Jewish Journal

Eric Silver

  • Kibbutz Camp Offers Hope to Survivors

    October 16, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    In Kibbutz Negba, a dozen Israeli teenagers attending a summer camp in the guesthouses of this Negev kibbutz were asked to model small trees, and then decorate them with photographs of themselves.

    One sculpted a tree that had been struck by lightning and died. Another molded a...

  • New Channel BeamsJewish Programming

    May 15, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    The soap opera, argues Shlomo Ben-Zvi, is the most Jewish of all television formats.

    "Every 15 seconds, you have a dilemma of interpersonal relationships -- and you have to solve them," he said

    Ben-Zvi, who emigrated from England 20 years ago, is putting his money where his mouth...

  • Voter Apathy High Among Israeli Arabs

    January 23, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Omar Baransi, a 71-year-old retired building contractor with a lined, leathery face, brags that he won't be voting in Israel's general election on Jan. 28. "We don't trust anyone these days," he said, "not even the Arab candidates. We've been citizens for 55 years and nothing has...

  • The Shinui Stance

    January 23, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Tommy Lapid, who has made a second career hammering the ultra-Orthodox, says he didn't go into Israeli politics in order to become a government minister. But the outspoken, 71-year-old veteran journalist is suddenly warming to the prospect.

    With elections less than one week away,...

  • Statesman Abba Eban, Dies at 87

    November 21, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    The maverick Irish writer-politician Connor Cruise O'Brien once celebrated Abba Eban, who died in Tel-Aviv Sunday at the age of 87, as "the most brilliant diplomat of the second half of the 20th century."

    Never daunted by flattery, Eban quipped: "As my mother would have said, 'Who...

  • The Palestinians’ Yom Kippur

    September 12, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    It's as if the Palestinians are having their own Yom Kippur this year. Looking back over the 24 months of the current intifada and the nine years since the Oslo accords, Nabil Amr, a former minister and Yasser Arafat loyalist, beat his breast last week and declared: "We have...

  • Labor’s New Favorite

    August 22, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    At times of crisis, Israelis reach for a general. Public anxiety brought Moshe Dayan to the Defense Ministry on the eve of the 1967 Six-Day War, Yitzhak Rabin to the premiership after the traumatic near-defeat in the 1973 Yom Kippur War and the aging Ariel Sharon to power in the...

  • A Reason to Party

    August 8, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    After Osama bin Laden demolished the World Trade Center, then-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani made a point of dining out in Manhattan. Last week, after two more bombings, Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert went one step further.

    Olmert persuaded hundreds of citizens to join him for a...

  • ‘It Was Chaos’

    August 1, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    David Kosak, a 35-year-old rabbinical student from the University of Judaism, was lunching with classmates at Hebrew University's Frank Sinatra cafeteria on Wednesday when the bomber struck.

    "All of a sudden there was a big explosion, lots of smoke, flaming objects flying in the...

  • Out of Arafat’s Hands

    July 18, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    In the reoccupied West Bank town of Hebron, an activist in Yasser Arafat's Al Fatah, a graduate of Israeli prisons, lamented the other day: "I gave up my dream of the whole of Palestine for the sake of the Oslo accord. And what did I get? Corruption, no democracy, security services...

  • Bill Would Segregate Israelis

    July 11, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    If Israel's friends and diplomats have a harder time this week convincing the world that Israel is not a racist state, they have only their own government to blame. Seventeen rightist and religious party ministers voted last Sunday to endorse a privately sponsored bill to build...

  • Saudi Arabia Stirring

    February 28, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    Henry Kissinger famously said that Israel has no foreign policy, only domestic politics. Last Sunday's cabinet decision to pull back the tanks from Yasser Arafat's Ramallah headquarters, but keep the Palestinian leader quarantined in that West Bank city, was a classic vindication of...

  • Palestinian Peacenicks

    February 21, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    It sounds confused, if not downright contrary. Most Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip applaud violence against Israelis, yet they are eager for a cease-fire and for their political leaders to get back to the negotiating table.

    The latest opinion poll registered 58 percent of...

  • Crackdown

    January 31, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    "They are like mice," said Yeheskel Abu-Zwilli, a 74-year-old Iraqi-born Israeli, surveying the wreckage of the photography shop he has run in Jerusalem's Jaffa Street for 45 years. "Wherever there's a hole, they sneak in."

    This was one hour after a first Palestinian woman suicide...

  • Israel Intercepts Arms Shipment

    January 10, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    The capture of a massive Palestinian arms shipment 300 miles down the Red Sea from Eilat has revived Israel's spirit after 15 demoralizing months of intifada mayhem. "This is what we are trained for," exulted a senior security officer. Every-one invoked the 1976 Entebbe rescue of...

  • New Year; Old Problems

    January 3, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    For Israel and the Palestinians, 2001 was a year of failure, collapse and escalating violence. Failure of international diplomacy, collapse of mutual trust, violence that claimed 200 Israeli lives and 574 Palestinian.

    Miguel Angel Moratinos, the European Union's veteran Middle East...

  • Bombers and the Martyr Syndrome

    December 6, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    Palestinian suicide bombers killed a total of 28 bus passengers and young people in a four-day orgy of blood and vengeance that stretched from Haifa and Hadera in the North to Jerusalem in the South.

    The weekend's four human bombs brought to 30 the number of Palestinians who have...

  • A New Iraqi Threat?

    November 29, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    George W. Bush's gritty message to Saddam Hussein this week that any nation that develops weapons of mass destruction for terrorist purposes "will be held accountable" flashed a warning light to Israel.

    If Iraq is indeed next on Washington's anti-terrorist menu, and if that means not...

  • Arafat’s New Point Man

    November 22, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    It takes a pretty sophisticated politician to stand in front of a roomful of intifada-hardened reporters and announce that he is "politically naive." Especially if you are Sari Nusseibeh, Yasser Arafat's new point man in Jerusalem, whose family has been moving and shaking in the holy...

  • PFLP Kills Ze’evi

    October 18, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    Rechavam Ze'evi, born Jerusalem 1926; served in the Palmach and the Israel Defense Forces 1944-1974; Prime Minister's counter-terrorism advisor, 1974-1977; member of parliament (Moledet), 1988-2001; Minister Without Portfolio 1991-1992; Minister of Tourism, March-October, 2001....

  • Muted Response

    October 11, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    Israel is on high alert to meet any reprisal attacks by Palestinian or Lebanese supporters of Osama bin Laden. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office announced immediately after Britain and the United States launched their air offensive on Afghanistan: "Israel has taken all the...

  • Censorship of Dancing Streets

    September 20, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    After noon prayers in the mosque last Friday, hundreds of Palestinian Muslims marched in triumph through Gaza's Nuseirat refugee camp brandishing portraits of Osama bin Laden, some as big as 15 feet.

    Hamas' anti-American rally was not shown on the world's television screens....

  • New Airline Safety Takes a Cue from El Al

    September 20, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    El Al, Israel's national carrier, is proud of its reputation as the world's safest airline, but it prefers others to do the boasting for it. "One of the ways we maintain the security of our passengers," a spokesman said in the wake of the Twin Towers bombing, "is not to talk about...

  • Reconquer, Negotiate or Separate?

    August 23, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres is set to meet with Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat in Berlin next week under the aegis of the German government. Peres has proposed a "gradual" or phased cease-fire. In a plan presented to U.S. envoy to the Middle East, David...

  • Wagner Soap Opera

    July 12, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    It was meant to be the "not Wagner" concert: Daniel Barenboim, the pride of Israeli music-lovers, conducting his Berlin orchestra, the Staatskapelle, on the last night of this year's Israel Festival. Little did we know.

    The festival had originally announced that the orchestra would...

  • Entebbe Teaches Israel to Dare

    June 28, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    Ephraim Sneh, a stocky, taciturn soldier-turned-politician, doesn't scare easily. Entebbe, the most daring rescue operation in Israel's military history, wasn't his first taste of combat. The Yom Kippur War, he shrugged, was worse. But he shudders at how easily it could have gone...

  • Heeding a Tenuous Cease-Fire

    June 7, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    The suicide bombing last Friday night that killed 20 young Israelis outside a beach-front disco in Tel Aviv trans-formed Israel's international image from bully boy to victim. The Palestinians reverted overnight to their old role as the bad guys.

    German Foreign Minister Joschka...

  • Why Does Israel Get Such Bad Press?

    May 24, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    Israel's public relations problems did not begin with Mohammed al-Dura, the 12-year-old Palestinian boy shot dead on the world's television screens on the first weekend of the intifada. They go back to the aftermath of the 1967 war, when Labor governments started to consolidate the...

  • Settlements Quandary

    May 24, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    The Bush administration has let Ariel Sharon off the hook -- for now. Israel this week welcomed the Mitchell Committee recommendations with reservations. It embraced Colin Powell's interpretation -- first a cease-fire, then let's talk settlements -- with relief.

    Yet no one in Israel...

  • The Violence Heats Up

    May 10, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    The intifada took a fateful stride from popular uprising toward war this week with news that the Palestinians are stockpiling longer-range, more lethal weapons that could threaten Ashkelon and Tel Aviv, as well as paralyzing flights from Ben-Gurion International Airport.


  • The Violence Heats Up

    May 10, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    The intifada took a fateful stride from popular uprising toward war this week with news that the Palestinians are stockpiling longer-range, more lethal weapons that could threaten Ashkelon and Tel Aviv, as well as paralyzing flights from Ben-Gurion International Airport.


  • Straws in the Wind

    April 26, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    Israelis have learned the hard way not to invest too many hopes in Yasser Arafat. Yet this week, despite the suicide bombing in Kfar Saba, the booby-trapped car in Or Yehuda, the renewed sniping at the Jerusalem suburb of Gilo, straws are wafting in the diplomatic wind.


  • Palestinians Escalate Conflict

    April 19, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    The Palestinian intifada, which began as a civil uprising against the Israeli occupation, is rapidly becoming a low-intensity war between armed forces. And the low intensity is getting higher and higher by the day.

    The conflict escalated on Monday night when Palestinian gunmen lobbed...

  • Changes in Attitude

    April 5, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    There were more police than customers in Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market last Friday morning, when Jewish families would normally stock up for the weekend. Downtown, the strolling, shopping and coffee-bar crowds had deserted the Ben-Yehuda pedestrian mall for the fashionable German...

  • Increased Insecurity

    March 29, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    Yasser Arafat is floundering. Six months into the new intifada, he has achieved nothing for his people. More and more openly, Palestinians are questioning whether their suffering is worthwhile. The world is in no hurry to intervene. Arab leaders, gathered in Jordan this week, were...

  • Zoo Rebbe

    February 15, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    When Natan and Tali Slifkin were married in Los Angeles last year, their friends turned up in Disneyland animal suits. It was not your classic Orthodox wedding.

    When Natan Slifkin was a child in England 20 years ago, his parents said he could keep any pet he liked as long as it was...

  • Blown Deal

    January 11, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    Bill Clinton is wasting his time. The chances of a meaningful Israeli-Palestinian deal before he hands over the presidency to George W. Bush on Jan. 20 are negligible. Yasser Arafat has blown it. Ehud Barak, with the best and bravest of motives, has blown it. Peace is on hold, and...

  • Acts of Vengeance

    January 4, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    Twenty thousand mourners, seething with anger, followed the bodies of Binyamin and Talia Kahane through downtown Jerusalem to the Givat Shaul cemetery last Sunday night. Most of them were Orthodox yeshiva students, admirers of Meir Kahane, the assassinated founder of the Jewish...

  • Tough Concession

    December 28, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    The lines are being drawn this week for what the Israeli tabloids are calling "The Battle for Jerusalem." At Camp David in July, Prime Minister Ehud Barak broke a 33-year taboo by opening Israel's "eternal, undivided capital" to negotiation. Barak is grappling with the consequences...

  • Last Call

    December 21, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    Early this month, Bill Clinton told the visiting Israeli justice minister, Yossi Beilin, that he was ready to devote the remaining weeks of his tenure to Middle East peacemaking. As a lame-duck president, he said, his calendar was clear.

    In and around Washington this week,...

  • Leah’s Legacy

    November 16, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    After Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated five years ago this month, his wife Leah cast herself as the unforgiving scourge of the Israeli right, which she blamed for fostering the atmosphere in which a Jewish radical, Yigal Amir, pulled the trigger.

    She constantly chastised the West Bank...

  • Mr. Oslo

    October 26, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Uri Savir may not have won a Nobel Peace Prize, but far more than the three national leaders who did, he is Mr. Oslo. For three long months in 1993, the then director-general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry sat secretly in the Norwegian capital and hammered out an agreement with the...

  • “Where Do We Go From Here?”

    October 19, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    "We are able to deal with this situation," says Yisrael Medad, a veteran, American-born settlement activist, "because we remember what happened in 1947 to '48. We are returning to our history."

    "Everywhere there is fighting," says Janet Aviad, a veteran, American-born Peace Now...

  • Yom Kippur II

    October 12, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    I first met Maurice Singer on the far bank of the Suez Canal during the second week of the Yom Kippur War, soon after Israel had counter-attacked across the waterway. The British-born, 28-year-old machine-gunner was grimy and sweating on his clanking, dust-encrusted half-track, the...

  • Two Insults Too Many

    August 10, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Ovadia Yosef, the Shas spiritual mentor and former Sephardichief rabbi of Israel, is a gold medalist among insulters. The mediahere monitor his Saturday night sermons, broadcast live on Shas's pirateradio station, for his latest news-making tirades.

    Last week the 80-year-old rabbi...

  • The Un-Peres

    August 3, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Moshe Katzav, who was sworn in on Tuesday as Israel's eighth president, garnered a bouquet of firsts. The affable, 55-year-old former tourism minister was not the first Sephardi head of state; Yitzhak Navon beat him to that. But he was the first who spent his immigrant childhood in a...

  • After the Summit

    July 27, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Camp David is dead, long live Camp David. That was the slogan as the despondent, disappointed Israelis left the morning after the Middle East peace summit collapsed in the Maryland presidential retreat."The process is not over," said strategic analyst Yossi Alpher, a former special...

  • Already Divided

    July 27, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    A couple of Saturdays ago, some American friends called to say they were in town. We invited them over for drinks and a cold supper in our garden on the Street of the Prophets, two minutes from Zion Square, the hub of West Jerusalem. We had salmon and salad left over from the night...

  • Barak’s Gamble

    July 13, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    The Camp David summit looks like the boldest gamble by an Israeli leader since the founding father, David Ben-Gurion, declared the Jewish state in May 1948, to the rumble of invading Arab guns and the chattering teeth of his own querulous associates. Ehud Barak flew to the United...

  • Letter to an American Friend

    July 6, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Dear Uncle Sam,

    Why are you humiliating us (Israel) like this? OK, you've staked us for decades, vetoed countless Security Council resolutions, trained and armed our brave fighters (though it wasn't till the '70s that you started selling us warplanes). But we're big boys now, big...

  • After Assad

    June 15, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Avraham Hamra met both Hafez Assad and his son, Bashar. As chief rabbi of the Jewish community of Syria until 1994, he had four audiences with the late president between 1972 and 1992. He was received by the heir when he led a delegation of Syrian Jewish leaders paying a condolence...

  • The Day After

    June 1, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Over the past two decades, Israel has slowly and painfully learned a whole degree course of lessons from its adventures in Lebanon. Last week, it graduated, with disputed honors, when it withdrew its last tank, cannon and armored personnel carrier from its turbulent northern...

  • Widening the Wall

    May 25, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Campaigners for religious pluralism drove two gaping breaches this week through Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox control of the Western Wall. The Israeli Supreme Court ruled that women may pray together at Judaism's holiest shrine, wearing tallitot and reading aloud from the Torah. At the...

  • The PalestinianCapital?

    May 18, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    There is a grimy Arabic sign high on the wall of the imposing new building rising on a rocky, ragged hillside in the West Bank village of Abu Dis. Through the rubble and raw cement, a couple of laborers are languidly plastering a concrete beam, but no one is hurrying to fill the...

  • Out of the Killing Fields

    May 11, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    This Tuesday, one day before Israel celebrated its 52nd Independence Day, it solemnly and collectively honored the 19,109 soldiers, sailors and airmen who have died in defense of the reborn state since the United Nations voted to partition British Palestine on November 29, 1947.


  • Israel Speaks Up

    May 4, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Israel this week came out of its shell and launched a public campaign against the trial of 13 Iranian Jews charged in Isfahan with spying for Israel and the United States.

    After one of the defendants, Danny Tefilin, was paraded on Iranian television to confess his "guilt," the Foreign...

  • Israel Speaks Up

    May 4, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Israel this week came out of its shell and launched a public campaign against the trial of 13 Iranian Jews charged in Isfahan with spying for Israel and the United States.

    After one of the defendants, Danny Tefilin, was paraded on Iranian television to confess his "guilt," the Foreign...

  • Selling AWACS to China

    April 27, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Chinese President Jiang Zemin donned his black kippah and followed in Pope John Paul II's footsteps to the Western Wall last week, confident that the world's biggest atheistic state would soon receive a $250 million airborne surveillance system from Israel Aircraft Industries on...
  • Dealing With Syria

    March 23, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    This weekend's Swiss summit between Bill Clinton and Hafez al-Assad is a make-or-break moment in the quest for peace between Syria and Israel. The American president will soon be a lame duck. The septuagenarian Syrian president is sick and eager to hand over the reins to his son,...
  • The Wines They are a Changin’

    March 9, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    When Martin Gerstel, a high-flying company executive from Silicon Valley, and his Israeli wife, Shoshana, refurbished a historic old house in Jerusalem's Ethiopia Street, they installed a wine cellar and shipped in 30-40 cases of Napa Valley's choicest.

    A decade later, he restocks...

  • Remembering Ofra Haza

    March 2, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    It is hard to write dispassionately about Ofra Haza, the Israeli pop icon who died last week at 41. She sang her fusion of Yemenite folk and '80s beat with intense, unabashed emotion. And she generated emotion in others.

    With her striking, Middle Eastern beauty, she was the sister...

  • The Honeymoon is Over

    February 24, 2000 | 6:59 pm

    Nine months after Ehud Barak took office as "everybody's prime minister," the honeymoon is over -- with his voters, coalition allies and Arab partners in the quest for peace. It is too early to write him off, but the Labor leader can no longer rely on loyalty or goodwill to see him...
  • Early Withdrawal?

    February 17, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    Israel's leaders are losing whatever faith they may have had in Hafez Assad. They are no longer convinced that the Syrian president has made a strategic choice for peace.

    As a result, more than half Ehud Barak's cabinet is pressing for an early, unilateral withdrawal of Israeli troops...

  • Threatening Peace

    February 10, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    A deadly escalation of Hezbollah's guerrilla campaign and Israeli retaliation is threatening to sabotage the Israeli-Syrian peace negotiations -- not least because Israeli analysts suspect that President Hafez Assad is deliberately stoking the furnace in Southern Lebanon in order to...
  • Lost in Jerusalem

    January 27, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    The lean young man feels his way with a folding white stick between the tables of a yuppie Jerusalem cafe. His red-brown hair is trimmed short. His narrow chin bristles with adolescent stubble. He wears blue jeans, a gray tricot shirt and designer shades. The gunshot wound in his...
  • Barak’s Battles

    January 13, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    Ehud Barak is going to have a hard time persuading the Israeli voters to endorse any deal with Syria that entails a withdrawal from most or all of the Golan Heights. The public is drifting away from the prime minister. So far.

    On Monday night, more than 100,000 demonstrators gathered...

  • A Gift in the Hand is Worth…

    January 6, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    Shimon Peres, the most experienced Israeli politician still in the harness, was not on Ehud Barak's 25-man team negotiating peace with Syria in West Virginia this week. But the 76-year-old economic cooperation minister may have moved within striking distance of the last public...
  • Political Gamesmanship

    December 30, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    As sure as death and taxes, Israelis can count on a coalition crisis every year in the last week of December. It happened three times to the Likud's Binyamin Netanyahu, and no one was surprised that this month it happened to his Labor successor, Ehud Barak.

    By law, the state budget...

  • Seale on Syria

    December 16, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    Patrick Seale, President Hafez al-Assad's official biographer, predicted this week that Syria and Israel would conclude a comprehensive peace agreement within one year. Since Ehud Barak was elected six months ago, the veteran British Middle-East journalist has played a key role as...
  • A Barak Diary

    November 18, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    Ehud Barak stomps down the aisle of the old, white Boeing 707 that doubles as Israel's Air Force One. He has come to shmooze with the traveling press corps. Close up, he is shorter than expected. He clenches his shoulders like a muscle-bound wrestler. His pudgy face looks as if it...
  • Nation/World Briefs

    October 21, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Members of the U.S. House of Representatives have again introduced the Workplace Religious Freedom Act, hoping a new set of supporters will help push it into law.

    The bill, introduced Tuesday, is aimed at preventing workplace religious discrimination by forcing employers to...

  • Ehud Barak’s First 100 Days

    October 21, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Ehud Barak has never been celebrated for his modesty. Presenting his government to the Knesset on July 6, the new prime minister declared: "I believe that this day will be chronicled as a milestone and a turning point --a time of reconciliation, unity and peace."

    He promised to be the...

  • Mideast Briefs

    October 21, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Jewish relief agencies and the government of Israel are mobilizing to send rescue missions and humanitarian aid to Turkey, in the wake of a devastating earthquake that, at press time, may have claimed more than 4,000 lives.

    The Israel Defense Force sent a 200-member rescue team to...

  • Safe Passage?

    October 7, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Within days, up to 1,000 Palestinians presently barred from entering Israel will be free to travel each day on a 26-mile "safe passage" that links the Palestinian-controlled territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They will drive on regular Israeli roads, but under strict...
  • The Two Sides of the Street

    September 9, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    The only thing Jerusalem's Jewish and Arab shopping malls had in common when news broke last Friday of the Wye II deal was that no one was dancing in the streets. There was relief that something at last was about to move on the Israeli-Palestinian front, but it takes more than...
  • Shas Blinks First

    August 19, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Prime Minister Ehud Barak last weekend won his first trial of strength with his religious coalition partners. The Israel Electric Corporation defied Orthodox protests and laboriously transported 250 tons of turbine parts over Friday night from a factory in Ramat Hasharon, north of...
  • Farewell to a Friend

    July 29, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Israel had good reason to remember King Hassan II of Morocco as "a friend and a statesman," and not just because of his tireless efforts to build bridges between the Jewish state and its Arab neighbors.

    Secret cooperation between the Moroccan and Israeli intelligence services began in...

  • A Conversion Solution

    June 3, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Softly, softly, Israel has launched a joint Orthodox-Conservative-Reform program to solve the problem of quarter of a million Russian immigrants who are Jewish according to the Law of Return (at least one Jewish grandparent), but not according to Halachah (a Jewish mother).

    They feel...

  • Enter the New Prime Minister: Ehud Barak

    May 27, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Two decades ago, after hearing the then-Col. Ehud Barak deliver a eulogy for a fallen comrade, popular Israeli poet Haim Guri predicted: "One day, this man will be prime minister." On May 17, Israel's voters proved him right. Barak was elected by a landslide, his 56 percent to 44...
  • Lessons From the Front

    May 13, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak fought side-by-side a quarter of a century ago in some of the most intrepid exploits of Israel's crack anti-terrorist unit, the Sayeret Matkal. They freed a hijacked Sabena airliner on a runway. They wrought havoc, on separate commando raids, in...

  • The Warrior and Witness

    April 15, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Ben-Zion Blustein, the teen-age lone survivor of a White Russian Jewish family, spent most of World War II on the run, hiding in the forest, fighting with the partisans against the German occupiers and their local collaborators.

    In July 1944, when the Russians liberated the area near...

  • ‘I Was Wrong about Netanyahu’

    April 1, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    Of all the Likud loyalists who have walked out on Binyamin Netanyahu, last week's defection of Gen. Yossi Peled is arguably the most damaging. The short, crisp former chief of IDF Northern Command made a surprise appearance at Ehud Barak's campaign launch and starkly confessed to the...

  • ‘My Judaism Is the Civilization’

    March 4, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    Amos Oz, Hebrew novelist, secular prophet and self-proclaimed "non-synagogue" Jew, has joined his local Reform congregation in Arad, the Negev desert town where he has lived since leaving Kibbutz Hulda a decade ago.

    In reaction to last month's massive haredi demonstration in Jerusalem...

  • Answering the Call

    February 18, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    Anne Roberts is passionate about the idea of tzedakah, a concept she has diligently instilled in her son Spencer Nieman.

    A second-grader who is not quite 8 years old, Spencer has managed to save up $120 this year and will donate it in a small ceremony that has become an annual...

  • ‘Shalom,‘Friend’

    February 11, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    Israel mourned King Hussein this week as one of its own. The government ordered flags flown at half-mast on all public buildings. Flower children lit memorial candles in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square. In a conscious echo of President Clinton's valediction to Yitzhak Rabin, the two...

  • A Royal Concern

    February 4, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    At the height of the Yom Kippur War, when Israel was rushing all available combat troops to the Syrian and Egyptian fronts, an Israeli official was asked who was defending the eastern border. "King Hussein," he replied, "as usual."

    The ailing monarch has not always been the truest of...

  • Soldier of Misfortune

    December 10, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    Lisa Weinmann-Myara, a State University of New York graduate who settled in Jerusalem with her Israeli husband 16 years ago, is waging a vigorous defense of her soldier son, who faces a court martial on charges of disgracing himself and the army by allowing a Palestinian mob to steal...

  • What To Do About Lebanon?

    December 3, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    A new coded message has entered the chilly lexicon of Israeli anxiety. "Heavy fighting is taking place in Lebanon," intones the news reader. Hundreds of mothers and fathers with soldier sons serving across the northern border know immediately what that means. There are casualties,...
  • Hostile Intimidation

    November 26, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    Every Saturday afternoon, spot on 5 p.m., through the summer and into autumn, a squad of Jerusalem police clip-clopped on horseback past my house on Rehov Hanevi'im, the Street of the Prophets. Half an hour later, equally as prompt, dozens of fervently-Orthodox Jews in their Sabbath...

  • A Historic Yes on Wye

    November 19, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    Israel's ratification of the Wye agreement, calling for another 13-percent West Bank withdrawal in return for Palestinian security measures, was completed on Tuesday night when the Knesset endorsed the American-brokered deal by a vote of 75 to 19, with nine abstentions.

    The Cabinet...

  • Bibi’s Betrayal

    October 29, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    "Binyamin Netanyahu is no longer the leader of the national camp," Aharon Domb, general secretary of the West Bank and Gaza Jewish settlers' council, said this week, with all the finality of a judge pronouncing sentence.

    Arutz Sheva, the settlers' pirate radio station, called on army...

  • One Woman’s Crusade

    October 22, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Getting to see Aida Suleiman is like playing chess with a temperamental computer. The first time I tried, she stood me up at the last minute because she had to deal with an emergency at a home for battered wives.

    The 34-year-old Arab feminist is perpetually on the move: lobbying the...

  • Israel’s Mystery Man

    October 8, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    The most talked-about, perhaps the most feared, figure in Israeli politics this holiday season is neither a statesman nor a rabble-rouser. He is Yitzhak Kedouri, a frail, mystical Iraqi-born rabbi, barely able to speak or to walk unaided, whose widely distributed kabbalistic amulets...
  • Radio Days

    September 10, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    The Yom Kippur War, which yanked thousands of Israeli soldiers out of the synagogue and onto the battlefield just 25 years ago, rears like a watershed halfway between the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 and its 50th anniversary this year.

    Israel and its Arab neighbors are...

  • Citizen Sheinbein?

    September 10, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    In Roger Hanin's semi-autobiographical film, "Soleil" (1997), 13-year-old Meyer is kicked out of school for being Jewish in Vichy North Africa. It is a sign that things have changed for his family in Algeria, where Jews had peacefully lived for centuries amid the Moslems. Now,...
  • Mideast

    August 27, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    A Divided Land

    By Eric Silver, Mideast Correspondent

    Recent murders in Hebron indicate a new trend in extremism

    What the Israeli right likes to call "the battle for the Land of Israel" is in danger of turning into a war of the ultras, Arab extremists...

  • Mideast

    August 20, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Austrian investors are opening a casino inside Palestinian territory, betting that Israelis, Europeans and Gulf Arabs will play

    Rolling the Dice in Jericho

    By Eric Silver, Mideast Correspondent

    Las Vegas has come to the Promised Land....

  • Mideast

    August 13, 1998 | 8:00 pm









    'Saving Lives Is Just Something That's in Our Blood'


  • Netanyahu Suffers Knesset Defeat

    August 7, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Binyamin Netanyahu recently suffered the most wounding parliamentary defeat of his two-year premiership. It left the Likud leader more dependent than ever on the pro-settler right, which has threatened to bring him down if he hands any more of the...

  • Yitzhak Kedouri

    July 30, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    The most talked-about, perhaps the most feared, figure in Israeli politics this holiday season is neither a statesman nor a rabble-rouser. He is Yitzhak Kedouri, a frail, mystical Iraqi-born rabbi, barely able to speak or to walk unaided, whose widely distributed kabbalistic amulets...
  • Mideast

    July 23, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Netanyahu orders cooperation with Palestinians even after abortive car bombing

    Progressing Toward Peace

    By Eric Silver, Mideast Correspondent

    Like the dog that did not bark in the Sherlock Holmes story, the most revealing Israeli...

  • Mideast

    July 2, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Richard Strauss's opera "Salome" had its Israeli premiere grave;re in Tel Aviv this month. Strauss, who died in 1949,served, however briefly, as a cultural official in Adolf Hitler'sNazi administration. The season, by the visiting Kirov Opera from St.Petersburg, was an unchallenged...

  • Annexing Trouble

    June 25, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright coldly dismissed the Israeli initiative as "not helpful" to the peace process.

    Annexing Trouble

    Palestinians and the international community decry Israel's plan to expand Jerusalem


  • Lonely at 50

    April 2, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    On the eve of the 50th birthday of the Jewishstate, Israelis have seldom felt so lonely. No one wants to come tothe party. Vice President Al Gore is one of the few foreigndignitaries who have accepted an invitation to the April 30 fiesta.The rest are either stalling or saying,...

  • Leaving Lebanon

    March 26, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    Israel signed the Oslo peace agreement with itsold enemy, Yasser Arafat, because by 1993 the alternatives had becomeinsufferable. The Palestinian intifada, a revolt of thestreet, was sapping the morale of the Israeli army, fighting a futilesix-year battle with one hand tied behind...

  • Revisionist TV

    March 19, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    After 50 years of evasion, soft sell andhalf-truths, Israelis are coming to terms with the darker side oftheir own history. The process is painful and divisive, but thepeople, if not their leaders, seem to be ready for it.

    Channel One, the public-service televisionstation, is...

  • Israeli Vice

    March 19, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    The young Lithuanian woman in the prison libraryhas the narrow chest, hunched shoulders and wary eyes of someone whohas known poverty and is not sure where the next blow is coming from.She talks to reporters to convince herself that she was not aprostitute, not one by choice anyway.


  • Israel Won’t Remain

    February 5, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    Seven years ago, when Saddam Husseinhurled 39 Scud missiles at Tel Aviv, Israel reluctantly refrainedfrom retaliating. The Bush administration convinced Prime MinisterYitzhak Shamir that an Israeli blow at Iraq would undermine theanti-Baghdad coalition assembled for Operation Desert...

  • Harsh Realities on theGround

    January 4, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    My first story as a foreign correspondent postedto Israel was the Lod airport massacre of May 1972, in which threeJapanese revolutionaries mowed down 26 passengers in the arrivalsterminal on behalf of George Habash's Popular Front for theLiberation of Palestine. Quarter of a century...

  • The Mossad Spy Who Turned Bad

    December 11, 1997 | 7:00 pm

    Graham Greene and John Le Carré have been there before: A shadowy source with access to the highest reaches of an enemy regime. A vain, furtive secret service handler with a chip on his shoulder, who insists that the informant will speak to no one but him. A steady flow of alarming...
  • Another Offer Arafat Can’t Refuse?

    December 4, 1997 | 7:00 pm

    Binyamin Netanyahu has made peace, for the time being, with his own disaffected coalition by offering the Palestinians a further West Bank withdrawal that is vague, qualified and conditional. But in the atmosphere of distrust generated by the Israeli prime minister, few are convinced...
  • One Saturday Night in Ramallah

    November 27, 1997 | 7:00 pm

    The bad news is that the peace process is going nowhere. The good news is that the Palestinians are learning all over again how to enjoy themselves. Those who can afford it are, anyway.

    Since it reverted to Palestinian self-rule two years ago, Ramallah, a suburban hill town 10 miles...

  • ‘A Split Is Hovering Over Likud’

    November 13, 1997 | 7:00 pm

    On the eve of his most testing American visit since he becamePrime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu was humiliated, live on prime-timetelevision, last Monday by the least likely of dissidents -- theblue-collar ward party bosses of the Likud central committeeconvention.

    Their quarrel, as...

  • Los Angeles Sephardic Film Festival

    October 30, 1997 | 7:00 pm

    In Roger Hanin's semi-autobiographical film, "Soleil" (1997), 13-year-old Meyer is kicked out of school for being Jewish in Vichy North Africa. It is a sign that things have changed for his family in Algeria, where Jews had peacefully lived for centuries amid the Moslems. Now,...
  • Conspiracy of Censorship

    October 16, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    An alien invader dropping into the Middle East in the first week of October would have assumed that Israeli political and defense correspondents have no sources of their own and are wholly dependent on award-winning international journalists with an inside track.

    Every story on the...

  • Oh, What a Tangled Web…

    October 9, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    The botched assassination attempt on a Hamas official in Amman onSept. 25 has turned into a security, as well as a diplomatic,disaster for Israel. Commentators are calling for the resignations ofboth Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and chief of the Mossadexternal security service,...

  • Power Over

    October 2, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Mohammed Manasreh was too good at his job. The 48-year-old Palestinian journalist was hired to edit the news for Al Mahd, a privately owned television station serving the Bethlehem district. Al Mahd ("The Birthplace") is one of 26 local stations licensed by Yasser Arafat's...
  • An Uncomfortable Line

    September 25, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    The door of Irving Moskowitz's home near the Montefiore windmill in Yemin Moshe, Jerusalem's first Jewish neighborhood built outside the ancient walls a century ago, was barred and bolted. The shutters were sealed. A gossipy neighbor said the owners were seldom there, two or three...
  • Treading Water

    September 18, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Madeleine Albright left behind a Middle East that's more fearful than when she arrived on Sept. 10 to salvage the peace process. In her first official visit, the secretary of state failed to restore even a modicum of trust between Israelis and Palestinians, or to coax the Syrians...
  • The Debate Over Lebanon

    September 11, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Since the beginning of this year, 103 Israelisoldiers have died in, or on their way to, war in Lebanon. Twelvelost their lives in a botched marine commando raid last week. Thetotal death toll since the 1982 "Peace for Galilee" invasion nowstands at about 1,200, and since the pullback...

  • A Brave Show of

    September 11, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    "When's our luck going to run out?" my wife askedafter last week's triple suicide bombing on Jerusalem's Ben-Yehudashopping street. "They're getting nearer every time." It was one ofthose days when people phone around to count their friends.

    We live downtown. In March 1996, one of the...

  • Languishing in Isolation

    August 28, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Imad Masalmeh dozes in the doorway of his fruit and vegetable store in Bethlehem's wholesale market. It is noon. On a normal August day, you would have to elbow your way through a crush of Palestinian mothers, prodding for ripeness, bargaining over price, lugging home plastic baskets...
  • Caught in a Maelstrom

    August 14, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Brenner, a 57-year-old New York-born social worker, Reform Jew and feminist, is at the epicenter of the latest halachic earthquake shaking Israel. Her downstairs neighbor is Dov Dumbrovich, the Orthodox chairman of the local religious council, who is defying a Supreme Court ruling...

  • The Youngest Victim

    August 7, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    For Olga and Yevgeny Pesachovitch, it was as if their son, Grisha, died three times. The 15-year-old Russian immigrant boy was the youngest of the 13 Israeli civilians killed by the twin suicide bombers who blew themselves up in Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market last Wednesday. His...
  • Confidence Game

    June 26, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    After a raucous six-hour debate, 55 legislators registered their confidence in Netanyahu, 50 voted against, and an unprecedented 15 abstained or absented themselves from the ballot. The government's paper support is 66 out of 120 Knesset members, plus two far-right sympathizers from...
  • Compromise

    June 19, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Binyamin Netanyahu's crises never come singly. One, of prime interest to American Jewry, was put on hold this week. Another, which hogged the headlines for Israelis, ended with blood on the saddle.

    Leaders of American Reform and Conservative movements reached an agreement, in...

  • Smooth Sailing?

    June 19, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Binyamin Netanyahu this week put the Bar-On affair behind him. The Supreme Court endorsed as "not exceptionally unreasonable" the law officers' reluctance to indict the prime minister and Justice Minister Tzachi Hanegbi for the abortive appointment of an underqualified party hack as...
  • Labor’s Move Toward Center

    June 12, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    After a year of licking the wounds of electoral defeat, the Israeli left has crowned a new leader who radiates an aura of victory and an appetite for power. The campaign of the year 2000 has begun.

    Ehud Barak, a former armed forces chief who entered politics only 2 1/2 years ago, was...

  • Jerusalem, 30 Years Later

    June 5, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    I first visited Jerusalem with an invited party of foreign journalists in 1966, when it was still a divided city at the end of the line. The nearest we got to a holy or historic site was Mount Zion, an Israeli outpost on the fringe of the Old City, and a scale model of the Second...
  • Stepping Stones

    May 8, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Israel is preparing a package of gestures designed to revive the Mideast peace negotiations that have been frozen since work began on a contentious Jewish housing project at Har Homa in East Jerusalem two months ago.

    The measures are expected to include firm steps toward building...

  • Palestinian Angst

    May 1, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Despite its propaganda success in the United Nations General Assembly, where 134 countries last weekend denounced Israeli construction on the disputed Har Homa site in East Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority is in despair over the stagnant peace process.

    Despite the fact that the...