Even during the darkest moments of his four-year cycling odyssey, traversing 42 countries on six continents, Roei “Jinji” Sadan knew he’d never stop. After all, Sadan had a bike he called Emunah — Hebrew for “faith.”
Syria has no peace process role as long as its repression continues, a top Obama administration official said.
Republican senators urged President Obama to suspend U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority unless Hamas recognizes Israel and renounces terrorism. Republican Sens. John Boozman (Ark.) and Jerry Moran (Kan.), in association with the Zionist Organization of America, organized a letter to the president signed by 16 U.S. senators.
A number of initiatives are circulating in Congress targeting the Palestinians in the wake of their diplomatic tensions with Israel. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) this week circulated through the Republican Study Committee, the GOP's influential conservative caucus, a proposal to introduce a Palestinian Accountability Act, legislation that would condition support for the Palestinian Authority on its willingness to negotiate, its efforts to combat terrorism and incitement, and its recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. It cites as bad faith the P.A.'s recent efforts to obtain recognition of statehood through the United Nations.
The National Jewish Democratic Council blasted what it said was a Republican "obsession" with Muslims. An NJDC statement termed as "utterly unnecessary" a second hearing convened Wednesday by Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Commitee, on Muslim radicalization.
Americans' views on Middle East issues have not changed in recent months, despite major headlines from the region, according to a new poll.
President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed imposing new sanctions on Iran.
Hours before announcing his presidential run, Rick Santorum called President Obama a "paper tiger" with regard to Iran and threats to Israel. Santorum, a former U.S. senator representing Pennsylvania, appeared on "Good Morning America" early Monday, hours before his official announcement, and said the Iranians are moving forward with a nuclear program while knowing "the president is not going to do anything to stop them.
The Obama administration expressed to the Turkish government its concerns about the next Gaza aid flotilla. "We’ve been in consultation with the Turkish Government about this," Mark Toner, the State Department spokesman, said on Wednesday. "We’ve shared our concerns."
So, why was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu steaming when he came out of his tête-á-tête with President Barack Obama on May 20? The president’s inherently pro-Palestinian, con-Israeli stance may have been another rude awakening for the prime minister, but the handwriting’s been on the wall for some time now. Take, for example, candidate Obama’s statement in March 2007 that “nobody has suffered more than the Palestinian people.” How about the Israeli people, who have had to live with the daily threat of terrorist attacks and bombings and hostile Arab armies on their borders since the inception of the Jewish state in 1948?
U.S. Senators introduced an enhanced Iran sanctions bill matching one recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The crux of both bills is a ban on business with any entity that does $1 million in a single trade with Iran's energy sector, or $5 million over one year. The current threshold is $20 million in business per year.
President Obama extended a freeze on Syrian assets to the country's government and its entire leadership. The order issued Wednesday is the most expansive yet targeting Syria, naming President Bashar Assad and including any "senior official of the Government of Syria" or "any agency or instrumentality of the Government of Syria, or owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the Government of Syria or by an official or officials of the Government of Syria."
American officials have weighed in for the first time on a Chabad court victory over the ownership of Chasidic texts, reportedly saying it could jeopardize Russia-U.S. cultural ties. The Associated Press reported that the U.S. Justice Department's response Monday to the Chabad-Lubavitch victory about the dangers to cultural relations between the two countries underlines the importance attached to the case by the government.
A bipartisan slate of U.S. House of Representatives lawmakers urged Turkey to do what it could to prevent another flotilla from reaching the Gaza Strip. The letter sent Wednesday to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and spearheaded by Reps. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and Tom Cole (R-Ok.) and signed by 36 members noted reports that the same Turkey-based organization that organized the May 2010 flotilla was planning another.
He was well aware of U.S. counterterrorist defenses and schooled his followers how to work around them, the messages to his followers show. Don't limit attacks to New York City, he said in his writings. Consider other areas such as Los Angeles or smaller cities. Spread out the targets.
President Obama reportedly is planning a new speech to the Muslim world that would call for a rejection of Islamic militancy. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the White House is planning for such a speech within the next two weeks, just as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to roll out proposals for reviving peace talks with the Palestinians in a meeting with Obama and in a speech to the U.S. Congress.
Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was not armed when U.S. special forces stormed his compound in Pakistan but he did resist before he was shot, White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Tuesday.
The White House reportedly is set to name Steve Simon, the co-author of a comprehensive outline for a Palestinian state, as a top Middle East official. The Obama administration will tap Simon, a former top National Security Council official in the Clinton administration, to head the NSC's Middle East desk, according to Laura Rozen of The Envoy foreign policy blog on Yahoo.com. Simon would succeed Daniel Shapiro, who by default has become the top administration point man for pro-Israel groups and Israeli officials.
For 29-year-old Dr. Rania El Hativ, the distinction of being Israel’s first female Arab plastic surgeon has its downsides. “I feel a lot of responsibility. Many people have expectations of you — other doctors, patients and people in my community.”
The next Egyptian government should recognize its peace with Israel, the White House said. "It's important that the next government of Egypt recognize the accords that have been signed with Israel," spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a news conference after President Obama congratulated Egyptians after Hosni Mubarak left the presidency.
A bill that would have pulled some United States funding from the United Nations failed to pass the U.S. House of Representatives. The measure, sponsored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, would have pulled $179 million from the approximately $3 billion that the United States pays in U.N. dues.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a likely candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, during a speech in Israel called Iran the biggest threat to world stability. "We must recognize and focus on Iran as the crucial strategic issue in the region," Barbour said Wednesday at the prestigious Herzliya Conference, an annual policy and strategic gathering.
With public bickering over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict already having spilled over into university student senates, corporate pension boards and even local farmers markets, the latest battlefield in the debate over the conflict is municipal transit systems.
The Arab-language television blared with protesters filling Cairo’s streets and the conversation flew — in the front of the patio in Arabic, in the back in Hebrew. Alhambra’s quiet Main Street may be a long way from the Middle Eastern unrest, but the issues were close at hand for Jordanians and Israelis who came to Wahib’s Restaurant for a lunchtime spread.
President Obama, marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, pledged to combat the “scourge of anti-Semitism” and other bigotries.
Israeli filmmakers Erez Kav-El and Talya Lavie received awards at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.
Senate Democrats urged Republicans to reject a colleague's call for an end to foreign aid, including aid to Israel. "Both Republicans and Democrats are committed to reining in the federal deficit, but assistance to Israel is not a matter of 'pork barrel spending,' " said the letter sent Tuesday to the GOP chairmen of the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations and Budget committees, respectively Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. "Rather U.S. foreign aid to Israel demonstrates America's rock-solid commitment to ensuring Israel's right to exist."
An American-born Orthodox rabbi is suing the board of an Australian synagogue for wrongful dismissal. Rabbi Yossi Engel, a Brooklyn, N.Y., native who served at the Adelaide Hebrew Congregation for seven years until his contract ended in 2006, is claiming more than $600,000 in compensation. Engel believes his termination was a breach of halachah, or Jewish law, which he says guarantees life tenure for rabbis.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul wants to end all foreign assistance, including aid to Israel. Paul, a Republican newly elected in Kentucky, was on CNN Wednesday outlining where he would cut the $500 billion in government spending he says is critical to sustaining the U.S. economy. His focus was on the departments of energy, education and housing.
Heavy snow in New York caused the postponement of a special U.N. General Assembly meeting commemorating International Holocaust Day. The United Nations building was shut down due to the bad weather. Other Holocaust commemoration events planned for Thursday in New York also were postponed, according to reports. The General Assembly in 2005 designated Jan. 27, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, an annual day to honor the victims of the Nazi era.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) cited anti-Israel rhetoric in proposing legislation conditioning U.N. funding on reform. "I am going to reintroduce legislation that conditions our contributions -- our strongest leverage -- on real, sweeping reform, including moving the U.N. regular budget to a voluntary funding basis," Ros-Lehtinen, the chairwoman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said Tuesday. "That way, U.S. taxpayers can pay for the U.N. programs and activities that advance our interests and values, and if other countries want different things to be funded, they can pay for it themselves."
Members of a Palestinian terror cell were indicted for the murder of an American tourist in a forest near Jerusalem. Four Palestinians from villages near Hebron were indicted Wednesday in Jerusalem District Court for the murder of Christine Logan, 40, also identified by some media outlets as Christine Luken, and for the attempted murder of her hiking partner Susan Kaye Wilson. The two women were attacked Dec. 18, 2010, while hiking at Khirbet Hanut, an archaeological site near Beit Shemesh. Wilson pretended to be dead and survived the ordeal and provided descriptions of the attackers. The suspects reportedly have confessed to the attack.
Rabbi Jacqueline Mates-Muchin earned two A’s, one A-plus and one A-minus during her first semester at the University of California, Santa Barbara. When she told her Chinese grandfather, she was disappointed but not shocked by his response. “He said: ‘You got an A-plus, but an A-minus, too,’ ” recalled Mates-Muchin, 36, now the associate rabbi of Temple Sinai in Oakland. Mates-Muchin, whose mother is second-generation Chinese-American and whose father is the son of Austrian Jewish immigrants, recognizes a lot of her own childhood in “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” Yale University professor Amy Chua’s controversial book about raising her daughters with traditional Chinese norms of strict discipline.
Stuart Levey, the Obama administration's top Iran sanctions enforcement official, is leaving. Stuart Levey, who has been a Treasury undersecretary since 2005, will leave in about a month, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. Levey, who is Jewish, devised a strategy of persuading not just governments but businesses to sanction the Islamic Republic for its defiance of international pressure to make its nuclear program more transparent.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the Holocaust "the darkest chapter in history" at a synagogue service remembering the victims. Ban wore a kipah during the Jan. 20 service at Park East Synagogue in New York City. "We can never tolerate anybody who denies the Holocaust," Ban said in his comments, calling the Holocaust "the darkest chapter in history," according to the French news agency AFP.
A pro-Israel U.S. think tank released proposals that would reconcile allowing a majority of the settlers to stay in place with a Palestinian state through commensurate land swaps. The detailed proposal, released Thursday by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, nods to longstanding Palestinian demands for a return to 1967 lines by adhering to one-to-one land swaps. Under the proposal, between 68-80 percent of settlers would remain in place, and the Palestinian state would receive Israeli lands adjacent to the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Desert and parts of the West Bank.
Four men were wrongfully convicted of the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl nine years ago, while the actual killer is the suspected mastermind behind the 9/11 terror attacks, a new investigation alleges. The revelations, which include the allegation that a dozen terrorists involved in the killing are still at large and operating, are based on a three-year investigation by the Pearl Project conducted by journalism students and faculty at Georgetown University and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Heading the probe was a Asra Nomani, Pearl’s colleague, from whose house in Karachi, Pakistan, the reporter left on the day of his 2002 disappearance supposedly for an interview with a high-level terrorist source.
Berlin Jews joined hundreds of demonstrators to protest a meeting marking the merger of two neo-Nazi parties. Police estimated that fewer than 80 right-wing extremists showed up to the Jan. 15 meeting in which the National Democratic Party (NPD) of Germany and the German People’s Union (DVU) formally announced their merger. Meanwhile, nearly 100 times that number demonstrated on the streets outside the public school where the party meeting was held, in the Berlin district of Lichtenberg.
Journalist and author Lisa Alcalay Klug flew across the country this month to present at the annual New York version of Limmud, one of the Jewish learning gatherings that occur worldwide. She’ll fly in the other direction next month to attend the fourth annual LimmudLA, Feb. 18-21 in Costa Mesa. LimmudLA will be Klug’s eighth Limmud gathering in 12 months. Like the hundreds of other Limmud presenters whose paths she crosses, she doesn’t get paid for her time. “I’ve met amazing people, developed new friendships and reinforced past relationships,” said Klug, who splits her time among California, New York and Israel. “My world has grown exponentially because of it.”
Former U.S. officials and policy writers are urging President Obama to endorse a proposed United Nations Security Council resolution blasting Israel's settlement policy and calling for a return to peace talks. "At this critical juncture, how the U.S. chooses to cast its vote on a settlements resolution will have a defining effect on our standing as a broker in Middle East peace," says the letter, signed mostly by figures who have favored greater U.S. pressure on Israel in the past, sent Wednesday to Obama. "But the impact of this vote will be felt well beyond the arena of Israeli-Palestinian deal-making -- our seriousness as a guarantor of international law and international legitimacy is at stake."
Former U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz has written to President Obama asking him to release Jonathan Pollard. The letter delivered Tuesday says that Pollard has "now paid a huge price for his espionage on behalf of Israel and should be released from prison." In the letter, Schultz also said that he is impressed that people who are "best informed" about the classified material that Pollard passed to Israel favor his release.
The Jewish green day of Tu b’Shvat is not just the new year for trees anymore. Jews are being asked increasingly to dedicate Tu b’Shvat to repairing the world. The Tu b'Shvat seder at the Jewish Funds for Justice is called "Tikkun [repair] and Transformation." Kolel, the Adult Center for Liberal Jewish Learning, suggests four tikkunim, or repairs, to interact with traditional Tu b’Shvat seder themes: social, cosmic/existential, national and ecological. On the Reclaiming Judaism website, Rabbi Goldie Milgram writes, "Tu Bi-Shevat is meant to help repair this world." But before you go out and make your repairs to the world, don't you think you should fix up your home? Like what about that broken clothes dryer or dishwasher? You might be surprised, but this has a basis in Jewish tradition. The injunction of "ba'al taschit" -- do not destroy -- is the Jewish version of waste not, want not. To avoid waste, we need to learn how to repair rather than throw things away.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Neyanyahu wrote President Obama urging clemency for Jonathan Pollard. "At the time of his arrest, Jonathan Pollard was acting as an agent of the Israeli government," Netanyahu wrote in his letter, sent Tuesday. "Even though Israel was in no way directing its intelligence efforts against the United States, its actions were wrong and wholly unacceptable. Both Mr. Pollard and the Government of Israel have repeatedly expressed remorse for these actions, and Israel will continue to abide by its commitment that such wrongful actions will never be repeated." Netanyahu read his letter Tuesday evening to a Knesset plenum discussion. His letter, Israel's first formal request for Pollard's release, came a day after similar urgings from over 500 clergy in a letter to Obama.
More than 500 clergy signed a letter to President Obama urging clemency for Jonathan Pollard. The letter was delivered a day before Prime Minister Benjanim Netanyahu reportedly sent a letter to Obama issuing a formal clemency request. Netanyahu was scheduled to read his letter Tuesday evening to a Knesset plenum discussion. "After more than two and a half decades in prison, Mr. Pollard's health is declining," reads the letter sent Monday from rabbis representing all streams, as well as a number of leading Protestant and Roman Catholic clergy. "He has repeatedly expressed remorse for his actions, and by all accounts has served as a model inmate. Commuting his sentence to time served would be a wholly appropriate exercise of your power of clemency -- as well as a matter of basic fairness and American justice. It would also represent a clear sense of compassion and reconciliation -- a sign of hope much needed in today's world of tension and turmoil."
Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice president of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, met with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus. Hoenlein said the meeting Monday was at the invitation of Syria and not, as had been reported originally by the Israeli media, at the behest of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "I went to Damascus on an important humanitarian issue to the Jewish people," Hoenlein told Haaretz. "Netanyahu did not ask anything from me, and any attempt to link me to the diplomatic process with Syrian is manipulation."
Lawmakers, Jewish leaders and kosher businesses are lobbying New York's new governor Andrew Cuomo to restore the state's kosher law-enforcement division. Budget cuts and retirements over the last year have left the division with one employee, the division's director, according to The Wall Street Journal. The cuts in the department, which once employed 11 kosher inspectors, will save up to $1 million a year in salary, benefits and services, according to the newspaper, citing a state Department of Agriculture and Markets spokesperson.
The personal papers and other materials of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, a founder of the Jewish Renewal movement, have been given to the University of Colorado. The material, including audio-visual material, have become part of the Colorado University-Boulder Library Archives, according to the Boulder Jewish News, after being in the care of Naropa University, which was working with the Reb Zalman Legacy Project of the Yesod Foundation to preserve, develop and circulate the rabbi's writings and teachings. The Jewish Renewal movement has infused modern Judaism with mystical teachings and contemplative practices influenced by Hasidism. The movement is run by ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal in Philadelphia.