Michael Freund
Michael Freund
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

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Bring Herzl's grandparents for reburial in Jerusalem

July 7, 2015  •  Jerusalem Post

Over the past decade Israel has gone to great lengths to fulfill one of the dying wishes of Theodor Herzl, the founding father of modern political Zionism.

Herzl, whose 111th yahrzeit on the Hebrew calendar is being marked today, the 20th of Tammuz, wrote in his will that he wished to be buried next to his father "and to remain there until the Jewish people will transfer my remains to Eretz Israel," along with those "of my close relatives."

While nearly all of Herzl's immediate family members have indeed been brought to the Jewish state for proper re-interment, one of the most influential figures in his life – and the one who may have first inspired his Zionist passion – has yet to receive the same honor.

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Stop the Palestinian desecration of the Mount of Olives

July 2, 2015  •  Jerusalem Post

Amid the recent surge in Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israelis, our ostensible peace partners have also launched an unprecedented assault against the oldest and most prominent Jewish cemetery in the world: the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Not content with trying to snuff out the lives of innocent Jews, Palestinian vandals have been systematically and with impunity smashing tombstones, setting fires and desecrating graves.

Though the phenomenon itself is not new, the pace of destruction has been gaining pace in recent weeks, and Israel must act to protect this ancient and hallowed ground.

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When Manasseh's children visited Joseph's Tomb

June 25, 2015  •  Jerusalem Post

It was after midnight one night earlier this month that I found myself in an armored convoy on the streets of Palestinian-occupied Shechem (Nablus) on the way to a remarkable family reunion of historic proportions. More than 2,700 years after their ancestors had been exiled from the Land of Israel, a group of recent immigrants from the Bnei Menashe, or Sons of Manasseh, were set to visit their forefather Joseph's tomb, the first rendezvous of its kind.

For these 100 descendants of a lost tribe of Israel, who came on aliya from India last November through Shavei Israel, the organization I chair, it was an emotional outing, one that would provide them with a unique opportunity to reconnect with their roots in a very tangible way.

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On the US (Supreme) Court jesters and Jerusalem

June 10, 2015  •  Jerusalem Post

America's ham-handed approach to its closest ally in the Middle East was on full display earlier this week when the US Supreme Court sided with the Obama administration and struck down a Congressional law permitting Americans born in Jerusalem to record Israel as their country of birth.

As a result, the Jewish state remains the only country on the planet whose capital city is snubbed and affronted in such a manner. This diplomatic absurdity is not only offensive, it is discriminatory, and it is a slap in the face to the entire Jewish people.

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An important lesson in Jewish unity from the Shulchan Aruch

June 3, 2015  •  Jerusalem Post

This year marks the 450th anniversary of the publication of one of the most important Jewish works of the modern era, a scholarly code so influential that it continues to serve as one of the pillars of our people's faith, norms and values.

Nonetheless, despite its vast impact on Jewish life and law, the Shulchan Aruch (Hebrew for "the set table") remains largely unknown to most contemporary Jews.

Indeed, an entire generation of secular Israelis is being raised without ever glancing at its text, let alone grasping its significance, and this is something that desperately needs to change.

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