HISTORY Settled in 9500, B.C. the Arab city of Jericho is one of the oldest human settlements. People farmed crops and kept animals. There is little documentation on the earliest inhabitants of modern Israel.

Throughout history many powers have ruled the area, including the Egyptians, Persians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, and Islamic leaders. Fighting continues today in the region.

Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, is considered a holy city by Muslims, Jews, and Christians alike. This city is the historical hub of all three religions and faithful followers of each religion have fought over it. Jews believe the Messiah will one day appear here, Muslims believe that Muhammad ascended to heaven from here, and Christians believe this is where Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

After the Nazi takeover of many countries in Europe, the Jews who were able to leave needed a new home. Many went to Israel. The State of Israel was created after Israel fought six wars with its Arab neighbors and the British left Palestine in 1948.

In 1967, after the Six Day War, Israel took control of Arab areas of Palestine which included the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Sinai, and the Golan Heights. The areas became known as the Occupied Territories. To secure peace, Israel in 1982 ended its occupation of the Sinai Peninsula and returned the land to Egypt.

Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981 after capturing it in 1967Syria still claims this territory.

A Palestinian rebellion, called an intifada, began in 1987 and took hundreds of lives before negotiations resulted in a 1993 accord that granted Palestinian self-rule in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank city of Jericho.

The Israeli military withdrew from all West Bank cities by 1997and also left southern Lebanon in 2000. After peace talks failed another intifada started in September 2000, and most of the West Bank was reoccupied by 2002.

See the article here:
Israel – National Geographic Kids

Written on November 5th, 2015 & filed under Israel Tags:

Game changer: Israeli officials believe the Golan Heights discovery could supply the Jewish State’s oil needs for centuries. (File photo)

HAIFA, Israel After Israel complained for years that it was surrounded by oil-rich states but didnt have a drop within its own borders, it appears theres a big-time turnaround with the announcement Wednesday that massive oil reserves have been located in the Golan Heights,close to the countrys border with Syria.

Afek Oil and Gas, an Israeli subsidiary of the U.S. company Genie Energy, confirmed the find in an interview with Israels Channel 2 TVbut conceded that until the oil is actually extracted, they wont be sure of the actual amounts and quality of the oil that has been discovered.

We are talking about a strata which is 350 meters thick and what is important is the thickness and the porosity, the companys chief geologist, Yuval Bartov, explained. On average in the world, strata are 20-30 meters thick, so this is ten times as large as that, so we are talking about significant quantities. The important thing is to know the oil is in the rock and that’s what we now know.

There is enormous excitement, Bartov said. It’s a fantastic feeling. We came here thinking maybe yes or maybe no, and now things are really happening.

According to a September 2014 Times of Israel report on the Golan exploration, Genie Energy is chaired by Howard Jonas and counts among its more notable investors the former US Vice President Dick Cheney, Michael Steinhardt, Jacob Rothschild, and Rupert Murdoch.

Experts say actually extracting meaningful quantities of oil from the deposits is likely some time away. Some have suggested that while the find could be very significant, the announcement might have as much to do with the share price of the exploration company as the actual certainty that oil will be produced at the site.

The other key consideration in the development of the potential oil feed is its close proximity to the vicious fighting taking place just over the border in neighboring Syria, where ISIS and other jihadi organizations had been battling the Syrian forces of President Assad and his Iran-backed allies Lebanon-based Hezbollah even before Russia recent entry into the regional conflict.

Most recent rocket strikes into Israels Golan territory have generally been declared stray fire by the Israel Defense Forces, but regional experts point out that the potential costs and challenges of protecting future oil fields so close to the war zone, as well as the large target it would provide for enemy fire, could prove challenging should the project indeed come to fruition and provide the Jewish state where a reported 270,000 barrels of oil are consumed daily – with its own source of black gold.

A license to drill in the area was initially issued in April 2013 within an area of nearly 98,000 acres -approximately a third of the Golan itself – but a series of appeals to the Israeli courts by organizations such as the Society for Protection of Nature in Israel and Greenpeace, put all development of the site on hold until a December 2014 ruling gave the green light for drilling.

The main site is close to the small town of Katzrin, which lies northeast of the northern shore of the fabled Sea of Galilee and is home to a wide range of special plants and wild animals, including major nature reserves such as Gamla, home to Israels largest population of Griffon vultures.

The rugged land, captured from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War and still under dispute between the two countries, includes vital underground water sources that feed directly into the Sea of Galilee itself, Israels main source of fresh water.

In recent years massive natural gas reserves have been discovered and developed off the Mediterranean coast of Israel, but political wrangling over who gets which piece of the financial pie has caused a delay in benefits from the find.

The long-running saga has proved a major embarrassment to the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, which in August received a further blow to what the Israeli government had anticipated would be its regional dominance in oil in the eastern Mediterranean when Egypt announced than an Italian company had discovered a gas field estimated at 30 trillion cubic feet. However, the Egyptian fields have yet be developed.

Paul Alster is an Israel-based journalist. Follow him on Twitter @paul_alster and visit his website: http://www.paulalster.com.

See the article here:
Potentially game-changing oil reserves discovered in Israel

Written on October 8th, 2015 & filed under Israel Tags:

Story highlights

Only Israeli citizens, Old City residents, tourists, businesspeople working in the area and students studying there will be allowed to enter, police said in a statement Sunday.

They said they’re also preventing Muslim men under the age of 50 from attending prayers at the holy site in the Old City that Jews call the Temple Mount and Muslims call Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary.

Palestinian officials reacted angrily to the move.

“What’s happening today is a renewal of Israeli arrogance and recklessness,” Hatem Abdul Qader, a Jerusalem official for the governing Palestinian party Fatah, told Palestine TV. “Jerusalem is now a military base, sons of Jerusalem are now banned from entering the Old City.”

The measures follow the knife and gun attack Saturday by a 19-year-old Palestinian in the Old City in which two Israelis were killed and two others were wounded, according to authorities.

Police: Attacker kills 2 in Jerusalem

Police say they killed the attacker in a gun battle. He was identified as Mohannad Shafik Halabi from near Ramallah, in the West Bank.

Early Sunday, a 15-year-old Jewish boy was wounded in a stabbing attack by an Arab in a Jerusalem neighborhood near the Old City, Israeli police said. Police shot and killed the attacker, a spokesman said.

The official Palestinian news agency WAFA disputed the Israeli account of the incident, reporting that a 19-year-old Palestinian man was chased by Israeli settlers and then shot by police.

The bloodshed over the weekend is the latest in a spiral of violence and escalating tensions in the region.

Palestinian protesters have repeatedly clashed with Israeli police at the Temple Mount in recent weeks. The turmoil has spread to other areas as well.

Last week, an Israeli couple were shot and killed in the West Bank in front of their four children, according to Israeli officials.

And anger boiled the week before among Palestinians over the death of a teenager who was shot by Israeli soldiers at a military checkpoint at Hebron in the West Bank. The Israeli military said she attacked a soldier with a knife, an account disputed by Palestinian sources.

The United Nations issued a statement on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Sunday condemning “in the strongest terms” the attacks in the Old City of Jerusalem and subsequent incidents.

“Recalling the recent deadly attack on another Israeli family in the occupied West Bank, and in light of the wave of extremism and violence sweeping the region, the Secretary-General is deeply concerned that these latest incidents signal a dangerous slide towards escalation,” the statement said. “The Secretary-General is deeply troubled by statements from Palestinian militant groups, including Hamas, praising such heinous attacks.”

The U.S. State Department issued a statement Saturday, saying it “strongly condemns all acts of violence, including the tragic stabbing in the Old City of Jerusalem today.”

“We are very concerned about mounting tensions in the West Bank and Jerusalem, including the Haram al Sharif/Temple Mount, and call on all sides to take affirmative steps to restore calm and avoid escalating the situation,” the statement said.

CNN’s Michael Schwartz reported from Jerusalem, and Jethro Mullen wrote from Hong Kong. CNN’s Yousuf Basil, Erin Mclaughlin, Ralph Ellis and Kevin Wang contributed to this report.

Read more:
Israel limits access to Jerusalem Old City after attack …

Written on October 5th, 2015 & filed under Israel Tags:

State of Israel

The State of Israel is a country in southwestern Asia on the eastern side of the Mediterranean Sea. Israel became an independent country in 1948.[6] Israel is the only Jewish country, and Jews all over the world think of Israel as their spiritual home. Israel’s population was 8.1 million people in 2013 and 6.04 million are Jewish. Almost all the other citizens of Israel are Arabs (1.6 million) and include Muslims, Christians, Druze, and Samaritans.[7]Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and largest city.

Israel is a small country, but it has mountains, deserts, shores, valleys and plains. The climate is hot and dry in the summers, and cool and rainy in the winters.

Israel has few natural resources and imports more goods than it exports. It has a relatively high standard of living and life expectancy. Almost all of its people can read and write.

The country’s history goes back thousands of years, to ancient times. Two world religions, Judaism and Christianity, began here. It is the place where the Jewish nation and religion first grew. Jews and Christians call it the Holy Land, because it is the place of many events described in the Bible.

Three thousand years ago, the Canaanites and other Semitic peoples lived here. Between about 1800 and 1500 BCE, another Semitic people, called the Hebrews, settled in Canaan after being freed from Egypt. They were named the Children of Israel or Israelites. The Israelites had 12 tribes. They chose a King, Saul, as their leader. The next king, David, began the Kingdom of Israel in about 1000 BCE and made the city of Jerusalem his capital. His son, Solomon, built the first Temple for the worship of God. Solomon died in about 928 BCE. His kingdom broke into two countries. The northern country kept the name Israel. The southern country, called Judah, kept Jerusalem as its capital.

The Assyrians conquered the Kingdom of Israel in 732 BCE and the Babylonians conquered the Kingdom of Judah in 586 BCE. Many Jews returned from Babylonia and built a country again. First the Persians, then the Greeks and then the Romans ruled the Land of Israel.

The Jews fought against the Romans but the Romans defeated them. In 70 CE, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple there. Again, in 132 CE, the Romans defeated the Jews and killed or took many of them to other places. The number of Jews living in Israel became much smaller. Many were forced to live in other countries. This spreading of Jewish communities outside of Israel is called the Diaspora.

Many of the Jews who remained moved to the Galilee. Jewish teachers wrote important Jewish books, called the Mishnah and part of the Talmud there, in the 2nd to 4th centuries CE.

The Romans began to call this region by the word that became Palestine in English. The Roman and then the Byzantine empires ruled until 635 CE, when Arabs conquered the region. Different Arab rulers, and for a while Crusaders, ruled the land. In 1516, the Ottoman Empire conquered the land and ruled the region until the 20th century.

Since the Diaspora, there have been many attempts to make a new homeland for the Jewish people. In the 1880s, this wish for a Jewish nation in Israel became a movement called Zionism. Jews from all over the world began to come to the area and settled in desert zones, then governed by the Turkish and later by the British Governments.

On 14 May 1948, British control over the Palestine Mandate ended. The Jewish inhabitants (under the leadership of David Ben-Gurion) declared independence for the new Jewish state. Immediately following Israel’s declaration of independence, the armies of several nearby countries, including Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq attacked the new country.[8] Since the 1980s the main military opponents of Israel have been Islamist groups, such as Hezbollah.[9]

The countries of Lebanon and Syria are to the north of Israel, Jordan is on the east and Egypt is to the southwest. Israel also controls the West Bank of the Jordan River.

Israel has a long coastline on the Mediterranean Sea. In the south, the town of Eilat is on the Gulf of Aqaba, which is part of the Red Sea.

The Galilee is a fertile and mountainous region in the north. There is a flat plain called the Coastal Plain to the west near the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Negev Desert is a barren area of flat plains, mountains and craters in the south. There is a range of mountains in the center that runs from the north to south.

On the eastern side, there is a low area called a depression. The Hula Valley and the Sea of Galilee are in this low area in the north. The Jordan River runs from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea. The land next to the Dead Sea is the lowest in the world. It is -417 meters below sea level.[10]

The weather is normally hot and dry in the summer and mild in the winter. Rain falls mostly in the winter (between the months of November and April). There is more rain in the north than in the south and hardly any rain in the desert. Israel built a very big irrigation system to bring water from the north to the dry areas in the south so that crops can grow there also.[10]

Jerusalem is the biggest city in Israel. Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beersheba and Rishon LeZion are also large cities. The capital city is Jerusalem.[10]

Israel is a parliamentary democracy. All Israeli citizens who are 18 years or older may vote. The Israeli parliament is called the Knesset. The Knesset has 120 members. Each member is elected for no more than four years at a time. The Knesset makes laws, helps decide national policy, and approves budgets and taxes.

Voters do not vote for individual candidates in Knesset elections. Instead, they vote for a party. This party makes a list with all its candidates. The list may have only one candidate or as many as 120 candidates. In an election, the percentage of the vote that each list wins decides how many representatives, or seats, the party gets in the Knesset. For example, if a party list gets 33 percent of the vote, it gets 40 Knesset seats.

Israel has no written constitution. Instead, the Knesset made “Basic Laws”. The Basic Laws say how the government must work and give civil rights to the citizens.

The Prime Minister is the head of Israel’s government. He or she is usually the leader of the party that has the most seats in the Knesset. The prime minister must keep the support of a majority of Knesset members to stay in office. He or she appoints ministers to the cabinet. The Knesset approves appointments to the Cabinet. The ministers are responsible for subjects such as education, defense, social welfare and so on. The prime minister is the head of the cabinet and decides the topics of cabinet meetings and makes the final decisions.

Benjamin Netanyahu has been the Prime Minister since March 2009.

The President is the head of state. The Knesset elects the president for seven years. Most of the president’s duties are ceremonial: The president signs laws and treaties approved by the Knesset, appoints judges, and members of some public organizations. He or she also accepts the documents from ambassadors and foreign diplomats bring when they are appointed.

Reuven Rivlin has been the President since July 2014.

Israel has many political parties, with a large variety of opinions. In the elections of 2009, twelve parties won seats in the Knesset.

The parties belong to three main groups: The biggest groups are the Zionist parties. These include the conservatives such as the Likud party; social democrats, such as Kadima and the Labor party; and the religious Zionists. There are also smaller religious Orthodox Jewish parties, special-interest parties, and Israeli Arab parties.

A single party usually does not win enough seats in the Knesset by itself to have a majority, so one of the bigger parties asks for support from the other parties, including the religious parties, to form a coalition government. This gives these parties a lot of power although they are small.

The Likud supports free market policies and limited government involvement in the economy. Likud believes strongly in protecting Israel’s security. It wants to give less away in the peace process for a negotiated agreement with the Palestinians and the Arab states.

The Labor Party supports government control of the economy, but also believes in a limited amount of free enterprise. The party says it will give more away for an agreement with the Palestinians and the Arab states.

Kadima is a centrist political party. It believes in both Israel’s security and continuing the peace process, and supports negotiating an agreement for peace with the Palestinians.

At independence, Israel was a poor country with little agricultural or industrial production. But Israel’s economy has grown tremendously since 1948. The nation now enjoys a relatively high standard of living, despite having few natural resources and a limited water supply.

Many immigrants came to Israel in the years immediately after independence. Many of these immigrants were skilled laborers and professionals who greatly aided the nation’s economic development.

Many of Israel’s service industry workers are employed by the government or by businesses owned by the government. Government workers provide many of the services that are needed by Israel’s large immigrant population, such as housing, education, and vocational training.

Tourism is one of the country’s important sources of income. Tourists visit many archaeological, historical and religious sites, museums, nature reserves and beach resorts in Israel.[11]

Tourists support many of Israel’s service industries, especially trade, restaurants, and hotels. Over 2.7 million foreign tourists visited Israel in 2009.[12]

Israeli factories produce such goods as chemical products, electronic equipment, fertilizer, paper, plastics, processed foods, scientific and optical instruments, textiles and clothing. The cutting of imported diamonds is a major industry. Government-owned plants manufacture equipment used by Israel’s large armed forces. Israel is the world’s largest exporter of drones.[13] Tel Aviv and Haifa are Israel’s major manufacturing centers.

Agriculture formerly employed a much larger percentage of Israel’s work force. But much of the work once performed by people is now performed by machines. Important agricultural products include citrus and other fruits, eggs, grain, poultry, and vegetables.

The government develops, helps finance, and controls agricultural activity, including fishing and forestry. Israel produces most of the food it needs to feed its people, except for grain. Agricultural exports provide enough income to pay for any necessary food imports. Most Israeli farmers use modern agricultural methods. Water drawn from the Sea of Galilee irrigates large amounts of land in Israel.

Most Israeli farms are organized as moshavim or kibbutzim. Israel also has some private farms.

The Dead Sea, the world’s saltiest body of water, is Israel’s leading source of minerals. Bromine, magnesium, potash and table salt are extracted from the sea. Potash, used mainly in fertilizers, is the most important mineral. In the Negev Desert, there are mines for phosphates, copper, clay, and gypsum.

Israel has few energy sources. It has no coal deposits or hydroelectric power resources and only small amounts of crude oil and natural gas. As a result, Israel depends on imported crude oil for gasoline and diesel for transportation, and coal producing electricity for its energy needs.

Solar energy energy from the sun is used widely to heat water for houses. Israel is developing other ways to use solar energy to power houses and factories.

In 2008, Israel began investing in building electric cars and the stations to charge them. There may also be large natural gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea that Israel could develop.

For 2006, Israeli exports grew by 11% to just over $29 billion; the hi-tech sector accounted for $14 billion, a 20% increase from the previous year.

Because it has few natural resources, Israel imports more goods than it exports. The country’s main imports include chemicals, computer equipment, grain, iron and steel, military equipment, petroleum products, rough diamonds, and textiles. Israel’s main exports are chemical products, citrus fruits, clothing, electronic equipment, fertilizers, polished diamonds, military equipment,and processed foods. The nation’s main trading partners include the Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg), Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Israel has a well-developed transportation system. Most middle-class Israeli families either own a car or have one provided by their employer. Paved roads reach almost all parts of the country. Public transportation both in and between cities is provided primarily by bus.

Ben-Gurion Airport is Israel’s main international airport. It is near Tel Aviv. There are smaller airports are located at Atarot, near Jerusalem, and at Eilat. El Al, Israel’s international airline, flies regularly to the United States, Canada, Europe, and parts of Africa and Asia. Israel has three major deepwater ports Haifa, Ashdod, and Eilat.

Israel’s communication system is one of the best in the Middle East. Israel has about 30 daily newspapers, about half of which are in Hebrew. The rest are in Arabic, Yiddish, or one of several foreign languages. The Israel Broadcasting Authority, a public corporation set up by the government, runs the TV and nonmilitary radio stations.

See original here:
Israel – Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Written on October 3rd, 2015 & filed under Israel Tags:

An Israeli soldier speaks on his mobile phone at a military outpost at Mount Hermon in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights overlooking the Israel-Syria border on Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015.


JERUSALEM – The Israeli military said Sunday it struck two Syrian army posts with artillery fire after rockets from the war-torn country landed in Israeli-controlled territory.

The military said the two rockets, which landed over the last two days, were errant fire from the Syrian conflict. They caused no damage or injuries.

Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman, said in a statement that Israel holds the Syrian military “responsible and accountable for any aggression emanating from Syria.”

Rami Abdurrahman, the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said a Syrian army position in the Quneitra region of the Golan Heights was hit at least four times by the Israeli military. Activists have reported intense fighting between Syrian troops and insurgents in the Quneitra area in recent days.

Israel has mostly stayed on the sidelines throughout the Syrian war. But the military has returned fire when rockets or mortar shells have strayed into Israeli-controlled territory. Israel has also carried out a number of airstrikes against suspected weapons shipments destined for its enemies.

2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

See the original post here:
Israel strikes Syrian army posts in Golan Heights – CBS News

Written on October 3rd, 2015 & filed under Israel Tags:

Senior officials say Moscow contacted National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen an hour before the Russian attack.

UNITED NATIONS Russia informed Israel in advance about its intention to carry out an aerial attack in Syria, senior Israeli officials told Haaretz on Wednesday.

The sources said Russian government officials made contact with Yossi Cohen, the national security adviser in the Prime Minister’s Office, as well as with senior figures in the Israeli defense establishment about an hour before the Russian attack, saying that Russian planes would shortly thereafter be bombing targets in Syria.

The Russians’ advance notice was apparently designed to avoid any confrontation between Israeli and Russian planes in the course of the operation.

The information was provided to Israel in accordance with understandings that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin reached when they met in Moscow a week ago. The two leadersagreed to establish a mechanism for coordination between the Israel Defense Forces and the Russian army to head off any unintentional encounters in Syrian airspace. In a briefing with reporters in New York after his meeting on Monday with U.S. President Barack Obama, Putin acknowledged that Israel has security interests in Syria, and that he respects this.

Russia said it launched airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria on Wednesday after Putin secured his parliament’s unanimous backing to intervene to prop up the Kremlin’s closest Middle East ally.

In addition to the contact with Israel, Moscow gave Washington an hour’s notice of the strikes, which set in motion Russia’s biggest play in the region since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, a U.S. official said. Targets in the Homs area appeared to have been struck, but not areas held by Islamic State, the U.S. official said. The Russian Defense Ministry said, however, that its attacks were directed at Islamic State military targets.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Want to enjoy ‘Zen’ reading – with no ads and just the article? Subscribe today

Read more:
Russia gave Israel advance notice of its air strikes in …

Written on October 3rd, 2015 & filed under Israel Tags:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday rejected a call to host refugees from Syria and elsewhere, saying that while Israel is “not indifferent to the human tragedy of the refugees,” it is not in a position to take them in.

Netanyahu was responding to Israeli liberals led by opposition leader Isaac Herzog, who said Jewish history demands that the nation show compassion. Having themselves felt the worlds silence, Herzog said, Jews cannot remain indifferent to the carnage in Syria and the refugees plight.

Herzogs comments met with support from other liberal lawmakers such as Zehava Galon, who called for opening Israels gates to a token number of refugees from its violence-stricken northern neighbor.

In responding to such statements, Netanyahu stressed Israels medical care for over 1,000 injured Syrians, as well as efforts to aid African nations and thus stem the flow of migrants. However, he said that Israels lack of demographic and geographic depth requires controlling its borders against both illegal migrants and terrorism.

His reference to demographics referred to oft-expressed concerns in Israel about the country’s Jewish population being overwhelmed by non-Jews.

Israel’s 6.2 million Jews make up nearly 75% of the country’s population, with its Arab citizens comprising more than 20%. In addition, an estimated 4.6 million Palestinians live in occupied territories in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

NEWSLETTER:Get the day’s top headlines from Times Editor Davan Maharaj >>

For many Israeli Jews, even the smallest number of additional non-Jews is a potential threat, and the Syrian refugee crisis and the debate about Israels role has reawakened the countrys most deep-seated fear — that of losing the Jewish majority and subsequently the character of the Jewish state.

Even those in support of opening the gates to refugees say they mean 10,000 at the most, with some calling for a token action such as that taken by former Prime Minister Menachem Begin, who in 1977 took in about 70 refugees from Vietnam.

Nachman Shai, a lawmaker from Herzogs party, was among those who were adamant that Israel had an obligation to do something. We will not be able to solve the refugee problem but we cannot plug our ears and look away, he said.

However, Immigrant Absorption Minister Zeev Elkin accused Herzog of gambling on Israels strategic interests for the sake of one minute of favor in international media. He also expressed the fear that the refugee crisis could give Palestinians an opening to bring the so-called right of return, which would allow Palestinians to return to land they occupied before the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, in through the back door.

Transportation Minister Israel Katz said it would be a mistake for Israel to get involved in the Syrian civil war by taking in refugees. We are too close, too involved. We are not a European country, he said.

Sobelman is a special correspondent.


Inside the train to Germany: Wonder, fatigue and, for a moment, fear

U.S. response to refugee crisis is nowhere near that of Europe

After standoff in Hungary, thousands of Syrians arrive in Austria

Read the original here:
One country that won’t be taking Syrian refugees: Israel …

Written on September 13th, 2015 & filed under Israel Tags:

Each week we share a random video clip to fuel your travel dreams. This week, we take in the sights, sounds, and experiences that reward a curious tra…

Rick Steves

Author of European travel guidebooks and host of travel shows on public television and public radio

Given my long public record of correcting misperceptions about Islam and championing the rights of American Muslims, why was I consorting with the so-called “enemy”?

If GCC officials slowly pivot toward the perception that their long-term interests reside in an improved relationship toward Iran, such a strategic shift would be seen in Riyadh as an erosion of GCC unity against an emboldened Iran.

After five weeks in Israel, a couple of days after the war ended, I left the bubble — only to realize I had just reentered another. A benign bubble, for sure, substituting “rationality” for hatred, godless happiness for divine devotion, but a bubble nonetheless.

Uriel Abulof

Associate professor of politics, Tel-Aviv University; LISD Senior Research Fellow, Princeton Universitys Woodrow Wilson School

No doubt, the bombastic Donald is an unlikely president. Yet what may be most extraordinary about his campaign is that on foreign policy, at least, he may be the most sensible Republican in the race.

It’s imperative that the Jewish and Israel-loving community never succumb to battle-fatigue over the Iran deal and make things personal. Cory’s choice to vote for the Iran deal is not a personal betrayal or a display of disloyalty to the Jewish community.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Rabbi Shmuley, “America’s Rabbi,” is the international best-selling author of 30 books and an award-winning TV host and columnist.

During my term as Israel’s Ambassador in Washington, I visited Pollard in his North Carolina prison. I did not find him defiant. I did not find him exasperated over why the U.S. reneged on its deal. I found only a fellow Jew in poor health and in need of liberty.

Danny Ayalon

Former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Rennert Visiting Professor of Foreign Policy Studies at Yeshiva University

President Barack Obama and Governor Jerry Brown have both been pushing the envelope of efforts to bring climate change under control and running up against major ingrown opposition to their efforts.

A Republican former secretary of state and a Democratic “Jewish mother” may have just given us the strongest case yet for the nuclear agreement with Iran. The first is a pillar of the “realist” camp in the American national security establishment. The second is a rising star in the Democratic Party from a heavily Jewish district in South Florida. Together, they represent key constituencies whose support for the historic accord is critical to isolating right-wing opponents and preventing last-minute sabotage attempts. Together, they also lay out a compelling narrative of why the agreement is so important to American national security.

Joe Cirincione

President, Ploughshares Fund; Author, ‘Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late’

I could write you all the details of the high-pitched screams, the hitting, pinching and the pushing (all in the back seat), but that would be way too overwhelming and annoying.

Tosha Schore, M.A.

Teaching parents how to handle those rip-out-your-hair parenting moments.

I’m angry. As a woman film blogger, I need twice as much effort and talent to get a quarter of the recognition that my male counterparts receive. I notice it on a daily basis and I’ve grown to really hate it.

His behavior since July has provided strong evidence that he not only doesn’t care about bipartisan support for Israel but, rather, is actively working to swing Jewish support to the Republicans while virtually writing off, even deliberately alienating, traditionally pro-Israel liberal Democrats.

Paul Scham

Associate Research Professor of Israel Studies and Executive Director of the Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies at the University of Maryland

Israel’s multiple fault lines — secular vs. religious, Jewish vs. Palestine and controversial calls for a boycott of the Jewish state — are exploding on the soccer pitch.

James Dorsey

Senior fellow, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies

One could hardly blame liberal Jews for wanting to celebrate AIPAC’s defeat or for some Israeli’s to lament what they called “Netanyahu’s strategic blunder”. Both views, however, are nave and shortsighted. On several levels, Netanyahu won.

James Zogby

President, Arab American Institute; author, ‘Arab Voices’

My daughter, my eldest child, just had her first child– a baby boy. They live in Israel, and I flew over for his birth and to help afterwards. What w…

Dawn Q Landau

Mother, Writer, Traveler, Treasure Hunter and Sushi lover. Dawn was named a BlogHer “Voices of the Year” for 2015 and writes regularly on her blog: Tales From the Motherland.

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee’s August campaign trip to Israel challenged longstanding U.S. policy towards Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Read more:
Israel: Pictures, Videos, Breaking News – Huffington Post

Written on September 11th, 2015 & filed under Israel Tags:

According to data compiled by The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, some 29,500 immigrants arrived in Israel in the Jewish year 5775, representing a 13% increase over the 26,000 who came in 5774.

Most of this years immigrants came from the former Soviet Union (some 14,100, compared to 10,800 last year) and Europe (more than 9,000, compared to 8,400 last year). Some 3.600 immigrants came to Israel from North America (similar to last years number) and 1,200 came from South America (a modest increase compared to last year).

The two largest sources of aliyah were France, with 7,350 immigrants compared to 6,700 in 5774 (a 10% increase), and Ukraine, with 6,900 immigrants compared to 4,600 last year (a 50% increase).

The Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption have been running programs in both countries in order to encourage aliyah and remove barriers to the immigrants integration in Israeli society. Aliyah from Russia also saw a significant 23% increase with the arrival of some 5,900 immigrants this year compared to 4,800 in 5774.

Also in Europe, some 690 immigrants arrived in Israel from the United Kingdom (a 13% increase when compared to the 612 who came last year), some 400 from Italy (a 30% increase, compared to 300 last year), and 290 from Belgium (similar to last years figure).

Immigrants to Israel came from 97 countries across the world. One immigrant each came from Andorra, Angola, Namibia, Paraguay, the Philippines, and Slovakia.

The Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky, said: For the past few years, the majority of immigrants to Israel have been coming from free and democratic Western countries. These immigrants free choice to live in Israel, and their preference for Israel over other countries, is the true triumph of Zionism.

Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Zeev Elkin added: These figures, which show a significant increase in the number of immigrants to Israel, reinforce the overall picture that the year 2015 will represent a year of record aliyah for more than a decade. We estimate that, at this rate, by the end of the civil year we will reach between 30,000 and 35,000 immigrants. This is a window of opportunity that the State of Israel cannot miss. Therefore, we at the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, the government, and Israeli society in general are faced with a fascinating and compelling challenge, to both ensure that immigrants who arrive in Israel are well integrated and do whatever we can to increase activities to encourage aliyah.

Thousands of the new immigrants to Israel are young college graduates who came via specially created programs run by The Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption. Some 3,000 of the new immigrants work in engineering and technology, and more than 1,000 are doctors and other medical professionals. Some 70% of the new arrivals are under the age of 44, including some 7,800 who are 19 or younger and some 12,000 between the ages of 20 and 44.

As in previous years, the bulk of immigrants came during the summer, which saw the arrival of some 8,350 immigrants compared to the 7,160 who came last year (a 17% increase).

The three most popular destinations in Israel were Tel Aviv-Yafo, which welcomed some 3,500 new immigrants, the coastal city of Netanya with 3,400, and Jerusalem, which some 3,000 new immigrants made their home in 5775.

See the original post:
Aliyah is Up: 29,500 Immigrants Arrived in Israel in 5775

Written on September 10th, 2015 & filed under Israel Tags:

Arutz Sheva met with Yeshayahu Yechieli, the director of the NAALE Elite-Academy program, as he greeted new participants.

The NAALE program, which was established in 1992 as a joint initiative of the Prime Ministers Office and the Ministry of Education, invites Jewish high school students from around the world to study and to finish high school in Israel. The program is fully subsidized by the Israeli Ministry of Education.

NAALE is a program for studying, first of all, and when the program concludes after three or four years, [the students] can decide whether to stay here and become new olim, Yechieli told Arutz Sheva.

Around 90% of the students who finish the program choose to remain in Israel afterwards, he added, noting that sometimes the program encourages family members of the participants to make aliyah as well.

However, said Yechieli, Its not enough that Israel is attractive. Something has to push them out of their home countries, he added, citing as an example France, where there is growing interest for NAALE.

Those families decided, at the moment, not to make aliyah for different circumstances, but rather to send a boy or a girl from the family to Israel in advance, and I believe that if the children succeed here, their parents will follow, said Yechieli.

On the scene at the airport was also Dr. Benny Fisher, head of the Ministry of Education’s Rural Education and Youth Aliyah division, who told the new participants of the NAALE program:

We welcome you with open arms. You made a brave Zionist choice in your decision to come and study in Israel. The educational staff at the schools and boarding schools will do everything to provide you with warm support during your stay in Israel. You will undergo an extraordinary experience of high-class learning alongside social programs and an Israeli atmosphere. This is a period that you are sure to remember for the better for years to come.

See the article here:
Youths Come to Learn in Israel; Next Stage Aliyah? – Inside Israel …

Written on September 5th, 2015 & filed under Israel Tags: