In what has become perhaps the most Americanized region in all of Israel, the sunny seaside city of Herzliya just landed a classic American import that it probably never expected: the Jewish state’s first-ever college fraternity.
As Friday’s election in Iran led to charges of voter fraud after incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the landslide winner, Israelis were divided over their preferred outcome.
“There is a debate in Israel,” said Moshe Maoz, a professor emeritus of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
by Adam Dickter |
Assistant Managing Editor
As President Barack Obama pumps new energy into what had been a moribund peace process, Jewish leaders are voicing concern that his line in the sand against new Israeli construction on the West Bank is unmatched by a concrete, reciprocal demand from the Palestinians.
Although Obama, in his address to the Muslim world from Cairo last week, emphasized the need to abandon violence and for Israel’s enemies to accept its right to exist, some fear the pressure on Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will send a different message.
Israelis conducted the country’s largest emergency exercise ever Tuesday, apparently not only for internal readiness but to send a signal to its enemies Hezbollah and Iran, both of whom are facing elections in the coming days.
“The exercise told Israelis that this is something we have to face and to deal with — a missile attack or one from chemical or biological weapons,” explained Gerald Steinberg, a political science professor at Bar-Ilan University.
James Besser |
The Obama administration is confident it will retain strong Jewish support even as it ratchets up the pressure on Israel and offers clues that, unlike its predecessors, it means what it says about the thorny issue of Jewish settlements on the West Bank.
While the pro-Israel establishment is already reacting angrily to the administration’s shifted red lines on settlements, many analysts say President Barack Obama’s ability to soften tough positions with pro-Israel reassurances will prevent a broad Jewish backlash.
Israel’s Reform and Conservative movements began calculating Tuesday how much money they would receive hours after Israel’s top court ordered the state to fund their conversion programs.
The government currently provides $410,000 to conversion preparatory programs run by the Orthodox. It provides no money for non-Orthodox programs, and in 2006 The Movement for Progressive Judaism, which handles Reform conversions, filed suit.