Gentle and not-so-gentle thoughts and musings from a Jewish, left-leaning, Canadian, pro-Israel, inner-suburban, fortysomething, libertarian, recovering perfectionist, quasi-socialist husband, dad, basketball fan, writer and editor with a few opinions.

wRanter.com - Gentle and not-so-gentle thoughts and musings from a Jewish, left-leaning, Canadian, pro-Israel, inner-suburban, fortysomething, libertarian, recovering perfectionist, quasi-socialist husband, dad, basketball fan, writer and editor with a few opinions.
Featured wRants
Thursday the rabbi walked out, or was he pushed?

Being a pulpit rabbi can be a cutthroat business

When Toronto Jews awoke last Saturday morning and collected their Globe and Mail newspapers from their doorsteps (those who still subscribe, that is), they discovered a front-page story detailing how Holy Blossom Temple, the city's ...

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Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau

Israel shouldn't be a political football or litmus test

Despite public and private appeals to call off the event, the Jewish Defence League (JDL) went ahead with its unfortunate decision to picket a Liberal fundraiser at the Toronto home of pharmaceutical magnate and Jewish ...

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He was burned by this very issue.

The Jewish community should fund its own schools

The fallout from the recent controversy over the creation of gay-straight alliance clubs (GSAs) in Ontario's publicly funded Catholic school system should give pause to those seeking funding – in the name of fairness – ...

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Jewish issues at centre of partisan sniping

Jewish issues and candidates made headlines last week and became the subject of some distasteful political rhetoric on the campaign trail. In Alberta, a 21-year-old hijab-wearing university student resigned Aug. 18 as the Liberal candidate in ...

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Being mislabelled by educators can make school a misery.

Your December-born kid may not have ADHD. He might just be immature.

A new Canadian study is bolstering an argument I've been making to my kids' teachers and principals for years: children born later in a calendar year are more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit ...

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The next occupants of 24 Sussex?

Why Thomas Mulcair gets it when it comes to Israel

Not surprisingly, Thomas Mulcair won the NDP leadership last month, replacing Saint Jack Layton as the man social democrats hope can rally left-of-centre voters to defeat Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives. Here's hoping he's successful, but ...

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Who will be the next big-name Jewish MP?

Last week, we examined four “Jewish” battleground ridings, including two – York Centre in Toronto and Mount Royal in Montreal – where, one way or another, a Jewish candidate is likely to win. This week, ...

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A clear message to the world

Regardless of one’s political predilections, one’s attitude toward the policies of Israel’s current government, or one’s view of Benjamin Netanyahu’s strengths and weaknesses as a retail politician, one has to admire the Israeli prime minister’s ability to make his point.

Benjamin Netanyahu at the UN in 2012

Netanyahu’s 2012 speech had better props.

His speech before the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 will long be remembered for his drawing of a bomb that appeared to come straight out of a Roadrunner cartoon. He was trying to stress that Iran was, and is, edging ever closer to being able to produce a nuclear weapon – a clear existential threat to the world’s only Jewish state.

This year, as the newly elected, ostensibly “moderate” and apparently charm-laden Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, embarked on a public relations blitz aimed at western media and western leaders, Netanyahu came to New York and gave an equally memorable, if slightly less flamboyant, speech.

He warned the global community in no uncertain terms that Israel cannot stomach a nuclear Iran. Continue reading

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Preparing for the unlikely

As a new Jewish year begins, renewed U.S.-led peace talks continue between Israel and the Palestinians.

Yitzhak Rabin at wRanter.com

He pursued peace and terrorists at the same time.

Much has been written about the low expectations surrounding these negotiations on both sides.

Certainly, Israelis and Jews have good reason to be skeptical.

The resumption of Palestinian violence at the beginning of this century, as well as rocket fire and terrorist incursions following Israel’s 2005 pullout from Gaza, are testament to this.

But as Jews, we must always be prepared for the possibility of peace, for the prospect that our enemies may surprise us.

And Israel should always be seen as being open to peace, even as it remains ready to defend itself.

In this vein, it’s worth recalling the words of former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, who used to say that Israel would pursue the peace process as if there was no terrorism and pursue terrorism as if there was no peace process.

Since Rabin’s death, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has largely been fought to a draw. Continue reading

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Netanyahu has unprecedented power. Now what?

Benjamin Netanyahu at wRanter.com

I outsmarted you and you and you and you...

On May 7, Israelis went to sleep thinking they were heading for an election in September, 18 months before it was required by law. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apparently decided to call an early vote in order to capitalize on his high poll numbers and strengthen his hand with smaller parties in the Knesset.

When they awoke on May 8, Israelis learned that Netanyahu had struck a deal with Shaul Mofaz, the new leader of the centrist Kadima party, giving the Likud prime minister a strong national unity coalition by adding Kadima’s 28 seats. (I guess the PM went for the sure thing.)

Netanyahu now has a 94-seat super majority in the 120-seat Knesset, meaning he can govern with a relatively free hand until 2013.

But what does he intend to do with his new power?

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Is Iran making Israelis crazy?

Will Iran acquire nuclear weapons and use them to wipe Israel off the map, as its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has threatened to do repeatedly?

Benjamin Netanyahu at wRanter.com

Does he really think he's the messiah?

Is Iran rational or irrational? Would it or would it not unleash nuclear weapons on Israel? Can Israel take the chance? Does Iran, a country of 77 million people with armed forces totalling some 545,000 people, represent an existential threat to Israel, or not?

Will Israel attack Iran? If it does, will this unleash a regional war? Is Israel bluffing? Is all the bravado just cover for covert operations to slow down Iran’s development of nuclear weapons or to encourage Iran’s liberal opposition – mowing the grass, as the Israelis call it?

Would an Iranian counter-attack cause hundreds of Israeli casualties or thousands? Does the first estimate represent Israeli bravado and the second a fear that runs deep in the Jewish psyche?

Is the United States hoping that Israel does the world’s dirty work for it? Is Israel hoping the same about America? Is U.S. President Barack Obama serious about not wanting a nuclear Iran, or is he prepared to live with the reality if necessary?

These are all important questions, particularly if you’re a supporter of Israel.

The pressure would be enough to make any country come apart at the seams, and it seems to be testing even Israel, which has a remarkable ability to hold itself together despite many internal, seemingly irresolvable tensions.

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