Ashkelon, Israel— Fatah fighters newly exiled from Gaza this week lay wounded in the orthopedic ward of Ashkelon’s Barzilai Hospital under the guard of M-16-toting Israeli soldiers, who consider them terrorists. Despite that, these fighters consider the gunmen of Hamas a greater threat.
“In spite of the animosity between us, the Jews are more sympathetic and more humane toward us than Hamas,” explained Atef Hilles, 31.
In an unprecedented emergency appeal, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism is calling upon its congregants to donate money to help the 8,700 Ethiopians of Jewish descent, or Falash Mura, who are going hungry there now that all food programs have ended.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced today that he will not run seek re-election as the leader of his Kadima Party and that he will step down as prime minister to allow the winner of the election to succeed him.
The announcement, which was made during a live television address to the nation Wednesday evening, came just one day after the Kadima Party set Sept. 17 as the date of the primary.
Rabbi Steven Wernick, spiritual leader of Temple Adath Israel in Merion Station, Pa., has been chosen to be the next executive vice-president of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the movement's congregational arm, the Jewish Week has learned.
In his first interview since being tapped, Rabbi Wernick, 41, said Wednesday afternoon that the appointment is not final until he negotiates a contract. The talks, he said, are in the "very beginning stages."
A mini rebellion is brewing in the Conservative movement.
After being denied input into the selection of a new top professional at the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, a group of Conservative rabbis, lay leaders and cantors has requested an urgent meeting with USCJ lay leaders.
"We are writing to you to continue what we believe is an urgent conversation on which hangs nothing less than the future of the Conservative Movement," said the letter to Raymond B. Goldstein, the United Synagogue's international president.
The Obama administration began putting its stamp on American foreign policy this week by dispatching two emissaries to Damascus to open the first U.S-Syrian talks in four years, and it sought to recruit Russia in its effort to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
At a press conference in Jerusalem following talks with Israeli leaders, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton revealed that Jeff Feltman from the State Department and Dan Shapiro from the White House would go to Syria, which is still on the U.S. list of states that sponsor terrorism.
It was a moment that almost perfectly defined this week’s United Jewish Appeal young leadership conference in Washington. In one section of the vast Washington Hilton ballroom, hundreds of young Jews were intently listening as special U.S. peace envoy Dennis Ross and Israeli Ambassador Eliahu Ben-Elissar gave sharply differing views of the current Israeli-Palestinian stalemate.
The dinner was $25,000 a plate, but after the last cups of coffee were poured, most diners agreed they had gotten their money’s worth.
The real main course was Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), the Democratic vice presidential candidate, and the take at the Baltimore fund-raiser and cocktail reception last week — $975,000 — was almost double what sponsors originally anticipated.
That scene is being repeated all over the country. Joe Lieberman has turned into a kosher cash cow for the Democrats, bringing in millions of dollars to fuel the national ticket.
Both major presidential candidates have joined Congress in expressing strong support for Israel in the wake of the continuing violence in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.
Except for some bickering about oil policy, the current Mideast mess has not been a campaign issue.
But Ralph Nader and his Green Party are looking through a different lens. This week the former consumer advocate issued harsh broadsides, blaming Israel for the disorders.