Tag Archives: Israel
Rabbi Danny Burkeman

Advocating for an Israel Aligned with My Values: Why I’m on the ARZA Slate

As an 18-year-old I spent a year living and studying in Israel. In one class the teacher talked to us about his aliyah experience. He told us that by moving to Israel he could have a say in the Jewish future, because he could vote in the Israeli elections, and that we, in the Diaspora, could never have the same direct influence on Israeli society, or by extension play the same part in our shared Jewish future.

He was right that I wasn’t able to vote in this month’s Israeli elections, but he was wrong about the fact that I can’t have an influence on where Judaism or Israel is going. Read more…

Israeli Elections

Recapping the Israeli Elections

Israelis went to the polls to elect a new Knesset for the 20th time in its history on Tuesday, in what was supposed to be one of the closest elections in years. When voting ended at 10 p.m., exit polling predictions showed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party, Likud, in a dead heat with the center-left Zionist Union opposition party. When Israelis woke up Wednesday and the votes had been counted, it became clear that Netanyahu’s Likud had won a decisive victory, with 30 seats in Knesset compared to Zionist Union’s 24. Isaac Herzog, the leader of Zionist Union, who had been hoping to become Prime Minister and form the next Israeli government, called Netanyahu earlier Wednesday to concede the election. Read more…

Call to Vote in World Zionist Congress by Anat Hoffman

Earlier today, Anat Hoffman, the Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center, called on American Jews to stand with her as she votes in Israel’s elections by voting in the World Zionist Congress elections. To vote in the World Zionist Congress elections, click here, and to learn more about the elections and what’s at stake, click here. In addition, we’ll have coverage of the Israeli elections on the RACblog on Wednesday, so stay tuned! Read more…

Israeli Elections

Down to the Wire: Less Than a Week till Israeli Elections

Israeli citizens will elect a new government in just five days, in what many have called Israel’s most important election ever. Israelis find themselves at a crossroads, with real debates about whether the Jewish state should expand settlements, engage in peace negotiations, ensure protections for women and members of the LGBT community and treat all religions equally. Read more…

The Right to Wear a Kippah in Israel: Why I’m on the ARZA Slate

I don’t remember the first time I skimmed my skull with a bobby pin and pushed a circle of knitted white cloth and strands of hair into its metal clasp. Wearing a kippah felt like a natural extension of the Jewish history I was learning and the Hebrew grammar and vocabulary that was quickly becoming the primary language through which I understood my surroundings. I was 15 years old, and I had chosen to study on Kibbutz Tzuba with Eisendrath International Exchange as a return to both my symbolic, spiritual home as diaspora Jew, and to my familial home, only miles away from the kibbutz where my father grew up and his parents and siblings still lived. I wanted to know, as I began to plan out my college career, if Israel would be my future home, if the army would be my intermediary step and if I would, perhaps, studying at Hebrew University  instead of an American university. Read more…

A Greek Orthodox priest talks to Israeli policewoman outside a seminary in Jerusalem.

IRAC and the URJ Stand Together Against Hateful Attacks in Israel

The Israel Religious Action Center has long brought our attention to the long, hard work that needs to be done to rid our Jewish homeland from violence, hate and discrimination. Unfortunately, IRAC was forced to remind us last week of just how much work there is to do. On Wednesday and Thursday, two religious buildings were torched, first a mosque in the West Bank town of K’fir Jab’a, then a Greek Orthodox Seminary in Jerusalem. Anat Hoffman, Executive Director of IRAC, discussed this in the IRAC newsletter, the Pluralist: Read more…

Unpacking PM Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to a joint session of Congress earlier today to oppose a nuclear deal with Iran. The speech has been controversial due to a breach of protocol that occurred when Speaker of the House John Boehner extended the invitation to speak without consulting President Obama. Many Members of Congress boycotted the speech, but many more came to hear what Prime Minister Netanyahu had to say.

Also in attendance was RAC Director Rabbi Jonah Pesner, who issued a statement in response to the speech,

“I was grateful to hear from Prime Minister Netanyahu. The issue of Iran’s nuclear capability is of critical concern to Americans, Israelis and people around the world. This morning, Prime Minister Netanyahu made his case before the U.S. Congress and the American people. In so doing, he also clearly and rightly made an effort to address and ameliorate the partisan tensions that surrounded the speech and detracted from the real issue, which is Iran. He acknowledged the long-standing commitment of President Obama to the concerns of Israel that so clearly coincide with our own nation’s security needs and values.”

There were many different reactions to the speech, from The New York Times editorial board finding PM Netanyahu’s reasoning “unconvincing”, to the American Jewish Committee calling on world powers to “heed Israel’s warnings.”

The rest of Rabbi Pesner’s statement can be found on our website, along with our other work combatting Iranian nuclear development issues.

Jewish Disability Awareness Month Logo February 2015

As JDAM Comes to a Close, Focusing on Israel

As we wrap up Jewish Disability Advocacy Month, we think also of people with disabilities in other countries. Worldwide, 650 million people live with disabilities, more than twice the population of the United States. In Israel, there are over a million children and adults of working age who live with disabilities, according to a report by the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute. About one out of every five Jewish Israelis lives with a disability, and about one of four Arab Israelis. Read more…

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