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One State/ Two State, A Lost Tribe Returns, Tiny Charger


Trump Drops Two-State Solution as Keystone of Mideast Peace

Jennifer Epstein and David Wainer, Bloomberg, February 15th 2017

Recap:

President Donald Trump embraced the possibility of a Middle East peace agreement that doesn’t include separate states for Israel and the Palestinians. “If Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I like the one they like the best,” said Trump.

The Context:

  • An independent Palestinian state comprising the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza alongside Israel has been the hallmark of US peacemaking since the Oslo Accords were signed in the 1990’s [1]. Israel captured the West Bank & East Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967. The territories remain in political limbo 50 years later since Israelis and Palestinians both lay claim to the land.

  • Today, the majority of world leaders agree that a two-state solution is the only feasible resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since Palestinians are unlikely to accept anything short of a sovereign state and a bi-national Israel would likely forfeit Israel’s Jewish character.

  • Trump insists that an everlasting peace can only be accomplished if Palestinians “get rid of the hate they’re taught from a very young age [2]” and if Israel demonstrates their genuine commitment to an agreement by stopping its settlement activity.

  • Hanan Ashrawi from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) assailed Trump’s break from longstanding US policy as a way to “accommodate the most extreme and irresponsible elements in Israel and in the White House [3].” Israeli MK Michal Rozin said Trump’s statements had not gone far enough and called for “the construction of the Jewish Temple or for Israel to annex Abbas’s headquarters [in the West Bank] [4].”

  • Momentum for a two-state solution slowed long before Trump’s ascension to power. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under pressure from his coalition to abandon the two-state solution and annex parts of the West Bank [5] while the Palestinian Authority (PA) faces pressure from Hamas, the anti-Israel terrorist group that controls the Gaza strip [6].

  • The majority of Israelis and Palestinians theoretically support a two-state solution however, most have no confidence that it will ever come to fruition.

Conversation Points:

  • Does Trump’s position of supporting the wants of both parties mean he is disavowing the two-state solution?

  • Do leaders from both sides lack the political will to confront internal opposition and reach the compromises necessary to secure a mutually agreeable resolution?

  • Can Israel maintain its Jewish character as a bi-national state?

‘After 27 centuries of exile,’ 102 Indian Bnei Menashe head to Israel

Josefin Dolsten, JTA, February 14th 2017

Recap:

102 members of a Jewish community in India, who trace their heritage to one of Israel’s lost tribes, will move to Israel this week. “We are excited to be making this journey and build our new lives in the Jewish homeland,” said community member Mizmor Sharon.

The Context:

  • The Bnei Menashe community hails from the northeastern Indian state of Mizoram which borders Myanmar and Bangladesh [7].

  • 3,000 Bnei Menashe community members have immigrated to Israel in recent years, with another 7,000 currently residing in India. Bnei Menashe Jews are believed to be descendants of the tribe of Menashe, one of the Ten Lost Tribes exiled from Israel by the Assyrian empire more than 2,700 years ago [8].

  • The aliyah is facilitated by Shavei Israel, a nonprofit organization that seeks to connect “lost” Jews to Israel. Michael Freund, Shavei Israel's founder, claims his organization is the only one actively reaching out to lost Jews in an effort to facilitate their return to Israel [9]. “After 27 centuries of exile, this lost tribe of Israel is truly coming home,” said Freund.

  • In 2005, Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar officially recognized Bnei Menashe as a Lost Tribe [10].

Conversation Points:

  • Is there a value in maintaining a strong Jewish diaspora presence as opposed to concentrating all Jews in the land of Israel?

  • How could Jewish immigrants that have successfully integrated into Israeli society help new waves of aliyot?

Israel’s Kado raises $1.2m for ‘world’s thinnest charger’

Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, February 14th 2017

Recap:

Israeli start-up Kado raised $1.2 million to develop ultra-thin charging technologies for smartphones, tablets and laptops.

The Context:

  • Kado, founded in May by Israeli entrepreneurs Itay Hasid and Daniel Assis, developed a power conversion technology to power compact chargers “suited for today’s mobile lifestyle.”

  • Kado Wallet, the company’s smartphone charger, is 0.2 inches thin and the Kado Sleeve, the company’s laptop charger, weighs only 0.21 pounds.

  • USA Today named the chargers one of the “5 Gadgets that Made Me Say Wow” at CES [11].

  • Last year, Hasid and Assis, both in their late 20s, sold their disposable charger startup, Mobeego, for $6 million [12].

Conversation Points:

  • What are some reasons for the success of Israel’s technology sector?

Notes:

  1. Trump, Meeting With Netanyahu, Backs Away From Palestinian State, Peter Baker and Mark Landler, New York Times, February 15th 2017

  2. Trump rolls back US obligation to two states, but vows to pursue a ‘great peace deal’, Eric Cortellessa and Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel, February 15th 2017

  3. Trump: Two-state solution not only way to achieve peace, Al Jazeera, February 14th 2017

  4. ISRAELI RIGHT ECSTATIC OVER TRUMP STATEMENTS, Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, February 15th 2017

  5. Trump, Meeting With Netanyahu, Backs Away From Palestinian State, Peter Baker and Mark Landler, New York Times, February 15th 2017

  6. Ibid.

  7. 102 of Bnei Menashe tribe to immigrate to Israel from India, Israel Hayom, February 14th 2017

  8. 102 from 'lost tribe' set to immigrate from India, Israel National News, February 14th 2017

  9. 102 of Bnei Menashe tribe to immigrate to Israel from India, Israel Hayom, February 14th 2017

  10. Ibid.

  11. Ultra-thin charger co Kado raises $1.2m, Globes, February 14th 2017

  12. Ibid.


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