Even as they wade through a swamp of unresolved controversies on their interim peace agreement amid distrust exacerbated by a terrorist murder, Benjamin Netanyahu and Yasir Arafat face the threat of that agreement’s broader collapse at their summit near Washington this week.
For the first time, the Jewish Theological Seminary, which likes to be known as the spiritual center of Conservative Judaism, is involving itself ever so cautiously in next week’s Israeli elections. Just in time for the May17 vote, the seminary is advertising in two Israeli newspapers to gently remind Israeli voters not to forget the religious pluralism issue, which threatens to divide voters.
“VOTE WITH YOUR HEART — AND YOUR HEAD,” urges the ad slated for the May 14 edition of Haaretz and Maariv.
In the past few days, Zalman Shoval’s popularity has soared with colleagues and strangers he bumps into around his Washington office.
“There isn’t a single person in the [U.S.] State Department that hasn’t tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘thank you,’ ” related Shoval, Israel’s incoming ambassador to the United States. “It reminds me of the good old days of Israel’s restraint in the  Gulf war.”
Talk about your rocky starts. Israel’s new multi-denominational committee to create a joint religious conversion institute held its first board meeting Monday, but things immediately went wrong.
As an act of protest, the Conservative movement refused to send its official representative to the government-sponsored panel.
For Israel this week, the outbreak of war between Georgia and Russia has been all about Iran.
As Tblisi and Moscow agreed to a cease-fire Tuesday in their five-day conflict over two disputed territories, Russia was still bristling with anger over U.S. policies and statements on the issue. But thanks to Israel’s decision to limit its arms sales to Georgia, the Kremlin had only kind words for Israel, Washington’s closest ally, as the guns of war died down.
For Israel this week, it was as if nothing had changed.
One week after an official U.S. National Intelligence Estimate effectively shrank to near zero the chances of a Bush administration military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities — or President Bush’s support for an Israeli strike — Israel continued to talk up its feasibility.
1948: The First Arab-Israeli War,
by Benny Morris. (Yale University Press,
524 pages, $32.50.)
Of Israel’s first 60 years, its most important ones were arguably 1948 and 1967. Those were the seminal years that established the country’s existential viability, its collective attitude, its national borders, its dangerous demography and the problems that would shape it in the 21st Century.
Arecord pledge by a Jewish multi-billionaire has raised the ante for other Jewish philanthropists in the United States, but the exact affect on Jewish communal life of Sheldon Adelson’s gift won’t be determined for several years, according to experts.
To open a kosher restaurant, you have to lease the space, order food, buy pots and pans, train chefs in the laws of kashrut and hire a mashgiach.
In Athens on the eve of the Olympic Games, you also have to arrange for security guards.
“We’re very concerned about [security],” Rabbi Mendel Hendel said in a phone interview from Athens.