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Jerusalem on Edge After Deadly Attacks

Two Palestinian men from East Jerusalem entered a synagogue in West Jerusalem on Nov. 18 armed with knives and a gun, killing four worshippers and fatally wounding an Israeli officer before being shot dead by police. The attack was the deadliest mass killing in the city since 2008, but it was far from an isolated event.

For over a month, several Palestinian militants from Jerusalem have been staging lone-wolf attacks on Jewish Israelis. A Palestinian man killed two people in Jerusalem on Oct. 22 by ramming his car into a tram stop. Clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police in East Jerusalem have increased, adding to the sense of a rising tide of violence. (In early November, two Israeli Jews, one in Tel Aviv and the other in the West Bank, were also stabbed by Palestinian assailants.)

Why now? With the peace process stalled after the collapse of U.S.-led talks in April, a volatile mix of issues are at stake. Many of Jerusalem’s Arab residents have residency cards but not citizenship and refuse to vote in municipal elections as a form of protest, leaving them with virtually no political representation. As Jewish neighborhoods and settlements expand, Palestinians say they find it difficult to obtain building permits.

But the biggest issue that seems to be pushing Israelis and Palestinians closer to active conflict is an ancient place of worship sacred to both Jews and Muslims: the Temple Mount, or Noble Sanctuary. Some Jewish groups have been lobbying the Israeli government to overturn a ban on non-Muslim prayer there, and the Israeli Ministry of Religious Affairs has proposed easing passage for Jews who want to visit. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recently warned of a “religious war” if Israel shifts its policy on the site–which is administered by an Islamic trust–which led to accusations of incitement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

If the current violence develops into a full-scale Palestinian uprising, it would likely be waged by militants living in Jerusalem. That would be in stark contrast to the second intifadeh, or uprising, of 2000 to 2004, when most Palestinian combatants lived in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip.

The prospect of an enemy within now has Jewish Jerusalem on edge; retired major general Dan Ronen, the former head of Israeli police operations, suggested on Nov. 18 that Israelis should treat their Palestinian neighbors with suspicion. Meanwhile, Palestinians who live and work in West Jerusalem now face heightened security checks as well as mistrust. As the frequency of attacks increases, the status quo in the city that both peoples consider their capital is beginning to collapse.


‘This may change the country forever. How? By ending impunity.’

DILMA ROUSSEFF, President of Brazil, speaking on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting in Australia about a deepening corruption scandal at Petrobras, the state-run oil giant, on Nov. 16, two days after an investigation led to the arrest of a former senior executive. Despite her rhetoric, the probe poses a challenge for Rousseff, who chaired the company’s board from 2003 to 2010.



Market-research firm GfK ranked 50 countries based on how positively they were viewed by 20,000 people worldwide in terms of culture, governance and other factors. Below, a sampling:

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1 Germany

2 U.S.

23 China

25 Russia

50 Iran

Ebola’s Toll


Signs mark the graves of Ebola victims at a cemetery near a Red Cross–run Ebola treatment center in the eastern district of Kenema on Nov. 15. The virus is advancing rapidly across Sierra Leone, where it has killed more than 1,100 people since May. According to a government study, the outbreak threatens to wipe out social and economic gains made since the end of a devastating civil war more than a decade ago.


Japan’s Abe Gambles on Snap Poll

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on Nov. 18 for snap elections, seeking a fresh mandate after Japan stumbled into recession. The unexpected slump marked a blow to his economic policies, dubbed Abenomics, to boost growth in the world’s third largest economy.

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Toxic tax

The recent economic slowdown can be traced back to April, when a sales-tax rise hit consumer demand. Abe has now delayed a second hike, initially due next year, until 2017.

Sagging support

As the economy wobbled, so did Abe’s government, with two high-profile Cabinet ministers resigning in October amid political-funding scandals. His approval ratings have fallen to their lowest since he came to power in 2012.

What’s next

Abe’s ruling coalition faces a weak opposition and is likely to triumph in the coming ballot. But a reduced margin of victory could force Abe to rethink his economic program, the centerpiece of his political agenda.



The number of 10-to-24-year-olds in the world–a historic high, according to the U.N., which warned governments to invest in youth education, health care and job prospects or face political instability

Trending In


Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos suspended talks with the leftist guerrilla group FARC on Nov. 17 after it kidnapped an army general, a soldier and a military lawyer in a remote jungle area, throwing a two-year-old peace process into disarray.


Ukraine banned poultry imports from the U.K., Germany and the Netherlands on Nov. 19 after a highly contagious strain of bird flu was discovered in the three European countries.


Mexico’s First Lady Angélica Rivera, a former soap-opera star, is selling her new mansion in one of Mexico City’s most upmarket neighborhoods after local media raised questions about how she financed the purchase.

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