Jerusalem — For the first time in her life, Efrat, a 19-year-old yeshiva student, will be voting in Israel’s national elections. Seated around a table with girlfriends in the food court of a downtown shopping mall, the soft-spoken teenager lists the issues most important to her.
“There needs to be more unity among all the people. Right now, there’s a distance between us. We need to be one nation, one people,” she says.
Jerusalem — Having successfully recovered millions of dollars worth of Jewish property lost in the Holocaust, restitution experts in Israel and the U.S. are now setting their sights on the Arab world.
The Knesset Parliamentary Committee on the Restitution of Jewish Property announced plans this month to create a national center to register documents and testimony about the possibly “tens of billions of dollars” in property left behind by Jews who emigrated to Israel from Arab/Muslim countries.
Jerusalem — Eli Sanders, an incoming senior at Columbia University, never gave much thought to campus anti-Semitism — that is, until a fellow student submitted a controversial article to the Columbia Daily Spectator.
“It was an opinion piece, and it said that the hands of the Jews are stained in blood,” Sanders, the paper’s chief editor, recalls during a tour of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem — All they ever wanted was a child. For a decade the observant couple, who live on a moshav in the north, had been trying to have a baby, only to have their hopes dashed time after time. The wife, who could not conceive naturally, underwent numerous in-vitro fertilization treatments. Even when these proved successful, she suffered eight miscarriages due to an immunological disorder that caused her body to reject the fetuses.
Desperate, the couple went in search of a woman who could bear them a child.
Jerusalem — In the wake of this week’s agreement between the United Nations and Iraq, attention here turned to the threat posed by other countries in the Middle East with nonconventional weapons.
In addition to Iraq, “Iran, Syria, Egypt and Libya are all developing chemical and biological weapons at a rapid rate,” said Dr. Dany Shoham, a military expert at Bar-Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Affairs.
Jerusalem — Yossi Oren says he isn’t worried that Iraq will attack Israel with conventional, biological or chemical weapons.
“The situation is a lot better now than it was seven years ago,” asserts the 43-year-old Jerusalemite, referring to the 1991 Gulf War. During that six-week battle, Iraq lobbed 39 Scud missiles at Israel.
“Today,” Oren continues, “Israel has more sophisticated tools to destroy missiles. And anyway, I don’t think any Scuds will fall.”
Jerusalem — What do Israelis make of the crisis over conversions that has bitterly divided American Jews? While many are still unaware of the Reform and Conservative movements and what they stand for, there are indications that the issue, which has simmered for about a year, is finally making an impact here.
The media this week devoted more attention than ever to the issue. The mass-circulation dailies, which rarely referred to the conversion crisis, have been brimming with articles on the so-called “conversion bill crisis” for several months now.
Jerusalem — As Israelis lined up at hardware stores this week to buy plastic sheeting and rolls of adhesive tape to seal rooms against possible chemical or biological agents, Liora Abramson was taking things in stride — for now.
“We’re feeling really, really calm. If it weren’t for the news reports on TV, I wouldn’t know that a war might be looming,” said Abramson, 21, whose family moved from Borough Park, Brooklyn, to Tel Aviv eight years ago.
Tirana, Albania — Barely six weeks ago, the recreational facility and park grounds known as Piscina, in the nation’s capital, was one of the few places where Albanian families could go for a swim, hike through the forest, or ride in bumper cars.
That was before local authorities turned Piscina into a refugee camp.
Since early April, it has served as a tent city for 2,500 ethnic Albanian refugees forced out of Yugoslavia by the Serbs.