If the supporters of the Likud Party have their way, the Golan Heights will be on the lips of every Jewish New Yorker next month.
"Have the Golan on your table for Rosh HaShanah," is the theme of a new campaign the American Friends of Likud is launching to encourage New Yorkers to drink wine from the vineyards of the Golan Heights on the Jewish New Year. It is to remind New Yorkers of Likud's position against Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights in any peace treaty with Syria.
James Tisch this month completed the first year of his three-year term as president of UJA-Federation. He recently reflected on his tenure in a conversation with The Jewish Week.
Jewish Week: Has this year been fulfilling?
As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu openly courts pro-settler nationalists in his bid for re-election May 17, some of his biggest American supporters on the ideological right are either abandoning him or saying they are open to other candidates.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s future could lie in the hands of a millionaire Long Island rabbi and businessman who is reportedly set to testify as early as this week that he gave bribes to Olmert while Olmert served as Jerusalem’s mayor from 1999 to 2002.
It was 22 years ago that Chava Katz and 12 other young Jewish women were permitted by the Syria government to leave their homeland and travel to the United States to find a Jewish husband. Now, with Israel and Syria talking peace, she has mixed emotions.
"I hope they do it," she said of the peace negotiations. "But I don't trust any Arab countries. Would I ever go back? Never! Even my husband asks me that. But I would never return because times there were very tough."
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?
Local Jewish leaders returned from a 37-hour solidarity trip to Israel this week strengthened in their resolve that, as UJA-Federation executive vice president John Ruskay put it, "We're all in this together."
He added that Israelis seemed committed to "stand firm, particularly after the prime minister had made such an offer for peace" this summer at Camp David. But Ruskay also sensed "an undercurrent of despondency. The choices are difficult and limited, and that's what makes this a crisis."
Friday, March 27th, 2009
James Besser in Washington
Pro-Israel groups are in PR high gear, trying to spin the incoming Israel government as not a problem for a peace process -minded Obama administration.
Wednesday, March 25th, 2009
James Besser in Washington
There was plenty of Mideast news this week, starting with the dramatic decision by Labor Party leader Ehud Barak (this Barak v. Barack business is going to hard on journalists who trust their spell checkers) to join a new government led by Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu. But you’d never know it by listening to President Barack Obama’s prime-time press conference last night.
Does the resumption this week of rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, in violation of the fragile and unofficial truce between Hamas and Jerusalem, signal a Hamas endorsement of Bibi Netanyahu for Israeli prime minister?
That’s the likely effect of renewed attacks on Israel on the eve of next Tuesday’s national elections. The rockets underscore that despite the beating Hamas took last month, the terror group still rules Gaza and can still make life miserable for Israelis, especially those living in the south.
Young Families, Singles Flocking to Upper East Side; ‘The Memory Is In Their Taste Buds’: The Lure of Sephardic Food; Safra Synagogue Rabbi’s Growing Empire; Sephardic And Egalitarian at B’nai Jeshurun; Giving Voice to Sephardic Music.