Israel

Settlement issue follows Israeli PM to Singapore, Australia

Last November settlement leaders celebrated the victory of Donald Trump over Hilary Clinton for president, expecting the departure of former President Barack Obama from the White House to usher in an unlimited period of Israeli building around Judea and Samaria. More recently, Prime Miniser Binyamin Netanyahu looked more relaxed and… Read more »

ANALYSIS Trump and Netanyahu: The mixed messages of a diplomatic lovefest

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House, Feb. 15, 2017. (Andrew Harrer/Pool/Getty Images)Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House, Feb. 15, 2017. (Andrew Harrer/Pool/Getty Images)

  WASHINGTON (JTA) – One state. Flexibility. Two states. Hold back on settlements. Stop Iran. When President Donald Trump met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: What a press conference! But wait. In the Age of Trump, every post-event analysis requires a double take. Not so much “did he mean what… Read more »

How Israel’s travel bans are — and aren’t — like Trump’s

Asylum seekers protesting at the Holot detention center in the southern Negev Desert of Israel, Feb. 17, 2014. (Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)Asylum seekers protesting at the Holot detention center in the southern Negev Desert of Israel, Feb. 17, 2014. (Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)

  TEL AVIV (JTA) – Defending his executive order directing the construction of a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, President Donald Trump pointed to Israel as a model, saying “a wall protects.” With another swipe of his pen two days later, on Jan. 27, Trump enacted a… Read more »

Knesset passes historic bill to legalize settlements on Palestinian land

(JTA) — The Israeli parliament passed a bill that would retroactively legalize some West Bank settlements built on private Palestinian land. Knesset lawmakers voted 60-52 in favor of the measure late Monday to legalize some 4,000 settler homes. The law, which prevents the government from demolishing the homes, comes less than a… Read more »

ANALYSIS Is Trump reversing course on settlements and Iran?

President Donald Trump before boarding Marine One and departing the White House, Feb. 3, 2017. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)President Donald Trump before boarding Marine One and departing the White House, Feb. 3, 2017. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

  WASHINGTON (JTA) – Israeli settlements are no big problem. Wait — maybe they are, after all. The Iran deal is trash. No, the deal is here to stay, despite being “weak.” On Feb. 2, the White House pronounced on Israel’s announced settlement expansion that it “may not help”… Read more »

Despite losing Amona, Israeli settlers expect to win war for West Bank

An Israeli settler argues with police officers evacuating the West Bank outpost of Amona, Feb. 1, 2107. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)An Israeli settler argues with police officers evacuating the West Bank outpost of Amona, Feb. 1, 2107. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

AMONA, West Bank (JTA) — In a dramatic clash with the settlement movement at this hilltop outpost, the state seemed to have won.  Over two sometimes violent days, Feb. 1 and 2, security forces evacuated the residents of Amona, along with hundreds of protesters, as ordered by Israel’s High Court of Justice. Yet… Read more »

OP-ED One year and counting: Western Wall prayer fight must go on

Anat Hoffman being arrested after saying the Shema prayer at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Oct. 16, 2012. (Women of the Wall)Anat Hoffman being arrested after saying the Shema prayer at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Oct. 16, 2012. (Women of the Wall)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — One year ago, we thought we had made history. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government passed the Western Wall agreement, for the first time granting official recognition to non-Orthodox Jewish streams and women’s rights at Judaism’s holiest site. We were proud of achieving a historic compromise because… Read more »

As president, Trump less gung-ho about dramatic changes in Israel policy

President Donald Trump speaking at a luncheon at the Congress of Tomorrow Republican Member Retreat in Philadelphia, Jan. 26, 2017. In the background are Senate Majority Whip John Cronyn, left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)President Donald Trump speaking at a luncheon at the Congress of Tomorrow Republican Member Retreat in Philadelphia, Jan. 26, 2017. In the background are Senate Majority Whip John Cronyn, left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

  WASHINGTON (JTA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump have been talking each other up plenty since the latter’s election upset in November. But those expecting Trump to turn his kind words and pledges on Israel into fast action may have to be patient. The… Read more »

Tucson shlicha’s late father honored in Israeli ceremony

Mayor Rafael Ben-Sheetrit, left, and Rabbi Joseph Lasry unveil a sign that renames a Beit She’an street ‘Derech Hashisha’ or ‘Road of the Six.’ (Courtesy Oshrat Barel)Mayor Rafael Ben-Sheetrit, left, and Rabbi Joseph Lasry unveil a sign that renames a Beit She’an street ‘Derech Hashisha’ or ‘Road of the Six.’ (Courtesy Oshrat Barel)

Oshrat Barel, who serves as director of the Weintraub Israel Center and Tucson’s community shlicha (Israeli emissary), visited her hometown of Beit She’an last month for a memorial ceremony marking 14 years since the murder of her father and five others in a terrorist attack on the Likud party… Read more »

BLOG 6 Israeli startups that want to change your everyday life

A commercial for Sensibo, a “smart” air conditioner. (Screenshot from YouTube)A commercial for Sensibo, a “smart” air conditioner. (Screenshot from YouTube)

(JTA) — As any pro-Israel activist will tell you, innovators from the Jewish state have invented products and technologies you use all the time, from instant-messaging technology to Waze, the crowdsourced traffic app. Israel’s tech scene is famously thriving, with about 5,000 startups across the country. Nearly 1,500 of those are in Tel Aviv… Read more »

In Israel, religious single moms gain greater acceptance

Jerusalem resident Alexandra Benjamin and her son at his bris in 2016. (Yitz Woolf)Jerusalem resident Alexandra Benjamin and her son at his bris in 2016. (Yitz Woolf)

  JERUSALEM (JTA) — When Alexandra Benjamin was pregnant recently with her son, she went shopping for appliances for her new apartment in Jerusalem. At the store, the religious salesman asked about her husband. Benjamin explained that she was having the baby on her own. “That’s so great!” she… Read more »

Israeli diplomatic corps bracing for onslaught following Paris conference

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely
(GPO)Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (GPO)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, current and former foreign ministry officials said Thursday that Sunday’s “peace” conference in Paris would do little but demonize Israel and push off the possibility of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Netanyahu called the conference “rigged by the Palestinians under… Read more »

Israel’s chief rabbis embrace friendlier approach to marriage, but is it enough?

Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau, right, meets with B'Noam director Rabbi Yisroel Meir Riani in Modiin, Israel, October 2016.Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau, right, meets with B'Noam director Rabbi Yisroel Meir Riani in Modiin, Israel, October 2016.

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Many Israelis feel alienated by the marriage process in their country, fed up with the bureaucracy and strict religious requirements. Some seek to reform the haredi Orthodox-dominated Chief Rabbinate while creating alternatives to its monopoly on marriage and other personal status issues in Israel. But haredi Rabbi Yisroel Meir… Read more »

Barack Obama’s two farewells: Urging Americans and Israelis to defend their values

President Barack Obama delivering his farewell speech in Chicago, Jan. 10, 2017. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)President Barack Obama delivering his farewell speech in Chicago, Jan. 10, 2017. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Barack Obama got his kishkes back. The president, whose alleged aloofness was the signature flaw cited by his rivals, his critics and at times his friends, ended his presidency with an impassioned appeal for the preservation of democracy — his lower lip trembling, a tear streaking his… Read more »

How the Israeli army wages war on waistlines

Officer Yaara Bareket oversees stretches at the Wingate army base in Netanya, Israel, Dec. 13, 2016. (Andrew Tobin)Officer Yaara Bareket oversees stretches at the Wingate army base in Netanya, Israel, Dec. 13, 2016. (Andrew Tobin)

NETANYA, Israel (JTA) – One fit young soldier scales a rope. Two others practice hand-to-hand combat. A large group marches across the sand. But those were just the inspirational photographs on the walls. The actual soldiers crowded in the one-room building here on the Orde Wingate army base were… Read more »

Israel’s top security experts redraw West Bank map for the Trump era

The West Bank security fence running near Jerusalem, April 17, 2016. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)The West Bank security fence running near Jerusalem, April 17, 2016. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

  TEL AVIV (JTA) – Israel’s leading security think tank has published a plan to redraw the map of the West Bank in a bid to consolidate major settlements and prevent the spread of others. The plan, presented Monday to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin as part of the Institute for National Security Studies’ yearly strategic… Read more »

In Congress, a new battle emerges: two states or not two states

Rep. Ed Royce participates in a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Nov. 4, 2015. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)Rep. Ed Royce participates in a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Nov. 4, 2015. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – There’s a striking difference between competing bids in Congress addressing last month’s U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements. It’s not that they differ on the United Nations – the two nonbinding congressional resolutions under consideration condemn the Security Council, as well as the outgoing Obama… Read more »

Hundreds of Jews respond to John Kerry’s speech with West Bank solidarity tour

Joseph Waks, fourth from the right, poses with Jewish visitors and soldiers at the Oz Vegaon tent outpost in the West Bank, Jan. 2, 2017. (Courtesy of Avi Hyman Communications)Joseph Waks, fourth from the right, poses with Jewish visitors and soldiers at the Oz Vegaon tent outpost in the West Bank, Jan. 2, 2017. (Courtesy of Avi Hyman Communications)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – About 200 Jews from around the world toured the West Bank in response to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent speech warning of the dangers of settlement expansion. The group, organized on short notice by Miami-based fashion designer Joseph Waks, visited Jewish communities and met… Read more »