He's hardly alone, as many observers (including myself) are outraged by this move. But Danon, 42, has a unique place in this debate because he (1) sits in Israel's parliament as a member of Netanyahu's Likud Party, he (2) is chairman of Likud's powerful Central Committee, and he (3) serves as Israel's deputy minister of Defense. In American terms, his criticism resembles Gen. Stanley McChrystal's 2010 interview mocking Vice President Joe Biden. But McChrystal was gone within days whereas Danon continues to gain influence and stature.
Danon's ability to denounce his own prime minister's actions points to his not being a routine politician. Three qualities stand out: a devotion to principle, a mastery of tactics, and the ability to articulate a vision. more >>
Brad Sherrill, a 30-year Atlanta-based professional actor, will speak the words of Jesus Christ on stage to over 2,000 people over six weeks in Chicago's Provision Theater.
Starting in September, Sherrill will kick off Provision Theater's 10th anniversary with "Red Letter Jesus," a stage adaptation of the words of Christ in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
"I want people to encounter the words of Jesus that we find in the synoptic gospels," Sherrill said in a Monday interview with The Christian Post. He said that he has already performed the play about one hundred times in the past two years. more >>
Like most Israelis, I am an eternal optimist. Living day to day in our neighborhood and faced with continued threats to our legitimacy and even our existence, what choice do we have? That being said, I am extremely pessimistic about the latest round of peace talks that have been initiated in Washington, DC. There is no shortage of reasons why I should be skeptical, but what worries me most are the personalities involved in these talks and the faulty premises they represent.
Almost 20 years after the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin attempted to conjure arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat into a worthy partner for peace, it seems that we have not learned the necessary lessons from the past. As the "peace process" continued to hit bumps along the way, Israel and our American allies attempted many different variations which all led to the same failed result. We initiated staged withdrawals and implemented unilateral disengagements. At times we included the Europeans and our Arab neighbors in the process, while at key points we negotiated secretly without any third party involvement. The European Union was used to monitor border crossings, and donor countries were asked to invest in an "economic peace." Let us be brutally frank: None of this worked in changing the dynamics of the conflict or convincing the Palestinians to completely abandon hatred and violence and recognize that the Jewish State is here to stay.
Perhaps the problem with Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations lies not with the process, but with the people involved in representing the parties at the table. In most professions, when one fails at his job and leaves the project in question in chaos and complete disarray, he is most definitely not asked to keep working on the task at hand. Again and again and again. In fact, he is usually fired. Not so when it comes to the "peace process industry." more >>
On July 3, Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), was ousted from power. His detractors came from many segments of Egyptian society, but it is the Coptic Christian community that the MB is scapegoating as the principal actor behind his removal. The Middle East Media Research Institute reports that, in a recent article on the MB website entitled "The Military Republic of Tawadros" (Tawadros being the Coptic Orthodox pope), the MB urges its followers to believe that the Copts "openly and secretly led the process of opposition to the Islamic stream and this stream's rise to power."
Attacking the Copts will prove to be as destructive to Egypt as to the religious minority itself. Following Morsi's ouster, the MB rejected the invitation of interim president Adly Mansour to be part of the political process, and instead has taken to the streets. It seems intent on regaining some of its lost power through the time-honored tactic of stirring up political unrest and then negotiating reconciliation on its own terms.
Copts came under severe attack right after Morsi's removal and continue to bear the brunt of violence and threats from the MB and other Islamist groups. As a result, numerous churches have decided it is no longer safe for them to hold regular worship services, Sunday school, and catechesis classes. In Minya governorate, the Holy Mass is now being broadcast on the Internet so the faithful won't have to risk their lives praying in the churches. Elsewhere in Upper Egypt, liturgies finish by 7 a.m., and then for the rest of the day the churches are closed and put under guard. Death threats forced Pope Tawadros II to leave his seat at St. Mark's Cathedral in Cairo three weeks ago, and his whereabouts are now kept secret; the threats were issued because he attended a conference called by Egypt's military to work out the country's road map and because Copts had joined in the anti-Morsi protests. more >>
Here are my thoughts on why Secretary Kerry's Mideast peace process is flawed in ways that endanger Israel.
1) No Palestinian reciprocity at the outset. Israel agreed to release 104 convicted terrorists just to get the Palestinians to talk peace. Would the U.S. agree to release 104 Guantanamo prisoners for talks with anyone?
Israel will undoubtedly be blamed if negotiations fail, so it's unlikely that fair judgment by the international community motivated the release. Perhaps it was the price that Israel had to pay for a U.S. promise to prevent Iranian nukes and/or support Israel's efforts to stop them. If so, is the U.S. good for its word (despite Obama's repeated demonstrations that his Mideast "red lines" are meaningless)? more >>
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will gather in Washington, D.C. on Monday and Tuesday to re-start peace talks after nearly three years, thanks in large part to the diplomatic efforts of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
"Both leaders have demonstrated a willingness to make difficult decisions that have been instrumental in getting to this point," Kerry said in the statement regarding the peace talks. "We are grateful for their leadership."
Monday's meeting serves as a new beginning for the talks that abruptly ended in 2010 regarding territory in the Middle East, where Palestine is seeking statehood on Israeli-occupied land. more >>