Israel

Weintraub Israel Center sets October 2018 trip meeting

The Weintraub Israel Center is planning its biggest Israel trip for October 2018. A focus on people-to-people connections will make the trip unique, says Oshrat Barel, director of the Israel Center, emphasizing that this reflects the Israel Center’s mission, “building living bridges between Tucson and Israel.” Each day, participants… Read more »

Beckers lead intimate, spiritual Israel journey

(L-R) Mark Zimmerman, Rabbi Israel Becker, Esther Becker, Lyn Lewis and Sue Ross at the Western Wall on Oct. 22

Traveling to Israel is like entering a time machine, where you connect to the past amidst advanced technology. Rabbi Israel Becker and his wife Esther of Congregation Chofetz Chayim led five people on a spiritual journey to Israel Oct. 15-26 with the theme of “Where the Past Shapes Your… Read more »

Ethiopian-Israeli teen, ENP leader tell stories of success fueled by Federation

(L-R): Rachel Rivera (Women’s Philanthropy summit co-host), Grace Rodnitzki, Batel Marsha and Peggy Langert (Women’s Philanthropy summit co-host) at the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona Nov. 8. (Danielle Larcom/JFSA)

Batel Marsha, an 18-year-old Ethiopian-Israeli, says the Ethiopian National Project’s SPACE (School Performance and Community Empowerment) program “saved me ­— maybe not literally saved my life, but totally helped me get to where I am today.” Batel will join the Israeli Air Force next month, where she will train… Read more »

Hummus among us: Chefs debate what makes Israeli food Israeli

WASHINGTON (JTA) — It’s lunch break during a one-day conference on “Israeli Cuisine as a Reflection of Israeli Society” — so naturally I’m eating lunch. Everything on my white plastic plate can be considered Israeli food. There is a burek (which originally heralds from Spain, by way of Turkey),… Read more »

Why some religious Israelis are saying women are weakening the army

Soldiers in the Bardales Battalion training in southern Israel, July 13, 2016. The battalion is 50 percent female. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A group of leading Orthodox rabbis met with the Israeli army’s chief of staff to complain. According to Israel’s Arutz Sheva news website, the rabbis told Gadi Eisenkot on Tuesday that the growing ranks of female combat soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces are creating an… Read more »

‘Israel’s Education Crisis’ to kick off Pozez series

Dan Ben-David

The Arizona Center for Judaic Studies will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Shaol & Louis Pozez Memorial Lectureship Series with six lectures on “Israel: 20th Century Ideal to 21st Century Reality.” “Since 1997 the Pozez families’ generosity has made this series one of the intellectual and social staples… Read more »

OP-ED Israel and Africa need each other

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greets Liberians upon arriving at the airport in Monrovia, June 4, 2017. (Prime Ministry of Israel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Jewish month that began this week, Cheshvan, has traditionally been dubbed “mar,” or bitter, because it alone among the months is devoid of any holidays. It is time for the Jewish people, and the Jewish calendar, to drop mar from Cheshvan, since it is blessed… Read more »

What’s green and flies? Netanyahu’s ‘pickle’ jab at the opposition

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, second from right, chairing the weekly Israeli Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Dec. 25, 2016. (Dan Balilty/AFP/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — In over a decade as prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has created more than his fair share of political memes — from the cartoon bomb he displayed at the United Nations to decry the Iran nuclear deal in 2012 to his “nix it or fix it” speech to… Read more »

State anti-BDS laws are hitting unintended targets and nobody’s happy

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signing his state's anti-BDS bill at a Jewish community center in Austin, May 2, 2017. (Office of the Texas Governor)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — On May 2, Israel’s Independence Day, Texas state Rep. Phil King stood smiling as Gov. Greg Abbott signed King’s bill banning the state from doing business with boycotters of Israel. “Anti-Israel policies are anti-Texas policies, and we will not tolerate such actions against an important ally,”… Read more »

Poor Israeli soldiers earn cash by taking on rich colleagues’ guard duty

Israeli soldiers rest from training in northern Israel, June 14, 2009. (Matanya Tausig/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – The Israel Defense Forces takes pride in its status as a “people’s army.” More than just a military, the IDF embraces its reputation as an equalizing force in Israeli society. Every soldier, rich and poor, is supposed to learn during mandatory army service what it takes… Read more »

Nations connect, learn at ‘Wicked Water Problems’ conference in Israel

Sharon Megdal, center, with fellow Central Arizona Project board members Jennifer Brown and Mark Taylor at the ‘Cutting-Edge Solutions to Wicked Water Problems’ conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, September 2017. (Courtesy Jennifer Brown)

I recently had the great honor and pleasure of co-chairing the international water conference “Cutting-Edge Solutions to Wicked Water Problems.” Held Sept. 10-11 at Tel Aviv University’s beautiful Porter School of Environmental Studies building, the conference was jointly convened by the American Water Resources Association and the Water Research Center… Read more »

What Palestinian reconciliation means for Israel

Hamas and Fatah leaders shake hands following the signing of a reconciliation deal at the Egyptian intelligence services headquarters in Cairo, Oct. 12, 2017. (Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has taken a wait-and-see approach to last week’s Palestinian reconciliation deal. Netanyahu spoke out publicly and loudly against the move toward unity between the feuding Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas, calling it a threat to Israel and a setback to peace.… Read more »

Israelis are throwing themselves one-of-a kind weddings in nature

Shani and Ran Maaman embrace under the huppah at their wedding in the Judean Desert, May 11, 2017. (Dana Bar-On)

TEL AVIV (JTA) – In this tiny country, there are only so many places to have a wedding. Or so you would think. But a growing number of Israelis are creating one-of-a-kind outdoor weddings from the ground up. In some cases, they even start with the ground. “We brought in bulldozers for one couple,” said Ori Fuks, an Israeli… Read more »

ANALYSIS Why Trump’s UN speech thrilled Netanyahu — for the moment, anyway

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu takes his seat before President Donald Trump's speech to the General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, Sept. 19, 2017. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS Why Trump‘s UN speech thrilled Netanyahu — for the moment, anyway By Ron Kampeas WASHINGTON (JTA) — The number of times President Donald Trump mentioned Iran or its derivatives in his U.N. speech? Twelve, and each time to emphasize its threat. The number of times he mentioned the Palestinians or derivatives?… Read more »

When Israelis protest, they don’t tear down statues. They put them up.

A gold statue of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is taken down at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, Dec. 6, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel recently got two new statues of political leaders: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Supreme Court President Miriam Naor. However, both statues were torn down within hours. For their creators, that was part of the point. Israel has very few official statues of its leaders —… Read more »

This haredi medic pioneered psychological first aid in Israel — now she’s helping Houston

Miriam Ballin, holding her baby daughter, at the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem. (Courtesy of Ballin)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Jerusalem therapist Miriam Ballin is the kind of person who takes the initiative. Despite resistance from her haredi Orthodox community, she became a medic. Then she launched a pacesetting psychological first aid unit. Clearly she was not just going to stand idly by while Tropical Storm… Read more »

In Kiryat Malachi, Tucson teacher boosts kids’ self-confidence — and her own

Aimee Katz (bottom left) with co-teacher Mali Geva (center) and students at the Eli Cohen Elementary School in Kiryat Malachi, Israel. (Courtesy Aimee Katz)

Not everyone gets the opportunity to follow their passions, so when I happened upon a program that would enable me to pursue my two greatest loves – travel and teaching – it was an easy decision to apply. TALMA, a teaching fellowship sponsored by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman… Read more »

Palestinian Authority wants two-state commitment from Trump administration by end of August

Husam Zomlot, the PLO envoy to Washington, speaks to reporters in Washington, D.C., Aug. 17, 2017. (Ron Kampeas)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Palestinian Authority expects the Trump administration to commit to a peace deal endgame before the close of this month and prefers it would be the two-state solution. “We need them to tell us where the hell they are going,” Husam Zomlot, the Palestine Liberation Organization… Read more »

Israelis are throwing themselves one-of-a kind weddings in nature

An Israeli couple poses at their wedding in the northern Israeli forest, May 29, 2017. (Yoav Alon)

TEL AVIV (JTA) – In this tiny country, there are only so many places to have a wedding. Or so you would think. But a growing number of Israelis are creating one-of-a-kind outdoor weddings from the ground up. In some cases, they even start with the ground. “We brought in bulldozers… Read more »