Miriam Shaviv



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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Do Israelis really want peace?

By Miriam Shaviv, July 1, 2010

A very silly piece by Larry Derfner in the Jerusalem Post, arguing that Israelis don't really want peace. Not, you understand, that he disagrees that most Israelis are willing to give up land for peace, or accept a two-state-solution. His complaint is that Israelis are unwilling to throw their arms open, embrace the Palestinians and sing kumbaya:

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Why Jews love Chinese food

By Miriam Shaviv, July 1, 2010

A comment by Elena Kagan, the American Supreme Court nominee, has set the Jewish blogosphere and Twittersphere (??) on fire.

As part of her confirmation hearing, she was asked where she was on Christmas Day last year. She answered: "Like all Jews, I was probably at a Chinese restaurant" - provoking much laughter.

So what is it with American Jews and Chinese food on Christmas day? 

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If Israel did listen to friends..?

By Miriam Shaviv, July 1, 2010

How seriously should we take the current groundswell of diaspora Jews declaring their friendship for Israel, and then begging it to change course before disaster strikes?

It is certainly a popular message. J Street, the doveish lobby in America, led the pack in 2008; then there was J Call, its European imitator. Last month we had writer Peter Beinart fretting that young American Jews were becoming alienated from the Jewish state because of its "illiberal" policies.

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The Orthodox atheist rabbi speaks out

By Miriam Shaviv, June 30, 2010

The blogosphere has had its share of honest, sometimes too-honest, rabbis and rebbetzins writing about the challenges of their work, and more often than not carping about their congregants (fair enough, most congregants spend quite a lot of time carping about their rabbi). Mostly, they have elected to stay anonymous, aware that much of what they write could get them fired.

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The Israel test

By Miriam Shaviv, June 29, 2010

According to the Guardian,

The British and Irish governments were today investigating allegations that members of a suspected Russian spy ring living under deep cover in the US had travelled using false passports from their countries.

It will be interesting to see whether they expel a Russian diplomat over this.

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Gaza's life expectancy

By Miriam Shaviv, June 25, 2010

Here's a riddle.

According to the CIA World Factbook (2009), life expectancy in Lebanon is 73.66. Egypt's is 71.12. Turkey's is 71.96.  Iran's is 71.14. Pakistan's is 64.49.

What is life expectancy in the West Bank and Gaza?

(Answer here.)

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The real problem with writing novels about the Holocaust

By Miriam Shaviv, June 24, 2010

Over the past few weeks, the literary world and Holocaust scholars have been engaged in two rows over fictionalised accounts of the Holocaust.

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With friends like these....

By Miriam Shaviv, June 24, 2010

I have a piece in the Forward this week about the kinds of friends Israel does not need. It has already generated some heated responses:

Israel needs friends in Europe, but there are some friends that it could do without.

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Worm-shaped berries and blue bananas, only in Israel

By Miriam Shaviv, June 21, 2010

The LA Times reports:

If Willy Wonka had a farm, it would fit right in here in Israel.

Want a lemon-scented tomato or a chocolate-colored persimmon? How about some miniaturized garlic cloves for the home chef who doesn't have time to chop, or a purple potato that tastes buttery when cooked?

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Gaza's food problem

By Miriam Shaviv, June 21, 2010

Media Backspin links to some recent AP and AFP pictures of Gaza, showing buzzing markets and well-stocked supermarkets, backing up what the JC's own stringer in Gaza, Moeen Elhelou, wrote a couple of weeks back. While not all foods may be available, there is no food shortage per se.

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Bloom's restaurant, you were awful but we will miss you

By Miriam Shaviv, June 11, 2010

Forget the flotilla, and the increasing mess of admissions to Jewish schools. The real story for British Jews this week is the closure of Bloom's restaurant in Golders Green, an Anglo-Jewish treasure if ever there was one. And not in a good way.

As food critic Jay Rayner put it a couple of years back: "Bloom's is an institution. Mind you, so is Broadmoor [prison], and nobody ever went there for dinner."

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Hey, liberals: Palestinians need 'tough love' too

By Miriam Shaviv, June 11, 2010

Bret Stephens poses an excellent question:

What does it mean to be a friend of Israel? What does it mean to be a friend of the Palestinians? And should the same standards of friendship apply to Israelis and Palestinians alike, or is there a double standard here as well?

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Bummer, that

By Miriam Shaviv, June 10, 2010

The New York Times has stopped Jeffrey Goldberg using the word 'tuchus' in print (forcing him to say 'tush' instead).

They're very conservative in New York....

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The Ironic Orthodox generation

By Miriam Shaviv, June 10, 2010

Across the pond, there seems to be an emerging consensus that something is changing in Orthodoxy, particularly on its left wing. The problem is that no one is exactly sure what. Over the past year, there have been several attempts to define this new breed of Orthodox Jew, loosely labelled - thanks to Hirhurim - 'post-Orthodox'.

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Fast-roping 101

By Miriam Shaviv, June 7, 2010

 

Via Abu Muqawama, a blog on insurgencies and counter-insurgencies hosted by the Center for a New American security. Take a look also at this post, particularly the bits about Israel's loss of deterrence and its army's loss of standing amongst other military personnel.

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