Sunday, 11 August 2013


Menachem Begin: the formative years  

by Steve Kramer (
Menachem Begin (1913-1992) is perhaps the most revered of all Israel’s leaders. Although David Ben-Gurion may be more renowned, Begin is the one politician who was the most loved, the most modest, the most principled, and the most unwilling to allow Jews to fight each other over ideals. He twice averted what could have become civil wars under Ben-Gurion’s leadership: the sinking of the Altalena weapons delivery ship and the acceptance of German reparations. Begin’s premiership (1977-1983) marked the first Israeli government not part of Ben-Gurion’s socialist labor movement. It was also the first government with whom Israel’s Mizrahi population (Jews from Arab/Muslim countries) identified.
In preparation for a tour in Tel Aviv telling the story of Begin, I’ve been asked to sketch his life before he arrived in Palestine during World War II.
(Read more…)

US-sponsored Israel-Palestinian interim peace talks near moment of decision  

The formal Israeli-Palestinian meeting announced by the US State Department as scheduled for next Wednesday, Aug. 14 is but the outer shell of the secret hard-core negotiations bouncing back and forth for weeks between US Secretary of State John Kerry, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, DEBKAfile reports.
The real talks are approaching a climax on the fundamental issues of borders, Jerusalem, refugees and settlements. Every afternoon in past weeks, Kerry has called the Israeli prime minister and Palestinian leader on secure phone lines and taken the talks a step further. Any incoming calls from the two leaders are switched directly through to the Secretary of State, an unheard of procedure in his department.

Into the Fray: Resign (continued)… Responding to readers  

Martin Sherman thoroughly castigates our prime minister for either failing to implement the policy believes in or implementing a policy he does not believe in. In Sherman’s world, once a political position has been taken, you are stuck with it. Alter your posture, adapt to changing circumstances and you have betrayed your principles.Basic principles are one thing, political tactics quite another.
– Neville Teller, letter to The Jerusalem Post, August 5
Martin Sherman and Caroline B. Glick are well-informed and knowledgeable political pundits…This is why it is so hard for me to understand how both of them fail to understand that our prime minister is trying to deal with an almost impossible diplomatic situation… oth fail to fully understand that entirely apart from international pressure, Israel deeply wants and needs peace and security for itself and its Palestinian neighbors. This is why our government is willing to make disproportional concessions in the hope of moderating Palestinian rejectionism, even though the Palestinians have not yet disabused themselves of their vile dreams of our destruction.
 – Kenneth Besig, letter to The Jerusalem Post, August 6
The column I wrote last week calling on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to “Resign, just resign,” unsurprisingly provoked a flood of responses from readers. 

Ted Belman
Jerusalem, Israel