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Israel & Overseas E-Letter AUGUST 2012

A Message from Rebecca Caspi, Senior Vice President, Israel and Overseas

Dear Friend,

This past month we have watched as the social protest movement which was such a dominant feature in last summer’s Israeli landscape has tried to launch for a second year.  So far, this effort has met with questionable success and has spawned a particularly worrying trend – ten people have set themselves on fire – and tragically two have died. The Tal Law which governed issues relating to ultra-Orthodox service in the military expired at midnight on July 31 amid fierce public debate and frenzied political maneuvering.  


Progress is being made developing employment solutions for these communities. The American Joint Distribution Committee runs a network of employment centers for Haredim, boosting their economic opportunities. In other recent news, Israeli tourists fell victim to a horrific terror attack in Bulgaria.  Once again, Federations were able to respond immediately by activating the Fund for the Victims of Terror operated by our historic partner, the Jewish Agency for Israel.


Here in Israel, each of these issues and many more are being discussed far beyond the Knesset – just grab a cappuccino at a café, stop in the neighborhood grocery store, or even sit on a park bench on Shabbat afternoon, and I’m convinced you’ll hear animated conversations all around you.  Recent tax hikes imposed by the Government to ensure the continued health of Israel’s national economy are certainly adding to the debate!


Developments around Israel’s wider neighborhood continue to gather growing mindshare – with the unraveling of Assad’s government in Syria; lawlessness and terror in Sinai; and the ongoing saber rattling further east in Iran.  And yet, Israel saw record tourism last month with some 700,000 visitors spending time in the country.  We’ve had the pleasure of welcoming loads of visitors too and our offices in the heart of downtown Jerusalem are a real hub of federation activity.


Wherever you are, whatever your summer plans, we wish you all the best,

Becky Caspi

News Features

We Will Be Friends

Cleveland Federation Youth Ability mission visits Beit Shean view more >> 

Soul Searching and Strategy Building

JFNA's Lee Perlman examines Jewish Identity in Israel view more>> 

Independently Powerful

Otzma XXVI Group graduates after a year of service view more >> 

How Long Do You Need to Work

A closer look at the Israel economy and social protests view more >>

Fusion Energy

The Negev Funding Coalition's work in the South of Israel view more >>

Recent Israel-related Leadership Briefings and Israel Media Pieces

view more>>


Save the Date! Join us for these special Israel and Overseas Events at the 2012 GA in Baltimore:

  • Sunday, Nov 11, 10:30a.m.-1p.m., Israel and Overseas Institute
  • Tuesday, Nov 13, 7.30-9a.m. Israeli Breakfast (by invitation only)


Online version of this e-mail

The Jewish Federations of North America
Israel Office
1 Ibn Gvirol Street, PO Box 7171
Jerusalem 91071, Israel