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.
After 35 years of confining its Israel-designated funds to within the Green Line, the primary fund-raising arm for the American Jewish community has changed its policy. In an historic move, the board of trustees of the United Jewish Communities, meeting Monday in Chicago, unanimously “adopted a broad interpretation of the UJC charter to permit the organization to provide assistance to Jews around the world, irrespective of where they live,” according to an official statement.
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
Herzliya, Israel — When I asked my taxi driver, on the way to the opening session of the annual Herzliya Conference on Sunday, who he would vote for for prime minister today, he answered without hesitation: "Begin."
It’s true that even Menachem Begin’s political enemies considered the country’s first Likud prime minister to be a man of deep integrity who always said what he believed — a characteristic not readily found among politicians these days.
But Begin died in 1992.
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.
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.
The Israeli government shook this week and observers wondered how much longer it could stand.
Early Wednesday, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Dan Halutz abruptly resigned over his handling of last summer’s war with Hezbollah. Just hours earlier, the state’s prosecutor ordered a criminal investigation of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert into his role in the 2005 privatization of an Israeli bank. The Israeli press reported Monday that a rape indictment against Israeli President Moshe Katsav was imminent.
The difference between Palestinian terrorists and Israeli soldiers was highlighted Wednesday when a suicide bomber targeted civilians aboard a crowded rush-hour bus just hours after 13 Israeli soldiers were killed in Jenin during a house-to-house search for terrorists to minimize civilian casualties.
Ziv Barak is scheduled to start two weeks of reserve duty with the Israel Defense Forces in the West Bank beginning Sunday.
“In the past when I have been called, it has been for drills,” said Barak, 26, who completed nearly four years of military service in September 1996. “This is the first time it will be for real [as a reservist].
“I was on duty during [Palestinian rioting] in 1996, and I saw a lot of action. One of the scariest moments was when bullets hit the ground next to my feet.”