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Earlier this month, 85 students from Arizona’s universities traveled to Washington, D.C., for J Street’s National Conference. Last month, President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formally met for the first time in Washington. Those of us who long for peace and are committed to Israel’s character as a Jewish and democratic state have been troubled by the Trump administration’s ambivalence about some of the most fundamental issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and their first public appearance together did not assuage our concerns.
Almost daily accounts of vandalized cemeteries, spray-painted swastikas and bomb threats to JCCs and other Jewish agencies have naturally evoked considerable alarm.
It is a rare day when the entire U.S. Senate speaks with one voice. That day was March 6, when a sixth wave of bomb threats were phoned in and emailed to Jewish institutions across the country. In a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and FBI director James Comey, all 100 senators called for “swift action with regard to the deeply troubling series of anonymous bomb threats.”
By now we are all familiar with the story of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, the Mesa mom who came to the U.S. from Mexico at the age of 14, and who was recently deported in an initiative to enforce the strictest standard of law.
Last week, at its annual conference, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs did something commendable in our highly charged political environment. The group, whose member agencies advocate primarily from the left of the political center, welcomed and listened politely to a presentation from a pair of more conservative pundits: Noah Silverman, congressional affairs director for the Republican Jewish Coalition, and Noah Pollak, a conservative political writer and consultant.
To the Jewish community:
What’s Linda Sarsour’s angle? The American activist, who was a surrogate for Sen. Bernie Sanders during his presidential campaign and an organizer of the Women’s March that brought half a million people to Washington in January to protest Donald Trump, last week helped start a crowdfunding campaign to repair more than 100 gravestones that vandals toppled in a St. Louis Jewish cemetery.
As rabbis and community leaders in Arizona, we are grateful for Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake’s unflagging support of Israel. In that spirit and with Israel’s best interests in mind, we respectfully ask Sens. McCain and Flake to vote against the nomination of David Friedman as United States ambassador to Israel. For the following reasons, we see Friedman as incapable as serving as an effective bridge between the two nations.
In his month in office, President Donald Trump has challenged several long-standing American policies, only to back off later. The result has been to leave unclear exactly what American policy is toward China, Russia or NATO, among other things.
The “Inspired by Israel” video contest has started its 10-day period of online voting to determine which 10 video entrants will move on to the final phase of the contest and be evaluated by an elite panel of judges.
Between the challah bake, the Shabbat Project and conferences in Washington, D.C., it's been a busy week.
Shabbat in Jerusalem was like no Shabbat I have ever experienced.