Israel Politics

November 29

I can’t think of any street I’ve seen in the United States named for a historical date. Yet, Jerusalem has a street named for a very important date in its history — November 29th (Kaf-Tet b’November). Today marks sixty years since the United Nations Partition Plan that paved the way for the establishment of a Jewish State.

Tom Segev, author of The Seventh Million, writes in today’s Haaretz newspaper:

On Saturday night, November 29, 1947, many of the Jews in the Land of Israel went out to dance in the streets of the cities. They were celebrating the United Nations decision to establish a Jewish state in part of the country. The Arabs were also supposed to get a state, but they went to war.

In his new book, Yoav Gelber, a professor of history at the University of Haifa, ponders what would have happened had the Arabs agreed to the Partition Plan adopted by the UN 60 years ago today. “We can only guess,” writes Gelber cautiously. [more]

My colleague Rabbi Barry Leff, who recently made aliyah with his family, is in charge of the creation of a new blog from the World Zionist Organization called “The Persistence of Vision: Israel at Sixty”.

With the sixtieth anniversary of Kaf-Tet b’November, there are only about 6 months left until Israel’s 60th anniversary of statehood and so the Department for Zionist Activities has launched its “6 Months to 60” campaign with this new blog. Rabbi Leff explains the goal of this forum on his personal blog:

The Persistence of Vision: Israel at 60

This forum brings together five experts in their respective fields who share their own perspectives on the meaning of Jewish statehood. What unites them is their common belief that vision has always constituted the heart of the Zionist enterprise, and that it continues to beat vigorously today. Here they will reflect on the significance of 60 years of Israel’s existence, how the reality that has emerged compares to the 2000-year-old dream, how to handle the disappointments, and how to work towards fulfillment of the promise. Readers are invited to turn the blog into a dialog by posting their own opinions and comments. They are also encouraged to take advantage of numerous links to additional resources for further learning and for ideas for celebrating 60 years of Israel’s independence.

Our hope is that this blog will stimulate six months of heightened reflection on the contemporary significance of Israel and Zionism, as well as on the relationship of Jews everywhere to the Jewish state. Together with the rest of Am Yisrael we are looking forward to a joyous celebration of Israel’s 60th birthday, but we want to make sure as well that it will be an occasion infused with substance. Much will remain to be done “the morning after,” and the more the task is discussed, and the more it is understood, the better will be the outcome.

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | | Twitter: @RabbiJason |