Israel is a flower

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Dear Friend,

Israel is a flower -- perhaps the greatest -- of the Jewish imagination. Over the course of two millennia of exile, a vision of Israel endured. It has taken on forms that were fantastic and humble, dreamlike as prophecy and prosaic as a hammer and nails. The capacity for bringing forth a world from the imagination -- a better world, a land of peace and plenty and freedom from the terrors and indignities of exile -- is part of our heritage as Jewish writers, and in our work we draw strength from that heritage every time we sit down at the computer to write. But as anyone might attest whose Bubbe ever warned him or her, as ours did us, to avoid walking over manhole covers, playing with sticks, or swimming after eating, the Jewish imagination is also a powerful tool for the envisioning of future disaster. In this darker guise, the Jewish imagination has fueled the vivid nightmares of our people from the ghettoes of Europe to the far-fetched claims of today's email fear-mongerers; and of course many of those dark imaginings of the Jewish future have also, tragically, been realized over the years.

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Israel Kept Gaza Economy Functioning at Lowest Level (U.S. Diplomatic Cable)

October 22, 2008
Classified U.S. diplomatic cables, leaked by the whistleblower site WikiLeaks, that contain details of Israel attempting to keep the economy of the Gaza Strip, following the Hamas takeover of the territory, functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis. Read Document >

Bypassing Bethlehem's Eastern Reaches

Nate Wright / Middle East Report (October 7, 2008)
Profile of the Bethlehem suburb of Beit Sahour, inside of Area C in the West Bank, and the difficulties for by Palestinians caused by Israeli settlements, restriction of movement, and other elements of the occupation. Read More >

Documentary: West Bank Road for Israelis Only

B'Tselem (October 2008)
Route 443 serves Israeli commuters traveling between the two largest cities in Israel- Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. In the past, Route 443 was the main thoroughfare serving the southern Ramallah district. In 1988, Israel expropriated land from Palestinian villagers living along the road in order to widen it, claiming that the road would serve their villages as well. However in 2002, the army prohibited Palestinian traffic on the road, stating 'security reasons'. (7:33) Watch >

The New Israel and the Old: Why Gentile Americans Back the Jewish State

Walter Russell Mead / Foreign Affairs (August 2008)
Investigates the roots of American support for Israel. Read More >

Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present

Michael Oren / W. W. Norton & Company (2008)
Book Review (Foreign Affairs) | CampusBooks

The Much Too Promised Land: America's Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace

Aaron David Miller / Bantam (2008)
Book Review (Publishers Weekly) | CampusBooks

Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace: American Leadership in the Middle East

Daniel C. Kurtzer and Scott B. Lasensky / United States Institute of Peace Press (2008)
Book Review (Foreign Affairs) | CampusBooks

Evangelicals and Israel: The Story of American Christian Zionism

Stephen Spector | Oxford University Press (2008)
Book Review (Foreign Affairs) | CampusBooks

Israeli Perspectives on the Palestinian Refugee Issue

Orit Gal / Palestine-Israel Journal (2008/2009)
The sense of being overwhelmed, from an Israeli leadership standpoint, over the issue of Palestinian refugees stems from an inability to clearly define Israeli interests, the multiplicity of actors involved, and the high degree of uncertainty concerning consequential outcomes. Read More >

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