On Monday, Donald Trump is set to address AIPAC’s annual policy conference. Some think that he should never have been invited. Others want Trump’s appearance at AIPAC to be vigorously protested. Both of these positions are eminently understandable, and I will be very surprised if Trump’s appearance at AIPAC is a smooth one, marked by nothing more disruptive than a smattering of polite applause.
Once upon a time we looked to writers and artists to hold up a mirror to our societies, paint our collective portraits, and tell us about ourselves. Nowadays, we rely upon teams of pollsters to gather reams of survey data, from which we try to discern our collective psychology and behavior. Statistics cannot lie, or so we are led to believe, and so we now turn to them and trust them to tell us what we think and who we are.
When Joe Biden visits Israel, drama inevitably ensues. Few in Israel have forgotten his 2010 trip, when upon his arrival the Interior Ministry announced the construction of new Jewish homes in East Jerusalem, prompting a serious diplomatic scandal. But in many ways, the Vice President’s busy stopover last week felt more like a return to the good old days of U.S.-Israel relations rather than the at-times acrimonious atmosphere cultivated by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Shaul Arieli has a smart op-ed in Ha’aretz today arguing that the concept of the sanctity of settlement blocs is leading Israel astray. Arieli goes through the history of how the blocs came to be, and more importantly demonstrates the way in which their contours have changed, from security zones in the Jordan Valley and Jerusalem envelope to settlements intended to obliterate the Green Line to more recent efforts on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s part to include areas that bifurcate the West Bank and make a contiguous Palestinian state impossible.
The Pew study on Israel society offers fascinating insights into the Druze. While some of its findings are encouraging, others may prove disappointing for Israeli Jews accustomed to perceiving the Druze as typifying an exemplar relationship between a non-Jewish minority and the Jewish state.
Popular discussion of Israel is rife with concerns about the coming end of Israeli democracy, and therefore the end of Israel’s membership in the club of democratic states.
Optimism is such a wonderful and promising attitude in life. I couldn’t help but appreciate this as my family and I found ourselves trekking down the icy South Kaibab Trail in the Grand Canyon, breathing in the cool refreshing air, submerging ourselves in the colorful cliffs all around us. One hundred feet down the trail I saw my first California condor as it was soaring above us.
Welcome to Matzav, a collaborative blog hosted by the Israel Policy Forum. Matzav – which means “situation” in Hebrew and is often used as a shorthand to describe the simultaneous hope and despair, quiet and violence, and other contradictory forces that shape Israel – aims to be the most comprehensive discussion out there on Israeli politics and society, the regional politics of the Middle East, Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy and the two-state solution, U.S.-Israel relations, and issues affecting the American Jewish community.