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

06/02/2011

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

05/31/2011

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

05/31/2011

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

05/31/2011
JTA

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.

Rabbi Files Lawsuit Against D.C. Elections Board

05/31/2011

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- An Orthodox rabbi in Washington and two of his congregants have filed a class-action suit against the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics.

The complaint, filed May 27, claims that the board placed an unconstitutional burden on observant Jews by scheduling a special election on the last day of Passover this year.

World ORT Meets in Berlin, Site of its Founding

05/30/2011

BERLIN (JTA) - For the first time since World War II, World ORT has gathered its leadership at the site of its former world headquarters in Berlin.

The charitable organization, which focuses on vocational training and rehabilitation, invited 97 people from 23 countries to attend a two-day board of representatives meeting which ended Monday in Berlin, the city from which its students and teachers were deported to Auschwitz some 68 years ago..

1,600 Israelis Visit Joseph’s Tomb, Accompanied by Soldiers

05/30/2011

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Some 1,600 Jewish worshipers escorted by Israeli soldiers visited Joseph's Tomb for late night prayers, but the event was overshadowed by others who refused to leave the West Bank holy site.

The worshippers entered the site in the West Bank city of Nablus early Monday morning in coordination with the army. The visit came five weeks after a Jewish man who entered the tomb without permission was shot dead by a Palestinian policeman.

Cameron Steps Down From JNF in Britain

05/30/2011

(JTA) -- A pro-Palestinian group is claiming responsibility for British Prime Minister David Cameron's stepping down as a patron of the Jewish National Fund.

Cameron's name was removed from the JNF's list of honorary patrons in recent days; earlier this month the pro-Palestinian Stop the JNF campaign sent a letter to Cameron calling on him to end his association with the charity.

Don’t ‘Delude’ Palestinians, Peres Tells U.N. Official

05/29/2011

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- The United Nations "should not delude" the Palestinians into thinking that a unilateral declaration of a state will lead to its establishment, Israeli President Shimon Peres told a U.N. official.

Israel supports the establishment of an independent state, but one achieved through "direct and discreet" negotiations, Peres told U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Dr. Ashe-Rose Migiro Sunday during a meeting in Jerusalem.

Conservative Movement Ordains First Openly Gay Rabbi

05/29/2011

 (JTA) – The Conservative movement ordained its first openly gay rabbi during ceremonies at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.

Rachel Isaacs, 28, was ordained at JTS on May 19. She told the Forward that she began her rabbinical training at the Reform movement’s Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, but switched to the Conservative seminary after it began admitting openly gay and lesbian students in 2007.

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