Updated: Friday, December 26, 2003.

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 Thursday, November 13, 2003
Yossi Klein HaLevi Watch: Israeli Journalist: Arafat Doesn't Want Peace (Harvard Crimson)
Halevi said that he was told in private conversation by ousted Palestinian General Nasser Yousef that Yousef legitimately wanted to crack down on Islamist terrorist groups and knew where they were located, but was prevented from taking action by Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat.

Halevi said that from his talks with Palestinians he has determined that “almost all Palestinians conceive of peace, if at all, as a long cease-fire and not as a recognition of the other side’s legitimacy.”

According to Halevi, even Yousef told him he thinks that the resolution of the conflict will be a one-state solution, with Jews, Christians and Muslims living together in an Arab state—rather than a solution in which Israel is recognized as a sovereign state.


 Thursday, June 26, 2003

Culture War
by Yossi Klein Halevi, 

The New Republic -- Post date 06.24.03 | Issue date 06.30.03

When night descends on this hilltop settlement on the edge of the Judean Desert, the stillness is so complete that the loudest sounds seem to come from the chimes outside several houses. The isolation brings danger: Five Israelis have been murdered in terrorist ambushes nearby in the last two years, and some residents traveling the lonely roads at night wear helmets and bulletproof vests. And, now, Tekoa's remoteness could be its undoing. According to a recent report in Ha'aretz, Tekoa is one of 17 isolated settlements Ariel Sharon plans to uproot to accommodate an interim Palestinian state. ...

[subscribers only, alas]...


 Wednesday, June 11, 2003
At Auschwitz, with Arabs and Jews: Pilgrims' Progress (Yossi Klein Halevi in The New Republic)
"We gather for the Israeli custom of reciting the names of victims. This time, though, Arabs read the names. While much of the Arab world promotes Holocaust denial, here Arabs are affirming the legitimacy of our story. Whatever disagreements await our return to Israel, I know that, for my Arab partners, the notion of Jews being murdered for being Jews has become unbearable. Listening to the Yiddish names recited in Arabic accents, I sense a new language being born."


 Thursday, May 29, 2003
The Haredi problem: A good man, but not for Jerusalem (Yossi Klein Halevi)
"For Jerusalem to maintain its tenuous status as a unifying symbol of the Jewish people, its mayor must think in national, rather than sectoral, terms. And with two recent decisions, Lupoliansky has proven that even a relatively tolerant Haredi politician cannot be entrusted with this city's future.

"...Lupoliansky may personally want to honor Independence Day; he may even be willing to meet with Reform leaders. But given the fact that he lives in a Haredi world dominated by fear - fear of the rabbi, fear of one's neighbor, fear for one's children's chances of getting a decent match if the parents are perceived as religiously unreliable - his commitment must ultimately be communal, not national."


 Thursday, May 15, 2003
The Meaning of Painful Concessions (Yossi Klein Halevi)
"The logic of partition is based on the fact that two peoples claim the same territory. But if one people stakes its emotional claim to the entire land, as the Palestinians continue to do, while the rival people confines its claim to only part of the contested land, then the moral basis for partition is compromised.

Precisely those who support partition should be vigorously reminding the world of the Jewish claim to Judea and Samaria and the trauma we will be imposing on ourselves by forfeiting that claim. Otherwise, we risk a repetition of what happened after the Camp David negotiations in July 2000, when much of the international community dismissed Israel's willingness to withdraw as inconsequential.

If political and demographic conditions make withdrawal necessary, that doesn't lessen the legitimacy of our connection to Hebron and Bethlehem, just as the Palestinians never forget their links to Jaffa and Haifa. The settlers were right to stake our claim - just as the peace camp was right to insist on justice and reconciliation as the highest national priorities. Both the settlement movement and the peace movement were legitimate, indeed essential, expressions of Jewish history. The fact that neither could fulfill its vision doesn't detract from the nobility of the effort.

In voluntarily severing ourselves from our historic heartland, we will be doing what no nation has ever done to itself.

That hurban gives us the right to demand of the Palestinians and the Arab world an equivalent hurban of their deepest claims and grievances, especially the "right of return" to pre-1967 Israel.

Failure to convey the full extent of the price we will pay for withdrawal will result in the world continuing to indulge Palestinian intransigence, while taking for granted our self-inflicted mutilation."


 Tuesday, January 28, 2003
Book of the Decade? Sharing the Silence of the Nuns (Yair Sheleg in Ha'aretz)
Journalist Yossi Klein Halevi's multi-faith odyssey, documented in his book "At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden," which is soon to be published in Hebrew, took him to a meeting with Sufi Egyptian Sheikh Ishak Sakouta in Gaza during the recent month of Ramadan. He met another sheikh who tried to persuade him to convert to Islam, celebrated Easter with Armenian Christians in Jerusalem, and on Saturdays, he visited a group of nuns who had taken a vow of silence.

Klein Halevi, 50, says that he came to these meetings not only as a journalist or a writer documenting various experiences for his next book, but first and foremost as a person who describes himself as a "devout Jew" (he wears a skullcap as "a symbol of the importance of the worship of God in my life," but he does not regard himself as Orthodox).

"I decided to turn myself in to a `guinea pig,' and instead of trying the traditional method of arguing our beliefs, I wanted to experience a joint worship of God [with other religions]," says Halevi.

"I came to these experiences as myself, wearing a kippa and with tefillin [phylacteries] in my bag - that was the central theme in this odyssey: a journey of a devout Jew to the two religions with which we have had a difficult history. Now in the Land of Israel under Jewish sovereignty, I am looking for a different basis for neighborhood," he explains.

Yudel's Line: I just finished the book yesterday. It's a tremendously  important book; a first-person yet profoundly humble exploration of creating a new vision of religion and spirituality that is deeply traditional yet aims to unify, not divide.


 Sunday, November 03, 2002
Yudel's Line: Why is New York's Jewish Community Relation Council Task Force on Missionaries and Cults reprinting this typically nasy op-ed by Jonathan Rosenblum which, inter alia, attacks Yossi Klein Halevy?

Someone should remind Michael Miller that the reason Jews join cults is because the powers-that-were, who Rosenblum and his ilk continue to revere, made Judaism immensely unappealing to our Old Country grandparents.


 Monday, September 09, 2002
Introspection as a Prerequisite for Peace (Yossi Klein Halevy in the NYTimes)
On this Rosh Hashana, a time of self-examination, I confess that my capacity as an Israeli for self-criticism has been exhausted.....

Peace will come only through mutual introspection and atonement. Many Israelis went far in trying to understand Palestinian claims and grievances. To resume that necessary process among Israelis now requires a self-critical moral dialogue among Palestinians.

Permanent Link


 Tuesday, April 30, 2002
The Day After: How Israel Will Learn from Its Mistakes (Yossi Klein Halevi in The Jewish Week)

On the day after the war, each camp will acknowledge the partial truths of its rivals. Gush Emunim and Peace Now will realize that both movements were legitimate, even inevitable expressions of Jewish history — that there needed to be one group that would try to restore the biblical heartland to Israel, and another group that would insist on peace and justice as its only priority. That had we not produced both movements, there would have been something deeply deficient in the Jewish soul.

On the day after the war, we will make room in ourselves for all our contradictory voices, acknowledge that the roots of Israeli vitality are bound with paradox and that we must remain at once east and west, a holy land and a secular democracy, a Jewish state and a state of all its citizens. And that attempts to decisively resolve our paradoxes will only alienate essential constituencies within the people of Israel and lead to our disintegration.


 Sunday, April 28, 2002
Palestine is Jordan: Israel should enlist Jordan in the cause (Yossi Klein Halevi in the Washington Post)


 Tuesday, March 12, 2002

Catching up with Yossi Klein Halevi

Prisoner of War (The New Republic, 03.07.02)

"The humiliations experienced by the army in the last three weeks--from the destruction of a Merkava tank in Gaza to the killing of seven soldiers and three civilians by a lone sniper with an antiquated rifle--recall the setbacks endured by the nascent Israeli army in the early 1950s. Then, a young officer named Arik Sharon emerged to head the anti-terrorist commando unit that became the army's model of initiative and daring. Now, though, the elderly leader of a military power is forced to concede the limits of force.

"One possible danger of Sharon's lack of clear direction is that lunatics on the right will be tempted to emulate Dr. Baruch Goldstein, the settler who in 1994 murdered 29 Muslims during prayer in Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs. Indeed, the bombing of an Arab school in East Jerusalem--in apparent retaliation for the recent terrorist attack against ultra-Orthodox Jews--could be an indication of worse to come. And a Jewish atrocity against Palestinians would almost certainly summon international pressure against Israel--perhaps even the insertion of foreign "observers" into the territories, fulfilling Arafat's fantasy of transforming Israel into Serbia in international perception.

"It wasn't supposed to happen this way. During last year's election, Sharon promised peace and security. ("I feel secure with Sharon's peace," went the slogan.)

"It wasn't demagoguery: Sharon was prepared to be the Israeli prime minister on whose watch a sovereign Palestine emerged, and to concede that his long campaign to prevent a PLO state had failed. A Palestinian state, he argued, already existed in all but name; his mission would be to minimize the dangers of its inevitable birth. He called for a Palestinian state on the territories the P.A. already controlled, followed by a lengthy testing period, after which final borders would be negotiated. And while Sharon was offering substantially less than Ehud Barak had already put on the table, he thought the Palestinians might be tempted to accept the deal because he was demanding less in return--not an end to the conflict but merely a prolonged cease-fire.

"But Sharon badly misread the Palestinians. According to recently released documents seized by the Israeli army from Orient House, the P.A.'s former headquarters in Jerusalem, the Palestinian leadership decided one year ago to bring down Sharon by intensifying terror attacks that would convince the Israeli public he was a failure. Arafat had already destroyed the political careers of two previous prime ministers, Peres and Barak. Now it's Sharon's turn."

A Nation Ready to Compromise Must Be Ready to Fight (LA Times, March 8)

"This isn't a war for settlements but for the inviolate principle that the Middle East dispute can be resolved only through negotiations, not suicide bombings.

"Withdrawal under fire will only draw greater fire. In the post-Sept. 11 world, there should be no place for indulging terrorism, even when it speaks the beguiling language of national liberation.

"It is precisely those of us who believe in reconciliation with the Palestinians and who are prepared to make the necessary concessions for real peace who must resist the temptation to surrender to blackmail. A nation ready to compromise must also be ready to fight. Otherwise, the longing for peace becomes appeasement of terror. "



© Copyright 2003 Larry Yudelson.

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