The Challenges for Israel, Zionism, and the Jewish People

Surveying the current condition of the Jewish state and the Jewish people, Yossi Klein Halevi puts forth some priorities for the coming years, beginning with the defense of the “Jewish story,” especially against the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement:

The most insidious threat of BDS is not economic but ideological. On campuses around the world the very name “Zionism” is becoming tainted. Maddeningly, the more re-rooted we become as a people in our land, the more our indigenousness is being challenged. The growing counter-narrative to Zionism is that a Jewish state was forced on the Arab world by a guilty Europe—ignoring 4,000 years of Jewish connection to the land. Increasingly, then, the Holocaust is no longer a compelling argument for Jewish statehood but the opposite, an essential part of the anti-Zionist assault that defines Israel as a white European colonialist entity. . . .

The assault on our story must be treated as a threat to our very being. There is no Jewish people, no Judaism, without the Jewish story.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: BDS, Holocaust, Israel & Zionism, Yossi Klein Halevi, Zionism

Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security