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Shlomo Avineri, dovish Israeli political philosopher and public intellectual, dies at 90

(JTA) — Shlomo Avineri, a leading Israeli political philosopher, left-leaning former director-general of the country’s foreign ministry and clear-eyed critic of both sides to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, died on Friday. He was 90.

Avineri was a longtime professor of political science at Hebrew University, where he produced important scholarship on Zionist thinkers Theodor Herzl and Moses Hess as well as the works of Karl Marx and G.W.F. Hegel. He applied his historical perspective as a frequent commentator in the Israeli and foreign media, and as a regular columnist for the Israeli daily Haaretz.

In 1975, the government of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin appointed him as director-general of the foreign ministry, then headed by Yigal Allon. The right-wing Likud party, then in opposition, bitterly opposed the appointment of Avineri, who in 1971 edited a book that explored the possibility of negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization when such talks were still illegal. When Likud took office in 1977 with the election of Menachem Begin, Avineri submitted his resignation.

At the time, many in Israel thought Avineri would lead a dovish challenge to the humbled Labor party. “During his one year tenure at the Foreign Ministry he became a familiar face on Israeli television, to such a degree that aides to Allon complained that Avineri was upstaging his boss,” the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported in 1977.

Nevertheless, he returned to teaching at Hebrew University. He headed the political science department and devoted himself to researching the intellectual origins of Zionism.

Even while producing more than a dozen books on 19th-century political thought, Avineri remained deeply engaged with current events in Israel. In a 2011 article for Haaretz, he urged Israelis to understand the Palestinian perspective, but also criticized the Palestinian leadership for denying essential facts about the founding of Israel.

The 1948 war should “not be taught as a battle between narratives. In the final analysis, there is a historical truth,” he wrote. “And without ignoring the suffering of the other, that is how such sensitive issues must be taught.”

Avineri was born Jerzy Wiener in Bielsko, Poland, in 1933. His family arrived in then-Palestine in 1939 and settled in Herzliya. He studied political science and history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he received his doctorate.

As a visiting scholar he held appointments at Yale, Cornell, the Cardozo School of Law in New York and Northwestern University, among others.  He was also a visiting scholar at the Wilson Center, the Brookings Institution and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, he advised Eastern European nations about democratization, and in 1989 he served as an observer to the elections in Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

Avineri was awarded the Rubin Prize in 1969 for his research, the Naftali Prize in 1971 and the Present Tense Award from the  American Jewish Committee in 1982. In 1996 he received the Israel Prize, the country’s highest honor, for political science.

Avineri is survived by his daughter Maayan. His wife Devora (Nadler) Avineri died in 2022.


The post Shlomo Avineri, dovish Israeli political philosopher and public intellectual, dies at 90 appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Why now may be the time to consider senior living

When Samara began exploring retirement residences in the Thornhill area for her mother, she felt immediately drawn to Chartwell Constantia Retirement Community and its exceptional customer service. “I have been going there to visit my mother for the last six years. They have fabulous staff. The food quality and presentation are lovely. The management team […]

The post Why now may be the time to consider senior living appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Gallant: Seizing Internal Hamas Documents Brings Hostage Deal Closer

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant meeting with IDF commanders, including members of the elite Shayetet 13 marine commando unit, in Atlit, Israel, Jan. 17, 2023. Photo: Ariel Hermoni (Israel’s Ministry of Defense)

i24 NewsIsraeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant provided a review to fellow ministers of weapons and documents belonging to Hamas, which were collected by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Document and Technical Means Collection Unit (Amshat) operating in the Gaza Strip.

“This morning we are hosting the government meeting at the IDF, in the defense establishment, to show the ministers exactly how we are achieving and deepening our achievements and what is coming out of the Gaza Strip,” Gallant explained.

“You can see a small part of the things here – missiles, explosive charges, mines, a great many maps, means of communication, documents, computers, drives, all these things which the IDF uses now on as intelligence, and not only that,” the defense minister continued.

“These demonstrate that we penetrated into the heart of the most sensitive places of Hamas and use their intelligence against them,” Gallant described the process of attaining the documents and weapons, hinting at some of the locations from where it was found.

“We are using their weapons against them, detonating them in the field, all this leads to the consequence of deepening and penetrating the heart of Hamas’ capabilities,” the defense minister said.

“The more we deepen our operations, the closer we get to a realistic deal in order to return the hostages,” Gallant concluded.

The post Gallant: Seizing Internal Hamas Documents Brings Hostage Deal Closer first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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UNRWA Chief Urged to Resign After ‘Absurd’ Pledge of Ignorance

View of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) building in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash90.

i24 NewsIsraeli diplomatic leaders called for the resignation of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) Commissioner-General, Philippe Lazzarini, following denial of knowing about a Hamas data center under the agency’s headquarters in Gaza.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) revealed on Saturday night that Hamas built a vast network of tunnels under the UNRWA headquarters, with a base directly underneath that was even hooked up to its grid.

“The exposure of UNRWA’s Gaza headquarters’ deep involvement with Hamas, including its use for terror activities and as an access point to terror tunnels, requires immediate action,” the Israeli foreign minister, Israel Katz, posted on X.

“Philippe Lazzarini’s claim of unawareness is not only absurd but also an affront to common sense. His prompt resignation is imperative,” Katz concluded.

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, also called for the UNRWA Commissioner-General to resign, responding “it’s not that you didn’t know, it’s that you didn’t WANT to know.”

“We exposed terror tunnels under UNRWA schools and supplied evidence that Hamas’ exploits UNRWA. We implored you to carry out a comprehensive search of all UNRWA facilities in Gaza. But not only did you refuse, you chose to stick your head in the sand,” Erdan added in a detailed post on X.

.@UNLazzarini it’s not that you didn’t know, it’s that you didn’t WANT to know. We exposed terror tunnels under UNRWA schools and supplied evidence that Hamas’ exploits UNRWA. We implored you to carry out a comprehensive search of all UNRWA facilities in Gaza. But not only did… https://t.co/bJsD66OwoO

— Ambassador Gilad Erdan גלעד ארדן (@giladerdan1) February 10, 2024

“Take responsibility and resign today!” the Israeli ambassador said, “Every day we find more proof that in Gaza the UN=Hamas and vice versa. Anything the UN says or claims about Gaza cannot be trusted.”

The post UNRWA Chief Urged to Resign After ‘Absurd’ Pledge of Ignorance first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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