August 6 – 2017

During the week covered by this review, we received 7 articles on the following subjects:

Political Issues

Interfaith Dialogue



Political Issues

The Jerusalem Post, August 1, 2017


On Sunday, July 30, Mexican Congress Member Eric Flores Cervantes (Social Encounter Party) visited Samaria. Speaking in response to a question on BDS he stated, “There should be no discrimination against West Bank settlements.” He added, “Any understanding other than that there is no territory more Israeli than Samaria is a historic mistake.” Flores Cervantes stated he favors accelerating trade relations between Mexico and Israel, and that he will request the Mexican Congress seeks to buy products from Judea and Samaria.


Israel has had diplomatic ties with Mexico since 1950 and a free trade agreement with it since 2000. In 2016, trade between the two countries amounted to some $905 million.


The Jerusalem Post, August 4, 2017


This article analyzes how Prime Minister Netanyahu and his security cabinet caved to PLO demands to remove security screening from the Temple Mount entrance. It quotes Netanyahu’s statement thanking U.S. President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner and senior negotiator Jason Greenblatt for their assistance in resolving the crisis, which implies that he caved due to Kushner and Greenblatt’s pressure. However, recordings of Kushner leaked by a congressional aide appear to depict Kushner “…emphasizing the central role that Palestinian incitement played in fomenting the violence on the Temple Mount,” a departure from the policy positions of all previous U.S. negotiators.


The article then notes top security officials presented to the cabinet a doomsday scenario of Arab unity towards a terrorist war. The article notes that by so doing, the top security brass overstepped their bounds, “…(as) their job is not to tell Israel’s leaders that they have no choice but to surrender to aggression, but to formulate plans for defeating the aggressors.” However, the article suggests that the real reason Netanyahu capitulated to his generals is his lack of a cohesive policy for securing Israeli sovereignty and advancing Israel’s national interests at the Temple Mount.


This piece concludes by stating that Israeli sovereignty can best be secured by involving all religions in ensuring freedom of worship for everyone on the mount. If Palestinians choose violence and incitement, Israel should unilaterally institute Christian and Jewish worship at the site. By doing so, Israel would remove Palestinian use of the Temple Mount as their ace card, and “…prevent them recycling the blood libel that Jews are endangering al-Aksa every time they feel they are losing ground in their never-ending war against Israel.”


Interfaith Dialogue

Haaretz, August 1, 2017


37 Israeli Jewish Orthodox rabbis have signed a declaration sponsored by the Jerusalem-based Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, calling for a Jewish response to global climate change. Rabbi Yonatan Neril, head of the center, said that as 85% of people in the world identify with some faith, religions are “the biggest, richest NGOs in the world.” However, he also admitted that when faced with humanitarian issues caused by political conflicts, religion usually backs down.

The article noted, “Over the past year, Neril has worked with Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders to reach a consensus on the common religious basis for environmental sustainability.” Father Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land, Kadi Iyad Zahalha, judge of the Muslim Sharia Courts in Israel, and Rabbi David Rosen, international director of interreligious affairs at the American Jewish Committee attended the center’s panel last week, and spoke about their respective religions’ similar teachings on creation care. They also agreed interfaith action is particularly valuable. However, the panel attendees disagreed regarding limits on how religious groups should respond in response to political decisions regarding the global climate crisis.



Ma’ariv, August 4, 2017


Supreme Court Justice Salim Jubran has retired from duty at age 70. A Christian Arab from Haifa, he began as an independent lawyer in 1968, and advanced in the ranks of the court system beginning with his appointment as a magistrate’s court judge in 1982 and ending with his appointment as a permanent Supreme Court justice in 2004. He decided to accept the appointment as vice president of the Supreme Court despite it being offered him two months before his retirement, noting, “…as a member of a minority it was important for (me) to serve in this way.”


Although the Israeli public knows Jubran chiefly for his refusal to sing the national anthem at his swearing-in, he has garnered praise from the legal community for his pleasant demeanor on the bench, his dedication to each case, and how his heart was revealed in his rulings. The article mentions how Jubran was fearless in his decisions and dedicated to both cross-ethnic equality and eradicating corruption, regardless of the effect on his popularity, and notes that he would even occasionally cite Jewish legal thought in his rulings.



Haaretz, July 31, 2017


Jennifer Atala, a Palestinian-American with an Israeli passport, came to Israel three years ago. She has developed business connections both in Jewish and in Palestinian areas. She said she’s convinced “…the best way to create change is through business partnerships that get people to sit down and solve problems together.” For this reason, her company, Atala Consulting, places importance on helping Israelis and Palestinians in the high-tech sector to form alliances. However, along with the usual challenges of starting a business is the growing support in Palestinian circles for “anti-normalization.” Atala says that she relates to this issue, but notes, “People need to connect to each other on a human level to move forward.”


Israel Hayom, August 1, 2017


The National Library is currently exhibiting a medieval map from Hartmann Schedel’s World Chronicle, (Nürnberg, 1493), depicting the destruction of the Temple. It is intriguing to note that although the map shows the Temple in flames, the sites marked on it are Christian, rather than citing those sites as they were during Second Temple times. The text next to the map describes the destruction of both Temples, the looting of the Temple vessels, the execution of Shimon Bar-Giora, and Jerusalem becoming Aelia Capitolina. However, Dr. Milka Levy-Rubin, National Library curator of the humanities collection, stated, “Although Christianity saw the destruction of the Temple as final evidence of Christianity’s victory over Judaism,” the text expresses no joy at the Temple’s destruction.


Yated Ne’eman, August 4, 2017


The municipality of Bondi in Australia has forbidden the construction of a synagogue, citing concerns that it will be a likely target for terrorist activity. The decision was upheld in the district court, which added, “The planned synagogue will be too much of a security risk for residents of the area.” The leaders of the Jewish community in Bondi, one of the oldest in Australia, has expressed shock at this decision. Rabbi Jehoram Allman told Australian media, “This decision places a question mark on the existence of the Jewish community in the city and the entire country, and gives a prize to terror.” Other elements in the community noted that this decision directly affects their freedom of religion.


The article notes in closing that four people of Lebanese ethnicity were arrested in Sydney on suspicion of planning to down an airplane with a bomb.