Thursday, September 16th 2021   |

Israel

Hundreds of pilgrims to Uman suspected of forging negative COVID tests

By SHIRA HANAU

(JTA) — Hundreds of Israelis who traveled to Ukraine for an annual Rosh Hashanah pilgrimage to the grave of a Hasidic rabbi are suspected of using forged negative COVID tests to return to Israel after testing positive for the virus.

Tens of thousands of Israelis travel to Uman, Ukraine each year in a pilgrimage to the grave of Rabbi Nachman, the leader of the Breslov branch of...

Apartment building collapses in Israel one day after being evacuated

By SHIRA HANAU

(JTA) — An apartment building in Israel collapsed Sunday, destroying the homes of some 36 families but leaving no casualties.

The building collapse, coming just a few months after the collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida killing 98 people, might have become a similarly horrific tragedy had the building not been evacuated the day before.

Residents of the building said they heard a loud...

6 Palestinian terrorists use crawl space to escape maximum-security Israeli prison

By CNAAN LIPHSHIZ

(JTA) — Six Palestinian men who were imprisoned in Israel on terrorism charges escaped from their high-security jail, apparently through a crawl space.

Five Islamic Jihad militants and a Fatah operative — Zakaria Zubeidi, one of the best-known Palestinians convicted in Israel for terrorism — are the subject of a massive manhunt that began early Friday, hours after their escape was discovered. They are considered dangerous with...

World Jewish population rises slightly to 15.2 million

By CNAAN LIPHSHIZ

(JTA) — The world population of those who self-identify as Jews stands at about 15.2 million — an increase of 100,000 over last year — with the number in the U.S. differing measurably from this year’s Pew survey.

Israel has 6.9 million Jews and the United States has “about 6 million,” according to the estimate by the Jewish Agency for Israel based on work by Sergio Della...

Israeli Supreme Court rules that Jews of Morocco are ineligible for Holocaust compensation

By ASAF SHALEV

(JTA) — Israel’s Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit seeking to recognize Jews who suffered under Vichy race laws in Morocco as Holocaust victims entitled to state compensation payments on Thursday, according to a report in Haaretz.

A panel of three justices refused to hear the case, upholding a lower court’s ruling that the discrimination against Jews enacted in Morocco during World War II by Nazi-aligned Vichy France...

IDF launches retaliatory strike on Hamas targets in Gaza Strip after arson attacks, border riots

– The Israel Defense Forces conducted airstrikes against Hamas targets early on Sunday in response to incendiary balloon attacks and violent riots along the Gaza fence.

Fighter jets attacked a Hamas military compound used for training and the production of weapons, and a tunnel near the Jabalya, just north of Gaza City, the IDF reported.

The border riots began at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, Channel 12 reported, with rioters burning...

Israel’s Chief Rabbinate calls on Pope Francis to clarify comments on Torah and Jewish law

By ASAV SHALEV

(JTA) — Israel’s Chief Rabbinate has asked Pope Francis to retract a recent comment about Jewish law that it said might lead Catholic listeners to “derogatory conclusions” about Jews. 

Rabbi Ratzon Arusi, chair of the Chief Rabbinate’s Commission for Interreligious Affairs, sent a letter to the Vatican expressing concerns about an Aug. 11 lecture there on God giving the Torah to the Jews, Reuters reported

Yair Lapid says the Holocaust ‘defined’ him. That’s adding fuel to the fire in Israel-Poland relations.

By CNAAN LIPHSHIZ

(JTA) — Israeli leaders rarely criticize a law passed by an ally government as outright “anti-Semitic.”

But that’s what Foreign Minister Yair Lapid did on Aug. 14 in response to a newly passed law in Poland that indirectly makes it impossible for Jews and others to sue for property stolen from their families in World War II.

“Poland today approved — not for the first time — an...

Naftali Bennett: Israel will neither annex territory nor establish a Palestinian state while I am prime minister

By RON KAMPEAS

(JTA) — Ahead of his first meeting as prime minister with President Joe Biden, Naftali Bennett of Israel said he would neither annex West Bank territory nor allow it to become a Palestinian state.

Bennett told The New York Times in an interview published Tuesday — two days before his arrival in Washington — that the left-to-right composition of his coalition government meant that drastic diplomatic moves in either...

An Israeli cabinet member was criticized for traveling abroad during a COVID surge. Then she introduced her new baby.

By BEN SALES

(JTA) — It sounded like a story heard time and again: A government official criticizes her rivals for breaking COVID restrictions — and then is caught breaking them herself.

That is what seemed to happen Friday night, when an Israeli reporter tweeted that Israel’s Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli had traveled to the United States, contrary to government recommendations.

Journalists and politicians called out Michaeli’s apparent hypocrisy as...