The June 2002 election for the 34th World Zionist Congress looms as one of the more important items on Orthodoxy's communal agenda. The World Zionist Congress determines the policies and budgetary allocations of the Jewish Agency in Israel, the central agency which administers the bulk of the funds raised by the UJA-federation system worldwide.
Phil Donahue, the godfather of trashy daytime TV talk, has taken himself out of mothballs, seemingly determined to remind persons of discriminating taste exactly why they were so overjoyed to see him go into retirement in the first place.
For the eighth time since his April, 1999 indictment for failing to notify the authorities of Yigal Amir's intention to assassinate Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the trial of Avishai Raviv has been postponed, this time for six months. According to a report in The Jerusalem Post, the trial court ordered the postponement of the scheduled November 11 trial date pending a higher court decision on the defense's request to view highly classified prosecution materials.
As we and others have opined, the inclusion of Arab states that continue to harbor terrorist cells in the anti-terrorism coalition is seriously undermining the effort by signalling a political business as usual modus operandi. We have been equally critical of signs that the Bush Administration is agreeing to certain demands of Arab states in general in order to keep them in the coalition. Primary among the concessions was the recent public support expressed by President Bush for the establishment of a Palestinian state. Plainly, the Arab states think they are finally onto something in their effort to have the United States cut Israel loose. But the snickering that this has doubtless engendered seems about to turn into outright mockery if it hasn't already done so.
In a brief filed with the United States Court of Appeals in the crucial case involving an eruv in Tenafly, New Jersey, Nathan Lewin, Orthodox Jewry's foremost constitutional litigation lawyer, presented an important argument that will, if successful, insulate all eruvim in the United States against similar constitutional attack. The Tenafly Council ordered Cablevision to remove 183 plastic strips that the Eruv Association had attached to utility poles to be used as "lechis," which are necessary to complete an eruv. Many reportedly had reason to believe, from the debate that had preceded the order of removal, that Tenafly was simply trying to keep Orthodox Jews out of the town. But all the Council members swore that they had no anti-Orthodox bias ? which would have meant that their action against the eruv was a violation of the Constitution ? and the federal judge believed them.
As we report elsewhere this week, the Prime Minister of Romania has announced that the deadline for filing claims for restitution payments for those who once held property in pre-war Romania is November 14, 2001.
It was too good to last. The news media, which by and large performed admirably for about a month after the events of Sept. 11, are showing clear signs of reverting to old habits. The sour cynicism directed at American officials, the credulous reporting of enemy claims, the shallowness and sensationalism that once were the province of cheesy local stations but have long since become a staple of the network news departments - all of these are slowly coming out of hiding and reasserting themselves as the driving forces of American journalism.
The Jewish Press endorses Mark Green for Mayor of the City of New York. Of the two candidates, Mr. Green is clearly the one to lead our rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of the devastating events of September 11. He is also unquestionably the one to heal the terrible racial tension unleashed by the very sad Democratic primary.
Prime Minister Sharon has come in for much criticism both here and in Israel by those who fault him for withdrawing the IDF from Palestinian controlled areas it entered in response to shootings emanating from there. They argue that remaining in those areas for an extended period of time is in Israel's best interests, but Mr. Sharon is nevertheless bowing to pressure from the Bush administration.
The word circulating around usually well-informed parts of town is that President Bush will be appointing Mayor Giuliani to a very prominent position connected with the war against terrorism. Director of the CIA and Director of Homeland Security are the two posts most often mentioned. Because the Bush Administration is fast losing points in the polls and the confidence of the American public seems to be waning, we don't regard this as mere speculation.
Onward with the best (or worst, if you will) of what those on the left are saying in the aftermath of Sept. 11. We'll start off the week with Studs Terkel, whose popular oral histories (Working, etc.) lead many to mistakenly label him a writer when in fact he's nothing more than an energetic tape recordist, to use the memorable term coined for him by Chicago Sun-Times columnist Steve Neal.
The relentless military crackdown on the Taliban and Osama bin Laden's camps in Afghanistan stands in sharp contrast to the tentativeness of the State Department regarding terror cells elsewhere and those directing their attention towards Israel. Apparently in the interests of coalition building, there is a downplaying of the significance of the roles of Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other states hosting or sympathetic to terrorists.
Next week we will be sharing with our readers a full list of our recommended candidates for the November 6 elections. In that connection, we interviewed Mayoral candidates Mark Green and Michael Bloomberg. Both came across as intelligent and committed and each offered a vision for New York City. Details of the Green/Bloomberg interviews and our conclusions next week.
Once again, Rudy Giuliani has demonstrated why his tenure as Mayor of New York these past years marked a transformation of our city. There are those who say that he should have accepted the $10 million for the World Trade Center victims fund from that Saudi prince who accompanied his check with the advice that the United States "should re-examine its policies in the Middle East and adopt a more balanced stance toward the Palestinian cause. Our Palestinian brethren continue to be slaughtered at the hands of the Israelis while the world turns the other cheek." They said the Mayor should just have issued a disclaimer.