Middle East

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 »

How 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi became a Palestinian national symbol

Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi is welcomed by relatives and supporters after her release from an Israeli prison, July 29, 2018. (Flash90)

(JTA) — When Ahed Tamimi left an Israeli prison on Sunday after eight months, she returned home to jubilation from friends and family in her West Bank hometown of Nabi Saleh. The 17-year-old Palestinian activist also was celebrated as a hero around the world for what some see as… Read more »

OP-ED Mahmoud Abbas’ remarks on the Holocaust explain why two-state solution is dying

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the Palestinian National Council in the West Bank city of Ramallah, April 30, 2018. (Flash90)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Rabbi Donniel Hartman had some bad news for his audience on the largely liberal Upper West Side: The two-state solution might not be dead, but it’s not imminent either, and most Israelis don’t believe the two-state solution is “implementable in their lifetime.” It’s not a… Read more »

Deaths on Gaza border hand Hamas a PR victory and Israel an angry internal debate

A Palestinian protester burning tires during clashes with Israeli forces near the border of the southern Gaza Strip, April 2, 2018. (Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — When the smoke from the rifles of Israeli sharpshooters and the firebombs thrown by Gaza Palestinians cleared in the wake of the Palestinian March of Return, there were at least 15 Palestinians dead and hundreds of protesters injured. Israel, meanwhile, had a huge PR mess. Israeli… Read more »

Why are Jewish leaders fighting about Qatar? Here’s a scorecard.

Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, at the Gulf Cooperation Council summit at the Bayan Palace in Kuwait City, Dec. 5, 2017. (Giuseppe Cacace/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — There’s a battle going on among pro-Israel leaders, and it’s over Qatar. It’s like watching ice hockey players clear the bench for a brawl, only the antagonists are all on the same team. The folks lining up to praise or bury the emirate are best known… Read more »

Israel, Iran and Syria just traded blows. Does this mean war?

Israeli soldiers taking positions near the border with Syria, Feb. 10, 2018. (Jalaa Marey/AFP/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Israel and Iran have been clashing for years. But on Saturday, their war of words briefly became an actual fight. In short succession, Iran sent a drone into Israel, Israel shot it down and took out the drone launcher in Syria, Iranian-allied Syria downed an Israeli plane,… Read more »

Donald Trump and Team Kushner sure sound like they want to make a Mideast deal

President Donald Trump and Jared Kushner in the Oval Office of the White House, July 25, 2017.(Zach Gibson/Pool/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Donald Trump is just the man to get an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal done. Just ask Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli prime minister was gushing last week about Trump’s negotiating team, which is led by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. “The thing the people don’t realize is that these people… Read more »

Palestinian reconciliation creates an opportunity for families of slain soldiers held by Hamas

Leah Goldin, mother of late Israeli soldier Hadar Goldin, at a meeting in the Israeli parliament, April 19, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israel’s government may be ambivalent about the nascent reconciliation between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, but it outright opposes Palestinian bids for statehood recognition through international bodies, including the United Nations. However, for one influential Israeli constituency — the families of Israelis held captive in Hamas-controlled… Read more »

What Israel and the Palestinians make of Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem

Protesters burn a poster of President Donald Trump in front of the Damascus Gate at the entrance to Jerusalem's Old City, Dec. 11, 2017. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Amid the global controversy over President Donald Trump’s recognition last week of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state, Israeli and Palestinian leaders actually found rare consensus: They agreed that the development was a win for Israel and a loss for the Palestinians. To be… Read more »

With America’s blessing, Abbas signals a reconciliation with Hamas

President Donald Trump and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, May 23, 2017. (Flash90)

  WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Trump administration is encouraging the Palestinian Authority to assume control of the Gaza Strip and leaving the door open for a role by Hamas in the subsequent Palestinian government. But if such a move was once seen as a traditional predicate to a two-state… Read more »

Why Jews from Libya are worried about the fate of the country’s Jewish artifacts

A hotel can be seen behind the abandoned Dar Bishi synagogue in Tripoli, Libya, Sept. 28, 2011. (Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images)

  (JTA) — Gina Waldman was forced to flee her native Libya in 1967 as anti-Jewish mobs took to the streets of Tripoli, burning down her father’s warehouse. Waldman, like thousands of other Libyan Jews who left the country amid public and state-sponsored anti-Semitism in the 20th century, was… 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 »

Trump, Abbas link renewed peace talks to countering Islamic State

President Donald Trump gives a joint statement with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House, May 3, 2017. (Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

  WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Donald Trump and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks would help bring about the defeat of the Islamic State terrorist group. “I know President Abbas has spoken out against ISIS” and other terrorist groups, Trump said Wednesday at a White… Read more »

Lecturer says Trump’s dealmaking could work in Middle East

Shai Feldman

Shai Feldman, a professor of politics at Brandeis University, believes President Donald J. Trump could broker a deal that ends the Arab/Israeli conflict, because the most contentious issues contradict a golden rule of negotiation. “In the Arab/Israeli conflict the devil is not in the details, in the Arab/Israeli conflict… Read more »

Newly found KGB document names PA President Abbas as Soviet spy

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) at the presidential compound in Ramallah, May 31, 2016 (Ehud Amiton/TPS)

The Hebrew University researcher who unearthed evidence that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas served as an agent for the Soviet Union during the 1980s says that this should not derail Russia’s current attempt re-ignite Israel-Palestinian peace talks. But at least one senior MK said the revelation is serious enough to… Read more »

Arab-Israeli lawmaker in US refuses to enter offices shared with Jewish Agency

Ayman Odeh, carrying one of his three children, casting his vote in Nazareth on Israel's Election Day, March 17, 2015. (Basal Awidat/Flash90)

(JTA) — Arab-Israeli lawmaker and political leader Ayman Odeh refused to meet with the umbrella foreign policy body for American Jews because it shares office space with the Jewish Agency, an abrupt and dissonant end to a trip that was aimed at promoting greater Arab-Jewish cooperation. “I came here… Read more »

New brand identity reinforces THA values

Students, faculty and staff in the forecourt of Tucson Hebrew Academy on Nov. 3 after THA’s new sign was revealed. (Courtesy Tucson Hebrew Academy)

Tucson Hebrew Academy introduced its new brand identity to the community on Tuesday, Nov. 3, celebrating with morning coffee, cocoa and refreshments. THA is the only school in Tucson providing K-8 education that combines a strong secular program, integrated Jewish education, and a warm sense of community celebrating Jewish… Read more »

Op-Ed: Obama could learn from Bill Clinton how to be a true friend of Israel

Former President Bill Clinton meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York, Nov. 8, 2010. (Avi Ohayon/GPO via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — By now it should be obvious how absurd it is to call President Barack Obama Israel’s “best friend” ever, as Thomas Friedman of The New York Times has claimed. A Blame Israel Firster, Obama won’t use his moral authority to try stopping the instigators of this… Read more »