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  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Maccabiah athletes mourn — but vow to let games continue

    RAMAT GAN, Israel, July 15 (JTA) — Instead of preparing and competing, athletes at the Maccabiah Games spent the day after a fatal accident trying to make sense of a tragedy they were convinced was avoidable. An air of mourning was palpable at Kfar Maccabiah, the games’ official headquarters, where many of the athletes —…

  • FOCUS ON ISSUES Israel’s red heifer still piques curiosity — and political concern

    JERUSALEM, July 14 (JTA) — To most Israelis, she is just one of tens of thousands of cows born in Israel every year. But to some Orthodox Jews, Melody, a young heifer with sleepy brown eyes and auburn-colored hide, is the heavenly sign of redemption they’ve been waiting for. Described as the first red heifer…

  • Netanyahu appeals for peace among Jews on religious issues

    JERUSALEM, June 29 (JTA) — Before Israel can make peace with its Arab neighbors, the Jewish people must make peace with one another. That was the message Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conveyed Sunday to the Jewish Agency for Israel Assembly. “For there to be peace between Jews and Arabs, between Israelis and Palestinians, first…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Solution to conversion crisis still faces significant hurdles

    JERUSALEM, June 23 (JTA) — Now that the Israeli government has reached agreement with the Conservative and Reform movements on a process to resolve the conversion controversy, is a solution really attainable? Reform and Conservative leaders appear confident that last week”s widely touted accord establishing an interdenominational committee will lead to a compromise in the…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Russian community on sidelines of passionate conversion debate

    JERUSALEM, June 17 (JTA) — Despite the roiling controversy about a pending conversion bill that is certain to affect many of their lives, immigrants from the former Soviet Union remain curiously low-key about the issue. While American Jewish leaders speak passionately about the plight of Israel’s 150,000 to 200,000 non-Jewish Russian olim, many of whom…

  • JDC assesses role in meeting social service needs in Israel

    JERUSALEM, June 17 (JTA) — The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee has begun to assess how effectively the organization’s Israel-based programs are meeting the country’s needs. Aware that social and financial priorities within Israel and in the Diaspora have changed significantly in recent years, the JDC’s Israel Committee convened earlier this month in Israel to…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Forces opposing conversion bill split over negotiating strategy

    JERUSALEM, June 5 (JTA) — A split has emerged between the Reform and Conservative movements over how to resolve the crisis swirling around impending conversion legislation. The Reform movement said this week that it would freeze all of its legal motions seeking recognition of its Israeli conversions, provided the government stops its efforts to pass…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Israeli Orthodox rabbis accused of taking bribes for conversions

    JERUSALEM, Feb. 18 (JTA) — An Israeli television investigative report has left many people here wondering just how kosher the country’s Orthodox conversions really are. The report, aired last week on a popular program that regularly exposes alleged corruption, showed an Orthodox rabbi demanding thousands of dollars to perform what the media has termed a…

  • Jewish Agency leaders press Sharansky on conversion bill

    JERUSALEM, Feb. 23 (JTA) — A delegation of American Jewish leaders representing all streams of Judaism expressed their “deep concern” over pending conversion legislation in a meeting with Industry and Trade Minister Natan Sharansky. Sharansky met Sunday with the leaders, members of the Jewish Agency for Israel Board of Governors, in his capacity as chairman…

  • American Jewish group urges Israelis to oppose conversion bill

    JERUSALEM, May 28 (JTA) — In an attempt to rouse the Israeli public against a pending conversion bill, an American Jewish organization is taking out a full-page advertisement in the country’s largest-circulation daily newspaper. This Friday, Yediot Achronot will carry a Hebrew-language ad, sponsored by the American Jewish Committee, urging Israelis to actively oppose any…