These words and phrases recall some of the challenges and controversies that cropped up for Israel and the Jewish community in 2010, a year of increasing assaults on Jerusalem’s legitimacy on an international scale, and blame from Washington for the lack of progress in Mideast peace efforts.
My last blog, posted on Tuesday, posed the question of what Prime Minister Netanyahu’s strategy is regarding peace talks with the Palestinians. That question remains, even more so today, but I stand corrected on one conclusion I drew.
I noted that Mideast experts are baffled by the Israeli leader’s seeming willingness to press ahead in negotiations, including the possibility of ceding West Bank land, while at the same time holding fast on the right to build in the settlements, and quickening the pace of construction.
Does Bibi really want a deal with the Palestinian Authority?
That’s the question Mideast observers, here and in Israel, are asking more and more these days, and they are baffled.
There are those who feel the Israeli prime minister genuinely is interested in negotiations that would include ceding territory to the Palestinians, as long as there were security talks for Israel as well. At least, they say, that’s what Netanyahu told President Obama this summer during White House talks that seemed to go well.
This morning Associated Press reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to “press President Barack Obama to release” convicted spy Jonathan Pollard “in a formal and public manner."
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Israeli-Palestinian talks were reportedly at an impasse over Israel's insistence on a continued military presence when a dispute over settlements ended them.
Newsweek, quoting negotiators from each side, reported Monday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted that the Palestinians accept Israel's "security concept" before discussing any other topic.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Over 750 rabbis and cantors of all denominations signed a letter urging their Israeli colleagues to speak out against a ruling by 39 municipal rabbis banning renting to non-Jews.
"The recent halakhic ruling from community rabbis in Israel that forbids leasing apartments to non-Jews has caused great shock and pain in our communities," said the letter, initiated by the New Israel Fund. "The attempt to root discriminatory policies based on religion or ethnicity in Torah is a painful distortion of our tradition."
In the next few days you're going to hear a lot of spin about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's speech to the Saban Center for Middle East Policy on Friday night – the first major administration pronouncement since it abandoned its efforts to win a 90 day extension of Israel's settlement moratorium in return for a rich package of incentives, a deal they hoped would lure the Palestinians back to the negotiating table.