Michael Freund
Michael Freund
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

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The Maccabees, the Mount and modern Israel

December 10, 2018  •  Jerusalem Post

Just a few days before the start of Hanukkah, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan delivered remarks that would have made the Maccabees proud.

Speaking at the Conference on the National Interest arranged by the My Israel organization at Jerusalem's Menachem Begin Heritage Center, Erdan addressed the topic of the Temple Mount and the right of Jews to worship there, which of course is a central theme of the holiday we are celebrating this week.

While much of the media seems not to have taken notice, Erdan's comments may signal the beginning of a much-needed and long-awaited change in Israeli policy, one that would herald a full restoration of Jewish rights at our nation's holiest site.

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Heroes, hoodlums and homes in Hebron

October 17, 2018  •  Jerusalem Post

Earlier this week, the cabinet passed a welcome decision that was long overdue. For the first time since 2002, the government approved the construction of 31 Jewish housing units in Hebron, thereby allowing the city's Jewish community to continue to grow.

That it took 16 years to grant permission to Hebron's Jews to build is remarkable, for it underlines how successive governments have failed to muster the requisite courage needed to fortify and expand the Jewish presence in the City of the Patriarchs. There is simply no reason it should be so difficult for Jews to build in the place where our founding father, Abraham, lived and was buried.

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How the Bible pushed a man to flee North Korea

October 13, 2018  •  Jerusalem Post

As he strides into the room and sits down in a plush chair across a small table from me, it quickly becomes apparent that my interlocutor, a prominent defector from North Korea, spent a great deal of time in the military. Despite his ready smile and slightly mischievous sense of humor, Mr. Shim, as he asks to be called, has ramrod straight posture and fluid motions that readily reveal his army background.

After briefly glancing at me, with my kippah perched on my head, he grins and turns to the translator and says, with an unconcealed smile, "This is a first for me. I have never sat down and spoken with a Jew before."

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Start-Up Nation vs Blow-Up Nation

October 10, 2018  •  Jerusalem Post

With its decades-old track record of murder and mayhem, Hamas has already secured itself a place in the annals of infamy. From bus bombings to underground terror tunnels to the indiscriminate firing of thousands of rockets and projectiles at Israeli towns and cities, the Islamic extremist group has repeatedly found new ways to sow widespread death and destruction. But just when it seems that their injurious impulses cannot possibly sink any lower, the organization's terrorist masterminds somehow manage to come up with novel methods that would make even the devil blush.

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The lesson of the Oslo Accords

September 13, 2018  •  Jerusalem Post

Over the course of the past 70 years, Israel has committed its fair share of grave miscalculations, many of which continue to haunt the country and harm our national security. From the failure to annex Judea, Samaria and Gaza in the immediate aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War, to the refusal to believe that Egypt would dare attack in 1973, and on to the inconclusive 2006 Second Lebanon War, the Jewish state's indecision has often proven to be costly in both blood and tears.

And yet, as we mark the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Oslo Accords with the PLO this week, it is clear that even these blunders pale in comparison with the capricious capitulation that took place on the White House Lawn on September 13, 1993.

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