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...