Jewish Journal

This week in power: Kerry talks, Egypt, Zanzibar attack, Handler past

by Danny Groner

August 14, 2013 | 8:51 pm

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

Talks begin
The first "substantive round of peace talks in nearly five years" began on Wednesday amid some tensions over a new Israeli push to build hundreds of homes in Jewish settlements. "Many Israelis see the vileness of this land theft and condemn it. They deserve the peace and security which the world wishes them. But they won’t get it with colonisation, and they know it," wrote Robert Fisk at The Independent. "Secretary of State John Kerry is hoping that his efforts will result in being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  Such a prize can only come at the expense of critical Israeli concessions," said Joseph Puder at Frontpage Mag.

Egypt cooperation
"Israel and Egypt are quietly cooperating to quell Islamist militants along their border, Western officials say, a sensitive relationship illuminated by a deadly Israeli drone strike late last week inside Egyptian territory," according to reports. "Now it is up to Egypt and Israel, acting together in the spirit of the Peace Treaty, to restore order to the Sinai and eradicate those bent on achieving their undesirable ends through remorseless terror," wrote Neville Teller in the Albany Tribune. Not everyone is thrilled. "The chaos in the peninsula and the subsequent flocking of radical terror groups there, the amounts of weapons they have, and the lack of any real Egyptian authority on the ground make it hard to be optimistic about the future," said Yoav Limor at Israel Hayom.

Zanzibar aftermath
One of the two British-Jewish girls attacked recently with acid in Zanzibar has been released from the hospital. A reward has been issued for the capture of the people involved in the motorbike attack. Police said it was the first time visitors to the island were targeted like this, and they aren't certain what the motive may have been for what seems like a random attack. Others have pointed out incidents that strike them as similarly minded even if the approach was different this time around.

Rapfogel out
A New York Jewish community leader is out of his job amid an investigation of taking kickbacks from insurance companies, reports stated. William Rapfogel headed up the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty. Those involved told The New York Times that there was a fear the council had been "overpaying the council’s insurer, Century Coverage Corporation of Valley Stream, N.Y., and then directing the insurer to make political contributions to his favored candidates." Through his lawyer, Rapfogel issued a statement: "I deeply regret the mistakes I have made that led to my departure from the organization" after 21 years of service."

Handler's legacy
On last week's "Who Do You Think You Are" episode on TLC, comedian Chelsea Handler, who was raised Jewish, learned that her German grandfather, Karl Stoecker had a hidden Nazi past. “When he went back to Germany, he was very eager to come and take his family and move them back to the United States,” said Handler. It was reportedly one of the TLC staff's favorite episodes to film. Not everyone was impressed. "Nazi history is serious, and funny lady Chelsea is somber! Pause. Nazi history is wacky stuff for Chelsea to riff on! Hey, TLC: Pick. A. Tone," wrote a Yahoo! TV blogger.

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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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