Bibi Backs Away From Lieberman Plan


(JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu distanced himself from his foreign minister’s plan that would transfer Israeli Arab towns to a future Palestinian state in exchange for annexing Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Avigdor Lieberman offered a draft of his proposal Tuesday to the United Nations General Assembly in New York. It would redraw the borders of Israel to include several large Jewish settlements in the West Bank and exclude large Israeli Arab towns, which would become part of a newly created Palestinian state.

Israel Intercepts Jewish Boat Headed For Gaza


(JTA) — Israeli commandos peacefully intercepted a boat carrying Jewish activists who hoped to breach Israel’s embargo of the Gaza Strip.
Israeli Navy boats blocked the Irene, which was carrying 10 passengers and crew, at about midday Tuesday and diverted the boat to Israel’s Ashdod seaport.
The boat was carrying a cargo of toys and medical equipment for distribution inside Gaza. The inventory is intended for delivery to the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme.



Israeli Jews Back Non-Orthodox Conversions, Poll Finds


(JTA) — Nearly two-thirds of Israeli Jews believe that non-Orthodox converts to Judaism should be considered Jewish, a new Israeli government survey reveals.

The survey released Monday, which was commissioned by the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry to gauge Israelis’ perceptions of the diaspora, found that 63 percent of Israeli Jews believe that those converted by non-Orthodox rabbis should be regarded as Jews. Some 30 percent believed they should not be seen as Jewish.

Rape Charges Against Phoenix Rabbi Dropped


 (Jewish News of Greater Phoenix) — Rape and sexual abuse charges against a Phoenix rabbi were dismissed six months after his arrest.

The criminal case against Rabbi Bryan Bramly was dismissed Sept. 15 in New York County Supreme Court, the Jewish News of Greater Phoenix reported.

Bramly has served as the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Sholom of the East Valley in Chandler, Ariz., since 2006.

Peretz Dropped As Harvard Event Speaker


(JTA) — Martin Peretz has been dropped as a speaker from a Harvard University event.

Peretz, the editor in chief of The New Republic and a former Harvard professor, had been scheduled to speak at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies, scheduled for Sept. 25, according to the Harvard Crimson, the university’s student newspaper.

But the final schedule for the program does not list Peretz as a speaker. He is to be recognized, however, along with several other head tutors and directors of studies.

Groups Set Boycott Of Israeli Troupe In N.Y.


(JTA) — Two New York-based groups have organized a boycott of performances by Israel’s national dance company.

Senate Letter Urges Obama To Keep Talks Going


WASHINGTON (JTA) — A letter is circulating among U.S. senators urging President Barack Obama to keep the Israelis and Palestinians at the negotiating table.

The letter, initiated by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.), thanks Obama for restarting direct peace talks and notes the threat to their success from what it calls “enemies of peace” Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran.

Heat Damages Israel’s Etrog Crop


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s unusually extreme summer heat has seriously damaged this year’s etrog crop, growers say.

Strong heat and winds caused many more of the fruit, one of the four species required for the Sukkot holiday starting Wednesday night, to fall off trees prematurely, a grower told Haaretz.

In addition, while in most years 10 percent of the harvest is designated of highest quality, this year only 1 percent received the designation, another grower told Haaretz.

Vandals Attack Seattle-Area Jewish High School


(JTA) — A Jewish high school in Washington State was defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti.

The epithets in orange, blue and gray paint on the Northwest Yeshiva High School on Mercer Island included swastikas and references to gas chambers, The Seattle Times reported. The attack occurred late on Sept. 16 and was discovered the following morning, on the eve of Yom Kippur.

Labor Zionist Spokesman Nahum Guttman Dies At 97


Nahum Guttman, a longtime Zionist leader in the United States who worked with many leaders of both Israel and pre-statehood Palestine, died on Rosh HaShanah, Sept. 9, in his Upper West Side home after a long illness. He was 97.

Mr. Guttman grew up in Brooklyn and Minneapolis, and served as First National Secretary of Habonim, director of public relations for the National Committee for Labor Israel, and editor of The Jewish Frontier.

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