Natan Sharansky, chairman of the executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel, was in New York for a quick two-day trip last week, meeting with a variety of American Jewish leaders on his newest assignment: seeking to resolve the conflict between women who want to hold prayer services at the Western Wall in Jerusalem and traditionalists who oppose them on religious grounds.
The three most important pieces of information to know about Tuesday’s upcoming national elections in Israel are: Bibi Netanyahu will emerge as prime minister for another term; the government will move further to the right and the electoral system is in desperate need of change, a major factor in the disturbing polarization we are witnessing.
Two weeks after The Jewish Week broke the story of Rabbi Baruch Lanner’s abuse — sexual, physical and psychological — of scores of teens in his charge over a period of three decades within the Orthodox Union’s NCSY youth group, I wrote a column about some of the people who contacted me in response. They urged me to investigate other Orthodox rabbis or teachers said to be abusers, naming names and offering me details.
Looking back over 2012 and ahead to 2013 — halfway through my 20th year in this post and completing my 40th in Jewish journalism — I sometimes grow weary, feeling that, to paraphrase King Solomon in Ecclesiastes, “There are no new headlines under the sun.”
I really try to avoid the endless left vs. right discussions on how Israel should proceed in dealing with the Palestinians these days. It’s not that I have nothing to say on this vital debate, but rather that I have much to say — on both sides of the issue.
Truth is, I find it upsetting when people insist they have “the answer” to the Israeli-Palestinian problem. If it were all so simple, wouldn’t we have arrived at a solution decades ago?