A hope that Israel’s 10th president is a uniter-in-chief

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The role of the president of Israel is largely ceremonial. The most important constitutional role is holding consultations in forming a government and accepting a government’s resignation. But Israel’s presidency has also been shaped by the men who have served in that capacity. In the case of Likud Knesset member Reuven Rivlin, who was elected… Read More

It sure isn’t art

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Everything in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems to have two narratives. Even in art. Even in Pittsburgh. That’s the lesson of the exhibit of Israeli, Palestinian and American artists, which was to have opened Sunday at Pittsburgh’s Mattress Factory museum but was canceled at the last minute. “Sites of Passage: Borders, Walls & Citizenship” was to… Read More

Pope in the Holy Land

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Pope Francis’ three-day visit to Jordan, Israel and the West Bank was not merely a religious event. He is, after all, the head of a state. And even more than the charismatic John Paul II, Francis is everyone’s pope. He came, as one commentator put it, “mostly to do what he does best — project… Read More

How will Modi lead?

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A youthful nation and growing economic powerhouse, India has long been forging strong business relations with Israel. Those ties are expected to grow stronger following last week’s landslide election of India’s conservative Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party and its leader Narendra Modi. As chief minister of Gujarat state in Western India, Modi, 63, oversaw a… Read More

Bringing openness to JNF

American Jews have historical, idealistic views of Zionist institutions. And the Jewish National Fund is no exception. For many, JNF conjures up the warm images of placing coins in blue pushkes, planting trees in Israel and generally making the land of Israel bloom. It is this image that has sustained support of the organization for… Read More

Referendum on the Presidents’ Conference

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In 1956, developing American Jewish organizations were working hard to find their voice in public matters. At the same time, the State of Israel, not yet a close ally of the United States, was looking for every possible way to make its needs known to the U.S. government. And the Eisenhower administration was looking for… Read More

Assessing Palestinian unity

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The agreement reached April 23 by Fatah and Hamas apparently caught both the United States and Israel off guard. But with Israel-Palestinian negotiations sputtering to a disappointing ending last month, the “unity accord” gave everyone something to talk about. Under their agreement, rival Palestinian groups will form a unity government in five weeks. Since a… Read More

Rethinking right-wing extremism

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The Boston Marathon bombing, a year ago last week, took three lives, created an uproar and reignited fears about the threat of Islamist-inspired terrorism in this country. The response after what police say was white supremacist Frazier Glenn Miller’s murder of three people outside two Jewish institutions in suburban Kansas City was decidedly different. True,… Read More

A Seder is not enough

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The hungry, like the poor, have always been with us. At our Seders this week we declared, “Let all who are hungry come and eat.” But can our words alone fight hunger? That is the question raised by the National Hunger Seder, held April 9 at the U.S. Capitol. Being against hunger is easy. Doing… Read More

Three little words

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Will Israeli-Palestinian peace come down to whether the Palestinians will acknowledge that Israel is “a Jewish state”? And if Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas doesn’t say those three little words, will we see the current negotiations end without a resolution? In his defense, Abbas says that he recognizes Israel; that his predecessor, Yassir Ara-fat, already recognized… Read More