Our frenemy Qatar

The oil-rich sheikdom Qatar is much like its neighbors on the Arabian Peninsula — undemocratic, ruled by a minority clan, both a U.S. ally and an active sponsor of extremists. Much the same can be said of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and the other countries that last week severed relations with Qatar and… Read More

The Trump soap opera, continued

In his June 7 testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, fired FBI Director James Comey dropped no new bombshells. Instead, he darkened some of the clouds surrounding the question of Russian interference in last fall’s U.S. presidential election. And his testimony that President Donald Trump attempted to quash an investigation into deposed national security advisor… Read More

Save planet Earth

While it makes us nervous that the United States is now “aligned” with Syria and Nicaragua as the only other country that is not a member of the Paris climate accord, the real significance of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the non-binding agreement is that it essentially decouples our country from the world… Read More

Reunited Jerusalem at 50

The celebrations of 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem have been going on in that city since last month’s Jerusalem Day. This week, with the anniversary of the Six Day War on the secular calendar, there was another opportunity to think about the significance of Israel bringing the entire capital city under its control… Read More

Trump abroad

According to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, President Donald Trump “pressured” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to renew peace negotiations during his trips to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Tillerson didn’t disclose what kind of pressure it was, and Trump never publicly disclosed his vision for Middle East peace. In fact, Trump… Read More

A nastier, more brutish budget

National Jewish organizations are notoriously prolific when it comes to issuing press releases. So the near silence that followed the issuance of President Donald Trump’s $4.1 trillion budget on May 23 was surprising. In general terms, the budget raises defense spending at the expense of social programs and argues that it will pay for itself… Read More

Enter the special counsel

The unfolding story of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign has played out like a daytime soap opera. It all began with the question of the scope of Russian interference. Then came the revelation that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, while he was working for the campaign of President Donald Trump, spoke to the… Read More

Haredi Israel in 2059

Israel’s fast-growing haredi Orthodox population is, in many ways, distinct from mainstream Jewish Israelis, whether secular, traditional or modern Orthodox. Like many Israeli Arabs, large segments of the haredi community have an ambivalent relationship with the state. The haredi community, like its Arab counterpart, is also marked by high levels of poverty. So it’s concerning… Read More

Recipes for disunity

For decades, haredi-Orthodox authorities have sought to tighten their control over Israel’s already strict interpretation of personal status questions, such as who may marry and whose conversions are kosher in the eyes of the state. The latest attempt comes from the Sephardic haredi party Shas, which last week submitted a bill to the Knesset that… Read More