Mitchell Ginsburg

Israel Debates a Plan To Demolish Homes in the Settlements of Gaza

JERUSALEM — They’ll lower the flag and fold it decorously. Then they’ll point the final convoy north. But what will Israel leave behind when it evacuates the last Jewish settlers from Gaza? Rows of well-tended houses for homeless Palestinians? Empty fields? Or piles of toxic rubble?As the August 15 date nears for the evacuation to begin, the

Israel Aims To Increase Study Programs

JERUSALEM — Israel announced the launch this week of an ambitious program to quadruple the number of Diaspora Jewish students visiting Israel on long-term education programs. The program aims by 2008 to have 20,000 young adults each year, some one-fifth of all Diaspora Jews in the target age groups, attending half-year or

Warm Welcome in Warsaw for Ya’alon

WARSAW — In the Jewish community in Warsaw, the visit of Israel’s military chief of staff was a source of visible elation. On a weekday, at an awkward hour, dozens of members of the 1,500-person community waited in the Nozyk Synagogue, which had been used as a stable during the Nazi occupation, to hear Moshe Ya’alon speak. He told them

Army Chief Bows Out With Homily At Death Camp

OSWIECIM, Poland — With just weeks to go before he retires, Israel’s military chief of staff, Moshe Ya’alon, came to Auschwitz last week to deliver a moral sermon to the troops back home.“Never again — never victims and never murderers,” Ya’alon said, standing alongside a swath of barbed wire and addressing a small group of reporters

Chief Rabbinate Under Cloud As Police Question a 2nd Rabbi

JERUSALEM — In a devastating blow to the credibility of Israel’s state rabbinic establishment, the nation’s Sephardic chief rabbi, Shlomo Amar, was interrogated this week by the police on suspicion of complicity in the abduction and beating of a 17-year-old youth who was dating his daughter.Amar is not known to be suspected of direct

Settlers, Rabbis Debate Disobedience As Disengagement Nears

JERUSALEM — As Israel’s political and security establishment moves closer to disengagement from Gaza, hammering out details of the day after, a furious debate has erupted among settler leaders and their rabbis over whether it is permitted even to suggest cooperating with the planned evacuation.Government ministers were negotiating this

Gaza Expects Flood of Tourists, Some of Whom Will Stay

JERUSALEM — The beachfront Jewish settlements of southern Gaza, long a popular Passover getaway destination among religious Israelis, are expecting a bumper tourism season this week. Tens of thousands of visitors are expected to throng the region’s guest houses and campsites during the weeklong vacation. But not all of them are planning on

Court’s Conversion Ruling Satisfies Few

JERUSALEM — Israel’s Supreme Court touched off a wave of cheers and jeers with its 7-to-4 decision last week to recognize a new category of non-Orthodox conversions to Judaism.The March 31 ruling ordered the government to recognize the Jewish status of 17 Israeli residents who had traveled abroad for conversion by Reform or

Rightists Vowing To Bring Battle To Israel Streets

JERUSALEM — With the last parliamentary hurdles cleared before Prime Minister Sharon’s Gaza-West Bank disengagement plan, opponents declared this week that they were taking their battle to the streets.“The time for politics is over,” the chairman of the Gaza Coast Regional Council, Avner Shimoni, told protesters who had

Owner of Patriots Unveils Field of Dreams in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM — Standing last week on the finest piece of artificial grass in Israel’s capital, Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, raised this year’s Super Bowl trophy in his right hand and took an ancient oath.“If I forget you, oh Jerusalem,” he declared, “may my right hand wither.”Fresh off his