Almost as soon as the catastrophe in Japan began unfolding last Friday, Jewish groups scrambled to figure out how to get help to the area. In Israel, search-and-rescue organizations like ZAKA and IsraAid readied teams to head to the Japanese devastation zone. In Tokyo, the Chabad center took an accounting of local Jews and began organizing a shipment of aid to stricken cities to the north. In the United States, aid organizations ranging from B’nai B’rith International to local and national federation agencies launched campaigns to collect money for rescue, relief and rebuilding efforts in the Pacific.
You've got to hand it to Bibi Netanyahu, who somehow managed to turn international outrage over the brutal massacre of a young Jewish family on the Shabbat as they slept in their beds into widespread criticism of his aggressive settlement policy. The most frequent question I get in speaking to Jewish groups around the country is "Why doesn't Israel get better PR advice?" The answer is simple: the problem isn't PR, it's policy and the way it's announced to the world.
The Palestinian reaction to the grisly killings of five Israeli family members in the Jewish settlement of Itamar, on the West Bank, has prompted many Israelis to ask the same question of the Palestinians that the world often asks of the Israeli government: Are they really serious about peace? On the one hand, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas went on Israel Radio on Monday to condemn the March 11 killings of the Fogel family members, including a 4-year-old boy and a 3-month-old girl, as “despicable, inhuman and immoral.”