May 1, 2012 | 5:22 am
In part 2 of a series on Israel-Jewish ties, Yehudah Mirsky in Jewish Ideas Daily examines ways in which Israelis who have left their homeland can maintain their ties to it.
At any moment, some 500,000 to 600,000 Israelis and their children, around 15 percent of Israel’s population, are living abroad. Every year large numbers leave for work rotations and studies while others head back home. The largest number, some 200,000, are in the United States, with the rest in Canada, Australia, and Western Europe. As ties grow between Israel and the East, we can easily imagine substantial numbers of Israelis in China and India, too.
Writing in Bloomberg, Jeffrey Goldberg looks at how much Benzion Netanyahu has truly influenced his son, Benjamin, and what it means for Israel.
Was Benzion Netanyahu simply a paranoid who saw the half- full glass of Jewish history as entirely empty, or was he a clear-eyed realist with a tragic understanding about the eternal nature of anti-Semitism? The answer helps inform the debate about two surpassingly important questions in Middle East politics today. The first is whether Iran ultimately plans to try to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons; the second is whether the Arabs actually want to achieve a political compromise with Israel.
James Fallows of the Atlantic asks his colleague Jeffrey Goldberg whether he believes that the bellicose rhetoric on Iran’s nuclear program coming from the Israeli prime minister has been dialed down in recent weeks.
Is it right to think that the odds of an Israeli strike are lower than they were a month ago? Because there is at least some chance that the combination of sanctions-plus-negotiations will produce an agreement? And because we are getting a more realistic and rounded view of the range of opinion within Israel?
Jonathan Schanzer of Foreign Policy highlights the worrying phenomenon of a crackdown on free speech within the Palestinian Authority, and urges the American government to take action.
It appears that the PA has not only quashed critical voices through official channels, but at times has also resorted to using extrajudicial means. On Jan. 28, hackers took down InLightPress, a website that alleged that Abbas had ordered his security forces to tap his political opponents’ phones. When InLightPress returned online, its editors claimed the cyber attack “came from the Palestinian Authority with the approval of President Abbas.” The site further alleged that Abbas had created a “crisis cell” headed by Sabri Saidam, former head of the PA’s ministry of telecommunications and information technology, to coordinate the attack.
In the wake of comments by Norwegian professor Johan Galtung, Walter Russell Mead of the American Interest looks at the enduring anti-Semitism in Europe.
Professor Galtung is 82 and perhaps these days like his soul mate Helen Thomas he expresses himself with more freedom and less restraint than in former times. And perhaps the mind is not everything that it once was. But his example demonstrates that the bacillus of Jew-hatred, responsible for centuries of folly and murder before climaxing in the Holocaust and the destruction of half Europe, has not been extirpated. Even among liberal academics who specialize in the study of peace, the flame of hate sometimes burns.
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