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  • Kids’ soccer leagues aim to bridge Israel’s religious divide

    PARDES HANNA, Israel (JTA) — When Yoel decided, at age 8, to begin observing Shabbat, there was one problem: It meant he couldn’t join most of Israel’s youth soccer teams, which played games on Saturday. Yoel, now 12, has always lived in the increasingly large gray area between Israel’s starkly divided religious and secular Jewish…

  • Netanyahu’s office denies Abbas offered direct talks

    TEL AVIV (JTA) — A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied a claim that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas offered to begin secret, direct talks with Netanyahu three times but was rejected. In a statement to JTA Tuesday, Netanyahu spokesman David Keyes flatly denied the assertion made a day earlier by Gershon Baskin,…

  • Netanyahu keeps calling for talks with Abbas. Is he serious?

    TEL AVIV (JTA) — For a leader often accused of not wanting to talk peace with the Palestinians, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sure does a lot of talking about wanting to talk to the Palestinians. In a series of three statements this month, Netanyahu repeatedly stressed the need for peace with the Palestinians. He…

  • Philadelphia to expand Holocaust memorial

    (JTA) — The city of Philadelphia revealed plans for the expansion of a Holocaust memorial. The plan includes an addition to “The Monument to Six Million Jewish Martyrs,” a statue placed at a Philadelphia intersection in 1964, according to the Philly Voice. The design calls for six pillars to be placed next to the statue to…

  • 100 politicians, justice officials sign letter backing Sholom Rubashkin

    (JTA) — More than 100 former judges, attorneys general and prominent politicians have signed a letter supporting Sholom Rubashkin, the Iowa kosher slaughterhouse executive sentenced to 27 years in prison for fraud and money laundering. The letter supports the claim by Rubashkin’s attorneys that prosecutors used improper tactics in securing the lengthy sentence for Rubashkin,…

  • Federal agents raid New York Hasidic town of Kiryas Joel

    READ: FBI raids of Hasidic Kiryas Joel reportedly part of sex abuse probe UPDATE: This article was last updated at 2:50 p.m. EDT Thursday to include more details about the investigation. For more up-to-date coverage, click here. (JTA) — Federal agents searched the New York Hasidic village of Kiryas Joel for the second time in…

  • French film starring Israeli-born actor to satirize anti-Semitism in France

    (JTA) — The French film “They are everywhere,” premiering in the fall, will satirize rising anti-Semitism in France. The film will star Yvan Attal, an Israeli-born actor who starred in “Munich,” Steven Spielberg’s 2005 film about the massacre of Israeli Olympians at the 1972 Munich Games and the Israeli response, according to AFP. The French…

  • Indian community has genetic evidence of Jewish roots, study shows

    TEL AVIV (JTA) — A scientific study has found genetic evidence of claims that the Bene Israel, a community in western India, has Jewish roots. The study from Tel Aviv University, which was published in late March in the PLoS One scientific journal, analyzed the genomes of 18 Bene Israel community members. It found that the Bene…

  • Netanyahu calls for return of military parades on Israel’s Independence Day

    TEL AVIV (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for the return of military parades on Israel’s Independence Day. Israel celebrated its 68th year of independence on Wednesday night and Thursday, marking the anniversary of the state’s establishment on May 14, 1948, according to the Hebrew calendar. At a Jerusalem ceremony Thursday awarding 120 Israeli…

  • 6 ways Israel is counting its blessings on Independence Day

    TEL AVIV (JTA) — When Israel entered its 1948 War of Independence, the coastal city of Rishon Lezion was a hardscrabble settlement with fewer than 20,000 inhabitants. As waves of immigrants inundated Israel in its founding years, many were settled in temporary camps on Rishon Lezion’s sandy outskirts. The arrivals braved rainy winters in tents…