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!
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • 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.