Israel

In Bill, Dangerous Precedent Given To Chief Rabbinate

07/20/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Who opposes Knesset member David Rotem’s proposed conversion legislation?

In Israel, Bibi Netanyahu, the Likud prime minister, who has displayed vision and political courage in rebuffing efforts to pass it in its current form this week; and Labor, Kadima and Meretz, joined by a number of Likud members. This opposition reflects something Rotem, a member of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, does not appreciate: a clear recognition of the importance of the Reform and Conservative movement worldwide to Israel and the Jewish people. 

Jewish positions generally unchanged as CUFI, John Hagee begin Washington summit

Vacation plans mean I'm missing this year's Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Washington summit, which begins today. I'm sorry because CUFI puts on a pretty impressive show, and the Jewish community's ambivalence about the meaning of this and other “Christian Zionist” groups is endlessly interesting for journalists.

Israel's Iron Dome Defense System Passes Last Tests

07/20/2010

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- The Iron Dome missile defense system successfully completed its final round of tests, Israel's Defense Ministry said.

The tests, which include intercepting simultaneous rocket salvoes from different directions, were completed Monday in the Negev Desert.

Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. has built two systems thus far; Israel has not decided how many it will order. The systems are expected to be put into operation in November.

Lieberman: Israel Beiteinu Won’t Quit Government

07/19/2010

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said his Israel Beiteinu party will not leave the government, despite several disagreements.

During a news conference Monday, Lieberman did criticize Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for not having more consideration for his largest coalition partner. Israel Beiteinu has 15 seats in the current government, the second largest party in Netanyahu's coalition.

Netanyahu and Lieberman were scheduled to meet later Monday to hash out their disagreements in private.

Netanyahu Tells Cabinet He Opposes Rotem Conversion Bill

07/18/2010

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he opposes a proposed conversion bill, which "could tear apart the Jewish people."

Netanyahu made the comments Sunday at the regular Cabinet meeting.

The bill, which has been roundly condemned by the Reform and Conservative movements in the United States, Israel and in other countries in the Diaspora because it centralizes conversion in the hands of the Orthodox Rabbinate, could come up for a first reading this week.

The conversion bill now before Knesset will:

Even Orthodox Rabbis Here Bemoan (Privately) The Conversion Controversy

Amid all the furor from opponents of the proposed Knesset conversion bill that would turn the de facto Orthodox control into law, it’s instructive to note who isn’t speaking out, and why.

And one can appreciate how this controversy underscores the enormous gap in understanding between Jewish leaders here and in Israel.

Emergency Committee for Israel: It's about Jewish campaign money, stupid

Jewish Washington was buzzing this week with the news – first reported in Politico, expanded on in the Jewish Week – that a few Republican heavy hitters have created an “Emergency Committee for Israel” to slam the

Are we Indeed One People?

07/16/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

As I write this article, furious negotiations are underway in Jerusalem regarding the so-called “Rotem Bill,” which might possibly be introduced to the plenum of the Knesset as early as next week. In a Jewish world that often hyperbolizes potential disasters, this bill, if passed, has the capacity to drive a major wedge between the State of Israel and the non-Orthodox Jewish community here in North America. I suspect that certain sectors of the Orthodox community are not anxious to see it passed, either.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

Israel Accuses 8 of Weapons Charges, ‘Jihad’

07/16/2010
JTA

(JTA) -- Israeli authorities alleged that eight Israeli Arabs charged with weapons offenses had ambitions of joining a global jihad, or holy war.

According to media accounts of the eight Nazareth men charged Thursday with illegal weapons trading, the group tracked speeches and writings by al-Qaida leaders and spoke of Jews and Christians as "infidels."

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