“The Vote,” the best show in town, opened at 7:45 p.m. on Nov. 29 and, after 23 acts, closed down 60 minutes later. During that one hour, speakers, actors, musicians, singers and dancers commemorated the day, 65 years ago, when the United Nations voted overwhelmingly to partition Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state.
Hagai Amir, the brother of the man who assassinated late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, said he was proud of his own role in the murder plot after he was freed from prison on Friday.
President Barack Obama, aiming to head off any premature Israeli strike on Iran, sought to assure Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday that the United States would always "have Israel's back" but said there was still time for diplomacy.
As if their own fraught history and the prospect of a nuclear Iran weren’t enough, Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu will bring to their meeting on Monday each nation’s vexing and at times self-contradictory relationship with war.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that he will never recognize a Jewish state during an interview on an Egyptian television channel.
Mitt Romney said he would increase defense assistance to Israel, raise the U.S. military profile near Iran and recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Yoram Kaniuk, a rambunctious 81-year-old author, was hailed by Israeli secularists this week for winning a court victory that compelled the state to stop listing Judaism as his "religion" while keeping "Jewish" as his "ethnicity." He is the first Israeli Jew to have done so.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas applied for statehood recognition.
The Palestinian Authority will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state, President Mahmoud Abbas said.
The Knesset is considering a bill that will officially recognize Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland of the Jewish people.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would reinstate a West Bank construction freeze if the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Mahmoud Abbas said he will not compromise during peace negotiations on core issues such as final borders and the status of Jerusalem.
I spent the last week of November in Israel and watched the Annapolis show unfold through the lens of Israeli TV. As expected, everyone in Israel watched that show with both nervous curiosity and cynical dismissal.
But the event that truly captured the public imagination and managed to elevate people's spirit above the mundane was one that occurred 200 miles away from Annapolis, in a place called Lake Success, and it took place 60 years ago, Nov. 29, 1947.
Zionism has meant many things to many people over the past century. To Theodor Herzl and the founders of the Zionist movement, it meant creating a national home to gather in the Jewish people -- to some minds, as a refuge from anti-Semitism, for others, as a fulfillment of an ancient promise.
He was the ultimate Israeli high-flier, literally as well as metaphorically, shepherding and shaping the Jewish state through war and peace with a singular, sometimes mordant charm.
And although Ezer Weizman, who died Sunday at 80, ended his public career tainted by scandal, to many Israelis he typified a national ideal.
American Jewish leaders see it as a dire threat, but in Jerusalem, the current push for divestment by mainline Protestant groups eager to punish the Jewish state is a nonissue -- so much so that at a recent conference, Israel's foreign minister admitted he didn't have a clue about the raging controversy.
Israeli officials may be making a big mistake -- one more complication for Jewish leaders here who see divestment as a full-fledged emergency.
We have long since learned to swallow hard as the Israelis persist in policies that are ill-conceived and ill-executed, policies that threaten the entire Zionist enterprise.
There is a gathering hysteria in the American Jewish community that is dangerously self-destructive. Life as a Jew these days may not be -- is not -- a bed of roses, but neither is it a bed of thorns. Yet to hear some in our community tell it, thorns are all there are.
Consider: George Soros, the multibillionaire and philanthropist, spoke on Nov. 5 to a meeting of the Jewish Funders Network. In response to a question about the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, he responded that "the policies of the Bush administration and the Sharon administration contribute to that."
Can there be any doubt that he is right?
Jonathan Koch was trying to decide between two pairs of shoes when he happened to notice that one pair was made in Israel. That sealed the deal for him.
In a single passionate interview recently, Ehud Olmert, Israel's deputy prime minister, managed to do what most politicians only dream about -- recast a nation's political and diplomatic agenda.
Alan Dershowitz's new book describes an Israel no Israeli would recognize, an impossibly virtuous country whose intentions are always pure, whose conduct is forever above reproach, and whose rare misdeeds can be explained away as accidental. Conversely, the Palestinian Arabs (and for that matter, all Arabs) are depicted as malevolent terrorists bent on Israel's destruction; every one of their deeds is attributed to the basest of motives, every decision a result of unremitting hostility, trickery, foolishness, or a combination of all three. No reader of Israeli historical scholarship or journalism would recognize the simple tale of good and evil, of angels and devils, described in the pages of Dershowitz's book.
When, not so long ago, the director of an Israeli nonprofit organization noticed that an employee would appear at work every Sunday morning so fatigued that he could barely function, he issued him a stern warning to "stop partying so hard on Saturday nights."
The gaunt-looking employee burst into tears, explaining that he had not eaten since Thursday afternoon, when he received his last hot meal of the week at work.
Back in November, when the war in Iraq was looming, Rabbi Elazar Muskin planned a Passover mission to Israel.
When Yale Strom was growing up in a traditional, socialist-Zionist home in Detroit, he was riveted by his father's tales of a Jewish state founded 20 years before Israel in a Siberian swamp.
As Israeli-Palestinian violence makes daily life in the Jewish state a living (as opposed to a virtual) nightmare, American Jews are raising the ante on expressions of loyalty. A rabbi recently told me he wants every Jew to travel to Israel this year. A lay leader puts his name on the list for every mission, but breathes a sigh of relief when each is quickly cancelled.
I have been asked by the Hillel Foundation at Dartmouth College to meet with them on the occasion of Israel's 54th birthday. There aren't too many of us still around who were there at its birth, and they would like to hear, from the perspective of a participant, what made it possible for the Jewish state to survive while the Palestinian state, also created by the United Nations, crashed in flames.
I heard you had a great trip to Saudi Arabia. In the privacy of their homes people removed their veils and expressed their true feelings. Even the crown prince, the guy who really runs Saudi Arabia, spent some time with you.
Like the more than 2 million Jews who came to the United States at the turn of the 20th century in search of the American dream, thousands went further south -- to Argentina -- hoping to find a brighter future.
Just last month, Walt Disney World appeared to be right in the path of a bona fide hurricane. Hurricane Floyd was headed for Florida's eastern coast, and Walt Disney World was forced to close its doors for the first time in its 28-year history. But Mickey's luck held out. Floyd veered north, and Walt Disney World was saved from potential devastation.
Pundits everywhere are calling Israel's election results a "political earthquake." In fact, though, two distinct tremors have overturned the rules and realities that have governed the Jewish state and its policy-making these past three years.
Barry Fisher, director of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department crime laboratory, showed up in Jerusalem this week, invited by the Israeli Police Department to give a couple of lectures and the benefit of his 30 years' experience to the forensics people of the Jewish state. In a wood-paneled room at National Police Headquarters, along with about 25 Israeli police officers, I caught his second lecture, "Forensic Science After O.J. Simpson." (I will assume that, despite so many breathlessly absorbing high-profile murders and sex scandals since then, you still vaguely remember O.J. Simpson.)
Israel has always meant a lot to my parents, butit was my mother who took the Jewish state personally. She waspregnant at the time Israel was being created, in the spring of 1948,and to this day, she still describes the joy -- the triumph! -- ofbringing a new life into a world where the blue-and-white flag couldproudly fly.
In July 1947, a Chesapeake Bay steamer loaded with 4,500 Holocaust survivors was attacked by the British navy on its way to Palestine. The ship was called Exodus 1947, and its aborted voyage galvanized world opinion in support of the struggle to create a Jewish state.