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  • ANALYSIS Missing from mass Israeli rallies: The three contenders for premier

    JERUSALEM, Feb. 16 (JTA) — On the face of it — a paradox. One of the largest outdoor mass gatherings in Israeli history, held at the height of an election campaign — and all three leading candidates for prime minister stayed away. Sunday’s two opposing rallies in Jerusalem — a vast Orthodox prayer demonstration against…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Exasperated Albright hints at shift in U.S. peace policy

    JERUSALEM, Feb. 3 (JTA) — U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright”s decision to go public with her frustration over the Middle East peace process represented a change in U.S. policy — at least on the tactical level. But does it presage a policy review on a more substantive level? After meeting last weekend with Israeli…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Move to change election law blow to heads of Likud, Labor

    JERUSALEM, June 3 (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Ehud Barak, at odds about so much, now find themselves perched on the same shaky limb in the wake of a Knesset move to change the system of electing a prime minister. Last week’s vote to revoke the direct election law —…

  • Back to court and Knesset? The pluralism battle plods on

    JERUSALEM, Feb. 10 (JTA) — Back to the courts and the Knesset? No one is sure where the battle over religious pluralism in Israel is headed now that efforts for resolving the conversion crisis through negotiations apparently have failed. The Reform and Conservative movements are vowing to head back to the Israeli courts to press…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Israelis opposed to withdrawal mount public relations campaign

    JERUSALEM, June 8 (JTA) — Another week, another sigh of relief from the far right of the Israeli political spectrum. Despite a recent flurry of speculation, largely fueled by Israeli officials, the United States let it be known this week that a deal to revive the Israeli- Palestinian peace process is still not in sight….

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Israel weighs ramifications of India’s defiant nuclear tests

    JERUSALEM, May 19 (JTA) — Israeli policymakers are treading warily around the potential pitfalls posed for the Jewish state by India’s nuclear tests. While Israel shares the world’s fears of a dangerous atomic arms race between Indian and Pakistan — fears heightened this week by reports of an imminent nuclear test by Pakistan — there…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Complacent Israelis begin to think seriously about Iraq

    JERUSALEM, Feb. 17 (JTA) — With a single offhand comment, Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai has sent Israelis into a panic. In a radio interview, Mordechai suggested that Israelis buy plastic sheeting and masking tape to be equipped if and when the order comes to prepare a ‘sealed room’ to deal with an unconventional weapons assault…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Barak faces new challenge: opposition in party he heads

    JERUSALEM, June 15 (JTA) — “Midsummer madness” was how Labor Party leader Ehud Barak this week dismissed signs of dissent in the senior ranks of his party. “I know it’s only June,” he said, “but apparently some of our people are feeling the heat as though it were July or August already.” Barak, who often…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Moderate coalition partners not willing to challenge premier

    JERUSALEM, May 26 (JTA) — “Netanyahu and Mordechai trying to persuade Sharon,” proclaimed the headline of the Israeli daily Yediot Achronot. An outsider completely unfamiliar with the peace process players would naturally assume from the story that Ariel Sharon is the prime minister and that two of his more moderate Cabinet members, named Netanyahu and…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Israelis debate wisdom of plan to hold redeployment referendum

    JERUSALEM, June 23 (JTA) — Referendum fever swept Israel this week as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blew hot, then cold, then hot again over the idea of holding a national plebiscite on the next Israeli redeployment from the West Bank. As legal experts debated precedents for the idea and technological wizards proposed state-of-the-art methods for…