Archive for the ‘News’ category

How Will British Elections Affect Israel?

April 8, 2010

British elections are scheduled for May 6. The three parties in the UK are Labor, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives. All three parties favor Israel’s return to 1949 borders. Nonetheless, there are some differences between the parties regarding their attitudes toward Israel. Labor is not particularly sympathetic to Israel despite PM Brown’s close personal ties to the Jewish community. The Liberal Democrats seem to be firmly in the Palestinian camp, while the Conservatives are more sympathetic to Israel.

Read more about this issue: Britain and Israel

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What’s Your Opinion on AIPAC?

March 24, 2010

The AIPAC conference which ended yesterday is a good opportunity to examine the role of the pro-Israel lobby in today’s political atmosphere.

According to Jewish Ideas Daily:

In reality, AIPAC’s leadership includes both supporters and opponents of Israel’s West Bank policies. What the organization embraces is a pro-Israel model  that leaves to Israelis themselves decisions of existential consequence, reached through the consensus of the country’s body politic. AIPAC thus emphatically favors a two-state solution; insists on direct talks between Arabs and Israelis; holds the Palestinians to be the recalcitrant party; and robustly rejects any outside imposition of a “solution.”

This statement raises a number of questions:

1. What does it mean to be pro-Israel?
2. Does AIPAC represent Israel and Zionist Jews?
3. Is the US-Israel relationship helped or hurt by the existence of AIPAC?
4. Is AIPAC good for Israel?

What do you think? I would love to hear your opinions.

Intifada on College Campuses

March 11, 2010

If you’re in Philadelphia on Mar. 18, head over to Hilton Philadelphia City Avenue, 4200 City Line Avenue, at 7:00 p.m., for this year’s Israel Event. The event will feature a screening of a film called Crossing the Line: The Intifada Comes to Campus which highlights the problem of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism on American college campuses.

Khaled Abu Toameh, an Israeli Arab journalist who writes for the Jerusalem Post will also speak at the event. Abu Toameh says that there is more support for Hamas on college campuses then there is in Ramallah! This is a serious problem which requires a serious solution.

To reserve tickets call 610-785-6304 or go to http://www.aishphila.com/new/event.php?id=158

Hamas Public Relations

March 7, 2010

The Arab world must have some excellent PR consultants. A new reality show, Sleepless in Gaza and Jerusalem, is being broadcast on YouTube, showing life in Gaza and Jerusalem through the eyes of four women. The episodes show culture and fun and aim to demonstrate that Palestinian Arabs are just normal people like the rest of us.

Of course, this show makes it seem as if Israel is victimizing an ancient beautiful culture. Gaza is shown as a lovely place to visit or live, not as the hotbed of terrorism that it is. In Jerusalem, one of the women shows us “traditional Palestinian treats.” This phrase makes it seem as if there is an ancient Palestinian culture going back thousands of years. Where are the bombs, missiles and terrorists? Apparently they are avoiding the cameras during the filming of this show.

The pro-Palestinian propaganda is subtle enough that the average viewer can easily be taken in. So far there have been thousands of views of the show on YouTube and and over a thousand fans on the show’s Facebook page. This is great PR for the Hamas. It makes one wonder, why isn’t Israel using social media in the same way? Instead of soldiers in camouflage who bemoan the Israeli occupation of Lebanon, why don’t we show the lives of average Israelis? We could call it “Sleeping well in Jerusalem and the Shomron.”

Orthodox Women and Social Media

February 22, 2010

Seventy religious women gathered at the Ramada Renaissance Hotel in Jerusalem on Wed. Feb. 17 for a conference on social media. The organizers of the Kishor Social Media Conference, who belong to a haredi (ultra-Orthodox) women’s professional network, were extra-careful to avoid any halachic prohibitions. The conference was sanctioned by Rabbi Yitzchak Berkovits, who addressed the conference. He and Rebbetzin Holly Pavlov stressed the dangers of internet use, from pornography to malicious gossip.

In The Jerusalem Post’s report on this conference, one gets the impression that the entire purpose of the conference was to warn women off from internet use. However, this was far from the case. The aim of the conference was to empower women to use social media effectively as a business tool. One of the morning sessions, led by Debra Askanase and Talia Klein, demonstrated how social media is the fastest growing use of the internet. The afternoon sessions were devoted to practical training in the use of social media. A beginner’s track taught the basics of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogging. The professional’s track discussed time management, social media strategies and tools and tricks. An especially interesting presentation by Paula Stern showed case studies of successful social media campaigns, such as the one which publicized the IDF’s activities in Haiti in the two weeks after the earthquake.

Haredi society is often portrayed in a stereotypical fashion. The idea that haredim are closed off from the technology of the internet is widely held. This view has been strengthened by recent news items reporting that rabbis have banned the use of internet, including haredi websites. The Jerusalem Post’s take on this conference is obviously part of that trend. But the women at this conference were clearly a world away from that sector. Many of them belonged to the haredi world, and they were either involved in social media or interested in becoming involved. Every one of them owned a computer with an internet connection, and they all understood the importance of social media for business success. This was a social media conference geared towards religious women, not a religious conference about social media. And it was a success.

Read more:

Is Facebook Kosher?

The Jerusalem Post report on the Kishor Social Media Conference focuses on the halachic discussions at the conference.

Kishor – Professional Jewish Women

“The Kishor Social Media Conference will be a first-of-its kind event, with world-class speakers and focused educational value, teaching religious women about cutting-edge technologies at a conference sanctioned by leading rabbanim, and created by and for frum women.”

Are Haredi leaders losing their followers to the Web?

The Haredi rabbis’ ban on the internet doesn’t seem to be having much effect.

Overview of Social Media: Trends, Stats, and What It’s All About

Debra Askanase and Talia Klein have posted the slideshow from their presentation online.

Jerusalem Street Signs

February 2, 2010

Arutz Sheva reports (smugly) that three new streets will soon bear the names of religious Zionist leaders:

Jerusalem streets will be named after three late outstanding personalities in the Religious Zionist movement – Rabbi Yosef Kapach, head of Yemenite Jewry and a modern expert on Maimonides’ writings, Zevulun Hammer, former leader of the NRP and Education Minister, and Emanuel Medav, one of the architects of scouting for religious youth and a fighter who died in the War of Independence.

David Hadari, Deputy Jerusalem Mayor and head of the NRP-National Union faction in the city council, said, “This is a great day for religious Zionism, with three of its sons, who have all have achieved great accomplishments, being remembered in Jerusalem.”

It’s nice that these leaders are being memorialized but to view this as a great victory for religious Zionism seems a bit of an overstatement. Streets in Jerusalem are named for all sorts of figures, from ultra-Orthodox rabbis to secular Zionists and non-Jews. A few people sitting on a committee choosing street names are not really representative of Israeli society. So my only question is, where are these streets located? I would like to walk down Kapach Street.

Anti-Zionism in a Swedish City

January 31, 2010

The mayor of Malmo, in Sweden, has come under attack by the city’s Jewish community for declaring Zionism as unacceptable as anti-Semitism.

“Malmö does not accept anti-Semitism and does not accept Zionism. They are extremists who put themselves above other groups, seeing others as something lesser,” Ilmar Reepalu said on Thursday in an interview with Skanska Dagbladet newspaper.

The response of the Jewish community was to hold a pro-Israel demonstration and to blame the mayor for the choice of some young Jews to leave the city.

Malmo has a 15% Muslim population and tension between Muslims and Jews in the city seems to be the reason for Reepalu’s statement.

(Interestingly, this story has been reported by an Arab news service called Gulfnews.com.)