Reunited Jerusalem at 50

The celebrations of 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem have been going on in that city since last month’s Jerusalem Day. This week, with the anniversary of the Six Day War on the secular calendar, there was another opportunity to think about the significance of Israel bringing the entire capital city under its control… Read More

Save Planet Earth

While it makes us nervous that the United States is now “aligned” with Syria and Nicaragua as the only other country that is not a member of the Paris climate accord, the real significance of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nonbinding agreement is that it essentially decouples our country from the world… Read More

A Nastier, More Brutish Budget

National Jewish organizations are notoriously prolific when it comes to issuing press releases. So the near silence that followed the issuance of President Donald Trump’s $4.1 trillion budget on May 23 was surprising. In general terms, the budget raises defense spending at the expense of social programs and argues that it will pay for itself… Read More

Recipes for Disunity

For decades, haredi-Orthodox authorities have sought to tighten their control over Israel’s already strict interpretation of personal status questions, such as who may marry and whose conversions are kosher in the eyes of the state. The latest attempt comes from the Sephardic haredi party Shas, which last week submitted a bill to the Knesset that… Read More

The Toxic Brew of Politics and Religion

Here’s a thought experiment: Imagine your rabbi dedicating his Yom Kippur sermon to why he will be voting for Candidate X come Election Day and why you should as well. Now suppose the rabbi made that endorsement because your congregation’s biggest donor asked that he do so in exchange for an unprecedented gift to the… Read More

Abbas’ Photo Op

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ recent reception at the White House provided the optics for a new Middle East peace push, even though it does not appear to have generated any actual momentum. But the high-profile reception did give legitimacy to the Palestinian leader, notwithstanding the fact that he is despised at home, is still in… Read More

Is This Really Happening in NYC?

Gentrification is a serious issue in many large cities. Rising real estate values, which are generally a sign of economic health, can bring with them upper-income residents who displace lower-income tenants from developing neighborhoods. There is nothing new about this problem. But are Jews to blame for it? One Democratic candidate for the New York… Read More

Netanyahu’s German Problem

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave the foreign minister of Germany, one of Israel’s oldest and strongest allies, a choice: Either meet with me or with Israeli human rights groups, but you can’t meet with both. While it is hard to believe that Netanyahu would snub Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, that is exactly… Read More

Free Speech at Berkeley

As of this writing, the University of California at Berkeley is still planning to host a speech by conservative provocateur Ann Coulter. This is after the university canceled Coulter’s planned appearance at the invitation of a Republican student group, citing security concerns. The move brought to mind the violence in February that preceded the cancellation… Read More