Arlene Kushner

From Israel: Phew!

Until late yesterday Israelis were facing the unpleasant prospect of an early election brought on by the collapse of the coalition.  The presenting issue: Inflexible ultra-Orthodox party (UTJ and Shas) demands for blanket yeshiva student draft exemptions facing off against the inflexibility of Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman (head of Yisrael …

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From Israel: The Sun Still Shines.

The sun may be behind the clouds part of the time, and the clouds can get very dark.  But it’s there.  And we need to remember that even when it’s raining. ~~~~~~~~~~ As I had mentioned in my last posting, on Sunday night at the AIPAC Conference, CEO Howard Kohr …

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From Israel: Hang on to Your Hats.

My regular readers know that I am basically an upbeat person.  I am not a Pollyanna: I face the bad news.  But I also seek out the promise and hold fast to the blessings.  And so I think I may surprise many of you, when I speak now of how …

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From Israel: Threats and Victory.

    Wednesday night and Thursday we celebrate Purim (with the celebration a day later in Jerusalem, a walled city).  As we read the Megillat Esther, we relate the story of the machinations of Haman, in the Persian court, whose goal it was to eradicate the Jews. And we celebrate …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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: 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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