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How then should…

How then should Israel look to the future? This is a difficult proposition for a country whose leaders are notorious for their short-term perspectives on policy. Nevertheless, it is a question that Israelis and their American supporters must face. Geography is relatively unchanging, and Israel will always find itself caught between rival great powers, whether those proximate to it, like Egypt or, more likely, those further afield, like Turkey or Iran, or those even more remote, but with expanding military reach, like China and India.

Dov S. Zakheim, “The Geopolitics of Scripture,” The American Interest (July/August 2012), 16.

For the American, a rule’s a rule; for an Israeli, it’s a guideline

For the American, a rule’s a rule; for an Israeli, it’s a guideline. If something else happens to work better than the original plan, why stick to it?
In negotiations, Americans have a win-win mentality. Israelis just have “win.”
“This comes from Israelis’ attitude towards boundaries,” Kedem says. “Beginning with the fact Israel still doesn’t have an agreement about its borders. We’re constantly pushing against physical and mental boundaries. … We know we’ve crossed a boundary only when we’re pushed back. If there is no pushback, we understand we haven’t reached the boundary yet. That’s just how Israelis are brought up.”

Orli Santo, “Selling Each Other Short?”, The Jewish Week (2 August 2013), 11.

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The Jewish comm…

The Jewish community will only be considered a serious partner in campus discussions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict once we demonstrate our commitment to making the necessary sacrifices for peace. If we can back up our rhetoric with serious action and sustained political engagement to achieve a two-state solution, hopefully we will empower pragmatic moderates on the other side to do the same.

Shayna Howitt and Zoe Lewin, “Frustration, but with Hope,” The Jewish Journal (31 May – 6 June 2013), 26.

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Yom HaShoah and Yom Ha’Atzmaut’s Timing Seems Like Shiva

There are seven days between Yom HaShoah and Yom Ha’Atzmaut. It is as if the entire country sits shiva, mourning the tragedy of the Holocaust, then rises to be comforted by the existence of the State of Israel. While the pairing of the Holocaust and Israeli independence has its historical problems, for me it remains a powerful narrative, one that has imprinted itself in my own family history.

Rabbi Mishael Zion, “Israel at 65: Celebrating is Not Enough”, The Jewish Week (12 April 2013), 23.

“All Zionists agree also that an undivided Jerusalem must remain Israel’s capital”

All Zionists agree also that an undivided Jerusalem must remain Israel’s capital. This is a matter of intense importance, not only to Israel and its supporters, but to humanity as a whole. During the nineteen years that Jordan occupied East Jerusalem, thirty-four of the thirty-five synagogues in the Jewish Quarter were contemptuously blasted into dusty rubble. Thirty-eight thousand Jewish graves on the Mount of Olives were wantonly destroyed; many tombstones were used to pave Jordanian army latrines. Even Christians residing in Israel weren’t not allowed to visit their shrines in the Old City.

Roland B. Gittelsohn, Partners in Destiny: Reform Judaism and Zionism (New York: Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1984), 10.

“To understand Zionism in anything more than a superficial sense, we need to examine its indigenous origins in Jewish tradition”

To describe Zionism purely as a modern, socio-political phenomenon makes about as much sense as to explain my career entirely in terms of events since the day I was ordained a rabbi, as if my genetic heritage, my childhood and adolescence, my undergraduate studies and extracurricular activities had nothing to do with making me what I am today.

 

Of course there have been external tendencies and trends which have helped shape the nature of Zionism, among them Emancipation, Enlightenment, massive anti-Semitism, and the burgeoning of nationalism throughout the world during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. But these have been like the winds and rains which influence the ultimate growth of a tree. Without seeds and roots, wind and rain would produce only gullies, not living organisms. To understand Zionism in anything more than a superficial sense, we need to examine its indigenous origins in Jewish tradition.

Roland B. Gittelsohn, Partners in Destiny: Reform Judaism and Zionism (New York: Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1984), 1.