Religious Zionist yeshiva heads: Students may not serve in some mixed-gender units

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Leaders of religious Zionist yeshivas in Israel called on religious students to refrain from serving in mixed-gender combat units and called on the heads of the Israeli military to show sensitivity to the soldiers.

The rabbis and the female head of a woman’s pre-military religious academy made their remarks Wednesday in the aftermath of controversial comments by Rabbi Yigal Levinstein, who runs the religious Zionist Bnei David academy in the West Bank settlement of Eli. Levinstein came under fire earlier this month for saying the Israeli army drives female soldiers “crazy” and upsets their Jewishness. [Read more…]

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Trump administration threatens to leave UN Human Rights Council

President Donald Trump is flanked by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis at a White House Cabinet meeting, March 13, 2017. (Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump is flanked by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis at a White House Cabinet meeting, March 13, 2017. (Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)

U.S. President Donald Trump is flanked by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis at a White House Cabinet meeting, March 13, 2017. (Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)

(JTA) – The Trump administration is threatening to withdraw the United States from the UN Human Rights Council, citing among other things the intergovernmental body’s “biased agenda against Israel.”

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent a letter this week to nine nonprofit groups opposed to withdrawal – including one affiliated with the American Jewish Committee – in which he explained that the United States may quit the council unless it makes reforms, Foreign Policy reported. [Read more…]

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Lieberman asks U.S. to pull out of UN Human Rights Council

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman asked the Trump administration to pull the United States out of the UN Human Rights Council and to conduct a review of UNRWA, the Palestinian refugee relief agency.

The groups “do not fulfill the roles assigned to them,” Liberman told U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, according to an Israeli Defense Ministry readout of the meeting, which took place on Wednesday in Washington. [Read more…]

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Pre-military yeshiva head says army service drives female soldiers ‘crazy’

(JTA) – The rabbinic head of a religious Zionist pre-military yeshiva in the West Bank is under fire for saying that the Israeli army drives female soldiers “crazy” and upsets their Jewishness.

Rabbi Yigal Levinstein, who runs the Bnei David academy in the Eli settlement, made the comments in remarks to several hundred students visiting from another West Bank pre-military academy. [Read more…]

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Poll: Majority of Israelis believe Trump will not oppose settlement construction

JERUSALEM (JTA) – A majority of Israelis believe that U.S. President Donald Trump will not oppose settlement construction in the West Bank, a poll new found.

Some 55 per cent of Jewish Israelis told the monthly Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University Peace Index they do not believe Trump will oppose settlement construction. Some 77 per cent of Arab Israelis believe likewise. [Read more…]

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Liberman tells Mattis: We want U.S. ‘active’ in the region

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman told U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis that the United States needs to remain active in the Middle East to ensure security and stability.

Liberman met Tuesday with Mattis at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. According to an Israeli Defense Ministry readout, the meeting was friendly and covered strategic challenges in the region – including in Syria, where a civil war is raging, and Iran, which Israel and a number of moderate Arab countries see as a growing threat. The men discussed the creation of a coalition of moderate states in the region to combat terrorism. [Read more…]

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Annexing West Bank will lead to ‘crisis’ with Trump administration, Liberman warns

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)

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

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Annexing the West Bank will lead to a “crisis” with the Trump administration, Israel’s defense minister warned.

“I am saying it as clearly as possible: We received a direct message from the United States saying that Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank would mean an immediate crisis with the new administration,” Avigdor Liberman said Monday during an appearance  before the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. [Read more…]

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