While Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on East Coast Jewish communities, another storm eleven years ago made serious political waves in the Jewish world.
On October 15, the Knesset voted unanimously to dissolve itself. Elections will be held on January 22, 2013. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to take the step after realizing he could not obtain a majority for his proposed budget.
The Knesset members who “take care of things” for us deserve to be praised, not insulted: people like Uri Ariel and Zevulun Orlev, whose offices are filled day and night with the representatives of organizations and institutions, religious and secular. And they “take care” of these people. It’s true that Ariel and Orlev received popularity ratings of only three percent in a recent poll of the national-religious community, but this isn’t their problem—it’s the respondents’ problem. Orlev and Ariel are too busy for self-promotion.
Muslim thugs in Jordan last weekend attacked a large group of young men and women who had gathered at a coffee shop in Amman to celebrate Halloween. The thugs were members of the Muslim Brotherhood organization and the Salafi group. They claimed that the party was being held by "worshippers of the devil" and said Halloween was in violation of the teachings of Islam.
Wednesday morning political quarterbacks are like the Monday sports variety, only you hear from the former two days later. Similar to literary critics, the "I told you so" crowd usually stays above the fray and then comes down only to shoot the wounded. With such caveats in mind, we assess the Romney loss and the prospects of an Obama second term.
As the worse in now behind us, and yet with restorations efforts still ahead of us, I believe that the terms utilized so widely this week to describe a terrible predicament should force us to reconsider their use when, thankfully, tragedy doesn’t strike. Though my heart and soul are with those hurt by the storm, I am disturbed that so many of these very adjectives are commonly used to describe common occurrences, a far cry from the critical situation that so many Americans on the East Coast are facing.
"If Israel is attacked" is a phrase heard often by mostly well-meaning politicians from both American parties when they are out on the campaign trail, or even while holding office, to express their intent to come to the aid of the Jewish state. But as anyone who both follows current events and has any semblance of logic knows, not only is the phrase trite, but it reveals a certain unfamiliarity with the Middle East today and is even dangerous as pertains to Iran.
When the truth finally came out that three loyal Americans and the American Ambassador had been murdered in Benghazi, Libya, on 9/11/12 as the result of a calculated terror attack and not, as the White House had been insisting for two weeks, a YouTube video made privately by an American and released months earlier, the President abruptly changed his discredited story, and surreally tried to slip the world into believing he had called that attack an act of terror all along.
One thing this storm has done is to give the President an advantage in the election this coming Tuesday. If there are no glitches, the President gets to look Presidential. This is something Romney can’t do. He is only a candidate. This will surely tip the close race in the President’s favor. But I hope it doesn’t. Although I don’t think Obama is a bad President, I don’t think he is the best President for the country right now.
The Palestinian Authority leadership in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria -ed.] has come up with a new method to silence its Palestinian critics. From now on, any Palestinian writer or journalist who dares to criticize Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his policies or demand an end to corruption will be accused of "belittling the dignity of the state." Since the beginning of this year, at least 10 Palestinian journalists, bloggers and political opponents have been detained by various Palestinian Authority security services for writing about corruption and criticizing the Palestinian leadership.
Every now and then an email comes my way warning about the day when the government unleashes the military against its own citizens. This day isn't likely to come because for one thing the current regime is not particularly fond of the military. The Obama Administration isn't inflicting massive cuts on the military, cutting their health care and pushing veteran officers out the door because it likes the military as an institution. It doesn't.
He recognized me before I recognized him. We were in Yerushalayim on different sides of the street. He was six foot two waving and yelling my name. “Noach, Noach, Noach Schwartz, the social worker! It’s me Yechiel Klein! Don’t you remember me?” He was wearing a hat, white shirt and suit and looked like a regular bochur from the Mir or Brisk. He did not look like the Yechiel I had met ten years earlier at a clinic in Boro Park.
We stare at the images of devastation, both to personal property and to the very shoreline of the Eastern Seaboard, and we are aghast.
There’s no question Iran’s corrupt and abusive regime is feeling the bite of tough new sanctions. These sanctions are our only hope short of armed conflict of stopping Iran – the world’s number one sponsor of terror and single greatest threat to the state of Israel – from obtaining nuclear weapons.
One of the hottest topics across all spectrums in the Jewish community is the financial sustainability of Jewish day school education in America. Schools have invested a lot of time and resources to train their professionals in the art of fundraising, developing donor relationships, and launching effective capital campaigns. And there has been a concerted effort among Jewish educational organizations to establish programs to assist day schools in improving their governance and developmental practices.
It turns out that soon after taking office, President Obama tried to make friends – totally – with the mullahs’ regime in Iran.
The coming winter is going to be a hot one. The smell of it is already wafting through the national-religious community, which for some time now has been in the middle of an unprecedentedly egotistical primaries campaign. For those who have had enough of advertisements saying how great one candidate is and how problematic another, here is a story about two national-religious pioneers in Judea and Samaria, one a fighter in the army and the other a fighter in the public sphere. Just a reminder that there is life beyond egocentric political campaigns.
In Union Square the chess players sit alone under the statue of George Washington waiting for a game. A Latino family, father, mother and son, sit on the sidewalk holding cardboard signs and singing. “I’ll be your friend, when you’re not strong.” The big chain stores are closed but the bodegas are open and Muslim and Chinese storekeepers charge up to ten dollars for a gallon of water. New York City in blackout, in short, is much like New York City as usual.
It might be helpful now to start wondering what sort of ideas Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood, and its leader, Controller General Sheikh Hamam Sai'd, will advance if they seize power in Jordan -- possibly with the blessing and encouragement of the United States.
As Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi looked on smilingly, the cleric told the crowds that, "We can see how the dream of the Islamic Caliphate is being realized, Allah willing, by Dr. Muhammad Morsi and his brothers, his supporters, and his political party. We can see how the great dream, shared by us all -- that of the United States of Arabs …shall, Allah willing, be restored. The United States of Arabs will be restored by this man and his supporters."