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  • NEWS ANALYSIS Knesset appointment highlights role of Arabs in Israeli government

    JERUSALEM, July 11 (JTA) — A controversial appointment backed by Prime Minister Ehud Barak has spotlighted some key questions regarding the relationship between the Jewish state and its Arab citizens. Some of the questions — such as whether Israeli Arabs are treated as second-class citizens and whether Israel’s government is fully representative of its Arab…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Friendships formed, but few minds changed as Mideast reporters meet

    AMMAN, Jordan, July 6 (JTA) — Just as Ehud Barak was presenting his new government to the Israeli Knesset, peace groups in the Middle East were interrupting their lengthy hibernations. Some 150 peace activists met this week in Cairo for one of the largest conferences of the Middle East peace camp ever, yet another stage…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Northern Israelis angry, fearful after rocket attacks by Hezbollah

    JERUSALEM, June 28 (JTA) — Residents of Israel’s northern communities are living with an unsettling mix of anger, frustration and fear. These emotions roiled to the surface after the most deadly Katyusha rocket attack in more than four years was launched by Hezbollah from across the Lebanese border. What makes the assault particularly galling for…

  • Shas leader quits as party head; move could affect coalition talks

    JERUSALEM, June 15 (JTA) — The chairman of Shas has resigned all his responsibilities as party leader in a move that could clear the way for the fervently Orthodox party to join Prime-Minister-elect Ehud Barak’s governing coalition. Aryeh Deri made his dramatic announcement Tuesday before a meeting of Shas Knesset members, stating that he was…

  • Barak said to be ready to exclude Likud and Shas from his government

    JERUSALEM, June 6 (JTA) — Ehud Barak is edging closer to naming his new government, and aides to the Israeli prime minister-elect say it may wind up being a narrow one, rather than the broad-based coalition he originally intended. Barak had originally hoped to include either the Likud or Shas parties in his government, to…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS South Lebanon Army leaves town; Is it prelude to Israeli withdrawal?

    JERUSALEM, June 1 (JTA) — No Israeli soldier moved an inch, but this may have been the week that the Israel Defense Force’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon began. The first move came not from Israel, but from its ally in the region, the South Lebanon Army, a 2,500-member Christian militia that has been fighting Shi’ite…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Palestinians target settlements before Barak forms government

    NABLUS, May 24 (JTA) — To all appearances, this West Bank town is thriving. The streets are humming with traffic, a central street market offers a rich variety of fruits and vegetables and Israeli bargain-hunters can often be seen shopping in the narrow alleys of the casbah, or old town. The scene is a change…

  • ISRAELIS DECIDE THEIR FUTURE Israeli Arabs reluctantly voted for Barak, lose clout in Knesset

    NAZARETH, Israel, May 18 (JTA) — At times one could have mistaken Paulus Street, the main street of downtown Nazareth, for downtown Gaza City or Nablus. It was the national Palestinian flag of black, white, green and red on top of many cars that broke the monotony of election day. The flags were Palestinian, but…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Arab parties expected to play major role in election, coalition

    JERUSALEM, May 10 (JTA) — Israeli Arabs are determined to be a force in next week’s elections. With some 500,000 eligible voters, some 12 percent of the Israeli electorate, they hope to flex their political muscle — and in the process win greater rights for themselves. Traditional supporters of the Labor Party, Israeli Arabs for…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Arafat enjoys renewed standing in West and among his own people

    JERUSALEM, May 3 (JTA) — This was the week that had been prophesied as doomsday for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. For months, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat had been threatening to unilaterally declare statehood on May 4. During that same period, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just as persistently stated that Israel would respond to…