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  • 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,…

  • JNF shifts its focus to improving environment on its land in Israel

    JERUSALEM, May 4 (JTA) — An array of little blue boxes used to collect money from Jews across the globe for decades were displayed outside the Jewish National Fund’s international conference in Jerusalem as a testimony to this symbol of Jewish unity. But the JNF knows that the boxes, which since 1901 were pivotal in…

  • Parties offer casinos, marijuana as solutions for Israel’s problems

    JERUSALEM, May 3 (JTA) — If Reuven Zelinkovsky has his way, Israel will make a great leap toward regional peace if his Natural Law Party wins a Knesset seat in the May 17 election. All it will take, he says, is 1,500 Israelis putting their heads together according to the principles of transcendental meditation, and…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Settlers mount drive to define Israeli sphere on the West Bank

    MITZPE DANNY, West Bank, April 26 (JTA) — Wearing loose, trendy pants and a colorful beaded necklace, Moran Mor hardly looks like a stereotypical West Bank female settler, many of whom sport long, modest skirts and head coverings. Three months ago, Mor, a 23-year-old student of alternative medicine, moved into one of 12 mobile homes…

  • Jewish groups: Holocaust-era insurance talks taking too long

    JERUSALEM, April 25 (JTA) — Four months after the International Conference on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims began seeking a compromise between Jewish organizations and European insurers for paying claims dating back to the WWII, Jewish groups are getting restless. The World Jewish Congress and Israeli delegates to the conference are warning that the commission will…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Finding a haven in Israel: Some Kosovars seek new life

    KIBBUTZ MA”AGAN MICHAEL, Israel, April 19 (JTA) — Protected from the harsh midday sun by a picnic-table umbrella, Kreshnik Bajraktari, an ethnic Albanian refugee from Kosovo, replays the events that led him to this safe haven alongside the calm shores of the Israeli Mediterranean. Like most of the 74 people housed here, the 23-year-old Bajraktari”s…

  • Israel’s joint conversion institute debuts amid charges, uncertainty

    JERUSALEM, March 22 (JTA) — Representatives of Reform, Conservative and Orthodox Judaism in Israel have launched the country’s first interdenominational conversion institute in the northern Galilee town of Carmiel. But this latest development in the ongoing battle over religious pluralism in the Jewish state debuted under a cloud of charges and uncertainty, raising questions about…

  • United Kingdom’s JNF chapter splits from Israel headquarters

    JERUSALEM, March 18 (JTA) — After a yearlong power struggle, the Jewish National Fund’s United Kingdom fund-raising office is breaking away from Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund, one of Israel’s most prominent fund-raising organizations. The move marks the first time that one of the more than 30 Keren Kayemeth overseas offices has split from the…

  • Fervently Orthodox men join army, breaking taboo in Israeli community

    TEL AVIV, March 14 (JTA) — At a lonely base in the northern Jordan Valley, a group of young devout men have replaced their black coats and Talmuds with army green and M-16 rifles. Unlike the average Israeli trainee, they pray after the morning jog, have a daily Torah study session, eat in the army’s…

  • FOCUS ON ISSUES Will devotion to study lead to economic disaster for haredim?

    JERUSALEM, March 14 (JTA) — Rushing back to class along the twisting alleyways, a yeshiva student named Yishayahu breaks the midday quiet in Mea Shearim, Jerusalem”s fervently Orthodox neighborhood. Like most of his peers, the 24-year-old Yishayahu studies full time and does not work. “None of the yeshiva students I know work,” Yishayahu, the father…