Arlene Kushner

From Israel: Without Shame.

It’s a fascinating phenomenon, a paradox: Muslim Arab (and thus Palestinian Arab) culture is an honor-shame culture.  Honor is the ultimate value. But in this context “honor” means receiving appropriate courtesies and respect – being viewed positively by others.  It’s an external thing, not having to do with an internal …

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From Israel: The World as Whirlwind.

It feels as if there is flux everywhere: whether with regard to politics, diplomacy or security issues. And so, let us turn away from the tumult and begin with the good news – for, indeed, we are also blessed with good news. ~~~~~~~~~~ The Israeli Defense Ministry, working with the …

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From Israel: Clarity and Fog.

Today I begin by following through on the events of this past Saturday, with regard to our contending with Iran and Syria.  There is so very much being said, so many different opinions as to the implications of what has happened. If there is any clarity I can bring to …

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From Israel: The Critical Response.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, for the very first time the Iranian military launched a direct military operation against Israel, when a drone (UAV) commanded from the Tiyas Military Airbase in the Homs desert region in central Syria was dispatched into Israeli air space. According to a statement …

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From Israel: Hearts Broken, Spirit Strong.

Rabbi Itamar Ben-Gal, who was knifed to death by a terrorist on Monday, was buried in his home community of Har Bracha on Tuesday. He was praised highly as a sterling teacher, forever devoted to his students. Here we see an unidentified mourner at the funeral. “Our hearts are broken, …

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From Israel: Damn!!

Sometimes all subtleties fly away, and I have to tell it as it is: Damn!! Another terror attack.  Another innocent victim, a young husband and father of four little ones, killed only because he was a Jew. Didn’t we just have a picture like this, of a happy family torn …

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From Israel: The Stupefying Imperfections of Life.

Radical evil, we all know about. We see it everywhere: In the horrifying repression in N. Korea, and the radicalism of Iran.  In acts of terror closer to home, and child abuse in places far and wide. But we do not live in a world of absolutes, in which everything …

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From Israel: Sparks inside the Darkness.

The darkness, we all know about: We certainly have not yet learned how to escape it, as humankind persists in embracing acts that are, at very best, foolish, when not deeply malevolent. But those all-important sparks—emanating from within the darkness—remind us of what is possible. They provide strength and inspiration,A …

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From Israel: News Barrage.

Trying to keep up with the pace of events, never mind reporting on them, makes the head spin. ~~~~~~~~~~ We got them, we always do: The terrorists who murdered Rabbi Raziel Shevach nine days ago. The original search had been in Nablus, but intelligence brought the operation to Jenin, long …

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From Israel: Unreal!

On Saturday night, the IDF destroyed yet another tunnel running from Gaza into Israel. This one originated at Rafah, at Gaza’s border with Egypt, and ran some 600 meters into Israel. It was constructed by Hamas, not Islamic Jihad; reports identified it as different in construction from most of the …

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From Israel: Beyond Knowing.

I’ve written about this before and feel called to write about it again in this brief posting:  I cannot begin to explain it, but I have seen time and time again that the people who are killed in terror attacks are special people. This is certainly true with regard to …

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From Israel: Obscenity!

The father of six, the youngest only eight months old, the eldest aged 10. A rabbi, a mohel (ritual circumciser) and a volunteer paramedic first responder with Magen David Adom. This was Raziel Shevach, age 35. He was murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists on Tuesday night, in a drive-by shooting …

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From Israel: Seeking Clarity.

As a rule, it is not realistic to think we can achieve full clarity with regard to political acts or decisions. There is always so much we are not privy to, or fail to anticipate – so many interpretations that present themselves. We can try to understand – indeed should try. …

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From Israel: It’s in the Air!

What I sense in the air is not a fireworks display, but a sense of progress: A movement in the right direction, in both senses of that word.  Imperfect, less steady or defined than we might like, but progress. I don’t celebrate the secular new year, but I imagine that …

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From Israel: Shifting Scenario.

I do not want to give the impression that everything is going smoothly and that there are no problems here.  It’s unlikely that anyone would believe me even if I said that. However…there is the sense that more is going well than has been the case for some time — …

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From Israel: Not Exactly a Crisis.

One tends to get the impression—on reading the news about the General Assembly vote last Thursday regarding President Trump’s new policy of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital—that something of a diplomatic cataclysm had occurred. But when we look more closely we see it is not so. In fact, the reverse …

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From Israel: The World Turns.

I had expected to be writing about the visit of Vice President Pence in this posting, but that visit has been delayed until mid-January because of the important vote taking place in Congress on tax reform. Envoy Jason Greenblatt is here holding meetings. None of those meetings will be with …

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From Israel: Miracles Great and Small.

Here we are, in the midst of Chanukah celebrations, which mark miracles for the Jewish people, most significantly regarding the miracle of Jewish survival at the time of the Hasmoneans. But this holiday inspires me to think more broadly about Jewish survival. The fact that we are here, having survived …

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From Israel: Shining the Light

Tonight we light the first candle of Chanukah, a holiday that in its essence is about the survival of Judaism at a time when Hellenization threatened tradition. Let the lights shine bright upon us, and may we hold fast to all we are meant to be. ~~~~~~~~~~ My postings will …

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From Israel: “So, the World is Crazy”

Most of us have known this for some time, but the hysteria about the declaration by President Trump that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel brings this reality home to us all over again. That Palestinian Arabs would react vehemently (and I’ll get to that below) was a given, and …

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