Ronald Lauder, in second public rebuke, asks if Israel ‘is losing its way’

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder speaking at the Neue Galerie in New York, June 19, 2015. (Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company)
World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder speaking at the Neue Galerie in New York, June 19, 2015. (Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company)

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder speaking at the Neue Galerie in New York, June 19, 2015. (Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company)

(JTA) – The president of the World Jewish Congress issued another rare rebuke to Israel on Tuesday, panning the recently passed nation-state law, calling out the country’s Orthodox monopoly and accusing the Netanyahu administration of damaging “the sense of equality and belonging of Israel’s Druze, Christian and Muslim citizens.”

Writing in The New York Times, Ronald Lauder, a usually vociferous defender of Israel, listed a number of recent incidents – including the arrest of a Conservative rabbi for conducting weddings and the exclusion of same-sex couples from a newly passed surrogacy law – that he believes “are creating the impression that the democratic and egalitarian dimensions of the Jewish democratic state are being tested.” [Read more…]

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Israel releases Turkish woman accused of terrorism in bid to free American pastor held by Turkey

(JTA) – A Turkish woman arrested by Israel for allegedly transferring money to the terrorist group Hamas reportedly as part of a deal to free an American pastor from Turkish custody was released.

Ebru Ozkan, 27, was released earlier this week, a week after her indictment, and deported to Turkey, despite her upcoming trial. The charges against her, including posing a national security threat and ties to a terrorist organization, were not dropped. Legal proceedings against Ozkan reportedly have been suspended because she “cannot be located” in Turkey. [Read more…]

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Israel to expand settlement in response to deadly stabbing

Israeli security forces at the scene of a stabbing attack in the West Bank settlement of Adam, July 26, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Israeli security forces at the scene of a stabbing attack in the West Bank settlement of Adam, July 26, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Israeli security forces at the scene of a stabbing attack in the West Bank settlement of Adam, July 26, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

(JTA) – Israel said it will build hundreds of new homes in a settlement where a Palestinian teenager killed an Israeli and wounded two others in a knife attack Thursday.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman took to Twitter Friday to announce 400 new housing units in the Adam settlement north of Jerusalem. [Read more…]

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Hamas calls Jared Kushner ‘spokesman for the Israeli Occupation’

From left to right, Ron Dermer, Jason Greenblatt, Jared Kushner, Benjamin Netanyahu, Dina Powell and David Friedman meet in Jerusalem, Aug. 24, 2017. (Amos Ben Gershom/Israeli Government Press Office)

From left to right, Ron Dermer, Jason Greenblatt, Jared Kushner, Benjamin Netanyahu, Dina Powell and David Friedman meet in Jerusalem, Aug. 24, 2017. (Amos Ben Gershom/Israeli Government Press Office)

(JTA) – Hamas accused Jared Kushner of being a “spokesman for the Israeli Occupation” after U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser co-wrote a highly critical op-ed condemning the terror organization for prolonging the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Kushner and Greenblatt are adopting the Israeli narrative, and their aggression against Hamas points to the contempt of the American government,” Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri was quoted as saying by the Israeli daily Haaretz. [Read more…]

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White House says improved ties with Israel show U.S. more ‘beloved’ around the world

President Donald Trump with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, May 23, 2017. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, May 23, 2017. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. President Donald Trump with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, May 23, 2017. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

(JTA) – Improved ties with Israel proves that the United States is more “beloved” around the world than under the previous administration, a White House spokesperson said.

He also said that Israel was “virtually” thought of as an enemy of the United States under the Obama administration. [Read more…]

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