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  • Law of Return ‘exploited’ by non-Jews?

    JERUSALEM, Nov. 9 (JTA) — The flow of non-Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union has become a flash point of controversy in Israel, with one legislator going so far as to call it a “national security problem.” Nobody knows exactly how many non-Jews have arrived in Israel among the more than 800,000 immigrants who…

  • Israeli court delays decisions on conversions

    Aharon Barak, the president of the Supreme Court, has agreed to address the general issue of conversions in April by lumping together more than 50 outstanding cases. That decision could set the highest-level precedent on non-Orthodox conversions. The libe

  • Who is a Jew’ debate heads back to court

    JERUSALEM, Nov. 2 (JTA) — Israel’s Reform and Conservative movements are heading back to the courts to press their efforts to gain recognition for their conversions. In the latest round of the pluralism battle, the movements rejected a request by Rabbi Michael Melchior, minister of Diaspora relations and social affairs, to delay an upcoming hearing…

  • Muppets help Israeli-Palestinian relations

    JERUSALEM, Nov. 2 (JTA) — Cookie Monster and his friends are breaking down stereotypes Israeli and Palestinian children have of each other. That’s the conclusion of a group of educational media experts who met in Jerusalem this week to evaluate the first 18 months of “Rechov Sumsum/Shara’a Simsim,” the joint Israeli/Palestinian versions of the popular…

  • Reform, Conservative messages too ‘controversial’ for Israel radio

    JERUSALEM, Aug. 30 (JTA) — To Israel Radio’s ear, the Reform and Conservative message, “There’s more than one way to be Jewish,” may be too “ideologically controversial.” The decision to delay the movements’ ads prompted threats from the liberal Jewish movements that they will petition the Supreme Court against Israel’s national public radio authority. Last…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Israeli rescuer dropped everything to save lives amid rubble in Turkey

    TEL AVIV, Aug. 30 (JTA) — Ofer Pomeranz had just arrived in Baden for a serene Swiss vacation with his wife and three children when the phone rang. On the other end was his friend from Israel’s National Search and Rescue Team. It was Aug. 17, just hours after the ground shook for 45 devastating…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Expert says Israel could face major quake in next 50 years

    JERUSALEM, Aug. 24 (JTA) — The horrific damage caused by the Turkish earthquake has prodded the Israeli government into considering comprehensive plans to minimize damage if Israel, which sits on an active seismic zone, is ever hit by a large earthquake. Last Sunday, Prime Minister Ehud Barak told the Cabinet that Israel must learn from…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Religious, secular turn ‘turbine’ into heavy-metal political batt

    JERUSALEM, Aug. 15 (JTA) — Israel’s religious-secular conflict has taken some odd twists and turns in the past, but nobody imagined that the first crisis of Israel’s new government would be over 250 tons of equipment for an electrical generator. For weeks, Israel Electric Corp., the state-owned power monopoly, has been waiting for five shipments…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Diaspora minister wants religion to unite, not divide, world Jewry

    JERUSALEM, Aug. 10 (JTA) — If you passed Rabbi Michael Melchior strolling in the Knesset corridors, wearing his black kipah and long beard, you might mistakenly think he was one of many fervently Orthodox legislators in Israeli politics today. But Melchior, who was appointed a Cabinet minister with responsibility for Diaspora relations and social affairs…

  • FOCUS ON ISSUES Israeli feminists gear up for battle against sexism, domestic violence

    JERUSALEM, Aug. 9 (JTA) — Two women are now among the most influential leaders in Israel. But for women’s rights advocates, the appointment of two female Cabinet members doesn’t begin to address the problem of a society, culture and government dominated by men. After weeks of protest from Israeli women’s rights groups and Jewish feminists…