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  • Concern over pluralism in Israel spreads to Jews across the globe

    JERUSALEM, March 14 (JTA) — After Friday night services conclude at Congregation Israelita Paulista in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and some 1,000 members of the Reform temple mill about and socialize, conversation often turns to the latest news about the pluralism conflict in Israel. “There is a lot of talk about the issues in Israel, especially…

  • World Reform leaders heckle Sharansky, and cheer Amoz Oz

    JERUSALEM, March 11 (JTA) — Natan Sharansky, Israel’s minister of industry and trade, encountered hostility this week at a meeting of world leaders of the Reform movement. Sharansky initially was greeted warmly when he arrived to address the World Union for Progressive Judaism’s 29th annual convention in Jerusalem. But seconds after taking the podium, a…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Largest acquisition of Israeli firm spurs debate over high-tech’s future

    JERUSALEM, March 11 (JTA) — With the announcement of the largest-ever foreign acquisition of an Israeli firm, Israel’s high-tech sector is once again basking under the international spotlight. But although there is a consensus in Israel that the increasing number of mergers and acquisitions is a vote of confidence in Israel’s technological prowess, not everyone…

  • Breaking with tradition, group delves into debate on pluralism

    JERUSALEM, Feb. 23 (JTA) — Every year, a mission of leaders of American Jewish organizations travels to Israel to survey the situation. Every year, they meet with leading political figures and various segments of the Israeli population. But this year, something was different. For the first time, delegates from the Conference of Presidents of Major…

  • Palestinian asks U.S. Jews to press Netanyahu on peace

    JERUSALEM, Feb. 21 (JTA) — Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians’ chief peace negotiator, urged visiting American Jewish leaders on Sunday to help revive the stalled peace talks by passing a message on to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Send him this message on my behalf,” Erekat said in an impassioned speech to the Conference of Presidents…

  • American Jews convene group in Israel to advocate for pluralism

    JERUSALEM, Feb. 21 (JTA) — Nearly 20 religiously liberal and secular American Jewish organizations have joined forces and formed a new group to fight for religious freedom in Israel. The North American Coalition for the Advancement of Religious Freedom in Israel gave itself a name and drafted its first mission statement in a meeting Saturday…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Proposed Israeli plan seeks to redefine religion and state

    JERUSALEM, Feb. 23 (JTA) — If two prominent Knesset members have their way, observant and secular Israeli Jews will soon embark on intense “final- status” talks to resolve their many bitter disputes. To that end, Alex Lubotzky, a moderate Orthodox member of the centrist Third Way Party who has been a driving force in efforts…

  • Reform delegation dismayed by premier’s conversion stance

    JERUSALEM, June 14 (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for patience from a visiting delegation of U.S. Reform movement leaders. But by the time his meeting with the delegation was over last Friday, the premier seemed to have succeeded only in angering the visitors. During the meeting, which focused on the government’s…

  • ISRAEL AT 50 Vastly different kibbutzim struggle to hold on to youth

    KIBBUTZ KFAR RUPPIN, Israel, April 2 (JTA) — Bicycles are lined up outside the communal dining hall here at Kibbutz Kfar Ruppin. Nearby, a handful of teen-agers gather outside on the lush green grounds of the kibbutz, which is nestled between the town of Beit She”an and the Jordanian border in northeastern Israel. But the…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Muppets cross the street to join Israelis, Palestinians

    JERUSALEM, April 7 (JTA) — When colorful Israeli and Palestinian muppets met on screen last week for the first time in a new joint production of “Sesame Street,” their reactions mirrored the mutual apprehension that exists in everyday life here. Haneen, an orange, female Palestinian muppet-monster was frightened by Kipi, a tall, Israeli porcupine, who…