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  • On eve of school prayer vote, religious right icon faces runoff

    WASHINGTON, June 3 (JTA) — As religious conservatives awaited their day on Capitol Hill, anticipating a long-sought vote on a constitutional amendment authorizing school prayer, voters dealt a setback this week to one of the movement’s torchbearers. In a closely watched election battle, Alabama Gov. Fob James Jr., a staunch conservative whose stand on religious…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Controversy second nature to U.S. Holocaust museum

    WASHINGTON, June 22 (JTA) — The leadership of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has spent much of the past year trying to put out fires. First it was the on-again, off-again invitation to Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat to visit the museum that brought on a wave of criticism and embarrassment. Then it was the…

  • House poised to debate school prayer amendment

    WASHINGTON, March 4 (JTA) — A coalition of religious groups and church-state watchdogs are stepping up their opposition to a controversial school prayer amendment to the U.S. Constitution as the measure moves to the House of Representatives for a vote. The so-called Religious Freedom Amendment, sponsored by Rep. Ernest Istook (R-Okla.), would pave the way…

  • FOCUS ON ISSUES Activists turn to states to ensure religious rights

    WASHINGTON, May 13 (JTA) — In the year since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, lawmakers and activists have been scrambling to find ways to ensure that Americans are able to practice religion free from government intrusion. Much of that effort has centered around crafting new federal legislation to restore…

  • U.S. asylum panel recognizes anti-Semitic threat in Ukraine

    WASHINGTON, May 27 (JTA) — In an important development for Jews fleeing persecution in the former Soviet Union, a U.S. immigration panel agreed to grant asylum to a Ukrainian Jewish father and son who were victimized by anti-Semitism. The decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals last week upheld an immigration’s judge’s earlier ruling that…

  • Israel denies reports about gun-making plans

    WASHINGTON, April 13 (JTA) — Israel is denying reports that a government-owned weapons manufacturer plans to sidestep a Clinton administration ban and go ahead with plans to arm Americans with Uzis. Israel Military Industries “has no intention and has made no decision” to produce modified assault weapons for sale in the United States, said Gadi…

  • Voucher bill passes House but unlikely to become law

    WASHINGTON, April 30 (JTA) — Congress’ approval of a long-sought school voucher plan for the District of Columbia drew a mixed response from the Jewish community. The House of Representatives on Thursday voted 214-206 in favor of the measure, which passed the Senate last year. The legislation stands little chance of becoming law, however, because…

  • U.S. Supreme Court questions merits of case involving AIPAC

    WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 (JTA) — A 9-year-old legal battle involving the American Israel Public Affairs Committee neared its culmination with arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court last week that left its outcome as unpredictable as ever. In a closely watched case that could have broad implications for groups that lobby in Washington, the justices began…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Fallout from prayer amendment looms over the political landscape

    WASHINGTON, June 9 (JTA) — From the moment it was introduced in Congress last year, the “Religious Freedom Amendment” was seen by its opponents as a thermonuclear device looming over the church-state battlefield. The proposed constitutional amendment would have allowed for prayer in schools, religious displays on public property and taxpayer funding of religious schools…

  • China restores synagogue in advance of Clinton visit

    WASHINGTON, June 23 (JTA) — As President Clinton seeks a high profile for religious freedom issues during his trip to China, the anticipation of his arrival has already yielded one small, but meaningful achievement. Just weeks ago the Chinese government completed long-sought restoration work on a synagogue located in the heart of Shanghai. The synagogue,…