Until now, the strategic issue of Israel's nuclear ambiguity - the so-called "bomb in the basement" - has been kept squarely on the back burner. Today, however, time is quickly running out for the Jewish State, and Israel's new/old prime minister absolutely must reconsider this burning issue. From the standpoint of urgency, of course, the immediate problem is Iran.
A few years ago I began an initiative at the Israeli Foreign Ministry aimed at opening a dialogue with Muslim communities in the West. When the first delegations of European and American Muslims started to arrive, they were amazed at the coexistence between Arabs and Jews in Israel.
Last year I spent part of Pesach in the oddest of places. I had been in the office of Kesher Israel Congregation of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania late one afternoon before Pesach when the phone rang. It was a chaplain (not Jewish) from Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary. They had just received some new Jewish prisoners and were scrambling to meet their Pesach needs.
For a country that has fought for thirty years over the question of a woman's right to choose, we seem to all agree that once a child is born parents have no choice. They are not allowed to send their children to the school they prefer without incurring backbreaking financial penalties.
In the aftermath of the forcible evacuation of thousands of Jewish settlers from Gush Katif in 2005, legal protection for settlers and right-wing activists in Israel was virtually non-existent. Meanwhile, legal organizations dedicated to the defense of basic rights for Arabs and left-wing Jews were thriving.
In the wake of another upsurge in activity and publicity surrounding Gilad Shalit, it bears remembering that there are compelling reasons for the Israeli government to think twice before agreeing to release hundreds of terrorists for his safe and overdue return.
Pour out Thy wrath upon the nations that know Thee not and upon the kingdoms that call not upon Thy name; for they have consumed Jacob and laid waste his dwelling. Pour out Thy fury upon them, and may the kindling of Thine anger overtake them. Pursue them with anger and destroy them from under God’s skies.
Who can forget the Danish cartoon controversy ignited by an image of a wild-eyed Muhammad with a lighted dynamite stick protruding from his turban? Even those who decried the global overreaction – cynically exploited by Mideast demagogues whose stock-and-trade is defaming Christians and Jews – understood why decent Muslims of all stripes were offended.
Passover is a festival of freedom, chag hageulah, when we remember our deliverance from slavery in Egypt. For my father, Chaskel Tydor, Passover was also a reminder of the slavery he experienced during his lifetime – of his five and a half years in the Nazi camps of Buchenwald and Auschwitz.
Credo quia absurdum. "I believe because it is absurd." How, then, shall we Jews survive in such a distorted and meshugana world, both as individuals, and as the always-fragile Jewish State? In our collective form, shall we truly "Seek peace, and pursue it," when our enemies' brand of "sanity" lies relentlessly in genocide and war? Or should we just reluctantly resign ourselves to ceaseless conflict as the unavoidable expression of sanity in an undeniably insane world?
It would be fair to say that the recent demonstrations in cities around the world during which Israel was likened to Nazi Germany, and Israeli soldiers to Nazi storm troopers, created a fair amount of angst among an appreciable number of Jews. But as this is hardly a new phenomenon, the surprise really lies in why so many Jews continue to be surprised.
“People need money in their pockets to spend. That’ll get our economy going again.” -- David Axelrod, senior adviser to President Obama Drastic situations require drastic measures. Thus, to reach Axelrod’s necessary goal, we need to end Social Security as we know it.