What the Skeptics Can Learn from the Wedding Canopy in Abu Dhabi

In many ways, the wedding of Levi Duchman and Lea Hadad in September was a typical Orthodox Jewish wedding with a ḥuppah, traditional blessings, and much dancing. In other ways, writes Meir Soloveichik, it was an epochal event:

It was held in Abu Dhabi, the 1,500-person guest list made up of both Jews and Arabs, including Emirati royalty, with rabbis arriving from Israel, America, and Morocco. It was the largest Jewish event ever held in the Gulf region. One video captures a moment after the ḥuppah ceremony: the dancing with the groom in which all engage. As Jewish music is played and sung, we see Rabbi Duchman, a Ḥasid clad in kapote [caftan] and black hat, dancing in the center of the circle with an Emirati Arab guest, wrapped in his own traditional white thobe and headdress, with similarly clad Ḥasidim and Arabs surrounding them, holding hands and revolving to the rhythm.

It is striking therefore that as the wedding marked the anniversary of the historic agreement, the astounding success of the Abraham Accords still continues to be denied in publications whose own “expertise” was so challenged by the Accords themselves. We are told that the failure of the compact to address the Israel-Palestinian conflict is a fatal flaw. “Why the Abraham Accords Fall Short,” one headline in Foreign Policy declared several months ago, with the subhead: “Sidelining the Palestinians Is a Recipe for Violence, Not Peace.”

All this, of course, gets it exactly wrong. The further warming of the Emirati-Israeli relationship in the face of tensions with Palestinians—however regrettable those tensions might be—reflects the strength of the Accords, and their central insight: the fact that one localized conflict over the future of Judea and Samaria need not be “solved” in order to build bridges to the rest of the Arab world and to the Muslim world beyond.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Abraham Accords, Jewish-Muslim Relations, United Arab Emirates

Would an American-Backed UN Resolution Calling for a Temporary Ceasefire Undermine Israel?

Yesterday morning, the U.S. vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution, sponsored by Algeria, that demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. As an alternative, the American delegation has been circulating a draft resolution calling for a “temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable, based on the formula of all hostages being released.” Benny Avni comments:

While the Israel Defense Force may be able to maintain its Gaza operations under that provision, the U.S.-proposed resolution also warns the military against proceeding with its plan to enter the southern Gaza town of Rafah. Israel says that a critical number of Hamas fighters are hiding inside tunnels and in civilian buildings at Rafah, surrounded by a number of the remaining 134 hostages.

In one paragraph, the text of the new American resolution says that the council “determines that under current circumstances a major ground offensive into Rafah would result in further harm to civilians and their further displacement including potentially into neighboring countries, which would have serious implications for regional peace and security, and therefore underscores that such a major ground offensive should not proceed under current circumstances.”

In addition to the paragraph about Rafah, the American-proposed resolution is admonishing Israel not to create a buffer zone inside Gaza. Such a narrow zone, as wide as two miles, is seen by many Israelis as a future protection against infiltration from Gaza.

Perhaps, as Robert Satloff argues, the resolution isn’t intended to forestall an IDF operation in Rafah, but only—consistent with prior statements from the Biden administration—to demand that Israel come up with a plan to move civilians out of harms way before advancing on the city.

If that is so, the resolution wouldn’t change much if passed. But why is the U.S. proposing an alternative ceasefire resolution at all? Strategically, Washington has nothing to gain from stopping Israel, its ally, from achieving a complete victory over Hamas. Why not instead pass a resolution condemning Hamas (something the Security Council has not done), calling for the release of hostages, and demanding that Qatar and Iran stop providing the group with arms and funds? Better yet, demand that these two countries—along with Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon—arrest Hamas leaders on their territory.

Surely Russia would veto such a resolution, but still, why not go on the offensive, rather than trying to come up with another UN resolution aimed at restraining Israel?

Read more at New York Sun

More about: Gaza War 2023, U.S.-Israel relationship, United Nations