The diplomatic rift between Washington and Jerusalem reached a new low this week. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe “Bogie” Yaalon’s snub by senior members of the Obama administration was made public here, a week after his U.S. visit, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans to build more than 1,000 new units in Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the Green Line, fully aware of the negative response it would receive in America and in the international community.
There have been a number of front-page photos in the daily papers lately of U.S. bombing ISIS positions in Syria from the air. But have you read any articles about the inevitable collateral damage, the impact on civilians resulting from the attacks? Have you seen any statistics on casualties among the population caught in the crossfire?
One month away from the Nov. 24 deadline on the talks between the U.S. (and its allies) and Tehran over Iran’s nuclear program, the two sides appear to be far apart and an agreement unlikely. That would be good news, given that the alternative — a deal that has Iran reduce its operational centrifuges but keeps it on the threshold of producing a nuclear bomb — is far worse.
The Days of Awe may climax on Yom Kippur, but the evening shofar inaugurates a spirited and spiritual Oktoberfest unparalleled in the Jewish year. Immediately after breaking the fast, many started constructing sukkot, not only in backyards but also shoehorned with urban ingenuity into New York alleys and apartment terraces. We’re told that the days leading up to Sukkot are a time when Jewish people are preoccupied with mitzvot, preparing the sukkah, cooking meals, inviting guests, children scissoring and stringing decorations, buying lulavim and etrogim, and then the sweet peace of the holiday itself.
Mahmoud Abbas took a bit of the pressure off of Benjamin Netanyahu in the Israeli prime minister’s speech to the United Nation’s General Assembly on Monday. As least some of those who had hoped Netanyahu would make a bold gesture toward renewed peace negotiations understood that after the Palestinian president’s slanderous accusations against Israel in his own UN speech last Friday, Abbas was making the case for Jerusalem’s reluctance to proceed along the same old, unsuccessful path toward reconciliation with the Palestinian Authority.