Israel News

Sailing Into History

Staff Writer
They finally played “Hatikvah” at the Olympics. Israel, which spent 40 years in the athletic desert, winning no medals from the country’s first appearance in the Summer Games in 1952 until Yael Arad’s silver in judo in 1992, won gold for the first time this week. Windsurfer Gal Friedman, 28, who won a bronze medal in his Mistral sailing event in Atlanta eight years ago, took the gold on Wednesday in Athens, beating a Greek sailor by 11 points.

A Bounce For Israel PR

Staff Writer
Dozens of young Israelis have traveled to three continents on a privately sponsored public relations campaign for the Jewish state because Joey Low asked himself a question two years ago. Low, a national Hillel board member who lives in Purchase, found that “college kids knew nothing about Israel” and he wondered, “What can we do to change that?”

Where Did You Go, Ari Ben Canaan?

Staff Writer
A public opinion pollster is interviewing people on the street. He stops four people and asks, “Excuse me, what is your opinion of the meat shortage?” 
A Russian says, “What is opinion?”
A Pole says, “What is meat?”
An American says, “What is shortage?”
An Israeli says, “What is ‘excuse me’?”

My first time in Israel  was an education. But not in the way I had anticipated.

Alternative Beit Din Gaining Some Traction

Staff Writer
Jerusalem — Rabbi Yosef Carmel, an Israeli Army veteran and founder of an advanced training center for Israeli rabbis, received an unexpected call from overseas the other day. The call was from an Israeli, a secular businessman whose real estate dealings in Romania with a religious Romanian Jew had become strained. A lawsuit, with 400,000 euros at risk (more than $500,000), was pending. Don’t go to a civil court in Romania, a Bucharest rabbi advised the Israeli — call Rabbi Carmel.

Gaza War Still Strains Israel-Turkey Relations

Staff Writer

Just days before the two countries were to participate in a NATO military exercise this week, Turkish officials informed Israel that it would not be allowed to participate. The U.S., the Netherlands and Italy then withdrew in protest and the exercise was canceled.

Turkey, one of the few Muslim nations to have diplomatic relations with Israel, has had a testy relationship with the Jewish state since January.

former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu

`Voice Of The Hebrew Nation’

Staff Writer
Maj. Aubrey Eban was to give a speech in 1950, and Fabian Schonfeld, a young rabbi who had moved recently to New York City from his native England, made sure he was near a radio. Mr. Eban, still known by his rank in the wartime British army and his original first name, was Israel’s wunderkind, at 35 ambassador to the United Nations and to the United States.

Their Birthright Is Tight Security

Staff Writer
Jerusalem — Diana Normatov, a Queens College junior, signed up last summer for her first visit to Israel this month. Then she had second thoughts about taking part in the program sponsored by birthright israel. The intifada raged, in Israel and on CNN. Scenes of Palestinian carnage throughout the country scared her and other prospective tourists. “I was almost not going,” she admits. Her mother had an opinion. “My mother said ‘no.’ ” But Diana’s father had the last word; he told her to go.

Pope Leaves, Scandals Remain

Staff Writer
With John Paul II’s departure, Israel’s attention turned this week to Bibi, Yossi and Yosef. Following the historic Holy Land pilgrimage of the Pope, which dominated the country’s headlines for a week, two political scandals took center stage — pending corruption charges against former Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, and a possible investigation of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef for an “incitement” attack on Education Minister Yossi Sarid.

‘Precious Human Being’

Staff Writer
It was another in the endless series of calls that Ted Arison received, asking for a handout. The person on the phone a few years ago wanted a sizable sum, as he had in the past. Mr. Arison gave the full amount. “Why don’t you simply say, ‘No! That’s enough!’?” Maks Birnbach asked his old friend. “He could not say no,” Birnbach says of Mr. Arison, who died last week of a heart attack in his Tel Aviv home.

‘Nothing Islamic About Bombing’

Staff Writer
Followers of Islam who kill civilians in the name of their faith, as the bombers of the U.S. embassies in Africa are suspected of doing, distort the literal words and interpreted meaning of the Koran, experts on Islam say. The experts contacted by The Jewish Week, both Jewish and Muslim, point to the Koranic verse, “If you take an individual’s life, it is as if you have killed humanity.” The verse is similar to one in the Talmud.
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