Israel

Netanyahu officially tasked with forming Israel’s next government

JERUSALEM (JTA) — President Reuven Rivlin has officially tasked Benjamin Netanyahu, the current prime minister, with forming Israel’s next government. Rivlin met Wednesday evening with Netanyahu at the president’s residence in Jerusalem hours after receiving the official results of last week’s national elections. Party leaders representing 65 of the 120… Read more »

Jennifer Lopez to perform in Israel for the first time

(JTA) — This time, don’t be fooled by the rocks that she’s got — Jennifer Lopez is set to perform in Israel for the first time. Concert promoters confirmed the rumor Wednesday. Lopez, 49, will play at Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park on Aug. 1. The pop star and actress… Read more »

More than a dozen right-wing groups want Trump to recognize an Israeli annexation of the West Bank

A Palestinian woman walks past a concrete barricade on the road that seperates an Israeli settlement and a Palestinian neighborhood inside the city of Hebron in the West Bank, Jan. 18, 2017. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

(JTA) — A coalition of more than a dozen conservative groups, most of them Jewish, sent a letter to President Donald Trump tacitly asking him to respect a potential Israeli annexation of West Bank settlements. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is almost certainly headed to a fifth term after… Read more »

All the Jews who made the Time 100 most influential people list

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu smiles as he delivers a speech during the launch of his Likud party election campaign in Ramat Gan, Israel, March 4, 2019. (Amir Levy/Getty Images)

(JTA) — One week after winning election to a fifth term as Israel’s head of state, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was named to Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people. Other Jewish people on the list include Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg; Jennifer Hyman, whose $1 billion company… Read more »

Israelis are fired up to see their Beresheet spacecraft land on the moon. Here’s how to watch it.

The Israeli spacecraft Beresheet takes a selfie with Earth from more than 23,000 miles away. (SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — With elections in the rearview mirror, Israelis are now focusing on the moon. The Israeli spacecraft Beresheet, or Genesis, is scheduled to touch down on the moon’s surface on Thursday night in Israel. And the country has Beresheet mania. Watch parties and celebrations are planned throughout… Read more »

Blue and White co-leaders concede defeat in Israel’s elections

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The leaders of the Blue and White party conceded defeat to Likud and said they would keep their coalition together in preparation for the next election. Party co-leader Yair Lapid, who brought his Yesh Atid into Blue and White, said in a speech Wednesday night that his… Read more »

9 takeaways from Israel’s historic election

Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu greets supporters at his victory speech in Tel Aviv, April 10, 2019. (Amir Levy/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel’s election on Tuesday was contentious, historic, crazy — and somewhat predictable. With most of the vote counted — some 300,000 votes from soldiers, diplomats and other Israeli officials working abroad have yet to be tallied — Benjamin Netanyahu seems poised to become the longest-serving prime… Read more »

For Israelis, Election Day means hard choices — and sunbathing

Israelis and tourists enjoy the beach in Tel Aviv, April 7, 2019. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

TEL AVIV (JTA) — Even by Israeli standards, the country’s latest general elections have been exceptionally dirty, rife with personal attacks between candidates and fake news. But in an arid country where the blossoms and mild temperatures of spring are gone within a few weeks, the vote’s timing was… Read more »

Netanyahu and Gantz in dead heat, Israeli election exit polls show

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party finished one seat behind main challenger Blue and White in the first exit poll results released at the close of voting Tuesday. Blue and White, whose head is former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff Benny Gantz, took 37 seats… Read more »

Netanyahu’s promise to annex the West Bank settlements, explained

The West Bank is a maze-like tapestry of Israeli settlements and Palestinian towns and cities. (Wikimedia Commons)

(JTA) — Just days before Israel was to hold national elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to annex parts of the West Bank as Israeli territory. “I’m going to extend sovereignty,” he said in an interview with Israeli Channel 12 on Saturday night, adding that “I don’t differentiate between the… Read more »

The final polls are in and Israel’s election is a nail-biter

A Likud party supporter holds a picture of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem, April 7, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The final polls before Israel’s national election on Tuesday show Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party running either neck and neck or up to five seats behind upstart challenger Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party. The last polls allowed by law were published Friday. Exit polling… Read more »

THA’s Kutler finds his personal grit in Ultraman Israel endurance challenge

Laurence Kutler competes in the 171-mile bicycling leg of the March 6-8 Ultraman Israel endurance challenge. (Courtesy Laurence Kutler)

As if completing a 320-mile race in three days isn’t enough, doing it in 36 hours is an enormous challenge. Included in that are a 6.2-mile swim through chilly mountain waters and cycling 171 miles across a desert at the lowest point on earth, not to mention running a… Read more »

Photographer captures experience of Palestinians at Israeli checkpoints

Not every Palestinian crossing into Israel is going for work. Some 15 percent cross the border for medical, educational or other purposes. (Photo: Laura Ben-David/JTA)

I believe in the Jewish people’s right to live in our homeland. That profound belief has no bearing on the rights of others to live here as well. There are Palestinians who live and work in the land of Israel, and while I may seldom agree with the positions… Read more »

What it’s really like for Palestinians at the Israeli checkpoints

Palestinian men wait by the side of the road near Checkpoint 300 in Bethlehem, minutes from Jerusalem. (Laura Ben-David) (Laura Ben-David)

BETHLEHEM, West Bank (JTA) – I believe in the Jewish people’s right to live in our homeland. That profound belief has no bearing on the rights of others to live here as well. There are Palestinians who live and work in the land of Israel, and while I may… Read more »

This new town will be the first fully inclusive community in Israel

Ayala, 11, a student with a cognitive disability, communicates via a computer screen with her teacher, Rivka Dimant, in a school at Aleh Negev, a campus for Israelis with disabilities, Oct. 25, 2018. (Ben Sales)

OFAKIM, Israel (JTA) — Ayala’s eyes darted around the screen, choosing words and pictures as her teacher asked her rapid-fire questions. Ayala, 11, has a cognitive disability that prevents her from speaking. But she can communicate thanks to a screen that reads her eye movements and transmits answers to… Read more »