Monday, August 10th 2020   |


Israel’ s chief rabbi is arrested and the country shrugs


TEL AVIV (JTA) — Rabbi Shmuel Pappenheim of the haredi Orthodox organization Eda Haharedit shares little common ground with Reform Rabbi Uri Regev, a religious pluralism activist.

But when news broke last week that Israel’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi, Yona Metzger, was arrested on suspicion of fraud and money laundering, Pappenheim and Regev had the same reaction: Who cares?

For Pappenheim, the chief rabbi is a political figure...

Two Palestinians executed for allegedly spying for Israel

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Two Palestinian men convicted of spying for Israel were executed by Hamas authorities in Gaza.

The men were hanged on Saturday after being found guilty of “collaboration with the Israeli occupation.”

In a statement, the Hamas Interior Ministry in Gaza said the men were executed “in accordance with our religion and Palestinian law,” according to The Jerusalem Post.

They were accused of passing information to Israel that...

Western Wall security guard had clashed with man he shot

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The security guard who fatally shot an Israeli homeless man at the Western Wall plaza is under investigation for murder.

The guard, a Druze who had been on the job for a short time, reportedly had clashed previously with Doron Ben Shlush. He was arrested after the incident on Friday morning and ordered held for five days. His name is under a gag order.

A police investigation...

Rabbi Metzger suspends himself from some duties during probe

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi, Yona Metzger, has suspended himself from some of his duties following his arrest on corruption charges.

Metzger said Sunday that he will suspend himself from the presidency of the  Chief Rabbinate Council and will not attend its meetings, as well as his position as a Rabbinical High Court judge.

The suspensions are for the duration of the investigation, he said in his announcement...

Peres lauded in star-studded ceremony

JERUSALEM (JTA) — World leaders praised and serenaded Israeli President Shimon Peres in honor of his upcoming 90th birthday.

The prime-time birthday celebration Tuesday night marked the start of the fifth annual Israeli Presidential Conference. Two of every three Israeli television viewers tuned in to the ceremony, which was broadcast on four Israeli television networks, according to Globes.

Peres was serenaded by Barbra Steisand with the traditional “Avinu Malkeinu” and...

Bill Clinton visits Western Wall, expresses admiration for Jerusalem’s history

( Former U.S. President Bill Clinton visited the Western Wall on Tuesday, calling the visit “an amazing visit to a place that opens one’s eyes,” the Jerusalem Post reported.

Clinton also toured the Western Wall tunnels and expressed admiration for Jerusalem’s long history.

“I really love this place,” Clinton said, the Jerusalem Post reported. “Here we see life in Jerusalem at different times. Here there are layers of different periods,...

Israel apprehends PA security officers who allegedly killed cabinet minister’s nephew

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to The Israel Defense Forces apprehended three Palestinian Authority security officers who allegedly killed an Israeli near Nablus in 2011, Israeli officials said on Wednesday. The arrests, which were made in May but embargoed until Tuesday, were carried out with the help of the Shin Bet security agency.

Ben-Yosef Livnat, an Israeli from the Samaria community of Elon Moreh and the nephew of Culture and Sport Minister...

Tel Aviv joins Honolulu, Rio among top 10 beach spots

(JTA) — Tel Aviv was named one of the world’s top 10 beach cities by National Geographic.

“Call it Miami Beach on the Med. Tel Aviv is the Dionysian counterpart to religious Jerusalem,” the magazine wrote in describing Tel Aviv. ” In the ‘bubble,’ as it’s known for its inhabitants’ tendency to tune out regional skirmishes, some restaurants, discos, and clubs are open until dawn.

“By day, the scene shifts...

RCA backs Stav in dispute with Yosef

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Rabbinical Council of America offered its support to Israeli chief rabbi candidate David Stav after he was harassed at a wedding and labeled “a wicked man” by Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

In its letter backing Stav, the head of the Tzohar organization in Israel for Modern Orthodox rabbis, the RCA wrote in Hebrew that it appreciates what Stav has done “for the good of...

Uri Geller was CIA spy, documentary alleges

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israeli magician and psychic Uri Geller worked as a CIA spy, according to a new documentary. “The Secret Life of Uri Geller-Psychic Spy,” by Vikram Jayanti, says Geller used his powers against Russia, including erasing Soviet floppy discs and changing the mind of an unnamed Russian leader in order to convince him to sign a nuclear arms reduction treaty, The Independent reported.

Geller admits in the...