Jerusalem — Before the final press event of Condoleezza Rice’s latest four-day visit in the Middle East, stride piano blues piped into the room perked up a news conference hall half-full with journalists yawning at the early hour and the U.S.’s latest attempt at high profile Arab-Israeli diplomacy. Call it the shuttling secretary stomp.
Tel Aviv — Boaz Levy couldn’t recall the last time he had been to a peace rally.
As demonstrators filed past the street bench where he rested after a 120,000-strong demonstration Saturday night supporting a unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, Levy explained that the dejection from three and a half years of daily violence stifled any motivation to speak out.
Yakum, Israel — It’s been nearly 16 months since the guns along the border with Lebanon have fallen silent, but the last chapter in Israel’s bungled war against Hezbollah has yet to be closed.
The political fate of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the emotional baggage of dozens of bereaved parents will be riding on the conclusions of the Winograd Commission’s report on the war, which are scheduled to be released on Jan. 30.
Hila, Israel — Amid a flurry of reports about possible progress in prisoner-swap talks to secure the release of kidnapped Israeli Cpl. Gilad Shalit, his father Noam says he won’t get his hopes up despite signs of encouragement.
“It has only just started to move. It hasn’t reached an agreement. It has a much longer road to go,” he told The Jewish Week in an interview at the Shalit family home in this northern Israel hamlet.
Jerusalem — As Israelis lined up at hardware stores this week to buy plastic sheeting and rolls of adhesive tape to seal rooms against possible chemical or biological agents, Liora Abramson was taking things in stride — for now.
“We’re feeling really, really calm. If it weren’t for the news reports on TV, I wouldn’t know that a war might be looming,” said Abramson, 21, whose family moved from Borough Park, Brooklyn, to Tel Aviv eight years ago.
Jerusalem — There were a few spots available this week in the gated parking lot outside the Hebrew University’s Givat Ram campus. That’s about the only good news that has so far come out of the strike by 4,500 senior faculty members of the country’s seven universities, the longest such strike in the country’s history.
Launched in October, just after the start of the new semester (and five months after university students waged a strike) the faculty strike has wreaked havoc in an already troubled higher education system.
Albert Einstein’s combination of scientific genius, humility, good humor and distinctive grooming made him a cultural icon. An illuminating exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History provides remarkably lucid explanations of the shock-headed scientist’s theories that changed the way light, time, energy and gravity are understood.
“Einstein” also demonstrates how the Nobel Prize-winning physicist used his celebrity to promote his other passionate concerns: pacifism, socialism, disarmament and Zionism.
On the eve of Israel Independence Day in 1967, Dov Lichtenberg went with friends to the Israel Song Festival in Jerusalem. There, Naomi Shemer’s new song, "Jerusalem of Gold" was first performed by an unknown young singer named Shuli Natan. Later, after midnight, the 25-year-old student received word of his mobilization for army service from a colleague at the university. "It’s not a drill; it’s a real war," he said to the person who handed him the order.
A visit to Sotheby’s during the ten-day exhibit of the Valmadonna Trust Library, which ended last Thursday, was remarkable on two levels - the contents themselves, and the outpouring of New Yorkers who came to see them.