Jewish Journal

This week in power: Sharon’s death and Berlin brawl

by Danny Groner

January 15, 2014 | 7:57 pm

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

Sharon legacy
After many years of a much-watched coma, Ariel Sharon passed away last weekend, leading to an assortment of reactions to the former prime minister's life from around the world. "If Mr. Sharon had not had a stroke in 2006, which led, ultimately, to his death on Saturday, he would most likely have reached a peace agreement with the Palestinians. And he would have used his powerful personality and irresistible drive, as well as the widespread affection he had acquired among his people, to force the right-wing settler movement to accept it," said Ronen Bergman at The New York Times. "A day will come when it will be recognized that leaders such as Sharon, and those who have shared his vision of Israel as a fortress state rather than one that can attain peaceful relations with its neighbors, have done their own people the greatest disservice," countered Raja Shehadeh at The New Yorker.

"Whatever else Sharon was, he proved himself capable of being a statesman," said Marc Ambinder at The Week. Beyond Sharon, though, said the Chicago Tribune in an editorial, the future looks bleak: "The path to peace, to safeguarding Israel — Sharon's mission — is as steep as ever."

Berlin infighting
"The ugly scene, described in interviews with witnesses and seen on an Internet video, is indicative of a Berlin Jewish community in crisis — riven by cultural rivalries, its finances under official scrutiny. It's hard to say who is at fault, but the feuding is fed at least in part by a clash between an old guard of German Jews dating to before World War II, and a growing presence of relative newcomers from the former Soviet Union," reported The Associated Press. "Among issues the Germans raise is the hefty dues that they pay for community welfare programs to help low-income Russians, while the Russians feel left out and rejected by the establishment," added Israel Hayom. "While the financial irregularities are certainly troubling, the cultural tensions dividing the community are also cause for concern. The notion of dueling factions of Jews in Germany in 2014 is a unsettling reality to consider, but it appears to be the case," said Stephanie Butnick at Tablet.

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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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