Monday, December 14th, 2009
I haven’t spoken to Michael Oren, Israel’s current ambassador in Washington, more than a handful of times, but he’s always struck me as smart and sophisticated. So I can’t help but wonder why he continues to pick needless fights with J Street, the pro-peace process lobby and political action committee (see a JTA story on his latest comments here).
Feeling estranged from the establishment American Jewish community's current "love it or leave it" support of Israel, scores of American rabbinical students have banded across denominational lines to raise critical questions about Israeli policy while also supporting the Jewish state.
New York University's Office of Student Life was the scene of a peace negotiation last week that Colin Powell can only dream about.
On one side of Sally Arthur, assistant vice president for student life, sat two leaders of a pro-Israel Jewish student group called TorchPAC. On the other side sat two officials from the pro-Palestinian Arab Student Union, the largest Arab student group at the Greenwich Village institution.
Things were getting worse for the Palestinians, Haggai Matar said earnestly. Innocents were being killed, beaten, starved and made homeless: all under the heel of the Israeli Defense Forces.
Matar, 17, reed thin and red ponytailed, was outraged by Israel's growing military operations last summer.
So with the intifada that began in September 2000 growing more violent and no end in sight to Israel's occupation, he took action.
Efrat, Israel: Standing at an empty bus stop on Hebron Road under a bright hot sun, an American traveler leaving Jerusalem for the West Bank community of Efrat suddenly feels his senses turned up a notch.
Waiting for the 167 bus heading south, the traveler watches four Israeli soldiers at a makeshift military checkpoint stop taxis, passenger cars and commercial trucks, delaying the Friday "have to get home for Shabbat" rush hour traffic.
Israel's Interior Ministry is revamping its procedures for allowing Christian clerics, religious students and volunteers to enter the country in response to growing complaints by Christian groups, The Jewish Week has learned.
The groups said they have had serious trouble in recent months obtaining entry visas and renewals for their flock.
Israel's Ministry of Interior for nearly two years has refused to grant or renew visas for Christian clergy and other religious officials, an apparent violation of international religious freedom agreements, The Jewish Week has learned.
Critics of the policy, which has prompted rising anger and frustration among Christian leaders, are blaming Shas, the fervently Orthodox Sephardic political party, which has been running the Interior Ministry.
Settlers defiant in face of Netanyahu’s 10-month construction freeze.
Elkana, West Bank — Jewish settlers are embarking on a campaign of civil disobedience, court cases and lobbying to counter a new government policy to curb settlement activity for 10 months as a peace process gesture.
Backed by the settler leadership, residents blocked building inspectors from the military Civil Administration at the entrance of some towns on Tuesday after showing no resistance on Monday.
With Islam’s top religious leaders publicly sanctioning suicide bombings against Jews, outraged New York rabbis plan to protest the behavior of their religious counterparts at a demonstration in front of the Palestine Mission next Monday.
Washington — They came from Memphis and they came from Midwood. They bused in from Bayside and they rode the rails from Richmond. There were Hoosiers and Bluegrass Staters and a soul or two from Alaska who took a long day’s journey into the Lower 48 wearing their love of the Jewish state — and their fears over its future — on their sleeves.