The Top Opinion Articles From Haaretz in 5774

As the Jewish year comes to a close, Haaretz presents a selection of the outstanding writers and op-eds of the last 12 months, addressing issues from the Gaza conflict to debates within the Jewish world, from Israel to the future of Zionism.

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Rockets being launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, August 23, 2014.
Rockets being launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, August 23, 2014.Credit: Reuters

The Hebrew year 5774 was marked by many things, but most particularly Israel's Operation Protective Edge against Hamas in Gaza. As the year comes to a close, Haaretz presents a selection of the best of its commentators' offerings, speaking to the conflict as well as a broad range of other issues.

It’s easy to criticize the Israeli government’s response to the rockets launched from Gaza in recent weeks, Peter Beinart writes. It’s harder to offer an alternative. But honest critics have an obligation to try. So here goes.

Until June 2014, Israel managed to prevent the regional chaos from spreading over its borders. But now, Ari Shavit argues, Hamas’s rockets are bringing that disorder into our orderly bubble. The combination of fanaticism, desperation and rocket capabilities are only the precursor to what we can expect over the next years and decades.

Prime Minister Netanyahu can bring back disillusioned liberal Jews such as Jonathan Chait, Roger Cohen, and Ezra Klein only by enhancing Abbas’s status in the ceasefire talks, backing a settlement freeze and showing he hasn’t abandoned the two-state solution, Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie argues.

Israel’s government lied to the U.S. 47 years ago when it set up Gush Etzion’s first settlement, Gershom Gorenberg asserts. Will the U.S. response to a massive new land takeover remain as ineffectual as back then?

Even if we put aside the moral blindness in Israel, which wasn’t shocked by a single event during the fighting, it’s impossible to comprehend the complacency afterward, Gideon Levy says.

Israel’s moral choices in the conflict are harrowing but non-negotiable, Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky writes.They are the right to defense - but not to vengeance, the moral responsibility to protect Israel’s citizens - and Gaza’s civilians, and to grieve for them all.

There are only two sides to the conflict: moderates and extremists, writes Achinoam Nini (Noa). It’s too easy to point fingers and become extremely defensive, to stick to your own and blame the other.

Room for all in the pro-Israel tent? Alan Dershowitz goes head-to-head with J Street founder and president Jeremy Ben-Ami over the role of the American Jewish community in the peace process.

I stalked a family about to make aliyah from their comfortable lives in Manhattan, Vered Kellner writes. Did they realize the price of the 'belonging' they sought, joining the Israeli cauldron of sadness, violence and dissonance?

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s insistence on recognition of Israel as the "Jewish State" reflects his imperious version of Zionism, which he is trying to force down Palestinian throats, David Landau asserts.

The ‘reunified’ city celebrated by Jerusalem Day is a lie. The 21st century municipality is a political construct that is an affront to the Jerusalem to which Jewish hearts have turned for millennia, Emily L. Hauser says.

Why do Jews win so many Nobel prizes? Forget the genius genes or bookish culture hocus pocus, Noah Efron argues. Jewish achievement in the sciences is a modern phenomenon, but the passions that drove it are now ebbing away.

Spain could have sent a powerful message to the Middle East had it apologized to and embraced the Muslims as well as the Jews who were expelled by the Inquisition, Khaled Diab writes.

Orthodox vs. Orthodox: Israel’s religious battles pit an anti-modern and isolationist Chief Rabbinate against an Orthodoxy whose liberal voice is now demanding to be heard, Tehila Friedman-Nachalon writes.

New York's Haredim rallied against the Israeli draft bill. Meanwhile, a YouTube war shows how hate is hijacking dialogue between Haredim and secular Israelis, says Rabbi Avi Shafran.

The world’s third-largest Jewish community is facing increasingly violent anti-Semitism. Do France’s Jews feel safe enough to stay? And Can France protect them? Seth Lipsky asks.

Six million Jews in America, six million in Israel: We may be one people, but it’s far from clear we have a common language, Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove writes.

Once marginal in Turkish politics, anti-Semitism has now been co-opted, if not incited, by Prime Minister Erdogan and his ruling party. How can Turkish Jews stay when they're now considered the enemy? Louis Fishman asks.

Small nations like the Palestinians cannot allow themselves the luxuries of large nations, such as brutality and contempt for morality. A moral struggle is the strongest weapon a weak, oppressed people possesses, argues Oudeh Basharat.

The Shin Bet's basic purpose has become blurred over the years, Amir Oren writes. It's now a kind of military intelligence for the occupation.

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