July 28, 2014 |
On my refrigerator door I keep a photo of an exceptional Palestinian woman who ran kindergartens in Gaza in the 1990s for the Philly-based American Friends Service Committee. Mary Khaas, who died more than a decade ago, would drag her teachers from their refugee-camp homes to visit her Jewish friends at a kibbutz just across the Gaza border. She believed in two states, and wanted each side to stop demonizing the other. Attitudes have hardened in Gaza over the last decade, and I don't know how Mary would feel now. But as U.S. efforts to produce a lasting cease-fire falter, and temporary cease-fires run down, the photo reminds me that many Americans can't conceptualize the humanity of the civilians who are dying there.
July 20, 2014 |
The latest engagement between Israel and Hamas set off loud protests Friday in Center City as hundreds of supporters and critics of the Jewish state rallied outside the Israeli consulate. First to arrive were Israel's supporters, who gathered at 19th Street and JFK Boulevard around midday and began engaging motorists. Among them was Asya Zlatina, 27, who arrived around 1:15 p.m. with a sign that read: "Honk 4 Israel. " Zlatina, who said she hadn't really been involved in a protest before, came after deciding that it would be the least she could do to support Israel.
May 7, 2014 |
Country and duty were one and the same for Yael Shamir. At 18, while her girlfriends were getting ready to leave for college, Shamir moved from her comfortable Voorhees home to her native Israel to join the army. Now she's a tank instructor. "I teach combat soldiers different shooting techniques, so when they go into battle, they'll be able to defend themselves," she said last week from her base in southern Israel, where the desert temperature topped 100 degrees. On Tuesday, Cpl. Shamir will be among 120 soldiers and officers in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF)
April 9, 2014 |
ISRAEL'S MOST beautiful export, Bar Refaeli , has made a commercial so racy, FoxNews.com says, the country's Second Authority for Television and Radio banned the ad during daytime and prime time. Haaretz newspaper said the move was made because the commercial has "too many sexual insinuations. " Refaeli's co-star? Red Orbach, an Israeli Muppet. The steamy spot shows Bar and Red in bed, with the Muppet fantasizing about the superduperJewpermodel. Multiple images of Bar are then shown washing Red's car, lounging with him in a Jacuzzi and playing strip poker.
March 21, 2014 |
The prospects for reaching an Israeli-Palestinian deal by John Kerry's April 29 deadline are about as unlikely as Vladimir Putin's giving up Crimea. The secretary of state probably wishes he never launched his quixotic campaign for Mideast peace a year ago. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Monday meeting with President Obama at the White House only illustrated the unbridgeable gulf between Israeli and Palestinian positions. But Kerry was right to warn in April that "if we do not succeed now, we may not get another chance.
January 29, 2014 |
Reuven Reich is in town to cure cancer. More specifically, the Dame Susan Garth Professor of Cancer Research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is looking for collaborators and funding to develop drugs to attack ovarian and breast cancer and melanoma, particularly in children. "They are very common cancers in children," Reich said Monday, "and very serious. " The researcher is among 24 Israeli scientists and medical researchers here for a three-day seminar arranged by Drexel University, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and Hebrew University.
July 24, 2013 |
JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday that he is fast-tracking legislation that would allow him to put any peace deal with the Palestinians to a national referendum - an apparent attempt to silence hard-liners in his party and coalition government. Netanyahu spoke three days after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said progress has been made toward a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, stalled for five years. Kerry has invited Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to Washington for preliminary talks, though wide gaps remain on the framework of the actual negotiations.
July 23, 2013
JERUSALEM - Israeli and Palestinian officials voiced skepticism yesterday that they can move toward a peace deal, as the sides inched toward what may be the first round of significant negotiations in five years. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced late last week that an agreement has been reached that establishes the basis for resuming peace talks. He cautioned that such an agreement still needs to be formalized, suggesting that gaps remain. In his first on-camera comment yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to lower expectations by saying the talks will be tough and any agreement would have to be ratified by Israelis in a national referendum.
July 22, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - When Secretary of State John Kerry bounded up the steps to his converted Air Force 757 in Amman, Jordan, on Friday night, staffers greeted him with applause. He grabbed a beer and strolled down the aisle to celebrate his most significant achievement yet in his short tenure as America's top diplomat: winning agreement from the Israelis and Palestinians on a framework for resuming stalled peace talks. It was a necessary breakthrough, for sure, yet a modest one, with the lowest bar for success in a process that merely sets the stage for what comes next: difficult and protracted negotiations aimed at a goal that has eluded successive U.S. administrations.
July 19, 2013 |
AMMAN, Jordan - Secretary of State John Kerry won Arab League backing Wednesday for his effort to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, raising hopes that the stalled negotiations could resume. Kerry cited significant progress in narrowing gaps between the two sides, but he declined to elaborate. On his sixth trip to the Middle East in as many months as America's top diplomat, Kerry met in Jordan with representatives of the Arab League and nine of its members that support an Arab-Israeli peace plan proposed by Saudi Arabia.