The family of slain American-Israeli soldier Max Steinberg visited the Western Wall for the first time Sunday night since arriving in Israel to bury their son.
Evie and Stuart Steinberg, and their remaining son and daughter, Jake and Paige, who arrived last week for the funeral of St.-Sgt. Steinberg, 24, a southern California native killed in Gaza in an attack on the armored personnel carrier in which he was riding, were accompanied by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and his wife.
The war in Gaza is naturally being covered in the U.S. But this past week, with two soldiers who grew up in the U.S. -- Staff Sgt. Nissim Sean Carmeli and Sgt. Max Steinberg -- killed in battle, the coverage has taken on a different light: excited, focused on the lone soldiers.
You can dislike Israel. You can oppose Zionism. You can feel no sadness or sympathy whatsoever for Max Steinberg - the American-Israeli soldier killed by Hamas fighters in Operation Protective Edge - and whose funeral drew 30,000 mourners on Wednesday.
But reacting to his death by blaming Birthright, the organization that funded and operates free 10-day trips to Israel for young Jewish adults is simply ridiculous.
I have long been used to Israelis knowing nothing about American Jews who come to live in Israel. I am less used to American Jews not knowing the first thing about them, but drawing extensive conclusions nonetheless.
The unity of purpose in American Jewish ranks encourages and inspires but, as is always the case, will not last forever. When a lasting ceasefire is eventually accepted and the fighting in Gaza stops, Israel will go back—as it should—to the healthy give-and-take of normal political life, and the division between the two major political camps will reassert itself.
Chief Rabbi of the IDF Brig. Gen. Rabbi Rafi Peretz, Dr. Chen Kogel of the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute, Col. Yaffa Mor of the IDF Manpower Directorate's casualty division, and Chief Rabbi of the Jordan Valley region Rabbi Shlomo Didi visited the Shaul family home in Poria Illith on Sunday.
Over the course of three hours, the officials convinced Shaul's parents, Zahava and Herzl, and his siblings, Aviram and Ofek, to begin the ritual mourning period.
An IDF officer involved in military operations inside the Gaza Strip was attacked by haredi extremists on Monday while on temporary leave in Beit Shemesh.
Yesh Atid MK Dov Lipman:
"Avichai Rontzki from Itamar, a former IDF chief rabbi ... delivered a messianic, fiery speech, which to me and many of my friends seemed strange and incomprehensible. He praised the miracle of God's army, an army in which my comrades and I did not know we were serving.
… When they brought us back out, we just wanted to eat, shower, sleep and call home, mom and dad. We got close to Kibbutz Nahal Oz and then they gathered us together. You know how it is in the army - when told to gather, you gather. Waiting for us was a bunch of Breslev Hasidic Jews singing 'Messiah, Messiah', dancing and bouncing around. We formed a circle around them, and a bunch of fighters danced with them in ecstasy."
Deputy Minister for Religious Services Ben-Dahan informed the committee that more than 6,500 farmers in Israel have or are receiving guidance, advice and assistance for choosing one of the options available to them during the shmita year.
This includes switching to hydroponics agriculture for the year, a method of growing produce in water without soil, which is permitted during shmita; the heter mechira solution; the Rabbinical Store House solution in which representatives of the rabbinical courts act as the consumer’s agent without the direct input of the farmer; or for the farmers to simply take a full, state-subsidized sabbatical.