Livni Pushes for Peace Process
Jerusalem—Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said last week that “the time that is passing does not serve those who believe in two states for two people.” Speaking at a political gathering, Livni said her party’s role in the government was to move the peace process forward and improve the quality of life for Israelis. “The entire region is boiling,” she said. “Countries are coming apart, leaders weakening. It is wrong to say we should close our windows and wait for it all to pass. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not something taking place out in the jungle. We are part of it and we have to do our part. I am glad [U.S.] Secretary of State [John Kerry] is doing his part to advance this issue, but a peace deal would not be a favor to America. It is in our own interest.” She also praised Kerry for his “determination and obligation” to restarting diplomatic efforts.
Peres Proposes Pope Promote Peace
Vatican City—Shimon Peres met with Pope Francis at the Vatican earlier this week, where they discussed anti-Semitism and the peace process. The Pope suggested that leaders of all faiths convene a meeting and issue a call against violence and terror. Peres invited the Pope to Israel, and said that he could be very influential in pursuing peace. “You have an important role in progressing peace and the belief in it, I turn to you and ask that within your sermons in front of millions of believers in the world that you include the hope for peace in the Middle East and the whole world…The citizens of Israel see in you a leader of peace and good will. The sooner you visit the better, as in these days a new opportunity is being created for peace and your arrival could contribute significantly to increasing the trust and belief [in it].”
Schneier Asks Israel to Thank Bahrain, Improve Relations with Gulf Countries
Rabbi Marc Schneier with King Hamad at the Bahraini Crown Palace, December 2011. (photo Walter Ruby/Foundation for Et hnic Understanding)
Rabbi Mark Schneier recently met with the King and Crown Prince of Bharain and suggested that Israel publicly commend Bahrain for labeling Hezbollah a terrorist organization. He also suggested that they to build strategic alliances with Gulf states based on common opposition to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. He noted that Sunnis in the Gulf States distrust the Shia in Iran, and sees this as an opportunity to for Israel develop ties with those states. “We’re so myopic, we’re so focused on Europe, and here you have a very significant development that took place in Bahrain,” Schneier told The Times of Israel. “I am calling for a conversation to take place, a conversation that needs to begin within Israel about looking east, not only looking west.”
Robert G. Sugarman Nominated Chairman of the Conference Of Presidents
New York—Robert G. Sugarman, the immediate past chair of the Anti-Defamation League, was recommended by the 2013 Nominating Committee of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations to serve as the next chairman starting June 1, 2013. The recommendation was submitted to the full Conference and the election will be held in May, said Alan Solow, immediate past chairman of the Presidents Conference and chairman of the Nominating Committee. Sugarman, a lawyer, began his carrerr at Sullivan and Cromwell after finishing Yale Law School. He was a partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP for more than three decades and retired in 2007. He is currently working pro bono to establish eruvs in Westhampton Beach, Quogue and Southhampton.
Budapest anti-Semitism rally draws tens of thousands
JTA reported that tens of thousands of protesters in Budapest marched against anti-Semitism, last week, while for the third time in two weeks, the Hungarian police prevented gathering of Neo-Nazis. The march was merged with the March of The Living, the event that brings thousands of teens and adults from around the world to Europe to commemorate the Holocaust. In Budapest they marched along the Danube, where there is a particularly poignant monument consisting of cast metal shoes, copies of the shoes that were left behind when Jews were thrown into the river. This was the strongest protest in four years, since the ultranationalist Jobbik party and neo-Nazi fringe groups began agitating the community, Reuters reported. Many Jews have since left the country, looking for safer climes
Women Permitted to Say Kaddish at the Kotel
JNS reported that a compromise agreement was reached to allow women to say the Kaddish mourners’ prayer at the Western Wall. The rabbinic authorities who control the area threatened to arrest any woman saying kaddish at the Wall, even those not wearing talitot.
Ki-Moon Says He’s Not Responsible for Falk’s Words
Geneva—Richard Falk, the Palestine monitor at the UN Human Rights Council, blamed the Boston terror attacks on “American global domination” and “Tel Aviv.” But UN chief Ban Ki-moon rejected calls to condemn him. “Richard Falk is an independent expert,” said UN spokesman Farhan Haq. “The Secretary-General did not appoint him and is not responsible for his views, for which he has been criticized in the past. Mr. Falk reports to the Human Rights Council, which is comprised of different member states.”
“The secretary-general rightly rebuked Falk in the past for promoting the 9/11 conspiracy on his personal blog, and the outrage this time is far more substantial, offensive and repugnant,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer. “We indeed urge all UN Human Rights Council member states to condemn Falk, and we have appealed to U.S. Ambassador Rice in particular, but Mr. Ban should use his moral pulpit to show leadership in the world body.”
U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice condemned Falk with a sharp statement which, her spokesman said, “underscore[s] the absurdity of his service” as a top official of the UN Human Rights Council. She also tweeted last week, writing “Outraged by Richard Falk’s highly offensive Boston comments. Someone who spews such vitriol has no place at the UN. Past time for him to go.”
Tzippi Livni Warns a Two-State Solution Must Come Sooner, Not Later
The Palestinians are acting in the diplomatic arena and within the legal system, using tactics that Israel won’t be able to fight off with troops on the ground warned, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who said that reaching an agreement needs to be the country’s “national mission.”
“What happens outside [Israel] affects us, too. We need to make decisions not only based on what happens in Israel, but also what happens outside of the country,” remarked Livni at the annual gathering of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. As long as there are no negotiations, the Palestinians continue to act in the UN and legal systems around the world… acts that hurt Israel, even if they don’t succeed, Livni added.
Doubts Fail to Dent Confidence in Israel’s Iron Dome
Kevin Connolly (BBC News) reports that the U.S. is preparing to increase its investment in Iron Dome, the missile defense system. Uzi Rubin, a rocket scientist and former head of the national missile defense program, said, “You can’t fool all the people all the time... This is not the first time that Iron Dome is working, it’s the sixth time out. And every time it’s working, losses go down, damage goes down and it’s obvious for everyone to see .It’s working and people feel safe and rightly so.”
Defense writer Amos Harel, a severe critic of the military, sides with the government. “I think these people [the critics] are mostly against the idea of interceptive rocket systems and they’re trying to find an argument after it’s already been proved that the system is working. It reminds me of those people who argue NASA never landed on the moon and faked the whole thing at Universal Studios.”
The Western Wall. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich said he agreed to the proposal, presented by MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) and Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky, in which police would not arrest women for saying Kaddish.
Core Israeli Curricula Needs To Be Taught Or Budgets Will Be Cut
Education Minister Shai Peron (Yesh Atid), has advocated for sweeping changes in Israel’s educational system, said that as things currently stand, Israeli schools are “not relevant for the 21st century.” The Finance Ministry says there will be far-reaching consequences for the ultra-Orthodox public, and is proposing to cut state funding to schools that do not teach core curriculum subjects.The proposal, would slash funding by half to ultra-Orthodox religious schools that do not teach core subjects such as mathematics and English, while increasing funding to those that do embrace the core Israeli curriculum.