At Long Last State Department’s human rights report released after four-month delay

Secretary of State John Kerry, according to a spokesperson, is “very excited” about the release of the Human Rights Reports.
(United States Department of State )

The State Department was set to release the long overdue Country Reports on Human Rights Practices on June 25, after a delay, the longest ever, that spurred speculation in some political spheres that it was done in an effort not to upset Iran during ongoing nuclear negotiations, a charge the State Department denied. The Human… Read More

A Matter of Conversion Targeting modern Orthodox rabbi, Israeli rabbinate draws battle line

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, rabbi of the Jewish settlement of Efrat conducts the Pidyon HaBen ceremony for a 
30-day-old first-born son in Efrat, West Bank last month.
(Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

TEL AVIV — There’s no shortage of Israelis who want to reform the office of the Chief Rabbinate. Ranging from advocates of religion-state separation to leaders of Israel’s non-Orthodox movements to newspaper columnists, some want to end the Rabbinate’s monopoly over the country’s religious services; others want to dissolve it entirely. But this week, the… Read More

‘State’ of Confusion Will Vatican’s Palestine reference impact Jewish-Catholic ties?

Pope Francis greets Palestinian 
Authority President Mahmoud 
Abbas as the pope leaves St. Peter’s 
Square at the end of a canonization 
ceremony in Vatican City last month.

WASHINGTON — When considering the Vatican’s creep toward recognition of Palestinian statehood, think “Israel-Vatican” and not “Jewish-Catholic,” say Jewish officials involved in dialogue with the church. A May 13 announcement on an agreement regarding the functioning of the church in areas under Palestinian control raised eyebrows in its reference to the “State of Palestine.” The… Read More

At Home in the Lab

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BEERSHEVA, Israel — In sync with a worldwide momentum to attract more women to STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math — for their study and career choices, Israel’s Council for Higher Education (CHE) is spearheading a concerted nationwide effort to attract and retain more women into academia in those fields. The results from… Read More

Joining Together

Israelis in the Netherlands celebrate Purim at an event organized by the Dutch Israeli scouts movement Hatsofim. 
(Courtesy of Hatsofim)

Whenever he would fly from his native Israel back home to the Netherlands, Serge Lypcyz would bring a heavy load of Hebrew-language books with him. Lypcyz and his Israeli friends in Amsterdam depended on such shipments — not only for reading material in their native language, but also to feel connected to their country of… Read More

A Real Concern

Secretary of State John Kerry meets with foreign ministers in Lausanne, Switzerland, during negotiations with Iranian leaders about the future of their nuclear program. (State Department photo/SIPA/Newscom)

Israeli politicians and American Jewish organizations were nearly unanimous this week in voicing concern and skepticism about the framework nuclear agreement reached between a U.S.-led coalition of six nations and Iran last Thursday. The deal, they say, does not go far enough to prevent the threat of a nuclear-armed Tehran in the near future. Shortly… Read More

Did They or Didn’t They? Allegations of Israeli spying put cloud over Iran deadline

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) sits with President Barack Obama during a meeting in the Oval Office in March 2014. (Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)

Experts on intelligence matters in the United States are brushing off last week’s allegations from anonymous Obama administration sources alleging Israeli espionage concerning the multilateral nuclear negotiations. Scholars such as Michael Makovsky at the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) dismissed the allegations, first published in The Wall Street Journal, and accusations that Israel… Read More