Miriam Shaviv



Wikileaks shows international hypocrisy over Israel

By Miriam Shaviv, July 26, 2010

So, courtesy of Wikileaks, we once again have evidence of the enormous number of civilian casualties killed by US/Nato forces in Afghanistan.

The details are not pretty:

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They don't all hate Israel after all

By Miriam Shaviv, July 26, 2010

Shimon Peres looks on the bright side:

How do you explain the rise in the delegitimization of Israel in the world in recent years? Do you agree that this is happening?

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Eastenders has a new Jewish family

By Miriam Shaviv, July 23, 2010

When I first read this I was sure it was a spoof, but here is a real summary of the plot of Eastenders next week:

Returning from the bathroom, Jodie's horrified as Darren's stood there in his boxer shorts. Jodie screams 'Oh My God!' before rushing out. Darren stares down at his nether regions, bemused by her reaction…

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From the mailbag

By Miriam Shaviv, July 23, 2010

Re: my post on who gets to speak at funerals, a rabbi writes:

Listening carefully to some colleagues always gave me the impression that they thought it their God-given exclusive right to speak at funerals, as though this was, somehow, an indispensible rabbinical duty. They seemed to object to lay speakers on the grounds that it was depriving them of an important part of their job, something I found to be incomprehensible.

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Should non-rabbis speak at funerals?

By Miriam Shaviv, July 22, 2010

When, last year, the United Synagogue changed its rules barring laypeople from delivering eulogies at funerals, I was strongly behind it. I had been frequently shocked by the impersonal nature of funerals here, with rabbis who did not know the deceased, or who did not know them well, giving a few biographical details and saying little else of interest.

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Better than Brent Cross...

By Miriam Shaviv, July 19, 2010

Tom Gross has pictures of Gaza's sparkling new shopping mall, which opened this weekend to great fanfare. It was built somehow despite a ban on importing building materials, and has shelves fully stocked with clothes, toys, cosmetics and yes, food. 

A peculiar kind of humanitarian crisis.

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Yes, we still need to fast on Tisha b'Av

By Miriam Shaviv, July 16, 2010

My colleague Anshel Pfeffer has written a thought-provoking piece in Haaretz, in which he argues that we no longer need to fast on Tisha b'Av (which falls next week) because we have returned from exile, and because - he says - it would be perfectly possible to re-build a temple nowdays, if only there was the political will and religious interest (which there isn't).

He concludes:

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An ancient Anglo-Jewry mystery

By Miriam Shaviv, July 16, 2010

On the Main Line has posted a few pages from an 18th century book on Anglo-Jewry before the expulsion in 1290. It includes a picture of a bowl, found by a fisherman in a brook around 1700, with a Hebrew inscription (which seems - as far as I can tell - to dedicate it to one Joseph, son of Rabbi Yechiel from Poland / advisor to a Polish community). Jews at the time could not explain its usage; he suggests that it is an ancient version of a pushke, or tzedakah box.

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Barak's private Camp David photos

By Miriam Shaviv, July 15, 2010

Brilliant set of photos taken by the Israeli delegation to the Camp David Summit, 10 years ago this week. (Link takes you to the FB page of Noah Slepkov, an advisor to MK Einat Wilf.) 

With hindsight, it's interesting to see Barak's body language - he is clearly most enthusiastic, while Clinton seems more reserved.  But they do seem to have all the chemistry. Arafat - in the few pictures in which he appears - looks like a third wheel who is just playing along.

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'Bloody Jews'

By Miriam Shaviv, July 14, 2010

This is what antisemitism in polite British society looks like today. Eve Garrard writes in Normblog:

'Bloody Jews,' he said. 'Bloody Jews, bugger the Jews, I've no sympathy for them.'

I gazed at him, aghast. Where had this suddenly come from?

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Chief Rabbi Sacks boasts about Limmud

By Miriam Shaviv, July 13, 2010

Our Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, has given an interview to Big Think, an American website. Because it is meant for an American and general audience, the questions are rather basic. Strangely enough, though, the result is at least one fascinating answer:

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UK fails the Israel test

By Miriam Shaviv, July 9, 2010

A few days back, after it emerged that Russian spies had been using fake UK passports, I posed an Israel test: Will the UK launch an investigation and expel a Russian diplomat, as they did when they accused Israel of forging UK passports following the Mabhouh assassination in Dubai? Or do different rules apply to Israel and to Moscow?

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Why rabbis lose faith

By Miriam Shaviv, July 9, 2010

The Orthoprax rabbi has, of course, provoked a great deal of discussion on the blogosphere - most (but not all) hostile. One of the more thoughtful responses I've seen comes from The Rebbetzin's Husband, a former pulpit rabbi now in Toronto, who says: "There are few professions which are worse for one’s belief in G-d and Judaism than the rabbinate."

He explains:

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Shtetl myths

By Miriam Shaviv, July 8, 2010

A new book by Shaul Stampfer, Families, Rabbis, and Education, shatters some myths about life in 19th century eastern Europe:

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We need a totally new Middle East peace plan

By Miriam Shaviv, July 8, 2010

Again and again we hear that "everyone knows" what the final peace agreement between Israel and Palestinians will look like.

It was drawn up at Camp David in 2000 and will involve a sovereign Palestinian state covering the West Bank and Gaza; a divided Jerusalem; the return of a symbolic number of Palestinian refugees to 'Israel proper'; and a demilitarised Palestinian state.

All that is missing is leaders brave enough to sign on the dotted line.

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Israel finance minister: Lose control and we'll end up like Britain

By Miriam Shaviv, July 8, 2010

Remember the time when Israel was the economic basket case and Britain was rich? Well, those times are long gone.

Now it is Israel which looks on Britain with horror. As the Israeli finance minister Yuval Steinitz warned yesterday,

"If we go wild and lose control we might end up like Britain or Spain, not to mention Greece - in another two years."

Explains a bit about the recent spike in British aliyah figures, doesn't it?

(h/t Dani)

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'My Palestinian cousins'

By Miriam Shaviv, July 6, 2010

I've written before about Israelis with Palestinian cousins - literal Palestinian cousins. If your Hebrew is up to it, you must read this interview with filmmaker Noa Ben Hagai, who made a documentary last year about her relatives in a Palestinian refugee camp.

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Syrian military hit by the plague?

By Miriam Shaviv, July 5, 2010

This report may be based on a questionable translation, come from a suspect source and remain rather vague, but never mind - it has a rather strong biblical resonance:

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