A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:
As Americans mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the spiritual ones among us might be coping a bit better, a study suggests. The study in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine shows that religiously-minded people, including Jews, are in better physical and emotional health than their counterparts. So how has the past decade changed us? We should speak about it and discuss the issues involved, said Isaac Steven Herschkopf, because “the manners in which we commemorate the tragedies that befall us say everything about us.” And we must acknowledge that there’s still work left to be done, said Michael Berenbaum at the Jewish Journal. “New York, and the nation with it, will have to deal with the paradoxical legacy of absence: the absence of presence and the presence of absence.”
Turkey vs. Israel
The two countries are at odds with one another after the United Nations “essentially exonerated” Israel for last year’s incident aboard the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara that killed eight Turkish citizens. In response, Israel’s ambassador was expelled from the country. “We don’t blame Israel for wondering if Turkey is keeping this conflict going to burnish its standing in the Arab world,” said a New York Times editorial. “Israel should apologize for the deaths. And Turkey should stop upping the ante.” With pressure against Turkey mounting, they will have to reconsider their actions, said a Wall Street Journal editorial. “The Turks will learn in their own time that being Hamas’s patron is a loser’s game.”
Is the U.S. spying on Israel?
The New York Times revealed this week that a man accused of leaking classified information to Israel discovered that the U.S. was wiretapping the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. But this isn’t a big revelation, said Douglas Bloomfield at The Jewish Week. “I’m not surprised that the feds were tapping the Israelis’ phones. And I expect they’re not alone; the Russians, Chinese, Arabs and others are probably trying to listen in as well.” But Richard Silverstein, the blogger who received the confidential information, told the Seattle Weekly that not everything was so ordinary. “The most concerning thing in the transcripts perhaps was the level of intensity that Israeli gives to tracking members of Congress,” he said. How much does any of this really matter? asked Jacob Heilbrunn at The National Interest. “Should the FBI, then, be spying on embassy conversations? Much of it is probably a waste of time and resources, which includes having to punish Leibowitz for transgressing the law.”
Israel’s largest rally ever?
More than 400,000 Israelis demonstrated in cities across Israel on Saturday night in what was being billed as the contry’s “March of the Million.” It was part of the ongoing struggle over high costs of living there. Shortly after the rally, tent dwellers packed up and went home. It’s yet to be seen whether the protests will go on somehow, but those who participated say that it’s paid off. “We are taking down the tent today with our head held high, after the very significant rally that took place yesterday,” said on student representative. “The tents were, in some way, a symbol and we had to choose a very particular date to take them down. The tents were merely sheets and pegs; the people inside are what is important—the people who were at the rally yesterday and will be there next week as well.”
London concert protested
After warnings of protest, the show went on with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra playing at Royal Albert Hall in London last week. Pro-Palestinian demonstrators were so vocal that the BBC cut off its live feed in the middle. It was the first time in history that anything forced the Proms broadcast off the air. “Legitimate protest against the Israeli government?” asked Stephen Pollard in The Telegraph. It didn’t sit well with some, including one musician who wrote a letter to The Guardian saying “To wreck their very rare and special concert over here gives a terrible impression of us all.”