December 15, 2014 |
While Arab countries are struggling to redefine themselves amid violence, Israel is poised to wrestle with its own identity crisis - at the polls. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to call an early ballot in March has precipitated a most unusual election season, with stark implications not only for Israelis, but also for the Middle East and the United States. Under Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving prime minister since its first, David Ben-Gurion, this basically centrist country has drifted steadily rightward.
May 2, 2014 |
In February 2010, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that failure to make peace with the Palestinians would cause Israel either to lose its Jewish majority or to become an "apartheid state. " He meant that without a two-state solution, Israel would face two impossible choices: Either give citizenship to millions of Palestinians, who would soon become a majority in Israel, or continue to control the lives of millions of Arabs who lack basic rights. Barak's remarks caused no political hysteria in Israel because they reflected painful reality; other Israeli politicians and pundits have said the same before and after.
July 24, 2013 |
That was quick. Last week's "peace process" announcement by Secretary of State John Kerry has turned out to be less than meets the eye. He told reporters Friday that "important details need to be worked out before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas actually sit down face to face. " We will see whether they arrive at the bargaining table. But let's assume the talks about a basis for meeting for talks go well. What then? Any progress in the "peace process" is unlikely in light of some unpleasant realities.
June 5, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Israel cannot afford to wait to make peace with its Arab neighbors, Secretary of State John Kerry argued Monday, saying that demographic forces and rising militancy are working against America's top ally in the region. "What happens in the coming days will actually dictate what happens in the coming decades," Kerry said, referring to whether Israeli and Palestinian leaders will try again to broker peace. "We are running out of time," he said in remarks to the American Jewish Committee.
January 4, 2013 |
CAIRO - A leading Muslim Brotherhood member and adviser to Islamist President Mohammed Morsi created a stir in Egypt when he called on Egyptian Jews in Israel to return home because Egypt is now a democracy and because the Jewish state won't survive. Essam el-Erian's remarks in a TV appearance put the Brotherhood, which holds power in Egypt, on the spot as opponents - and some allies - jumped on the comments to denounce the group. Morsi's office this week disassociated the president from the comments, saying they were Erian's personal opinion.
November 29, 2012
Folly of Palestinian cause Daoud Kuttab's op-ed "Pointless punishment in Gaza" (Friday) continues the folly that has plagued the Palestinian cause for nearly a century. Israel should "deal politically" with Hamas, he says, an organization that denies Israel's right to exist, calls for its destruction, and eschews any solution save violence ("There is no solution ... except through jihad"). He bemoans the loss of civilian life, ignoring that Hamas deliberately positions its rocket launchers in heavily populated areas.
November 23, 2012 |
CAIRO - The top leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood denounced peace efforts with Israel and urged holy war to liberate Palestinian territories on Thursday - one day after the country's president, who hails from the movement, mediated a cease-fire between Israelis and Palestinians to end eight days of fierce fighting. "The enemy knows nothing but the language of force," said Mohammed Badie. "Be aware of the game of grand deception with which they depict peace accords," he said in a statement carried on the group's website and emailed to reporters.
April 4, 2012 |
JERUSALEM - Israel's prime minister said Tuesday that he still hopes to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians, because the alternative would be absorbing them into Israel and destroying the Jewish character of the state. "I want to solve the conflict with the Palestinians because I don't want a binational state," Netanyahu told a rare news conference. "For as long as it depends on me, we will ensure the Jewish and democratic character of Israel. " The statement was notable because it in effect concedes a key argument made by Netanyahu's ideological opponents on Israel's Zionist left: A pullout from territories the Palestinian claim for a state is not just a concession that could be made in exchange for peace - but also an imperative for an Israel that wants to remain a Jewish state that is also democratic.
March 9, 2012 |
This week, the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, visited President Obama in the White House. The two met, together with their national security advisers, then had a chat alone, then moved to a lunch with various high officials. Many words were exchanged, but they all might have been superfluous. Netanyahu delivered his overriding message quite efficiently, and almost wordlessly, in the form of a gift. The gift he handed Obama was a copy of "Megillah of Esther," the scroll that recounts the heroics of Queen Esther in ancient Persia.
February 26, 2012 |
JERUSALEM - He's considered to be one of the greatest scientists of all time. But Sir Isaac Newton was also an influential theologian who applied a scientific approach to the study of scripture, Hebrew, and Jewish mysticism. Now Israel's national library, an unlikely owner of a vast trove of Newton's writings, has digitized his theological collection - 7,500 pages in Newton's own handwriting - and put it online. Among the yellowed texts are Newton's famous prediction of the apocalypse in 2060.