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This week in power: Paul Ryan, Hungary Jew, Temple Mount, Blurry glasses

by Danny Groner

August 16, 2012 | 4:27 am

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

Ryan’s selection
Like many American organizations, Jewish groups are figuring how how they feel about Mitt Romney’s VP choice, Congressman Paul Ryan. The National Jewish Democratic Jewish Council (NJDC) and The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) are unsurprisingly at odds with one another about the running mate. “Romney’s best hope for reversing the GOP’s declining Jewish fortunes would have been to remind American Jews of the cultural and economic moderation he showed as Massachusetts governor,” said Peter Beinart at The Daily Beast. And Ryan doesn’t do that. “Jews will still vote overwhelmingly Democratic again this year and it is questionable whether the GOP can draw off enough of their votes to make a difference in battleground states like Ohio, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Medicare-sensitive Florida,” said Douglas Bloomfield in the Jewish Journal. Who would have been better, though?

From Jobbik to Jew?
Csanad Szegedi has had quite a week. The Hungarian known to rail about the “Jewishness” of the political elite just found out a harsh reality: He’s Jewish. The irony of the saga wasn’t lost on anyone. “We have no alternative but to ask him to return his EU mandate,” said Jobbik president Gabor Vona. “Jobbik does not investigate the heritage of its members or leadership, but instead takes into consideration what they have done for the nation.” Szededi apologized to the Hungarian Jewish Community for all the “bad things” he did and is reportedly planning to head to Auschwitz to try to make it better. It is coming up on the forgiveness season, after all.

Temple Mount flares up
Israeli leaders are mulling a bill that would designate separate hours for Jews and Muslims to pray at the Temple Mount, according to reports. Really, three religions could then share the site. “Is the State Department out of it’s mind?  Do you honestly want there to be equal, or even semi-equal time for non-Muslims to pray, or even whisper words of prayer, on the Temple Mount?” asked Jameel Rashid at the Jewish Press. “The State of Israel repeatedly declares its sovereignty over the Temple Mount, and no ruling party has ever called publicly to transfer control over the site to another entity. But in practice, 45 years on, in modern Israel, there is no sovereignty over the Temple Mount,” said Yoaz Hendel at YNetNews. Yet some have been critical of the Israeli media for picking sexier stories like this one ahead of substantive ones.

Sacramento and Ashkelon
The Sacramento City Council voted unanimously this week to make Ashkelon their sister city, even in the favor of protests. “One thing that stands out is that in our community, no matter who we are, no matter who we represent, we stretch for one another,” Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said. Defenders chimed in to support the measure. “Sacramento cannot bring peace to the Middle East. It can, however, bring a small bit of comfort to our brothers and sisters in an embattled city, one that is under constant attack not because anyone disputes its sovereignty, but because its people share our commitment to peace – so much so that they are willing to risk their lives to realize that dream,” said two proponents in a JTA editorial. Many are relieved now that the measure passed with flying colors.

Special glasses
Ultra-Orthodox men afraid of seeing immodestly dressed women can now pay $6 to save themselves—via special blurry glasses. “The glasses provide clear vision for up to a few meters so as not to impede movement, but anything beyond that gets blurry — including women. It’s not known how many have been sold,” said initial reports. “One of the biggest challenges for ultra-Orthodox Jewish men,” said a Las Vegas World News blogger, “occurs when they are traveling.  They are forced into tight confines with WOMEN. Oh my.” This is the solution, we presume? “How long before the hipster kids jump on this bandwagon,” joked another.

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