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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Trump considering how moving embassy to Jerusalem would affect peace process

President Donald Trump at the U.S. Treasury building in Washington, D.C., April 21, 2017. (Shawn Thew/Pool/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — President Donald Trump is considering how moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv would affect the peace process, according to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

“The president, I think rightly, has taken a very deliberative approach to understanding the issue itself, listening to input from all the interested parties in the region and understanding what such a move in the context of a peace initiative, what impact would such a move have,” Tillerson said at the end of a nearly 15-minute interview Sunday morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“As you know, the president has recently expressed his view that he wants to put a lot of effort into seeing if we cannot advance a peace initiative between Israel and Palestine.”


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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Bill would reject all conversions in Israel but those performed by Chief Rabbinate

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A bill submitted to the Knesset would require the state to recognize only conversions completed under the auspices of the haredi Orthodox-dominated Chief Rabbinate.

The measure, which was submitted by the Interior Ministry led by Aryeh Deri, former head of the haredi Orthodox Shas party, appears to be an effort to circumvent a March 2016 Supreme Court ruling that allowed those undergoing private Orthodox conversions in Israel to become citizens under the Law of Return. The haredi parties at the time vowed to submit legislation to neutralize the ruling.

In the wake of the 2016 decision, the Reform and Conservative movements in Israel asked the court for the same recognition of their private conversions in Israel. Only those who have been converted by the Reform and Conservative movement abroad are recognized now as Jewish for the purpose of immigration to Israel.

“This bill, which is promoted by the ultra-Orthodox members of the government, is in fact against halacha [Jewish law],” Rabbi Seth Farber, head of Itim, an organization that helps Israelis navigate religious bureaucracy, said in a statement. “For hundreds of years, various courts operated within the Jewish communities, with different halachic approaches — some of them more stringent and some less so. The common denominator was that everyone finally recognized everyone’s conversions, except for very unusual cases.”


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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Haredi Orthodox textbooks in Israel promote insularity and peaceful coexistence, study finds

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Textbooks used in haredi Orthodox schools in Israel promote the community’s insularity as well as peaceful conduct and coexistence, according to a study by an education watchdog.

The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, or IMPACT-se, studied 93 textbooks used in grades 1 through 12 in the two major educational frameworks for haredi schools.

The curricula of the haredi Orthodox schools oppose modernity, and promote limited and unequal acceptance of others, according to the study.

Hatred of the Jewish people by the rest of the world is taught as a permanent historical reality, seen especially in how the Holocaust is taught. In addition, there is no extensive coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which tends to be included in lessons about how Jews are hated by the world at large. On the other hand, “Commitment to peaceful conduct which forms the foundation of rabbinical Judaism is evident throughout the curricula.”


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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Jewish mayor in Virginia faces anti-Semitic tweets in aftermath of white supremacist protests

(JTA) — The mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia, was hit with anti-Semitic tweets following protests by white nationalists over the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from  a local park.

White supremacist leader Richard Spencer, who attended the nearby University of Virginia, led the protests on Saturday — one during the day and another at night with demonstrators holding tiki torches. The Charlottesville City Council had voted to remove the statues of Lee and another Confederate general, Stonewall Jackson, located in a different park.

A court injunction will halt the action for six months.

“What brings us together is that we are white, we are a people, we will not be replaced!” Spencer said during the daytime protest.


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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Anthony Weiner’s sext partner warned him about scandal to come

Weiner’s campaign was designed to be redemptive — and instead it was plagued by another sexting scandal. (Courtesy of Sundance Selects)

(JTA) — There are those who blame Anthony Weiner, the disgraced former congressman and repeated sexter, for Hillary Clinton’s election loss and all that has come afterward — including President Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey.

After all, Weiner’s misdeeds and the inquiries they sparked led to the reopening of the Clinton email investigation days before the election, which Clinton blames for her loss. Comey’s conduct in the email affair is one of the various, if dubious, reasons Trump has given for firing him on Tuesday night.

But an article in the New Yorker suggests Weiner might have been able to avoid the whole thing, had he listened to a former sext partner.

The now-famous chain of events goes like this: Weiner allegedly sent sexually charged messages and photos to a 15-year-old girl. The girl told her story to the Daily Mail, a British tabloid, in September 2016. The FBI subsequently began investigating Weiner on child pornography charges. While examining his laptop, they found emails from Clinton, forwarded to Weiner by his wife, Clinton aide Huma Abedin. On October 28, Comey announced the reopening of an investigation into Clinton based on those emails. Trump won the election on Nov. 8. Trump then fired Comey on May 9, days after he gave inaccurate testimony about his choices in the email investigation.


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From The Times of Israel

Steven Seagal, Putin ally, barred from Ukraine

Authorities say action star banned for 5 years because he is acting ‘contrary to the interests of ensuring the security of Ukraine’

May 12, 2017, 4:00 am
Actor Steven Seagal  attends qualifying ahead of the Russian Formula One Grand Prix at Sochi Autodrom on October 11, 2014 in Sochi, Russia (Clive Mason/Getty Images via JTA)
Actor Steven Seagal attends qualifying ahead of the Russian Formula One Grand Prix at Sochi Autodrom on October 11, 2014 in Sochi, Russia (Clive Mason/Getty Images via JTA)

Ukraine has banned the American action movie star Steven Seagal, who last year received Russian citizenship in a ceremony from President Vladimir Putin.

A spokesman for the Security Service of Ukraine, or SBU, confirmed the blacklisting of Seagal, a martial arts expert whose father was a Jew of Russian descent, in a statement sent last week to the Apostrophe news site.

Seagal will be barred from entering Ukraine for five years according to an SBU directive not to admit anyone it deems to have committed a “socially dangerous act, irrespective of the territory of its commission, which is contrary to the interests of ensuring the security of Ukraine,” the spokesman wrote in a statement dated May 5. It was a reply to a query about Seagal by Apostrophe from last month.

Seagal visited Crimea shortly after it was annexed by Russia in the spring of 2014. The actor, who is also a musician, performed in Sevastopol. Under Ukrainian law, visitors to Russian-controlled Crimea are committing a felony unless they receive permission from Ukraine’s government.

In November, Putin presented Seagal with a Russian passport at a news conference at the Kremlin in Moscow, calling him “one of Russia’s many friends.”


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From PressTV

Sun May 14, 2017 10:45AM
Syrian forces hold a position as they advance through Qaboun District, on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, on May 13, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Syrian forces hold a position as they advance through Qaboun District, on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, on May 13, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The Syrian military is about to re-establish control over another district in the capital Damascus’ countryside after the government reaches an agreement with the militants enabling their evacuation.

The state television announced the development on Sunday, and AFP reported that 10 buses had arrived at Qaboun District to take the militants and their families to the northeastern Idlib Province as per the deal.

Latest estimates showed that more than 1,000 people were still in the district.

Such agreements had brought about evacuation of nearby Barzeh and Tishrin Districts earlier in the week.

Families of militants gather at a staging point in the Barzeh District of the capital Damascus on May 8, 2017, as they wait to be evacuated. (Photo by AFP)

Read more:

The districts are located in Damascus’ eastern side.

Militants waged a wholesale offensive against the districts earlier in the year, in their most daring push against the capital since 2013.

The militant onslaught followed their capture and then surrendering of the capital’s water resources.


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From PressTV

Sat May 13, 2017 4:49PM
This picture shows Syrian army soldiers in the small al-Jarrah airbase in eastern Aleppo countryside on May 13, 2017. (Photo via Twitter)
This picture shows Syrian army soldiers in the small al-Jarrah airbase in eastern Aleppo countryside on May 13, 2017. (Photo via Twitter)

Syrian government forces have managed to retake a military air base in the country’s northern province of Aleppo from Daesh Takfiri terrorists as they continue to score territorial gains against the extremists across the country.

The director of the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman, said Syrian troopers could establish control over the small al-Jarrah airport on Saturday after heavy fighting with Daesh members.

“The majority of the extremists have withdrawn, and government forces are carrying out clearing operations in the airport and engaged in limited clashes with remaining Daesh elements,” he added.

A military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, also confirmed the recapture of the base.

“The Syrian army has completed its capture of Jarrah airport and a number of the surrounding villages,” he said.

“It will continue its advances into the areas held by the terrorist organization and ... expand the areas it controls in eastern Aleppo Province,” the source pointed out.


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From PressTV

Sat May 13, 2017 1:46PM
US President Donald Trump (right) and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
US President Donald Trump (right) and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

The next week meeting of US President Donald Trump, the most dangerous man on the planet, with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a source of instability in the Middle East, is a threat to peace, according to award-winning Irish writer and journalist Patrick Cockburn.

Cockburn, who specializes in analysis of Iraq, Syria and US wars in the Middle East, made these remarks an article published by The Independent on Friday.

Cockburn said Prince Mohammed is “the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia since his father King Salman, 81, is incapacitated by old age.” The writer criticized the prince’s aggressive, reckless foreign policy approach, particularly his aggression against Yemen and Saudi support for al-Qaeda-linked militants in Syria.   

He explained that the 31-year-old prince “has won a reputation for impulsiveness, aggression and poor judgment in the two-and-half years he has held power.”

Cockburn further said that “Prince Mohammed, who is also defense minister, is not a man who learns from his mistakes or even notices that he has made them.”

The veteran journalist predicted that during their meeting next week, the prince would seek Trump’s help in his confrontation with Iran.


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From PressTV

Fri May 12, 2017 3:52PM
Slain young Palestinian Saba Abu Ubeid
Slain young Palestinian Saba Abu Ubeid

Israeli military forces have shot dead a young Palestinian man in the occupied West Bank during a march in solidarity with hundreds of Palestinians, who have gone on hunger strike in Israeli jails in protest at the Tel Aviv regime’s administrative detention policy and harsh prison conditions.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health announced in a statement that dozens of protesters converged in Nabi Salih village, located 20 kilometers northwest of Ramallah, on Friday, to express their support for the Palestinian prisoners and condemn the Tel Aviv regime’s suppressive measures against the inmates.

Skirmishes broke out when Israeli forces intervened and fired live bullets to disperse the crowd. A 20-year-old Palestinian man, identified as Saba Abu Ubeid, was struck in the chest and later succumbed to his gunshot wounds.

The development less than a week after Israeli military forces shot dead a young Palestinian woman in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds for allegedly attempting to carry out a stabbing attack.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the girl as Fatima Afif Abd al-Rahman Hjeiji, 16, from the Ramallah-area village of Qarawat Bani Zeid.

On April 26, Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian man after he supposedly sought to carry out a car-ramming attack near Huwwarah checkpoint south of Nablus, located approximately 49 kilometers (30 miles) north of Jerusalem al-Quds.


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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Macron’s party boots politician over anti-Israel tweets deemed anti-Semitic

(JTA) — The party of France’s president-elect Emmanuel Macron withdrew from its parliamentary elections ticket a politician who made statements deemed anti-Semitic.

Christian Gerin, a journalist, was taken off the En Marche ticket Friday, a day after he was nominated to represent the party in next month’s elections for the French parliament, in connection with messages he wrote in 2013, throughout last year and this year on Twitter.

In one tweet, flagged as “anti-Semitic” by the LICRA watchdog against anti-Semitism and racism, he wrote: “When will there be a separation between CRIF and state?”

CRIF is the umbrella group of French Jewish communities, whose critics say wields too much influence over French politicians.


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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Adelsons to answer questions in corruption case against Netanyahu

Sheldon Adelson

Sheldon Adelson with wife Miriam at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting at The Venetian Las Vegas, Feb. 24, 2017. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Jewish billionaire philanthropist Sheldon Adelson and his wife will testify in Israel in a corruption investigation into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel’s Channel 2 news first reported Sunday evening that the Adelsons will testify next week during their visit to Israel.

The couple is arriving in Israel ahead of the visit by President Donald Trump on May 22-23, and will remain for a few days afterward, at which time they will testify. Adelson and his wife, Miriam, agreed to testify in the investigation into the so-called Case 2000 after being assured that they were not suspected of wrongdoing.


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From The Times of Israel

George Soros speaks at the Festival of Economics in Trento, Italy in 2012. (Wikimedia Commons, Niccolò Caranti, CC BY-SA 3.0)
George Soros speaks at the Festival of Economics in Trento, Italy in 2012. (Wikimedia Commons, Niccolò Caranti, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Far-right activists in Budapest targeted a Jewish community center that serves as the headquarters of several ethnic and refugee activist groups, filming themselves as they put up defaced posters of the Jewish billionaire George Soros.

The video was filmed last week outside the Aurora community center by members of the far-right Sixty-Four Counties Youth Movement and posted online by ultranationalist media including Szent Korona Rádió.

Seven men, dressed in black and sporting the very short haircuts in the skinhead neo-Nazi style, are seen walking through Budapest’s 8th district, a poor area with many immigrants and Roma, or gypsy, residents.

The men place posters reading “Stop operation Soros” on the message board of Aurora, established in 2014 by Marom, a Jewish identity group affiliated with the Conservative/Masorti Movement. Aurora functions as the headquarters of several additional groups, including the Roma Press Center, Budapest Pride (a gay rights organization), the Migszol refugee advocacy group and the Zold Pok agency for social activism.


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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

ADL to train staff of Mexico’s US consulates on how to help attack victims

RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — The Anti-Defamation League will train the staff of Mexico’s 50 consulates in the United States on how to assist nationals who are victims of attacks and harassment.

“Through our regional offices we are the first to be called in case of a hate crime,” ADL National Director Jonathan Greenblatt said at a Friday news conference in Mexico City, the Elance Judio news website reported. “When a synagogue is defaced, when a Jewish person is assaulted, but also when black person is attacked or a Latino or a Hispanic person, often we get a call.

“We hope to share our expertise, to do hands-on training, to make it easier for Mexican consular officials to handle the incoming calls, to prepare their staff to reach out to understand what’s happening and track the information more effectively.”

Several Mexican consulates have recently reached out to ADL to help deal with an increase in attacks against Mexicans and Americans of Mexican background.


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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

May is Jewish American Heritage Month. Here’s why you didn’t know that.

Jewish American Heritage Month is celebrated every year in May. (Top left, clockwise, Obama photo: Aude Guerrucci/Pool/Getty Images; Wasserman Schultz photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images; Calendar photo: Dafne Cholet/Flickr, CC BY 2.0; Menorah photo: National Museum of American Jewish History; Trump photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images, Museum photo: Jeff Goldberg/Esto)

(JTA) — Only one religious group in the U.S. has a federally proclaimed month celebrating their history: the Jews. In 2006, President George W. Bush officially declared May as Jewish American Heritage Month.

Yet Jewish American Heritage Month, or JAHM, hardly seems a priority — not in the government, not in the media, not even within the Jewish community. There is not a single paid employee working to organize the commemoration, and neither the federal government nor any Jewish organization or foundation is funding its operations. (By contrast, for example, the organization that coordinates Women’s History Month lists four staff members and 16 sponsors.)

“To tell you the truth, I’m very disappointed,” said Marcia Zerivitz, who was one of the driving forces behind lobbying Congress to establish the month. “We have struggled, we have been financially under-capitalized, we have struggled to get any money to do much of anything.”

The current annual budget for JAHM is about $10,000 and consists entirely of individual donations, according to Ivy Barsky, the director of the National Museum of American Jewish History and a member of the JAHM advisory committee.


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