Israel

U.S. Seeking Ways to Assist in Fire

12/03/2010

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The Obama administration is seeking avenues to assist Israel in combating raging forest fires in its north.

"I want to begin by offering our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of all of those who've died as a result of the terrible forest fire in northern Israel," President Obama said Thursday evening, launching the annual White House Chanukah party. "As rescuers and firefighters continue in their work, the United States is acting to help our Israeli friends respond to the disaster."

Fire That Kills 40 Brings New Tragedy to Israel

12/02/2010
JTA

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- In a country always on guard to prevent the next tragedy born of terrorism or war, an out-of-control forest fire was the culprit in a tragic bus incident that left some 40 people dead in northern Israel.

The bus, carrying police cadets from Israel’s prison service, became stuck Thursday morning among burning trees that fell on the road, trapping dozens inside who were on their way to evacuate prisoners from the path of the blaze. Most of the bus passengers were killed. Footage of the burned-out shell of the bus was broadcast throughout Israel.

Israel Dermatitis: The Other 92nd Street Y Debate

Well, the 92nd Street Y debate I went to on Tuesday was not quite as contentious as the flubbed Steve Martin one happening in the night before, but it still got pretty heated. A sold-out audience came to see Peter Beinart and New York Times columnist Roger Cohen debate former AIPACer Steven J. Rosen and Wall Street Journal editoral page editor and former Jerusalem Post editor Bret Stephens.

Amar Calls on Netanyahu to Quash Military Conversion Bill

12/01/2010

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Israel's Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar said he will no longer be responsible for any state conversions if the Knesset passes a bill requiring recognition of all military conversions.

In a letter sent to Benjamin Netanyahu, Amar called the prime minister to prevent the passage of the bill, the Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.

Amar has charged a committee to look into legal and halachic issues surrounding the military conversions. He asked Netanyahu to allow the committee to conclude its work before allowing the legislation to go forward.

WikiLeaks Reveals Secrets, Backroom Dealmaking—and Cluelessness

12/01/2010
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- A careful reading of the WikiLeaks trove of State Department cables -- which is laying bare some 250,000 secret dispatches detailing private conversations, assessments and dealmaking of U.S. diplomats -- reveals a notable if perhaps surprising pattern: how often they get things wrong.

Again and again the cables show diplomats, lawmakers and heads of state predicting outcomes that never come to pass.

The Delegitimization Dance

As federation system, Hillel launch new efforts, questions linger over how inclusive bid can be.

11/30/2010
Associate Editor

When five young Jews disrupted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at last month’s Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly — yelling “the settlements delegitimize Israel,” “the occupation delegitimizes Israel” and “the loyalty oath delegitimizes Israel” — they were greeted with anger and quickly whisked out of the room.

BDS supporters demonstrate

Poll: More Than Half of Jewish Israelis Want Arabs Out

11/30/2010

(JTA) — Some 53 percent of Israel's Jewish population believes that the state can encourage Arabs to leave the country, a new poll found.

The Israel Democracy Institute's 2010 poll released Tuesday also found that 86 percent of the Jewish public, constituting 76 percent of the total public, believes that critical decisions for the state should be made by the Jewish majority.

White House Raps Palestinian Position on Western Wall

11/30/2010

(JTA) — The Obama administration condemned a Palestinian Authority paper that denies any Jewish connection to the Western Wall.

The Festival Of Lights, Israeli-style

11/30/2010

In Israel, where Chanukah in a Christmas-less society is a minor holiday, it’s still a major presence.
First, there’s the sufganiyot. That’s Hebrew for doughnuts.

Photo by Getty Images

WikiLeaks, Israel and Iran

11/30/2010
Editorial

This week’s WikiLeaks dump of more than 200,000 secret U.S. diplomatic cables contained few bombshells but a lot of revealing information about complex diplomatic interactions, including diplomacy aimed at confronting the Iranian nuclear threat.

It also raised troubling questions about when government secrecy is appropriate. Effective diplomacy becomes all but impossible when leaders of nations and their ambassadors can’t express themselves freely to each other, without fear of producing international headlines.

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