Israel

After realizing 45-year dream of aliyah, couple is surprised by what they find

Linda and Joel Zacks decided in 1968 that they wanted to move to Israel. It took another 45 years, and six of seven children moving there, before they finally immigrated. (Yardena Schwartz)

  JERUSALEM — When Joel Zacks and Linda Ginns each first visited Israel, on separate pre-college tours, they fell in love with the country. It was 1968, they were both 18 and had yet to meet. They returned to America, met during freshman orientation at Yeshiva University and fell… Read more »

Long-awaited Israel trip full of wonder for THA eighth-graders

(L-R) Eliana Siegel, Ellah Ben-Asher, Elana Goldberg, Sigal Devorah (Tucson Hebrew Academy teacher), Breanna Yalen, Lily Isaac, Shira Dubin, Eliana Tolby, Dani Lee, Ava Leipsic and April Glesinger (THA parent) at the Western Wall. (Courtesy Breanna Yalen)

Seeing, hearing, smelling, actually being in Israel is magical for Tucson teens who spent years studying about the Jewish state at Tucson Hebrew Academy. It is a powerful experience for eighth-grade graduates to travel with classmates and teachers, building lifetime friendships and memories. Twenty-one students made the trip this… Read more »

Robert Kraft brings football Hall of Famers to Israel

Robert Kraft, in black shirt, with Hall of Famers Marshall Faulk, right, and, in rear, from left, Ron Yary, Roger Staubach and Dave Casper in Ramat Hasharon, Israel, June 15, 2017. (Hillel Kuttler)

RAMAT HASHARON, Israel (JTA) – An Israeli soldier clapped football great and Vietnam War veteran Roger Staubach on the shoulder at a soccer field here, telling the 1963 Heisman Trophy winner and U.S. Naval Academy grad that he and his brother serve in the paratroopers. The introduction Thursday evening prompted… Read more »

Michael Steinhardt thinks American Jews need to stop focusing on religion

Michael Steinhardt in New York, April 12, 2012. (Scott Eells/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

  Mt. Kisco, N.Y. (JTA) — Michael Steinhardt has poured millions of dollars into ventures for American Jews. But he’s no fan of American Judaism. The hedge-fund billionaire turned mega-philanthropist is best known as the founder of Birthright Israel, the 10-day free trip to Israel for Jewish young adults.… Read more »

Arab countries are turning on Qatar. What does it mean for Israel?

President Donald Trump meets with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani at a bilateral meeting at a hotel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 21, 2017. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Five Arab nations cut ties with Qatar on Monday, escalating a long-simmering competition for preeminence in the region into actions that could set the stage for war. Saudi Arabia, which is leading the charge, has cut off Qatar’s only land crossing – and what one Saudi-friendly… Read more »

Israel’s government is right-wing. But it’s taking climate change seriously.

Solar panels in the Bedouin Arab village of Darajat in Israel's Negev desert seen on Nov. 23, 2009. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

(JTA) — One of Israel’s strongest condemnations of Donald Trump wasn’t about the peace process. It didn’t concern Trump’s broken promise to relocate the U.S. embassy, or his reported leak of Israeli intelligence. It was about climate change. After President Trump announced the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris… Read more »

An Israeli’s alphabet combines Hebrew and Arabic to promote understanding

Liron Lavi Turkenich compares produce in a video for her Aravit writing system. (Screenshot from YouTube)

  TEL AVIV (JTA) — Middle East peace may remain out of reach, but at least the Hebrew and Arabic languages have found a compromise. Israeli typography designer Liron Lavi Turkenich has created a stylized writing system that merges the two ancient alphabets, allowing Hebrew and Arabic speakers to… Read more »

These five American immigrants are spicing up Jerusalem’s food scene

The Rooftop Restaurant at Mamilla Hotel, a modern eatery just outside Jerusalem's Old City, is leading the city's fine dining charge. (Courtesy of Mamilla Hotel)

JERUSALEM — There’s something delicious afoot in Jerusalem, a city long known not only for its interwoven layers of history and religion, but winding souks perfumed by fragrant spices, sun-ripened fruit and sizzling oil. Now more than ever, Jerusalem is attracting flavor-seeking innovators who see it at a culinary… Read more »

FIRST PERSON ‘I have a feeling the war is going to start tomorrow’: A firsthand account of June 1967 in Israel

Ariel Sharon, third from left, meets with his officers a week before the start of the Six-Day War, May 29, 1967. at their headquarters somewhere in southern Israel. (Micha Han/GPO via Getty Images)

  Five days before the Six-Day War broke out in June 1967, the American reporter Abraham Rabinovich arrived in Jerusalem. When the war ended, he decided to remain and write an account of Israel’s lightning victory. Over the next two years he interviewed close to 300 soldiers and civilians.  In this excerpt from the 50th… Read more »

In Middle East, Trump talks peace but offers no details

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin guides President Donald Trump at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, May 22, 2017. (Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – President Donald Trump must have felt like he was back behind his desk at Trump Tower. During his whirlwind visit to Israel and the West Bank on Monday and Tuesday, the U.S. leader was treated with the deference befitting a CEO. His words were greeted with rapturous applause and… Read more »

Short on time, Yad Vashem packing emotion into Trump visit with story of one young victim

Ester Goldstein, left and sister Margot lived in Berlin before they were separated in 1939. (Courtesy of Yad Vashem)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — President Donald Trump will spend just 30 minutes at Yad Vashem on the second and last day of his visit to Israel, but the leadership of the Holocaust memorial center in Jerusalem plans to use the brief time to deliver a powerful message. Rather than bombarding Trump with facts… Read more »

Rebel Israeli lawmaker snags selfie with Donald Trump

Oren Hazan in front of the Israeli parliament building, Oct. 31, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

  TEL AVIV (JTA) — Oren Hazan finally met his hero, and he wasn’t going to let the moment go undocumented. The notoriously misbehaved Israeli lawmaker snapped a selfie with President Donald Trump during the official welcome ceremony Monday at Ben Gurion Airport. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu belatedly attempted to stop… Read more »

Netanyahu, a man in the middle, scrambles to give Trump a warm welcome

Air Force One arrives at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, May 22, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

  TEL AVIV (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did his best to give Donald Trump a warm welcome when he landed Monday at Ben Gurion Airport on his first trip abroad as U.S. president. Netanyahu offered support for Trump’s stated aspiration to broker the “ultimate deal” between Israel and… Read more »

This Israeli film about Orthodox Jews is a surprise hit overseas

From left to right: Orna Banai, Yafit Asulin, Evelin Hagoel, Sharona Elimelech and Einat Sarouf in "The Women's Balcony." (Courtesy of Menemsha Films)

(JTA) — It’s safe to call the Israeli film “The Women’s Balcony” the opposite of a Hollywood blockbuster. The movie, directed by Emil Ben-Shimon, is a sensitive, slice-of-life story that focuses on the rift caused in a modern Orthodox community in Jerusalem when a Hasidic rabbi offers to fill… Read more »

Israel’s demographic future: Crowded and very religious

Hasidic Jews from the Strikov dynasty celebrate the writing of a new Torah scroll in Bnei Brak, Israel, March 26, 2017. (Yaakov Naumi/Flash90)

  TEL AVIV (JTA) – Israel’s projected future looks a lot like a visit to the Jerusalem central bus station: crowded and very religious. According to a government report to be released in full next week, the Jewish state’s population will double in about 40 years. Some 29 percent —… Read more »

David Friedman, new US envoy to Israel, presents credentials in Jerusalem

David Friedman, right, with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at a ceremony for new ambassadors at the president's residence in Jerusalem, May 16, 2017. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The new U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, presented his credentials to President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem. During the ceremony Tuesday morning, Rivlin identified himself as a seventh-generation Jerusalemite and noted.”Next week, we will celebrate 50 years since Jerusalem was united, and the Jewish people were… Read more »

Israeli startups are driving the car technology revolution. Here’s how.

A simulation of cars using Autotalks' vehicle-to-vehicle communication system. (Screenshot from YouTube)

TEL AVIV (JTA) – Israeli startups are revving their engines ahead of the country’s largest-ever “smart transportation” event. Over 200 local companies working in transportation technology will be at the EcoMotion Conference on Thursday at the Peres Center for Peace in Jaffa. The plan is to give auto industry… Read more »

Israel’s justice minister says Trump peace plan won’t go anywhere — and she’s happy about it

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked casts her vote in preliminary parliamentary elections in Jerusalem, April 27, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Ten days before Donald Trump was inaugurated, Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked visited the Jewish settlement in Hebron. A community of several hundred ensconced in a city of 150,000 Palestinians, Hebron’s Jewish residents are considered to be among the most extremist and controversial Israeli settlers.… Read more »