Religious Zionism, Women, and the Hamas Kidnapping

Rachelle Fraenkel, whose son Naftali was murdered by Hamas this past summer, has become a living symbol of Israel’s collective feelings during the recent war. In her professional life, she also exemplifies a major transformation within Israel’s religious Zionist community: the unprecedented number of women engaged in traditional Jewish study, especially of the Talmud. Perhaps, writes Beth Kissileff, there is a connection between Fraenkel’s vocation and her newfound role in Israel’s public sphere:

[Fraenkel] brought everything she learned as a scholar and teacher to her unwanted role as a personification of, and spokesperson for, Israeli grief and national unity. This was particularly apparent during her speech to the United Nations in Geneva, which she infused with spiritual and theological meaning, emphasizing her deep understanding of what it means to wait for salvation. She consistently expressed her thanks to those praying around the world for her son’s safe return. . . . The “wisdom and encouragement” Fraenkel exhibited on the public stage was no accident, but something Fraenkel has practiced and taught over many years.

Read more at Tower

More about: Israel, Protective Edge, Religious Zionism, Torah study, Women in Judaism

Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University