A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:
"Although most people expect Netanyahu to form the next government, the make-up of the Knesset could change significantly. Thirty-four parties have filed to run, including several new parties," reported Jodie Cohen in The Australian Jewish News. Cohen offers a helpful guide to keeping up with all the players and implications of the upcoming election. Not everyone is thrilled: "Bibi’s new government will build more settlements, will continue to undermine Palestinian moderate Mahmud Abbas (Abu-Mazen,) and will hunker down behind our separation fence, while proclaiming that the whole world is against us. This nightmare doesn’t have to happen, but sadly it is the most likely outcome of our elections on January 22," said Daniel Gavron at The Daily Beast. But the road to Middle East peace is still problematic, said Bloomberg's Jeffrey Goldberg. "So far, though, there has been no sign that the Israeli government is gaining a better understanding of the world in which it lives."
Morsi mouths off
It was revealed that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi made some remarks about Jews in 2010 while a member of the Muslim Brotherhood that many have condemned. Morsi called them "bloodsuckers" and "descendants of apes and pigs." Outrage has followed. "Teaching children to hate and dehumanizing one’s adversaries is just the kind of twisted mentality that fuels the conflicts that torment the region," said a New York Times editorial. And it might have bearing on how Morsi acts today, added a Los Angeles Times editorial. "Still, even if Morsi is more circumspect as president than he was as a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, his words captured on videotape are a reminder that old and ugly animosities are alive in the new Egypt."
Jews with guns?
It's an uncomfortable subject for many Jews to consider, but guns are inside their community, too, according to reports. Since the Newtown, Connecticut, shooting last month, Americans have grappled with the difficult conversation about gun control. "To many Jewish gun enthusiasts, however, history provides ample justification for arming civilians and refusing to rely solely on police protection. They routinely invoke the powerlessness of Jews during the Holocaust and the current security threats to Jewish institutions, and are dumbfounded by Jews who favor gun control," acknowledged JTA. Even those who ahve guns don't expect to have to use them. One gun owner told the Washington Jewish Week, "I do it for defensive reasons in the event that I have to use a gun, which I never have, thank God."
Ad riles Russians
Some Russian-speaking immigrants complained about a TV commercial featurng a Jewish man expressesing horror upon the discovery that his bride is not Jewish. The female character is supposed to be Russian. Moreoever, it was an ad run by the religious Shas party. "These halakhicly non-Jewish Russians were not told before immigrating that they would be treated as second class citizens because of it. Yet many are," said one blogger. After the pushback, the ad was pulled.
Well, this is a new one. Dutch teenagers are using the word “Jew” as a substitute for “cool” or “awesome” in English, according to JTA. “One is at first unsettled by it. The word Jew is still a slightly sensitive issue if used improperly,” wrote a researcher about the new slang term. How it happened is anyone's guess. It's delighting many. "Now, in fairness, it doesn’t look like this linguistic revolution has made it past the boarders into the rest of Europe. But, it’s pretty clear that the Dutch, known for being forward-looking tastemakers (When it comes to smoking grass and riding bikes, Amsterdam leaves San Francisco in the dust) are simply early adopters of what’s sure to be a world-wide phenomenon," said a Heeb blogger.