A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:
The government shut down this week and it's affecting everyone, not just government employees. "It may sound petty, given the enormity of this debacle, to point out here that a Republican Party taken over by anti-government nihilists can kiss winning the Jewish vote goodbye. Granted, it’s a small vote, but it comes with the added benefits of activism, donations and a couple of swing states," wrote Rob Eshman at the Jewish Journal. Others are outraged. "What we should shut down are the hysterics, especially those coming from U.S. Senators who should know better," said David Suissa, also at the Jewish Journal. Stay tuned.
"The first major survey of American Jews in more than 10 years finds a significant rise in those who are not religious, marry outside the faith and are not raising their children Jewish — resulting in rapid assimilation that is sweeping through every branch of Judaism except the Orthodox," reported The New York Times. You can see more of the findings here. People sounded off, loudly. "The notion that American Jews are eschewing religion so broadly makes me a little sad, or worried for Jewish continuity (or guilty for being part of the problem). But I can’t see myself bringing my daughter to temple every Friday to honor a God I don’t believe in. What’s the solution?" asked Jessica Grose at Slate. "All Judaism needs to do is bite its tongue and stop putting this frightened, scarcity-based logic at the forefront of its effort to engage its people. Instead, spend as much time just doing and celebrating whatever Judaism means to you. The rest will follow," suggested Douglass Rushkoff at TIME.
After last week's United Nations gathering, some people are speculating about what it could all mean for Israel and the U.S., Netanyahu and Obama. "What also needs to stop is the guessing game over Israel's intentions toward Iran. Mr. Obama will not—repeat, will not—conduct a military strike against Iran. Israelis who think otherwise are fooling themselves." wrote The Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens. Strong reaction came soon thereafter. "So long as they’ve got Obama swallowing Rouhani’s bait, the Iranians have little to fear from Israel. That’s bad news for Netanyahu and Israel," said Jonathan S. Tobin at Commentary. "Netanyahu would have nothing to gain by downgrading Israel’s most important international relationship to demonstrate his dissatisfaction with the U.S. over Iran, especially when the U.S. is one of the few governments in the world that shares Israel’s view of Iran’s nuclear program. It would be the very definition of a self-defeating act," said Daniel Larison at The American Conservative.
Hungary's Deputy Prime Minister Tibor Navracsics announced that the country will do everything it can to combat anti-Semitism and racism, acknowledging Hungarian involvement in the Holocaust, according to reports. “We know that we were responsible for the Holocaust in Hungary. We know that Hungarian state interests were responsible,” he said Tuesday at the opening session of “Jewish Life and Anti-Semitism,” a two-day international conference in Budapest. This same week, Yad Vashem honored its first Arab for saving lives during WWII.
On September 11, Israeli authorities reportedly arrested an Iranian-born spy who had in his possession photographs of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv. According to an Israeli press release, he "was plotting to set up a spy network in Israel under the guise of a businessman who marketed services to restaurants and stores." "A State Department report published in June described Iranian-backed terrorism as having reached a tempo unseen since the 1990s," added TheTower.org. Ben Hartman of The Jerusalem Post reported on the proceedings: "At the end of the day, the proceedings, wide-open and well-covered by the press, did not give the impression of a dark new chapter in Israel and Iran's shadow war, rather that of a quiet, somewhat strange foreign man brought for his day in court," he wrote.