Israel Matters! – May 2021

The 2021 Israeli Election: Too Much Democracy?

The 2021 Israeli Knesset (parliament) election took place on March 23, yet as of the date of this correspondence, we still do not know who won. Well, actually we do know how many candidates from each of the contesting parties were elected to the Knesset, but we do not know who the next Prime Minister will be, or even if a government can be formed at all. How can this be? To understand the current political stalemate in Israel first requires understanding how Israeli elections are conducted. As we will see, a fair argument could be made that in Israel, voting is too democratic! Alternatively, one could argue that the election results are just an accurate reflection of Israel’s divided society. (more…)

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Israel Matters! – April 2021

The View From Dalyat El Carmel

Israel is of course best known as the Jewish state, but there are also many non-Jewish citizens of Israel. Of singular stature and importance to Israel are the Druze. To help our readers better understand Druze history and culture, Israel Matters (IM) interviewed Dr. Hussein Naseraldin (HN), the Head of the M. Sc. Program in Industrial Engineering and Management at ORT Braude College in Karmiel, and a lifelong resident of Dalyat El Carmel, the largest Druze village on Mount Carmel. (more…)

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Israel Matters! – March 2021 – More Than News

The Abraham Accords

The last quarter of 2020 witnessed a remarkable Middle East peace offensive with the launch of the Abraham Accords, a series of agreements between Israel and several Arab countries. Signing the first declaration on September 15 were the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. This was followed by Sudan on October 23, and one month later with Morocco on December 22. So, what are the Abraham Accords about, and why are they so significant? (more…)

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IM Issue 150 – January 2021 – End of an Era

Editorial – Closing the door . . .

With this, the 150th edition of Israel Matters!, your editor has decided that now is the appropriate time to suspend publication. It has not been an easy decision to make. At an average of 11 issues per year (July/August is a single edition of the Bulletin), not including special and website only editions, simple arithmetic means I have been the primary editor of the publication for more than 13 years. To put that number into perspective, a child born when I started would likely be having her/his Bat/Bar Mitzvah this year. (more…)

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IM Issue 149 – December 2020

Iran, Israel, and More: What to Watch in Joe Biden’s Presidency

Joe Biden has vowed to reverse policies put in place by President Donald Trump on his first day in office. But on many issues important to American Jews, change may come slower, or not at all. When it comes to where the U.S. Embassy in Israel is located, for example, Biden has indicated that he has no intention to turn back the clock. On other Israel issues, change is likely but exactly what a Biden administration will try to do is not yet clear. Here’s a look at what might happen after Biden becomes president on Jan. 20, 2021. (more…)

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IM Issue 148 – November 2020

Israel Offers Medical Aid to Lebanon, Response is Silence

The heads of several Israeli hospitals have reached out to Lebanese officials and the United Nations offering medical support to the country’s wounded.
“It hurts to see the children – little children – crying and injured,” said Dr. Masad Barhoum, director-general of Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya, Israel. “People without children – their lives destroyed in an instance. They need medical and psychological help.”
Barhoum, a Christian Arab, speaks Arabic. On Wednesday, he took to social networks and the radio appealing directly in their language to the Lebanese president and prime minister, and even Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, to allow him to help. (more…)

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IM Issue 147 – October 2020

White House Ceremony Celebrates New Era for Israel, UAE and Bahrain

Benjamin Netanyahu has complained for years about Arab leaders telling their people one thing in Arabic and diplomats saying another to Western audiences in English.

Not on this occasion. (more…)


IM Issue 146 – August/September 2020 REVISED

Israel and United Arab Emirates Strike Major Diplomatic Agreement

Israel and the United Arab Emirates reached a landmark accord sealed by President Trump that could presage a broader realignment in the region as the two agreed to “full normalization of relations” in exchange for Israel suspending annexation of occupied West Bank territory. (more…)


IM Issue 145 – July 2020

Why History Still Matters: The 1967 Six Day War

By David Harris, CEO of the American Jewish Committee (AJC)

Mention history and it can trigger a roll of the eyes. Add the Middle East to the equation and folks might start running for the hills, unwilling to get caught up in the seemingly bottomless pit of details and disputes.

But without an understanding of what happened in the past, it’s impossible to grasp where we are today — and where we are has profound relevance for the region and the world. (more…)


IM Issue 144 – June 2020

In Midst of Global Pandemic, Israeli Defense Company Quietly Changed the Face of Hospitals

The arrival of the coronavirus global pandemic came as suddenly for Israel’s Rafael defense company as it did to many other companies, yet it took very little time for Rafael to spring into action and quietly transform the face of Israeli hospitals’ wards. “Part of the Israeli DNA is to face up to missions together,” said Irit Idan, executive vice president, and head of research and development at Rafael. “This is our nature as a nation. From the moment that this incident began rolling, Rafael started floating many ideas on how we can assist the healthcare system.” (more…)