Israeli intelligence: Syria used chemical weapons

JTA Wire Service Syrian forces have used chemical weapons against rebel forces and civilians, the head of Israel’s military research said. The weapon likely is sarin-based, which targets the nervous system and can cause paralysis or death, Brig. Gen Itai Baron, the head of the Israel Defense Forces Military Intelligence Research Branch, said Tuesday.

Brewing Up A New Connection To Lag BaOmer

Sit back by the bonfire and pop open a brewski, it’s Lag BaOmer. Since we have been counting the Omer — a biblical measure of barley that was brought as an offering to the Temple — each evening from the second night of Passover, what better way to mark the coming holiday than by downing… Read More

Turkey’s Jews Worship Quietly

As visitors heave open the thick, vault-like metal door to the Neve Shalom Synagogue on a discreet side street in the Galata neighborhood of European Istanbul, a skittish guard confronts them. Guests are shuttled through secure, windowless rooms to an X-ray mac-hine and metal detector. Pockets are emptied and passports surrendered. The guard questions the… Read More

Against The Wall

Men pray at the 
Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site and the center of an escalating battle over women's prayer restrictions.

He brought unprecedented attention to the plight of Soviet Jewry. He stood up to the KGB. He survived nine years in Siberia. He served in Israel’s fractious government. Now, Natan Sharansky is facing his next challenge: finding a solution to the growing battle over women’s prayer restrictions at the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site. In… Read More

Israel’s Mega Storm — The Numbers

The Jordan Valley flooded, making it impossible 
to commute.
Peleg Amiton/Tazpit News Agency

Last week’s storm in Israel was a record-breaker on many accounts. Many areas in the country received between 8 and 12 inches of rain, an amount that occurs on average every 10 to 15 years. • Rainfall in the north: 80% – 95% of the total annual average rainfall; 180% – 230% of the average… Read More

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

The city of Efrat is 
blanketed in white.
Aryeh Savir/Tazpit News Agency

Residents of the Holy City woke up to a blanket of white, as some six inches of snow fell in one night last week, the largest snowfall since 1992. Schools were canceled, businesses closed, and joyful children bundled up to play in the cold white stuff many had never seen or enjoyed. “It’s really fun… Read More

What will the next government of Israel look like?

What will the next government of Israel look like? In just a few days, Israelis —  and the rest of the world —  will know. On Jan. 22, Israelis will take to the polls and cast their ballots for a new Knesset, one that according to recent polls likely will be led by current Prime… Read More

Knesset Elections

Remember the second U.S. presidential debate in October, when the incumbent Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney stood about six inches from each other, with one interrupting the other at every turn? Add about a dozen candidates, take away the formal rules of debate, switch to Hebrew, and you’ve got a fairly good approximation of… Read More

Analysis: Israel At The Polls

Yair Lapid said his party, Yesh Atid, “will not sit as a fig leaf” in acenter-right government.

Yossi Zeliger/Flash90/JTA

What will the next government of Israel look like? In just a few days, Israelis —  and the rest of the world —  will know. On Jan. 22, Israelis will take to the polls and cast their ballots for a new Knesset, one that according to recent polls likely will be led by current Prime… Read More