Israeli defense minister bans chief rabbi from military ceremonies

Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef attending a conference in the city of Beit Shemesh, Israel, Jan. 13, 2016. (Yaakov Lederman/Flash90)

Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef attending a conference in the city of Beit Shemesh, Israel, Jan. 13, 2016. (Yaakov Lederman/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – A meeting between Israel’s Sephardic chief rabbi and the Israeli army’s chief rabbi was cancelled after the defense minister banned the chief rabbi from military ceremonies.

On Saturday, Avigdor Liberman banned Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef and two other rabbis from the military events after they criticized the Israel Defense Forces mixed-gender units. The meeting scheduled for Monday was canceled a day earlier. [Read more…]

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Hundreds of Jewish clergy urge Netanyahu not to demolish Palestinian village

(JTA) – More than 300 Jewish clergy wrote Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging him not to demolish nearly half the buildings in a Palestinian village that Israel has deemed unauthorized.

“The village of Susiya, like its counterparts throughout Area C of the West Bank, has consistently had its applications for building permits denied,” said the letter sent Tuesday, referring to the area of the West Bank wholly under Israeli control. “We are taught in the Torah that there must be one law for all, yet the settlers living alongside Susiya are allowed to participate in the planning and development of their own communities.” [Read more…]

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Israeli president shown in faked photos wearing Arab headdress

(JTA) – Israel Police have launched an investigation into faked photos showing President Reuven Rivlin wearing an Arab headdress, or kaffiyeh.

The images were created after Rivlin rejected a pardon for a former Israeli soldier who shot and killed a downed Palestinian attacker, and hark back to those featuring prime minister Yitzhak Rabin by right-wing opponents of his peace overtures to the Palestinians. [Read more…]

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Israel’s president rejects pardon request for soldier who shot downed Palestinian terrorist

Elor Azaria at a military court hearing in Jaffa, Aug. 30, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Elor Azaria at a military court hearing in Jaffa, Aug. 30, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israeli President Reuven Rivlin rejected a request to pardon a former Israeli soldier convicted of shooting and killing an injured Palestinian terrorist as he lay on the ground.

Rivlin rejected the request to pardon jailed soldier Elor Azaria, who is serving a reduced sentence of 14 months in prison for the murder. [Read more…]

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U.S.-Russia cease-fire could reportedly leave Iran-backed forces within three miles of Israel’s border

Hezbollah soldiers near the Syrian town of Flita, near the border with Lebanon, Aug. 2, 2017. (Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images)
Hezbollah soldiers near the Syrian town of Flita, near the border with Lebanon, Aug. 2, 2017. (Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images)

Hezbollah soldiers near the Syrian town of Flita, near the border with Lebanon, Aug. 2, 2017. (Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images)

(JTA) – Iranian-backed forces in Syria could reportedly remain as close as three miles from Israel’s border under a recent cease-fire agreement reached by the United States, Russia and Jordan.

An Israeli official said militias allied with Iran would be allowed to maintain positions as close at three to four miles to some parts of the border while being pushed up to around 19 miles away in others, Reuters reported Monday. The positions of the rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime will affect the arrangements, the anonymous official said. [Read more…]

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Israeli defense minister asks president to pardon soldier who shot downed Palestinian terrorist

Elor Azaria at a military court hearing in Jaffa, Aug. 30, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Elor Azaria at a military court hearing in Jaffa, Aug. 30, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman asked the country’s president to pardon an Israeli soldier convicted of shooting and killing an injured Palestinian terrorist as he lay on the ground.

In a letter sent Sunday to President Reuven Rivlin on behalf of jailed soldier Elor Azaria, Liberman said: “We must put an end to the affair that shook Israeli society, and at this time show leniency and mercy to the soldier,” Ynet reported. [Read more…]

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Israeli defence officials reportedly oppose changing Iran deal

(JTA) – Israel’s intelligence community opposes the drastic changes sought by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, according to a report.

Several sources, who were not named, told the Haaretz daily that the defence establishment in Israel does not agree with the demand articulated by Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman that U.S. President Donald Trump scrap or revise the deal, the daily reported Friday. [Read more…]

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Israeli defense minister says army not pushing ‘feminist agenda’ with mixed-gender units

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speaking to the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, March 6, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speaking to the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, March 6, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman rejected accusations that the Israel Defense Forces is pushing a “feminist agenda” with its mixed-gender units.

Liberman made the comments Wednesday at the inauguration of a new army training base in the Negev for mixed-gender border defence units. [Read more…]

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