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April 29, 2012

April 29, 2012

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/must_read_jewish_philanthropy_egyptian_gas_irans_neighbor_and_iraqs_problem/

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Jewish National Fund donation boxes (Photo: Courtesy of the JNF)

Going the Distance

‎(Seizing the opportunity to recommend an article that features on my own ‎work) Yehudah Mirsky in Jewish Ideas Daily looks at the connection American ‎Jewry has to Israel, and whether it is really diminishing. ‎

The research studies agree on several points:  A significant majority of ‎American Jewry still feels connected to and supports Israel.  The clearest ‎single marker of distancing is intermarriage.  Visits to Israel, more than ‎almost any other factor, enhance attachment.  And among Orthodox Jews, ‎while there is no general erosion in attachment, there are gaps between ‎older and younger Jews, with some trends presaging the possibility of future ‎distancing. ‎


The New Philanthropy: American Jewish Giving to Israeli Organizations

In a new study for Brandeis University, Eric Fleisch and Theodore Sasson ‎track the history and evolution of American Jewish philanthropy.‎

Over the past two decades, as donations through the federation framework ‎have declined, there has been a concomitant increase in the number of ‎Israeli organizations directly reaching out to American Jewish donors. ‎Some scholars have estimated that the increase in donations to these ‎independent entities has offset the decline in federation giving. However, to ‎date, no systematic research has tested this hypothesis. This is the first ‎research of its kind to provide a comprehensive account (within the limits of ‎the available data) of American Jewish giving in Israel.  ‎


The Brinkmanship of Egyptian Gas Suppliers

The Egyptian decision to cancel Israel’s gas supply is nothing new in the ‎game of oil sales, but is now coupled with a long-standing hatred of a ‎neighbor and potential political gain, writes Jeremy Rosen of Algemeiner. ‎

No matter whether it is Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Kuwait, or ‎whichever emirate you care to mention, the record shows that the ‎producer states constantly cancelled contracts, engaged in ‎brinkmanship, nationalized their resources, played one company ‎and country off against the other, all to get a better deal and more ‎money. That is the way they do things. That is how most capitalists ‎everywhere do it.‎


What’s Going On in Azerbaijan?‎

Iran’s northern neighbor has become a focal destination for nations ‎concerned with the Islamic Republic’s nuclear aspirations, as well as for Iran ‎itself, writes Thomas Joscelyn in the Weekly Standard.‎

Azerbaijan is on the front lines of a shadow war between Israel and Iran. At ‎stake are Iran’s nuclear weapons program and Israel’s clandestine efforts to ‎stop it. A recent article published by McClatchy Newspapers refers to ‎Azerbaijan—sandwiched between Iran and Russia on the Caspian Sea—as ‎a “den of spies.” Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, and ‎Iran—all of these countries and more run clandestine operations on ‎Azerbaijani soil. “This is ground zero for intelligence work,” an Israeli ‎intelligence official told the London Times earlier this year. “Our presence ‎here is quiet, but substantial. We have increased our presence in the past ‎year, and it gets us very close to Iran.” ‎


Our Man in Baghdad

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has ‎proven to be a divisive character with ‎strong ties to Iran, and one who poses a ‎threat to regional stability, writes James Traub in ‎Foreign Policy. ‎

Maliki’s relentless marginalization of his Sunni rivals, as well as moderate ‎Shiites like Ayad Allawi, the former prime minister and founder of Iraqiya, ‎has thrown him into the arms of Iran, which alone can adjudicate among ‎Iraq’s Shiite groups. It was Iran that broke the deadlock after the 2010 ‎elections by insisting that the followers of Moqtada al-Sadr accept Maliki as ‎prime minister. Maliki knows that he owes his job to Iran; consequently, ‎when he has a problem, he runs to Tehran. Iran’s rivals in the Gulf thus ‎inevitably, even if unfairly, view him as an Iranian puppet.‎

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