The History of Israel as Seen in Rosh Hashanah Postcards

Sept. 23 2022

Since the Middle Ages, Jews have ushered in the new year by sending friends and family written greetings. In the early 20th century, an “entire industry” was dedicated to producing postcards for the occasion. The National Library of Israel shows how Rosh Hashanah cards marked specific developments in Zionist history, beginning with one that commemorates the meeting of the Second Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland. Later cards show scenes from the Land of Israel itself:

During the first three decades of the state of Israel, new year’s greeting cards were the most common mail item in the country. These cards expressed the spirit of the new year in every Jewish home in Israel. In the last few weeks of each Hebrew year, the post office would switch into high gear to meet the challenge posed by the countless postcards that flooded the postal system. The diverse images on the postcards expressed the hopes of Israeli citizens.

The year 1967 was an exciting one. After days of anxious waiting and uncertainty, Israel quickly defeated its neighbors in the Six-Day War. One of the symbols of this victory was the liberation of Jerusalem’s Old City after nineteen years of Jordanian rule and 2,000 years of Jewish longing. [One] postcard shows an armored vehicle entering the Old City through the Lion’s Gate. Blasts of mortar fire can be seen through the gate and outside it. Written on the postcard is the Hebrew text: “Like lions, the warriors of Israel prevailed,” along with “Peace and security.”

The postcards can be seen in this video (1 minute), and at the link below:

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More about: Israeli history, Rosh Hashanah, Six-Day War, Theodor Herzl

Reforms to Israel’s Judiciary Must Be Carefully Calibrated

The central topic of debate in Israel now is the new coalition government’s proposed reforms of the nation’s judiciary and unwritten constitution. Peter Berkowitz agrees that reform is necessary, but that “the proper scope and pace of reform, however, are open to debate and must be carefully calibrated.”

In particular, Berkowitz argues,

to preserve political cohesiveness, substantial changes to the structure of the Israeli regime must earn support that extends beyond these partisan divisions.

In a deft analysis of the conservative spirit in Israel, bestselling author Micah Goodman warns in the Hebrew language newspaper Makor Rishon that unintended consequences flowing from the constitutional counterrevolution are likely to intensify political instability. When a center-left coalition returns to power, Goodman points out, it may well repeal through a simple majority vote the major changes Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition seeks to enact. Or it may use the legislature’s expanded powers, say, to ram through laws that impair the religious liberty of the ultra-Orthodox. Either way, in a torn nation, constitutional counterrevolution amplifies division.

Conservatives make a compelling case that balance must be restored to the separation of powers in Israel. A prudent concern for the need to harmonize Israel’s free, democratic, and Jewish character counsels deliberation in the pursuit of necessary constitutional reform.

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Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli Judicial Reform