A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:
Is peace possible?
"Israel resumed its air strikes in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday a day after holding its fire in deference to an Egyptian-proposed cease-fire deal that failed to get Hamas militants to halt rocket attacks," Reuters reported. Commentators have sounded off all week about the violence and hatred. "I’ve criticized Israel for demolishing the West Bank homes of suspected Arab terrorists. That policy is indefensible. But in the Gaza war, it’s clear that Israel has gone to great lengths to minimize civilian deaths. The same can’t be said of Hamas," wrote William Saletan at Slate. Others pointed elsewhere: "Israel's airstrikes can lead nowhere but to more provocation, more retaliation, and more tragedy for all sides. And that's why this war is so stupid," said Damon Linker at The Week.
"Hamas needs to halt the missile attacks and provide credible assurances to Israel and the world that they will not be resumed. If the rockets stop, quiet can come tomorrow. And tomorrow is not soon enough," said Eric H. Yoffie at TIME.
Despite the violence abroad, some have made an effort to bridge the gap between Jews and Muslims by unifying for a joint fast day in commemoration of the 17th of Tammuz, traditionally a sad day in Jewish history. "In Jewish tradition, fasting is an attempt to make our mental and emotional anguish tangible—to afflict our bodies along with our souls. When we refrain from eating and drinking, we open a space for contemplation—of our collective pasts, of our futures, of our desires for change," wrote Saul Austerlitz at Tablet. The message was heard. "By fasting together today, we both look inward to the Spirit that is ONE and often can best be seen when we turn our attention away from material distractions — and look as well into each other’s faces, seeing and hearing the Breath of Life Who unites us all," said Arthur Waskow at FORUSA.org.