Jewish people often jest that the “why” and “what” of all their festivals can be summarized in three pithy sentences: “They tried to kill us. We survived. Let’s eat.” The tongue-in-cheek statement holds more than a kernel of truth. Nearly every Jewish feast either tells the tale of miraculous salvation from a seemingly insurmountable foeContinue Reading »
“That is where the tribes go up—the tribes of the LORD—to praise the name of the LORD according to the statute given to Israel.” (Psalm 122:4 NIV) It was described as the beating heart of Jerusalem—a place of bustling commerce, braying donkeys, chattering children playing hide-and-seek among the robe-clad legs of pilgrims; a politician bellowingContinue Reading »
Historian Paul Johnson has said, “What strikes the historian surveying anti-Semitism worldwide over more than two millennia is its fundamental irrationality. It seems to make no sense, any more than malaria or meningitis make sense.” It goes by many names: bigotry, discrimination, prejudice, intolerance. Most often, it falls in that broad category of “racism,” whichContinue Reading »
In August 2012 the United Nations (UN) published a report painting a picture of the dismal future awaiting the people of Gaza. Come 2020, the document said, the coastal enclave would be unlivable. In the seven years since the UN tabled its report, the situation deteriorated almost beyond predictions. Some 2.1 million people live inContinue Reading »
The two-state solution sounds final—the long-sought answer to the Middle East’s most intractable riddle. But what if it’s not the only “solution” to the problem? What if it’s not even a plausible one? What alternative can there be to the “solution”? There is another possibility, hovering as both a promise and a threat: the one-stateContinue Reading »
“Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims.” So reads Article 28 of the charter of Hamas, the terror organization in political and military control of the Gaza Strip. The charter also reads, “Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it asContinue Reading »
August 27, 2014 was a day of great celebration in the Gaza Strip. The day before, a cease-fire agreement signaled the end of seven weeks of fighting between Israel and Hamas, and the terror group ruling the coastal enclave had planned a rally to celebrate the war’s outcome. Throngs of jubilant Gazans—decked out in theContinue Reading »
Along a rocky path in the heart of the Judean Hills, a shepherdess named Jenna leads a small sheep harnessed with a pink bridle. The sheep’s wool is speckled with splotches of black on white and its head is crowned with four horns. The shepherdess calls this little ewe Golda Meir, after Israel’s first femaleContinue Reading »
In 1945, the Western world was horrified to discover the full extent of the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were slaughtered. Adding to the shock was the fact that the atrocity originated and often played out in the heart of Europe, largely perpetrated by educated Europeans. At the same time, Americans and Canadians weren’tContinue Reading »
In the northeastern corner of Israel, bordering Syria and Lebanon, the Golan Heights is a sweeping plateau, rich in fertile soil for vineyards and grasslands for dairy cattle and sheep. The Golan serves as a catchment area for fresh meltwater that drains into the Sea of Galilee below. The region draws thousands of tourists eachContinue Reading »
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