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January 12, 2012

This week in power: New Hampshire, Santorum, Holocaust analogies, Credit cards

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

Romney’s win
Mitt Romney won the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, with Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman finishing second and third, pushing Romney even further ahead of the competition. “Of the entire field, Romney has the greatest upside among Jewish voters,” said someone quoted in The Jewish Week. “Of the remaining Republican field, he is the one Jews feel most comfortable with – he’s kind of heimish.” But if we’re just going based on the campaign and the debates, warned Shmuel Rosner of the Jewish Journal, We still know “nothing exactly about the way a President Romney will act tomorrow.” And the debate goes on about who has Israel’s best intentions in mind.

Santorum’s “Jesus guy” comments
Late last week, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum told a radio show host that we could always use a “Jesus guy” running the country. “Most American Jews will be hard put to find their place in this new interdenominational Christian alliance,” said Chemi Shalev at Haaretz. Let’s keep the religious attacks out of the campaign, shall we? suggested Tod Robberson in the Dallas Morning News. “Voters should be encouraged to make their decisions based upon their assessment of the qualifications, integrity and political positions of candidates, not the intensity of their religious beliefs.”

Nazi imagery law
The Israeli government passed a law this week that will make it illegal to use any Nazi or Holocaust imagery, according to reports. Violators face big fines or possible jailtime. The law follows recent unrest over ultra-Orthodox people’s use of Nazi imagery in protests over immodesty. “As Jews, we have found ourselves needing to constantly raise our voices against this kind of trivialization in an effort not only to remind others of the pain and offensiveness of these remarks, but also to protect the memory of the Holocaust, so that we do not wake up one day to a world that no longer remembers the lessons of that period—or, worse, is indifferent to them,” said Abraham H. Foxman in JTA.

A new political party in Israel?
Until recently, Yair Lapid was a popular TV personality on Israel’s Channel 2. Now, he’s running for Knesset and might be forming his own party. “The trouble is that politics is not about ratings. One must ask what Lapid brings to politics that gives him the skills to make decisions about the country’s fate. He has no political or administrative experience and has never been immersed in the turmoil that is Israeli politics, whose pressures, from within and without, are some of the greatest in the world,” said Shlomo Avineri at Haaretz. Of course, Lapid could wind up just finding his place within the establishment. “With the centrist Lapid possibly more willing to join a Netanyahu coalition than Kadima (Lapid doesn’t expect to be PM, Livni does – there’s a lot of ego involved with such ambitions), Netanyahu might have a viable path towards being less dependent on the hardcore right-wingers and the ultra-Orthodox parties,” said Shmuel Rosner at the Jewish Journal.

Israel vs. hacker
A Saudi teenage hacker posted Israeli credit card numbers online, prompting the Israeli government to call it “a breach of sovereignty comparable to a terrorist operation, and must be treated as such.” “I’ve hacked much more than you can imagine,” wrote the hacker. He said he had more credit card information than what he published so far. “Yes, because shooting a missile at someone and killing them is exactly the same as leaking their credit card data and temporarily inconveniencing them, and taking out a shit-eating script kiddie is essential to Israeli sovereignty. It’s only a few more dumb leaps in logic to blowing up anti-Israel YouTube trolls,” said Adrian Chen at Gawker. “Yeah, they sound pretty pissed,” said Tanya Ghahremani at Complex.

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