Israel News

Flotilla Activists Jumping Ship

Discouragement from Israel and other governments leaves only the most determined activists on deck.
07/04/2011 - 20:00
Israel Correspondent

Jerusalem — Earlier this week, as the Greek government continued to prohibit a flotilla of boats bent on breaking Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza from leaving Greek waters, a leader of the Free Gaza movement appeared to let down her guard for a moment.

When a reporter from the Irish Times asked whether the coalition of activist organizations would allow Greece to channel the cargo to Gaza, Greta Berlin, the movement’s co-founder and spokesperson, gave an emphatic “No.”

Gearing Up For This Year’s Gaza Flotilla

Israel is better prepared this time, both diplomatically and militarily.
06/27/2011 - 20:00
Israel Correspondent

Tel Aviv – A year ago, armed activists on a Gaza-bound flotilla surprised Israel’s navy, sparking deadly clashes that ballooned into a diplomatic crisis.

As a second flotilla gathers in the Mediterranean to again test Israel’s maritime closure of Gaza, analysts say the government is over-prepared.

Israeli commandos intercept a ship bound for Gaza during last year’s ill-fated flotilla that resulted in nine deaths.

Peres Takes A Chance By Taking A Dig At Bibi

The popular elder statesman appeared to be politicizing the presidency when he cited ‘foot- dragging’ in peace talks.
06/21/2011 - 20:00
Israel Correspondent

Tel Aviv – At 87, he is Israel’s rock star politico.

As he presides this week over a third annual star-studded confab called The Israeli President’s Conference (but known simply as The Peres Conference) – a mash-up of world leaders and entertainers, generals and philosophers – Shimon Peres is enjoying an all-time high of popularity, not only around the world but even close to home.

President Shimon Peres with Pop star Shakira.

In Israel, A SolutionTo Conversion Woes?

06/20/2011 - 20:00
Staff Writer

Thomas Dohlan, a Canadian who moved to Israel in February with his wife and four children, said he never would have gone had he known of the hassle he would face.

“It’s a dream come true to be here, but I have just been caught up in bureaucracy,” said Dohlan, referring to the refusal of Israel’s Interior Ministry — at the behest of the country’s Chief Rabbinate — to recognize his Orthodox conversion to Judaism despite promises to the contrary before he arrived.

Expanding Safe Havens For Women And Gays

Group founded by a former HIAS official focuses on refugee status for persecuted women and gays.
06/15/2011 - 20:00
Jewish Week Correspondent

Neil Grungras began realizing the world had a problem while working as an immigration lawyer in Israel and coming into contact with Palestinian gays, some of his first clients.

Neil Grungras

Queens Native Caught In Egypt Crosswinds

Parents deny Emory law student is Mossad spy.
06/13/2011 - 20:00
Israel Correspondent

Tel Aviv — Egypt’s arrest of Queens native Ilan Grapel on spy allegations spurred denials from Israeli officials, family and friends, as well as speculation (in Egypt as well) that officials seized on Facebook photos of the Emory University law student from his days as an Israel Defense Forces paratrooper to pander to popular fears that the Mossad is ever-present.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called Egyptian behavior “strange” and urged the Egyptian government to fix its “mistake” and put a rest to the incident.

Arabic-speaking Ilan Grapel went to Egypt to help settle African refugees. But was the IDF veteran naïve to make the trip?

Israel’s Summer Vacation Suddenly Cut Short — And Then Restored

Under pressure from travel industry and parents, education minister reverses last-minute decision to start school year early.
06/09/2011 - 20:00
Israel Correspondent

Jerusalem — The Israeli public scored a victory over the government this week after it thwarted the Education Ministry’s plan to shorten the upcoming summer vacation.

Last week Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar announced that the school year would begin on Aug. 26 rather than Sept. 1 to enable students to integrate better into their studies before the start of Yom Kippur and the subsequent holiday vacation, and provide educators more time to teach about the holidays.  

Rachel Selby, a teacher and mother of a toddler, believes shortening Israel's nine-week summer vacation is educationally sound.

A 'Space' For Russians In Israel

Limmud FSU Festival features history-making cosmonaut and solidarity message for Israel's Russian speakers.
06/02/2011 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Beersheva, Israel - Even 20 years after the end of the Cold War and the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and Russia, the fourth Limmud FSU Festival held last week in this sprawling desert city was an often mind-bending coming together of worlds that not so long ago seemed quite irreconcilable.

Space veterans Mikhail Koraiyenko, Garrett Reisman and Alexei Leonov at opening event of the Limmud FSU Festival in Beersheva

Who Will Be Included In Fatah-Hamas Cabinet?

With details expected next week, speculation over the Palestinian choice for prime minister and its potential impact on Israel.
05/31/2011 - 20:00
Staff Writer

The new interim Palestinian cabinet expected to be announced Monday might provide an insight into just how well the rival Palestinian groups — Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip — are functioning after signing a reconciliation pact.

Salam Fayyad, the current prime minister of the Palestinian Authority.

Border Opening A Boon To Israel?

Clean break from Gaza could be strategic benefit of Egyptian move.
05/30/2011 - 20:00
Israel Correspondent

Tel Aviv — The initial Israeli government response to Egypt’s decision last week to open its crossing with the Gaza Strip was to stress the danger that weapons and militants would freely pass in and out of the territory controlled by Hamas.

And on Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was still echoing that position during testimony before the Knesset as he accused Egypt of strengthening the Islamic militants.

Egypt’s opening of the Rafah crossing has Israel concerned about its security. getty images
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