Thursday, February 8, 2024

In This Moment: Israel Held Congress


In This Moment

Israel Held Congress

On Tuesday, as California continued to endure yet another of those "1,000 Year Storms" that seem to occur weekly, something equally rare was happening in Congress. An aid package for Israel was being voted downNot just any aid package, but an emergency aid package.

And in another once-in-a-lifetime rarity, I was glad to see it fail. In fact, I've never rooted harder for an aid to Israel package to not pass.

Israel needs this aid, but not in a standalone package. Military assistance is also needed by Taiwan and Ukraine, and aid is needed by Gazans for humanitarian purposes. All of these things are crucial for US foreign policy, for international stability, for a restoration of moral clarity - and for Israel itselfFending off the craven geopolitical aspirations of Putin, Iran and the Chinese and saving Ukraine are all in Israel's best interests.

I do feel uncomfortable seeing Israeli aid linked to other policy matters - my fear of it being tied to security at the border was borne out. So ordinarily, I would not have wanted Israel and Ukraine to be linked. But the two matters have such strategic and moral urgency, and given the superpower chess game going on between Putin and Iran versus the West, they are interrelated. Gaza aid is as well. 

Given the current stalemate on the Hill, the most important reason to link the three is to force everyone off the fence, progressives who might be wavering in their support for Israel and conservatives who might be wavering in their support for Ukraine. That's why it is in Israel's best interests that the standalone package failed. And it is crucial that the combined bill passes as soon as possible.

It is distressing to me that some of Israel's supporters tried to ram through the standalone, which had the effect of doing exactly what we've long tried to avoid - it turned Israel into a partisan, wedge issue. So we can add that to the collateral damage of Tuesday’s vote. It also put another significant dent in the armor of Israel's supposed invincibility on Capitol Hill. All of that was bad, but passing the standalone would have been worse.

I am praying that the House and Senate pass the full package pronto, with or without border security provisions. There is no time to waste, no time for these political games. It is unthinkable to hold Israel, Ukraine, Gaza and Taiwan hostage to this election-year craziness and Donald Trump’s nihilistic goal of burning it all down.

Lest we forget, there are real hostages still out there, and they are dying.

Did you miss the Mark Golub tribute on JBS?

Here's the full program....

Leapin' Lizards, a Double Leap Year!

Adar 1 begins on Friday, which will be followed, in a month, by Adar 2. And in the middle we'll have Feb. 29.

Click here to read about the Jewish leap month.

It's rare that Jewish and secular leap years coincide. The last time was 2016. Enjoy this one, because the next won't be until 2052. While it might seem quite complicated to navigate two leap years simultaneously, this need not become the year of leaping dangerously. It can become a year of leaping meaningfully if we take advantage of that extra day AND that extra month. For me, Adar 2 is allows me to double the joy of this most joyous month while giving me more time to prepare for Purim and Passover. 

For more about the Jewish leap year and how it fits into the rhythm of Jewish time, see my article, Judaism's Mulligan Month. 

Click here to read about the secrets of the Jewish leap year.,


Click here for an exploration into the magic and mystery of Feb. 29.

And click here for a Parsha Packet with ideas on how to make the most of that gift of an extra day - or extra month - in our lives this year.  

Finally, although Passover is still a couple of months away, local supermarket chains have no idea that it's a Jewish leap year. So if just like them you are chomping at the bit for matzah, here is last year's Rabbinical Assembly Passover Guide.

Israel's Front Pages

Jerusalem Post


Yediot Ahronot

Recommended Reading

  • No Super Bowl prediction this year, but you can see my case for the Chiefs from last year's prediction and as for San Francisco, click here for a list of all the biblical Hebrew words whose numerical value equals 49. Then go to town with your own Gematria-based prognostication. But in honor of the Super Bowl, here's an all-time favorite of mine:

As for the Puppy Bowl, I take out this classic photo of my two poodles Casey and Cassidy going after a fumble.

Unfortunately a recent ACL surgery has put Casey out of action. But he's become quite the couch potato, devouring football and all the Dog TV he can. He even took time out to watch the Grammys last week.

·       Kibbutz Be’eri re-opened its printing press 3 days after the attack.

·       Thanks to Israeli tech, a totally paralyzed woman is “virtually” cured.

·       The first Arab Israeli delegation to visit Auschwitz.

·       Lab-cultivated coffee cuts water used in production by 98%.

·       An Israeli startup delivers the world’s first fully electronic truck.

·       Israelis win international gold medals in ice hockey and fencing.

·       An embassy for indigenous people is to open in Jerusalem.

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