The Most Interesting Jews of 5782 That Most of the Jewish World Has Never Heard Of

With the Jewish year coming to a close last week, many Jewish publications produced lists of the world’s most influential, or most important, Jews. Others do the same at the end of the Gregorian year. Too many of these lists, writes David M. Weinberg, focus on Jewish celebrities, athletes, entrepreneurs, and TikTok influencers, or those like America’s second gentleman Douglas Emhoff, whose sole claim to fame is his marriage to the current vice-president. Weinberg offers an alternative list of what he calls the “most interesting Jews” of 5782, among them:

Aliza Bloch: The new mayor of [the rapidly growing Jerusalem suburb of] Bet Shemesh is an experienced educator who took on a poor, badly managed, and divided city, which she is somehow turning around. Even the hard-bitten and warring ḥaredi factions in the city have learned to appreciate her leadership. They too will benefit if Bloch can bring more high-tech businesses to the city.

Sivan Rahav Meir: A rising star in both quality television journalism and Torah education. Her portraits of Israeli leaders and intellectuals always are smart and sensitive, and her learned Bible lectures are followed online by tens of thousands of people.

Yoav Sorek: The erudite editor of the important Hebrew-language journal Hashiloach, which in just five years has become the largest (and most provocative) paid-circulation intellectual platform in Israel. Sorek’s personal writing is sensitive and penetrating, and has become even more so since the terrorist murder of his son, Dvir, just over one year ago.

Rabbi Asher Weiss: Probably the only ultra-Orthodox scholar and halakhic decision-maker who is truly respected in the Lithuanian [i.e., non-ḥasidic ḥaredi], ḥasidic, and religious Zionist worlds simultaneously, in Israel and around the Jewish world. He also is unique in understanding the need for meaningful structural transformations in the ḥaredi world.

Read more at David M. Weinberg

More about: Haredim, Israeli society, Judaism in Israel, Yoav Sorek

Planning for the Day after the War in the Gaza Strip

At the center of much political debate in Israel during the past week, as well as, reportedly, of disagreement between Jerusalem and Washington, is the problem of how Gaza should be governed if not by Hamas. Thus far, the IDF has only held on to small parts of the Strip from which it has cleared out the terrorists. Michael Oren lays out the parameters of this debate over what he has previous called Israel’s unsolvable problem, and sets forth ten principles that any plan should adhere to. Herewith, the first five:

  1. Israel retains total security control in Gaza, including control of all borders and crossings, until Hamas is demonstrably defeated. Operations continue in Rafah and elsewhere following effective civilian evacuations. Military and diplomatic efforts to secure the hostages’ release continue unabated.
  2. Civil affairs, including health services and aid distribution, are administered by Gazans unaffiliated with Hamas. The model will be Area B of Judea and Samaria, where Israel is in charge of security and Palestinians are responsible for the civil administration.
  3. The civil administration is supervised by the Palestinian Authority once it is “revitalized.” The PA first meets benchmarks for ending corruption and establishing transparent institutions. The designation and fulfillment of the benchmarks is carried out in coordination with Israel.
  4. The United States sends a greatly expanded and improved version of the Dayton Mission that trained PA police forces in Gaza after Israel’s disengagement.
  5. Abraham Accords countries launch a major inter-Arab initiative to rebuild and modernize Gaza.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, Israeli Security, U.S.-Israel relationship