Newsletter March 6, 2016
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New feature – Videos

JSpaceCanada discussion on Middle East – Opening remarks

Professor Mohammed Wattad of the Zefat Academic College School of Law in Israel, in conversation with Professor Mira Sucharov of Carleton University, Ottawa, on "The Future of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – Inside and Outside Israel," at the Barbara Frum Library in Toronto, sponsored by JSpaceCanada. Topics covered included the current situation in Israel, challenges to democracy and inclusion, BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) and other world-wide movements affecting Israel, and strategies to move the Israeli-Palestinian conflict towards a lasting peace.

JSpaceCanada discussion on Middle East – Partition Plan and Equality

Prof. Mohammed Wattad talks about why there is no contradiction between a Jewish state and a democracy..

The Best of Dow Marmur

Rabbi Marmur

There is no better way to keep up with the what's going on in Israel from a moral perspective than Rabbi Dow Marmur's columns, which are published two or three times a week on JSpaceCanada's website. Rabbi Marmur is the Rabbi Emeritus of Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto and now lives in and reports from Jerusalem. His columns cover politics, the divisions within Israeli society and how Jewish values and religious thought apply to them. We annotate his columns with links to the news stories he refers to.

Here are some excerpts from the most recent columns to show the range of issues, both political and moral, he covers.

A reflection and a prediction (March 4, 2016)

A way to moderate, some say humanize, the government would be to replace Bennett’s party with Herzog’s Zionist Union. Despite the latter’s insistence to the contrary, [Dan Bielski, a news editor with Israel Radio] predicts that that’s what’s likely to happen in the next few months. Even if some members of the Zionist Union leave as a result – together with some members of Netanyahu’s Likud who may join Bennett – Netanyahu would still have a more comfortable coalition majority than he has now and thus be able to stay in power which, according to Bielski, is his main objective. But Netanyahu, says Bielski, also wants to leave a legacy that, despite his many years as prime minister, has so far eluded him.

Progress for progressives (Feb. 28, 2016)

The Orthodox know that their institutions depend largely on government money and it’s more likely to come their way if they stay close to the action as insiders. They, too, appear to be prepared to sacrifice political principles for political gains, just as Reform Jews who don’t think much of the Wall have done yet celebrate with glee the creation of its third, egalitarian section.

The so-called Council of Torah Sages, i.e., the Orthodox ayatollahs, held what seems like an emergency meeting to discuss the advances of non-Orthodox Judaism, the threat to their religious monopoly in Israel and their grip on its population. I hope all Conservative and Reform, i.e., Progressive, leaders will see it as a compliment.

Shooting to kill (Feb. 24, 2016)

The bitter truth is, of course, that violence breeds violence and may create situations in which would-be victims end up as villains. It’s another terrible by-product of the occupation to which the current government of Israel seems to be blind and which even its parliamentary opposition doesn’t wish to challenge. The reason is at least in part the Palestinians’ reputed reluctance to talk peace, though judging by the antics of several of the ministers in the Netanyahu government, Israel may be colluding with it.

Sadness and celebration (Feb. 16, 2016)

All this is, of course, cause for sadness and dismay that people elected to high office should behave in this way. But it’s also cause for celebration that Israel is a country where the rule of law prevails and nobody is above it.

Who speaks for Jewish values in Israel? (Feb. 5, 2016)

Mercifully, not all exponents of Orthodoxy are abusive and vulgar. Dov Lipman is an Orthodox rabbi and was a member of the previous Knesset on behalf of the Yesh Atid party. This time he was too low down on the list to be re-elected. His article in last Friday’s Jerusalem Post was headed, “Fire Deputy Minister Porush” in which he cited all the appropriate sources reflecting tolerant Judaism.

Free ebook

As Israeli diplomat George Deek said in a recent interview in the National Post, “Canada matters, if anything, as a moral voice in the world, because there are few democracies today in the Western world that are willing to stand up for providing Israel the diplomatic and moral umbrella it needs for its ability to defend itself whenever it’s attacked from Gaza or otherwise.”

The historic debate in Parliament on BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) last month touched on all the major issues in Canada's relations with Israel. We have reformatted the debate from Hansards into a 95 page ebook that makes the debate more readable and easier to follow.

Download the Ebook



Tuesday, March 15

A Psychological Look into Jewish and Arab Relationships

Hear Professor Alean Al-Krenawi, President of Achva Academic College and Professor of Social Work at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel

Miles Nadal JCC
750 Spadina Ave. Toronto

Free and all welcome
Co-sponsored by City Shul, First Narayever Congregation, Danforth Jewish Circle, the MNJCC, JSpaceCanada, and the Consulate General of Israel

More Information

Tuesday, March 22

Israel: Perspectives
& Possibilities


Centre for Israel & Jewish Affairs: Steve McDonald, Deputy Director, Communications and Public Affairs

JSpaceCanada: Dr. Karen Mock, human rights consultant, psychologist, teacher educator and spokesperson.

New Israel Fund of Canada: Chair, NIFC, past chair of ARZENU, the international organization of Reform and Progressive Zionists.

Rabbi Denise Handlarski
Oraynu Congregation

Borochov Cultural Centre
272 Codsell Ave

Tickets $10
More Information
and Register