Trump and Netanyahu speak by phone, reportedly don’t discuss intelligence leaks

JERUSALEM (JTA) – U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have spoken by phone in the wake of the revelation that Trump shared Israeli intelligence with Russia.

The conversation took place late Tuesday afternoon in Israel, the Israeli media reported, citing unnamed senior Israeli officials. It is not known who initiated the call, which reportedly lasted 20 minutes. [Read more…]

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Family of Palestinians killed in arson attack sues Israel

(JTA) – The family of a six-year-old Palestinian boy whose parents and brother were killed in an arson attack on their West Bank home has filed a lawsuit against the State of Israel demanding $2.78 million US in compensation, saying its settlement policies led to the attack.

Right-wing Jewish extremists were indicted in the July 2015 firebombing in the Palestinian village of Duma in the northern West Bank. Ahmed Dawabshe, then four, was the only survivor of the attack that killed his brother, Ali, 18 months old; father, Saad; and mother, Riham. [Read more…]

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Pre-military yeshiva head who denigrated female soldiers goes on leave

(JTA) – The rabbinic head of a religious Zionist pre-military yeshiva in the West Bank who said the Israeli army drives female soldiers “crazy” and upsets their Jewishness has gone on an indefinite leave from his position.

The Bnei David academy in the Eli settlement told Israel’s Channel 2, which first reported Rabbi Yigal Levinstein’s leave, that it has nothing to do with calls to have him removed over his controversial statements in March. [Read more…]

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Palestinian boy, 6, won’t get compensation for attack attributed to Jewish arsonists

JERUSALEM (JTA) – A six-year-old Palestinian boy whose parents and brother were killed in an arson attack on their West Bank home is not eligible for compensation given to terror victims, Israel’s defense minister said.

Avigdor Liberman offered the official response in a letter Sunday to Arab Joint List lawmaker Yousef Jabareen, who had asked why the child, Ahmed Dawabshe, had not received money from the state. [Read more…]

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North Korea threatens Israel with ‘merciless’ punishment

(JTA) – North Korea threatened Israel with “merciless, thousand-fold punishment” and labelled it the only “illegal possessor” of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

The country’s Foreign Ministry in Pyongyang issued a statement Saturday after Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman in an interview with the Hebrew-language news website Walla! called North Korean leader Kim Jong-un a “madman” who is in charge of a “crazy and radical group” that is “undermining global stability.” [Read more…]

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Putin rebukes Netanyahu for blaming Assad regime for chemical attack

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Sept. 21, 2015. (Dmitri Azarov/Kommersant Photo via Getty Images)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Sept. 21, 2015. (Dmitri Azarov/Kommersant Photo via Getty Images)

(JTA) – Russian President Vladimir Putin scolded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for blaming Syria’s Assad regime for a devastating chemical weapons attack on civilians.

Russian media Thursday quoted Putin as saying “it was unacceptable to make groundless accusations against anyone without conducting a detailed and unbiased investigation.” Reports cited a Kremlin statement that said Netanyahu initiated the call to Putin. [Read more…]

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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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