January 15, 2001
In the lobby of Likud headquarters hangs a plaque with a quotation from Samson, a novel written by the party's mentor, the late Zionist leader Ze'ev Jabotinsky: "Tell them three things in my name, not two: Gather iron, anoint a king, and learn to laugh." For many years Ariel Sharon—the iron-willed general and Likud hard-liner—seemed faithful only to Jabotinsky's first two imperatives. He appeared at once aggrieved and combative; even his massive physical presence seemed provocative. Yet, at age 72, the public Sharon has learned to relax and even to laugh.
January 15, 2001
The months of Palestinian rage known as the "Al-Aqsa intifada"—they are actually only the latest outbursts in the years of Palestinian rage that have comprised most of the political history of the Palestinians—should have demonstrated that peace will be made on the ground or it will not be made at all. The recent violence exposed the peace process as an exercise of elites, of the a bientot crowd, who are always cordial toward each other.
Good To Go
January 15, 2001
Five years ago—five years and two months, to be exact—I wrote in these pages that "no president of the United States has had such valent sympathy for Israel as President Clinton." "You could see it on his face," I went on, "...
October 16, 2000
David Grann explores Hillary Rodham Clinton's efforts to obtain the support of Orthodox church leader Dov Hikind during her senatorial bid.
A Separate Peace
July 24, 2000
In a private conversation with recently resigned Interior Minister Natan Sharansky shortly after becoming prime minister of Israel, Ehud Barak said his goal was the creation of a Palestinian state in 50 percent of the West Bank. Until about a month ago, when the Israeli press leaked details of the Stockholm talks, it was widely assumed that no Israeli leader would dare offer Yasir Arafat more than 75 percent. This week, as Barak and the Palestinian leader meet at Camp David, both numbers are far too low to even merit discussion. What was once inconceivable is now inadequate. There are essentia
Exile and the Kingdom
March 15, 1998
Messianism, Zionism, and Jewish Religious Radicalism By Aviezer Ravitzky. Translated by Michael Swirsky and Jonathan Chipman (University of Chicago Press, 303 pp., $17.95) When it emerged as a political program for the Jews at the end of the nineteenth century, Zionism was a phenomenon for which traditional Jewish life was completely unequipped. It was new and it was perplexing, a movement that eluded categorization in the religious terms and the religious images of the past. It promised a political solution that was neither redemption nor exile.
Zionism At 100
September 17, 1997
Zionism was a necromantic dream, using necromancy in the apt dictionary definition of "the conjuration of the spirits of the dead for the purposes of magically revealing the future or influencing the course of events." It had three unique components: The rise of a collective messianism. Post-exilic Judaism begins with Ezra and Nehemiah and the return from the first Babylonian captivity. Jews had survived by becoming a people, practicing apartness and being united by the Book. It was a belief in national redemption rooted in the prophets and their system of ethical and social values.
A Man of Good Intentions
July 29, 1996
Profound disappointment creased the usually impassive face of Warren Christopher the night of May 29. The secretary of state and his staff on the seventh floor of the State Department were hearing about the election returns from Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu, a committed foe of trading the Golan Heights for peace with Hafez al-Assad's Syria, had defeated Shimon Peres, Israeli architect of the land-for-peace enterprise. Christopher had invested more than three years of effort, as well as presidential, national and personal prestige in trying to broker such a deal.
January 02, 1995
"Let me begin," says White House aide David Dreyer, "by contesting the premises of your question." It's a windless evening in November, and Dreyer is in his West Wing office, listening to a new recording of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier and defending the role of Tony Coelho, for whom Dreyer once worked, in the Democrats' electoral debacle. "First," he says, "Tony was not the party chair. He was never, to my knowledge, actually in the dnc building. Second, the role of party chair in a midterm election is relatively unimportant anyhow.
March 21, 1994
Clean Hands. In the course of many centuries, there were many crimes that Jews did not commit, but this was not least because they lacked the power to commit them. I remember the day that I discovered the obscure figure of Yusuf Asar. He appeared in a remarkable volume of Syriac Christian hagiographies, called Holy Women of the Syrian Orient. Yusuf Asar lived in the South Arabian kingdom of Himyar in the early sixth century. He was a Jew (or, according to the editors of the volume, "a Jewish upstart").