NEWS2USE: Israeli Election Special

by Adrian A. Durlester

Here’s the roundup of this week’s Jewish news for use in your classroom. Follow the hyperlinks for the best from the Jewish web.

Will BiBi Be Back? — In just a few days, on February 10, Israelis will be voting for new leadership. Some pollsters and pundits say the election is already over, and Netanyahu and the Likkud party will win a big majority. Others say indecision is in the air, and that a significant number of Israelis remain undecided. Even among those who indicated a choice to pollsters in one poll, a good 30% say their final vote could change. The aftermath of the Gaza incursion is still settling in, and, while it was taking place, elections were far from the minds of most Israelis except for the politicians. Still, with each passing day, more and more polls are showing Netanyahu and Likkud with a substantial lead. Netanyahu, who has been critical of the current Kadima-Party-led government for its restraint in the Gaza incursion and subsequent cease-fire violations has received endorsement from the leadership of the ultra-religious Shas party.

Shas is having its own election problems, with the Israeli Central Elections Committee ruling that a recent Shas TV ad, which has Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef offering a blessing to those who vote for Shas candidates: “They, their sons, students and kin will all be blessed… with happiness and honor, good health and success.” Rabbi Yosef is no stranger to controversy. WikiPedia has a great article about this complex and controversial figure. Netanyahu is already reaching out to his Labor and Kadima opponents (Ehud Barak and Tzipi Livni) and party leaders and says he plans to build a large and inclusive coalition government.

Election Coverage:
• Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Election Info
• Ynetnews
• Haaretz
• Jerusalem Post

Did you miss the Second Annual Facebook Hug a Jew Day? Find more here:

Bar Mitzvah Project Saves Local Afterschool Programs

No So Odd Couple – Both these stories can be found in Ynet’s Health & Science News:
• Israeli girls: Anorexia is beautiful
• Over third of Israel’s kids overweight

Don’t Plant a Tree on Tu B’Shvat – Israeli scientist suggests that in the midst of a water crisis might not be the best time to be planting trees.

The Madoff Scandal-Not Old News Yet
• This website tracks news about the Madoff scandal and lists organizations, funds, and clients who were affected.
• Rabbi calls for excommunicating Madoff
• Parenting Column in the Philadelphia Jewish Voice offers advice on talking to children about the Madoff scandal and the current US/World economic crisis.

News2Use is a new feature written by Adrian A. Durlester. To comment or respond, send an email to Adrian at or to Torah Aura at