It's not every day that a group of Muslim clerics from Arab countries goes to a Conservative rabbinical school to study Torah.What was the excuse before Sharon? What a copout. Keep reading, there's more.
But on Tuesday, the imams went to shul.
They were joined by several priests, academics and government officials from Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia as part of an interfaith trip to New York organized by the Institute for Middle East Peace and Development. They met Tuesday morning with rabbis from the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Conservative movement's rabbinical school, and later visited the Drisha Institute, a women's educational center for Jewish studies, where they participated in a study program led by an Orthodox rabbi.
"This is the first time I met any religious Jews," said Ali Abed Alamad, an assistant to the chief justice of Jordan's Supreme Court, who came with his boss on what was his first trip to the UA.
Outside the carefully orchestrated sessions with JTS officials and Orthodox rabbis and students at Drisha, many of the Arab visitors laid the blame for extremism and the lack of peace in the Middle East on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
"Basically, the policy of Sharon is the most enemy of the Jews and us," said Hamid bin Ahmed al-Rifaie, a Saudi scientist and assistant secretary-general of the World Muslim Congress.
In a statement to the Saudi Newspaper "Okaz" published Thursday, Mousa said that resisting the Israeli occupation is not considered as terrorism, pointing out that mixing between resistance and terrorism weakened credibility of war on terrorism.
Can a group number as many as 70 million individuals fly under the radar? Outside of the context of politics, Christian evangelicals are virtually invisible in American culture, except to be laughed at or feared.
Some of the same people who are most fearful of the Christian right are also quick to dismiss the support that many of them demonstrate for Israel. They tend to put it down to millenarian beliefs based in a fundamentalist worldview that values Jews only to the extent that they help bring on an end-of-days Messianic return of Jesus.
We are now mired in a religious war in Iraq, and elsewhere. Our enemies, as witnessed by their astonishing willingness to slaughter themselves, are not principally motivated by political or economic grievances. Anyone who imagines that terrestrial concerns account for terrorism by Muslims must explain why there are no Palestinian Christian suicide bombers. They, too, suffer the ordeal of the Israeli occupation. Where are the Tibetan Buddhist suicide bombers for that matter? The Tibetans have suffered an occupation far more brutal than any we or the Israelis have imposed on the Muslim world. The truth that we must finally confront is that Islam contains specific doctrines about martyrdom and jihad that directly inspire Muslim terrorism.'Mired in a religious war'
It is a splendid opportunity to recall the history both peoples share, a history comprised of light and dark moments. A cursory glance suffices to discover that the roots of our relationship reach the deepest levels of Spanish culture: Cervantes himself may have been, as historian Americo Castro theorizes, of Jewish origin.They're deep and ancient, all right. But not too pleasant for the Jewish people.
The legacy of Spanish Jewry - which forms the foundation of our bilateral relations - has left a deep and lasting imprint on my country. It is based on the renowned intellectuals who graced Spain's golden period, first and foremost the philosopher and doctor born in 12th-century Cordoba: Maimonides. I recently had the honor of marking the eighth centenary of his death at the opening of the International Rabbinical Congress.
That legacy exists not only in history books; its trail may be picked up while walking through the streets of Madrid, Grenada, Toledo and Barcelona.
It would therefore not be far-fetched to say that on January 17, 1986, when the prime minister of Israel, Shimon Peres, and the prime minister of Spain, Felipe Gonzalez, announced the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, they were doing nothing more than instituting a framework for the relations already established by history.
The occasion was undoubtedly well overdue, but only in the 1980s, when both countries were already vibrant democracies, did it become possible, as Gonzalez declared in the formal agreement signed, "to preserve the deep, ancient ties that unite the Spanish and Jewish peoples."
Iran is working on long-range missiles capable of hitting European capitals, as well as nuclear and chemical warheads, an exile group said on Thursday.Exiles: Iran Making Missiles That Could Hit Europe
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which has in the past given accurate information on some of Iran's nuclear facilities, said Tehran was working on missiles with a range of 1,600 to 1,900 miles, capable of hitting cities such as Berlin.
Iran denies any intention of making long-range ballistic missiles and says its existing medium-range missiles are purely for deterrence.
The NCRI told reporters Iran was carrying out research, testing and making the Ghadr 101 and Ghadr 110 missiles, comparable to advanced Scud E missiles, at the Hemmat Missile Industries Complex.
An Iranian man, prepares his daughter, who is a member of a suicide commandos unit, by covering her face in the same style of Palestinian and Lebanese militants, during a ceremony where the first suicide commandos unit was inaugurated at the Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery just outside Tehran, Iran, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2004. Some 200 masked young men and women gathered at the cemetery Thursday to pledge their willingness to carry out suicide bomb attacks against Americans in Iraq and Israelis. The ceremony was organized by the Headquarters for Commemorating Martyrs of the Global Islamic Movement, a shadowy group that has since June been seeking volunteers for attacks in Iraq and Israel.Suicide Commandos Unit
Russia and India are concerned about the "pashtunisation" of Afghanistan, Russian Minister of Defence Sergei Ivanov told journalists in New Delhi during his official visit to the Indian capital.It's so aggregating to read mangled English!
"This is a straight way to war," the minister said.
The official specified that the Russian and Indian sides met Wednesday to discuss the issue of international terrorism, particularly the situation in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"We are almost unanimous on this matter. We can see that so-called moderate Talibs and extremist Talibs are safe and sound and even claiming membership in the country's administration," the minister pointed out.
"There are no "moderate" Talibs, there are either living or dead Talibs," he aggregated.
At a summit between Egyptian President Mubarak and Syrian President Asad on 30 November, Cairo backed an offer by Damascus to resume peace talks with Israel and promised to encourage Tel Aviv to accept.Great, I'm glad Israel refused this "offer to negotiate". I think all Syria wants is a "peace process", because those tend to come with international legitimacy, billions of dollars of aid per year from the US and EU, no real concessions or consequences for bad behavior, and plenty of restraint imposed on the Jewish state. Who wouldn't want that? Meantime, what the heck is up with Israel's NSC chief? Is he smoking crack? A terror state's withdrawal from its failed-state vassal is bad for Israeli security? Since when? Maybe when Syria withdraws the situation in Lebanon can start improving, but not until then. Sharon gave his NSC chief's attempt to influence policy by leaking to the media a very chilly reception. As he should have.
The two presidents were discussing ways to initiate talks between Syria and Israel after talks broke down four years ago over rights to the strategic Golan Heights, which was annexed by Israel after the 1967 war. Egyptian presidential spokesman Maged Abdel Fattah said his country would press Syria's case, when Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit travels to meet his Israeli counterpart Silvan Shalom on 1 December. "The Egyptian delegation will ask Israel to respond without prior conditions to the Syrian offer to resume negotiations," Fattah said. "Egypt supports the Syrian initiative, and if there is anything it can do in this respect, it will do it." The Egyptian trip, which will focus on Israel's planned withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank, was originally scheduled for the previous week (MEED 18:11:04). Cairo postponed the visit in protest after three Egyptian policemen were killed by Israeli troops.
News of Asad's offer came last week from UN Middle East envoy Terje Roed- Larsen, who said the Syrian president had told him he was ready to reopen negotiations "without conditions". Roed-Larsen on 30 November urged Israel to accept Damascus' offer. Larson told those skeptical of Asad's offer, who have dismissed it as a move merely trying to avoid international pressure on Damascus, that they had nothing to lose. Israel rejected Asad's offer to negotiate, while a Syrian official denied [Ed: Funny thing about that denial, they made him take it back. Chortle.] that Asad's meeting with Mubarak was linked to any mediation effort.
"I once was told about a girl from Ramat HaSharon who was dating an Arab boy and considering marriage," says Shtigletz. "Her family had tried to convince her to break it off, but nothing would work. I went to visit her, we spoke, but she seemed distant. Suddenly G-d sent me the idea that I should call an Arab woman to prove my point…
"I asked the Jewish girl where her boyfriend was from, and she said Taibe. I opened the Taibe phonebook and called a number at random… A woman answered. I told her that I was Jewish and that I wanted to ask her a few questions. She agreed. I asked her how old she was and she answered 25. I asked her how many kids she had, she said six… I told her, 'I have my sister on the other line. She is listening to us. She is thinking of marrying her Arab boyfriend. Tell me: should she do this?'
"The woman said, 'Do not let her make this mistake. No way!'"
Shtigletz asked her why she so strongly opposed the match, and the woman responded with a question: "'What, she would like to be beaten?'"
Playing the devil's advocate, Shtigletz replied, "Are there no decent Arabs?" She said no.
"'All Arabs hit! All Arabs hit! They don’t always call what they are doing beating their wives. They say they are just giving us a spanking. But what is a spanking for? Because the coffee wasn't hot enough, or I didn't put in enough sugar, or his friend made him angry - this or that, it's all worth a spanking.'"