Ed: 41: July/2016
Mr. Mandelbaum rightly notes that US attempts to foster democracy and free markets abroad were an important part of American foreign policy after the Cold War. And such attempts, time and again, fell short of their ambitious goals. He spurs readers to ask why societies are so hard to transform and when, if ever, the promotion of a moral value becomes a national interest.
Fairfax's Age and Sydney Morning Herald newspapers (June 10) ran a Washington Post report on the June 8 terror attack in Tel Aviv in which four Israelis were murdered in a café with the headline, "Deadly Shooting at mall opposite defence HQ."
The report itself merely stated that "the attacks occurred... near Israel's Defence Ministry" and made no suggestion that the assailants were trying to target the Defence Ministry, rather than the nearby Sarona market shopping complex that was the actual site of the attack.
Were the papers implying the attackers were seeking a military target and the violence was therefore not actually a terrorist attack?
Ever since the 1952 Helsinki Games, Israel has made sure to compete in the Olympics (except the widely boycotted 1980 games in Moscow), and its overall athletic pursuits have since developed in tandem with, and as an intriguing reflection of, the Jewish state's social evolution.
The Islamic month of Ramadan is meant to be a period of physical sacrifice (fasting) in order to achieve deeper religiosity, but all too often it highlights excess. Indonesia and Malaysia may be far from Islam's Middle Eastern heartland, but are increasingly subject to its influences.
Israel has reportedly received an abundance of strategic information about Hamas' tunnel building operation, thanks to the June 14 defection of senior Hamas member Bassam Mahmoud Baraka with his family, as well as the arrest of a 17-year-old Gazan tunnel worker in May.
To combat the growing tunnel threat, Israel says it plans to build a concrete wall extending tens of metres underground around Gaza. The wall would cost NIS 2.2 billion (approx. A$760 million).
No one can deny the Palestinian refugee problem, but it is equally blind to deny the plight of the Jewish refugees. With the creation of the State of Israel and in the decades afterwards, hundreds of thousands of Jews who had lived peacefully in the Arab nations for centuries were expelled from their home countries. Having failed in 1948 to destroy the new State of Israel, Arab rulers took revenge on the Jews who lived in the nations they controlled. These Jews, faced with official persecution, mob violence, pogroms and the confiscation of their property, fled these countries, most of them to Israel.
The newest component of Israel's active defence network - the David's Sling Weapons System - has been delivered to the Israeli Air Force ahead of full deployment later this year. David's Sling will act as a middle tier within Israel's multi-layer missile defence network, operating above the Iron Dome system and below the Arrow-2 (and, ultimately, the Arrow-3, which looks likely to commence operations by the end of 2016).
As the horrific events in Orlando unfolded on June 12, all Americans of good will reacted with horror and dismay... once again, we have witnessed a horrendous terrorist attack motivated, in part or in whole, by radical Islamic ideology. The killer was known to the FBI, and made clear his sympathy for Islamic State.
Perhaps on some level it isn't surprising that it still happens - though, on another, it is nonetheless shocking, because it is so easily disproven. I'm speaking about how Hamas and other Palestinian groups like to present Israel's blockade of military items into Gaza as a "siege" - and too many people who should know better are happy to go along.
Pity Francois Hollande. The French President's country is beset by terrorism, his overseas military missions - in Libya, Mali and Syria - are in tatters, his labour unions are in full revolt, while his personal popularity ratings are at a record low of 13%. How to placate his domestic Muslim population, divert attention from his rioting workers, burnish his own diminished standing and restore la gloire de la France? As the floodwaters of the Seine threatened to drown the French capital and ISIS promised to wreck the Euro 2016 football tournament, the answer became obvious: convene a Middle East peace conference. And then compound the charade by not inviting the major protagonists, Israel and the Palestinians.