Weekly News Items from the Israeli Press, December 29, 2011**JFNA Israel & Overseas is now on Facebook. Come and like our page here to hear news directly from Israel. We'll be posting updates, articles and a range of interesting features.**
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(Ynet) Some 17,000 young adults from 32 countries to experience Israel over next few months
(Haaretz) Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute study shows that most children of former Soviet immigrants consider themselves 'fully Israeli', while only 13% of Ethiopian teenagers feel the same.
(Haaretz) U.S. billionaire tells group of Jewish youth on Israel birthright tour that many Palestinians also agree with U.S. presidential hopeful's controversial remarks.
Welfare and Social Issues
(Israel National News) Southern Israeli parents and children returned from Chanukah vacation to their daily routine of school, work -- and racing from rockets.
(Ynet) They're lonelier, sadder and suffer from more chronic diseases than fellow Europeans. Israel's elderly citizens are much less satisfied with life, survey shows
(Haaretz) Ultra-Orthodox clashed with police officers, calling them Nazis over course of Monday; at least six were arrested or detained for questioning.
(Jpost) "This is not only a fight for Beit Shemesh, it’s a fight for everyone in Israel," says demonstrator.
Religious Pluralism in Israel
(Jpost) It seems that the media’s priority is to be hostile to, and to create hostility towards, the national religious community.
(Haaretz) A new program seeks to combine preparation the police force with religious studies, and encourages young religious Zionists to strive toward key positions in the force.
(Ynet) Foreign, local pilgrims visit biblical town on eve of traditional mass; Mayor Victor Batarseh expresses hope that near future will bring Palestinian state
(Israel 21C) Every Hannukah, Israelis stop counting calories long enough to buy about 24 million mouth-watering, sweet and gooey, deep-fried sufganiyot.
(Ynet) Bill proposing amendments to Marriage Law passes Knesset vote despite religious parties' objection
(Israel National News) Zichron Menachem, the Israeli Association for the Support of Children with Cancer, marks the end of its National Hair Drive.
(Haaretz) Protest comes against the backdrop of an effort by the university's security department to enlist the help of faculty members to identify students who appeared on a YouTube video.
(The Marker) October unemployment in 2010 stood at 6.5% of the civilian workforce, while in October 2009, it was 7.5%.
(Israel Hayom) Major Israeli cities rank 32nd and 29th in the world on ECA International 2011 ranking
(Haaretz) The Environmental Protection Ministry presented its program a few weeks ago, but the Finance Ministry said it opposes approving the program at this time and has not found money for it.
(Haaretz) 'Data will reach all the Authority's computers in real time, thus enabling us to send more inspectors and guides to overcrowded sites,' says Nature and Parks Authority.
Op-Eds and Opinion Pieces from the Israel Press
Yediot Ahronot strongly criticizes reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering the division of Beit Shemesh into two separate cities and believes that, "Dividing Beit Shemesh would legitimize racist behavior, belligerence, violence, and those who demand that women cover themselves in burkas, push them to the back of the bus and encourage their exclusion."
Yisrael Hayom discusses yesterday's protest in Beit Shemesh against religious coercion and the exclusion of women by extreme ultra-orthodox elements and notes that among the speakers were women MKs from across the Israeli political spectrum: "It was a united expression by the worthy side of Israeli society, almost an expression of consensus." The author notes that, "Thousands went to Beit Shemesh last night, and many did not arrive. The protest is far from its peak. The [extreme ultra-orthodox elements] do not know what will be the force of the collision at its height. It is best if such will not be necessary. But if, heaven forbid, there will be no alternative – then 'yes, break them.'"