Israel is currently engaged in an intellectual civil war between historians who see Zionism as a heroic enterprise and post-Zionist historians who say that Jewish schoolchildren ought to know the family secret: Israel wasnít immaculately conceived but born of ìinfamy and sin,î as Haíaretz reports (Sept. 16).
Jerusalem — Would you consider having a long, leisurely lunch on a glorious spring day at an outdoor, trendy Jerusalem cafe an act of bravery, defiance or just stupidity?
I would have thought all three a week ago, but after meeting a friend at Caffit, the well-known restaurant that was targeted by an unsuccessful homicide bomber a few weeks ago, I composed this news flash: Life goes on here. Not as normal, for sure, but not in hiding, either.
That’s my revelatory bulletin based on spending a few days here this week.
Jerusalem’s Ben Yehuda mall came to Manhattan for a day last Sunday and the results were profitable, and inspiring.
More than 5,000 people streamed into Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun on the Upper East Side to show their support for Israel by buying virtually everything on sale, and then some, from at least seven Israeli vendors who were flown over for the occasion by the congregation.
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
Jerusalem: There are at least two ways to report on a unique consultation that was convened here last week at Beit Hanassi, the Presidential Residence, by Israeli President Moshe Katzav: that it established a bold method of dealing with vital concerns of world Jewry, or it was a pro forma meeting with few meaningful results.The outcome is not yet known but either way, the meeting shed much light on the troubled relationship between Israeli and diaspora Jewry, and the very different ways they operate, and it marked a new effort to narrow the widening gap.
On July 12, at 3 a.m., Asher and Chava Vodka heard a loud knock on the door of their small apartment in Bat Yam, a poor town on the Mediterranean Sea near Tel Aviv, where they had been asleep with their two young children.“Open up. Police,” they heard.
Responding to criticism from American Jewish leaders that Israel is suffering on the image front in its conflict with the Palestinians, Israel’s Foreign Ministry has opened an emergency office in New York to deal with its public relations problem.
Arye Mekel, 53, who served four years as director-general of the Israeli Broadcasting Authority and whose seven years as consul general in Atlanta prompted Ted Turner to call him “Israel’s ambassador to CNN,” was recruited to coordinate the hasbara, or p.r., effort.
Ariel, Israel — Sam Rafaeli and his wife, Roni, used to drive regularly from their settlement home here to Tel Aviv to attend the theater and concerts. Not anymore.
“It has been more than a year since I have been to a concert,” said Rafaeli, alluding to the start of the Palestinian violence in September 2000. “I had a subscription [to a concert series]; I gave it up.”
Pembroke Pines, Fla. — Sen. Joseph Lieberman sounded an ominous warning last week when he told The Jewish Week that Sen. John Kerry’s failure to speak substantively about Israel during campaign appearances here had weakened his support among Jewish Democrats.
“I was here two or three weeks ago and this question came up a few times, not from the media [but] from people,” said Lieberman, a Connecticut Democrat.
“Why isn’t he talking about Israel?” he said voters wanted to know.
Israeli opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu is well known for his power of oratory. But with his chief political rival, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, shown to be trusted by just 2 percent of Israelis, according to the latest opinion polls, Netanyahu has been uncharacteristically quiet of late, no doubt figuring there is no need to criticize Olmert when he is inflicting the most damage on himself.
Young Families, Singles Flocking to Upper East Side; ‘The Memory Is In Their Taste Buds’: The Lure of Sephardic Food; Safra Synagogue Rabbi’s Growing Empire; Sephardic And Egalitarian at B’nai Jeshurun; Giving Voice to Sephardic Music.