Jewish Journal

Dina Kraft

  • Demolitions Central to Jerusalem Fight

    August 18, 2009 | 4:37 pm

    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.

    The homes, now just slabs of collapsed concrete, are in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. Despite...

  • No New Settlement Approval, So Far

    July 8, 2009 | 4:53 pm

    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.


  • How a Settlement’s ‘Natural Growth’ Appears at Ground Level

    June 3, 2009 | 4:11 pm

    Modiin Illit, West Bank — 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.

    Yadler, 28, has four children. Her...

  • Fund Seeks to Improve Israeli Arabs’ Lives

    May 20, 2009 | 7:16 pm

    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.

    “You and I can change the world,” she sings to the students in Hebrew, sounding the lyrics of a popular Israeli...

  • Tel Aviv Then and Now

    April 9, 2009 | 2:12 am

    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.

    But for Kaniuk and his friends, it was the world.

    “We thought it was a big city,” Kaniuk said, sitting by the window of his apartment’s snug living room...

  • Lieberman’s Moment

    February 11, 2009 | 6:11 pm

  • Lieberman’s Moment

    February 11, 2009 | 6:11 pm

    “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.

    “Ashdod: Vote Lamed for Lieberman,” their voices boomed across a...

  • Livni Plays Gender Card as She Runs 2nd in Race

    February 2, 2009 | 5:50 pm

    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.

    “Whether we have a female prime minister is up to...

  • Israel Human Rights Groups Wage War Over Warfare

    January 22, 2009 | 3:03 pm

    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.

    “He asked me, ‘Why are they...

  • Eight members of the Levi family adjust to rockets in Ashkelon

    December 30, 2008 | 1:00 am

    ASHKELON, Israel (JTA) -- Another rocket warning siren wails and eight members of the Levi family, including a grandmother and a newborn baby, 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...

  • Despite diplomas, Ethiopian Israelis can’t find jobs

    December 26, 2008 | 12:15 am

    JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Asaf Negat, 29, made his way to Israel from Ethiopia as an 11-year-old boy and worked hard to find his way in a new land and learn to speak a new language. Eventually, Negat graduated with a business degree from one of the country's top universities.

    However, since...

  • Showdown in Hebron as IDF evicts settlers

    December 4, 2008 | 7:08 pm

    UPDATE: Settler violence follows Hebron evacuation

    JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Settlers rampaged through Hebron following the evacuation of a disputed building.

    Jewish youth entered the Palestinian areas of Hebron Thursday afternoon, setting set fires to cars, homes and trees, and throwing...

  • African AIDS fight uses Israeli circumcision skills

    November 26, 2008 | 6:07 pm

    In a clinic in Swaziland, Israeli doctors have been training their counterparts in male circumcision, hoping expertise in the ancient technique will help in the battle against the modern scourge of AIDS.

    The United Nations announced last year that the procedure could reduce the rate...

  • Discovery of King David-era fort stirs debate on size of kingdom

    November 20, 2008 | 3:12 am

    JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Under a sky of darkening clouds on a hill above the valley where tradition says David and Goliath battled, archaeologist Yosef Garfinkel triumphantly rests his hands on a 10-ton limestone rock, part of a newly discovered second gate to an ancient fortified city he...
  • Israelis catch U.S. election fever

    October 28, 2008 | 8:01 pm

    TEL AVIV (JTA) -- Just beyond the beer taps at a Tel Aviv bar with an American flag hanging out front, a makeshift polling station draws dozens of Americans in Israel casting their vote for the U.S. election, 6,000 miles away.

    "This is more fun than voting in the Bronx," said one...

  • Diverse trio running for mayor in troubled Jerusalem

    October 23, 2008 | 12:54 am

    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.

    Many Jerusalemites view this...

  • Candidate Profile: Tzipi Livni—a clean record but some say untested

    September 8, 2008 | 5:09 pm

    JERUSALEM (JTA) - Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni smoothes her tailored black jacket, tosses back her head and takes in the King David Hotel hall packed cheek to jowl with foreign journalists.

    Every chair is taken, photographers line the walls and the lights of dozens of TV...
  • Israel taps ‘political outsider’ as new U.N. ambassador

    August 12, 2008 | 6:41 pm

    TEL AVIV (JTA)—An exceptional intellect paired with an unflappable exterior are traits Gabriela Shalev’s high-powered colleagues and friends say will serve her well when she leaves for New York to become Israel’s next ambassador to the United Nations.

    Shalev, an internationally...

  • Red-Dead canal idea stirs controversy

    August 3, 2008 | 6:46 pm

    HERZLIYA, Israel (JTA) – On aerial photographs, the shrinking Dead Sea juts into the surrounding desert landscape like a blue index finger.

    As part of the effort to prevent this finger from becoming a mere smudge on the map by 2050, the World Bank is conducting a $14 million...

  • Israeli women gymnasts train long and hard for Beijing games

    July 31, 2008 | 12:22 am

    NETANYA (JTA) -- 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...
  • Sderot welcomes Obama

    July 25, 2008 | 1:34 am

    SDEROT, Israel (JTA) – At the New Age Beauty Salon in a run-down strip mall here, the manicurist and hairdresser swap opinions of Barack Obama, the latest in a series of high-profile visitors to come through this southern Israeli town.

    "Is there a chance I'll be able to give him a...

  • Food prices squeeze Israel’s needy

    July 21, 2008 | 5:21 pm

    TEL AVIV (JTA) – It’s mid-afternoon and Michael Dahan is buying food for his first meal of the day. With rising food prices compounding his already dire economic situation, it has become his habit to skip meals, he admits.

    “What can I do?” the unemployed 49-year-old says with a...

  • Israel's clean tech advances attract foreign investors' green

    July 15, 2008 | 2:29 am

    TEL AVIV (JTA) -- From cutting-edge geothermal power deep underground to wind turbines and solar panels capturing energy from the sky above, foreign investors are pouring money into Israel's growing clean tech sector.

    And it's not just Jews.

    "Every day I get calls from people asking...

  • Israel invests in clean tech as energy crunch looms

    July 2, 2008 | 10:24 pm

    At a lab in Rehovot, the man who developed the Arrow missile is consumed with his next mission: making Israel energy independent by using cheap solar power.

    "The issue of energy is the greatest danger to Israel, because in 30 years there will be no energy means, no oil and no gas,...

  • Israelis are not in a partying mood

    May 1, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    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...

  • Segway inventor Dean Kamen brings his high-tech vision to Israel

    April 24, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    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.

    Taking a break from his current innovations, which include developing a...

  • Fending off the end of aliyah

    April 3, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    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.

    Recent reports that the Jewish Agency for Israel was considering shutting down its flagship aliyah department have...

  • Yeshiva terror attack cut religious Zionists deeply

    March 9, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    The one with glasses and a wide smile was the brother of a friend, the one with blue eyes and side curls the son of another.

    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...
  • Ashkelon is the new front line in the war with Gaza

    March 8, 2008 | 5:00 pm

    Al-Jazeera TV reports on rockets hitting Ashkelon

    Eighteen-year-old Eden Sharbane awoke before dawn Saturday to the eerie sound of a "red alert" siren in her Ashkelon neighborhood. Glancing outside her window, she saw a red-and-orange blur: A rocket was about to hit her apartment...

  • As U.S. dollar plummets, Israelis rediscover the shekel

    March 1, 2008 | 5:00 pm

    As the U.S. dollar continues its spectacular nose dive -- it has lost 20 percent of its value against the shekel in the past year -- Israelis have rediscovered the bright greens, reds and purples of their own currency.

    No longer the subject of derision or victim of hyperinflation,...

  • Fund assists Israeli cancer researchers

    February 21, 2008 | 5:00 pm

    If mapping the human genome was the seminal biological work of the 20th century, then learning how to "read" those genes will define this century, said one of Israel's top cancer researchers as he tinkers in his lab surrounded by tiny plastic tubes of DNA.

    "What is really important...

  • ‘Meadow Soprano’ explores her Jewish spirit in Israel

    January 31, 2008 | 7:00 pm

    Meadow Soprano, Jewish?

    "Everyone assumes I'm Italian," says Jamie Lynn Sigler, 26, with a sigh, pausing over her hummus lunch at the open-air market in Jaffa, one of the stops on her Birthright Israel tour. "Even kids on the trip keep asking, 'Are you Jewish?'"

    Sigler, who played...

  • Israelis keep a close eye on U.S. elections

    January 17, 2008 | 7:00 pm

    Hillary Clinton is the favorite U.S. presidential candidate at Itzik Nir's tiny juice stand, a veritable neighborhood listening post where opinions pile up as quickly as the signature orange-banana-passion fruit blends are served.

    Customers giggle trying to pronounce Mike Huckabee's...

  • ‘Non-Jewish’ Jews endure challenges living in Israel

    January 3, 2008 | 7:00 pm

    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...

  • Splinter group keeps settler outpost movement alive

    December 13, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    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.

    It was a scene that...

  • Ben-Gurion University of the Negev reaches out to Bedouin women

    June 28, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Every morning, Hana'a Abokaf leaves her village on the slopes of the Negev Desert, where electricity is powered by a generator and camels and goats graze near cinderblock and tin houses.

    Abokaf, 20, rides the bus to the university where she is a first-year medical student. Just by...
  • Does Hamas takeover mean new hope for kidnapped Israeli soldier?

    June 21, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    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."

    Shalit, then a 19-year-old...

  • We’re goin’ to Ha Aretz and we’re gonna get married ...

    June 7, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    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.

    In recent years an increasing number of Jewish couples from abroad...
  • Army base provides haven for refugees from Sderot

    May 24, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    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.

    They talked, too, of their relief at the respite from uncertainty.
  • What now after Winograd?

    May 3, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    With "failure" officially stamped on Ehud Olmert's management of last summer's war against Hezbollah in Lebanon, the question is: What happens now?

    The Israeli public, deeply critical and hungry for blame, may yet stop short of ousting the unpopular prime minister because of a lack...
  • Israelis fear anti-Semitism imported from Russia

    April 26, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Ari Ackerman, a student from Switzerland, was walking home along the Tel Aviv beach after a late-night swim when he and a friend were jumped by a gang singing Nazi songs and displaying swastika tattoos.

    The perpetrators, a group of Russian-speaking teenagers, eventually ran off....
  • Sudanese Discover Parallels in Visit to Yad Vashem

    April 5, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    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.

    They walked through the museum in silence, listening to the words of the guide and trying to...

  • Poverty in Israel: The divide deepens between the haves and have-nots

    March 8, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    Photos by Brian Hendler. Slideshow courtesy JTA

    In a shimmering luxury hotel overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Israel's banking and financial elite mingled over cocktails recently with foreign investors as they watched Donald Trump on a live telecast praise the strength of the...

  • American ideas boost bid to get Israelis to work

    March 8, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    One advocacy group's look at the problem
    Click the BIG ARROW to play

    Eti Sharabi walked through the glass doors and marveled at the shining hardwood floors and the walls splashed with green and orange, making this space feel more like a sleek advertising or architectural firm than...

  • Tough neighborhoods, hard times feed cycle of poverty

    March 8, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    One advocacy group's look at the problem
    Click the BIG ARROW to play

    Lis an unemployed 32-year-old single mother, eight months pregnant with her third child and seems to owe money to everyone -- friends, the government and grocers at the local outdoor produce market, where she has...
  • Palestinian terror reaches Eilat

    February 1, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    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.

    A suicide bomber struck Monday morning at a small bakery in the usually serene city, killing three...

  • Teddy Kollek, Jerusalem’s modern-day Herod, dies at 95

    January 4, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    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. The man who in 28 years transformed the Israeli capital from a dusty backwater to an international city of parks, theaters...
  • Depression grips Sderot as rockets continue to fall

    December 7, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    A warm, late-autumn sun spills over empty swing sets and slides. The children of this working-class border town have no time to play. Listening for alerts of falling rockets from Gaza, they scurry between home and school.

    It's a routine that has intensified in recent weeks, with the...

  • Could Pride rally tension put gay issues on Israel’s agenda?

    November 22, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    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. Confrontations with police and threats of worse violence to...
  • ‘Secular Yeshiva’ answers young Israelis’ questions

    October 26, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Ofri Bar-Am, 19, folds her legs underneath her on a library couch and peers closely at a photocopy of the biblical passage describing the oldest recorded case of sibling rivalry in history, Cain and Abel.

    A student at the first secular yeshiva in Israel, Bar-Am underlines phrases,...