Israeli Jewish couple marries on Temple Mount despite ban on rituals

Sarah Lurcat and Tom Nisani wed on the Temple Mount despite rules forbidding Jewish rituals from being conducted at the holy site. (Facebook)
Sarah Lurcat and Tom Nisani wed on the Temple Mount despite rules forbidding Jewish rituals from being conducted at the holy site. (Facebook)

Sarah Lurcat and Tom Nisani wed on the Temple Mount despite rules forbidding Jewish rituals from being conducted at the holy site. (Facebook)

(JTA) – An Israeli couple married on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem despite rules prohibiting Jews from carrying out religious rituals at Judaism’s holiest site.

Tom Nisani and Sara Lurcat wed Thursday in a rushed ceremony at the site where the First and Second Temples once stood. [Read more…]

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We did not seek to blame liberal Jews

Benjamin Netanyahu, third from right, arriving at the weekly cabinet meeting at the prime minister office’s in Jerusalem, June 25, 2017. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool/Flash90)
Benjamin Netanyahu, third from right, arriving at the weekly cabinet meeting at the prime minister office’s in Jerusalem, June 25, 2017. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool/Flash90)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, third from right, arriving at the weekly cabinet meeting at the prime minister office’s in Jerusalem, June 25, 2017. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool/Flash90)

(JTA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has flatly denied a report that it instructed diplomats to blame non-Orthodox Jews for the controversy over the Western Wall.

Israeli diplomats in North America were told to blame the Reform and Conservative Jewish movements for the ongoing crisis in relations between Israel’s government and U.S. Jewry, according to a report in Israeli daily Maariv. According to Maariv, the directive happened in a conference call this week between the diplomats and Jonathan Shechter, a senior aide to Netanyahu. [Read more…]

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Controversial Israeli conversion bill delayed for six months

(JTA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for a six-month delay in consideration of a controversial bill that would have made the haredi Orthodox-dominated Chief Rabbinate the only body authorized by the government to perform conversions in Israel.

Following an outcry by non-Orthodox streams in Israel and abroad, Netanyahu’s office announced Friday that the legislation will not advance while a “team” he’ll appoint comes up with recommendations for an “arrangement” on the issue. [Read more…]

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Grave robbers exhume bodies of Holocaust victims from Crimean killing trench

(JTA) – Police in Crimea, a territory that Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, are investigating the desecration by robbers of a mass grave of Holocaust victims near the city of Simferopol.

The investigation opened Tuesday following the unauthorized exhumations performed last week at the site of a firing trench, where Nazis and their collaborators killed hundreds of Jews, the TASS news agency reported. [Read more…]

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Israeli diplomats in North America reportedly reject order to blame liberal Jews for Western Wall crisis

The Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem on a rainy day, Oct. 25, 2015. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)

The Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem on a rainy day, Oct. 25, 2015. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)

(JTA) – Israeli diplomats in North America rejected a talking point handed down to them from Jerusalem, which they told an Israeli daily blames liberal Jews for the Western Wall controversy.

The top diplomats refused to repeat the narrative that Jonathan Shechter, a top adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, handed down to them earlier this week in telephone conversations about the crisis in relations between the government and leaders of the Reform and other liberal Jewish denominations in the United States, Maariv on Friday reported. [Read more…]

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Lakewood rabbis warn community that welfare fraud is ‘not justified’

(JTA) – The Orthodox rabbinical council in Lakewood, New Jersey, responded to the arrest of community members on charges of welfare fraud by declaring “there is no such thing as ‘justified’ theft.”

The statement, issued Thursday by Rabbi Moshe Zev Weisberg in the name of the Lakewood Vaad, follows the arrests of at least seven couples in the community’s haredi Orthodox community on charges of illegally obtaining government benefits. [Read more…]

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Union official must apologize to South African Jews for hate speech, court rules

(JTA) – A senior trade union figure who threatened the Jewish community must offer an “unconditional apology,” a South African court ruled.

The Equity Court said Bongani Masuku, the international relations spokesman for the Congress of South African Trade Unions, or COSATU, must offer the apology through the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, the Jewish umbrella, within 30 days of its order. [Read more…]

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Women Torah readers at French synagogue threatened

(JTA) – Women who read aloud from the Torah at a synagogue in Marseille were subjected to threats and insults by congregants after local rabbis condemned the event.

The dozens of threats and insults, made on social networks and in emails, started coming in Saturday night after the group of a half-dozen women read the Torah at the Fleg Jewish Center that morning, the French community centre’s president, Raymond Arouch, and director, Martine Yana, wrote in a statement Monday. [Read more…]

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AIPAC leaders warn Netanyahu of ‘crisis of faith’ among U.S. Jews with freeze on Western Wall agreement

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Three American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) leaders reportedly told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that “we have lost the incentive to act for Israel” and of a “crisis of faith” among American Jews in the aftermath of the freezing of the Western Wall agreement.

Outgoing president Lillian Pinkus, her successor, Mort Fridman, and managing director Richard Fishman also said at the emergency meeting Thursday that activists and donors have threatened to stop working with the AIPAC over the controversy, Israel’s Channel 2 reported Thursday evening.

The leaders spent about a day in Israel and left Thursday night after their meeting with Netanyahu, The Times of Israel reported.

AIPAC has not commented on the meeting.

On Wednesday, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which represents more than 50 national U.S. Jewish groups, in a letter to Netanyahu said that a lack of unity between Diaspora Jews and Israel over the Western Wall agreement “could lead to an erosion of support.”

On Sunday, the Israeli government voted to suspend most of the compromise passed in January 2016 by the Cabinet dealing with the status of the non-Orthodox section of the Western Wall.  The compromise would have expanded the non-Orthodox prayer section south of the main Western Wall plaza, created a shared entrance to all prayer areas and appointed an interdenominational council to oversee the non-Orthodox section.

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