I'm writing this letter to those of you who knew, loved, or simply read the eloquence of Leibel Fein. Leibel died last night, and we are still reeling from this unexpected loss.
I am one of those people who subconsciously thinks in "Top Ten Lists" - it helps me prioritize life's overwhelming chaos. It turns out that Leibel makes all of the best of them - Top 10 writers, thinkers, joke-tellers, do-gooders (in the very best sense of the term), friends.
Leibel was brilliant. He had the rare ability to put his thoughts on paper in a way that persuaded, enlightened and altered your thinking, while all the while your mind was carried along by the beauty of his eloquence. He used words as an artist uses paint - it was beautiful and powerful, while the content was often courageous and bold. Those of us at APN were grateful that he was so generous with this gift.
It is with the heaviest of hearts that APN today grieves the loss of our dear friend and longtime APN Board Member Leonard “Leibel” Fein. We know that Leibel will be mourned by the countless people he touched through his writings and his personal contacts across a life that spanned eight decades of extraordinary professional accomplishments, including as a writer, a teacher, and a prolific columnist; as the founder of Moment Magazine; as the founder of Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger; and as the founder of the National Jewish Coalition for Literacy.
Q. Last week, Israelis appeared to think the Gaza war was over. Now we seem to have entered a cycle of
ceasefires and negotiations. Has a new dynamic emerged?
A. Yes. Roughly speaking, it breaks down as follows. Both sides are now completely dependent on Egyptian mediation: Israel willingly, because Egypt is more hostile than ever to Hamas and is strategically friendly to Israel; and Hamas unwillingly, having lost any capacity to recruit its supporters Turkey and Qatar to mediate and having accepted that the West Bank-based PLO and Palestinian Authority represent it.
Jerusalem expert Danny Seidemann spoke with APN on August 11, 2014, to describe the impact of the Gaza war on Jewish-Arab relations in Jerusalem. "Hatred has been personalized and intensified to an unprecedented level," he said. "Today, Jerusalem is more divided than ever. The virtual borders are impenetrable."
With official representatives of Israel and Hamas indirectly negotiating a ceasefire agreement in Cairo today, Americans for Peace Now (APN) is strongly urging the government of Israel, the Obama administration, and all stakeholders in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts to bring the PLO and the Palestinian Authority – the sole legitimate representatives of the Palestinians – back into a final-status peace negotiations process.
APN's President and CEO Debra DeLee said: "It's time to pivot from war to real, credible peacemaking. Everyone knows what such peacemaking requires, including U.S. leadership that is prepared to hold both parties accountable for their actions. The only one viable way to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a two-state solution – Israel and Palestine, each living in recognized borders in peace and security. The only legitimate interlocutor for negotiating such a settlement on behalf of the Palestinians is the PLO, headed by Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority. Furthermore, having signed a reconciliation agreement with Hamas earlier this year, the PLO is well-positioned to negotiate on behalf of all the Palestinians, to make hard decisions around the negotiating table, and to deliver when time comes to implement a peace agreement."
Tisha B'Av (the 9th of Av), which is observed beginning the evening of August 4th this year, is a fast day commemorating the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. It is considered the saddest day on the Jewish calendar.
August 2, 2014
RAMALLAH, West Bank — I HAD held off coming to Israel, hoping the situation in Gaza would clarify — not in terms of what’s happening, but how it might end in a stable way. Being here now, it is clear to me that there is a way this cruel little war could not only be stopped, but stopped in a way that the moderates in the region, who have been so much on the run, could gain the initiative. READ
The following interview with Amos Oz, a co-founder of Israel's Peace Now movement and an icon of Israel's peace movement, was published in the English edition of the German Deutsche Welle
Oz: 'Lose-lose situation for Israel'
30 July, 2014
Israel's ground offensive against Gaza is excessive, Israeli writer Amos Oz tells DW. But he also criticizes Hamas' strategy, in which both Israeli and Palestinian victims boost the organization's standing in Gaza.
Amoz Oz: I would like to begin the interview in a very unusual way: by presenting one or two questions to your readers and listeners. May I do that?
Deutsche Welle: Go ahead!
Question 1: What would you do if your neighbor across the street sits down on the balcony, puts his little boy on his lap and starts shooting machine gun fire into your nursery?
Question 2: What would you do if your neighbor across the street digs a tunnel from his nursery to your nursery in order to blow up your home or in order to kidnap your family?
With these two questions I pass the interview to you.