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Position Papers

Article 8, October 2014
Fatah and Hamas: A Marriage of Necessity

Shlomi Eldar

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Article 6, February 2013
What do they mean when they say "Haredim must share the burden?"

Sever Plotzker

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Article 5, January 2013
Israel Isn't Isolated

Gabriel Scheinmann

In the article, Gabriel Sheinmann challenges the conventional wisdom that Israel is becoming internationally isolated amid continued settlement expansion in the West Bank, the failure of the peace negotiations to resume, and Israel's most recent military operation in the Gaza, Pillar of Defense. Quite the contrary, Israel has never been more integrated in the global economy and international institutions. Israel has established diplomatic relations with 70 countries, serves on the executive boards of the UN Development Program and UNICEF, and has conducted joint military exercises with Greece, Poland, Italy, and the United States.

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Article 4, December 2010
Israel's Existential Predicament: Population, Territory, and Identity

Dr. Sergio DellaPergola, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Preface by Dr. Paul Scham, Executive Director of the Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies, UMD

The following article, by one of Israel’s most eminent demographers, gives a succinct yet comprehensive summary of the current demographic issues and figures in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  As he notes, demography is a prime concern in the conflict, and is a major element in how Israelis regard the options available for its resolution. 

Several years ago the “demographic issue” was particularly widely discussed in Israel, as Israelis contemplated the imminent prospect of Jews becoming a minority in “historic Palestine”.  By contrast, more recently there have been claims that Palestinian population figures are inflated and that the demographic fears of a few years ago were overblown.  Without staking out a political position, Professor Della Pergola uses the most up-to-date and reliable statistics to give an accurate, non-partisan, and unbiased overview of the demographic situation today.

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Article 3, December 2010
The Kibbutz at One Hundred

Dr. Aviva Halamish, Head of Modern History Studies, The Open University of Israel

The Kibbutz is one of the most impressive accomplishments of Zionism, widely recognized as an extraordinary human, social and economic achievement. The imprint of the Kibbutz has been recognized and appreciated both in Israel and around the world.  The word "Kibbutz" is itself one of the best-known Hebrew words in univer­sal discourse, and can be found in many dictionaries in other languages.

Degania, the "Mother of the Collective Settlements" ("Em ha-Kvutzot"), was established in 1910 by a handful of young men and women; one hundred years later there are about 270 Kibbutzim all over the country with about 120,000 Kibbutz members and their children, comprising less than 2% of Israel's population (compared to 7% in 1948). Figures and statistics aside, the impact of the Kibbutz on Jewish society in Mandatory Palestine until 1948 and on the State of Israel since then has always far exceeded its numerical size in both absolute and relative terms.

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Article 2, Summer 2010
Israel at 62

Dr. Yoram Peri, Director of the Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies, University of Maryland

Independence Day in Israel is always marked by a news media outpouring of reviews of the year. It is a reliably upbeat affair replete with heartening economic statistics and the good deeds of upstanding citizens. The 62nd anniversary of Israel's founding this past April was in many ways no different. Certainly there was much to celebrate. Compared with previous years, this one was relatively quiet. Only two Israeli civilians (and one foreign worker) were killed by terrorists, and, thanks to Israel's incursion— amid international condemnation—into the Gaza Strip little more than a year earlier, residents in nearby communities were no longer forced to sleep in shelters to avoid the steady rain of rockets once launched by Hamas militants. The northern Galilee was teeming with tourists, the cafés and cinemas were packed with customers, and many establishments no longer bothered to employ security guards to check entering patrons.

The economy has been growing briskly for years; Israel barely lost a step in the global financial crisis, handily outperforming the United States and Europe. On a pound-perpound basis, Israel is hard to match as a center of innovation and creativity, as the current bestseller about the country, Start-Up Nation, well illustrates. (See the article by the book's authors, Dan Senor and Saul Singer, on p. 62.) Israel ranks third in the world in the output of scientific articles per capita, and Israeli companies are the number-one foreign presence on America's technology-dominated NASDAQ stock exchange. Thank the Israelis for USB plugs and countless other indispensable pieces of modern technology. Even their cows are winners, outproducing American and European animals by wide margins.

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Article 1, January 2010
A Linguistic Analysis of the 2002 / 2007 Arab Peace Initiative Documents

Ilai Alon, Department. of Philosophy, Tel Aviv University

The phrasing of the Arab peace initiative of 2002, which has been endorsed by the 2003 Teheran summit of the organization of Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers and by the 2007 Beirut summit meeting of the Arab League, supports the rationale for its acceptance by Israel.

In 1981 King Fahd of Saudi Arabia came up with his peace plan, which in 2002 was endorsed by the Arab League. Four years later even HAMAS expressed readiness to consider accepting the initiative (al-Sharq al-Awsat, 8/2/06). However, it is important to note that according to one of the Initiative's first promoters, Marwan Muashir, neither the initiative at large nor its details were accepted easily by all Arab countries, and that side by side with the new style of the 2002 Press Release on the Arab Peace Initiative, documents containing the old one were published at the same summit meeting.

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