Week in Review: Kerry’s “Messianic Fervor,” Sharon Eulogized, and much more!

January, 16 2014

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon expressed skepticism over U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to revitalize peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, saying he was “acting out of misplaced obsession and messianic fervor.” After aDSC_3168_-_Flickr_-_U.S._Embassy_Tel_Aviv (1) harsh rebuke from the White House—“to question his motives and distort his proposals is not something we would expect from the defense minister of a close ally,” a State Department spokeswoman said Tuesday—Yaalon apologized. Kerry, meanwhile, brushed off the comments, saying that he and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are “both very committed to moving the process forward.”

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who died on Saturday at 85, was honored this week during a state memorial service before his funeral. “He insisted on our right to defend ourselves so that we may live here securely,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Today, too, we remain adamant on this right, which is a vital condition for our existence here and for the existence of peace.”

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden eulogized Sharon at the service. “Like all historic leaders, all real leaders, he had a North Star that guided him—a North Star from which he never, in my observation, never deviated,” he said. “His North Star was the survival of the State of Israel and the Jewish people, wherever they resided.”

Last week Tel Aviv unveiled a memorial to gays and lesbians killed during the Holocaust, in the country’s first monument to non-Jewish victims of Nazi atrocities.

After Janet Yellen was confirmed to lead the Federal Reserve last week, President Obama tapped Stanley Fischer, former head of the Bank of Israel, for the number two spot. Fischer, a former professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a dual citizen of the United States and Israel.

A Berlin museum foundation and the heirs of Jewish Holocaust-era art dealers are still in a stalemate over who the rightful owner of the Guelph Treasure—a trove of a quarter billion dollars worth of gems and artwork—should be after a government commission failed to make a recommendation this week.

The National Jewish Book Council has announced its annual awards, which honor FDR and the Jews by Richard Breitman and Allan J. Lichtman, The Lion Seeker by Kenneth Bonert and Melissa R. Klapper’s Ballots, Babies and Banners of Peace among others.

Reversing an earlier decision, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel will now accept the authority of New York-based Modern Orthodox rabbi Avi Weiss. The Rabbinate had previously rejected Weiss’ letter confirming the Judaism of a couple who wanted to wed in Israel, saying it would investigate Weiss’ adherence to Jewish law—a move that sparked outrage in the United States.


Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons.

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