by Michele Chabin |
Jerusalem — For a single day in mid-March, the parking lot at Hebrew Union College, the Reform movement’s Jerusalem campus, was packed with boxes, not cars, as more than a hundred young volunteers participated in the mitzvah of kamcha depascha, providing food for the needy on Passover.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s dramatic invitation Sunday to “all Arab leaders, including the Saudi king” to come to Israel to negotiate an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict followed what some analysts viewed as positive signs coming from last week’s Arab summit. But others dismissed Olmert’s invitation as less than substantive and argued that the Arabs did nothing more than restate an earlier ultimatum to Israel.
Saudi Arabia was seen this week as the key to a future peace agreement between Israel and the rest of the Arab world.
“The Saudis are trying to find a [compromise] between the Israelis and the other Arab parties in which all are satisfied,” said Yitzchak Reiter, a fellow of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. “I’m not sure they will succeed.”
Gary Rosenblatt |
Editor and Publisher
In the beginning there was birthright. Conceived by several American Jewish philanthropists a decade ago, birthright israel was launched in 2000 as an effort to give Jews around the world between the ages of 18 and 26 a free, 10-day trip to Israel as a means of sparking Jewish identity and countering the trends of assimilation and declining interest in the Jewish state.
Even though nearly three years of secret, unofficial Israeli-Syrian talks have ended, the Israeli who conducted the negotiations has not given up and believes it would take only four to six months for both sides to reach an agreement. Alon Liel, a former director general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said he and his Syrian-American counterpart, Ibrahim Suleiman, have been invited to discuss their talks at an April 12 meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
The Bush administration’s decision this week to join an international conference on Iraq that is expected to include Iran and Syria opens the door to Israeli talks with Syria, something the U.S. has reportedly been strictly against, according to several Israeli analysts.