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  • Conservative rabbis demand Chief Rabbinate’s cooperation

    JERUSALEM, Feb. 18 (JTA) — A Conservative Jewish leader said he was “skeptical but hopeful” after hearing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pledge Wednesday to continue efforts to resolve the conversion crisis in Israel. Rabbi Joel Meyers, the executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly, the Conservative movement’s rabbinical arm, made his comments after hearing…

  • Italian list of policyholders may include survivors’ names

    JERUSALEM, June 8 (JTA) — An Italian insurance firm has given Israeli museum officials a list of life insurance policies that may include unclaimed policies belonging to many Holocaust victims. Assicurazioni Generali last week gave officials from the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial a CD-ROM containing more than 300,000 names of Jews and non- Jews who…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Israel wants to deport man who helped save Ethiopians

    JERUSALEM, March 9 (JTA) — In the early 1980s, Dejen Gebrai, an Ethiopian Christian, helped thousands of Ethiopian Jews fly to Israel as part of Operation Moses. But when Gebrai arrived in Israel in 1992, he did not receive a hero’s welcome. Instead, six years later, he faces deportation. Officials at the Israeli Interior Ministry…

  • Deportations compared to Passover ritual ‘burning

    JERUSALEM, April 2 (JTA) — Israel’s Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs has compared the deportation of illegal foreign workers to the ritual of burning chametz, or leavened bread, traditionally performed before the Passover holiday. Hanna Zohar, coordinator for Kav La’Oved, an organization working to protect the rights of foreign workers, said the terminology reeked…

  • 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…

  • Knesset backs Ne’eman plan, but action is largely symbolic

    JERUSALEM, Feb. 23 (JTA) — Conservative and Reform leaders in Israel are welcoming what they called the “good intentions” of a Knesset resolution backing the proposals of a committee that had tried to resolve the conversion crisis. But they said it was up to Israel’s Orthodox Chief Rabbinate to make the compromise proposal work. And…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Conversion crisis erupts anew as parties return to old stances

    JERUSALEM, June 9 (JTA) — Attempts to forge a compromise over the ongoing conversion controversy in Israel appear to be on the verge of failure. On Tuesday, American Reform Jewish leaders, on a mission to Israel, warned the government of a severe response from U.S. Jewry if they pushed through a bill that would codify…

  • Cover of Benetton catalog features Jewish-Arab kiss

    JERUSALEM, March 10 (JTA) — A young Israeli Jewish woman and a Bedouin man locked in a passionate kiss. That’s the cover of the latest catalog from the Italian clothing manufacturer Benetton, which takes on the stereotypes of the Middle East. The catalog, called “Enemies,” features Israelis and Palestinians happily playing and working together. The…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Palestinians mark ‘catastrophe’ as violence erupts in territories

    RAMALLAH, West Bank, May 14 (JTA) — A huge Palestinian flag draped on the side of a six-story building in a central square testifies to the sense of pride felt in this self-rule town. Residents are crowded on every balcony, window and rooftop as thousands of Palestinians carrying banners and waving flags march peacefully toward…

  • 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…