November 9, 2015 |
Israelis have been debating whether the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, 20 years ago this month, has irrevocably altered the course of Israeli (and Mideast) history. My answer is yes. To understand the profound consequences of Rabin's murder, one need only contrast this military hero and his era with the life and times of Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu, who has held the prime ministership for nearly 10 of the 20 years since Rabin's murder, and will visit the White House this week. "1995 was a reset moment in Israel's history, a shift from secular pragmatists to ideologues," says Dan Ephron, author of Killing a King: the Assassination of Rabin and the Remaking of Israel . That gap was on full display in Israel in recent days.
October 9, 2015
ISSUE | WEST BANK Beware of Abbas Trudy Rubin's analysis of problems on the West Bank is shortsighted ("Danger signs on West Bank," Sunday). She warns that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' closing of the Oslo process will lead to increased tensions on the West Bank. She blames Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for being too focused on Iran at the expense of peace in his own backyard. Rubin paints a narrow picture of a complicated problem. She implies that an attack on Israel by the ayatollahs is too unlikely to worry about.
October 5, 2015 |
On a bright, sunny day in September of 1993, I stood on the White House lawn watching Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat sign the Oslo peace accords in front of President Bill Clinton. At that moment, it was possible to suspend disbelief and imagine a two-state solution, with Israel and Palestine living side by side. Twenty years on, Rabin and Arafat are dead, and so is the Oslo peace process - although politicians from Israel and the West are loath to admit this. Last week at the United Nations, however, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said his government could no longer be bound by the Oslo pact, emphasizing Israeli settlement-building on the West Bank among his many grievances.
August 14, 2015 |
COACHING GAMES, practice, recruiting, scouting, fundraising for the university - a college basketball coach's life is a full one. Yet Villanova's Jay Wright - along with his family, and Sixers coach Brett Brown - recently found time to make a difference in Israel. According to a story from the Catholic News Service, Brown and Wright - along with Wright's wife, Patty, and two of their children, Taylor, 22, and Reilly, 17 - participated in a series of basketball clinics under the auspices of PeacePlayers International, an organization that uses basketball to promote understanding.
March 20, 2015 |
Israelis are attributing Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu's surprise election triumph to the fact that he ran a " gevalt " campaign. The Yiddish word gevalt is the equivalent of "Help!" - a cry for rescue at a critical time. And facing a possible defeat as voting day neared, Netanyahu wooed disaffected voters back to his right-wing Likud party by fear-mongering to the max. He raised the specter of an Arab horde (Israel's Arab citizens) who were "voting in droves. " He warned that his main opposition, the Zionist Alliance, would create a terrorist state in Jerusalem and "do the bidding" of the international community on settlements or peace talks.
March 19, 2015 |
March brings Philadelphia those occasional gloriously sunny days that let winter survivors know it's safe to leave their bunkers because spring is coming. It's a good time to learn that a long-dreamed-of park atop the dormant Reading Railroad viaduct may be on track for construction this summer. A newly announced strategic investment by the William Penn and Knight Foundations, complementing public and other funding, will help make the park happen. Four other parks will also benefit from the $11 million the foundations plan to spend.
January 6, 2015
ISSUE | ISRAEL Record of tolerance unique in region In Noah Feldman's recent commentary about the Cuba lobby, he gratuitously takes aim at Israel and that country's popularity with Congress and the American people ("Obama vs. Cuba lobby," Dec. 18). Unfortunately, the obvious reason eludes Feldman. Israel succeeds not because "there is no concentrated pro-Palestinian lobby," but rather because the Palestinian united governing entities have a strong terrorist element that repeatedly targets civilians.
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.
July 25, 2014
ISRAEL Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summed it up the other day when he said, "We use our rockets to protect our women and children; they [Hamas] use their women and children to protect their rockets. " Some time ago, the left adopted the Palestinians as their pet oppressed-minority group, so there is nothing that Israel might do that will be OK with them, except to commit suicide; that is, cease to exist - which is the stated policy of Hamas. Every time Israel refuses the suggestion that it cease to exist, the left becomes inflamed.
June 11, 2014 |
A Lower Merion advocacy group that promotes a hard-line stance toward Palestinians in territorial disputes with Israel has become a focus of the smoldering debate over allegations that the IRS targeted conservative groups for opposing the Obama administration. The group, called Z Street, seeks to defend the Israeli government against allegations that its settlement policies on the West Bank and positions regarding Palestinians are the main source of conflict in the Middle East. The group applied for tax-exempt status from the IRS in 2009 and allegedly was told by an IRS official that the status had been delayed because its views conflicted with those of the U.S. government - a breach, the group said, of its free-speech rights.