Israelis head into diaspora in search of roots

By Nathan Jeffay, June 30, 2011

As Diaspora Jews flock to Israel to explore their Jewish identity this summer, thousands of Israelis will embark on a culture trail of their own - in the diaspora.

A new poll has found that 69 per cent of Jewish Israelis consider it important to visit Jewish sites when on holiday or travelling for business.


Job losses as the Jewish Agency shrinks in Israel

By Nathan Jeffay, June 10, 2011

The Jewish Agency for Israel is to close for a fortnight in the summer as a money-saving measure, docking pay from employees.

With a budget gap of more than £2 million, the charity was going to lay off 50 employees, but the workers' union agreed to the furlough as an alternative, its spokesman Michael Jankelowitz said. It will begin on August 21.


Israelis shocked at life in Britain

By Marcus Dysch, May 19, 2011

A group of Israeli parliamentary advisers say a visit to Britain to learn about pluralism in the Jewish community has revealed a stark contrast to their lives at home.

The fourteen, among them political advisers, Knesset spokespeople and parliamentary journalists, met representatives from all sections of British Jewry during the five-day trip.


Shimon Peres on Israel's 63rd anniversary: We can prevail

By Jennifer Lipman, May 4, 2011

Shimon Peres has emphasised Israel's ongoing commitment to fighting antisemitism and delegitimisation at home and in the diaspora as the Jewish state approaches its 63rd birthday.

In a message to diaspora Jews to mark 63 years since David Ben-Gurion declared independence, the Israeli president said: "As we celebrate we can look back on the historic miracle of the birth of a nation."


Fears in diaspora as Israel rejects convert

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 3, 2011

The Israeli Chief Rabbinate is trying to impose its stringent conversion rules on Orthodox organisations outside Israel.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai recently denied citizenship to a Canadian convert on the grounds that the Chief Rabbi, Sholmo Amar, does not recognise the authority of the rabbi who converted him in Canada.


Rabbis sign anti-Arab ruling

By Simon Griver, December 9, 2010

Widespread condemnation has greeted a ruling by over 50 chief rabbis of Israeli towns prohibiting Jews from renting and selling homes to non-Jews either in Israel or Jewish neighbourhoods in the diaspora.

The Israeli media reported that the radical declaration will be published ahead of Shabbat as an advertisement in the Orthodox press and in weekly leaflets that are circulated to synagogues. The decree states that Jews who ignore the prohibition should be ostracised.


Interivew: Peter Beinart

By Oliver Kamm, November 22, 2010

Peter Beinart is an articulate and important liberal voice on American foreign policy. Now a professor of journalism at the City University of New York, he became editor of The New Republic in 1999, at the age of 28, and held the post for seven years. A few months ago he published in the New York Review of Books an essay arguing that Israel needs to be saved from itself and from the American Jewish establishment, whom he charged with promoting "an uncritical brand of Zionism".


Yemen religious murder appeal denied

By Jennifer Lipman, July 27, 2010

A Yemen court has upheld the death sentence of a Muslim man who murdered a Jew for refusing to convert to Islam.

Father-of-nine Masha Yaish Nahari was killed in December 2008 by a man called Abdel Aziz Yahia al-Abdi.

Mr Nahari’s bloodied body was found riddled with bullets after he was shot repeatedly with an AK-47 assault rifle.

Before the murder al-Abdi reportedly said to the 39-year-old teacher: “Jew, accept Islam’s message”.

Al-Abdi, a former pilot in the Yemeni air force, was found guilty and in 2009 was sentenced to death by firing quad.


UK Jews more tied to Israel than American Jews

By Simon Rocker, July 22, 2010

Jews in the UK feel more attached to Israel than those in the United States, according to one of the leading academic experts on diaspora Jewry.

"UK Jewry is far more connected to Israel than American Jewry," said Professor Steven Cohen, research professor of Jewish social policy at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York.


Israel's conversion bill vote delayed

July 22, 2010

There will be no Knesset vote on the controversial new conversion bill before the winter session, which begins in October.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu hopes that in the interval, the bill can be redrafted in order to make it more palatable to the Reform and Conservative movements.

Mr Netanyahu made his rejection of the bill clear at the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, where he said that "this law could create a schism within the Jewish people".