Charges by a mysterious CIA official that Israel recruits religious American Jews to spy on the United States has sparked outrage from several Jewish leaders and a call for a public CIA response.
The allegations were aired Sunday night on the CBS news show “60 Minutes” focusing on the case of Adam Ciralsky, a former CIA attorney who claims he was fired because of his ethnicity.
Striding across the opulent lobby of Manhattan’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel last Sunday morning, Michael Sonnenfeldt, chair of the pro-peace Israel Policy Forum, spotted Malcolm Hoenlein, the top executive of the nation’s leading Jewish umbrella group — the 50-year-old Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
“It seems like I’m always following you around,” joked Sonnenfeldt, a private investor with a linebacker’s build, extending his hand.
As criticism mounted this week against a top Israeli rabbi for comments which seemed to blame Holocaust victims for their own murders, the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party spiritual leader found support in an unexpected quarter.
American Rabbi Ronald Price, the head of a moderate Jewish group, told The Jewish Week that Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s volatile words have been badly misunderstood, and unnecessarily prompted a firestorm of negative reaction from Israeli officials, American Jewish organizations and Holocaust memorial representatives.
As Israel’s fourth prime minister in four years begins to stitch together a new parliamentary coalition, some American Jewish leaders are cautiously optimistic that Ehud Barak will fulfill campaign promises and usher in a new era of religious pluralism in the Jewish state.
Jerusalem — At about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, Pope John Paul II became the first pontiff in the history of Catholicism to recognize a State of Israel on its own soil.
Clutching his wooden staff under a steady rain, the stooped, white-robed Pope stood at a lectern at a festively decorated Ben-Gurion Airport landing strip, and in a hoarse voice said in English: “I greet all the people of the State of Israel.”
In a surprising move, a leader of Brooklyn's large, generally hawkish Syrian Jewish community has lambasted Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for refusing to talk with Syria, as pressure built on multiple fronts on Washington and Jerusalem to dialogue with Damascus.
Jack Avital, a longtime confidante of Ariel Sharon and chairman of the Sephardic National Alliance, told The Jewish Week last week he planned to publish an open letter to Olmert laying out his case against Israel's rejection of such talks to the Syrian Jewish community.
The Obama administration is confident it will retain strong Jewish support even as it ratchets up the pressure on Israel and offers clues that, unlike its predecessors, it means what it says about the thorny issue of Jewish settlements on the West Bank.
While the pro-Israel establishment is already reacting angrily to the administration’s shifted red lines on settlements, many analysts say President Barack Obama’s ability to soften tough positions with pro-Israel reassurances will prevent a broad Jewish backlash.
Vice President Dick Cheney’s trip throughout the Middle East last week found him in Israel on Easter — he joined thousands of pilgrims at a service in Jerusalem — but his visit there was no holiday.
During his three days in Israel, Cheney met with Israeli and Palestinian officials, voiced the Bush administration’s continued support for the Jewish state, urged all sides in the Middle East peace process to make further concessions and criticized two belligerent governments in the region.
The legislative storm over the Clinton administration’s defiance of a law requiring that the U.S. embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is intensifying. But there are also indications that lawmakers, responding to Prime Minister Ehud Barak&
Several pieces of legislation are in the hopper and letters criticizing the administration’s position are flying down Pennsylvania Avenue, but lawmakers who threatened to strip away the president’s authority to waive penalties under the original Jerusalem Embassy Act have apparently decided to hold their fire.
Meeting with Jewish members of Congress last week, Barak said a decision to force the embassy move now could have implications for the peace process he is trying to revive.
Gone from an end table near the sofa in Ronald Lauder’s elegant Midtown office, high above Fifth Avenue, is the framed photo of him with his friend Benjamin Netanyahu. In its place, says someone who’s visited the office before, is a photo of the 55-year-old businessman, philanthropist and Jewish leader with the current Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak.