News from Israel and the Jewish World

JNS.org is an editorial content and business-services resource for media, reaching global Jewish communities. Below you will find the most pressing, breaking news from Israel and the Jewish world. JNS.org is updated regularly and includes special Israel news through exclusive English-language syndication of content by Israel Hayom, one of Israel’s leading daily newspapers.

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The name, Joan Edelstein Davenny, is relatively unknown outside of the Connecticut community where she was a teacher and among her family and friends who knew her. Joan was one of the victims of an August 21, 1995 suicide bomb attack on a downtown Jerusalem bus. A little research on Joan shows that she grew up in San Francisco, Calif. So it’s shocking to me that a major university in San Francisco is partnering with a Palestinian university that honors the killers of a prominent San Francisco woman, writes JNS.org columnist Stephen Flatow. 

With the off-again on-again University of California, Berkeley course, "Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis," credits are awarded based on "assignments, group presentation and participation" – which means that if you attend a demonstration and burn an Israeli flag, you'll be on your way to an "A" grade, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen. 

 

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.

 

When Father Juan Solana, a Catholic priest, wanted to construct a guest house for Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land in the Galilee region in 2009, he couldn’t have imagined he’d become the leader of incredible archaeological findings, exposing the rich Christian and Jewish history of the area. The findings include the remains of a first century synagogue, dated to the Second Temple period and the time of Jesus’s life, and most recently a domestic water installation and water channel from the same era.

During her speech at the United Nations “anti-Semitism” conference on Sept. 7, 2016, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power failed to even mention the term “Muslim” or “Islamic anti-Semitism” which constituted a major portion of the physical and verbal anti-Jewish attacks.

At Sukkot, Israeli farmers say Jewish law, tradition, love keeps them working the land.

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.

After nearly seven years of excavations, the public can now explore the archaeological findings of Qeiyafa through “In the Valley of David and Goliath,” a new Bible Lands Museum exhibition that opened earlier this week in Jerusalem.

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.

While walking through my Jerusalem hotel dining room thinking about the news from the states that a U.S. court has tossed out a $655 million terrorism judgment, a young woman came up and gave me a big “Hi!" writes JNS.org contributor Stephen Flatow. 

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.

Is it a coincidence that the two people most intimately involved in creating the Hebrew Music Museum are both Levis, descendants of the ancient Jewish tribe dedicated to providing music in the holy Temple? For 12 years, Laurent Levy, the museum’s sponsor, and Eldad Levy, its director, (who are not related), both had a vision of creating an interactive, state-of-the-art museum in the heart of Jerusalem that would celebrate Jewish music, writes JNS.org reporter Deborah Fineblum. 

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.

Still flushed with the success, for the Iranians anyway, of the 2015 nuclear deal reached with the United States and other powers, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif this week embarked on a five-nation tour of Latin America to spread the message that Tehran's global influence is on the up, writes JNS.org columnist Ben Cohen. 

The refugee crisis, escalating terrorism and dissatisfaction with the political elite are blamed for the current rise of Europe’s far-right political parties. Such a revival has not been seen since World War II, writes JNS.org reporter Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman. 

As a minority group that has faced down centuries of anti-Semitism, the Jewish people have long stood shoulder-to-shoulder with other long-suffering and persecuted minority groups such as African-Americans. This was evident during the Civil Rights Movement when Jewish leaders stood against segregation in the south. That allegiance continues today with Jewish figures speaking out against inequality that many African-Americans face. Yet, some affiliated with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement are seeking to blend their struggles in America with the pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel movement, which threatens to drive a wedge between the two groups. 

As a young boy growing up in Ashdod, Israel, Alon Day got his first go-kart at age 9. By 15, he was racing them. Less than a decade later, Day has become the first Israeli professional race car driver on the NASCAR circuit. He made history by competing in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Aug. 13.