Bintel Blog

Channeling Your Mother-in-Law at the Israeli Presidential Conference

By Nathan Jeffay

  • Print
  • Share Share

The second annual Israeli Presidential Conference has the hopeful title “tomorrow.” But some of the speakers are painting a rather bleak picture of what the future heralds.

Discussions are focusing heavily on the global economic crisis and what it means to Israel and Jews worldwide. In a panel discussion on this topic, which brought together people involved in Jewish fundraising from around the world, Mort Zuckerman, editor-in-chief of the U.S. News & World Report, who is chairing the conference, spoke of the “permanent damage” of the crisis for the financial well being of Jewish organizations.

But according to another panelist, Maurice Levy, chairman and CEO of the management board of the French multinational advertising and communications company Publicis Groupe, there is worse news. He said: “I believe that there is a real danger which is more important than the money that we have lost and the stock that has depreciated and the charities that will not have the money for social welfare.” He said that danger is antisemitic fall-out of the crisis as a result of claims that it is the fault of Jews.

There was also gloomy analysis from Mexican businessman Daniel Liwerant, former chairman of the World board of trustees of Keren Hayesod. He said that economic downturn, both regional and global, is signaling the end to Jewish life in Latin America. “The type of rich Jewish life that was developed in Latin America will come to an end and it will be over and it will be called a very small and rich period of Jewish life in this continent through a very short history.”

Counter-intuitively, the light relief from this doom came in a session entitled “Will we ever see peace in our region?” In a monologue reminiscent of a Jackie Mason skit, Munther Dajani, dean of the arts faculty and professor of political science at the Palestinian Al Quds University, suggested that the key to Israeli-Palestinian peace could be to examine the relationships people have with their mothers-in-law. “Once you have made up your mind to live with your mother-in-law, you accept her… not love her,” he said, suggesting that Israelis and Palestinians take a similar leap in their relationship.

The other Palestinian panelist Ziad Abu Zayyad, former Palestinian government minister and negotiator, also came out with something unexpected — a call for Jews to heed to rabbinic wisdom. “My advice to you — listen to the intelligent rabbis in your history and take their advice,” he said. His plea wasn’t as strange as it seems; he was calling for Jews to keep away from Temple Mount, the Arab-controlled al-Aqsa compound, which many rabbis say it is forbidden to visit and which is a hotspot for Arab-Jewish tensions and the site of recent clashes.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Israeli Presidential Conference, Mort Zuckerman, Shimon Peres

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.