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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…

  • 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…

  • FOCUS ON ISSUES Religious, secular Israelis taking stock in culture war

    JERUSALEM, May 25 (JTA) — Dana International’s triumphant visit to the Knesset was something of a surprise in the world of Israeli politics. To many secular Israelis, the appearance earlier this month of Israel’s raven-haired transsexual singing star before the legislature’s Education and Culture Committee was a victory in what Israeli newspapers recently dubbed an…

  • 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…

  • 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…