They finally played “Hatikvah” at the Olympics.
Israel, which spent 40 years in the athletic desert, winning no medals from the country’s first appearance in the Summer Games in 1952 until Yael Arad’s silver in judo in 1992, won gold for the first time this week.
Windsurfer Gal Friedman, 28, who won a bronze medal in his Mistral sailing event in Atlanta eight years ago, took the gold on Wednesday in Athens, beating a Greek sailor by 11 points.
Your blogger has had a wonderful, spiritually uplifting visit to Israel, but you know what they say about all good things.
During a break in the International Jewish Bloggers’ Conference Sunday night, I checked in with our olim one last time to see how they had spent their first weekend and how things looked on the road ahead.
In the end, the fight over whether Reform and Conservative leaders could sit on powerful religious councils in Israel apparently turned on a Talmudic loophole. By a vote of 50-49, the Knesset this week adopted a bill crafted to keep Reform and Conservative representatives off religious councils, which dispense millions of dollars to religious institutions throughout the country.
The Palestiniansí first and greatest propaganda coup of the war was the shooting of Muhammed Al-Dura, the boy whose widely seen death in his fatherís arms at the very beginning of the war (Sept. 30, 2000) established the basic Palestinian legend: the heavily armed, trigger-happy Zionists killing the helpless, unarmed Palestinian child.
Israelís peace movement, largely dormant since Ariel Sharon was first elected prime minister three years ago, resurfaced last weekend amid calls for a political framework for peace and withdrawal from a contentious settlement in Gaza.
An estimated 4,000 Israelis took to the street Saturday night to protest Sharon's policies in a demonstration outside his Jerusalem residence.
Naomi Chazan, a former Knesset member from the left-wing Meretz Party and one of the participants, said this was the first major demonstration against Sharon.
Israel mounted a major public relations and military offensive this week both to deny Palestinian charges that it was responsible for the Gaza beach explosion that killed eight civilians last Friday and to answer a barrage of Kassam rockets Hamas fired into southern Israel following the beach deaths.
Elie Rekhess is a senior research fellow at Tel Aviv University's Moshe Dayan Center for Middle East Studies and an adviser to the Abraham Fund, which promotes coexistence between the Jews and Arabs in Israel. Born in Haifa, Rekhess, 53, served as a strategic adviser to Ehud Barak during his successful campaign for prime minister. He is currently an adviser to the Ministerial Committee on the Arabs in Israel. He was interviewed during a recent visit to the city.
Jewish Week: How has the attitude of the Arab citizens of Israel changed since the Oslo peace accords in 1993?
Surrender is usually less about treason than about exhaustion, and the Jews are an exhausted people. After centuries of being killed, there are Jews suggesting we die not with a bang but a whimper. Better to live in Canaan than in Zion; better intermarriage than to be thought intolerant; better oblivion than being eaten alive.