Posts Tagged ‘Netanyahu’

A short-term respite and calm in Israel is nice. But it’s not enough.

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One year after Israel’s Operation “Cast Lead” sent Israeli troops, tanks and missiles into Gaza with the stated goal of ending rocket fire on southern and eastern Israeli cities, the anniversary is being marked more outside of Israel than inside. Other than brief words, Israeli politicians did little to mark the war’s anniversary. A rally in Sderot is set for December 31, 2009.

Israeli media, notoriously short of attention span, are preoccupied with the latest internal political maneuvering. Will all or part of the Kadima party join the government? Will Kadima leader Tzipi Livni be toppled by Shaul Mofaz? Is Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s politicking brilliant, opportunist, desperate, or all three?

Surely, the political gamesmanship in Israel is influenced by the fallout from the Gaza War, the harshly critical Goldstone Report, increasing global isolation, and pressure from West Bank Palestinians, if not Gaza’s Hamas leaders.

Israel is seemingly united on its combined defensive crouch and counter-offensive efforts to delegitimize Goldstone. However, cracks in the façade of unity are coming through on the seemingly solid support for the effort to bring home captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, held for more than three years now by Hamas (presumably) in Gaza. Netanyahu played down expectations of Shalit’s imminent release in advance of his Tuesday, December 29, 2009, trip to Egypt.

Political leaders and media from outside Israel commenting on the Gaza War are tending to reflect their built-in biases. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon bemoaned the conditions in Gaza. An Al-Jazeera TV special claimed Israel’s incursion into Gaza failed to achieve its goal of reducing Palestinian rocket fire (even as many other media and Israel itself noted that 2009 was a year of relative quiet but for isolated incidents.

Hamas efforts to whip up its populace seem to have fallen flat. Independent reports indicate that the first day of a planned 22 days of rallies (for each day of the war) went by with a whimper not a bang. Egypt has cracked down on a group of pro-Palestinian activists who sought to mark the event from the Egyptian side of the Gaza border.

A smattering of pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel protests (and pro-Israel counter-rallies) occurred around the world. An effort to make Gaza a “trending topic” on Twitter succeeded but faded in less than a day.

Here is a summary of Shalom Hartman Institute commentary on the Gaza War, the Goldstone Report, and Gilad Shalit:

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President Obama to appear at Jewish Communities General Assembly, Washington, DC, Nov. 9, 2009

President Obama to appear at Jewish Communities General Assembly, Washington, DC, Nov. 9, 2009

Shalom Hartman Institute will be at the United Jewish Communities (soon to be Jewish Federations of North America) annual General Assembly from November 8-10, 2009, in Washington, D.C. (Booth 311). First, and foremost, I invite you to stop by for a chat. I plan to have some goodies from Israel with me to entice people – if the marketing materials and flyers, and books, and magazines, and videos featuring Hartman Institute scholars aren’t enough!

As I said on Twitter (@alanabbey) I will give an extra piece of whatever I end up bringing if you tell me you heard about it on this blog or my Twitter page.

But seriously, I will be there to present the amazing programs of the Hartman Institute and to offer our new DVD Series of lectures on “Crisis and Leadership,” which is a special program now available for purchase by synagogues, community centers, adult education programs, Hillels, and private individuals tailored for adult education courses,  private study, leadership development and more.

By the way, Hartman Institute is not the ONLY draw at the GA. President Obama is scheduled to make his first speech to a Jewish group since becoming POTUS 44, as is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Sensitive to the times, Netanyahu – who, unlike Obama, does not have his own airplane, is flying “economy” to the U.S. Obama will take the short drive from the White House to the conference hotel in NW Washington.

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Sunday, Feb. 8 update: This race is so tight, most observers think it is too close to call, although predictions are that nationalist party, Israel Beitenu (“Israel Is Our Home”), led by Avigdor Lieberman, will be the surprise of the elections and might even finish second in the polling. 

Israel elects a new national government on Tuesday, March 10. It’s the first election since 2006, in the weeks after the shock of the debilitating stroke of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (refua shlaima). At the moment – and both polls and facts change rapidly here – Benjamin Netanyahu seems poised to return to the Prime Minister’s office after an absence of nearly a decade.

Donniel Hartman is traveling in America, but he plans to send us a new blog commentary on the elections shortly after the voting concludes. Also new on Sunday: Rabbi Dr. Ariel Picard, director of the Hartman Institute’s Center for Education, and a prime mover in the new Green Movement-Meimad Party, also promises to give us some exclusive commentary, win, lose, or draw. I’ll let you all know when it comes online.

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Dore Gold, former Israeli ambassador to the U.N., and a current advisor to Binyamin (Benjamin) Netanyahu – possibly Israel’s next Prime Minister – speaks to the Christian Leadership Initiative of Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, Israel, on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Gold is a careful thinker, writer, and analyst, even if you don’t agree with his politics.

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