Dovish groups repeat like a mantra the claim that a majority of Jews here, as well as in Israel, still support some kind of peace process and the “painful concessions” Israeli leaders say are necessary to make that happen.
But clearly, that patience is wearing thin as the bitter fruit of the Gaza pullout and last year’s wars continue to affect the citizens of Israel — and undermine hopes among Jews everywhere for a genuine and sustainable peace in the region.
Israel’s nationwide teachers’ strike is in its sixth week, and the situation is outrageous and embarrassing. It should be intolerable for a government to allow 400,000 students to still be home in December. But the walkout is indicative of the crisis in the country’s once proud education system, now given failing grades by experts.
Underpaid teachers are demanding smaller classes and a 20 percent increase in salary. At present, 40 students or more are often squeezed into classrooms with only one teacher.
The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which downplayed the immediacy of the Iranian nuclear threat and claimed that Tehran suspended its weapons program in 2003, exploded like a charge of TNT in Washington’s foreign policy establishment this week. On the left, there was a collective “I told you so” as analysts portrayed the report by 16 U.S. intelligence agencies as “proof” that the Iranian threat was little more than a neo-con hallucination.
Next Thursday will mark the 20th anniversary of the highlight of American Jewish activism, the massive rally in Washington, D.C. on behalf of Soviet Jewry. Looking back, there is a wistful quality to the event because the unity of cause reflected that day has not been equaled since by our community.
Another historical marker for the Middle East on the eve of Annapolis: Nov. 29 marks the 60th anniversary of the United Nations approval of a partition plan to divide the Jews and Arabs of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. How fitting, sadly enough, that this week also signals the umpteenth diplomatic attempt to resolve the same Arab-Israeli conflict.
As Washington labors to make something of its upcoming Annapolis peace conference, it is worth noting one historical marker that sheds light on what it takes to break through the barriers making the Mideast conflict so intractable.
Thirty years ago this month, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat stunned the world and upended the dangerous Mideast status quo with a trip to Jerusalem and speech to the Knesset, starting the process that resulted in the 1978 Camp David accords.
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.