This week Israel enters its third year of a war with no name, with nary an ally, and with no objective more glorious than a lull.
It’s been a war plagued by indecision and misdirection. The enemy’s leader is harassed and reviled but not erased. The country is said to be safe for tourism yet the danger is compared to the 1930s. Israel claims impending victory but has surrendered the messianic dreams and borders that thrilled us in 1967.
Israeli political arguments can be crude but are they criminal?
After the Rabin assassination, conventional wisdom insisted that Yigal Amir was the “Manchurian Candidate” of Israel’s right. Rallies in the weeks before the murder would sometimes feature photos of Rabin dressed like a Nazi, while fringe rabbis cast spells amounting to a death sentence in retaliation for Rabin’s refusal to slow the peace process even as Israeli busses were exploding with regularity.
Several weeks ago, the Jewish world shook its collective fist at Ann Coulter’s audacity in admitting on CNBC (Oct. 8) that she, a Christian, believed in Christianity: “We just want Jews to be perfected,” said Coulter. “That’s what Christianity is.”
by Jonathan Mark
If any Zionist feels like singing, “We know we belong to the land, and the land we belong to is grand,” you better be singing about Oklahoma, not the Judean hills, unless you want to be thought of as “a hawk making lazy circles in the sky.”
After years of legal and even physical wrangling by contentious chasidim, the New York Court of Appeals confirmed last week what individual Satmars already knew: it will be individual chasidim — not judges in Albany — who will decide, by voting with their feet, the rebbe to whom they will give allegiance.
The state’s highest court upheld lower court decisions, ruling that the direction that religious institutions choose to take is a religious choice beyond the realm of the state judiciary.
There is an old joke that Orthodox Jews tell: “What is the closest religion to Judaism?” Chabad-Lubavitch is the punchline. Everyone “gets it.” Everyone thinks they know about Chabad’s messianism, that a few Chabadniks believe that the rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who died in 1994, is still alive.
In fairness, the rebbe’s messianism or divinity is not advocated in any of Chabad’s official literature; it’s even reprimanded. But fairness has nothing to do with it.
Religion is being better covered in the media now than perhaps ever before. A generation ago, religious coverage was often just a summary of weekend sermons from the silk stocking churches and temples. Even the most harmless religious stories were buried. In 1955, a Brooklyn Dodgers fan would never have found out that hometown rookie Sandy Koufax was Jewish if that fan only got his news from, say, The New York Times.
Phillipe Karsenty, a French media monitor who is appealing his conviction in France for libelously charging that the state television’s news footage of the intifada’s most iconic death of a Palestinian child, supposedly by Israeli bullets, was either faked or staged by the Palestinians, is getting increasing support, he says — but not from the Israeli ambassador to France.
Karsenty, speaking in New York to The Jewish Week, said Israel’s ambassador to France, Daniel Shek, refuses to even shake Karsenty’s hand, let alone support him.
Talk about hitting a sour note.
The Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra's eight-city American concert tour that was slated to begin Aug. 20 has been canceled, but the reason why remains unclear.
Some reports quoted orchestra officials in Israel as saying that no security firm could be found to protect the orchestra and its patrons for fear of a terrorist attack. Other reports attributed the cancellation to the orchestra's inability to find an insurance company willing to provide coverage because of what was called "terrorist problems."
At 83, Essie Shor of the Bronx has her first book coming out in a few weeks, timed to coincide with the release of the major Hollywood film, “Defiance,” which opens a limited engagement here Dec. 31 and wider release two weeks later. Both her book and the movie address the story of the Bielski brothers, Jewish partisans who helped save hundreds of Jews in the forests of Nazi-occupied Belarus.