Bintel Blog

Oren: Israel Is Part of God's Plan

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

A fierce attack on J Street wasn’t the only notable element of Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren’s address to the biennial convention of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism earlier in the week.

During the prepared portion of his remarks, Oren issued a surprising proclamation of a personal belief in a divine plan behind the creation of the State of Israel. He said:

A God who fixes laws throughout the physical space can also intercede through the course of human history. Perfectly logical. To believe in the God of history is to believe in the reason why a tiny remnant of [the Jewish] people, rising from the ashes of the Holocaust, returned to [Israel].

… To believe in a God who cares about history leads one to assume that there is a reason why, some 3,00 years ago, this obscure group of nomads, wandering somewhere around the Middle East, came up with these extraordinary notions of a single God, and the extraordinary notion of universal morality. And there’s a reason why that faith enabled that people to survive as a people when so many other peoples have vanished, in spite of expulsions, inquisitions, and massacres. And there’s a reason to believe why this people was given a land in which to realize its national destiny, and to understand why that people, bound by its faith, longed to return to that land, even when that people was exiled.

The remarks seemed well received by the audience. Oren, who says he grew up Conservative but now attends a Modern Orthodox synagogue, is the official representative of the Israeli government in Washington. Israel’s 1948 Declaration of Independence calls Israel the “birthplace of the Jewish people,” but does not describe the creation of the state as an act of God’s will.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Michael Oren, Israel

Dispatches From J Street: Where Are All the Israeli Officials?

By Nathan Guttman

A Tight Squeeze

It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book. When planning an event, always make sure the room is just big enough or, even better, a little too small for the number of people you are expecting. That way, the room will always be full and you can avoid any embarrassing bald spots in the crowd.

But that was not the case this morning as J Street began its inaugural national conference at a downtown Washington hotel. The rooms were way too crowded to suspect any deliberate underestimation.

Organizers were expecting a little more than thousand participants. They were even very proud of this number. But as the doors opened, the numbers grew. Three hundred walk-ins checked in during the first hours of the day and others showed up the night before. That brought the number of conference participants to 1,500. It was a huge success for J Street, and a big problem for those who actually tried to make it into the breakout sessions that were packed way beyond capacity.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Michael Oren, Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street, AIPAC, Gait Baram




Find us on Facebook!
  • "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.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • 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.