The Obama administration’s point man on Iran, Dennis Ross, traveled to the Middle East this week to reassure Arab states concerned about U.S. overtures to Tehran and to stress America’s commitment to Israeli-Palestinian peace.
With income down 25 percent, the Jewish Theological Seminary said it would fire 16 staff members, cut salaries of employees making more than $60,000 and not rehire non-tenured faculty. But that still leaves the institution with a $5.5 million projected deficit for the 2009-2010 academic year.
Although President Barack Obama called upon Israelis and Palestinians Tuesday to “take steps” towards a peace agreement, Israeli observers question the practicality of such moves now.
And Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon reportedly said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would stress the Iranian issue ahead of the Palestinian one in his talks next month with Obama.
Although Egyptian authorities arrested 49 members of a Hezbollah terrorist cell bent on attacking Israeli tourists and Egyptian institutions, Israeli intelligence experts believe more terrorists are still at large in Egypt.
“There are still squads out there that have not been detained, including 13 operatives the Egyptians are looking for in the central Sinai Peninsula,” said Reuven Ehrlich, director of the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center just north of Tel Aviv.
As the new Israeli government begins formulating “new ideas” regarding Palestinian peace initiatives, Israel’s National Infrastructure Minister said it would first demand Palestinian recognition of Israel.
“Any future negotiations will not be with a Palestinian leadership that is unprepared to recognize the right of the State of Israel to exist as a Jewish state,” the minister, Uzi Landau, told The Jewish Week in a phone interview, perhaps indicating that the best diplomatic defense is to go on offense.
James Besser |
Next month’s expected Washington visit by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could prove awkward for pro-Israel groups here and explosive for the Obama administration, largely because of the early bombshells dropped by his new foreign minister, Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman.
Days after taking office, Lieberman summarily discarded the results of the 2007 Annapolis peace conference and warned outsiders not to meddle in Israeli policy and politics.