June 11, 2008
Jerusalem In 2006, after the Lebanon war, Israel's foreign ministry decided that the country had a p.r. problem on its hands. The solution? Let the world know that Israel, far from being a place of war and terror, was in fact a land of sunny beaches and beautiful women: in other words, a country that was fundamentally normal. And, so, Israel retained the p.r.
May 28, 2008
JERUSALEM--At first glance, Ehud Olmert and Bashar al-Assad have nothing in common. The first is a slick, media-savvy politico, while the second is an awkward, anti-charismatic, unloved and unlovable dictator. But Israel's prime minister and Syria's ruler have both concluded that the best way to beat the rap, respectively, on corruption and murder charges is to make peace with one another. That, at least, is the impression of many Israelis, prominent commentators among them, in light of last week's revelation of indirect talks between Syrian and Israeli negotiators in Turkey.
The Olmert Omerta
January 31, 2008
The good news about Ehud Olmert is that he is not a willful murderer of Israeli soldiers.
April 26, 2007
A son of Ariel Sharon--not Omri, the one who's waiting to go to jail after his father dies, but Gilad--has written a brave piece in Thursday's Ha'aretz. In it he presents the demographic problem Israel faces. And it is not just a question of numbers. It is a question of loyalty...or, rather, disloyalty, the disloyalty to the State of Israel of the Israeli Arabs.
October 16, 2006
"Olmert, we forgive you," read an unsigned pre-Yom Kippur ad, placed in the newspaper Maariv by the amorphous movement to oust Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. "We forgive you for the first defeat in war since the founding of the state of Israel. We forgive you for the penetration of corruption into government. We forgive you for the confused leadership. We forgive you because the job is simply too big for you." Israelis have seldom been kind to their prime ministers, even the most beloved.
March 20, 2006
THE AUTHOR SERVED for four and a half years as the head of Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service. As a thought experiment, he placed himself inside the mind of a Palestinian spymaster to provide a cold assessment of the challenges faced by the new Hamas-led government. The following is a memo to Ismail Haniyeh, the Palestinian prime minister. Mr. Prime Minister: Your rise to power has been meteoric and unprecedented.
January 23, 2006
In the spring of 1978, when the euphoria of doves who were exhilarated by Sadat's journey to Jerusalem was giving way to the euphoria of hawks who were exhilarated by Begin's refusal to allow that magnificent event to annul the geographical dreams of Jewish chauvinism, I spent an afternoon in Samaria with Ariel Sharon. Sharon was the minister of agriculture in the Likud government, and the chairman of the ministerial committee for settlement affairs. There were no Samaritans in Samaria, though political violence between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank was still a few years away.
January 23, 2006
When Ehud Olmert was a teenage leader of the right-wing Betar youth movement in the 1950s, he would mark May Day by tearing down the red flag that hung over the trade union building in his northern village of Binyamina. For Olmert and his friends, that flag symbolized what they referred to as "the Vichy government" of Labor Zionism, which had betrayed the land of Israel by twice accepting its partition—first in 1923, when the British created Transjordan, and then in 1947, when the Untied Nations divided what was left of historic Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.
January 23, 2006
On Sunday, January 8, it is raining hard at the Muqata, the former Ramallah headquarters—and now the burial place—of Yasir Arafat. The courtyard has become a building site. The Palestinian Authority (P.A.) is constructing a vast mausoleum and mosque around Arafat's tomb, which now stands on a muddy island, unreachable by the trickle of visitors. A short ride away, Arafat's old nemesis, Ariel Sharon, lies in a medically induced coma at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.
December 24, 2005
Last week I attended a screening of Munich in Washington. The evening included testimonials to the film's cinematic power from former Clinton officials Mike McCurry and Dennis Ross, both serving as consultants to the movie's rollout, plus more praise from Princeton Professor Anne-Marie Slaughter and Foreign Policy Editor-In-Chief Moisés Naím.