James Besser |
The Obama administration is confident it will retain strong Jewish support even as it ratchets up the pressure on Israel and offers clues that, unlike its predecessors, it means what it says about the thorny issue of Jewish settlements on the West Bank.
While the pro-Israel establishment is already reacting angrily to the administration’s shifted red lines on settlements, many analysts say President Barack Obama’s ability to soften tough positions with pro-Israel reassurances will prevent a broad Jewish backlash.
Israel’s Reform and Conservative movements began calculating Tuesday how much money they would receive hours after Israel’s top court ordered the state to fund their conversion programs.
The government currently provides $410,000 to conversion preparatory programs run by the Orthodox. It provides no money for non-Orthodox programs, and in 2006 The Movement for Progressive Judaism, which handles Reform conversions, filed suit.
James Besser |
While President Obama met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu halfway on the volatile issue of Iran during their inaugural meeting in Washington this week, gaps between the two allies on the issue remain wide — and could get wider still as the administration begins dealing with a palate of unattractive policy options.
Just southeast of Tel Aviv, a huge mountain peak looms over the highway below, harboring swarms of flies and wafting scents of decaying garbage down its sprouting hills. The manmade mound — called Hiriya — may contain a colossal pile of trash, but the landfill is quickly becoming Israel’s icon of environmentalism: a space to recycle waste, produce energy and cultivate greenery.
The moment he laid eyes on Mirtza Antin 74 years ago, Natan Abramovitch was determined to win a date with her. Little did he know that they’d end up fighting through a War of Independence together, witness the growth of a Jewish state and one day celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary as Tel Aviv — their city — turns 100 years old.