban, "takes the massacre of millions of our men, women and children" and "compares it to the plight of Arab refugees alive, on their kindred soil, suffering certain anguish, but of course possessed of the supreme gift of life. This equation . . . is, I think, a distortion of any historic perspective." (Video; 1958)
Philanthropy Nation? Suzanne Last Stone, Hartman Institute. For a philanthropic culture to develop in Israel, the traditional American-Israeli partnership model requires serious retooling.
Fantasy Diplomacy Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, Phillip Smyth, Haaretz. In the wake of the Arab Spring, many Israelis are hoping for a regional alliance between Israel and repressed minorities in Arab countries. But a hope it will remain.