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In the Cage of Feeling In the Cage of Feeling
Tuesday, July 27, 2010 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Last week marked the hundredth birthday of Natan Alterman, one of the greatest and most dramatic of modern Hebrew poets and, in another aspect of his persona, a compelling and strong-minded commentator on contemporary events.
The Conversion Conundrum The Conversion Conundrum
Monday, July 26, 2010 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Late last week, narrowly averting a looming crisis within world Jewry, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secured a postponement, possibly indefinite, of prospective Knesset legislation making the Chief Rabbinate the arbiter of conversion in the Jewish state and thus of who may be eligible for citizenship under Israel's foundational Law of Return. The measure has stirred impassioned debate in and between Israel and the Diaspora, much of it a depressing if also revealing exercise in talking past each other.
The Lone Wolf The Lone Wolf
Friday, July 23, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The 70th yahrzeit of Vladimir Ze'ev Jabotinsky (1880-1940) was marked on July 11, at Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem, by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres. There was nary a mention of it in the Israeli media—an extraordinary omission given that Jabotinsky was not only a founder of the Haganah and the supreme commander of the Irgun but also a towering Zionist theoretician and leader.
All That (Israeli) Jazz All That (Israeli) Jazz
Thursday, July 22, 2010 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Add jazz to the growing list of fields in which Israelis are taking their place among the international elite.  As the American magazine JazzTimes gushed in May 2008, "When it comes to jazz, Israel is the source of an almost miraculous outpouring of talent."
Another Madoff Casualty? Another Madoff Casualty?
Wednesday, July 21, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Shrunken and wizened, the American Jewish Congress lies on its evident death bed, debilitated by a loss of raison d'être as much as by Bernard Madoff's financial depredations. Under the circumstances, reflections on the spotty record of its approach to Jewish life, or on waste and duplication in the alphabet soup of the Jewish organizational world, may forgivably give way to a brief look at the once-proud agency's origins and purposes.  
Who’s Against a Two-State Solution? Who’s Against a Two-State Solution?
Tuesday, July 20, 2010 by Efraim Karsh | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

"Two states, living side by side in peace and security." This, in the words of President Barack Obama, is the solution to the century-long conflict between Jews and Palestinian Arabs in the Middle East. Washington is fully and determinedly on board. So are the Europeans. The UN and the "international community" vociferously agree. Successive governments of the state of Israel have shown their support for the idea. So far, there is—just as there has always been—only one holdout.
UNIFIL: Peacekeepers or Enablers? UNIFIL: Peacekeepers or Enablers?
Thursday, July 15, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The response of the civilized world to events in southern Lebanon—where Hizballah, in preparation for its next act of aggression, is reportedly digging tunnels at the border with northern Israel—is doubly revealing. It says much about the non-enforcement of international law in an area dominated by Islamist irregular forces. And it is a reliable indicator of what might happen if, in the event of an agreement between the Palestinian leadership and Israel, international peacekeepers were to be stationed in the West Bank and Gaza.
In the Garden of Eden In the Garden of Eden
Wednesday, July 14, 2010 by Aryeh Tepper | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

The history of Israeli visual art begins, long before the establishment of the state, with the 1903 opening of Bezalel, an undersized but ambitious art and design school in Jerusalem. A little over a century later, Israel is bursting with academies, museums, galleries, architectural sites, and artists of all kinds. Or almost all kinds.
“A Simple Jew” “A Simple Jew”
Tuesday, July 13, 2010 by Yehudah Mirsky | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Last Friday, several thousand people gathered in Jerusalem for the funeral of Rabbi Yehuda Amital, an extraordinarily complex figure whose journey took him from prewar Hungary, via the Holocaust and the 1948 War of Independence, to the elite of the rabbinic world, the heart of Israel's military, the hilltops of Judea, and eventually the Israeli cabinet. Throughout, the yeshiva he founded and led, and the ideal of Torah study it embodied, were central to his life and teaching.
The Arab Peace Initiative The Arab Peace Initiative
Monday, July 12, 2010 by Elliot Jager | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Among the things remaining unclear in the aftermath of the visit to Washington last week of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the next negotiating move of the Palestinians.  President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority has warned that if his objectives in the "proximity talks" mediated by the U.S. are not achieved by mid-September, he will ask the Arab League to press harder with its 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. This document has become part of the verbiage of international declarations on the Arab-Israel conflict. According to the American envoy George Mitchell, it has also been incorporated into the Obama...
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Editors' Picks
Europe’s Zionist Anti-Semites Charles Hawley, Spiegel. Although Europe’s hard Right parties remain hostile to European Jewry, they are equally critical of the EU’s unsympathetic approach to Israel—and have gone to Israel to say so.       
All Quiet on the Hamas Front? Moran Stern, Atlantic. While Gaza’s terrorist overlords remain implacably opposed to the very existence of the Jewish state, over the last fifteen months Israel and Hamas have found themselves facing common enemies.
A Martyr’s Death for Arafat? Alex Fishman, YNet. Despite the most recent conspiracy theory, Fatah’s old guard has much greater reason to claim that Yasser Arafat was poisoned than Israel ever had to assassinate him.
Attacking Israel Online Ben Cohen, Commentary. Ironically, charting both the writings and the career trajectories of devoted anti-Zionists makes a uniquely strong case for the continued existence and protection of the Jewish state.
Pius the Pious? , Washington Post. Under pressure from the Vatican, Yad Vashem now presents Pope Pius XII’s silence during the Holocaust as an attempt to protect the Church—and, by extension, the Jews.  
Bibi the Backtracker Nahum Barnea, YNet. By disbanding the committee that he set up to find a replacement for the Tal Law, Bibi has shown that while he may still believe that Haredim should serve, he would prefer them to prop up his premiership.
Bibi the Balancer , Jerusalem Post. With the Keshev Committee threatening to destroy all the progress that has been made with the Haredi community in the last decade, Bibi had no option but to go back to the drawing board.
The Man Who Stood Alone Matti Friedman, Times of Israel. Yitzhak Shamir fled Poland for Palestine, determined to live his commitment to Jewish self-reliance.  He did so with unswerving vision, until his death this past Saturday. 
Roots of the Right Elliot Jager, Jewish Ideas Daily. Despite Ben-Gurion’s attempts to silence Begin, the uncompromising commitment to peace and security upheld by Begin, Shamir, and now Netanyahu came to win the hearts of the Israeli people.
Who Speaks for Ultra-Orthodoxy? Shmarya Rosenberg, Failed Messiah. Two men filed complaints at an Israeli police station. One was the outgoing director of a Haredi newspaper; the other was the paper’s new director.  Each accused the other of assault.