Why Israel allowed the settlement freeze to expire

09/28/2010 - 20:00

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- In the four weeks since direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks resumed, settlement construction has been identified widely as the most immediate obstacle to the survival of negotiations.

In media accounts about the diplomatic standoff over the issue, Israel’s decision not to extend its self-imposed 10-month freeze on settlement building has been portrayed as a slap in the face to the Obama administration, deepening Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and creating more stumbling blocks to a final peace accord between Israelis and Palestinians.

Week For Mockeries At The UN

Farcical proceedings inside and outside the General Assembly.
09/28/2010 - 20:00

During last week’s gathering of world leaders for the annual opening of the United Nations General Assembly, some of the proceedings inside were nearly as farcical as the proceedings outside.

Marchers Protest Jerusalem Neighborhood’s Gender Separation

09/28/2010 - 20:00

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Protesters marched in Mea Shearim, a day after Israel's Supreme Court ruled that men and women cannot be segregated on its main street.

The demonstrators marched Wednesday in the fervently religious neighborhood of Jerusalem to protest gender separation on public streets of the city.

The court on Tuesday approved the march over Jerusalem police objections, but ordered the route altered so that the march did not end at the central Shabbat Square.

Settlers Caught In Limbo Land

Freeze is over, but West Bank residents fearing new building crackdown.
09/28/2010 - 20:00
Israel Correspondent

 Oranit, West Bank — The long-awaited deadline of Israel’s settlement moratorium came and went at midnight Monday. But in this settlement that hugs the Green Line about 12 miles east of Tel Aviv, there was no army of bulldozers to signal a new building wave — at least until Israelis come back from the Sukkot vacation this weekend.

A bulldozer breaks ground Monday on new housing units in settlement of Oranit.  Joshua Mitnick

Messianic Jews Making New Push In Flatbush

Counter-missionaries warn of major center in heart of Orthodox Brooklyn, but residents seem unconcerned.
09/28/2010 - 20:00
Staff Writer

On the 1900 block of Coney Island Avenue, a major business thoroughfare in the heart of Brooklyn’s heavily Orthodox Flatbush neighborhood, you could easily buy some kosher sushi or a few tractates of the Talmud.

Soon, the neighborhood’s residents will also have the opportunity to study the New Testament there and attend Jewish-style worship services that recognize Jesus as the Messiah.

Chosen People Ministries’ Flatbush building.

J Street Reeling After Soros Money Revelation

Extent of damage for lobby on Hill unclear; ‘huge setback,’ says expert.
09/28/2010 - 20:00
Washington Correspondent

Since it was formed, J Street, the pro-peace process lobby and political action committee, has fought for credibility in the face of charges from the right that it is anti-Israel. This week it was reeling after revelations in the Washington Times that the group has received substantial contributions from controversial financier George Soros — despite two years of denials.

Early indications suggest J Street’s membership base is holding fast, but there were reports that some members of Congress connected with the group may be reconsidering their affiliation.

George Soros contributed $750,000 to J Street over a three-year period. The group had repeatedly denied the contributions.

Clinton, Syrian FM Discuss Israel-Syria Talks

09/28/2010 - 20:00

 (JTA) — Hillary Rodham Clinton met with the Syrian foreign minister and discussed reviving Israeli-Syrian peace talks.
The U.S. secretary of state met with Walid Muallem on the sidelines of the launching of this year’s United Nations General Assembly, the signature annual event that brings together foreign ministers otherwise not inclined to meet one on one.

Bibi Backs Away From Lieberman Plan

09/28/2010 - 20:00

(JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu distanced himself from his foreign minister’s plan that would transfer Israeli Arab towns to a future Palestinian state in exchange for annexing Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Avigdor Lieberman offered a draft of his proposal Tuesday to the United Nations General Assembly in New York. It would redraw the borders of Israel to include several large Jewish settlements in the West Bank and exclude large Israeli Arab towns, which would become part of a newly created Palestinian state.

Israel Intercepts Jewish Boat Headed For Gaza

09/28/2010 - 20:00

(JTA) — Israeli commandos peacefully intercepted a boat carrying Jewish activists who hoped to breach Israel’s embargo of the Gaza Strip.
Israeli Navy boats blocked the Irene, which was carrying 10 passengers and crew, at about midday Tuesday and diverted the boat to Israel’s Ashdod seaport.
The boat was carrying a cargo of toys and medical equipment for distribution inside Gaza. The inventory is intended for delivery to the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme.



Israeli Jews Back Non-Orthodox Conversions, Poll Finds

09/28/2010 - 20:00

(JTA) — Nearly two-thirds of Israeli Jews believe that non-Orthodox converts to Judaism should be considered Jewish, a new Israeli government survey reveals.

The survey released Monday, which was commissioned by the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry to gauge Israelis’ perceptions of the diaspora, found that 63 percent of Israeli Jews believe that those converted by non-Orthodox rabbis should be regarded as Jews. Some 30 percent believed they should not be seen as Jewish.

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