In a last-ditch effort to block Prime Minister Ariel Sharon from being able to form a new government after the Jan. 28 election, Labor Party leaders pledged this week not to rejoin him in another unity government.
As Israelis buried their dead following back-to-back Palestinian suicide bombings Sunday in Tel Aviv that killed 22 bystanders (seven of them foreign workers) political campaign commercials began running on Israel TV Tuesday night and analysts wondered how the terror attack and new political scandals would impact the Jan. 28 national election.
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.
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."
Despite The New York Times frequently distinguished and always-considerable attention to Jewish subjects in the last 15 years (at least), more than a few Jews continue to look upon the paper with what Elvis called ìsuspicious minds.î For most of the last century, the Times has returned the suspicion, looking upon anything Jewish with squeamishness bordering on contempt.
Saying the last 18 months have been one of the "saddest chapters in our country's history," the executive vice president of UJA-Federation detailed his organization's struggle to deal with the impact of welfare reform.
"I can report to you the panic that ensued" as legal immigrants here more than five years realized they would lose Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid and food stamps, Stephen Solender told a recent UJA-Federation-sponsored legislative breakfast.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D- Vt.(), the Senate Judiciary chairman, has attached hate crimes legislation to the defense authorization bill.
That’s good news for a bunch of Jewish groups, starting with the Anti-Defamation League, which have been pressing for the legislation – which would broaden existing federal hate crimes laws to include crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability – for a decade.
Curtis Sliwa isn’t Jewish. But you’d be hard pressed to find a more passionate defender of Israel and just about any other Jewish cause. And he’s probably been the guest of honor at more Jewish institution dinners than many a Jewish politician.
Twenty four hours after Sen. Arlen Specter’s defection from the Republicans to the Democrats, you can see the spin machines on both sides of the aisle grinding out what they hope will become the central narratives of this political game changer. Yesterday the leading Jewish Democrats and Republicans offered the Jewish Week what turned out to be perfect distillations of their respective parties’ Specter spins.