The significance of the Federal District Court verdict here this week against the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization, awarding damages amounting to $655.5 million to victims of six terror attacks in Israel, is far more than financial. By determining, after a legal battle of more than a decade, that the Palestinian organizations were supportive of and responsible for the attacks, which killed 33 people and injured 450 others, the jury in effect was saying that the PA and PLO are involved in terrorism in Israel.
The tradition of an Israeli prime minister calling on diaspora communities to leave their native lands and “come home” to Israel — and being criticized for the effort — is not new with Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent pleas to European Jewry. It’s as old as the state itself.
In recent years the Ruderman Family Foundation, based in Boston and Israel, has emerged to play a leading role in advocating for greater inclusion of people with disabilities in Jewish life. February is Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month, a time to remind our readers that The Jewish Week’s well-read, innovative blog, “The New Normal: Blogging Disability,” highlights successes and challenges through important voices on inclusion. The writers include people with disabilities, their family members, professionals in the field and others seeking to educate the community about the practical, moral and ethical importance of inclusion.
With the community still grappling with the shocking news that FEGS (Federation Employment and Guidance Service), one of the largest Jewish nonprofits in the country, is going out of business due to a major loss of funds, there is a temptation to connect its demise to the recent troubles of other local Jewish social service agencies.
Disappointment and disillusionment seem pervasive. The prime minister of Israel and the president of the United States are engaged in an ugly, ongoing and public personal quarrel with potentially damaging effect on the Washington-Jerusalem relationship. The most powerful and public figure in New York State politics has been forced to step down as Assembly speaker, facing federal corruption charges in a case associated with a number of other Jewish names.
It’s clear that by agreeing to House Speaker John Boehner’s offer to address a joint session of Congress on March 3, a precedent-breaking move in defiance of the White House, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has made a calculated risk.