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Weekly News Items from the Israeli Press, May 12, 2011


JFNA in the Israeli Press

Think Again: Is Israel dividing American Jewry?

(JPost) Once, Israel served to unify the bickering factions of US Jewry; today, it is more often a source of heightened tensions.

NYC marks Birthright Israel Month

(Ynet News) Event attended by Mayor Bloomberg highlights 11 years of sending nearly 300,000 Jewish young adults to Israel on 10-day trips. New goal: Sending 51,000 participants annually by 2013.

Survey of Campus BDS Finds Few Serious Cases

(Forward) An Israeli diplomat issued a stark warning to a roomful of Jewish communal professionals at a major Jewish convention last fall. The campaign to impose boycotts, divestment and sanctions on Israel, he said, amounts to putting “a practical warhead on the tip of an ideological rocket”.



At last, a new deal on mechanism for converts to marry

(JPost) After a year in court, the agreement ensures converts can register for marriage just like other Israeli Jews.


Welfare and Social Issues

OECD: Economic gaps in Israel widening

(YNet News) Economic gaps in Israel are the widest among all developed countries, according to a new document released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which Israel was admitted into last year.

Social Worker Strike in Israel Brings to Fore Systemic Issues in Social Service Sector

(e-Jewish Philanthropy) The recent 23 day-long strike by social workers in Israel reflected not only their legitimate wage and work condition claims, but perhaps even more so, it bared a number of very serious underlying weaknesses in Israel’s social welfare system, as a result of a long running government policy of the privatization of services.

One in 3 Israelis at risk of injury needing hospitalization

(JPost) One in three Israelis will be hospitalized with injury at some time in his life. Of these, one in 29 will suffer a serious injury and one in 11 a road accident injury.

81%: Shoah survivors treated badly

(Ynet News) Majority of public believes Holocaust commemorated appropriately in Israel although State failing to maintain survivors' dignity, Ynet-Yesodot survey shows.

Report: Negev lags behind in medical services, doctors

(Haaretz) The number of hospital beds in the Negev is the lowest in Israel, the doctors are fewer and the shortage is expected to get worse over the coming years, according to a report prepared by the Center for Health Policy Research in the Negev at Ben Gurion University for 2009.

Women as silent, broken dolls

(Haaretz) A director sheds light on sexual abuse of women in Arab society

Israel, Thailand sign deal for foreign workers’ rights

(JPost) Thai agricultural workers will no longer be recruited by manpower agencies, but will instead be hired directly by employers, following a deal struck by the Israeli and Thai governments on Wednesday.

Most young Israelis would consider private school for kids

(JPost) Fifty-two percent of those under 35 support a state-run school voucher program in which the education budget would be allocated to parents, who would use it to pay for their children’s school.


Jewish Identity

Beyond “Religious” and “Secular”

(e-Jewish Philanthropy) What should be the place of the Jewish religion in a Jewish state? There are many putative answers to this question, and the answers have changed over time.


Ethiopian Community

Shattering a stigma

(Haaretz) Last month, an Ethiopian teen won Rotary's Young Speaker contest. Meet Yifat Semaline - math whiz and star debater defying stereotypes.


Israel Philanthropy

62% of donations come from abroad

(YNet News) "Philanthropy in Israel is still based on a lot of foreign funding and the relative increase in Israeli donations doesn't reflect the wealth is Israeli society," claims Professor Hillel Shmidt, a senior faculty member at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and director of the Center for the Study of Philanthropy.



From fruit to wafers: The history of Israeli exports

(Haaretz) Since the birth of the nation in 1948, exports have soared 13,400% from $6 million to $80.5 billion.


Yom HaZikaron 2011

183 names added this year to Remembrance Day rolls

(JPost) In the past year, 183 soldiers and security personnel died while serving the state. The figure includes the Prisons Service victims of the Carmel fire.

Identifying the unknown soldiers from Independence War

(Haaretz) The War of Independence in 1948 claimed thousands of soldiers' lives but some of the fallen have never been identified. More than 60 years on, families are still looking for closure.

A separation worth considering

(Haaretz) Proposal of bereaved families asks that Memorial Day fall one day earlier, with one ordinary day before Independence Day; Separating the days would make it possible to mark each national event with the attention they deserve.


Yom HaAtzmaut 2011

Israel's population hits 7.7 million on 63rd birthday

(JPost) In time for its 63rd Independence Day, statistics show that Israel's population has grown 2 percent since last year; 75 percent are Jews.

Gallery: Celebrating in the streets, Israeli style

(JPost) Celebrations break out throughout the country as the nation marks 63 years since the State of Israel's establishment.

The quality of independence

(YNet News) Op-ed: Chasm between our cultural history and present made us ignorant of our unique identity


Jewish World

ID cards to commemorate Shoah dead

(YNet News) New serial numbers to begin at 6,000,000 – number of Jews who perished in Holocaust – and include six Stars of David, representing six million victims

Only Jewish museum in Arab world

(YNet News) Museum of Moroccan Judaism of Casablanca assembles hodgepodge of objects – clothes, tools, jeweller's studio – attesting to rich history of country's 2,000-year-old Jewish community


Just for Fun

A Palestinian star is born

(JPost) The current season of ‘New Star,’ the Palestinian version of ‘American Idol,’ is proving to be a ratings hit. Behind the scenes is a rare mix of Palestinians, Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews.


Op-Eds from the Hebrew Press

Yisrael Hayom discusses US President Barack Obama's anticipated speech on US Middle East policy and reminds its readers that, "The Arab Middle East of May 2011 is very different from that which greeted the 44th President when he moved into the White House."  The author says that, "Against the background of the revolutionary wave hitting the area, what is necessary is a clear American message that will inspire the forces and elements that are hoping for reforms and democratization, but without accelerating dangerous anarchy and chaos in those friendly countries which are strategically important to the US (especially in the Persian Gulf area)."

Ma'ariv notes that the Environmental Protection Ministry is not providing any of the NIS 8.75 million in Government funds to promote the Dead Sea's candidacy as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature and contends that the promotional campaign, "is taking criticism from environmental organizations mainly because it runs parallel to the failure in the effort to save the Dead Sea."  The author asserts that, "While the state intends to present the Dead Sea as a global natural treasure, it has done everything to cause its deterioration."  The paper calls for the rehabilitation of the Jordan River and points out that sewage spills into the river less than a kilometer downstream from the Yardenit baptismal center that draws very many Christian tourists.

Yediot Ahronot refers to the upcoming "Nakba Day" and cautions that while Israel and the Palestinian Authority certainly have their reasons for wanting to maintain restraint, "The West Bank is liable to deteriorate into uncontrolled violence due to outside influences."  The author points out that in the PA, "local committees, which flout the central leadership, are calling on people to march on checkpoints and settlements and confront IDF forces," but notes that the IDF has reinforced units in the field and will show maximum restraint in an effort to avoid casualties.