Friday, April 06, 2012

Pre-Passover Snippet-dump

More links and things before the holiday:

Guy Bechor:
Today, when the Muslim Middle East is disintegrating into religions, ethnic groups, minorities and distinct regions, when the slaughter in Syria is merely intensifying (the number of fatalities is already nearing 10,000,) when Libya's militias are killing each other, Yemen is crumbling and Egypt is facing deep trouble, it turns out that relatively speaking, the Palestinian issue is the most stable in the Mideast.

Truth be told, that was always the case, yet for self-interested reasons the situation was distorted by various elements.

The Palestinians encountered another grave calamity: Israel's public opinion lost interest in them. For dozens of years, Israel's leftist camp turned the Palestinians into its defining issue. Yet suddenly the Left discovered that Israel moved on and that the issue is no longer on its agenda. When the Left also discovered that the Palestinians have no interest in peace or negotiations, just like Syria's Assad, it replaced the Palestinian agenda with a new one, premised on social issues like cottage cheese and the tent protest.

Some 2,350 Syrians fled across the border to Turkey from the region of Idlib within 24 hours, a Turkish official said on Thursday, more that double the highest previous one-day total.
The Jews of Malmö, a community of about 1,500 in a city of 300,000, are living through a new form of anti-Semitism. This kind does not stem from neo-Nazis or right-wing extremists—traditional perpetrators of European Jew-hatred—but has come to the city through immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East and is part of a larger, countrywide problem of failed integration. According to the 2011 census, one in 10 Malmö citizens comes from the Middle East and North Africa, and ethnic Swedes are no longer in the majority among 15-year-olds. In 2009, 60 hate crimes against Jews were reported in Malmö, ranging from hate speech to assault. The city’s Chicago-born Chabad rabbi, Shneur Kesselman, estimates that he alone has been the victim of 100 incidents during his few years in the city. A dozen families have already left Malmö for Stockholm, Israel, or the United States because of anti-Semitism, according to community leaders.

If only this were the whole problem. But Malmö’s mayor of 17 years, Ilmar Reepalu, has “Tourettes syndrome with respect to Jews,” according to Kvällsposten, a Swedish newspaper. Last week, Reepalu, a Social Democrat, made headlines across the country after I published an interview with him in which he said that Sweden Democrats, an anti-immigrant party with its roots in the Swedish neo-Nazi movement, had “infiltrated” Malmö’s Jewish community in order to turn it against Muslims. On Monday, he was publicly reprimanded by the head of his party.

Reeplau has promised that he is no anti-Semite, but this is far from the first time that he has put his foot in his mouth on the subject of Jews.
Michael Oren:
Is Israeli democracy truly in jeopardy? Are basic liberties and gender equality -- the cornerstones of an open society -- imperiled? Will Israel retain its character as both a Jewish and a democratic state -- a redoubt of stability in the Middle East and of shared values with the United States?

These questions will be examined in depth, citing comparative, historical, and contemporary examples. The answers will show that, in the face of innumerable obstacles, Israeli democracy remains remarkable, resilient, and stable.

CAMERA: A Sad But Incomplete Story

A remarkable shadow theatre retelling of the Exodus I had missed last year:

Prince Nawaf bin Faisal said his body was "not endorsing any female participation at the moment."

Sue Tibballs, chief executive of the Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation, said the Saudi stance was unacceptable.

"We would expect the International Olympic Committee to exclude Saudi Arabia," she said.

Here's a 1907 Haggadah with lots of Hebrew commentary, one of the better ones I've seen.

(h/t Ian)