After Katsav, An End To The Machismo Excuse?

A president’s rape verdict arouses strong passion — both angry and vindicated — among Israelis.
01/03/2011 - 19:00
Israel Correspondent

Tel Aviv — For decades Moshe Dayan has been lionized by Israelis for his role as a top army man and a leading statesman, while being forgiven for his reputation as a womanizer.

But if the escapades of the former army chief of staff were challenged in the court that convicted late President Moshe Katsav last week, the Israeli founding father might have found himself in jail.

Katsav rejected a plea deal and was ultimately convicted on two counts of forcible rape, among other charges.

Journalists’ Group Considers Dropping Helen Thomas Award

01/03/2011 - 19:00

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Helen Thomas’ decision to take her disparagement of Zionists from off the cuff (last May) to on the record (last month) has led a journalists' group to consider dropping her name from a lifetime achievement award.

The Society of Professional Journalists is revisiting its decision last summer not to change the name of its Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award after Thomas, 90, told an Arab-American group in Dearborn, Mich., last month that Congress, the White House, Hollywood and Wall Street “are owned by the Zionists.”

For Israeli Expats, A Rabbi Of Their Own

In U.S., Israelis turn to growing number of Israeli spiritual leaders.
01/03/2011 - 19:00

Boca Raton, Fla. — Itzik Abu-Hatzera rarely attended synagogue in his native Haifa when he lived in Israel.

But last December his family was among those of nearly 200 other Israelis in South Florida at a Chanukah party sponsored by the Chabad Israeli Center in Boca Raton.

“In Israel you don’t need it — Jews are all around you,” says Abu-Hatzera, who moved here 10 years ago.

A girl points to a menorah made of ice at a Boca Raton Chanukah party that attracted some 200 Israeli families last month.

Jews Were Top Targets Of Bigots In ‘09

As counties comply with mandatory reporting to Albany, disturbing trend emerges.
01/03/2011 - 19:00
Assistant Managing Editor

Anti-Semitic incidents made up the largest share of New York hate crimes reported in 2009, according to statistics just released by the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services. The number of incidents involving Jewish victims also rose 15 percent from 219 in 2008 to 254.

Statistics for 2010 have not yet been compiled by the division. The 2009 annual report, required by state law, was issued late because of rigorous fact-checking, a spokesman said.

Napolitano Visiting Israel to Check Security Projects

01/03/2011 - 19:00

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- United States Secretary for Homeland Security Janet Napolitano is in Israel to check on joint security projects between the two countries.

Napolitano visited Israel Monday and Tuesday as part of a multi-country tour that has included stops in Ireland, Afghanistan and Qatar. She will head to Belgium to meet with European Union and World Customs Organization officials, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Clergy, Bibi Urge Pollard Release

01/03/2011 - 19:00

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- More than 500 clergy signed a letter to President Obama urging clemency for Jonathan Pollard.

The letter was delivered a day before Prime Minister Benjanim Netanyahu reportedly sent a letter to Obama issuing a formal clemency request. Netanyahu was scheduled to read his letter Tuesday evening to a Knesset plenum discussion.

No Evidence Palestinian Woman Died From Tear Gas, Military Says

01/03/2011 - 19:00

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- There is no evidence that a Palestinian woman reportedly killed at a West Bank security fence protest died from tear gas poisoning, Israel's military said.

Jawaher Abu Rahma, 36, died on the morning of Jan. 1, hours after she was said to have inhaled tear gas at a demonstration near the West Bank village of Bilin. She reportedly died of complications from inhaling the tear gas.

Presidents Conference’s Hoenlein, Assad Meet in Damascus

01/02/2011 - 19:00

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice president of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, met with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus.

Hoenlein said the meeting Monday was at the invitation of Syria and not, as had been reported originally by the Israeli media, at the behest of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Katsav Rape Conviction Hailed as Watershed Moment

01/02/2011 - 19:00

TEL AVIV (JTA) -- For years it was considered an open secret in Israeli political and media circles that Moshe Katsav had a habit of sexually harassing women who worked for him.

In a nation at arms with a decidedly machismo bent, sexual encounters between powerful male politicians and military officers and their female staff often were seen as a perk of the job and such behavior quietly was accepted as part of the culture, if unhappily by many women.

Netanyahu: Israel Was Ready to Extend Freeze

01/02/2011 - 19:00

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Israel was prepared to extend a West Bank construction freeze, but the United States withdrew the idea, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

"The United States asked us to consider extending the freeze by three months, and the truth is that we were prepared to do so," Netanyahu reportedly told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday.

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