Monday, March 8th 2021   |

Israel

ICC opens war-crimes probe; Netanyahu blasts it as ‘anti-Semitic,’ ‘hypocritical’

By SEAN SAVAGE

– The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in the Hague announced on Wednesday her intention to open an investigation into war crimes allegedly committed by Israelis and Palestinians since 2014.

The announcement was strongly denounced by Israel, but welcomed by the Palestinian Authority, which had requested the probe. It comes less than a month after the ICC ruled that it had jurisdiction to...

Israel’s plan to deliver vaccines to Palestinians and allies is on hold

(JTA) — Israel’s plans to begin supplying the Palestinians with some of its surplus COVID-19 vaccine supply have been put on hold.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit froze the vaccine transfer over calls from lawmakers that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had skipped over mandated legal steps to issue the decision.

After facing international pressure to aid the Palestinians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had proudly declared on Tuesday that “it has been...

Kentucky becomes first US state to adopt IHRA anti-Semitism definition

(JTA) — For the first time, a U.S. state has officially adopted a definition of anti-Semitism that has ignited debates worldwide over the extent to which criticism of Israel should be considered anti-Semitic.

Lawmakers in Kentucky voted to adopt the definition developed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Association, known as IHRA, on Wednesday as part of a broad resolution aimed at condemning anti-Semitism.

The hearing and vote, which was unanimous,...

What Jewish comedians made of Michael Che’s Israel Joke

(JTA) — It’s almost Purim, which means I am busy writing jokes that poke fun at the stuff we do and obsess about as Jews without offending too many people. Not always easy, and that’s when I am writing for an audience that I know extremely well.

Now imagine writing Jewish jokes outside the bubble. “Saturday Night Live” found out the hard way after a joke about Israel went viral for...

Netanyahu calls Pelosi to discuss Israel’s COVID response as some Democrats offer criticism

By RON KAMPEAS

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Nancy Pelosi, the U.S. House of Representatives speaker, spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about Israel’s COVID-19 response at a time that Israel is under pressure to extend its vaccination program to Palestinians in the West Bank.

“Today, I spoke with [the Israeli prime minister] to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between our nations and Congress’s unwavering support for a safe and secure Israel,”...

Israel delivers thousands of vaccines to Palestinians after facing international pressure

(JTA) — Israel has delivered thousands of coronavirus vaccines to the Palestinian Authority, the Czech Republic, Guatemala, and Honduras, joining a number of other countries that are successfully vaccinating their populations and are now assisting others with their surpluses.

Israel had come under criticism for not extending its successful vaccine program to Palestinians in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Israeli officials have said that under prior agreements and international...

Both the AJC, ZOA want ‘Saturday Night Live’ to apologize for vaccine joke

(JTA) — The American Jewish Committee (AJC) is circulating a petition asking “Saturday Night Live” to apologize for a joke that suggested Israel is vaccinating only its Jewish population. Late Sunday, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) also issued a demand for an apology and went so far as to ask that the writer of the joke be terminated.

“Israel is reporting that they’ve vaccinated half of their population, and...

Shlomo Hillel, who spearheaded mass aliya of Iraqi Jews, dies at 97

(JTA) — Shlomo Hillel’s life spanned the length and breadth of Israel’s immigrant story and he played a critical role in many of its chapters.

Hillel, who died Feb. 8 at 97, helped smuggle Iraqi Jewish immigrants into pre-state British Mandate Palestine and then brought more in in the state’s first years. His family fled Iraq’s horrors and he married a woman fleeing Europe’s horrors. His son married an Ethiopian...

Suspected oil spill may be worst in Israel’s history

(JTA) — Israel closed its Mediterannean beaches to deal with what its officials say may be the worst oil spill in the country’s history.

The Israel Nature and Parks Authority on Sunday called the suspected spill one of the “greatest ecological disasters to afflict Israel since the founding of the state.” It said that 170 out of 190 kilometers of coastline, or 105 out of 118 miles, have been affected...

Netanyahu: Equatorial Guinea plans to move embassy to Jerusalem

(JTA) — Equatorial Guinea is the latest country that plans to move its embassy to Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

The pledge came in a conversation Friday with the oil-rich African nation’s president, Teodoro Mbasogo, Netanyahu’s office said.

Netanyahu has throughout his 11 years in continuous leadership pressed for greater Israeli engagement with Africa. Netanyahu “noted that Israel is continuing to deepen its cooperation with African countries and...