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  • FOCUS ON ISSUES Israelis nonplused by debate over pending conversion bill

    JERUSALEM, April 14 (JTA) — Reform and Conservative Jews in the United States have been up in arms over Israel”s pending conversion bill. But many Israelis are essentially indifferent to both the legislation and to the Reform and Conservative movements in general. The bill “really isn”t important to me or to most of the people…

  • FOCUS ON ISSUES Israeli advertisers target fervently Orthodox market

    JERUSALEM, Dec. 18 (JTA) — When Pisga, an Israeli manufacturer of laundry products, wanted to expand its customer base, it turned to one of the country’s leading advertising agencies. Researching the market, the advertising firm, Gitam/BBDO, learned that Pisga was not a household name among some of Israel’s largest households — those of haredim, or…

  • Jewish groups grow impatient with Swiss over missing assets

    JERUSALEM, Jan. 7 (JTA) — Angered by what it termed “remarks bordering on anti-Semitism” by the outgoing president of Switzerland, the World Jewish Restitution Organization has announced a series of retaliatory measures that would include a boycott of Swiss banks. Two top officials of the WJRO held a news conference here Sunday to unveil their…

  • SIX-DAY WAR ANNIVERSARY North American olim who came after 1967 war maintain idealism

    JERUSALEM, May 26 (JTA) — It was in June 1967, during the Six- Day War, that Mildred Devor and her husband decided to make aliyah. “We were here for a sabbatical year in ‘66-‘67, but weren’t seriously considering aliyah,” says the Toronto native. “Then the war broke out and everything changed,” she says. “My husband…

  • FOCUS ON ISSUES 50 U.S. Reform rabbis press Netanyahu on conversion bill

    JERUSALEM, Jan. 28 (JTA) — Although it is too early to tell whether a whirlwind visit to Israel will have an impact on the outcome of pending conversion legislation, a delegation of Reform rabbis in America say the visit was not in vain. The 50 rabbis came to Israel this week to lobby against a…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Gripped by grief, Israel mourns loss of `so many boys’

    JERUSALEM, Feb. 5 (JTA) — The parents of Assaf Rothenberg long had the eerie feeling that their son would not return from Lebanon alive. Voicing the day-in-day-out sense of foreboding felt by many parents of soldiers serving in Lebanon, the father of the 20-year-old paratrooper said, “For a few months already, whenever Assaf went into…

  • JDC program helps Bosnians develop business, build trust

    SARAJEVO, Bosnia, Jan. 27 (JTA) — An accountant for two decades, 40-year-old Sarajevo native Bosiljka Markovic would like to start her own accounting firm. While many might consider this a pipe dream, given the sorry state of Sarajevo’s war-ravaged economy, Markovic says she knows what she is getting into, thanks to a small-business program recently…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Decision to not indict premier boosts holiday mood in Israel

    JERUSALEM, April 21 (JTA) — The political cloud that has hung over the country for the past three months appeared to be dissipating with the start of Passover. The decision by Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein not to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in connection with the Bar-On affair — along with reports that the government…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES How Israelis deal with grief intensified by nation’s size

    JERUSALEM, Feb. 11 (JTA) — Sixteen-year-old Shelley Ben-Yehuda did not know any of the 73 soldiers killed in last week’s helicopter crash, but that did not stop her from mourning. “I was affected by what happened, just like everyone else,” says the high school junior, who is looking toward her own induction into the army…

  • AROUND THE JEWISH WORLD Sarajevo Jewish community rebuilding after Bosnia war

    SARAJEVO, Bosnia, Jan. 27 (JTA) — It is a bitterly cold day, but the Jewish Community Center of Sarajevo exudes a warm glow. Little more than a year after the U.S.-brokered Dayton agreement led to a cease-fire between Serbs and Muslims in this war-ravaged country, the community center and the people who run it still…