Israel News

Judges With A Heart

Editor & Publisher
In a nondescript building in the heart of Jerusalem, Rabbi Joseph Carmel presides over 40 students who may hold a key to solving the rancorous “Who is a Jew” debate in Israel.

Next For Neeman: Women At The Wall

Editor & Publisher
It’s Round 2 for the Neeman Commission. Still staggering from the knock-down, drag-out fight over conversions in Israel, the five-member committee chaired by Finance Minister Yaacov Neeman is about to enter the freedom-of-religion fray again, this time to tackle the controversy over allowing women to pray in groups at the Western Wall.

Conversion Institutes Get The Go-Ahead

Editor & Publisher
Despite criticism from the right and the left, a special Israeli cabinet subcommittee adopted the recommendations of the Neeman Commission this week and authorized the first of several planned conversion institutes, to open in Beersheva this spring. Professor Binyamin Ish-Shalom, a respected educator and scholar, was named to head the institute. The board of directors will have seven members — five Orthodox, one Conservative and one Reform.

Trading Places At The G.A.

Editor & Publisher
Jerusalem — American and Israeli Jews seemed to have switched traditional roles during the General Assembly of the UJA Federations of North America, held here this week. Not only was the conference held in Israel for the first time in its 67-year history, but a surprisingly large number of Israelis were participating, seeking to connect with American Jewry. And Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, pledged to provide millions of dollars to educate diaspora youth.

A Home For Rabin Legacy

Editor & Publisher
Asserting that “Israeli society is in danger now,” Leah Rabin this week announced a hoped-for national antidote — the establishment of a $40 million center in Tel Aviv in her late husband’s memory, dedicated to furthering peace, tolerance and democratic values.

Is Barak Losing Touch?

Editor & Publisher
touch with the people. Indeed, he seems so focused on achieving peace on, as he says, “two-and-a-half fronts” (including Lebanon), that he may not be hearing the deep skepticism voiced by coalition partners as well as average Israelis who fear the government is on the verge of giving away too much, too soon.

Will Israel Remain A Jewish State?

Editor & Publisher
With increasing attention being paid to the anti-Israel nastiness of Palestinian textbooks, and amid demands that the curriculum be overhauled, consider the following comments about Israel from a prominent academic: “the garbage heap of Europe,” a “site of experiments … in ethnic cleansing,” and “a regime that produces and distributes evil systematically.”

Beilin: ‘Reddest Line’ Is Refugees

Editor & Publisher
Of all Israel’s “red-line” issues on which there can be no compromise in negotiations with the Palestinians, “the reddest line” is not Jerusalem, as commonly believed, but accepting Palestinian refugees, according to Yossi Beilin, Israel’s minister of justice. Beilin, well known for his dovish views on and longstanding involvement in the peace process, is adamant in asserting that Israel cannot take in refugees claiming a right of return, and still maintain its Jewish character.

Hillary Heading To Israel

Staff Writer
As she plans to cap her first year in office with a trip to Israel, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton believes she’s vanquished a “stereotype” about her support for the Jewish state. “People who stood with me are glad they did,” Clinton told The Jewish Week in a telephone interview Tuesday. “A lot of people have come to me in the last year and told me they support me. It’s part of the process of standing on my own and being judged in reality, as opposed to some stereotype.”

Striving For Normalcy, Under Fire

Assistant Managing Editor
SDEROT, ISRAEL — When Gabi Baron, an 11-year-old resident of Kibbutz Niram, plays outside, he has a set of instructions from his mother in case of a Kassam rocket attack. “If I’m in front of a house, go inside, even if it’s a stranger,” recites Gabi. If there’s no house nearby, “go behind a tree.” In the absence of a tree or a car, Gabi knows to “lie on my belly and cover my head,” as he had done less than an hour earlier during a recent attack.
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