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  • FOCUS ON ISSUES Western Wall compromise is first pluralism test of Barak government

    JERUSALEM, July 26 (JTA) — Relations among the streams of Judaism may not be high on Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s priority list, but some government officials are already taking steps toward addressing issues that have strained Israel-Diaspora relations in recent years. Yitzhak Herzog, Israel’s new Cabinet secretary, will ask the government to establish a…

  • FOCUS ON ISSUES Israel, Diaspora attempt to build a bridge and a common language

    JERUSALEM, July 19 (JTA) — If an Israeli rabbi dared to call a Jew a sinner for living outside of Israel, he would probably be accused of trying to stir up yet another round of conflict with the Diaspora. But last week, a group of North American Jews and Israelis found that an ancient rabbi…

  • Orthodox women in Israel join debate over their role in community

    JERUSALEM, July 14 (JTA) — More than 1,000 Orthodox women this week attended Israel’s first conference on the status of women in their community. Amid growing frustration on an array of issues, participants at the conference, sponsored by Bar-Ilan University and a nascent organization called Kolech, the Religious Women’s Forum, grappled with subjects ranging from…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES After years of frustration, Kwara Jews are euphoric

    MEVASSERET ZION, Israel, July 12 (JTA) — Contentedly sitting on his cot at the absorption center, Manjur Adema exhibits little of the frustration he felt over the past seven years as he desperately waited to leave the remote Kwara region of Ethiopia and reunite with his extended family in Israel. Like many of the more…

  • ISRAELIS DECIDE THE FUTURE In Jerusalem, post-election mood ranges from jubilation to mourning

    JERUSALEM, May 18 (JTA) — Speeding in his taxi through the empty streets here at 3 a.m., Yaakov Amsalem shouts victoriously while describing the rush he felt after the dramatic victory of Ehud Barak, Israel’s prime minister-elect, just a few hours earlier. By his own admission, Amsalem is the only left-leaning cab driver in his…

  • ISRAELIS DECIDE THE FUTURE Mini-drama plays itself out as Israeli voters hit the polls

    JERUSALEM, May 17 (JTA) — Two huge banners appealing to Israelis to back Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel’s elections flanked both sides of Hashomer Street, reminding voters entering the economically disadvantaged Katamon neighborhood here that they were passing into Likud territory. Katamon residents have traditionally been staunch Likud supporters. Yet outside the voting booths at the…

  • THE ROAD TO ISRAEL’S ELECTIONS Campaign has a Russian accent as immigrants flex their muscle

    JERUSALEM, May 11 (JTA) — It took only five minutes and seven moves for Natan Sharansky, head of the Yisrael Ba’Aliyah immigrant rights party, to checkmate Labor Party leader Ehud Barak when the two faced off at Israel’s national chess championships this week. But as the elections draw near, Barak is fighting much harder to…

  • Jewish Agency helps Kosovars other aid organizations missed

    TIRANA, Albania, May 6 (JTA) — The Jewish Agency for Israel is sustaining 30,000 Kosovar Albanian refugees, living in about a dozen isolated camps in southern Albania, who have not been reached by other international aid organizations. “We went to the camps to distribute directly where no other relief agencies have gone,” said Ziva Ohayon,…

  • Jewish Agency workers tackle tricky aid distribution in Albania

    TIRANA, Albania, May 9 (JTA) — It did not take long for Jewish Agency for Israel relief workers in Albania to find out just how desperately ethnic Albanian Kosovars needed their aid. In early April, the first trucks carrying Jewish Agency relief chugged down Albania’s dilapidated, single-lane roads toward a dozen isolated camps in the…

  • Jewish Agency helps Kosovars other aid organizations missed

    TIRANA, Albania, May 6 (JTA) — The Jewish Agency for Israel is sustaining 30,000 Kosovar Albanian refugees, living in about a dozen isolated camps in southern Albania, who have not been reached by other international aid organizations. “We went to the camps to distribute directly where no other relief agencies have gone,” said Ziva Ohayon,…