Jewish Journal

This week in power: UN agreement, Marathon security, Florida law, Bible winner

by Danny Groner

April 25, 2013 | 3:43 am

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

New deal
An "unusual partnership" was struck this week, reported The New York Times, that brings together the "United States and Russia, with the help of Jordan, Brazil... As part of the arrangement, the Palestinians agreed to postpone five resolutions critical of Israel that were pending before the agency." Many were enthusiastic about the new deal struck by Unesco, the U.N.’s cultural arm. “It’s a door that was opened,” Israeli Ambassador to UNESCO Nimrod Barkan said. “It’s a move toward confidence building and an attempt to see whether there is forward movement.”

Boston lockdown
"I am not judging the people of Boston and their leaders and yes, there is something to be said about being safe rather than sorry. But, I wonder about the long-term strategic ramifications and if this won’t be viewed as a near-surrender to terrorism," wrote Yaakov Katz in The Jerusalem Post. Some last weekend pointed to how well Israel handles tough security situations like these. Yet, some took exception to these comparisons. "We can choose whether and how, with what nuance or with what lack thereof, we draw comparisons between terror in Boston and terror in Israel. And we can remember that comparisons, like all speech acts, are not morally neutral: somebody always benefits, and somebody always loses," said Sigal Samuel in The Daily Beast.

Controversial law
A bill passed the Florida House recently that bans "foreign legal principles from being used in state courts" which has united Muslim and Jewish advocates in opposition to it, according to Jacksonville.com. It's being called "anti-Sharia law," and Gov. Rick Scott supports the bill. "But hey, you want to make a culturally homogenous omelette, you gotta crack some multi-ethnic huevos," snarked Gawker's Adam Weinstein. At issue is whether such a law is even necessary, as people wonder what type of incident would provoke a foreign law to become entangled with a state one.

Ruskay steps down
John Ruskay, the head of the UJA-Federation of New York for the past 14 years, announced on Tuesday that he will step down as executive vice president and CEO of the world’s largest local charity on June 30, 2014. Under Ruskay's direction, the UJA-Federation has led the charge for Jewish organizations in the region in communal planning and philanthropy. The organization works with nearly 100 network beneficiary agencies, synagogues, and other Jewish organizations -- and 60 other countries around the world. “This has been a fabulous, wonderful professional journey,” Ruskay said. “It’s also time to move on a little bit, to create some room for others."

Bible quiz draw
This year's annual Bible Contest led to a tie between Elior Babian of Beit Shemesh and Yishai Eisenberg of New Jersey, a student at Yeshiva University High School. The two contestants both achieved perfect scores in the final, challenging rounds, and the judges ultimately decided that they couldn't take away the win from either boy. It's the first time in contest history that there was a tie. “It makes me very happy to see young people from Israel and from the world that are so interested in our Book of Books,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the contest's conclusion.

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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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