Grace Meng of Queens, whose press releases note that she is the only Asian American serving in the New York state Legislature, recently visited Israel on one of those JCRC missions intended to build political support among politicians who may not have had a prior chance to see the country personally and meet its leaders.
I've read or heard many such accounts from elected officials on their return from such missions, but the one below struck me as particularly interesting and insightful enough to reprint in near-entirety here.
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Israel's Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar said he will no longer be responsible for any state conversions if the Knesset passes a bill requiring recognition of all military conversions.
In a letter sent to Benjamin Netanyahu, Amar called the prime minister to prevent the passage of the bill, the Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.
Amar has charged a committee to look into legal and halachic issues surrounding the military conversions. He asked Netanyahu to allow the committee to conclude its work before allowing the legislation to go forward.
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- A Knesset committee approved a bill to protect Israeli soldiers who have converted to Judaism through military conversion courts from having their conversions annulled.
The Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs on Sunday approved the bill, initiated by lawmaker David Rotem of the Yisrael Beiteinu Party. The bill, if passed, would force all state agencies, including rabbinic courts and the chief city rabbis and other Orthodox marriage registrars, to accept the converts as Jews.
Some Arab members of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, are stepping up their belligerent approach, openly siding with Israel’s enemies. While representing a small minority of Israel’s 1.3 million Arab citizens, their actions could endanger Jewish-Arab relations in Israel.
Knesset member Haneen Zoabi, of the Balad party, was on the Turkish vessel that tried to land in Hamas-ruled Gaza on May 31, seeking to break the Israeli blockade. Earlier that month, six Arab Knesset members traveled to Libya to meet with President Muammar Gaddafi.
Time Magazine released its list of the top ten satirical Twitter feeds. By "satirical," Time is referring to an intentionally faux feeds that seeks to poke fun at its subject. Topping the list is British Petroleum's fake public relations feed, which notably has five times as many followers as BP's official, verified Twitter account. [I'm sure it will only gain in popularity with this publicity.]