Deep in a valley below Jerusalem’s Old City, a narrow alleyway leads to the remains of three bulldozed Arab homes in an area slated to become an archeological park.
Although the pounding of jackhammers and the dull roar of bulldozers still can be heard across Jewish settlements in the West Bank, no new construction has been approved for Jews in the area since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government came to office.
Pushing a baby stroller and clutching her toddler’s hand, Hanna Yadler walks through the shiny lobby of her new apartment building and explains how she’s relieved her family found a place to live in Modiin Illit.
A group of American Jewish philanthropists crowd into a classroom to watch Iman Abu Zaid, a young Arab teacher, give a lesson to her class of Jewish fourth-graders.
When Yoram Kaniuk was born in Tel Aviv in 1930, it was a small place with just 20,000 people and a handful of paved roads.
“Lieberman! Lieberman! Lieberman!” a cluster of young Israelis shouted into megaphones as Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu Party, made yet another stop on his Election Day tour.
When Tzipi Livni, Israel's foreign minister and a candidate for prime minister, spoke before a group of women lawyers last week, she received three standing ovations. Her male rivals in the race had to make do with polite applause.
Sari Bashi, a prominent Israeli human rights lawyer, was on the phone last week with a Palestinian utility official in the Gaza Strip who had worked closely with Israelis for years and had just learned that his house in Gaza was no longer standing.
Another rocket warning siren wails and eight members of the Levi family, including a grandmother and a newborn, quickly cram into the small bedroom made of reinforced concrete that serves as the family's bomb shelter. "Come on, come on! Get in!" they shout. Just before the metal door thuds shut, the family dog, Pick, is whisked inside.
Of the approximately 4,500 Ethiopian Israelis who have earned university degrees, fewer than 15 percent have found work in their professions, according to a recent study. Instead, most end up working temporary public-sector jobs serving the Ethiopian Israeli community, remaining disconnected from the larger professional Israeli workforce.
The violent eviction Thursday ended one standoff between Jewish settlers and the Israeli government but spurred another
The United Nations announced last year that the procedure could reduce the rate of HIV transmission by up to 60 percent. It was in Israel, with its experience performing adult male circumcision on a wide scale, that the international medical community found an unlikely partner in the global fight against AIDS.
Some scholars argue that David's Jerusalem was merely a backwater village glorified into a mythical place by those they say penned the Bible centuries later. Others suggest that true to its biblical description, it was a genuine power overseeing a strong and united kingdom. The discovery of what is being called the Elah Fortress has quickly been used to reinforce the latter argument.
Israelis -- including the American citizens among them, as many as half of whom hail from swing states -- have been closely following the election campaign across the ocean with a mix of interest, concern, bemusement and validation
It sounds like the beginning of a joke: A rabbi, a Russian oligarch and a high-tech millionaire are running for mayor of Jerusalem. Except there's no punch line, just each of them offering up himself as salvation for the hallowed capital's many troubles.
Polls show that Livni, 50, is the leading contender to win Kadima Party primaries Sept. 17 to succeed Ehud Olmert
Criticized by some in Israel because she is a political outsider, Gabriela Shalev, Israel's incoming U.N. ambassador, wins the praise of past and current colleagues who say she is an exceptional legal mind with an unflappable exterior
The World Bank is conducting a $14 million study of a plan to build a canal from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea. Environmentalists say the canal idea is a risky proposition to save the Dead Sea, which is rapidly shrinking.
On one side of a cavernous gym in Netanya, halfway between Tel Aviv and Haifa, six members of Israel's first Olympic rhythmic gymnastics team warm up in a circle, chatting softly in a mix of Russian and Hebrew while stretching their legs in effortless splits on the mat
Sderot's residents expressed optimism about the latest of a series of high-profile visitors to the town, the man who one day may be U.S. president, Barack Obama
As the price of food staples have risen, Israel's poor and the nonprofit groups that serve them have been hardest hit, with some impoverished Israelis skipping meals to pay their monthly bills
Spurred by skyrocketing oil prices and growing interest in energy alternatives, a wave of new companies and investors are scouting out new clean technologies in Israel.
Industry observers say more aggressive government policies, such as underwriting renewable energy initiatives and granting more land for power plants, are needed to bolster the development of alternative energy.
Israel is turning 60, but few here in the Jewish State seem in the mood to crack open the champagne.
Israelis are still gloomy about the country's perceived failures in the 2006 war with Hezbollah in Lebanon, and every day brings fresh reminders that no solution has been found for the growing problem of cross-border rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.
Dean Kamen, the multimillionaire inventor renowned for the Segway personal transporter, traveled to Israel with a message for teenagers: Careers in science will help make them the rock stars of their generation
Founded with the express purpose of "ingathering of the exiles" -- but with no more large groups of Jews to save -- Israel is facing the end of the era of mass aliyah.
In the close-knit world of religious Zionism, no one feels far removed from the grief for eight young people gunned down while studying Talmud in their Jerusalem yeshiva.
Practically overnight, life in this quiet coastal city has changed dramatically. Thirteen rockets landed in Ashkelon over the course of four days, and with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) having launched a ground invasion into Gaza over the weekend, shaken residents here suddenly find themselves in a war zone.
No longer the subject of derision or victim of hyperinflation, the shekel is now among the strongest currencies in the world. For the first time in years, businesses and real estate agencies that once dealt only in dollars are now instead setting their rates to the shekel.
Howard Cedar is among hundreds of Israeli scientists whose research has been supported by the Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF), a charitable organization funded predominately by North American Jews that aims to keep Israeli researchers in the country performing cutting-edge research instead of losing them in a "brain drain" to institutions abroad with more money and resources.
Jamie Sigler, who played the daughter of Mafia kingpin Tony Soprano on the acclaimed HBO show "The Sopranos," grew up in a Jewish home in Jericho, N.Y., going to Hebrew school and having a bat mitzvah. But it was only during her recent visit to Israel that she said she felt a true spiritual and emotional connection to her roots.
With a mix of concern for their future and amusement at the marching bands and baby-kissing style of U.S. electoral politics, Israelis are tuning in to see who might be the next U.S. president.
In Israel, the "non-Jewish Jews," as some Israelis call them, are everywhere. They drive buses, teach university classes, patrol in army jeeps and follow the latest Israeli reality TV shows as avidly as their Jewish counterparts. For these people -- mostly immigrants from the former Soviet Union who are not Jews according to Israeli law -- the question of where they fit into the Jewish state remains unanswered nearly two decades after they began coming to Israel.
Her heart pounding, the 15-year-old girl with a long, honey-colored braid down her back scrambled down the steep hillside in the black of night, running from police who had swarmed in to evacuate her and others who had come to set up an illegal settlement outpost.
Bedouin women are increasingly attending college. Here at Ben-Gurion University, there are 250 female Bedouin students.
Hamas' takeover of the Gaza Strip is spurring hope for the safe return of an Israeli soldier kidnapped nearly a year ago by the fundamentalist Islamic group, even as it issued a terse warning to Israel not to harm its leaders "or forget about Gilad Shalit."
Some couples marry in candlelit caves, others choose a chuppah wrapped in gauzy silk and lilies on the beach or a rooftop overlooking Jerusalem's Old City at sunset. Welcome to destination weddings, Israel style.
Driven from their homes by Qassam rockets, Eimvet Yitao and her colleagues from a Sderot day care center gathered under the shade of a sprawling tree at an army center in Givat Olga, swapping stories of their fears.
With "failure" officially stamped on Ehud Olmert's management of last summer's war against Hezbollah in Lebanon, the question is: What happens now?
n recent years, sporadic acts of anti-Semitism have hit Israel, most of them carried out by disaffected immigrant youths from the former Soviet Union (FSU). Although the youths came to Israel under the Law of Return, they are among those who identify not as Jews but as ethnic Russians. Under Israel's Law of Return, a cornerstone of Israel's identity as a haven for all Jews, anyone with a Jewish parent or grandparent is permitted to immigrate and be granted citizenship.
A group of refugees from Darfur on a visit to Yad Vashem lingered next to a model of the crematorium at Auschwitz, taking in the ghastly sight of bodies carried on cots and pushed into ovens.
Once idealized as a socialist paradise, Israel is increasingly becoming a country of two classes -- those who have soared in the increasingly capitalist economy and those who have stumbled in its wake.
STRIVE, an intensive work-readiness program, is modeled after an initiative of the same name that began more than 20 years ago in New York's Harlem in an effort to help women on welfare overcome their severe difficulties in finding and keeping meaningful jobs.
Anti-poverty activists and residents say the situation of many towns like Shechunat Hatikvah is the result of decades of government neglect and poor planning -- places seen as dumping grounds where immigrants were settled in demographically strategic locations but far from job opportunities.
Eilat generally has escaped the violence of the six-year Palestinian intifada, but even its remote setting couldn't forever insulate the Red Sea resort city from the region's tensions.
Teddy Kollek, the longtime Jerusalem mayor who died this week at the age of 95, is being remembered as the most prolific builder of the city since King Herod.
Sderot is far, by Israeli standards, from the country's more prosperous center. But in the last six years, it has found itself unwittingly on one of the front lines of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Its location, about two miles from the Gaza border, has made Sderot an easy target for terrorists' Qassam rockets. Before a surprise and partial truce went into effect about a week ago, fighting had escalated, especially in recent months, between the Israeli army and Palestinian terrorist groups.
Gay issues have never been at the forefront of Israeli domestic politics -- unlike in the United States -- but some wonder if that will change after ultra-Orthodox protesters used violence to prevent a gay pride parade.
The goal is to give young, secular Israelis an education that will show them that they too have a rich culture to tap into and explore.
The former army intelligence officer with an easy smile was busy as the face of Israel's foreign media outreach, giving more than 80 interviews to international media networks and newspapers during the war.
When tens of thousands of Israelis fled their homes as Hezbollah rockets began raining down on northern Israel, they left behind not only hastily locked-up houses but, in many cases, their pets. After days and weeks of being left to fend for themselves, many of the animals were found starving and dehydrated in the streets of northern towns and cities. Estimates put the number of animals in distress at about 8,000.
More than 40 people were injured in attack, several of them critically, rescue officials said. Guy Sadeh was among the first at the scene, passing by on his way to pick up new business cards. He helped treat and calm the injured.
"I saw things no one should see," Sadeh, 36, said as he lay on a hospital gurney while being treated for cuts on his right foot. His khaki pants were splattered with blood.
In a meeting room with gold silk curtains and tiled walls, a delegation from the American Jewish Committee (AJC) takes their seats at a long, glass-topped table facing Tunisia's foreign minister and his aides. Soon the questions begin: When will Tunisia resume official relations with Israel? What is the country's stance on Iran?
The Israeli withdrawal from Gaza last summer, and Interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's pledge to withdraw from isolated settlements like Avne Hefetz by 2010, haunts the settler community.
Avigdor Lieberman's party, Yisrael Beiteinu, became the fourth-largest party in Israeli politics Tuesday, winning seats in the next Knesset from a strong base of Russian-speaking voters as well as tens of thousands of veteran Israelis.
Shimon Peres joins a young couple having lunch at a seaside restaurant and asks them who they are voting for in Israel's upcoming election. They smile nervously, glance up at the swarm of photographers and TV cameras that surround the former prime minister and admit the truth: They don't know.
The Hadera Democratic School, which receives funding from both public and private sources, was the first of its kind in Israel. Since its founding in 1987 in this city about 60 kilometers north of Tel Aviv, 23 other schools have opened around the country based on its model of democratic education, in which student participation and choice is emphasized.
The two-day event over Chanukah, dubbed "Light Up the Negev," was organized by the Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (JNF) with the express purpose of "selling" the Negev to Israel's youth.
Modern Israeli settlement in the Gaza Strip resumed only after the 1967 Six-Day War, but even with those settlements set to be evacuated, Jewish roots in the sandy strip of land where Egypt, Israel and the Mediterranean Sea meet run deep.
Opinions differ on whether the area was or was not included in the Land of Israel conquered by the ancient Israelites in the Bible.
A team of scouts is scouring the Diaspora for the ideal single Jewish man for a new Israeli reality television show. Once selected, the bachelor, who according to producers preferably will be good looking and "financially secure," will come to Israel for the summer, when 15 young Israeli women will compete to capture his heart.
"We all grow up in Jewish houses and we know the dream of Jewish mothers is that their son finds a nice Jewish girl," said Gadi Veinrib, a producer for the show, to be called -- what else? -- "A Nice Jewish Boy."
Israelis are calling the Sharm el Sheik summit, held next to the sparkling waves of the Red Sea, the "Summit of Hope" -- hope that the speeches and handshakes really will signify the end of four and a half years of bloodletting and despair.
Like Donald Trump's "The Apprentice," at the end of every episode of "The Ambassador," the panel of judges kicks another contestant off the show. The winner will be rewarded with a yearlong job at Israel at Heart, a New York-based organization that promotes Israel's image.
Nestled in a green valley dotted with fir and palm trees lies the farming village of Mavki'im. Soon the modest one-story homes that punctuate its wheat and potato fields may house a new group of residents -- former members of the Gaza Strip settlement named Pa'at Sadeh.
Talya Eluz walks into her cream-colored sunken living room and takes in the view of sloping sand dunes leading to the shimmering blue Mediterranean Sea and the electric fence that surrounds what she calls paradise.
Edna Bar-Or wants to be optimistic about the prospects for peace after this week's Palestinian elections, but like many Israelis, she is not sure she can.
"I very much hope it will bring good," said Bar-Or, 55, surrounded by stacks of laundry and hangers full of pressed shirts at her dry cleaning shop. "I want to be optimistic, but I don't think anyone knows what will be.
Israelis followed news of the Palestinian Authority elections Sunday, pausing to listen to radio and television news broadcasts and to read newspaper front pages plastered with large photographs of Mahmoud Abbas, better known as Abu Mazen. Yasser Arafat's former deputy won the vote by 62 percent and will become the next president of the Palestinian Authority.
North American Modern Orthodox Jews say they can explain their connection to Israel in one word: Torah.
"It's an organic existence. An Orthodox Jew grows up and believes that Eretz Yisrael and the people of Israel are one. The fulfillment of Torah is Eretz Yisrael," said David Cohen, director of Orthodox Union (OU) activities in Israel. "It's not about connection. It's who we are."
The gleaming digital tracking board that dominates Shaare Zedek's new emergency room, with its color-coded system for monitoring patients, has Dr. David Applebaum's fingerprints all over it.
So do the more private individual rooms for patients, the improved nurse-to-patient ratio and an area for paramedics to rest and grab a cup of coffee between calls.
Diving among coral reefs, lounging on colorful pillows by the sea, taking in views of rose-colored mountains, ordering plates stacked high with honey-drenched banana pancakes -- Israelis have long made Sinai a favorite vacation destination.
A recent day brought welcome news for a small group of young Bedouin women who weekly gathered in a tin shed in a corner of their windswept desert village of Kasr Alssr, Israel, to study.
A recent day brought welcome news for a small group of young Bedouin women who weekly gathered in a tin shed in a corner of their windswept desert village of Kasr Alssr, Israel, to study.
Pop diva Madonna was among the praying, swaying and singing masses of kabbalah enthusiasts who made the pilgrimage to Israel for the High Holidays, seeking spiritual transformation through a brand of Jewish mysticism.
Again Israel turns to mourning the dead, but this time the list of those killed has been slow in coming. As the bombs used in suicide bombings become more sophisticated, producing deadlier and deadlier blasts, it takes more time to identify the remains of the dead.
When Galit Weidman Sassoon got engaged last year, her thoughts turned to the kind of wedding ceremony she and her fiancé wanted -- meaningful, egalitarian and Jewish.
The two men walk as one -- in steady step, shoulder to shoulder, their words a torrent of Yiddish.
There is much to catch up on since the former neighbors and schoolmates last met. That was more than 60 years ago, when the transports, fear and separations that characterized Jewish life during World War II reached their Polish hometown.
The mix of Western and African culture at the Zamena club, one of a small number of discos that cater to Israel's young Ethiopian immigrant set, appears to be an extension of these young Ethiopians' experience in life in Israel, in general.
Some were born in Israel or came here as young children. Along with their parents, they made their way to Israel as part of the modern exodus-style airlifts of Operations Moses and Solomon in 1984-85 and 1991.
It was an act of kindness reciprocated with murder.
For Jason Alexander, best known as Jerry Seinfeld's hapless sidekick, George Costanza, a grass-roots peace initiative to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace is more than just "yadda yadda yadda."
Since the program began, it has brought some 60,000 Diaspora youth between the ages of 18 and 26 to Israel for free 10-day guided trips of the country. For many, it is their first trip to Israel. Only youth who never before have been on a peer tour of the country are eligible to participate.
Kalkilya is surrounded on all sides by what Israel calls the separation fence, a barrier the government says it must build to protect its citizens from suicide bombers, snipers and other Palestinian terrorists.
Residents of Kalkilya say it has turned their city into a ghetto.
But Kfar Saba residents are solidly behind the wall.
"How will I find anyone alive?" the 21-year-old
security guard asked as he broke down the door and climbed onto the charred
ruins of bus no. 19, stepping over body parts and choking on the smell of
"How will I find anyone alive?" the 21-year-old security guard asked as he broke down the door and climbed onto the charred ruins of bus no. 19, stepping over body parts and choking on the smell of burned flesh.
Migron, the largest and most established of the 100 or so illegal Jewish outposts set up across the West Bank, is on the front lines of a looming showdown between the settler movement and the Israeli government. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon recently pledged to dismantle such settlements in accordance with the U.S.-led "road map" peace plan.
Thousands of Jews and Arabs fill the winding stone alleyways of a Haifa neighborhood, sampling latkes, roasted chestnuts and pastries dripping in honey at a coexistence festival to mark the holidays of Chanukah, Christmas and Ramadan.
Spewing anti-Israel vitriol was one of Saddam Hussein's specialties. Of all the leaders in the Arab world, Saddam seemed to have the most to say against Israel, and he seemed to say it the most often.
Now that he has been captured and faces possible trial, experts are asking whether the Jewish State will again be his target of choice.
The regulars who take their morning coffee at the sun-bleached Good Day Cafe aptly have nicknamed the spot "Moshe's Parliament."
Sitting on red plastic chairs and leaning over flowered tablecloths over the weekend, retirees dissected and debated the various new Middle East peace proposals.
Three years of Palestinian violence have scared away investors, a worldwide economic downturn has devastated Israel's once-thriving high-tech industry, factories are closing because of foreign competition and government cutbacks in welfare and social spending in response to a $6 billion deficit have taken their toll.