International pressure causing some Israelis to question sanctions.
Tel Aviv—Amid heavy international pressure on the issue, domestic political support for Israel’s economic blockade of the Gaza Strip border passages has badly frayed.
Once confined largely to the Israeli left, criticism of a policy that banned basic goods such as fresh meat, margarine and plaster has spread to security hawks who acknowledge the closure is not serving its original policy goal of weakening Hamas. That may make it easier politically for the government to make concessions on a blockade that, until now, has enjoyed widespread popular support.
British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: the Jewish people will continue to thrive if we maintain our pride and develop a sense of optimism.
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Listening to British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks deliver a positive message of Jewish survival and triumph at Lincoln Square Synagogue on Shabbat, and observing the enthusiastic, attentive overflow crowds at each of his three presentations, helped strengthen the impression for me that he has emerged as the leading voice of Modern Orthodoxy and religious Zionism in the world.
AIPAC policy conferences – the annual pro-Israel extravaganzas meant to spotlight the power of the pro-Israel lobby group – are always the most interesting in presidential election years, or when they're a big fight brewing over U.S. foreign policy.
Jericho, West Bank — Dressed in freshly pressed uniforms, officers stroll through the new school toting briefcases stuffed with course packs for classes in information technology and Hebrew.
Wake-up is at 5 a.m., and the daily schedule includes lineups, weight training and lectures. It is a place of order, discipline and timetables — concepts not usually associated with the Palestinian security forces.
Jerusalem — While British Prime Minister Tony Blair practically did cartwheels to avoid courting controversy during his visit to Israel this week, New York City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, also on a whirlwind tour, took no such precautions.
As I write this blog, President Bush is making his way to Jerusalem (where I am), to participate in Israeli President Shimon Peres’ “Conference on Tomorrow.” The conference itself is quite amazing. Just this afternoon, Tony Blair chaired a session on visions of the future with Mikhail Gorbachev and some nineteen other heads of state in attendance (all in celebration of Israel’s 60th!). It was heady stuff! And tomorrow, out of the blue of the western sky (let’s see who gets that reference!), comes our own President to join the festivities.
In a surprising move, a leader of Brooklyn's large, generally hawkish Syrian Jewish community has lambasted Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for refusing to talk with Syria, as pressure built on multiple fronts on Washington and Jerusalem to dialogue with Damascus.
Jack Avital, a longtime confidante of Ariel Sharon and chairman of the Sephardic National Alliance, told The Jewish Week last week he planned to publish an open letter to Olmert laying out his case against Israel's rejection of such talks to the Syrian Jewish community.
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.