Jewish Journal

This week in power: Drone, Sarin, WoW decision, BBC documentary

by Danny Groner

May 2, 2013 | 3:57 am

A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:

Israel is facing a tough decision over a recent drone spotting. Prime MinisterNetanyahu's helicopter was forced to land after word got out and he remained grounded until the Israeli Air Force had secured Israeli air space, according to reports. First reports said that Hezbollah launched the drone, but that was unsubstantiated. However, Catholic Online reported that "It is widely speculated that Hezbollah sent the drone as a publicity stunt in an effort to demonstrate to their own people that they still have an emphasis on destroying Israel. Recently, Hezbollah has been sending fighters and resources to support the regime of Bashir al Assad in Syria. Many Lebanese are upset at this involvement." Stay tuned.

Attention on Syria
Syria denied this week that it has ever had chemical weapons, after allegations flared from the United States, Israel, France, and Britain. "Mr. Obama must soon provide a clearer picture of how he plans to use American influence in dealing with the jihadi threat and the endgame in Syria," said a New York Times editorial. "If it is proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Syrian government is using chemical weapons on its people, the world -- and that includes the United States -- cannot and must not sit on its hands," wrote Dorian de Wind at The Huffington Post.

Abbas honored
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was give honorary citizenship in Naples, Italy, last weekend, which upset many Italian Jews. Shalom Bahbout, the rabbi of Naples and South Italy, said that Abbas “had skeletons in the closet” and that the local Jews "are not against conferring honorary citizenship on a Palestinian," just for the sake of it. The controversy centers again around the postgraduate thesis Abbas penned titled “The Connection between the Nazis and the Leaders of the Zionist Movement 1933 – 1945."

Women's right
An April 24 District court decision ruled that Women of the Wall have a right to pray at the Western Wall as they wish, and the organization will be back on May 10 for the new new month. "Judge Sobel’s decision reflects the history and traditions of that holy place, knowledge of or regard for which has clearly escaped contemporary zealots who seek to bar women from praying there collectively—or to dictate how they might pray there or what they might wear while doing so," wrote Tablet's Elliott Horowitz. Of course, not everyone agrees. "G-d is not a mushy, honey-coated sugar-daddy. He states exactly what He wants and anything outside that is not acceptable," said Boris Karshinov at Israel National News.

Nixed film
A BBC documentary about ancient Jewish history was shelved last week, which has upset filmmaker Ilan Ziv who is the man behind "Jerusalem: an Archaeological Mystery Story." "This is ultimately a sad saga of what I believe is a mixture of incompetence, political naiveté, conscious or subconscious political pressure and ultimately, I believe, a lack of courage of broadcasters when they are faced with the complexity of the Middle East issue and the intense emotions, fears and aggression it generates," Ziv wrote on his blog. "As is so often the case, the decision to censor the film appears to have been counter-productive, ultimately bringing it more publicity than it would have otherwise had, wrote Samira Shackle at Middle East Monitor. Coming as it does at a time when a man with known pro-Israel sentiments has been appointed to a top BBC post, this is one accusation of bias that will be far from easy to shrug off."

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Danny Groner is a contributing writer to the Jewish Journal. He has worked in journalism since he was a teenager, starting off as an intern for a local publication. During his...

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