Latest News on Israel and the Jewish World

JNS.org freelance reporters and staff editors strive to provide high quality news coverage of the latest news from Israel and the Jewish world. In this section JNS.org offers analytical reports and commentaries on politics and international affairs, culture and lifestyle features, arts and sports content, and religious news. For the latest news on Israel, we also include exclusively syndicated content from Israel Hayom, a major daily newspaper in Israel. If you are interested in a specific topic, please browse through the content “categories” in our navigation bar or search our site.

Latest News

A new organization, The Committee to Destroy ISIS, believes an alternative is needed to defeat the terror group. They propose creating a secular homeland for Sunni Muslims and other minority groups in western Iraq. JNS.org spoke with the organization’s executive director, Sam Patten, to get his thoughts on the current situation in Iraq and how the U.S., including the next president, can successfully destroy ISIS.

News that Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet refusenik, will leave the Jewish Agency next year has fueled discussion of the continuing relevance of the quasi-governmental entity, whose role in the wider Jewish world has come under fire in some quarters, following a series of high-profile financial and political setbacks during his tenure.

 

The compelling life story of retired Green Beret Maj. Gen. Sidney Shachnow, the only Holocaust survivor who became an American general, is driving his effort to collect signatures from other U.S. generals and admirals on an open letter of endorsement for Donald Trump.  

The United States and Israel made history on Wednesday signing the largest ever military assistance package between the two allies. The agreement was hailed by many as a means to ensure the Jewish state will securely meet the challenges of a dangerous and unstable Middle East over the next decade. However, after years of seemingly strained relations between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama, does the deal sweep aside this history as Obama’s term in office comes to an end?

The historic German branch of the Jewish National Fund, Keren Kayement LeYisrael (JNF-KKL), hoped to showcase a side of Israel often overlooked by media pundits as a changing Germany discusses co-existence at the recent annual “Natürlich for Israel” (Naturally for Israel) conference.

Five Israeli Knesset members are touring the U.S. and Canada to strengthen the relationship between North American Jewry and Israel. The lawmakers – Merav Ben Ari (Kulanu), Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beitenu), Mickey Levi (Yesh Atid), Nachman Shai (Labor/Zionist Camp) and Yifat Shasha-Biton (Kulanu) – are visiting Toronto, Detroit, Cleveland and Pittsburgh on a seven-day trip organized by the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Agency for Israel. Their goal is to become familiar with North American Jewish life by meeting Jewish professional and community leaders.

Former Clinton adviser and U.S. Mideast envoy Dennis Ross says if Hillary Clinton is elected president, she should seek more Israeli concessions.

Well into its fifth year, the Syrian civil war continues to show no signs of dissipating. While the conflict has drawn in a number of regional and global powers including the U.S., Russia, Turkey and Iran, Israel has largely remained on the sidelines. Yet for the Jewish state, the conflict does have profound consequences, notably from the threat stemming from Iran and its Lebanese terror proxy Hezbollah.

On Aug. 28, Iranian state television broadcast live images of Russian-made, highly advance S-300 surface-to-air missiles being transported by trucks to the Fordo nuclear facility south of Tehran. The move by Iran to further fortify one of its most secretive nuclear sites has led to questions over its intentions at the site, while also raising doubts about their commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Iran nuclear deal that was agreed to by Iran and the world powers last July.

An Israeli legal rights NGO and an attorney, who together won the largest judgment ever against the Palestinian Authority (PA) in America, say a U.S. Appeals Court decision to dismiss the judgment sets a bad precedent for future legal attempts to hold the PA responsible for terrorism against Americans in U.S. courts.

Norway has joined Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands in contributing funds to an organization funding NGOs that promote a boycott of the Jewish state, the watchdog group NGO Monitor reports.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), the largest Lutheran denomination in the U.S., passed two Israel-related resolutions earlier this month at its triennial assembly in New Orleans, La. While some pro-Israel groups are decrying the Lutheran church's "scapegoating of Israel" and its apparent movement towards embracing divestment, other Jewish leaders detect hopeful signs with the church's most recent positions.

With the Nov. 8 Presidential election just months away, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump are pulling out all the stops to win over as many key demographic groups as they can. Outside the official channels, a group of grass roots Trump supporters are seeking to make their own impact on the election and promise not to remain silent when it comes to Israel’s security and future.

A day after the Israel Defense Forces bombed a number of Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in response to a rocket attack on the southern Israeli town of Sderot, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned that the Jewish state cannot allow the Hamas terror group to arm itself. Lieberman’s caution comes just days after Hamas threatened to abduct Israeli soldiers on Sunday, showcasing two "prison cells" built especially for future Israeli captives. Meanwhile, in the West Bank, Israeli security forces also raided seven illegal Palestinian weapons mills in the Hebron and Bethlehem area on Monday night in the largest crackdown of its kind over the last year.

For most students, the dog days of August are one final chance for summer traditions such as hitting the beach or visiting national parks with their family before heading back to campus. For dozens of pro-Israel college students, however, learning about ways to combat increasing campus anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activism was their focus during summer’s final weeks.

For the first time, the U.S. State Department has explicitly accused the Palestinian Authority (PA) of promoting anti-Semitism, a signal Jewish groups are hoping will lead to change in U.S. policy.

Several of the country’s most prominent pro-Israel groups participated in the first Israel Today Symposium designed to educate the Dallas, TX community on understanding the complex issues Israel faces, writes JNS.org Editorial Assistant Shalle' McDonald. 

More than 11,000 world athletes have converged on Brazil’s second largest city, Rio de Janeiro, for the 2016 Summer Olympics, which began on Aug. 5. Despite the problems that led up to the games, such as Rio’s issues with pollution and crime, and the threat of the Zika virus, many have also hailed the games as bringing forth an Olympic spirit of peace and friendly competition during a time of global stress and conflict. Yet, before and shortly after the games began, athlete delegations from Lebanon and Saudi Arabia had already violated this spirit by bringing their respective countries’ ongoing conflict with Israel to the Rio games.

A Palestinian who offered assistance at the scene of a July 1 terrorist attack in Israel, in which a rabbi was killed, has been dismissed from his public service job in the Palestinian Authority.

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s newly announced running mate, is being touted by his supporters as a moderate Democrat with considerable domestic and foreign policy credentials from his experience serving on the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees as well as formerly heading the Democratic National Committee. Kaine’s critics in pro-Israel circles, meanwhile, point to his outspoken support for the Iran nuclear deal, his decision to skip Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s March 2015 speech to Congress about the Iranian nuclear threat, and the support the senator has received from the controversial left-wing lobby group J Street. JNS.org provides an overview of Kaine’s record on election issues that are prioritized by Jewish and pro-Israel voters.