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Barak and Barack

An interview with Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak — thinly disguised as “the decision-maker” created a sensation in early August, when he suggested that an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities was imminent. Barak explained that Israel could not depend on an American commitment to destroy the program in the future, even if it were made today. Suddenly, last week, Barak began to sing a different tune.

Daniel Pipes: Superficiality Reigns Before the Election

It happens every four years, as U.S. presidential elections roll around: I feel like a stranger. That's because news reports blare out what's not of interest: trivial statistics (171,000 jobs added in October; jobless rate up 0.1 percent to 7.9 percent), biographical irrelevancies (claims that Romney outsourced jobs to other countries when at Bain Capital), and forgettable gaffes (Obama saying that "Voting is the best revenge"). This limited discussion misses the main points.

A Red-Faced Red Cross

In his op-ed in Ha'artez, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in Israel disputes the Levy Report. He does not understand that we are Jews returning, not being transferred to Judea and Samaria.

The Jews of the United States

Years have passed since Rabbi Kahane penned this essay, but it still rings sadly true today. Rabbi Kahane was known for saying uncomfortable things that comfortable Jews didn’t want to hear. In honor of his yahrtzeit, here’s another one of his brilliant and illuminating writings, which was published almost 25 years ago in The Jewish Press.

Postcard from Israel: Nachlaot

The picturesque Nachlaot neighbourhood in Jerusalem started out as what we might call today ‘social housing’. From 1875 onwards benefactors such as Moses Montefiore began building new neighbourhoods outside the walls of the Old City to house the growing Jewish population and relieve some of the overcrowding and squalor of the Jewish Quarter. Thus, Nachlaot is in fact a cluster of fused neighbourhoods, with each one originally having a specific ethnic character and its own synagogue.

What do “Palestinian elections” Actually Mean?

Those of us who live in countries where freedom of opinion, of worship, of political viewpoint and the right to express ourselves as we wish are core values tend to lose sight of life is like where those values don't exist. In the towns ruled by the Palestinian Authority, for instance.

Cleverer than God

This Shabbat marks the yahrtzeit of Rabbi Meir Kahane, may Hashem avenge his murder. To honor his memory, our next two blogs will feature essays he wrote for The Jewish Press, which appear in the incomparably thought-provoking collection of his articles, “Beyond Words.” May his memory be for a blessing.

The Making of a President and the Making of a Gadol

I must say that I was a little bit amused by the above video featured on Aish.com. In about 3 minutes Mrs. Lori Palatnik proudly explains the difference between how Americans choose their leaders and how Orthodox Jews chose their leaders. Choosing a President in this great country of ours is a democratic process, but it is heavily influenced by money and power; ads and sloganeering; and smearing the opponent. Politics at its worst one might say. Certainly the best man available for the job may not be elected, or even running.

The Maddening Thing About Moshe Kahlon

It looks like Moshe Kahlon, the popular and vaunted Likud Minister of Communications, will be the second consecutive Likud Central Committee Chairman to leave the party looking for more power. The first one, Tzahi Hanegbi who left to Kadima and was charged with handing out jobs to cronies and nearly convicted of perjury, is now back in Likud because Kadima has entirely crashed. He’s looking for a slot on Likud’s Knesset roster.

PLO Official Suggests Confederation with Jordan

The official "said he supported the idea of a federation or confederation between the West Bank and Jordan." A confederation has been an Israeli suggestion for decades and now they are finally getting around to discussing it.

Video Chuckle: Israel’s Labor Party Central Committee

Israel's political party conventions make the Knesset seem polite and tame. At the Likud Central Committee convention the other day, the vote for PM Netanyahu's proposal for the Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu to run together in the upcoming election was conducted by a "show of hands" popular vote. Not the best way to hold a vote.

Israeli Civil Rights Group Slams Modi’in on Anti-Haredi Policies

The Israeli city of Modi'in is slammed from an unlikely direction - Israel's civil right's organization, the Association for Civil rights in Israel (ACRI). Granted ACRI doesn't have the most objective agenda, and their voice was loudly missing when it came the Disengagement in 2005, but they are to be praised for doing the right thing when it comes to Modi'in.

UK Columnist Admits: ‘Anti-Semitism Plays Some Role in Hostility Towards Israel’

There are two things Glenn Greenwald and I have in common – which is two more than I realized only an hour ago. He has the flu, according to his latest ‘Comment is Free’ post, and I have flu-like symptoms due to a recent ill-advised flu shot. The other more substantive commonality pertains to one acknowledgement in his post – one of seven miscellaneous observations by the Guardian’s new U.S. blogger.

US Supreme Court Affirms Conviction of White Collar Terrorists

Lingering doubts that remained about the criminality of the organization frequently called the United States' "largest Islamic charity" [NY Times] ended on Monday. That's when the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that it would not overturn an earlier appeal that went against five officials from Holy Land Foundation convicted of illegally funneling millions of dollars to Hamas. That appears to be the final legal avenue open to the convicted men and concludes the case.

It’s Halloween, Let’s All Idol-Worship Tonight!

The law prohibiting our participation in gentile holidays and customs comes to protect our special Jewish holiness and cultural distinction.

Kosher or Not, the Internet Cannot be Stopped

The idea of a well-shackled mind being in a superior position to battle going OTD is certainly understandable. But in practice, the mind can no longer stay well-shackled. The internet is not only here to stay. Its ubiquity is increasing by leaps and bounds via the smart phone. No ban in the world has the power to stop it. It is like spitting in the wind.

Why Some US Jews Don’t Get Israel

Part of my job — not my paying job, the one I do for the sake of shamayim — is to talk to my Jewish friends and try to explain why the existence of a Jewish state is essential for all Jews, wherever they live, why a good relationship with the US is essential for Israel, and why the support of American Jews is in turn essential for such a relationship. I meet a lot of resistance, which is unsurprising when you consider that if you leave aside Arabs and other Muslims, the worldwide movement to end the Jewish state is disproportionately led by people of Jewish descent.

Postcard from Israel: Sussita

Sussita – or Antiochia-Hippos, to call it by its Greek name – sits on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, towering 350 meters above Kibbutz Ein Gev. Founded around 200 BCE, during Roman times Sussita was one of the Decapolis – the ten cities. The city was predominantly Christian from the fourth century until its destruction in the massive earthquake of January 749, after which it was never resettled. It boasts many features, including impressive fortifications, several churches and pagan temples, a commercial area, bath houses, a beautiful odeon overlooking the lake and a port on the lake shore below. In 1951, an IDF outpost was established on the mountain which was until 1967 Israel’s easternmost point, merging with the Golan Heights.

Daniella Weiss on The Honor of Israel

In a 5-page handwritten letter sent to then Agricultural Minister Ariel Sharon on 2 Kislev 5740, or November 22, 1979 by Daniella Weiss on stationery of the Kedumim-Elon Moreh group who were then battling a government decision, in the wake of the High Court of Justice decision that ordered them moved, Weiss demanded that Sharon resigned. She claimed that moving the site it would be a victory for the PLO, and that the legal status of the settlements in the territories should be changed before Israel transferred the oil fields in Sinai to Egypt, according to the peace agreement.

On This Day

Ever have a day going along just fine until something comes and floors you? I wasn't feeling well last night and thought of skipping work...but I had to do this, I had to do that...so I came in saying that maybe I'll crash tomorrow. Yesterday morning started sluggish, but I hit my stride and I chugged along happily cleaning things off my desk. I'm tried to watch what is happening with the massive hurricane hitting the U.S.; trying to switch windows, worrying about whether Gaza has decided to fire another rocket at Israel. And then, I saw this message on Twitter and I just stopped and took a deep breath.

Egypt’s Sinai Problem and Ours

A striking photo essay from EgyptSource focuses on the stark realities of Sinai and the multiple challenges it poses to the Egyptians. EgyptSource, a project of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East "follows Egypt’s transition and provides a platform for Egyptian perspectives on the major issues – economic, political, legal, religious and human rights – that are at stake in the post-Mubarak era..."

The Lehi Fighter and Kever Rachel (Video)

In 1945, Yaffa Tevuah was a 22-year old Lehi fighter imprisoned by the British in the women's prison in Bethlehem. Seeking courage when facing her British interrogators, she drew strength from Rachel Imeinu and comfort from her sense of returning home.

Never Mind Condemnations by Torah Sages, College Is Not ‘Traif’

“Certainly, there is an absolute condemnation of any sort of college from most Gedolim.” That is how the cover article in last week’s Ami Magazine was punctuated. That article was about the dangers to one’s spiritual health of attending college. Ironically the article itself was very fair about the issue. Various rabbis who are either directly or indirectly involved with colleges and universities that have significant Orthodox Jewish populations were interviewed. There was not a single comment indicative of any Issur on attending college.

What Happened at Rachel’s Tomb?

A Pro-Palestinian website claimed Jews had "stormed" Rachel's Tomb. In reality they were actually just going on a pilgrimage to mark Rachel Imenu's passing.

Defamation: Combating the Assault on Israel’s Legitimacy at the Guardian

Benjamin Pogrund, a former South African journalist, and anti-Apartheid activist, who made Aliyah in 1997 and founded Yakar’s Centre for Social Concern, published a piece at ‘Comment is Free’ on Oct. 25 titled ‘Israel has moved to the right, but is not an apartheid state.' Pogrund refuted the recent poll on Israeli views of Arabs, and the profound distortion of the poll results, which smeared Israel with the charge of apartheid, by Gideon Levy of Ha’aretz.

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