Israel’s army chief gave an interview to a Saudi news outlet. That’s never happened before.

Gadi Eisenkot, the Israeli army’s chief of staff, speaking at a ceremony for the incoming Technology and Logistics Directorate head, July 13, 2016. (Sraya Diamant/IDF Spokesperson/Flash90)
Gadi Eisenkot, the Israeli army’s chief of staff, speaking at a ceremony for the incoming Technology and Logistics Directorate head, July 13, 2016. (Sraya Diamant/IDF Spokesperson/Flash90)

Gadi Eisenkot, the Israeli army’s chief of staff, speaking at a ceremony for the incoming Technology and Logistics Directorate head, July 13, 2016. (Sraya Diamant/IDF Spokesperson/Flash90)

(JTA) – The Israeli army’s chief of staff gave the first interview by someone in his post to a Saudi news outlet.

Gadi Eisenkot told the Elaph news website Thursday that Israel is ready to share intelligence with Saudi Arabia as part of a joint effort to curb Iranian influence in the region. The interview was his first with an Arabic media outlet. [Read more…]

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Rabbi Rick Jacobs and other Reform leaders pushed and shoved by Western Wall security

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, center, and other non-Orthodox Jews clashing with security guards at the entrance to the Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem, Nov. 16, 2017. (Noam Rivkin Fenton/Flash 90)
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, center, and other non-Orthodox Jews clashing with security guards at the entrance to the Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem, Nov. 16, 2017. (Noam Rivkin Fenton/Flash 90)

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, center, and other non-Orthodox Jews clashing with security guards at the entrance to the Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem, Nov. 16, 2017. (Noam Rivkin Fenton/Flash 90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Rabbi Rick Jacobs and other Reform Jewish leaders were pushed, pulled and had clothes torn by security guards as they tried to pray at the Western Wall Plaza in Jerusalem.

The guards and haredi Orthodox worshippers tussled with the group Thursday as it entered the main entrance to the Western Wall plaza with Torah scrolls. The guards said it was illegal to bring the scrolls into the main plaza. Reform leaders accused the haredi administration of the holy site, which employs the guards, of denying their right to freedom of prayer. [Read more…]

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Iran and Iraq reject Israel’s offer of aid for earthquake victims

An Iranian woman and child walking in rubble of their home in the village Kouik near Sarpol-e Zahab two days after a 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck Iran’s western Kermanshah province near the border with Iraq . (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)
An Iranian woman and child walking in rubble of their home in the village Kouik near Sarpol-e Zahab two days after a 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck Iran’s western Kermanshah province near the border with Iraq . (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

An Iranian woman and child walking in rubble of their home in the village Kouik near Sarpol-e Zahab two days after a 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck Iran’s western Kermanshah province near the border with Iraq . (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

(JTA) – Israel offered humanitarian assistance to the victims of the earthquake that killed hundreds of people in Iran and Iraq, but was turned down.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told North American Jewish leaders gathered in Los Angeles Tuesday that he was motivated to direct the aid by photographs of the devastation caused by Sunday’s magnitude 7.3 earthquake which killed at least 530 people in Iran and several in Iraq. [Read more…]

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U.S. security officials arrive in Israel to discuss Syria border deal

Israeli forces standing guard on the Israeli-Syrian border in the Golan Heights, Nov. 27, 2016. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

Israeli forces standing guard on the Israeli-Syrian border in the Golan Heights, Nov. 27, 2016. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – U.S. National Security Council officials arrived in Israel for talks with their Israeli counterparts.

Representatives of other security agencies are also participating Tuesday in the discussions, which are focused on the recent U.S.-Russia ceasefire agreement for Syria as well as on Iran. [Read more…]

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Federation movement demands Israel reverse ‘divisive’ moves on Western Wall, conversion

LOS ANGELES (JTA) – The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) called on Israel to reverse its “divisive and damaging” steps to freeze an agreement on egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall and its support of a bill that would grant a monopoly to Orthodox authorities in Israel over conversions to Judaism.

The JFNA’s board of trustees, representing Jewish communal philanthropies across the United States and Canada, passed the resolution Monday morning on the second day of the organization’s annual General Assembly here. [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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