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  • Religion-state frustrations spark mass Jerusalem demonstrations

    JERUSALEM, Feb. 15 (JTA) — Israel’s Supreme Court has become the focal point of an increasingly heated debate about the roles of religion and state in Israel. Since its founding 50 years ago, a religious status quo defined the boundaries of religious and secular life in Israel. But tensions have increased as the haredi, or…

  • Hamas terror threat looms as Palestinians clear Israel

    JERUSALEM, April 6 (JTA) — The Palestinian Authority and Hamas may be headed for a confrontation. The possible showdown comes in the wake of last week’s murder of Hamas’ chief bomb-maker, Mohiyedine Sharif, who was found murdered in the West Bank. Hamas blamed Israel for the killing and vowed to avenge Sharif’s death, raising fears…

  • U.S. presses peace talks amid looming Iraqi conflict

    JERUSALEM, Feb. 1 (JTA) — With a possible U.S. military confrontation with Iraq looming, the top American foreign policy official is pressing for progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Madeleine Albright, the U.S. secretary of state, said she expected Israeli and Palestinian leaders to make the “hard decisions” needed to move the process forward. “We…

  • U.S. Orthodox leaders urge adoption of conversion bill

    JERUSALEM, Jan. 13 (JTA) — A delegation of some 75 American Orthodox leaders are lobbying Knesset members to support a controversial conversion bill that would codify into law the Orthodox establishment’s control over conversions performed in the Jewish state. At a news conference Monday, the Am Echad delegation, which is spearheaded by the fervently Orthodox…

  • Ezer Weizman re- elected to five years as president

    JERUSALEM, March 4 (JTA) — This week’s Knesset ballot for Israel’s president was viewed by the opposition as a test of the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And when Israel’s popular but outspoken president, Ezer Weizman, was re-elected Wednesday for a second five-year term — heading off a challenge from Likud Knesset member Shaul…

  • Netanyahu appeals for calm amid violent clashes in Hebron

    JERUSALEM, March 16 (JTA) — Tensions are again escalating in the West Bank town of Hebron. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week called on Hebron’s settler community to “abide by the law” after settlers there claimed responsibility for smashing the windows of Arab-owned cars in the volatile West Bank town. Sunday’s incident came after two…

  • Israelis send mixed signals about coming to Washington

    JERUSALEM, May 6 (JTA) — Suspense shrouds the possibility of Israeli- Palestinian peace talks moving to Washington next week. After two days of inconclusive talks in London, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat to come to Washington — on the condition they were…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Gingrich visit does little to alter political realities

    JERUSALEM, May 26 (JTA) — Before and during U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s visit to Israel this week, there were fears that he would set off a series of diplomatic land mines. But as the Georgia Republican concluded meetings with Israeli officials on Tuesday, it appeared that he did little to alter the realities of…

  • Orthodox in Israel warn of revolt because of decisions on religion

    JERUSALEM, Feb. 11 (JTA) — Israel’s Supreme Court has ordered stepped-up security for its justices after several fervently Orthodox leaders lashed out at recent court rulings, calling the judges anti-religious. One of those leaders, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of the fervently Orthodox Shas Party, called the justices “oppressors of Jews” during a televised…

  • Shooting of Palestinian raises new concerns of disturbances

    JERUSALEM, April 7 (JTA) — Israeli security forces were preparing for possible disturbances after a Palestinian was shot dead after running a roadblock. Israeli police, already on heightened alert following the death last week of Hamas’ chief bomb-maker, said they shot Muhammed al-Salaimi late Monday after he refused to stop at a roadblock north of…