Israeli Troops Fire on Palestinians at Syrian Border, Killing 4


JERUSALEM (JTA) -- At least four Palestinians were killed and nine wounded after hundreds of protesters massed on Israel's border with Syria on the Golan Heights.

The violence came Sunday after hundreds of Palestinians from Syria gathered at the border to mark Naksa Day, or the Setback, marking the beginning 44 years ago of the 1967 Six-Day War.

Israeli soldiers and border control police used tear gas and fired their weapons in the air and then at protesters feet to break up the threatening crowds on the border.

White House Posts Defense of its Israel Policies


WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The White House website posted a defense of President Obama's Israel record, and several prominent Jewish Democrats penned Op-Eds defending his policies.

"President Obama: Advancing Israel's Security and Supporting Peace," which appeared online on Friday, addressed the controversy over the president's call in a May 19 Middle East policy speech for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations to based on 1967 lines, with mutually agreed swaps.

Jewish Agency to Close For Two Weeks to Save Money


NEW YORK (JTA) -- The Jewish Agency for Israel will close for two weeks over the summer and deduct several days' pay from employees' paychecks in a bid to close a budget gap of some $3.5 million.

The deal was worked out between the agency, which is one of the two main overseas conduits for money from the Jewish Federations of North America, and its employees union as an alternative to laying off 50 workers, the Jewish Agency said in an announcement Thursday. As part of the agreement, the union also will contribute $500,000 to the agency's budget.

Bibi Warns Protesters Planning New Border Breach


JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Palestinian protesters planning to breach Israel's borders again will be halted, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu, speaking Thursday evening at a conference in Jerusalem, said Syria and Iran and the Hezbollah and Hamas terrorist groups are behind the planned mass protests planned for Sunday.

Cantor Advises Weiner to ‘Come Clean’ in Twitter Flap


WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the Republican majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, called on Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) to "come clean" about a controversy over a lewd photo.

Cantor made his comments in a television interview on Thursday, as Weiner endured a fourth day on the receiving end of questions about a photo of a man in his underwear that was sent from his Twitter account. The photo was sent to a 21-year-old female college student who is a Twitter follower of Weiner's.

Israel Considers Options on Palestinian Statehood Bid


JERUSALEM (JTA) -- While U.S. officials are running a full-court diplomatic press against the Palestinian bid for U.N. recognition of statehood this September and officials at international Jewish organizations are trying to convince foreign leaders to oppose statehood, the Israeli government appears to be taking a different approach: acceptance.

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a Knesset committee that there is no way to stop the U.N. General Assembly from recognizing Palestinian statehood.

U.S. Won’t Participate in Durban III, State Dept. Says


WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The United States will not participate in Durban III, this September, the State Department said.

In a letter to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Joseph E. Macmanus, acting assistant secretary for legislative affairs, confirmed the United States would not attend the conference, which in its previous iterations has been a forum for anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment.

Olmert Takes Stand in Corruption Trial


JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert began testifying on his own behalf at his trial on corruption charges.

Olmert told judges in Jerusalem District Court Tuesday on the first day of the defense phase of the trial that "I am fighting for my life here and nothing else."

He spent most of the session telling his life story, though the judges tried to cut him off.

Fischer Does Not Rule Out IMF Job


JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer did not rule out accepting the position of managing director of the International Monetary Fund should he win the election.

Fischer made the remarks Tuesday during an address at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev as part of its 41st Annual Board of Governors meeting.

"All of the press has been very nice to read compared to what is usually in the Israeli press, but, when I was job hunting at MIT, the professors there taught: 'Don't accept a nomination you haven't been offered yet,'" he said.

Battle Over Circumcision is Shaping Up in California


SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) -- In November, San Franciscans will vote on a ballot measure that would outlaw circumcision on boys under the age of 18.

Although experts say it is highly unlikely the measure will pass -- very few state propositions pass, much less one this controversial -- the mere fact that it reached the ballot, and in such a major city, has caused much concern for Jews and their allies.

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