Within hours of President Obama’s May 19 policy speech on the Middle East, a panoply of Jewish organizations had e-blasted their initial reactions, putting the spectrum of political opinion in the Jewish organizational world on full display. The chart below offers a sampling of this range, from right to left.
One of America’s leading ultra-Orthodox groups has reaffirmed that its followers must consult a rabbi before going to law enforcement authorities with suspicions of sexual abuse committed by community members. The admonitions, from speakers at a conference sponsored by Agudath Israel of America, came even though a recent rabbinic edict permits reporting such crimes to secular authorities. A New Jersey district attorney with many Orthodox constituents said the advice given at the conference could be a violation of state law, though that view wasn’t shared by the district attorney for Brooklyn, where many other Orthodox Jews live.28
The potency of Israel as a wedge issue for Republicans going into 2012 was on full display when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited a small group of Democrats and Republicans to a first-ever joint meeting at Blair House one day before his May 24 speech to Congress.56
It is the magic formula that could end the occupation while letting the majority of settlers stay put. But how would an Israeli-Palestinian land swap, the basis of President Obama’s Middle East vision, outlined on May 19, actually work? The main practical problem of an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank is the fact that some 300,000 Israeli settlers live there. Not only would a full evacuation be hazardous for any Israeli government on the domestic political front, but it also would be logistically difficult and exceedingly costly.65
For seven years, the Rev. Patrick Debois has devoted his life to locating and marking the mass graves of Jews murdered by the Nazis. Now, the work of the Catholic priest is going online — thanks to a joint initiative between his Paris-based organization and Washington’s United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
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