Israel

Six Decades on, American Olim—Some American Again—Reunite on Kibbutz

10/14/2010 - 20:00
JTA

KIBBUTZ GALON, Israel (JTA) – In 1952, a 20-year-old with bright blue eyes who had never seen much of life outside of the Bronx, N.Y., mounted a kibbutz tractor armed with a rifle to plow wheat and sorghum fields bordering the Gaza Strip.

Saul Adelson would live in Israel for eight years before returning to the United States for good.

Israeli Officials Speak of ‘Phased’ Jordan Valley Presence

10/14/2010 - 20:00

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Israel's presence in the Jordan Valley under a peace agreement would be "phased," Israel's U.S. ambassador told an audience of Muslim and Arab Americans.

Michael Oren at a dinner arranged by the Center for Middle East Peace said Wednesday night that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has "stated his commitment to continuing a phased Israeli army presence in the Jordan Valley."

"We understand that this may conflict with the search for dignity on the part of the Palestinians. That is why we stress the word phased," he said.

Jimmy Carter's new "peace" mission: thanks but no thanks

I'm not much for the Jimmy-Carter-is-an-anti-Semitic-Israel-hater line - I happen to believe Israel owes him a debt of gratitude for Camp David -  but after reading today's news I have to ask: what is this guy thinking?

According to wire service reports,  the ex-prez  is embarking on a Middle East tour that will include Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the West Bank with a group called The Elders  – and including former Irish President Mary Robinson. (As I write this, I'm thinking that "The Elders" probably wasn't a smart name choice for a group of older statesmen heading to Zion).

The goal, the group said in a statement, is to “encourage support across the region for the current final status negotiations with emphasis on the need to reach a just and secure peace."

Well, cool; I'm all for a just and secure peace.

Helen Thomas Says Israel Comments Hit ‘Third Rail’

10/12/2010 - 20:00

JTA) -- Former White House correspondent Helen Thomas told an Ohio radio station that she knew her job would not survive her quote telling Jews to "get the hell out of Palestine."

"I hit the third rail. You cannot criticize Israel in this country and survive," Thomas told reporter Scott Spears of WMRN-AM radio in Marion in an interview broadcast Tuesday.

An Empty Loyalty Oath

10/11/2010 - 20:00
Editorial

Make no mistake, the wording advocated by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that would require non-Jewish immigrants to express loyalty to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state before receiving citizenship is more about internal political expediency than ideology. Same goes for the prime minister’s proposal to extend the building moratorium in the West Bank in exchange for a public declaration by the Palestinian Authority recognizing “Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.”

Israel’s ‘Gift To Delegitimizers’

Controversial oath could end up testing American Jews’ loyalty.
10/11/2010 - 20:00
Washington Correspondent

Some pro-Israel groups insist it’s nothing more than an Israeli version of America’s “pledge of allegiance,” but to Israeli civil rights groups the move to amend a loyalty oath for non-Jews seeking citizenship is one more big step away from the state’s democratic ideal.

And some Jewish leaders here say the debate now raging in Israel could have a devastating impact — both on Israel’s international standing and on a population of younger American Jews who are already drifting away from pro-Israel commitment.

“Whatever else this issue means,” says New Israel Fund CEO Daniel Sokatch, “it’s not good for the fraying bonds between younger

Israel On Pace To Set Tourism Mark

10/11/2010 - 20:00

(JTA) — Israel is ahead of its record pace for tourism in a year. Some 2.5 million tourists have visited Israel since the beginning of 2010, according to figures kept by the nation's Central Bureau of Statistics. The figure is 9 percent more than in 2008, which was the record tourism year in Israel, and a 27 percent increase over the same period last year.
According to the bureau, 22,300 tourists visited Israel on cruise ships, double the number visiting in September 2009 and three times more than in 2008.

Abraham Fund Wins Major State Department Grant for Arab-Israeli Coexistence Programs

10/11/2010 - 20:00

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- An Israeli coexistence group was awarded a three-year grant of nearly $1 million from the U.S. State Department.

The Abraham Fund Initiatives, which aims to advance Jewish-Arab coexistence and equality in Israel, announced Tuesday that it had received the grant to advance peace and reconciliation through bilingual and bicultural education as part of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Conflict Mitigation and Reconciliation Program.

Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher in Israel For Work on Internet, Marriage

10/10/2010 - 20:00

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Hollywood power couple Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher are in Israel, reportedly to work on their marriage.

Kutcher, the third most popular member of Twitter with 5.9 million followers, was scheduled to speak Monday at the Bezeq Expo in Tel Aviv. Kutcher is also an investor in Internet properties, and is the owner of the multiplatform media company, Katalyst.

The couple, who arrived in Israel over the weekend, have already visited the Western Wall and traveled in the North of the country, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Israel's loyalty oath time bomb

Have you noticed the eerie silence of major Jewish and pro-Israel groups on the issue of the loyalty oath for new citizens approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet?

Best I can tell, the only group that's weighed in is J Street. But behind that wall of silence I'm guessing there's a lot of anxiety about how the ongoing controversy will affect American Jewish commitment to the Jewish state – and the commitment of one group in particular.

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