Friday, July 30th 2021   |


U.S. scrambles as prisoner release, Jewish state issues threaten to sink talks


WASHINGTON (JTA) – The Obama administration is scrambling to salvage Israeli-Palestinian talks threatened by disputes over core identity issues for each side: recognition of the state’s Jewish character for Israel, the release of prisoners for the Palestinians.

Martin Indyk, the peace process envoy for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, is in Israel and the West Bank this week attempting to salvage the talks ahead of Saturday’s...

White House ‘disappointed’ by Saudi denial to Jerusalem Post scribe

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The White House said it was “deeply disappointed” that Saudi Arabia denied a visa to a Jewish American reporter working for The Jerusalem Post.

Michael Wilner, the Israeli newspaper’s Washington bureau chief, planned to cover President Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia this week.

“We are deeply disappointed that this credible journalist was denied a visa,” Bernadette Meehan, the spokeswoman for the National Security Council, told JTA in...

New Ritz bacon-flavored crackers may taste treif, but they’re kosher


NEW YORK (JTA) — Ritz has a new bacon-flavored cracker hitting shelves — with kosher certification.

The signature O.U.-Dairy symbol appears on the box of the Nabisco nosh.

“There was much discussion over the decision about this product,” acknowledged Rabbi Moshe Elefant, COO of the Orthodox Union Kashrut Department. “The reality is there’s nothing close to bacon in this product. There are artificial bacon flavorings that give...

Jewish groups slam latest Khameini Holocaust denial

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Jewish leaders condemned Ayatollah Ali Khameini, Iran’s supreme leader, for again questioning the Holocaust.

“#Holocaust is an event whose reality is uncertain and if it has happened, it’s uncertain how it has happened” was posted last Friday to a Twitter account,, believed to reflect Khameini’s policies.

“Once again, the injection of Holocaust denial by an Iranian leader shows the world how such deep-seated hatred exists at...

USC Shoah Foundation to honor Obama

(JTA) — The USC Shoah Foundation will recognize President Obama with its highest honor.

Film producer Steven Spielberg, the institute’s founder and a trustee at the University of Southern California, will present Obama with the Ambassador for Humanity Award “for his global efforts to protect human rights, his commitment to education and expanding educational technology, and his work advancing opportunities for all people,” the foundation announced last Friday in a...

Obama administration not appeased by Yaalon clarification

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A statement from Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon clarifying his attack on U.S. foreign policy did not appease the Obama administration.

“We are disappointed with the lack of an apology from Defense Minister Yaalon’s comments,” Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, said last Friday. “His comments, as we’ve stated a couple times, don’t reflect the true nature of our relationship with Israel.”

Psaki’s remarks to reporters came...

Madoff says his scheme was not betrayal of the Jews

(JTA) – Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff said in a prison interview that he does not feel he “betrayed the Jews.”

Madoff, 70, is serving a 150-year sentence at the medium-security federal prison in Butner, N.C., for a scheme believed to be the largest of its kind in U.S. history — one that affected a disproportionate number of Jewish individuals and organizations.

“Religion had nothing to do with it,” Madoff told...

Hillel concerned over Harvard students trek to Arafat’s grave

( Hillel International responded to growing criticism over a visit by Harvard University students on a Hillel-sponsored tour of Israel to former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s grave near Ramallah.

Blogger Daniel Mael first revealed the visit to Arafat’s grave by the Harvard students as part of the “Harvard College Israel Trek 2014” on According to the trip’s website, the program “aims to engage a diverse cohort of undergraduate student...

Boca Raton Chabad Center vandalized

(JTA) — The Chabad Jewish Center in Boca Raton, Fla., was vandalized a day after an article in a local newspaper announced the center’s expansion plans.

A cement marker with a sign indicating the rabbi’s parking space was torn from its place and thrown through a glass door of the Jewish center sometime Monday night, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

Boca Raton police are investigating the incident, which was discovered Tuesday morning,...

Robert Strauss, Democratic kingmaker and politician, dies at 95

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Robert Strauss, the son of small-town Texas shopkeepers who became an adviser to presidents of both parties, has died.

Strauss, 95, died Wednesday, according to Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, the energy law firm he helped found in 1945 and which pioneered powerhouse lobbying after its 1971 move to Washington.

Strauss, whose parents ran a general store in Stamford, Texas, north of Abilene, forged his first...