Israel News


Eritrean Tells of His Cruel Odyssey to Israel

By Nathan Jeffay

On a bed in his tiny shared apartment in Tel Aviv, Mekonen Kefete bares his right leg to illustrate the story of his journey to Israel. It is dotted with dark black marks where red-hot iron bars were cruelly poked into his skin. Kefete, 26, fled his native Eritrea a little more than a year ago, destination unknown, to escape an open-ended draft in the country’s army. After the eight-hour trek from Eritrea to Sudan, he related, traffickers forcibly detained him, ordered him to pay $500, decided that his destination was Egypt’s border with Israel and said they were taking him there.Read More


New Call To Protect Migrants Likely, But Action Far From Certain

By Nathan Jeffay

Judging by a flurry of recent declarations, it is likely that early 2011 will see growing demands from the international community for Egypt to take action to halt the abduction, abuse and trafficking of Africans on its territory in Sinai. But some experts strongly doubt that Egypt will pay much attention. “In general, the Egyptians are not at all responsive to outside pressure in areas like human rights,” Mark Heller, a Middle East expert at the Tel Aviv-based Institute for National Security Studies, told the Forward.Read More


Haredi Schools Resist Israel’s Efforts To Impose Core Curriculum

By Nathan Jeffay

A tug-of-war is taking place over the government’s attempt to impose a core curriculum in ultra-Orthodox elementary and high schools, and it’s not just about education. It cuts to the heart of a bitter conflict within Israeli society on the issue of authority. Israel’s Education Ministry has launched a zero-tolerance policy aimed at Haredi schools that refuse to teach the ministry’s prescribed secular studies curriculum.Read More


Does Declaring It ‘Palestine’ Lead to a State?

By Gal Beckerman

As peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority remain at an impasse, the Palestinians seem to be moving closer to their ultimate goal on a separate front: international recognition of their own independent state.Read More


U.S. Rabbis Offer Rare Rebuke of Israeli Edict

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

An edict signed by dozens of Israeli rabbis barring the sale or rental of homes to non-Jews in Israel has led to a rare consensus among American rabbis, who have issued a nearly unanimous condemnation of the ban.Read More


Israel Advocacy Is a Hot Place for New Hires, Whatever One’s Politics

By Joy Resmovits

When Max Berger started college in 2004, he didn’t know whether he would finish. His father, uncle and grandfather all dropped out of school to start businesses. As a child growing up in a small town outside Boston, Berger was taught that “you kind of cheated” if you couldn’t achieve success without a college degree.Read More


Israel's Core Curriculum Meets Fierce Haredi Opposition

By Nathan Jeffay

A tug-of-war is taking place over the government’s attempt to impose a core curriculum in ultra-Orthodox elementary and high schools, and it’s not just about education. It cuts to the heart of a bitter conflict within Israeli society on the issue of authority.Read More


The Biggest Pro-Israel Group in America? That’s Us, Says Christians United

By Nathan Guttman

America’s largest pro-Israel group is no longer a Jewish one. Or at least that’s what one might gather from Christians United for Israel’s recent announcement that it now has more than 500,000 members. In its November 30 press release touting the milestone, CUFI boasted that this makes it “by far the largest pro-Israel organization in America, as well as one of the leading Christian grassroots organizations in the world.”Read More


Israel’s Worst-Ever Fire Destroys Village’s Art and Music

By Nathan Jeffay

When New Yorker Nissan Cohen moved to Israel 15 years ago, he took along his treasured collection of 200 music boxes that became the core of a popular new museum he opened. On December 6 he sat woebegone in his soot-filled museum, his entire collection ruined by the forest fire of the preceding four days.Read More


As Fire Burns in Northern Israel, U.S. Groups Plan Help for Aftermath

By Nathan Jeffay

As the huge fire in northern Israel continues to burn for the fourth day, American supporters are formulating ways to help with the worst natural crisis in the nation’s history.Read More





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  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
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