Israel

On Independence Day, a reminder about Gilad Shalit

Yoel Shalit, brother of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, is led away by security after interrupting an Idependence Day ceremony at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90/JTA)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — As Israelis celebrated the country’s 63rd Independence Day, they had much more on their minds than barbecues and fireworks. The carefully crafted theme of the day, “Looking after one another — the year of mutual care,” raised the hackles of some Israelis who do not believe… Read more »

Wanted: U.S. claimants of Holocaust-era assets in pre-state Israel

In Israel, restituting Holocaust-era assets isn’t just about getting European countries, banks and insurance companies to pay up. It’s also about finding the rightful heirs of thousands of pre-state assets in Israel whose original Jewish owners perished during the Holocaust. These include dormant bank accounts, real estate, bonds and… Read more »

Israel taking Holocaust restitution into its own hands

The Kurt Lindenfeld store in Chemnitz, Germany, seen here in the 1920s, was one of thousands of German Jewish businesses that vanished during the Nazi era. (N.Y. Museum of Jewish Heritage)

NEW YORK (JTA) — The Israeli government is firing a new salvo in the turf war over Holocaust restitution. Following years of complaints by survivors about opacity and unjust allocation decisions by the Claims Conference, and after two decades of what critics deride as scant tangible successes by the… Read more »

Rocket attacks shatter peace in Hof Ashkelon

The Federation’s TIPS Partnership incorporates the Regional Council of Hof Ashkelon, a consortium of kibbutzim and moshavim that border Gaza. This update from our partners, written Sunday, April 10, reveals how life is being impacted on a day-to-day basis by the uptick in missiles coming into the region from… Read more »

Tucsonan helps launch site for ‘lone soldier’ wannabes

David Abraham and his mother, Marlene, in Israel

David Abraham, a former Tucsonan who made aliyah in 2008 after graduating from the University of Arizona and spent two years in the Israel Defense Forces, where he was a tank commander, has joined with other “lone soldiers” and native Israelis to launch a website that provides information, in… Read more »

Arrest of two Palestinians for Itamar killings can’t console Fogels’ kin

Palestinian teenagers Amjad Mohammad Awad, left, and Hakim Mazen Awad have been arrested and allegedly confessed to murdering five members of the Fogel family in the Jewish West Bank settlement of Itamar, which is near their home in the Awarta village. (GPO/Flash90/JTA)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — They came armed with knives and wire cutters looking for a Jewish target.   It was a Friday night, the Sabbath eve of March 11, and Palestinian teenagers Amjad Awad, 19, and Hakim Awad, 18, both from the Palestinian village of Awarta, hurried through the dark… Read more »

After bombshell Op-Ed, questions for Goldstone and Israel

Richard Goldstone, left, shown meeting on June 1, 2009 with Ghazi Hamad of Hamas at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, now says his report’s finding that Israel intentionally targeted civilians in the Gaza war was mistaken. (Rahim Khatiz/Flash 90/JTA)

Richard Goldstone’s original U.N. report on the Gaza war of 2008-09 landed like a bombshell in the PR war over Israel, damaging Israel’s reputation around the world with its finding that Israel potentially committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during its three-week war against Hamas. Now that Goldstone… Read more »

Twin peaks: Itamar’s mayor knows the blessing and the curse

NEW YORK (N.Y. Jewish Week) — From the highest elevation in Itamar you can see everything but the future. On a clear day, says Rabbi Moshe Goldsmith, Itamar’s mayor, “We can see the three seas”: the Dead Sea, the Mediterranean and the Kinneret (Galilee). To the west, “We can… Read more »

Israel launching drive to void Goldstone Report

President Obama and Israeli President Shimon Peres at their White House meeting talked about the Washington Post Op-Ed by U.N. investigator Richard Goldstone rescinding his conclusion that Israel had committed war crimes in the 2009 Gaza War, April 5, 2011. (Mark Neyman, Israel Government Press Office)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would launch an international campaign to cancel the Goldstone Report after its author, ex-South African Judge Richard Goldstone, wrote in an Op-Ed in the Washington Post that Israel did not intentionally target civilians as a policy during the Gaza War,… Read more »

Amid violence, pen pals in Congress focus on Israel

Medical personnel clean the scene of where a bus exploded from a bomb, injuring 25 people, near the central bus station in Jerusalem, March 23, 2011. (Abir Sultan / Flash90/JTA)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – It happens almost like clockwork: Something happens in the Middle East, and it reverberates across the Atlantic with new letters from the U.S. Congress. With so many relatively new members looking to establish their pro-Israel credentials, the reaction in Congress to the recent violence in Israel… Read more »

North American immigrants lead in Israel’s nonprofit sector

TEL AVIV (JTA) — When David Portowicz was a new immigrant to Israel from Brooklyn in the 1970s, he began research on poverty in Jaffa that would lead to his life’s work: the creation of a nonprofit organization that now serves thousands of disadvantaged children and their families. A… Read more »

Murder of West Bank family members spurs protests, new housing approval

ZAKA volunteer holds a body bag containing one of the victims of the terror attack in the West Bank settlement of Itama, March 11, 2011. (Courtesy of ZAKA)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Demonstrations in solidarity with settlers and a Cabinet committee’s approval for new housing in the West Bank are among the Israeli responses to the suspected terrorist attack that killed five members of a West Bank Jewish family. An estimated 20,000 people attended the March 13 funeral at a cemetery… Read more »

America’s new face in Tel Aviv? Shapiro expected to garner ambassadorship

WASHINGTON (Washington Jewish Week) — When Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell sat down for an interview before a crowd of nearly 1,000 last year, his interlocutor, New York Times columnist David Brooks, wondered why the political heavyweight had agreed to openly discuss a matter as sensitive as his… Read more »

Obama: Israelis should soul-search about seriousness on peace

President Barack Obama meets with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in the State Dining Room of the White House, March 1, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

NEW YORK (JTA) – President Obama reportedly urged Jewish communal leaders to speak to their friends and colleagues in Israel and to “search your souls” over Israel’s seriousness about making peace. In an hourlong meeting Tuesday with about 50 representatives from the Jewish community’s chief foreign policy umbrella group,… Read more »

Leaked maps show gaps in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations

WASHINGTON (JTA) — This time there are maps — not that they necessarily will help. After the collapse of the Camp David talks in 2000, the Israeli and Palestinian sides bickered about who had offered what, and the competing historical narratives were adopted by either side and around the… Read more »

Concern in Israel over growing backlash against African migrants, Arabs

Hundreds showed up for a demonstration in Tel Aviv's Hatikvah neighborhood against African migrants who have moved into the area in recent years, Dec. 21, 2010. The sign says, "Israeli girls for the Jewish people." (Maariv/Flash90/JTA)

TEL AVIV (JTA) – For the tall 28-year-old from Sudan who calls himself Mike, life in Israel has become a game of survival. Most days, he earns enough money to buy food for dinner doing odd jobs at construction sites or cleaning houses. But with voices against illegal immigrants… Read more »

Israeli population in U.S. surges, but exact figures hard to determine

Israeli ex-pats were among those who showed up in Los Angeles for an Israel Independence Day celebration. (Courtesy Israeli Leadership Council)

SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) — The number of Israelis living in the United States grew by about 30 percent over the past decade, according to newly released U.S. Census Bureau figures. Some 140,323 people living in the United States today were born in Israel, up from 109,720 in 2000. Of… Read more »