Articles

Pulled from our popular weekly newsletter, The Weekly, these articles analyze Israeli current events by bringing together multiple perspectives. Bring current and evergreen topics to your students for discussion and debate.

Tisha B’Av: What Are We Really Mourning?

The creation of the state of Israel and the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967 raised new questions about how to commemorate the Ninth of Av. Why do many Jews continue to fast and mourn on this day given the current political reality?

Haredim and Israeli Society

A viral video showed Jerusalem police stopping a Haredi girl for not wearing a face mask, sparking outrage from the ultra-Orthodox community. We explore Haredi society and its complicated and evolving relationship with the state of Israel.

Israel and Iran: From Allies to Archenemies

With the release of the popular Israeli TV series Tehran and recent tension between the two countries, we break down the history of the relationship between Israel and Iran, the Iran nuclear deal, and what this means for Israel today.

Making Aliyah: To Stay or to Go?

With a large number of new immigrants slated to move to Israel in the coming 18 months, we delve into the topic of Aliyah, the Law of Return, and what it all means to the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

The War With No Name: Sacrifice and Empathy

Inspired by Matti Friedman’s new docuseries about the “War with No Name” (Israel’s presence in Lebanon from 1983 to 2000) and PTSD month, we provide our film When The Smoke Clears to engage your students.

New Israeli Government – Unity or Mutiny?

Want to teach your students about the new Israeli government and what it means for Israel? We’ve got you covered in the Weekly as we unpack it all for you, in addition to bringing you educational resources.

Yom Yerushalayim: But what if?

It is time to celebrate Yom Yerushalayim with our students. Check out this Weekly for relevant and easy-to-use videos and resources.

The Mossad

Cross-dressing, toothpaste poison, and the “Hunt for the Red Prince.” Seriously? The Mossad’s operations never cease to amaze me.

Creating Resilience in the Age of COVID-19

“What is the secret sauce that holds a family together?” “What are the ingredients that make some families effective, resilient and happy?” In the age of COVID-19, this is something all of us need to be thinking through.

The Impact of Coronavirus on Jewish Education

The problem with calamity is that we can become obsessed with it, and it is easy to become nourished by the negative. The late Shimon Peres pushed back against the instinct to focus on the negative, declaring…

Minorities and Music in Israel

The singer, Eden Alene, the winner of Israel’s reality show HaKochav Haba (The Next Star), is the first singer of Ethiopian descent to represent Israel in the much-anticipated contest.

The Politics of AIPAC

Have you ever been in a situation where gossip hurt feelings? Can you reflect on an example of this from your own life?  Long before a rabbi by the name of Yisrael Meir Kagan, known

Israeli Election 3.0

Elections here, elections there, elections are truly everywhere. Whether it is the World Zionist Congress or Israel’s national elections, chatter about politics is ubiquitous in the Jewish world at the moment.

Making Peace with the Past

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a very busy week. First, he stood next to US President Donald Trump as the latter presented the “Deal of the Century”,

World Zionist Congress Elections

The World Zionist Congress elections are happening this year.  Do your students know about it?  Have you discussed with your children what Zionism means to them personally?  What does it mean to be a Zionist

“Deal of the Century”

“Lo Yitkayem.” “It will never be.” When I jumped in my taxi this morning to drive to work for a week of meetings, I asked my Yerushalmi taxi driver, Yigal, if he thinks the “Deal

“What is Palestine?” Jeopardy! and Alex Trebek

Language matters. Many of us have heard that the Inuit (indigenous people of the Arctic) have at least 50 words for snow (though that idea is a bit overstated). We also know that politicians sometimes

Israel, Iran, and the U.S. – What you Need to Know

Qassem Soleimani’s resume is full of violence and terror; we are not here to dispute this. However, as educators and lay leaders, the assassination of Soleimani brings to light many critical questions: Are targeted killings

2019: Year in Review

Let’s take a look back at 2019.  From elections to inventions to sirens to… elections, there wasn’t a dull moment in Israel in 2019. Each week we uncovered the top stories, excavated the ideas, and

Israel on Screen

Is the HBO series Our Boys a good or bad “look” for Israel? While pundits on both sides of the aisle debated this very question, with some praising the show and others denouncing it, one

Hanukkah in Modern Israel

Although Hanukkah is rated as more important to American Jews than Israeli Jews, and 60% of American Jews light candles each night compared to 73% of Israeli Jews, it is clear for both American and

Judaism: Religion or Nation?

What Happened? Last Tuesday, the New York Times reported that President Donald Trump planned to sign an executive order targeting anti-Semitism on college campuses, and that this order would effectively “interpret Judaism as a race

The Rise in Global Anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism feels ubiquitous. There are times when I align with the great Jewish historian Salo Baron, who opposed what he called the “lachrymose conception of Jewish history.” He noted that “suffering is part of the

U.S.: Israeli Settlements Not Illegal

With Lionel Messi’s visit to Israel, the indictment of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and the reversal of the United States’ policy on settlements, we were stuck with really tough questions. Should we steer clear of

Empathy for Israelis Under Rocket Fire

The introduction this week will be short and to the point. Jews living outside of Israel need to ensure the people of Israel know and feel that they are not alone. In this edition of

Sha-bus: Public Transportation on Shabbat

Should public transportation be allowed on Shabbat in Israel, or should it be prohibited? What do you think? What do your children think? What do your students think?  As much as the Arab-Israeli conflict consumes the

Remember Rabin: Own Your Story

The evening of November 4th, 1995, was a Saturday night that started off like any other. Immediately upon extinguishing the havdala candle, my older brother Chanan and I rushed downstairs to switch on our basement

PA Restricts Freedom of Expression

Suppose you were in conversation with someone about the features of a democracy — what are some items you would list? Popular sovereignty, freedom to vote, and the rule of law are some ideas that

Yom Kippur, Then and Now

Yom Kippur takes on added significance in Israel because of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, which Arabs often refer to as the October War or Ramadan War.

Israeli Election Results

Back in April of this year, Israel held national elections. With Likud and Kachol Lavan tied at 35 seats apiece, PM Benjamin Netanyahu (head of Likud) was given the mandate to form a new government, as he was expected to have the greatest chance of forming a coalition of 61 seats.

West Bank Annexation?

In an election speech, PM Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to apply sovereignty to the Jordan Valley portion of the West Bank.

Israeli Elections, September 2019

How many of us actually understand how the Israeli Knesset works? Is it a republic or a democracy? And this year, an even bigger question emerges: Why are there elections again?

Israeli Judoka Wins World Championship

Israeli judo competitor, or “judoka,” Sagi Muki took home the gold at the World Judo Championship in Tokyo, on Wednesday, becoming the first Israeli man to do so.

Temple Mount Controversy

When I was a high school principal, I used to take the seniors on what we called “The Poland-Israel Experience,” a trip familiar to many other schools. After a harrowing few days in Poland, the

“Choose life” – The Jewish Secret to Survival

No matter our struggles, challenges, insecurities or pain, we have the power of choice. The question is, what do we choose? “Choose life.” “Choose life.” A few days after Dvir Sorek, the 19-year-old Yeshiva student and soldier, was murdered by Palestinian terrorists, I keep repeating his father Yoav’s eulogy, in which he implored everyone to “choose life.”

Ayelet Shaked and the United Right

Who is Ayelet Shaked? 43-year-old Ayelet Shaked grew up in Tel Aviv, where she still lives. She holds degrees in electrical engineering and computer science and worked in hi-tech before her foray into politics in 2006.

Ehud Barak is Re-entering Israeli Politics

Barak, the most decorated officer and longest-serving IDF chief of staff in Israeli history, served as prime minister from 1999-2001 and defense minister (under Ehud Olmert and Benjamin Netanyahu) from 2007-2013.

The Bahrain Conference, June 2019

President Donald Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, led a “Peace to Prosperity” workshop in Manama, Bahrain. The workshop intentionally focused on the economic, rather than political, aspects of the Middle East.

Learning Empathy from Leaders

Today’s weekly on the recent interview of Professor Mohammed Dajani Daoudi and Yossi Klein Halevi by David Horovitz is a unique opportunity to explore more about Klein Halevi’s book Letters to my Palestinian Neighbor, as well as explore the fascinating story of Dajani Daoudi.

Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem

A gay pride parade in Jerusalem? How did the Jewish capital go about this? Should it have happened? Why or why not? What educational challenges and opportunities does this parade bring?

Israeli National Elections 2.0

Elections in Israel are happening again. For real. Why? What happened? What are different Israeli leaders saying about it? How should we discuss the elections again with our families, students, congregants and colleagues?

The Deeper Meaning of Jerusalem Day

Yom Yerushalayim, or Jerusalem Day, is the anniversary of the liberation/conquering/re-unification (depending on your perspective) of Jerusalem under Jewish sovereignty that took place during the Six-Day War.

How to Teach “The Nakba”

Therefore, in a world in which our students, the youth, will invariably come to hear about Nakba Day, or the day commemorating what Palestinians call “the Catastrophe,” the question should be how should we teach about this event.

Israel Hosts Eurovision

Is Eurovision in Israel actually a distinct expression of Zionism? It depends. If Israel was created in order to normalize the Jewish people, then it is actually a great articulation of Zionism.

Episodes of Anti-Semitism in America

The “paradox” of Israel’s revival is that it has been accompanied by an ongoing rise in anti-Semitism. The extreme right, the extreme left, and extremist Islam agree on only one thing: hatred of the Jews.

Educating Towards Empathy and Awareness

We have the opportunity to teach the generation of Jewish young people we are educating now to be neither brutal nor naïve. Let’s use the case studies of Fadi Quran and the student government at Berkeley to explore how.

Personal Account of Experiencing a Siren

An azakah. A siren. In my groggy state I heard the blaring through the window, letting thousands of people know that they have about a minute and a half (in some places much less) to find shelter.

A Model for Mock Elections

With Israel’s national elections just three weeks away, it’s time to get students thinking: Who would they vote for? What major issues are center stage in this election? Who are the different parties, and what are their platforms? How would they make informed decisions about future Israeli leaders?

Rep. Ilhan Omar on AIPAC

Democratic representative from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, created a stir with her tweets. She insinuated that AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) pays American politicians to support Israel, invoking the age-old anti-Semitic trope that Jews control the world with money.

Eurovision on Shabbat

This week, we tackle the internal Israeli controversy surrounding potential Eurovision Song Contest competitors. Do you know what happened? What do your…

Israel’s Purpose

Let me ask you a question: Why should the State of Israel exist? What’s the point? This question is not rhetorical. And the answer to this question is not necessarily self-evident.

Zionism and Feminism

leaders of the Women’s March, like Palestinian-American Linda Sarsour, a co-chair, are still on their crusade against my people’s drive to self-determination, claiming that feminism and Zionism are mutually exclusive…

Jewish Terrorism?

Although Jewish terrorism from within Israel is certainly rare, in the last two weeks, this question on Jewish terrorism has been front and center in the Israeli media.

Legacy of Israeli Author Amos Oz

One of Israel’s greatest writers, Amos Oz’s recent passing has served as an occasion to further reflect on how to foster a deep and mature love for Israel.

Israel’s First Ethiopian Air Force Pilot

Israel graduated its first air force pilot from the Ethiopian-Israeli community. Lieutenant “Yod” completed the intensive and prestigious three-year pilot training course and will serve as a navigator on Israeli Air Force fighter jets. Completing this course is a tremendous accomplishment…

A Model for Disagreeing, Agreeably

It’s no secret that this question is relevant in the current political climate, and in many ways, the topic of Israel can serve as a strong flashpoint for this question. In this week’s newsletter, we address three smaller topics, which may not have made the headlines in the same way as other stories…

Terror Tunnels from Lebanon (Operation Northern Shield)

Israel launched Operation Northern Shield on its northern border in an effort to eradicate massive tunnels that Hezbollah has been burrowing into Israeli territory from Lebanon. One tunnel that Israel found is 130 ft. into Israeli territory and 6 ft. tall by 6 ft. wide.

Israel’s World Contributions

We want to share with you stories that came out of Israel that are typically in our “random but important section” and put the magnifying glasses on for these stories this week, highlighting and sharing these Israeli stories with those around us…

Airbnb Removes West Bank Listings

When Airbnb announced its decision to remove listings in Israeli settlements in what they called “the occupied West Bank that are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians,” the Israeli government responded strongly.

Gaza flare-up, November 2018

After Hamas discovered a secret Israeli operation in Gaza and killed one of Israel’s elite soldiers, the organization fired 460 rockets and mortars into Israel. One person in Israel was killed (a Palestinian from Hebron) and dozens more were injured.

Terrorist House Demolition

Last week, the IDF re-issued orders to partially demolish a terrorist’s home in Shuweika, a northern West Bank village. Twenty-three-year-old Ashraf Na’alowa is accused of killing coworkers Kim Levengrond Yehezkel (29) and Ziv Hajbi (35) at the Barkan Industrial Park near Ariel in September and has been on the run ever since.

Israeli Municipal Elections, November 2018

Over 3.5 million Israelis voted in local elections around the country, with voter turnout at 57%.  In these elections, voters were asked to determine the mayor and city council members, terms that last for five years in Israel.

The Pittsburgh Massacre, October 2018

In this week’s column, writing about anything but the Pittsburgh massacre feels trivial. For Jewish Americans, and Jews around the world, the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in US history is cause for us to consider the question.

The Israel-Diaspora Relationship

On Monday-Wednesday this week, the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly convened in Tel Aviv with the slogan, “We Need to Talk.” Each year, the General Assembly (GA) convenes thousands of premiere communal “Jewish changemakers.”

Is Studying Torah a National Service?

Israeli newspapers are abuzz with talk of possible early Knesset elections, sparked by the contentious “draft bill.” The historical background of the draft bill goes all the way back to the founding of the State of Israel.

The Yemenite Children Affair

When Israel declared independence in 1948, the new state decided to absorb Jewish immigrants from around the world. From May 1948 until the end of 1951, more than 650,000 Jews from 70 countries moved to Israel, 200,000 of which came from Arab states who were oppressing the Jewish minority in their countries.

Trump and the Two-State Solution

In a conversation between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the UN General Assembly, President Trump publicly voiced his support of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although this has been the position of all the American presidents for the past 25 years, it was the first time President Trump publicly supported the idea.

US Cuts UNRWA Funding

The US cut funding to UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. The US has been giving UNRWA about $350 million per year until January 2018, when it gave $60 million; as of August 2018, it cut funding completely.

Is IfNotNow Correct?

When IfNotNow (INN) started making its voice heard, many Jewish organizations responded with “Here’s what we need to do to shut them down,” or “It’s just a fringe group.” While I understand these sentiments, and I by no means endorse, agree with or support INN or its tactics, I think this discussion provides the Jewish and Israel education world with an opportunity to do our own cheshbon hanefesh, our own accounting of ourselves.

Teaching Operation Finale (The Eichmann Trial)

Last week: New movie Operation Finale hit theaters. The movie, starring Ben Kingsley as Adolf Eichmann and Oscar Isaac as Mossad agent Peter Malkin, tells the story of a pivotal moment in Israel’s history: the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann.

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