Jewish Journal

This week in power: Iran plans, Mormons, Santorum’s appeal, Houston basketball

by Danny Groner

March 1, 2012 | 4:07 am

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

Iran showdown
What will Obama and Netanyahu decide is the best course of action for Iran when the two world leaders sit down next week? The debate is heating up again amid news that Israeli officials might strike Iran without informing America “to decrease the likelihood that the U.S. would be held responsible for failing to stop Israel’s potential attack,” according to reports. Such an act would have consequences, no doubt. “Israeli leaders cannot afford not to be hawks; they have to prepare themselves and their public for the worst-case scenario, even if the chance of the threat actually materializing eventually turns out to be minuscule. They also need to trumpet their doomsday warnings to the world and raise the sense of urgency in the United States,” said Tova Norlen in The Jerusalem Post.

Mormon Baptism fallout
American Jews may not have to fear Mitt Romney’s religion, said Elliot Jager in an article reprinted in The Jerusalem Post. “In the course of the unfolding presidential campaign, Americans – and, from afar, Israelis – will learn something of the Mormon Romney’s politics, values, and understanding of the world.” Mormonism and Judaism have a great deal in common. But don’t go too far, some warn. “However, when zeal for proselytism leads Mormons to ignore the legitimacy, practices, and sensitivities of another one of God’s covenanted people, then it remains a corruption of the tenants of their own true faith,” said Rabbi Dan Dorsch at Haaretz.

Who has the Jewish vote?
“In this unpredictable race that has seen multiple twists, turns, and momentum shifts, one thing is clear: nobody is backing down just yet,” reported The Jerusalem Post. While it’s starting to look like Mitt Romney will roll to a GOP win, some Jews are rallying behind Rick Santorum. As he’s gained more attention and coverage, Santorum has been focusing more and more on religion and its role inside of politics. Time will tell whether this is a gamble that will pay off for him.

Congress and agunahs
Rep. Dave Camp is under fire for keeping adviser Aharon Friedman on staff while Friedman is refusing to grant his wife a religious divorce. They were divorced in civil court in 2010, but the saga wears on. “At this point, the reason for divorce is irrelevant. The marriage has been dead for awhile and the issues of divorce details should be worked out separately for the benefit of all parties. The get is a separate issue and shouldn’t be tied in to personal matters. The marriage is over. End it,” said one blogger. There are larger issues at play, too. “We should be talking about how we can change the law so a woman can walk into court with her held high and walk out with a divorce in her hand that she didn’t have to beg for, that she didn’t have to be granted. That would be real progress,” said another blogger.

Houston team
A Texas athletic association is being criticized for its decision to stand firm and not move the finale of its basketball tournament even faced with an Orthodox school advancing to the semifinal that could force it to forfeit its game this weekend. Despite the protests, the Beren Academy Stars are moving on. “To be told you’ve been bounced from the tournament strictly because of a scheduling conflict must be devastating. It’s a shame they couldn’t work something out,” said Steve DelVecchio at Larry Brown Sports. “I wanted to take a moment here to acknowledge this team and its great message; that there are things more important that winning a game, and that sometimes in life one must make hard decisions,” added one commenter.

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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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