by Joshua Mitnick And Stewart Ain |
The strident comments this week of Mahmoud Abbas, the frontrunner in Sunday’s Palestinian presidential election, have left Israelis puzzled and concerned after weeks of more conciliatory talk and directives on his part to end Palestinian incitement against Israel.
Abbas, the man viewed by both Israel and the United States as a moderate who could lead the Palestinian people to statehood, called Israel the “Zionist enemy” during remarks to thousands of supporters in the Gaza Strip Tuesday.
From million-dollar fund-raising operations at national organizations to toy drives and cookie-baking by yeshiva girls, the Jewish community here is increasing its response to the tsunami devastation in Southeast Asia as the scale of dead, missing, homeless and destitute continues to unfold.
The American Jewish World Service fund on Wednesday had reached $3.25 million, and numerous other organizations and schools pitched in by starting drives or steering donations toward larger relief funds.
Jerusalem — Harris Switzman, a 20-year-old college student from Toronto, said birthright israel — the five-year-old program that has sent more than 70,000 young diaspora Jews on free trips to Israel — is more than a gift.
As the Labor Party moved closer this week to joining Likud in a new coalition government to implement the Gaza disengagement plan, Israeli settlers stepped up their opposition by donning orange Stars of David and calling for civil disobedience against the withdrawal.
The orange Stars of David, reminiscent of the yellow stars the Jews of Europe were forced to wear by the Nazis, were to be distributed this weekend, but some settlers in Gaza began wearing them Tuesday and a picture of one of them with the star on her lapel ran on the front page of an Israeli newspaper.
There were advances and setbacks in the Middle East peace process this past week, punctuated by a new Egyptian-Israeli trade agreement, a terrorist attack that killed five Israeli soldiers, and a call for an end to violence by the frontrunner in the race for Palestinian president. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon continued efforts to assemble a new coalition government by the beginning of next week. That would enable him to pass the nation’s $60 billion budget by Dec.
Herzliya, Israel — When Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon came up with his disengagement plan for Gaza last year, he chose to announce it at the Herzliya Conference on Israeli National Strength and Security, a unique annual gathering of the country’s top political, security, economic and social leaders.Why not in the Knesset?“Because he wanted to speak to his peers, people he respects, and he wanted to get the most media attention,” explained a former official in the prime minister’s office.In its first five years, the Herzliya Conference has become that plat