Could Latest Conversion Flap Bring Down Israel’s Government?

The Knesset’s passage today of a preliminary reading of a bill that affirms the legitimacy of conversions performed by rabbis of the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) seems benign on the surface.

After all, the IDF rabbis are chosen by the Chief Rabbinate, and the vote was an overwhelming 74-18.

Israeli Army Uses Facebook to Catch Female Draft Dodgers

An article in All Facebook, the unofficial Facebook blog, reports that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has been using the social networking site to nab female Israelis who claim to be religious enough to be exempted from army service. Apparently, their activity on Facebook tells a different story -- one the army is interested to learn.

Are these women religious enough on Facebook to forgo their army service?

Media Watch: Rachel’s Tomb Is Now A Mosque — Who Cares?

The Kotel is next, say the Palestinians.

Associate Editor

Mother Rachel and Yitzchak Rabin are forever linked by adjacent yahrtzeits, hers on Heshvan 11, his on the 12th. They’re linked as well by one of Rabin’s final and finest moments in the Knesset. On Oct. 5, 1995, one day shy of a month before his assassination, Rabin asked the Knesset to ratify Oslo’s cornerstone “Israel-Palestinian Interim Agreement,” and what that meant for Rachel’s Tomb.

Rachel’s Tomb, here in a pre-1996 photo, before Israel built security walls that masked the once-idyllic setting.

Foundation Helping Wounded IDF Soldiers

The Jewish Week attends a Dror for the Wounded Foundation event featuring Michael Amoyev. Michael was wounded in the Cast Lead operation in 2009. Each year thousand of Israeli soldiers are wounded in action. It is sometimes difficult to navigate the system to get the services that are necessary to help with recovery. The Dror for the Wounded Foundation helps victims find help within the complicated system and provides financial assistance to those in need.

The Giving of the Torah

Local synagogues’ scroll donations enhance worship for Ethiopian Israelis and IDF members.

Editorial Intern

Torah scrolls from the New York area are writing new chapters in the lives of Israeli soldiers and of a struggling Ethiopian congregation in the Israeli town of Beit Shemesh.
From the National Council of Young Israel (NCYI), which has donated dozens of Torah scrolls over the years, to the East Midwood Jewish Center, which made its maiden Torah run two weeks ago, this is the summer of the celebratory dance with Torah held high, a trans-Atlantic act of kindness, many times over.

Members of the East Midwood Jewish Center with members of Congregation Be’er Avraham, an Ethiopian synagogue in Beit Shemesh.

Tweeting the Flotilla Attack

Peter Beinart's essay "The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment" in The New York Review of Books argues that most of the mainstream American Jewish organizations have abandoned liberalism on the issues of the Middle East and are responsible for a generation of young Jews who hold no connection to Israel.

Palestinian members of Hamas naval police prepare for arrival of flotilla

Time To Talk To Hamas

Associate Editor

I understand the right. I don’t flinch when Palestinians, even civilians, catch an IDF bullet. When Arabs say massacre, I hear fraud. Talking politics, you lose me at “What would the world say?” I don’t believe survivors of slavery would spill seder wine with their pinkies because Egypt got hit by frogs.

A Gaza ‘Shoah’ With Tea And Jam

Associate Editor

‘We are doing everything in order to target the terrorists so that the Kassam rockets will stop,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Haaretz.
Oh, that was back in January. Since doing “everything,” several hundred rockets have fallen, bringing death and amputations to the people of Southern Israel.

Knocking On The Roof: A Briefing From The IDF On Gaza And Civilians

Imagine getting a phone call from an advancing army warning you to get out of the area.

Or getting a “knock on the roof,” in the form of a dummy bomb dropped from a military plane, warning you that the terrorist hiding in your building has been targeted, and the next bomb will be real.

Reserve Duty A Bad Study Break

Staff Writer
Ziv Barak is scheduled to start two weeks of reserve duty with the Israel Defense Forces in the West Bank beginning Sunday. “In the past when I have been called, it has been for drills,” said Barak, 26, who completed nearly four years of military service in September 1996. “This is the first time it will be for real [as a reservist]. “I was on duty during [Palestinian rioting] in 1996, and I saw a lot of action. One of the scariest moments was when bullets hit the ground next to my feet.”
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