CARACAS, Venezuela (JTA) -- On a balmy tropical evening in early December, a few hundred families, mostly of Moroccan descent, gathered to inaugurate the first phase of what eventually will be a grand, two-story marble shul located in a wealthy Caracas neighborhood.
Among them, Claudio Benaim’s family beamed as Benaim stood with Rabbi Isaac Cohen as he recited a prayer into a microphone and affixed a mezuzah on the synagogue’s doorpost. Others admired the new flat-screen TVs listing daily prayer times.
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- After two years of relative quiet since the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, Israel's southern border with Gaza is again becoming volatile.
Last week, Gazans fired a rocket into Israel that landed close to a kindergarten in a kibbutz near Ashkelon just as parents were dropping off their children. Although no one was hurt, nothing like that had happened since the war.
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Israel has filed a complaint in the United Nations over rocket attacks from Gaza.
In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Security Council President Susan Rice, Meron Reuben, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, called on the body to "send a clear and resolute message that these attacks are unacceptable."
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- A careful reading of the WikiLeaks trove of State Department cables -- which is laying bare some 250,000 secret dispatches detailing private conversations, assessments and dealmaking of U.S. diplomats -- reveals a notable if perhaps surprising pattern: how often they get things wrong.
Again and again the cables show diplomats, lawmakers and heads of state predicting outcomes that never come to pass.
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the United States in early 2009 that he supported land swaps in a peace agreement with the Palestinians, a leaked document shows.
Netanyahu also said in the meeting with a delegation of U.S. officials in Israel two weeks after Israel's last national election that Israel does not want to control Gaza and the West Bank, according to a WikiLeaks cable released on Monday.
(JTA) -- An international aid convoy entered Gaza from Egypt.
The Viva Palestina convoy of nearly 140 vehicles, $5 million in aid and 370 passengers from 30 countries, entered Gaza through the Rafah crossing on Thursday afternoon. The convoy reportedly was carrying school and medical supplies.
The convoy left more than a month ago from London, travelling by land and sea through France, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Syria before reaching Egypt.
Gaza has been under a naval blockade by Israel since Hamas took over the coastal strip in 2007.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Israel's presence in the Jordan Valley under a peace agreement would be "phased," Israel's U.S. ambassador told an audience of Muslim and Arab Americans.
Michael Oren at a dinner arranged by the Center for Middle East Peace said Wednesday night that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has "stated his commitment to continuing a phased Israeli army presence in the Jordan Valley."
"We understand that this may conflict with the search for dignity on the part of the Palestinians. That is why we stress the word phased," he said.