Israel News

Aliyah Journal: Two Second Acts In Full Swing In Israel

A musician and a tour guide, both with N.Y. ties, are overcoming odds to rewrite their life scripts in Jewish state.
Special To The Jewish Week

Note: With the numbers of those making aliyah from North America on the rise, much of the attention has been focused on Orthodox families making the move. Last week, we reported on a pilot program for college students and recent graduates considering moving to Israel. This week, meet two people — both young singles — who each left New York to move to Israel alone.

Ben Soloway is persevering as a tour guide despite walking with difficulty. Rivka Oppenheim

In Jerusalem, Making Hugs, Not War

Israel Correspondent

Jerusalem — It was 102 degrees here earlier this week, but that didn’t deter a few hundred Israelis, Palestinians and others from gathering outside the Old City of Jerusalem for The Jerusalem Hug, an annual event designed to open hearts and heal the world.

Israel’s Conversion Bill May Change

Knesset Member David Rotem says law would apply only to Israeli conversions; Reform and Conservative leaders not satisfied.
Staff Writer

 The author of Israel’s controversial conversion bill has for the first time suggested a change in the bill in the wake of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s promise that any bill dealing with conversion “must ensure the unity of the Jewish people in its entirety.”

Support For Gaza Blockade Seen Sinking in Israel

International pressure causing some Israelis to question sanctions.
Israel Correspondent

Tel Aviv—Amid heavy international pressure on the issue, domestic political support for Israel’s economic blockade of the Gaza Strip border passages has badly frayed.

Once confined largely to the Israeli left, criticism of a policy that banned basic goods such as fresh meat, margarine and plaster has spread to security hawks who acknowledge the closure is not serving its original policy goal of weakening Hamas. That may make it easier politically for the government to make concessions on a blockade that, until now, has enjoyed widespread popular support.

Search For Heirs To Shoah Victims’ Assets Takes Shocking Turns

Some shun money, property, Jewish roots; others overcome with joy. Inside Israel’s little-known restitution effort.
Staff Writer

 It’s like an episode of the late-‘50s hit TV series “The Millionaire.”

Elinor Kroitoru pores over documents in hunt for heirs of those killed in the Holocaust.

After Flotilla Debacle, Will Netanyahu Change Course?

Analysts disagree on whether he will reach out to Kadima and how he will handle inquiry demands.
Staff Writer

Depending on whom you ask, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is either on the verge of reshuffling his cabinet or is digging in his heels following last week’s Gaza flotilla debacle.

“I don’t see any sign of it,” Yossi Alpher, an Israeli political analyst, said of a possible government shake-up. “Netanyahu continues to rely on a cabinet of seven for key policy decisions.”

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni of the Kadima party, above, called Monday for a no-confidence vote in Benjamin Netanyahu’s gov't

Turkey and the Gaza Flotilla: For Israelis, There Goes Another Friend

With loss of Turkey — once a leading vacation destination — life in the Jewish state feels even lonelier.
Israel Correspondent

Jerusalem — There was a time, not very long ago, when Israelis had a friend in the Muslim world. As bad as things got with the Palestinians, the Syrians, the Lebanese, Israelis could point to Turkey as a solid bulwark against near total isolation in the Muslim world.

It was a salve to the Israeli psyche.

Israelis are reeling in the aftermath of last week’s flotilla attack.

The Giving of the Torah

Local synagogues’ scroll donations enhance worship for Ethiopian Israelis and IDF members.
Editorial Intern

Torah scrolls from the New York area are writing new chapters in the lives of Israeli soldiers and of a struggling Ethiopian congregation in the Israeli town of Beit Shemesh.
From the National Council of Young Israel (NCYI), which has donated dozens of Torah scrolls over the years, to the East Midwood Jewish Center, which made its maiden Torah run two weeks ago, this is the summer of the celebratory dance with Torah held high, a trans-Atlantic act of kindness, many times over.

Members of the East Midwood Jewish Center with members of Congregation Be’er Avraham, an Ethiopian synagogue in Beit Shemesh.

Israel’s Robust Economy Is Linked To Its Burgeoning Real Estate Market

Special to the Jewish Week

Even during the darkest days of the global economic meltdown, the value of Israeli real estate properties across the entire country continued to rise. The combination of low-interest rates and the limited number of affordable new apartments in major cities and towns, created the perfect real estate storm for local and foreign buyers.

The Gaza Flotilla Battle - On Twitter

Shaping public opinion on the Gaza blockade, 140 characters at a time.
Staff Writer

 Just moments after the Israeli navy boarded the Turkish Mavi Marmara ship in the Mediterranean en route to Gaza, an explosive battle of another kind was playing out on the Facebook and Twitter fronts. 

The phrases “Gaza flotilla” and “#freedomflotilla” were among the three highest “trending topics” on Twitter on Monday morning, Eastern Standard Time. By Tuesday morning, “flotilla” still remained among the top 10. 

Israeli forces approach one of six ships bound for Gaza in the Mediterranean.
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