Despite criticism from the right and the left, a special Israeli cabinet subcommittee adopted the recommendations of the Neeman Commission this week and authorized the first of several planned conversion institutes, to open in Beersheva this spring.
Professor Binyamin Ish-Shalom, a respected educator and scholar, was named to head the institute. The board of directors will have seven members — five Orthodox, one Conservative and one Reform.
Israel’s inner cabinet made official what its prime minister and defense minister have been proposing in recent weeks — Israel’s army will conditionally withdraw from southern Lebanon in accordance with a 20-year-old United Nations resolution.
But Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Dore Gold, said the UN has not been asked to play a role in the withdrawal.
James Besser |
by James D. Besser
Washington and Jerusalem appeared on a collision course this week as the Clinton administration pressed forward with a series of proposals for ending the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate that the Netanyahu government regards as dangerous and intrusive.
After meeting with Israeli, Syrian and Lebanese leaders, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he believed all were interested in advancing peace in the region, according to Israel’s UN ambassador, Dore Gold.
In an interview from Jerusalem, Gold said Annan made the comment after expressing appreciation for Israel’s pledge to withdraw from the 9-mile-wide buffer zone it maintains in southern Lebanon.
It’s Round 2 for the Neeman Commission. Still staggering from the knock-down, drag-out fight over conversions in Israel, the five-member committee chaired by Finance Minister Yaacov Neeman is about to enter the freedom-of-religion fray again, this time to tackle the controversy over allowing women to pray in groups at the Western Wall.
Yavne, Israel — In the religious junior high school of this development town of 25,000 an hour south of Tel Aviv, an educational miracle is taking place with Ethiopian Jewish children. Long neglected by Israel’s education establishment, and against seemingly insurmountable odds, Ethiopian teens are soaring up the learning curve.