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Israel & the Near East


Military Virtue, and Virtue Military Virtue, and Virtue
Monday, February 28, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

On February 14, Benny Gantz was appointed the twentieth chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). It wasn't supposed to be that way. Yoav Galant, a decorated soldier and former head of the IDF's southern command, had been named to the position at the end of 2010.
Strange Bedfellows Strange Bedfellows
Thursday, February 24, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

To the already boiling Middle East cauldron, add the prospect of new bilateral relations between two powers that have historically kept each other at arm's length: Egypt (Sunni, Arab, lately a client of the United States) and Iran (Shiite, Persian, patron of Hizballah and Hamas). One bone of contention between them has long been the Jewish state of Israel.
The Athens & Jerusalem Two-Step The Athens & Jerusalem Two-Step
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The eastern Mediterranean is in a state of serious flux. Historically, under such volatile conditions, old bonds tend to dissolve and new partnerships to emerge. The present is no exception. One example of this is Greece's surprising new friendship with Israel and its outreach to the American Jewish community.
Thankless in Turtle Bay Thankless in Turtle Bay
Friday, February 18, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

After more than six months of internal squabbling, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Israel Beitenu) have, at last, agreed to dispatch the seasoned diplomat Ron Prosor as Israel's ambassador to the United Nations.  But what, realistically, can any Israeli ambassador hope to achieve at the UN?
Who is Uri Avnery, and Why Does He Matter? Who is Uri Avnery, and Why Does He Matter?
Friday, February 4, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Jerusalem's decision in the early 1990's to admit Yasir Arafat and his fellow thugs into the heart of the land of Israel proved to be one of the country's major political blunders, paid for in the coin of a five-year terror war that traumatized Israeli society and transformed the dream of Israeli-Palestinian peace into an extended nightmare.  How did it happen?
Calling David Ben-Gurion Calling David Ben-Gurion
Thursday, February 3, 2011 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Times like these tend to remind us what a rare thing is great statesmanship. How many leaders are capable of wedding long-term vision with the nuts and bolts of politics and institutions, let alone an understanding of great historical forces with the will to shape them and the wisdom to know the will's limits?
Frail Reeds? Frail Reeds?
Wednesday, February 2, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Observing Egypt's current upheaval, a writer for the Hebrew daily Makor Rishon has ventured the thought that whatever happens there, and no matter who takes power, "the lesson for Israel is clear: Arab regimes cannot be trusted."
A Zionist Who’s Who A Zionist Who’s Who
Thursday, January 20, 2011 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The state of Israel, like the Zionist movement in all its forms—political, cultural, artistic, religious—was an astounding collective creation. The famous names are known, as are the slightly less famous.  But what about all the others?
The Persian Puzzle The Persian Puzzle
Wednesday, January 12, 2011 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

A synagogue in today's Jerusalem bears the name "Hajji Yehezkel." Yehezkel is Ezekiel, and Hajji is the Persian term for one who has fulfilled the Islamic precept of going on pilgrimage to Mecca. Who was this Ezekiel, and how did he earn his improbable honorific?
Press Freedom, Israeli-Style Press Freedom, Israeli-Style
Tuesday, January 11, 2011 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

If, as Walter Lippmann wrote, the newspaper is the bible of democracy, the land of the Bible is exceptionally well endowed with that precious commodity.
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Editors' Picks
The Seed of Israel David Ellenson, Jewish Review of Books. He has been accused of heresy and expelled from Shas, but Haim Amsalem's lenient approach to conversion in Israel may yet be a blueprint for a more unified nation.
Dividing the Waters Susan Hattis Rolef, Jerusalem Post. A new French report on water usage in the Jordan Valley allows political bias against Israel to mask the real challenges of water conservation facing every country in the region.
Cyberwar Eli Lake, Daily Beast. The Arab-Israeli conflict is normally fought with Katyusha rockets and Merkava tanks, but the conflict's latest weapon is a botnet.
Kosher Jesus Gil Student, Torah Musings. Shmuley Boteach's strategy is a familiar one—reject the Gospels and strip Christianity of its beliefs. It is, in fact, an old form of polemic. (And Boteach's reaction to media coverage of his book is telling.)      
After Tal Jerusalem Post. The "melting pot" ethos, which aimed to resocialize young soldiers, has been replaced by a softer, multicultural approach—as a result of which, more Haredim have been integrated into the IDF, and more are joining.
How Fruitful? Shmuel Rosner, New York Times. By funding IVF for women in their fifties and now requiring women who want to give birth at home to prove their sanity, is Israel taking its involvement in procreation a little too far?
The Bad Samaritan Amy-Jill Levine, Biblical Archeology Society. You can't understand the story of the Good Samaritan without knowing that a Samaritan was the last kind of person to whom a Jew would look for help.
Israel's Indian Connection Marc Sloman, Ynet. The highest-ranking Indian official in a decade is about to visit Israel. His trip is another step in India's 20-year journey out of Third World socialism.
Analyzing Ashkelon Sam Roberts, New York Times. Science is revolutionizing the study of ancient Ashkelon—revealing mysterious cylinders as parts of ancient looms, proving that what we thought were palaces may really have been stables.
UN-occupied Hillel C. Neuer, Jerusalem Post. Now that even Hamas accepts that Gaza is not occupied territory, why does the UN persist in claiming that it is?