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."
Even as Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza grinds on, attracting headlines around the world and support among pro-Israel advocates, I have the disturbing but distinct sense that the Jewish state is on the way to becoming increasingly irrelevant to the majority of American Jews.
There were no classes on the morning of June 5, 1967, the first morning of war, in my yeshiva high school. Instead we prayed like I never prayed in my first 15 years, as if my life depended on it — Israel’s life to be more exact, but that’s how we thought. Our freshman class bulldozed through Tehillim, reading Psalms I never really considered before, thinking Psalms only for old people to say for the dead and the dying, but who knew how many dead or dying there’d be by the end of first period?
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s plans for withdrawal from much of the West Bank is leading to erosion of political support within the one American group — the conservative, primarily Christian right —that had been most supportive of Israel, and reportedly the root of President Bush’s support, as well.
Jerusalem — The potential silver lining from last week’s inconclusive national elections — resulting in a frustrated electorate without a clear-cut leader or stable government — is that the country’s voting system, finally exposed as disastrous, will be overhauled.
A Conservative rabbi, a homosexual and an Israeli Arab were appointed to the Jerusalem City Council last week, but they cannot take office until Israel's fervently Orthodox interior minister approves. As of midweek, Eliyahu Yishai still had not acted.
"I've been told by my colleagues that there is a good chance we will have to go to court," said David Lazar, the Conservative rabbi.
Jewish groups divided over an all-out campaign by the pro-Israel lobby against a rumored administration squeeze on Israel.
Picking A FightWith Clinton?
The drill used to be simple. In times of tension between the United States and Israel, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee would lobby lawmakers to sign statements and letters to the administration backing Jerusalem. And the members would sign on, to pretty much universal applause from organized Jewry.
Kadima Party leader Tzipi Livni was to meet with Labor Party leaders late this week in her coalition building efforts, but she made it clear she will drive a tougher bargain than Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in peace talks with Palestinians.
Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert insisted this week that Israel must give up East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights to achieve peace, a view that may complicate efforts of his would-be successor to form a government.
Olmert’s comments, published Monday in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Achronot, were the most far reaching he has ever made publicly. And he revealed that Israel and the Palestinians were “very close to an agreement.”
Just hours after Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni assured him that peace talks would continue while she assembles a new government, Palestinian chief negotiator Ahmed Qureia suggested that Palestinians may return to violence if the talks failed.
“Resistance in all forms is a legitimate right,” Qureia was quoted as saying.
Livni reportedly called Qureia to object to his remarks, saying that “violence and terror will never be legitimate” and would only be met by force.