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Weekly News Items from Israeli Press, April 14, 2011


Religious Pluralism

Demand: Appoint non-Orthodox IDF rabbi

(YNet) The Progressive Judaism and Masorti movements are demanding that the defense minister and Israel Defense Forces chief of staff appoint a Reform or Conservative military rabbi to provide religious services to non-Orthodox Jewish soldiers.

Shas rebel MK founds new movement

(YNet) Five months after his expulsion from Shas, Rebellious Knesset Member Rabbi Chaim Amsellem confirmed Wednesday that it was his intention to run for the 19th Knesset with his new movement – Am Shalem (Whole Nation.)



‘National religious rabbis have also annulled conversions'

(JPost) The dispute over the degree of leniency that Jewish law affords the conversion process is not one of halachic stringency, but one of nationalistic ideology, a prominent national religious educator said Monday.


Welfare and Social Issues

Child abuse on rise in J’lem’s Arab quarters, experts say

(JPost) Arab children living in east Jerusalem suffer more from abuse than their Jewish counterparts in the western part of the city, experts working in the sector said on Thursday.

Gov't sued over failure to build 6 child-protection centers

(JPost) The National Council for the Child petitions the High Court demanding explanation; says failure causes severe harm to victim minors.

Reconsider those with ‘Up syndrome’

(JPost) People with Down syndrome have something extra. It is not only the extra 21st chromosome that causes all the physical, developmental and cognitive problems – but the extra soul, delightfulness and gentleness that they seem to have at any age. Those who have seen Down syndrome children at play or adults volunteering in the Israel Defense Forces, working with children or in a service profession knows they are especially giving and undemanding.

Elem annual report shows sharp increase in teen drug abuse

(JPost) There has been a sharp increase in teenage drug use and abuse, with the age of those taking drugs for the first time falling dramatically, according to a report published Tuesday by the nonprofit organization Elem, which helps youth at risk through a variety of outreach programs

Israel's hospital tragedy

(YNet) Some will refer to it as a post-traumatic state. I will never forget the night I stayed with the young resident-on-duty at the hospital. Only four months into his residency and a moment after completing his internship, he remained in charge of a ward holding 40 patients (and that's before admitting more patients from the emergency room overnight).



Assuta wins state tender to build Ashdod hospital

(JPost) For the first time since the establishment of the state, a private institution has won a state tender to plan, finance, build and run a public hospital.

Boulders in Be'er Sheva

(Haaretz) A group of soldiers huddled around a campfire. A bunch of sharpened stones placed on the sandy ground, with the desert sun beating down. These were the two guiding images for architects Etan Kimmel and Michal Kimmel-Eshkolot, partners inside and outside the office, as they designed Be'er Sheva's recently inaugurated Beit Halochem.

Hitching Tel Hai students protest paucity of public transport in north

(Haaretz) Students at Tel Hai Academic College near Kiryat Shmona yesterday protested the lack of public transportation to their school by flying kites, which they said were symbolic of promises by the Transportation Ministry that were "up in the air."


Aliya and Immigration

One in five new olim won’t be attending Seder

(JPost) Nearly one of every five new olim will not be attending a Pessah Seder next Monday night, and almost two-thirds of the Israelis holding the ceremonial meal do so primarily on the grounds of family values, Jewish culture or tradition, a new survey released on Sunday revealed.

Holon Seder for 1,300 Ethiopian olim shoots for record

(JPost) The Immigrant Absorption Ministry will try to set a Guinness World Record on Monday night by organizing – together with charity Aviv Hatorah – the world’s largest Pessah Seder for some 1,300 recently arrived Ethiopian immigrants living in Tel Aviv.

Arab-Israeli co-existence

School of hard knocks

(JPost) It’s a Sunday morning at Beersheba’s Hagar School, and the second-grade children are actively engaged in a math lesson. They sit around small clusters of tables and work in pairs or seek out the help of the teacher for the task at hand.


Sa'ar hails 2.2% rise in bagrut pass rate

(Haaretz) The percentage of 17-year-olds who passed their matriculation exams rose by 2.2 percent last year to 48.3 percent, according to preliminary figures released yesterday by the Education Ministry.

Israel's plan for next year's school curriculum: Reinforcing Jewish and Zionist values

(Haaretz) The Education Ministry's plan for the coming school year does not include civics, democratic values or Jewish-Arab coexistence, according to copies circulated among principals.


Israel Advocacy/Relations

All gone to look for America – Part I

(JPost) Why were 6 Knesset members sent to the US last week to learn about the America-Jewish community and how it feels about Israel?

What did Israeli lawmakers learn about the U.S. Jewish community?

(Haaretz) The relationship between Israel and Jewish communities in the Diaspora has been complicated for many decades.

Knesset caucus to focus on relations with American Jews

(JPost) We should learn from US tolerance, MK Ben-Simon says; caucus is a result of project connecting Israeli politicians with US community leaders.

One heart, one mind

(JPost) Under normal circumstances, Terry Hardy, 18, of Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Noy Ilan, 17, of Rishon Lezion would have never met and would have never had anything in common.

Op-Eds and Opinion Pieces from the Israel Press

Ma'ariv professes that, "Theoretically, you have to be a real whiner in order not to join the celebrations of praise and tribute to Iron Dome.  The system's high accuracy level in recent days most likely prevented casualties on Israel's home front, and particularly saved an uncontrolled deterioration towards 'Operation Cast Lead II'".  But the author counters: "Despite all that, what exactly are we celebrating?  Take a step back and try to contemplate what really happened here: After surrounding itself with a fence to the east in order to prevent attacks, Israel has covered itself with an aerial dome in the south."  He concludes that, "The two defense systems reveal a tragic reality.  In little more than a decade, Israel has surrounded itself with walls of defense and despair."

Yediot Ahronot asserts that, "In the absence of bribery the Liberman affair is serious, but seems like something which he will survive; the Netanyahu government will, in the meantime, hold on and the political system will digest it."

Yisrael Hayom notes that "The exodus from Egypt, the memory of which we relive around the Passover table, symbolizes much more than just the salvation from servitude.  It was the point when the Hebrews became a nation."