Korach: Challenger of the Status Quo?

Peace_Parsha_LogoBarbara Green has been a volunteer for Americans for Peace Now for many years. She lives in Washington, DC.


Korach gathers 250 ‘princes of the assembly’ and confronts Moses and Aaron: “You take too much upon you…seeing that each of us is holy.”   Moses, abject, tells his challengers to bring offerings to the sanctuary the next day so that God can determine who is holy.   God’s punishment is swift and violent.   He immediately kills Korach and his followers; the 14,700 souls who stood with them are swallowed by an earthquake.   Imagine a 13-year-old having to deconstruct this parsha for his/her bar or bat mitzvah!

            What are we modern readers to make of this tale and what relevance does it have for us today?  The answer is that it depends on the way one views Korach.   Was he a jealous competitor, miffed because Moses passed over him, a first-born son who lost the priestly leadership to Aaron, the younger son of his uncle?   Or was his a legitimate challenge to Moses’ perceived failures of leadership?    Was he rebelling against God who made the choice? Did Korach posit a more democratic form of leadership? If everyone is holy, each person can decide for himself how to act.  No supreme leader is needed.

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News Nosh 07.01.16

APN's daily news review from Israel
Friday July 01, 2016
Quotes of the day:
"I am standing here, in my hurting heart, and I turn to you, Muslim Arab mother, who sent her son to stab. I educated my daughter to love, and you...Muslim Arabs educated to hate."
--Rina Ariel, mother of Hillel Yafe, 13, who was stabbed to death yesterday morning by Mohammed Tarayreh, 17.

"When I heard someone had gotten into Kiryat Arba and committed a terror attack there, I didn't even think it could be my son."
--Mother of Mohammed Tarayreh, the teen who stabbed to death a 13-year-old Israeli girl in her home in Kirya Arba settlement.

"The moment I heard the shouts I understood something irregular was happening. I ran in the direction of the crowd and saw the terrorist with a knife. I strove to reach him and began wrestling with him."
--Farhan Malek, the Muslim Arab-Israeli Netanya Municipality employee who was the only one to physically fight Wael Abu-Saleh, the Palestinian who stabbed two Israelis yesterday evening in Netanya.

Breaking News:
Initial Report: Attempted Stabbing Attack in Hebron; Assailant Shot and Killed
Palestinian woman reportedly drew out knife at a security checkpoint; no Israeli Military Police officers present wounded. (Haaretz, Maan, Ynet and JPost)
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APN Legislative Round-Up: June 18 - July 1, 2016

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Americans for Peace Now (APN) joins its sister organization, Israel's Peace Now movement, in strongly condemning the recent deadly terrorist attacks against Israelis in the West Bank and in pointing out that ultimately, the only way to end such violence is ending the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip by achieving a two-state solution.

This imperative was further underscored in today's report by the international Middle East Quartet, the body that brings together the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace.

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Israeli and Palestinian NSL fellows visit APN

It’s been eight years since APN first partnered with New Story Leadership (NSL), a program that brings Israeli and Palestinian fellows to Washington for six weeks of leadership-skills development. The program includes an internship with a Washington-based nonprofit or a congressional office and intense dialogue to foster a better understanding of the other side to the conflict. For most fellows, this is the first chance they have to engage in intense conversations with young people from the other side of the Israeli-Palestinian divide, to listen, reach out, forge relationship and often make friends. The program has given birth to several Israeli-Palestinian nonprofit partnerships.

Each summer in the past eight years, APN has hosted a couple of NSL fellows – an Israeli and a Palestinian – sometimes in partnership with the American Task Force on Palestine. And each year, we host the group for an introductory meeting to tell the fellows about APN and Peace Now. On Friday, July 1, we got together at our office with the NSL fellows and staff for what was supposed to be a short introductory meeting, and turned into a fascinating two-hour discussion about efforts for Israeli-Palestinian peace and prospects for a two-state solution.

NSL group 1-2016-600x245

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News Nosh 07.03.16

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday July 3, 2016
Quote of the day:
“Last time I checked, Zuckerberg was not elected prime minister of Israel and is not a member of our security cabinet, so he will not stop the terrorism.”
--Zionist Union MK Erel Margalit responded to Minister Gilad Erdan, who blamed Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for the killing of two Israelis in the West Bank.**
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News Nosh 07.04.16

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday July 04, 2016
Quote of the day:
 “I am a doctor and I did a human duty regardless of the color or nationality of those who needed medical treatment…I jeopardized my life and my family’s life, but all I was concerned with was offering help.”
--Dr. Ali Shroukh, a Palestinian doctor, who pulled over and treated the wounded Israeli family that was shot by a Palestinian gunman in the West Bank.

Breaking News:
IDF attacks two Syrian army targets on northern border in response to cross-border fire (Ynet and Haaretz)
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Amir Tibon in Politico: Netanyahu vs. the Generals

Israel’s prime minister is fighting hard to weaken the most important moderate force in his country. Which is why he’s going to be a big problem for the next U.S. president.

Ehud Barak hadn’t given a speech in months, and speculation was rife about what he was going to say when he took the stage at a prestigious policy conference in Herzliya, an affluent suburb of Tel Aviv, two weeks ago. Barak was one of Israel’s leading political figures for two decades, having served as the country's prime minister in the late 1990s and later as defense minister under Benjamin Netanyahu from 2009 to 2012. Was he about to announce a political comeback?

It turned out that Barak, a former special ops commando officer, had one last mission in mind: To take out his former boss and partner.

In his speech, Barak accused Netanyahu of cowardice, opportunism and fear-mongering. He warned that Israel's current government, arguably the most right wing in its history, was showing “signs of fascism,” and that if Netanyahu wasn’t stopped, Israel was on course to become an apartheid state. “The entire Zionist project is in grave danger,” he proclaimed. And the main source of that danger wasn't Israel’s external enemies, but rather its own democratically elected leader.

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Peace Now Settlement Watch: Settlement Construction Is Not The Answer to Terrorism

From Peace Now's (Israel) Settlement Watch:

Following the deadly attacks against Israelis last week, it has been reported that the government is advancing plans for 800 housing units in Maale Adumim and in East Jerusalem. It is not clear at this point exactly which plans are being promoted and the promotion of 560 housing units in Ma'ale Adumim, for instance, seems to be made up of several smaller plans. In addition, it has been reported that the government will open a tender for 42 housing units in Kiryat Arba. For more information on this tender and the Kiryat Arba population see below.

Peace Now: Settlement construction is endangering both the possibility for peace and two states and the security of Israeli citizens. New housing units in the settlements will not prevent the next victims but rather strengthen the extremists on both sides. The real answer to terror is ending the occupation and reaching a negotiated agreement. Meanwhile, Israeli citizens will continue to pay the price of the extreme right wing government's policies. 

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News Nosh 07.05.16

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday July 05, 2016
Quote of the day:
"The world has a goal of establishing Palestinian contiguity from Bethlehem...What we want, though, is exactly the opposite: We want to establish contiguity from Talpiot to Gilo in order to keep Jerusalem united."
--Education Minister Naftali Bennett slams the extraordinary approval by the Prime Minister to build homes for Arabs in the strategic location of 'Givat Hamatos,' which would allow Arab contiguity from Bethlehem to southern Arab neighborhoods that are over the Green Line.**
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