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Monday, August 16, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Celebrating its Independence Day on August 15, the nation of India marked 63 years since the end of British rule in the sub-continent. In light of the two countries' more or less contemporaneous struggle for self-determination in the immediate aftermath of World War II, one might have thought that India would establish close ties with the newly born state of Israel straightaway. It did not happen.
The New Israel Museum The New Israel Museum
Friday, August 13, 2010 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

An expanded and revamped Israel Museum re-opened to the public in late July after three years of renovations. While the modest architecture remains as it was, the modernist cubes rolling with the Jerusalem landscape, the jumble of buildings has been streamlined: 25,000 square feet of exhibition space have been added, but the number of items on display has been reduced by a third. Overall, the design is significantly more user-friendly, with a spacious new entrance hall leading to the museum's remarkable collections, including its three most significant wings: archeology, Jewish art and life, and fine art.
Rank Rivalries Rank Rivalries
Wednesday, August 11, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

A bare majority of Americans know that General David Petraeus commands U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Fewer, surely, would be able to name Navy Admiral Mike Mullen as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In Israel, by contrast, the chief of the general staff of the country's defense forces is a household name—for he is the unique individual in public life who is single-mindedly focused on military security, the reassuring figure, above the political fray, to whom Israelis can look with confidence at times of threat to their national safety.
The Stranger Among You The Stranger Among You
Monday, August 9, 2010 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Last week the Israeli cabinet granted status to 800 children of guest workers while, pending appeal, ordering the deportation of 400 others. In the ensuing public reaction, some thought the measure too severe, others too generous. No surprise there: as Western Europeans and Americans well know, the problem of migrant labor is by no means unique to Israel. But each situation has arisen out of specific constellations of history, policy, and circumstance—and, in Israel, an added dimension is the complex relationship among the longstanding societal values of work, solidarity, and Zionism.
The New Shimon Peres The New Shimon Peres
Thursday, August 5, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Marking his eighty-seventh birthday this week, Israel's president flew to Cairo for a two-hour meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, captured headlines in Britain for his frank talk about British attitudes toward Jews and Zionism, visited bereaved military families, and welcomed new North American immigrants at Ben-Gurion airport. Perceived not so long ago as among Israel's most polarizing and untrustworthy figures, Shimon Peres nowadays enjoys unprecedented status. A politician who once mercilessly undermined prime ministers Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin stands loyally behind Benjamin Netanyahu while speaking publicly as an above-the-fray statesman.
The Kook Perplex The Kook Perplex
Wednesday, August 4, 2010 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In late May, a file began to circulate on the Internet of a lengthy and hitherto-unknown work by Abraham Isaac Kook (1865-1935), one of the greatest and most consequential of modern Jewish thinkers. Though he died 75 years ago, Kook's provocative ideas still play a pivotal role in contemporary Israeli political and religious debates, and the long-playing controversies surrounding his literary estate reflect something of the aura of his mystical personality and teachings. This latest revelation, and the round of polemics spurred by it, illustrate some enduringly high-voltage issues within Jewish life today.
Violent Diversions Violent Diversions
Tuesday, August 3, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Time and again, troubles within the Arab world have increased the chances of aggression against Israel. Case in point: Hizballah's assassination of Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri, the country's chief Sunni figure, on February 14, 2005, resulted in a period of severe political pressure on the terrorist Shi'ite movement and its Syrian ally, presumed complicit in the murder. Only when Hizballah sent its gunmen across the border into Israel on July 12, 2006, seizing two Israeli soldiers and sparking a 34-day conflagration, was world attention diverted from the crime and could Hizballah buy the time it needed to solidify its position...
Loving and Leaving Europe Loving and Leaving Europe
Friday, July 30, 2010 by Allan Nadler | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

According to a recent report in the European press, dozens of French Jews who, in the aftermath of World War II, were compelled to adopt Gallic-sounding names are now demanding to be allowed to revert to their Jewish originals. There is a deep irony here: the supposedly Jewish names being reclaimed are in fact the artificial and often arbitrary ones originally imposed in 1787 by the Austrian emperor, Joseph II, as part of his larger aim of integrating the Jews of Central Europe into Germanic society and culture.
Mainline Protestants and Israel Mainline Protestants and Israel
Thursday, July 29, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

So enamored are today's mainline Protestant churches with the Palestinian Arab "narrative" that they seem to have altogether forgotten, or denied, their own prior history of support for Israel and Zionism. Indeed, some of them appear to be trying to derail the Zionist enterprise altogether.
On Peace, Freedom, and Democracy On Peace, Freedom, and Democracy
Wednesday, July 28, 2010 by Natan Sharansky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

By Natan Sharansky Editors' Note: We present here two statements by Natan Sharansky—the first originally published after the September 1993 signing of the Oslo accords, the second written on the eve of Israel's disengagement from Gaza in 2005. Each foresees failure, and each proposes a better path toward peace between Israel and the Palestinians. We reproduce the statements now in light of the subsequent history of those two earlier experiments, and with an eye to the current diplomatic push to forge, or impose, still another arrangement on the same failed terms.
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Editors' Picks
The Camp David Discords Aaron David Miller, Foreign Policy. Twelve years ago this week, Clinton, Barak, and Arafat gathered for the ultimate exercise in How Not to Summit.
A Minority within a Minority Ron Kampeas, JTA. Amid the large contingent of liberal Jews with influence in Washington, the Orthodox Union’s liaison, Nathan Diament, offers the President a different perspective.
Chronic Kleptocracy Jonathan Schanzer, Foundation for Defense of Democracies. When Congress next decides how much money to apportion in international aid to the Palestinian Authority, it should take into account how much money is embezzled by Abbas. (PDF)
Yes, There is No Occupation Gil Troy, Jerusalem Post. Edmond Levy’s report, if adopted by the Israeli government, will give Israelis a legal right to settle in the West Bank. But there is a difference between “can” and “should.”
The Cyber Solution Thomas E. Levy, TEDx Talks. Given the religious, political, and sentimental history of archeology in the Holy Land, digs are often deeply contentious affairs. Can modern technology bypass the conflict on the ground? (Video)
The Story of Silwan Shaul Bartal, Middle East Quarterly. While Silwan is routinely presented as a Palestinian neighborhood being colonized by Israel, historically the village has had a strong Jewish presence—evacuated in response to Arab attacks in 1939.
Dayan’s Lesson Stephen Daisley, Standpoint. The European media may see the rise of Likud as a sign of the Israeli public’s lurch to the Right, but since Dayan and Rabin the Israeli Left has produced no one prepared to act.
The Forgotten Refugees Ron Prosor, Huffington Post. When the United Nations marks World Refugee Day this month, one group will be curiously absent from their commemorations: the 850,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries.
National Torah Service Jeremy Sharon, Jerusalem Post. For one Hasidic rebbe, ultra-Orthodox men should serve in the Israeli Defense Forces on one condition: that secular Israelis enlist in a parallel effort of Torah study.  
What Britain Really Thinks of Israel , Commentator. While David Cameron may claim that Britain is a steadfast friend of Israel, new leaked documents from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office tell a different story.