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J Street in the News
Something Leibel Fein Taught Me, J Street Blog
“I will forever be grateful to Leibel [Fein] for his truth,” wrote J Street Senior Vice President for Community Relations Rachel Lerner. “It stung, but it taught me that I am responsible for my words and that I am obligated to speak my conscience and my values even when it’s hard, even when it’s not popular. Some days I succeed and some days I fail – badly, but Leibel’s lesson – and his incisive voice – will forever be with me, a part of my conscience.”
My Tribute to Leibel Fein, Jewish Journal
J Street Rabbinic Cabinet Co-Chair Rabbi John Rosove noted that “Fein’s death is a particularly painful loss to the liberal social activist progressive Zionist world.”
“‘We all know there will all be a very charged atmosphere on campus, that there will be a lot of anger and heated rhetoric across the spectrum around the [Gaza] crisis in particular,” said Ira Stup, J Street U’s outgoing director. Most of the 110 students who attended J Street U’s Summer Leadership Institute on August 8-10 at the University of Maryland spent at least part of their summer in Israel, he said, and dealing with the Gaza crisis became ‘the thrust of the institute weekend.’”
Top News and Analysis
With the current ceasefire due to end local time, Israeli officials appeared doubtful that the talks in Cairo would achieve any kind of agreement before the deadline, but stressed that if Hamas withheld its fire, negotiations could continue. Egypt is seeking to come up with a formula by midday that will give Israel, Hamas and the other Palestinian factions enough to declare an extension of the temporary ceasefire so that talks can continue. Senior Israeli officials have said that should the Egyptian mediation efforts fail, Western powers will likely try to push for a UN Security Council resolution that would call for an end to the fighting in the Gaza Strip.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said before cabinet meeting that Israel would only accept a proposal for a long-term ceasefire if Israel’s security needs were met. President Abbas is reportedly pressuring Hamas to accept a deal, even if it does not immediately address all Palestinian demands.
Thousands of Israelis call for dialogue at TA peace rally, Times of Israel
Over 10,000 people assembled in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square night for the largest pro-peace rally the country has seen since the start of the war in Gaza in early July. Protesters held signs that read “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies,” “When there is no peace war comes,” and “Yes to a diplomatic solution.”
Returning from Tehran, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said that Iran has given a firm commitment to cooperate with a UN investigation into suspected atomic bomb research.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid outlined the details of his proposal for a Middle East conference to rebuild Gaza and strengthen the Palestinian Authority.
Lawmakers call to boot Arab party after meet with suspected ex-spy, Times of Israel
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman led the charge as a host of Israeli politicians called for an investigation and possible sanctions against the Arab Israeli Balad party , following reports that three of its members flew to Qatar, which Israel has accused of funding Hamas, and may have met with former party member and suspected Hezbollah spy Azmi Bishara.
Ministry blocks ban on B’Tselem national service, Times of Israel
The Justice Ministry declared that Sar-Shalom Jerby, head of the National Service Administration, overstepped his authority when he blacklisted the human rights group B’Tselem and banned it from receiving national service volunteers.
Israel weighing how to deal with UN war probe, Associated Press
Facing a United Nations war crimes commission it accuses of bias, Israel must decide whether to cooperate and present its case or boycott the inquiry entirely. It has yet to officially say what it will do, but it gave an inkling of its thinking when the Foreign Ministry called the commission a “kangaroo court” whose verdict is “known ahead of time.”
Hundreds of Fatah members under Hamas house arrest in Gaza, Times of Israel
While Palestinian negotiators in Cairo strained to present a unified front in ceasefire talks with Egypt and Israel , Fatah continues to showcase stories of intimidation and physical assault against its members in Hamas-controlled Gaza.
Hamas provides new info on moves to squeeze foreign media, Times of Israel
A Hamas spokeswoman who admitted last week that her movement obstructed the work of foreign journalists covering Operation Protective Edge gave more information about Hamas’s motives in curtailing foreign coverage of its military activities against Israel in Gaza.
Subtle voices of dissent surface in war-torn Gaza, Associated Press
It is impossible to measure discontent against Hamas among Gaza’s 1.8 million residents. Under Hamas rule, it’s rare and dangerous to share even as much as a hint of criticism of the government with outsiders. But increased willingness to speak out against Hamas could be a telling sign that some Gazans see the group as weakened.
The IDF demolished the homes of two suspects in June's kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens late night, while additionally sealing off the residence of a third suspect.
Defense Minister Ya’alon has promised the Gush Etzion Regional Council to give legal status to an unauthorized outpost, approve 24 new homes and a new farm in exchange for the evacuation of a different unauthorized outpost that was established in July.
Some 350 demonstrators have been charged across Israel since unrest began early in July; none are Jewish.
In the space of just a few weeks, the Palestinian-American boy visited East Jerusalem, where tensions were about to boil over. He also grappled with the murder of a cousin who was burned alive by Israeli extremists; got detained and was savagely beaten by Israeli authorities, and, thanks to a video of the attack, became, for better or worse, an international symbol of indiscriminate Israeli aggression against defenseless Palestinians.
Opinion and Analysis
In his final column, Leonard Fein writes that Israelis and Palestinians suffer from “ongoing traumatic stress disorder.”
Gershon Baskin warns that “only a 180-degree turn by the government, which would mean launching a genuine peace process, can change the direction of the horrors just around the corner. But first we must reach a settlement in Gaza and prevent the resumption of hostilities there.”
“Given the ‘Obama doctrine’ of collective diplomacy, the administration will take a cautious approach to reactivating the Middle East peace process until all essential players are on board,” says Uri Savir.
Recalling his service in the IDF, “Yonatan S” urges, “True security can be achieved only by peace.”
JJ Goldberg shares author David Grossman’s speech from this weekend’s peace rally in Tel Aviv, and a response from Petah Tikvah Rabbi Yuval Sherlow.