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".


UJIA chief: More collaboration between Jews and Israel

By Simon Rocker, June 17, 2010

One of Israel's leading supporters has demanded a greater "collaboration" between Israel and diaspora Jews.

Writing in today's JC, Mick Davis, chairman of both the UJIA and the executive committee of the Jewish Leadership Council, says that "whereas an Israeli can at least influence events through the ballot box, we are a simple recipient of their impact".

He asserts that "we have a legitimate role as a partner with Israel in developing" its long term strategy.

Israel, he writes, is a "cornerstone" of the identity of most Jews in the diaspora and central to their future.


Diaspora critics rallying to challenge Israel

By Simon Rocker, Nathan Guttman and Marcus Dysch, May 21, 2010

Signs of growing diaspora discontent with Israeli policy have emerged with the launch of a petition by American Jewish figures calling for a settlement freeze and a compromise over Jerusalem's sovereignty.

For the Sake of Zion was inspired by a European initiative, JCall, headed by French Peace Now earlier this month.


Advert targeting Jews 'marrying out' pulled

By Jessica Elgot, September 10, 2009

A controversial advertising campaign which portrayed young Jews who have married out as “missing persons” has been pulled by the Jewish Agency.

Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky pulled the television and newspaper adverts after a storm of criticism from bloggers, journalists and religious leaders.


Assimilation ad angers diaspora

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 10, 2009

A new campaign against assimilation in the diaspora, which is aimed at Israelis, is raising eyebrows in international Jewish organisations.

The television advert shows spoof “missing” posters, featuring young men and women with Jewish names. The implication is that the diaspora youngsters are being “lost” to Judaism.

The advert urges Israelis with a relative abroad who might be interested in Israel to contact MASA, an Israeli-based group that encourages Jewish students to study in Israel.


British JNF attacks Israel land scheme

By Simon Rocker, July 23, 2009

JNF UK is challenging the planned transfer to the Israeli government of lands bought with money raised by diaspora Jews.

Samuel Hayek, chairman of the charity, described the arrangement, which is part of a land reform currently being hotly debated in the Knesset, as an “issue of concern”.

The controversy has arisen over the Israeli government’s wish to enable householders to own the freehold of their properties, rather than leasehold as at present.


Professor: diaspora in danger

By James Martin, July 9, 2009

Diaspora Jews are under increasing threat from assimilation due to a lack of “mission causes”, according to an international expert on Jewish history.

Brandeis University’s Professor Jonathan Sarna made the statement while delivering the first William Frankel memorial lecture last week, in memory of the former JC editor and chairman, who died last April.

Professor Sarna told the 100-strong Institute for Jewish Policy Research audience that the recession would reduce communal expenditure, “which would weaken links to Jewish identity for a generation of youngsters”.


Rebuild for diaspora museum

July 2, 2009

The Museum of the Diaspora in Tel Aviv, Beth Hatefutsot, will be rebuilt and renamed the Museum of the Jewish People.

Instead of telling the story of the diaspora, beginning with the destruction of the temple and ending with the establishment of the Jewish state, the emphasis will be on the story of the Jewish people as a whole, beginning with Abraham and Sarah, and with no end.

The new exhibition will cost £15 million and will open to visitors in 2012.