How Conservative Judaism Lost Me

“Focusing on egalitarianism was a distraction from the real problem: that Conservative Jews were not committed to halakhah and Jewish learning.”

Read more at Forward

More about: Conservative Judaism, Egalitarianism, Halakhah, Jewish observance


What If Israel Had Given Up the Golan Heights?

For nearly twenty years, Aaron David Miller was part of American efforts to broker a peace deal that would have involved Israel ceding control of the Golan Heights to Syria. He is now grateful that these efforts failed:

[H]ad we succeeded, the results might have been catastrophic for Israel and for the U.S.

What [the U.S.] failed to realize was that . . . any deal to return the Golan Heights . . . was likely to be . . . fraught precisely because Mr. Assad was so cruel in his policies and [because] his regime consisted of an Alawite minority governing a Sunni majority. Without real reform—something neither Hafez al-Assad nor his son and successor, Bashar, was ever really serious about—perhaps it would have been only a matter of time before Syria experienced real instability. . . .

[It] can be said with certainty . . . that had Israel given up the Golan, the situation today would have been much more complex. In response to the Syrian civil war and the rise of Islamic State, Israel would have faced a hot front, confronting Hizballah, Iran, and a range of Islamist jihadists. Given the Golan’s strategic importance, Israel would have had to reoccupy it and would have found itself in the middle of Syria’s civil war. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that Israel’s actions would have been a unifying factor and might have actually bucked up the Assad regime as it tried to rally Syrians against the “Zionist enemy.” . . .

It’s a cautionary tale for well-intentioned U.S. and Israeli peacemakers alike.

Read more at Wall Street Journal

More about: Golan Heights, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Peace Process, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy