Yesh Atid, Jewish Home and Kadima parties form bloc

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Yesh Atid, Jewish Home and Kadima parties have formed a bloc and say they will enter Israel’s government coalition only if their demands are met.

The bloc of 33 Knesset members is two seats larger than the Likud-Beiteinu bloc led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who...
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State of Ohio purchases record $42 million in Israel bonds

(JTA) — Ohio has bought $42 million in Israel Bonds, reportedly the largest single government purchase of Israel Bonds in U.S. history. The March 1 purchase increases the total amount of Israel Bonds in the state’s treasury portfolio to more than $80 million; the Cleveland Jewish News reported it as...
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Obama to Jews: Peace essential, but prospects bleak


WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama believes prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace are “bleak,” but he still will urge both sides to avoid unilateral actions that might further damage a process he hopes will be back on track within a year.

That was the message Obama delivered Thursday in...
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Hebrew language Playboy magazine debuts

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The first Hebrew-language edition of Playboy magazine was launched in Tel Aviv. Playboy founder Hugh Hefner offered a recorded message at Tuesday’s launching, The Jerusalem Post reported.

“I’m proud to see Playboy Israel embark on its mission to play an important role in strengthening freedom of speech,...
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Pollard clemency petition reaches 103,000 signatures

JERUSALEM (JTA) — More than 103,000 people have signed a petition calling on President Obama to free imprisoned spy for Israel Jonathan Pollard.

The petition, which appears in Hebrew and English, was placed online Feb. 11 and will be hand delivered to Obama during his visit to Israel later this...
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Congress introduces bill to make Israel ‘major strategic ally’

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A Republican and a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced legislation that would make Israel a “major strategic ally,” a unique designation.

The bill, introduced Monday by Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Ted Deutch (D-FL), was timed for the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee...
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Rabbi Menachem Froman, West Bank religious leader, dies of cancer

(JTA) — Rabbi Menachem Froman, founder of the Modern Orthodox West Bank settlers movement Gush Emunim, has died.

Froman, the chief rabbi of southern Jerusalem’s Tekoa community, died Monday following a battle with cancer. He was 68.

Froman was unique in the West Bank for facilitating peace initiatives with Palestinian...
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Netanyahu pledges to ask Obama for Pollard clemency

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to ask President Obama to grant clemency to Jonathan Pollard while Obama was in Israel.

Netanyahu met Monday with Pollard’s wife, Esther, in advance of Obama’s visit scheduled for later this month.

“The time has long since come for Jonathan to...
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Assad threatens to retaliate against Israel as shells fall on Golan

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Syrian President Bashar Assad said his country would retaliate against Israel for a January airstrike on a weapons facility near Damascus. Assad made the remarks on Sunday, a day after mortar shells fired from Syria landed on the Golan Heights. The shells reportedly were fired into Israeli...
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Barak to be first foreign minister to meet with Hagel

(JTA) — Israel’s Ehud Barak will be the first foreign defense minister to meet with new U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. Barak and Hagel will meet Tuesday at the Pentagon, Reuters reported, citing an unnamed U.S. official.

The meeting will take place following Barak’s speech on the last day of...
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