The Jewish year 5772 was marked by a growing uncertainty among the Jewish people worldwide.
From the threat of a nuclear Iran to Egypt’s new government led by the Muslim Brotherhood to the chaos that erupted in Syria, Israel found its longtime status quo imperiled on a number of fronts.
A marked increase in attacks on Jewish targets in Europe — from Israeli tourists in Bulgaria to Jewish schoolchildren in Toulouse, France — helped exacerbate the Jewish sense of insecurity. That feeling was fueled by calls in a growing number of European countries to ban ritual circumcision and shechitah, Jewish ritual slaughter.
But Israel’s biggest concern centered on Iran. Intense will-they-or-won’t-they-attack speculation dominated the conversation amid tensions between Washington and Jerusalem over their respective red lines.
The recent unrest sparked presumably by an American-made video said to denigrate the prophet Mohammad has raised fears again that the region could become a flashpoint and that violence against the United States and Israel could spread.
But there was a more positive side to the news around the world as well. Gilad Shalit was released after five years of captivity, arriving home to a hero’s welcome.
Madonna, kicking off her world tour, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers were among the cultural acts to perform in Israel.
And Jews, both in Israel and America, triumphed again by capturing a share of Nobel prizes.