Israel

5 times Nikki Haley delighted the pro-Israel community

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley attends a media briefing during the United Nations General Assembly on September 24, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — When Nikki Haley said on Tuesday that she would be stepping down as U.N. ambassador by the end of this year, the Israeli and pro-Israel laments poured out swiftly. Haley didn’t simply defend Israel and its government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as her predecessors… Read more »

A protest to support pro-Israel students at Columbia University didn’t involve many students

Protesters outside the main gates of Columbia in New York City called on the university administration to do more to protect pro-Israel students, Oct. 4, 2018. (Ben Sales)

NEW YORK (JTA) – The organizers of a rally to support pro-Israel students at Columbia University didn’t want the Jewish Defense League to show up. And yet there they were, a few demonstrators wearing the extremist right-wing group’s insignia, a clenched fist punching into a yellow Jewish star. The… Read more »

Ardently pro-Israel presidential candidate wins first round of Brazil’s elections

Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro is shown after casting his vote in Rio de Janeiro, Oct. 7, 2018. (Fernando Souza/AFP/Getty Images)

RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — Jair Bolsonaro, an ardently pro-Israel candidate who is highly divisive among Jews for his sometimes politically incorrect rhetoric, won the first round of Brazil’s presidential election and remains the front-runner to lead the Latin American nation. Bolsonaro, a 63-year-old conservative Christian congressman, won 46… Read more »

‘Fauda’ screenwriter wanted to depict terrorists as ‘real human beings’

Laetitia Eïdo, left, and Lior Raz in a scene from "Fauda." (Courtesy of Netflix)

(JTA) — Moshe Zonder noticed it quickly: “My students are completely serious. They are writing. They are doing the assignments. All of them. It’s great teaching here.” Zonder shouldn’t be that surprised. For an aspiring screenwriter, who better to study with than the man who wrote the entire first… Read more »

The ‘best football player who grew up in Israel’ seeks a spot at US college

Yuval Fenta plays running back for the Tel Aviv Pioneers. (Hillel Kuttler)

TEL AVIV (JTA) – In the summer of 2011, Yuval Fenta saw two guys tossing a football on the beach in Herzliya. He asked to participate. “You’re too small,” they responded. A dejected Fenta retreated, but not before hearing them mention an American football league that played in Israel.… Read more »

This new program is recruiting Israeli girls for cyber warfare and high-tech futures

Demand for high-tech professionals in Israel currently outstrips supply by about 15,000 individuals, according to Start-Up Nation Central. Programs like CyberGirlz aim to address the shortfall by recruiting more women into the field. (Courtesy of CyberGirlz)

TEL AVIV — Tali Ben Aroya knows what it’s like to feel intimidated. As the founder of an Israeli social network startup, she recalls more than once being the only female in a room full of male business executives. “I remember myself asking where all the other women were,”… Read more »

Ari Fuld, American expat slain in West Bank, remembered as a combative activist and caring friend

Ari Fuld, shown at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, worked at a nonprofit that provides food and supplies to Israeli soldiers. (Facebook)

(JTA) — When Ari Fuld first approached him, Josh Weixelbaum was a 20-year-old soldier visiting friends in the West Bank settlement of Efrat. Fuld had heard Weixelbaum speaking English, so he introduced himself and asked Weixelbaum about his time in the army. Fuld soon learned that Weixelbaum, an American… Read more »

REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK: How an encounter between Jews and Palestinians underlines the promise and failures of Oslo

The Palestinian side of the separation wall in Bethlehem has graffiti in Arabic and English, but not Hebrew, June 25, 2018. (Ron Kampeas)

(JTA) — The wall separating Bethlehem from Israel-controlled territory is silent and noisy at once, like the breakdown in conversation between Israelis and Palestinians that helped kill the Oslo peace accords. It was only this year — in June, almost 25 years since the launch of the accords that… Read more »

Israel ‘almost touched’ peace: A director’s take on the making of HBO’s ‘The Oslo Diaries’

A scene from "The Oslo Diaries" showing Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat after they were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in the Norwegian capital. (Saar Yaacov)

(JTA) — On Sept. 13, 1993, exactly 25 years ago, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat were captured shaking hands in a historic ceremony in Washington, D.C., hosted by President Bill Clinton. The leaders agreed to set up a framework, now known as Oslo Accord… Read more »

OP-ED Young activists learned the wrong lessons from the Oslo Accords

Members of the Peace Now movement demonstrate outside the residence of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak in Jerusalem, July11, 2000. (Brian Hendler/Newsmakers/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS (JTA) — This summer, America’s Jewish youth rebelled. Or at least a very small minority of them did. But through orchestrated stunts and aggressive marketing, they garnered the headlines they sought. These youth are demanding that Israel end its “occupation,” presumably of the West Bank. They are… Read more »

Oslo failed. Long live Oslo.

From left to right: Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin in 1994 after winning the Nobel Peace Prize for their roles in the Oslo Accords. (Wikimedia Commons)

NEW YORK (JTA) — It has become conventional wisdom in certain circles that the Oslo agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, which was signed 25 years ago Sept. 13 on the White House lawn, was simply a failure. There is no doubt that the great hopes of Israeli-Palestinian peace and… Read more »

Netflix film ‘The Angel’ spotlights Egyptian spy who helped Israel

Marwan Kenzari, left, and Hannah Ware in "The Angel." Kenzari plays Egyptian spy Ashraf Marwan. (Nick Briggs/Netflix)

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — In 1993, filmmaker Ariel Vromen was part of an Israeli air force rescue unit sent in to Lebanon to evacuate both Jewish and Arab soldiers wounded during a battle. During the fighting, two of Vromen’s closest friends died in front of his eyes. For several months… Read more »

Former Eagle to share journey from football to faith

Calvin ‘Yosef’ Murray and his wife, Emunah, on a Judean Desert Jeep tour in Israel December 2017.

Legendary all-star Rose Bowl running back Calvin Murray played football for the Philadelphia Eagles in the early ’80s. Yet he says his greatest touchdown was converting to Orthodox Judaism five years ago, and with his wife, Emunah, preparing to make aliyah. Murray, who now goes by the name Yosef,… Read more »

On summer travels in Israel, Tucsonans delight in people, places, studies

(L-R): Garrett Fenton, Matt Landau, Sophia Yatsenko, Monica Montes, and Linnea Dawson in the Old City of Jerusalem at the Western Wall

This summer season marked the 18th anniversary of Birthright Israel, the program that brings Diaspora Jews, ages 18-26, on a free trip to Israel. From May 24-June 4, Bus #1545 carried University of Arizona students along with participants from the University of Southern California, Arizona State University, and San… Read more »

This Seattle singer wrote an entire folk rock album on the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Ben Fisher lived for three years across from Jerusalem's Old City, or what he calls the "seam" between Arab eastern Jerusalem and Jewish western Jerusalem. (Kendall Rock)

(JTA) — In 2014, early on in a three-year stint spent living in Israel, songwriter Ben Fisher took a vacation to Japan. Sitting in a hotel room in Tokyo, he spontaneously wrote a song about the founding of Tel Aviv — in about 15 minutes. The story goes that… Read more »

If Israel has such bad PR, why does it remain so popular?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu understands that Israel’s “hasbarah” can only get the country so far. (Illustration by Charles Dunst/JTA; photo: Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty)

(JTA) — The first mention in JTA of the Hebrew word “hasbarah” was in 1988, at the height of the first intifada. The article focused on Israelis and American Jews and their deep concern that the media were distorting the unrest and showing the Israeli military in a bad… Read more »

Ronald Lauder helped make Benjamin Netanyahu prime minister. Now he’s publicly opposing him.

Ronald Lauder helped make Benjamin Netanyahu prime minister. Now he's publicly opposing him.

(JTA) — It’s gotta hurt when the guy who used to fund your political career writes two op-eds criticizing you in The New York Times. Benjamin Netanyahu would know — that’s what’s happening to him right now. On Monday, Netanyahu was the target of a scathing column by Ronald… Read more »

Left-wing activists claim that Israel is trying to intimidate them at the country’s border

Simone Zimmerman, a leftist activist, lives in Israel on a work visa. (Courtesy of Zimmerman)

(JTA) — For years, Simone Zimmerman has protested Israel’s actions from the left. She’s led activist groups, organized protests and gone on camera. But she never worried that her activism would get her barred from entering the country — until this week. Zimmerman, who is Jewish and lives in… Read more »