There is a long way which is short and a short way which is long.

Seidemann Collage

Why did the Jews wander in the desert for 40 years before reaching their homeland? The Talmud teaches, “There is a long way which is short and a short way which is long.” What does that mean? Sometimes one sees what seems to be a better way — “the short way” — but it turns out to that, in reality, the way which seems easier is wrong. The shortcut taken ends up forcing one to go back and do what seemed at the outset to be harder, but was, in truth, the only legitimate way. It was from that seemingly tortuous, lengthy, journey that the Israelites learned to leave behind their slave mentality and do what was right, rather than what was easy or tempting. The Israelites’ journey turned out to be one in which there were important lessons to be learned.A Long Road

If 40 years in the desert was to teach us a lesson, what are the lessons we’re to learn from 50 years of occupation (10 years longer than the Jews wandered in the desert!)?

The lesson certainly can’t be that occupation brings security for Israel. Israel’s security establishment overwhelmingly believes that without bold political leadership, the occupation will lead to Israel’s destruction. Those tasked with Israel’s security — Mossad, Shin Bet, and officers in the IDF — overwhelmingly believe that occupation does not bring security, but does just the opposite.

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Haggadah Insert: The Four Children


Each year at the Seder, Jews read this line in the Passover Haggadah, "In every generation, a person is obligated to see themselves as if they had left Egypt." This concept reminds us that each year we must approach the haggada with a fresh eye. It demands that we not merely read the words, but understand them afresh. We must both have empathy for what our forefathers and mothers have suffered, and – more importantly – be aware that change is possible, that we are masters of our fate, and that with determination and courage we can accomplish liberation. In our generation, liberating Israelis and Palestinians from the yoke of the occupation, which is subjugating both societies, is imperative. And it is within our reach.

This year, you can add flavor to your seder by sharing this thoughtful reflection by Rabbi Marisa Elana James. Rabbi James has graciously contributed our 17th haggadah insert. In it, she asks us to reflect upon what questions we want to ask this year, and how we want to make sure that we're not just getting stuck in what we think we already know.

Since 2001, Americans for Peace Now has asked rabbis from the extended APN family to contribute reflections on the haggada: that story which has for centuries been understood as the archetype of liberation. Many of us have made these reflections a permanent part of our seder - we hope you will, too.You can find them here.

May we all enjoy a sweet and liberating Passover,

Debra DeLee
President and CEO,
Americans for Peace Now


Submitted by Rabbi Marisa Elana James (2017)
To be read after the four children.

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There will be no "restraint"


It's been a good couple weeks for supporters of West Bank settlements. On March 22, it was reported that new construction in settlements had risen by 40% in 2016. The next day, the U.S. Senate confirmed David Friedman – a staunch supporter of settlements – as U.S. ambassador to Israel.

It didn't end there.

On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that a new settlement would be established – in the heart of the West Bank – for evacuees from the illegal settlement outpost of Amona. In effect, Netanyahu rewarded them for breaking Israeli law, which outlaws these outposts, by breaking international law under which all settlements are illegal.

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Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

This week, Alpher discusses the settlement construction restrictions that Netanyahu just imposed upon his government in deference to the Trump peace effort; the lack of substance in the self-imposed restrictions; whether Netanyahu is pulling the wool over Trump’s and Greenblatt’s eyes; the likelihood that Trump and Greenblatt will soon put a peace proposal on the table; and changing US military and diplomatic behavior in the Arab world.

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News Nosh 4.3.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday, April 3, 2017
You Must Be Kidding: 
"In his campaign, President Trump didn't support a Palestinian state, he didn't support this entire outdated line [of policy] that for so many years has brought us only misery.... We're heading down the same old path of arguing about how much to build, what to build, where to build, when the issue now should be applying Israeli sovereignty and security [to Judea and Samaria]."
- Naftali Bennet, Education Minister and head of Habayit Hayehudi
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News Nosh 4.2.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday April 2, 2017
Quote of the day:
"His opposition to any criticism of the occupation is so fierce that he’d rather go bankrupt (not a trivial matter, considering that his is a family business that’s been around since 1955) than donate to an organization that works to end the occupation."
--Haaretz+ commentator Rogel Alpher calls on Israelis to boycott the popular chocolate spread owned by Moshe Weidberg, because he "espouses an ideology that makes him an enemy of democracy and a supporter of a benighted ultra-nationalistic regime that squelches any criticism."**
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News Nosh 4.4.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Quote of the day:
“The key danger in this documentary series isn’t a political or “anti-Zionist” message. It is the troublesome realization that even the most despicable murderers are human beings. Versus the “animals” that we read about in the papers, in Megiddo Prison we see rational people with families, ideas, ideology. These are people who would murder innocents for their faith. They are detestable, violent, sly, frustrated, angry and yes, they suffer, too.”
--Yonatan Englender writes what scares right-wing Culture Minister Miri Regev about the new TV program, ‘Megiddo,’ which portrays the lives of Palestinian security prisoners and Israeli prison wardens inside an Israeli prison.*

You Must Be Kidding: 
22.5% of the Jews think left-wing Israelis are dangerous.**
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News Nosh 4.5.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday April 5, 2017
Quote of the day:
“The paradox is that an unruly president for whom liberal values are far and away and for whom racism is not a dirty word might become the hope of the Israeli left because he has managed to scare the right. And perhaps there is no paradox here at all, but rather a realistic approach borne of the Israeli strategy that always held that the Arabs only understand strength. Now maybe the Jews will understand what strength is as well.”
--Haaretz journalist Zvi Bar’el writes that Israel is getting a bit of its own medicine from US President Donald Trump.*
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Ori at CNUside-350x371APN’s director of communications and public engagement, Ori Nir, spoke at Virginia’s Christopher Newport University On March 30. He delivered the annual Borgenicht Fellowship Prize Lecture, sponsored by CNU’s Reiff Center for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution. His talk focused on shifting attitudes toward Israeli-Palestinian peace among the Israeli and Palestinian publics.

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News Nosh 4.6.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday April 6, 2017
You Must Be Kidding of the day:
"It makes me nervous. It's hard for me to believe that such a terrible person in this world could exist who would use a picture of someone who hasn't done anything and would spread it around - and everyone will share it because they think it's their responsibility, without even checking if it's true."
--Ziyad Abu Al-Hawa, 29, a Palestinian from E. Jerusalem who lives and works in Tel-Aviv, said after he discovered a photo of him in a fake Shin Bet wanted message that said he was a terrorist was shared and seen by thousands.**

Breaking News:
One Israeli soldier Killed in West Bank Car Attack; Palestinian Assailant Arrested
Second Israeli lightly wounded after Palestinian ploughed into two group of soldiers at junction outside of Ofra settlement. (Haaretz and Ynet)

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • The world does as it wills – While the media was horrified by the massacre of children in the chemical attack in Syria, the international community is having difficulty acting as long as Moscow supports Assad
  • To depend on ourselves // Shmuel Rosner
  • He discovered the world // Shlomo Shamir 
  • The collapse of the taboo // Dr. Ofer Yisraeli
  • You filed a complaint to the Police Investigations Unit against a Policeman? Don’t be surprised if the file is closed – Only 10% of complaints filed against policemen for violence against civilians led to an investigation under warning
  • The compromise that will soften the blow of the dismissals at the (yet-to-be-launched Israel Public Broadcasting) Corporation
Israel Hayom
  • The horror in Syria: Condemnations were made, but no action – Trump: “The chemical massacre – an affront to all humanity”
  • “The left-wingers understood that I don’t get scared” – Culture Minister Miri Regev in special interview
  • The likely compromise: Employees of ‘Kan’ news to be accepted into (Israel Public Broadcasting) Corporation
  • Trump dismissed advisor Bannon from the National Security Council  
News Summary:
The chemical attack in Syria, believed to be by the Assad regime, continued to be the main story in today’s Hebrew papers, alongside the State Comptroller report that revealed that most complaints filed to the police over police violence were closed without an investigation and meanwhile, politicians continued to search for a new compromise over the closure of the news department of the yet-to-be launched Israel Broadcasting Corporation.
Defense minister Avigdor Lieberman told Yedioth he was '100% certain' that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gave the order for the shocking massacre in Syria's Idlib and an Israeli expert on biological and chemical weapons agreed, while, Joint List chairman, Arab MK Aman Odeh, was slammed by Jewish MKs for saying, "My heart aches for the children murdered in Syria in the same way that it feels shame for the children murdered in Yemen and in Gaza too.” And Maariv reported that wounded Syrians treated in Israel said they “cannot understand why everyone is silent.”
Quick Hits:
  • Israeli minister presented Trump envoy Greenblatt with plan to build Gaza island port - According to Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz, Greenblatt expressed willingness to persuade Trump to promote the plan. Katz believes the plan could help stabilize the humanitarian situation in Gaza and prevent another war. (Haaretz+) 
  • Trump: "Working very hard to bring peace between Israel and the Palestinians" - With the King of Jordan at his side, the President of the United States said that the two discussed a political agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. "I think it could work," he said. (Maariv)
  • Palestinian, 23, shot and seriously wounded during Israeli raid on West Bank refugee camp - Akram Alatesh, 23, was hit by three bullets and taken for treatment to Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem. (Haaretz
  • Palestinian assaulted by officers recounts the attack - After two Border Police officers were indicted for assault on Tuesday, the Palestinian victim who was mistaken by them as a terrorist recounts the ordeal in an interview with Ynet, shedding light on the day when he almost lost his life. (Ynet)
  • 42 days in prison for soldiers who beat a Palestinian detainee - Three soldiers were sentenced to prison after beating a Palestinian detainee who was cuffed and blindfolded; the three, who were also filmed beating the Palestinian during the arrest in Hebron about six months ago, 'made a misjudgment regarding the extent of the force required.' (Ynet+VIDEO)
  • Report: Police Commissioner Alsheich is furious at the Police Unit that investigates (PID) complaints about police because of its reports that the incident in Umm al-Hiran was not terrorism - An report by Raviv Drucker on Channel 10 News stated that a discussion between the police commissioner and senior officers of the PID deteriorated. Alsheikh wants the authority to determine whether an attack would be defined as terror or not. (Maariv)
  • Israel passes law meant to crack down on illegal building in Arab communities - In fractious special session, Netanyahu lauds measure and an Arab opposition lawmaker is removed from Knesset. (Haaretz+ and JPost
  • **Palestinian resident of Tel Aviv shocked to discover: "They say I'm a terrorist" - Ziyad Abu al-Hawa, a young Palestinian from E. Jerusalem who lives in Tel Aviv, discovered that false messages were distributed with his picture claiming that he was a terrorist and that the Shin Bet security service was trying to arrest him. Abu Al-Hawa is known for being a promoter of co-existence and of gay rights. The group in which the announcement was made against Abu Al-Hawa was first created in the Telegram instant messaging application, which has thousands of users. The person who administrated the group called on its members to send him anti-Arab messages, and he would publish them in his name. (Yedioth, p. 8 and Mako)
  • Israeli Labor Postpones Leadership Vote Because of Britney Spears - The Labor party was set to hold its primary on July 3, but Britney Spears' Tel Aviv concert took precedence. (Haaretz and Ynet
  • Israel Proposes Freight Rail Link to Jordan, Saudi Arabia From Haifa - Transportation Minister Katz declines to say whether Arab states have agreed to plan (Agencies, Haaretz and Yedioth/Ynet
  • Israel to Commemorate Six Day War in Event at West Bank Settlement of Gush Etzion - Education chief and culture minister say 'liberation of the West Bank' should be celebrated with the 'respect it deserves,' drawing fierce criticism from the opposition. (Haaretz+) 
  • Israel failing to address most pressing issues of religious pluralism, watchdog claims - While some helpful 'cosmetic' initiatives were adopted by lawmakers, they failed to engage with any of the most critical questions of religious plurality, says Jewish Pluralism Watch. (Haaretz+)
  • Six Israelis injured in terrorist attacks abroad recognized as victims of terror - Following a law amendment, the Defense Ministry recognizes six Israelis, who were either killed or injured in terrorist attacks abroad, as victims of terror acts. (Ynet
  • Critics say no reason to name hospital for late Israeli PM Yitzhak Shamir - The Assaf Harofeh hospital in central Israel was named for fifth century C.E. physician Assaf Ben Brachiahu, but he's now been replaced by the two-term Likud premier. (Haaretz+) 
  • Israeli Air Force Holds Joint Exercise With United Arab Emirates, U.S. and Italy - Israel's Air Force participating in Iniohos 2017 at a Greek air force base. Israel and the UAE do not have official diplomatic relations. (Haaretz
  • WATCH Israeli Air Force Jets Buzz Greece's Ancient Acropolis - Air force jets from Israel and Italy have joined Greek planes in a low-altitude flyover in central Athens, as part of an 11-day international military exercise. (Haaretz
  • IDF Naval fighters train with Navy SEALs - Watch: Last week, Israeli and US commandos carried out joint drill involving ship raids and parachuting at sea. The exercise aimed to build cooperation between the special forces. (Ynet
  • Netflix Buys Israeli Film 'Junction 48,' Bringing Palestinian Hip-hop to U.S. Screens - Film tells the story of two Arab musicians stuck between Jewish oppression and Arab conservatism. (Haaretz)
  • Mediterranean gas pipeline could be built by 2025 - A project to build a Mediterranean pipeline to carry natural gas from Israel to Europe is now supported by both European and Israeli governments; it is expected to cost 6 billion euros and is set to be finished in 2025. (Agencies, Ynet
  • Israel: Hamas man who trained in Syria arrested for plotting attacks - The Palestinian man traveled to Turkey and Syria to train before returning to West Bank, Shin Bet claim, blasting Hamas' operations abroad. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Hamas: In the coming days we will execute collaborators with Israel - Almost two weeks after the assassination of senior Hamas official Mazan Fukha in Gaza, the general prosecutor in the Gaza Strip announces the executions; the statement says there was no connection to the assassination. (Ynet)ֿ
  • Senior Fatah official hit with $250 million lawsuit over torture death of Palestinian-American - Jibril Rajoub was handed the lawsuit and a summons upon landing at JFK airport during his first visit to the United States; victim was arrested alive without charge and returned dead with obvious signs of torture; Palestinian Security Services claimed he died of a heart attack. (Ynet)
  • Palestinian Authority slashes salaries for Gaza employees - PA spokesman Yousif al-Mahmoud attributes cut in pay to a drop in foreign aid • 200 protest cuts outside Gaza bank • Hamas says "unjust and non-national" decision aims to create crises, tighten PA's grip on the Gaza Strip. (Israel Hayom)
  • Ex-Guatemalan mayor sentenced to jail for expelling 'Jewish Taliban' ultra-Orthodox sect - Antonio Adolfo Perez was convicted of coercion in the expulsion in 2014 of the 500-member Lev Tahor sect, following religiously tainted disputes with its Mayan residents. (JTA, Haaretz
  • UK's Labour criticized for not confronting Nazi comments  - Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone claims Zionists collaborated with Nazis before World War II • Party leader Jeremy Corbyn: Livingstone failed to apologize for the hurt he caused • Chief rabbi of Britain slams "unapologetic bating" of Jewish community. (Israel Hayom)
  • Kansas legislation seeks to combat anti-Israel boycotts - Republican State Rep. William Sutton: Anti-Israel boycotts are an "economic attack" on Israel; bill will protect Kansas' trade relationship with Israel • Palestinian advocacy groups, some lawmakers condemn measure as infringing on First Amendment rights. (Israel Hayom)
  • U.S. Jewish Groups Hail Steve Bannon’s Ouster From National Security Council - But many leaders of liberal organizations say Steve Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News, needs to leave the White House entirely. (Haaretz+)

'I’m Not Sure It’s Possible Have Democracy in a Jewish State'
Democracy is waning globally, and China might be to blame, a Belgian researcher visiting Israel says; an Israeli doula misses four births to surf in Sri Lanka. (Liat Elkayam, Haaretz+) 
Meet Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the 30-year-old Jewish Trump Aide at the Heart of the Wiretapping Scandal
Close to Bannon and Kushner, Ezra Cohen-Watnick is known for holding hawkish views on Iran and is said to be one of the White House sources who leaked information to Nunes. (Nathan Guttman, Haaretz)
Passover: The Irony of Celebrating Liberty While the Israeli Occupation Persists (Tomer Persico, Haaretz+) It's tragic that the people who gave humanity the ultimate story of liberation control a population without allowing it equal rights. 
This Is How Israel's Right-wing Incitement Machine Really Works (Alon Idan, Haaretz+) Far-right rapper The Shadow says in street language what the suits like Minister Gilad Erdan and party leader Yair Lapid say in sanitized terms 
Alongside ultimate deal, Trump administration eyes preventing Gaza's next crisis (Barak Ravid, Haaretz+) Jason Greenblatt has made it clear to all sides that addressing economic conditions is not a substitute for diplomatic negotiations, but a supporting element - and he wants Israel's help. 
Trump settles in on settlements (Elliott Abrams, Israel Hayom) U.S. President Donald Trump's settlement policy appears to be designed to prevent disputes from souring relations between Israel and the U.S.
The emperor of the media (Journalist Dan Shilon, Yedioth/Ynet) Netanyahu, who is up to his neck in criminal investigations, will be the first prime minister in Israel who will get—at his explicit and shameless demand—the appointment of an editor-in-chief in a broadcast media organization. It’s sickening, it’s distorted, it’s corrupt.
Netanyahu’s New Trump-Appeasing Bluff (Hagit Ofran, Haaretz) Netanyahu promised the White House 'restrained construction' that wouldn't stray outside the ‘built-up area’ of settlements. That's an endlessly elastic term. 
Hold on to history (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) The Temple Mount Sifting Project allows a rare glimpse into the history of the holy site and it is far too important to grind to a halt over funding issues.
Bannon’s Removal Is Reassuring, Until You Remember Trump Is Still in Charge (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) The president ad-libs on Syria’s chemicals and North Korea’s missiles, but at least he’s eased concerns about politicization of his national security apparatus. 
Israel must intervene in Syria (Minister Ayub Qara, Maariv) The Israeli government should do all it can to provide humanitarian aid to Syria's suffering citizens. The intervention should be expressed through medical assistance to areas where minorities live. 
With Chemical Attack, Syria's Assad Forces Rebels Out of Hiding and Into Urban 'Prison' (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Reluctant to name Assad, Russia or Iran, Arab states have also turned a cold shoulder to the rebels, leaving world to wonders how it can respond to chemical attack without really responding to it 
Israelis may be gloomy, but it’s not the media’s fault (Sima Kadmon, Yedioth/Ynet) It takes a lot of nerve, not to mention lack of self-awareness, to call the media an ‘industry of gloom,’ when the person running this industry is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself. 
Israel Shows No Mercy, No Compassion (Haaretz Editorial) Soon, Jewish Israelis will be reading the Passover Haggadah, which deals with the brutal treatment Israelites were subjected to in Egypt. Those responsible for the Israeli bureaucratic apparatus would do well to internalize the 
A new age of diplomacy (Prof. Abraham Ben-Zvi, Israel Hayom) Trump's White House has been working toward a dramatic shift away from the Obama administration's approach to diplomacy, especially in the Middle East.
Israel's Historic Duty to Act on Syria (Emilie Moatti, Haaretz+) The same world that ignored the Holocaust and the slaughter in Rwanda has abandoned the murdered victims in Syria. Israel cannot stand idly by
The harsh events in Syria teach us that we have no one to rely on (Shmuel Rosner, Maariv) It is necessary to internalize something about Israel's relations with its great friend from the horrors of our neighbor. Even if the Americans promise us full backing - we do not want to depend on them at the moment of truth. 
All Israelis Are Collaborators With Assad (Rogel Alpher, Haaretz+) On Holocaust Remembrance Day, when Israelis ask why the world did nothing to stop the Shoah, they should consider what they have done to prevent the atrocities on their doorstep in Syria.
The taboo was broken: after decades as an outcast, chemical weapons returned to the picture (Dr. Ofer Israeli, Maariv) Since World War I, the use of gas in the battlefield is considered inconceivable. After Obama's red line and Assad's response, it is very likely that more and more countries and terrorist organizations will no longer be deterred. 
The Yearning Israeli Jewish Soul Looks Toward Syria (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Israel’s victims in Gaza 2014, like Assad’s now, included babies and children; they, too, were cruelly massacred and their numbers were also high enough to shock.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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