Haim Ramon says he wants to make one thing perfectly clear:
“I am a pluralist,” the Israeli cabinet minister told The Jewish Week repeatedly in a phone interview Tuesday. After reading others’ account of his remarks at a Sept. 30 meeting with dovish American Jewish activists, he denounced them as “lies.” The private meeting was reported on the front page of last week’s Jewish Week.
An initiative by Israel’s ruling One Israel party to rally American Jewish supporters of its peace policies blew up in acrimony last week over the issue of religious pluralism in the Jewish state.
Haim Ramon, a senior cabinet minister and key adviser to Prime Minister Ehud Barak, bluntly rejected concerns about religious and civil rights for non-Orthodox Jews raised at what was to be a private briefing on the peace process for centrist and dovish Jewish groups.
Reform Jewish officials announced plans this week to raise $50 million over the next decade to build synagogues and community centers throughout Israel as part of an aggressive and ambitious new strategy to boost the movement worldwide.
The announcement by Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch, executive director of Reform's Zionist and international arm called ARZA/World Union, comes as North America's largest Jewish denomination begins its biennial convention in Orlando, Fla.
For Israel this week, the outbreak of war between Georgia and Russia has been all about Iran.
As Tblisi and Moscow agreed to a cease-fire Tuesday in their five-day conflict over two disputed territories, Russia was still bristling with anger over U.S. policies and statements on the issue. But thanks to Israel’s decision to limit its arms sales to Georgia, the Kremlin had only kind words for Israel, Washington’s closest ally, as the guns of war died down.
A man who likes extinct languages, Mel Gibson had a chance to practice his Latin this summer — he made several mea culpas.
Following his drunken, sexist, profane, anti-Semitic tirade in Malibu in July, the actor-director apologized to the police officers who arrested him. He apologized in a general public statement for saying “despicable” things. He apologized “specifically to everyone in the Jewish community,” to “those who have been hurt and offended by those words.”
Elie Rekhess is a senior research fellow at Tel Aviv University's Moshe Dayan Center for Middle East Studies and an adviser to the Abraham Fund, which promotes coexistence between the Jews and Arabs in Israel. Born in Haifa, Rekhess, 53, served as a strategic adviser to Ehud Barak during his successful campaign for prime minister. He is currently an adviser to the Ministerial Committee on the Arabs in Israel. He was interviewed during a recent visit to the city.
Jewish Week: How has the attitude of the Arab citizens of Israel changed since the Oslo peace accords in 1993?
When Natan Sharansky, the ex-Soviet refusenik turned hard-line Israeli cabinet minister, visited several local universities here last month, he brought a pointed message: Yasir Arafat, he told students at Columbia University and New York University, is an unrepentant ìdictatorî who is an ominous presence dooming peace and must be removed.