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Weekly News Items from the Israeli Press, April 21, 2011


JFNA in the Israeli Press

Florida rep. brings Jewish identity to top role
WASHINGTON  – Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s first day as a sophomore in the US House of Representatives, on January 8, 2007, was marked by a number of extraordinary achievements for a woman barely out of her first term.

Empowering next generation of Jews
(YNet) Some 500 exceptional young adults participated recently in Building Future Leadership, Masa Israel Journey’s intensive, week-long leadership program in Israel.

Religious Pluralism

Reform Jewish synagogue vandalized in Ra'anana for 3rd time
(JPost) The Kehilat Ra’anan synagogue in Ra’anana was vandalized overnight Wednesday, when unknown persons shattered six windows – covering two sides of the synagogue – with stones, and spray-painted a black Star of David below the words “It has begun” on one of the exterior walls.

A limited mazal tov
(JPost) Svetlana Sadigursky and Gabby Liebeschitz deserve a hearty mazal tov because their marriage last week marks a significant milestone.

'Public not ready for religious IDF chief'
(YNet) Pictures of all former Israel Defense Forces deputy chief of staffs hang on the wall of Major-General Yair Naveh's office. Among them you'll find Yitzhak Rabin, Ehud Barak, Shaul Mofaz and others. Most of them went on to become the IDF chief.

Welfare and Social Issues

No country for refugees
(Haaretz) Kidane and Tesfay, 25 and 26, respectively, who fled from Eritrea, are very concerned about their image in the Israeli media. They regularly surf the websites of The Jerusalem Post and Ynet (in its English-language version ) and avidly peruse readers' comments on the sites.

Top billing? No thanks
(Haaretz) There's nothing more serious or legitimate than the demand that our country's Sephardi or Mizrahi communities be represented in the portraits featured on banknotes.

NGO slams policy putting Ethiopian olim in specific areas
(JPost) An Ethiopian immigrants’ rights group has been working to change an Immigrant Absorption Ministry policy that it claims forces new olim to purchase property in limited neighborhoods – some in very poor or troubled areas – to receive a government housing grant and mortgage package.

US: Israel is not properly ensuring refugee rights
(JPost) The 2010 Annual Report on Human Rights states that Israel “has not enacted legislation implementing the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol.”


Government to foster arts and culture in periphery
(Jpost) Increasing the number of cultural offerings in the periphery will encourage Israelis to live outside of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem – and improve the local quality of life in towns outside of the center of the country, Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat (Likud) said last week, upon unveiling a new program being launched by the ministry.

Aliya and Immigration

Ethiopian immigrants set to celebrate their first Seder
(Jpost) Gearing up to spend their first-ever Pessah in the Land of Israel, some 100 recently arrived Ethiopian immigrants gathered at the Jewish Agency-run absorption center in Mevaseret Zion, west of Jerusalem, on Thursday for a “mock” Seder to learn and understand some of the religious and cultural traditions of the festival of freedom.


Israeli economy grows 7.8% in Q4
(YNet) The Israeli economy grew by 7.8% in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to figures released Sunday by the Central Bureau of Statistics.

Jewish World

Ice, fire, and the search for the middle path
(JPost) The Jerusalem Talmud (Hagigah 2:1) teaches that the way of Torah is a narrow path. On the right is fire and on the left is icy snow. If one veers from the path, one risks being destroyed.

‘Free men behind bars’
(JPost) Pessah Seders in the nation’s prisons are a “respectable, festive holiday meal in every way,” though with some notable exceptions, according to Prisons Service Chief Rabbi Yekutiel Yehuda Visner.

After the quake: Pessah in Tokyo
(Jpost) Recovery is still a rarely-talked about concept in Japan, but with Pessah approaching, members of the devastated nation’s small Jewish community are making plans to celebrate the holiday’s signature Seder meals in Tokyo.

$2M help needy Jews mark Passover
(YNet) The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), headed by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, has provided $2 million to help as many as 200,000 needy Jewish people throughout Israel and the former Soviet Union receive packages of food for their Passover celebrations.