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Birthright Alums Report Limited Participation in Jewish Life

By Sue Fishkoff (JTA)

Nearly 160,000 young Jews from North America have taken part in Taglit-Birthright Israel, a 10-day free Israel trip aimed at revving up their Jewish identities. Of those no longer in college, only half have attended any Jewish event since their retuRead More


IDF Orders Investigation of Reported Abuses in Gaza

By Amos Harel (Haaretz) and Haaretz Service

In the wake of an Haaretz expose, the Israel Defense Forces on Thursday ordered an investigation into soldiers’ accounts of alleged misconduct and serious violations of the army’s rules of engagement. Military Advocate General Brig. Gen. Avichai Mendelblit instructed the Military Police Investigation unit to launch the probe after soldiers were quoted as telling a military cadet academy that combat troops in Gaza fired at unarmed Palestinian civilians and vandalized property during Operation Cast Lead.Read More


Israeli Soldiers Relate IDF Abuses in Gaza

By Amos Harel (Haaretz)

During Operation Cast Lead, Israeli forces killed Palestinian civilians under permissive rules of engagement and intentionally destroyed their property, say soldiers who fought in the offensive. The soldiers are graduates of the Yitzhak Rabin pre-military preparatory course at Oranim Academic College in Tivon. Some of their statements made on Feb. 13 will appear Thursday and Friday in Haaretz. Dozens of graduates of the course who took part in the discussion fought in the Gaza operation.Read More


In Response to Economic Downturn, Reform Movement Plans Reorganization

By Ben Harris (JTA)

The Reform movement has approved a reorganization plan. At a special meeting Sunday night, the board of trustees of the Union for Reform Judaism voted to reconfigure the organization and help congregations coping with a bleak economic landscape.Read More


Collapse of Deal Draws Out Shalit Saga

By Dina Kraft (JTA)

In what has felt like a national emotional roller-coaster ride, anticipation in Israel for a deal to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit had grown in the waning days of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s administration. But by Tuesday, an 11th-hour agreement with Hamas appeared to have fallen through. Olmert in a television address to the nation delivered the disappointing news at a special news conference on Tuesday evening.Read More


After Talks Break Down, Senior Israeli Negotiator Briefs Shalit Family

By JTA

Israel’s senior negotiator briefed the father of Gilad Shalit amid rumors that the talks to free the kidnapped soldier had broken down.Read More


Times Columnist Spars With Iranian Jewish Expats

By Tom Tugend (JTA)

There was no clean knockout when New York Times columnist Roger Cohen faced off against some 400 Iranian Jews and Bahais in Los Angeles, but spectators were treated to some vigorous rhetorical sparring and nimble footwork.Read More


Envoys to Olmert: Shalit Negotiations Failed

By Avi Issacharoff and Barak Ravid (Haaretz) and Haaretz Service

Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s special envoy, Ofer Dekel, informed Olmert Monday night that the negotiations for the release of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit have failed.Read More


Lawmaker Sees Spike in Neo-Nazism in Ukraine

By JTA

Ukraine’s parliament speaker said he is concerned about the threat of neo-Nazism in Ukraine.Read More


Olmert Postpones Cabinet Meeting on Shalit Deal

By JTA

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert postponed a special Cabinet meeting that could include approving a deal to free kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. Hamas, which is said to be holding Shalit in Gaza, is demanding the release of more than 400 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, including some who killed Israelis.Read More


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