A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:
Barack Obama was reelected on Tuesday night thanks in part to the Jewish vote, though it was reportedly lower than 2008 numbers. He won in spite of what The Jewish Daily Forward reported about Romney's campaign: "Jewish Republicans have conducted their largest ever mobilization of activists and of funds, arguing that Obama, now poised to enter his second term in the White House, would maintain an unfriendly attitude toward Israel." Others felt that Obama had it in the bag. "That more Jews felt comfortable with President Obama is not such a big surprise. No one really expected it to go any other way. It was also quite obvious that Obama will not win as strongly with Jewish voters as he did four years ago," said Shmuel Rosner in the Jewish Journal. How this reelection will affect the United States's relationship with Israel is anyone's guess.
Sandy sets down
After a massive hurricane rocked the Eastern seaboard last week, volunteers stepped up to help the victims get back on their feet and get basic supplies. Among those who volunteered were several Jewish groups and organizations. As people tried to get back on their feet, some rabbis took the opportunity to attach to the storm to outrageous meanings. For others, it opened up a difficult decision about where to give money and resources when there are so many causes to choose from already.
New wave of attacks
Israel has been facing rocket attacks that have some growing more concerned. "Israel has been fortunate to suffer few fatalities so far from the Gaza attacks. Some of that owes to Israel's deployment of the Iron Dome air defense system, which recently intercepted eight rockets aimed at larger Israeli cities. But no defensive system is perfect and at some point a Palestinian barrage may take a large toll in lives, forcing Israel to respond in a major way," said a Wall Street Journal editorial. What happens next, wondered Elliott Abrams at the Council on Foreign Relations. "The collapse of the PA is not in our interest—nor in Israel’s, as surely the Israelis must recognize and as Israeli security agencies do fully realize. For the Israelis to take retaliatory steps that make their own situation worse cannot be a sensible reaction to the Palestinian move."
What about Iran?
"The road could be very rocky, and war with Iran and the continued viability of a two-state solution hang in the balance," said Ali Gharib at The Daily Beast the day after Obama's win. The topic is particularly on people's minds now that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday stood by his comments that Israel would be willing to attack the Iranian nuclear program without U.S. support. "With Obama’s relection, the Likud and Netanyahu are no doubt somewhat unhappy," said Joseph Puder at Front Page Mag. Stay tuned for the next chapter of this ongoing and tumultuous affair.
Silicon Valley meet Jordan River Valley. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was in Israel this week for the ThinkNext conference drawing in members of the high-tech start-up scene. At the event, 15 companies showed off their innovations, and all in attendance got some wisdom from a series of guest speakers on technology. Still, some weren't impressed by the slow pace that Microsoft took to embrace its foreign audience. "It’s unclear why it has taken so long for the Xbox 360 to appear in the Middle East, but we can only hope that Israel won’t be waiting another seven years before the next Xbox launches," said Lauren Varley at Geek.com. "Whatever the reason behind the console’s belated appearance in Israel, gamers there can finally get an officially sanctioned dose of Xbox excitement this month. For everyone else, it can probably be taken as a sign that Microsoft still sees plenty of life in its long-serving games machine yet," said Martin Bryant at The Next Web.