Many in the chattering classes in the United States recently devoted their energy to the controversy about ABC's television film "The Path to 9/11." Partisanship seems to dominate virtually every discussion these days. So it was no surprise that, just as Republicans have sought to minimize the lack of attention paid to the terror threat by the Bush administration, so, too, have Democrats resisted the notion that the failures of the Clinton administration be highlighted, as the film did with some respects.
Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair is Israel's best friend in Europe. And he's not a very good friend. Immediately after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S., Blair was instrumental in convincing President Bush to view the Palestinian jihad against Israel as a conflict completely separate from the global jihad. His success in convincing Bush of this distinction turned the anti-Semitic - not to mention strategically disastrous - view that terrorists who kill Israelis should be treated differently from terrorists who kill anyone else into one of the cognitive foundations of the U.S. war on Islamic terror.
One of my readers recently asked me a probing and rather disturbing question: "Do you think we are still the people of the book?" Like a good Jew, I need to answer a question with a question - more than one, actually. First, what is meant by "we"? Readers of The Jewish Press? The young people I saw in Tel Aviv last week with tattoos - girls with bare midriffs and silver studs in navels, noses, tongues, even eyebrows?
The unchanging struggle to evict the Jews from "all of Palestine" (that is, from Israel as well as Judea/Samaria/Gaza) is driven by the homicidal idea of jihad or holy war. According to Islamic orthodoxy, their "prophet" is said to have predicted a final war to annihilate the Jews.
For the last two weeks I have written about cemetery restoration in Poland. This week I present a report from the Foundation for the Preservation of the Jewish Heritage in Poland, which has done tremendous work in the field. The first half of 2006 has been a busy time for the Foundation for the Preservation of the Jewish Heritage in Poland. The Foundation has cleared up ten Jewish cemeteries and fenced four of them, erected monuments or memorial plaques commemorating pre-war Jewish communities in five towns and is currently restoring four synagogues.
Jewish religious observance suffered a propitious decline in early- and mid-20th century America.
Fifteen-year old Tirtza Sariel from the Jewish community of Elon Moreh has been held in the Russian Compound, a maximum security prison, for almost two months. The charge: throwing olives at Arabs. In order to protest her arrest and imprisonment she refused to sign court documents; Judge Uri Ben Dor held her in contempt and ruled to keep her in prison until the end of proceedings, which may take many months.
For years I have been urging the greater Torah-observant community to discard the sort of questions that are typically asked of singles in the shidduch scene. (By now it is probably unnecessary to elaborate and provide copious examples of these questions; we all know what I'm talking about.) Indeed, it has been gratifying to see it become more mainstream for people to speak out about "crazy questions" and for popular opinion to begin to shift accordingly. But I made a mistake.
The singer and political activist Bono recently caused a stir when word got out that his California-based venture capital firm, Elevation Partners, invested around $300 million in Forbes magazine, and, more significantly, that his band's company, U2 Unlimited, which holds the rights to U2's master tapes, moved to the Netherlands to pay a lower corporate tax rate.
The poet Auden understood many things. He understood truly important things as only the poets can. He understood that humankind can always be found in pretty much the same imperiled condition.