Tuesday, August 25th, 2009
I don’t know why – I’ve been doing this for a long time, after all – but I still react with surprise to each new indication that Jonathan Pollard, the convicted Israeli spy who wants out of the prison he now shares with Ponzi king Bernie Madoff, is his own worst enemy.
Case in point: a new posting on the “official” Justice for Jonathan Pollard Web site by an Israeli rabbi, who just can’t contain his admiration for Jonathan.
In the three weeks prior to May 19, the Israel Defense Forces reported 299 terror attacks ó not just bombings but shootings, knifings, assaults and hit-and-run car attacks ó among other incidents and foiled threats.
The number of Israeli casualties since September 2000, the outbreak of the second intifada, has reached 6,177, with 778 killed and 5,399 injured.
The Israeli government struggled this week to find a way to end the barrage of Palestinian Kassam rocket attacks on the western Negev city of Sderot as beleaguered residents there staged a series of protests to compel the government to act.
Although there were reports that Defense Minister Amir Peretz intended to permit a massive Air Force operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in an effort to end the rocket fire, observers said at midweek that no final decision had been made.
For the first time, a son of Safed is prime minister. All right, so Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is the Palestinian prime minister, but Israelís fate is in his hands as much as anyoneís. When he insists that peace depends on Israel recognizing the Arab right of return, heís talking about himself and heís talking about Safed.
Austrian far-right leader Joerg Haider, here to run in Sunday's New York Marathon, said he met with Jewish leaders the following day to correct "prejudicial" reports spread about him by his political enemies.
"All of the meetings ... with ethnic minorities, with Jewish groups, with representatives of the Jewish community have been really successful," he told The Jewish Week. "It makes me happy that we could show them that there is no sign of danger, that there is a sign of hope for them because we are the power to enforce democracy in Austria."
As the Labor Party reaffirmed its intention to stay out of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's new government, the chairman of the secular Shinui Party spoke of joining: and for the first time softened his demand that government handouts end for fervently Orthodox men who don't work.
"You have to do it gradually," Shinui leader Tommy Lapid told The Jewish Week. "We don't want to cause unnecessary suffering to large families. But people who are able-bodied men should go and work.
Rush Limbaugh, just before his blitz on black quarterbacks, said presidential candidates claiming Jewish ancestry is ìgetting out of hand.î Limbaugh was ticked off by reports that the retired Gen. Wesley Clark is descended from five generations of rabbis before being raised as a Christian.
When Natan Sharansky, the ex-Soviet refusenik turned hard-line Israeli cabinet minister, visited several local universities here last month, he brought a pointed message: Yasir Arafat, he told students at Columbia University and New York University, is an unrepentant ìdictatorî who is an ominous presence dooming peace and must be removed.
Charges that members of the Likud Partyís Central Committee sold their votes for cash and other favors in this month's primary (and to a lesser extent allegations of voting irregularities in the Labor Party primary) have rocked the Israeli electorate, with one poll showing that one-fifth of Israelis plan to change their vote because of it.