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.