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Middle East

Ran HaCohen (PhD), Middle East Correspondent

 Voluntariness is a tricky concept in Jewish religious tradition. A classical case is divorce rules: when a Jewish woman wants a divorce, her husband is the only one who can give her that. But if he refuses, the Rabbis can pressure him to give a divorce until he says: “I am willing”. The pressure may include anything from fine through imprisonment to physical punishment.

A new party led by a populist new-comer has got elected two Israelis of Ethiopian origin. What will be next is a curious case

Ran HaCohen (PhD), Middle East Correspondent

 

The military attack on Gaza last November, what I called here “Operation unseat Barak “, ended in yet another Israeli victory – if you ask the Israeli on the street that is; indeed the results of the January 22nd general election show that the big fiasco led to Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s retirement, at least for the time being.     

It was Defense Minister Ehud Barak who needed this war badly, but he may be the one who will be the bad loser

 

Ran HaCohen (PhD), Middle East Contributor, Tel Aviv

The narrow Gaza Strip – just 365 sq. km (70% of Addis Ababa’s municipal area) off sea-shore surrounded by barbed-wire is home to 1.5 million Palestinians, most of them families deported or who were forced to flee Israel during the 1948 War. Functioning as Israel’s penal colony (even Palestinian trouble-makers from the West-Bank were traditionally dumped there), it must be disciplined on a regular basis: to show who the boss is, to keep the military in good shape, to test newly developed weapons and to boost Israel’s global military export. Poverty leads to Islamic radicalization, hopelessness leads to violent resistance, like terrorizing surrounding Israeli towns by rockets and missiles.