Jewish Journal


May 20, 2012

by Shmuel Rosner

May 20, 2012 | 2:16 am

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Bolivian counterpart Evo Morales during a visit to La Paz. (Photo: Reuters)

The Fight Over Who Fights in ‎Israel

Jodi Rudoren of the New York Times takes a look at Israel’s divisive issue of national ‎service for Haredi men. ‎

The resentment, even demonization, of Haredim is deep and growing, most ‎profoundly among the strictly observant Jews known here as Modern Orthodox ‎or National Religious. In Ramot, an elegant area of East Jerusalem, and in the ‎exploding city of Beit Shemesh, many of these religious Jews — people whose ‎children study in yeshivas before and after their army tours; people who find time ‎to study Torah as an avocation alongside serious careers; in some cases men so ‎religious they do not shake hands with women — talk about having to leave their ‎beloved neighborhoods because the Haredim are taking over. What to think, as ‎Zehava Alon, a leader of the universal-draft movement put it, of a state where ‎‎“there is a law that says our kids’ blood is less valuable”?‎

Child Molesters and Those Who ‎Protect Them, Cannot Be Called ‎Religious Jews

Ronn Torossian of Algemeiner speaks out against those in the American ultra-‎Orthodox community who have sought to downplay accusations of child abuse leveled against ‎its members. ‎

Words do not exist to describe those who molest children. The fact that it happens is ‎sickening, tearful and just horrendous and as a Jew it is infuriating to hear molesters, or ‎those who protect them, described as “religious.” What makes a Jew or any person religious? ‎One cannot be a religious Jew and a molester of children – I don’t care how many times a ‎day one prays.‎

Hezbollah’s Prisoner of Conscience

Lee Smith of the Weekly Standard discusses the fate of Sheikh Hassan Mchaymech, a ‎former high-ranking Hezbollah official turned critic, who was arrested by Syrian security ‎forces. ‎

It is not difficult to see why Hezbollah wants to keep Mchaymech quiet. Says [Lebanese ‎activist Lokman] Slim: “It was at first difficult to rally support among the Shia community, ‎considering the taboo nature of the case. But it eventually became a moral obligation for ‎all those fed up with Hezbollah’s political blackmail. Rejecting the abuse of Sheikh ‎Hassan Mchaymech became a pretext for open protest.”‎

Saudi Arabia’s More Perfect ‎Union

Writing in the National Interest, Bruce Riedel examines a Saudi push for closer unity ‎among the monarchies of the Arabian Peninsula. ‎

The Saudis believe they and their fellow monarchs must hang together or ‎hang separately. If the Bahraini royal family accepts genuine political ‎reform and democracy, pressure inside the kingdom will grow. The Saudis ‎also recognize that there are limits to even their largesse and ability to buy ‎off dissent. A more unified Arabian royal club would provide greater access ‎to the fabulous wealth of Qatar and the UAE, which have only tiny native ‎populations, to help buy off unrest in poorer and more populous states like ‎Bahrain and Oman. For equally obvious reasons, Doha and Abu Dhabi don’t ‎want to play.‎

Iran Woos Bolivia For Influence In Latin America

Iran has extended its largess to Bolivia, with an eye to deepening its influence in the ‎region, writes Ilan Berman in the Daily Beast. ‎

What is clear is that, at least for the moment, the Islamic Republic has placed ‎considerable value on its burgeoning ties to Bolivia. In exchange for access from the ‎Morales government, Iran has proffered hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to the ‎Bolivian government, agreed to $1 billion-worth of joint commercial and industrial ‎projects, and offered to sell warplanes and helicopters to the Bolivian military. (To date, ‎however, most of these economic overtures have not materialized.)‎

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