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Al Jazeera published a map of the borders which Olmert has offered Abbas. No sane person can imagine those borders to be defensible, or even viable. Such intermingling of Jewish and Arab villages would be a recipe for continuous interaction between hostile populations and perpetual terrorism.

Olmert Abbas napkin map

Turkel CommissionThe Turkel Commission predictably issued a report clearing Israel of war crimes in the Mavi Marmara incident.

The commission took pains to ‘prove’ that Israel does not employ collective punishment with Gazans. Now, it is really hard to claim that a cargo blockade is not collective punishment. Instead, Turkel employed the term ‘economic warfare,’ which is somehow different from collective punishment.

But economic warfare is warfare nonetheless. This is a major leap forward from the government’s designation of Gaza as a hostile territory. Economic hostilities, like any form of warfare, necessarily afflict the enemy’s entire population. And the only thing for Israelis to be ashamed of is that the punishment of these Hamas voters is largely ineffective.

In a letter to the Ashkenazi haredi comunity, which criticizes him bitterly for approving the highly suspect IDF conversions, Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar said the conversions are valid if they were undertaken sincerely, even if the convert later failed to observe the commandments.

Rabbi Amar’s position is a major break from the traditional position. Rabbis have always understood that sincerity of thought must be proven in deeds, and a lack of observance proves a lack of sincerity at the time of conversion. According to Rabbi Amar’s logic, no conversion can ever be annulled because there is no way of knowing the convert’s intentions—apart from his subsequent actions.

Rabbi Shlomo Amar

January 2011
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