Israel's Public Debate Over Privatized Land

by Lily Hoffman Simon This week, Jews around the world celebrated Tu B’Shvat, the Jewish New Year for trees. Among many Jews, the most popular way to celebrate this holiday is to plant a tree in Israel through the Jewish National Fund (JNF). This symbolic act goes further than celebrating trees and agriculture in Israel; the practice of planting trees on public land in Israel was fundamental to establishing a Jewish presence in Palestine and mobilizing American Jewish support for the seed of the State of Israel. In today's world, though, conceptions of public and private land have changed, as evidenced by a 2009 bill that would privatize Israeli land, challenging the foundation of the JNF and of Zionism in general. The vast majority of land in Israel (around 93%) is owned by the JNF or the...

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Radovan Karadvic

This Week’s Links

As Jews, we have a responsibility to deny any future genocide. That's why many Jewish groups applauded the arrest of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadvic. Now it's up to the Hague to fulfill the justice due. Frum Satire wonders what is more Jewish: the bagel or the deli? Two Jewish women are in the running for Miss England 2008. Jewcy has a piece on Jewish mothers and how Sacha Baron Cohen is making his eema crazy. (Via The Jewish Journal) JTA has news about Australian Orthodox Rabbis against gay marriage; a foundation to get Israeli artists to America; and Israel's new tourist helpline. For your next trip to Israel: The Jewish National Fund started a bicycle path connecting Jerusalem to Tel-Aviv. The downhill ride shouldn't take more than five hours! And it looks like...

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