The Israeli government's decision to abandon a deal creating an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall led to an unprecedented rift with Diaspora Jewry. But American Jews, and the Reform Movement in particular, are merely collateral damage — caught in the crossfire of an internal ultra-Orthodox power struggle. By Eli Bitan With all the coverage of the brouhaha among Diaspora Jewry over the suspension of a deal to create a pluralistic prayer space at the Western Wall, one might reasonably think that the ultra-Orthodox parties in the Israeli government chalked up a victory last week. They didn’t. The real…Read More... | 6 Comments
By choosing to engage on specific issues of Israeli policy while ignoring the fate of Palestinians, the Jewish American establishment has effectively sided with perpetuating the occupation. For years, the Jewish American establishment has been able to convince the world, and itself, that it does not directly meddle in internal Israeli affairs — a declaration most commonly used to justify not commenting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But if anyone still has any faith in that notion, the volatile events of the past week should put it to bed. [tmwinpost] The outcry from across the Jewish American political spectrum was nearly universal. Prime Minister Netanyahu…Read More... | 23 Comments
Liberal American Jewry is up in arms after the Israeli government nixed a deal to allow men and women to pray together at Judaism's holiest site. But if American Jews want their interests in Israel safeguarded, they must rid themselves of the fantasy of a nonexistent Jewish pluralism. The Netanyahu government created an uproar across the Jewish world on Sunday by rolling back an agreement to create an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall where men and women could pray together. The compromise would also have brought representatives of the Reform and Conservative movements into a committee meant to manage that space. [tmwinpost] That arrangement…Read More... | 11 Comments
The sins of the 1967 War are still with us. Not only in the continuing crime of the occupation and the new victims it takes, but also in the unanswered questions and the still unaccounted for victims. By James J. Zogby In June of 1967, I was in the midst of my final weeks in college when the war broke out. At the time, I knew little about the Middle East, since I was more engaged in the anti-war and civil rights movements. And so as I watched the UN Security Council debates that preceded and followed the war, I…Read More... | 12 Comments
The latest bout between Israel and UNESCO suggests that the world is warming up to Israel’s conflation of the Jewish people’s religious and historical connection to Jerusalem with its claim to exclusive sovereignty over the city. By Talya Ezrahi and Yonathan Mizrachi Israel’s success at UNESCO this week was a diplomatic coup. In a work of crafty diplomacy, Israel succeeded in undermining an agreement between the Arab states and 11 EU countries which softened the wording of a resolution that it believes disputes its claims to Jerusalem. Nevertheless, we are told that as a result of heavy pressure by Netanyahu and the Foreign…Read More... | 20 Comments
As the 50th anniversary of the occupation draws near, those who consider themselves to be on the left cannot hide behind the battles that keep us in our comfort zone. By Emily Hilton Confrontations erupted at the Western Wall last week between security forces and activists from Reform and Conservative movement, after the activists broke through security barriers with torah scrolls in their arms, defying the ultra-Orthodox authorities that run the holy site. [tmwinpost] The prayer rally was staged after the government failed to implement a resolution approved in January to create a pluralist prayer section at the southern end of the Western…Read More... | 11 Comments
Those who dismiss the struggle at the Western Wall because it ignores Palestinians should recognize how important the Kotel is to American Jews. Their struggle for justice might start at the Western Wall, but it doesn't necessarily end there. By Rachel Canar Something unprecedented happened in Jerusalem on Wednesday. More than 200 people, including 12 rabbis — leaders of the Reform, Conservative and Masorti movements — held a major Jewish protest against the status quo in Israel. It wasn’t about the occupation; it was about the rights of Jews of all streams to pray in their respective traditions at the Western Wall,…Read More... | 45 Comments
Slowly but surely, the process of shedding democratic characteristics in favor of 'ethnocratic' ones is becoming clearer and clearer for all to see. By Tomer Persico (translated by Maya Haber) Over the last few weeks we have heard about the collapse of the delicate duality the Israeli government has been trying to preserve for years. It is the duality of occupation at home and democracy for abroad, religious coercion at home and a booming high-tech industry abroad, the stabbing at Jerusalem's pride parade and pinkwashing abroad. It is a strategic duality. It allows Israel to play a part in the…Read More... | 2 Comments
After years of negotiations with reform and conservative movements of Judaism and ‘Women of the Wall,’ the Israeli government agreed to create an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, where men and women can pray in the same space. We went to the Western Wall to ask people how they feel about the decision, and whether they would use the mixed prayer plaza. Read more: Women of the Wall victory can teach us a few things 'Why I cannot stand with Women of the Wall'Read More... | 1 Comment
If we succeeded at pushing the government to find a solution on a matter as sensitive as the Western Wall, then we can also push Israel's leadership — from a perspective of self interest — to make other, equally positive decisions. By Batya Kallus Last Sunday, following a 27-year struggle by Women of the Wall, the Israeli government approved a plan to create a new pluralistic, egalitarian and feminist plaza alongside the ultra-Orthodox prayer plaza at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. This is first and foremost a victory for Jewish feminists. But imagine — a group of Jewish religious women…Read More...
They began with clashes around the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, continued with mutual arson and stabbing attacks, and ended in a massacre. And even then we continued living together. By Hillel Cohen (translated from Hebrew by Sol Salbe) The recent events in Jerusalem are reminding some people of the summer of 1929. The parallels are uncanny: a struggle to extend praying rights for Jews at the Temple Mount; rising tensions; hateful language; a meager few voices trying to restore calm only to be denounced as traitors; blood in the streets. And more blood. And more. Among the killings there is a…Read More...
For Israel and settler organizations, creating a Jewish identity and presence on the access road to the Western Wall is crucial. Palestinians, on the other hand, view it as a dangerous provocation. By Yonathan Mizrachi The many stabbings in Jerusalem's Old City in recent weeks have taken place in one precise location: Ha-Gai Street, or Al-Wad Street in Arabic. While the walled city is relatively small, it is interesting to note why the political and violent struggle over Jerusalem focalizes on its most heavily guarded street. [tmwinpost] Damascus Gate is located on the Old City's northern wall, and is the…Read More...
Snow blankets Jerusalem and the hilly West Bank late Thursday and Friday, shutting down roads and highways, covering holy sites and the separation wall alike. In Gaza, heavy rain causes flooding in the war-torn Strip. Related: The storm that only affects Jews PHOTOS: Denied services, Palestinian residents form emergency response teamRead More... | 20 Comments
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