Month: March 2017

Israeli security cabinet approves first new settlement in two decades

(JTA) — Israel’s security cabinet gave the go-ahead for the building of the first new settlement in two decades.

In a unanimous vote Thursday, the security cabinet approved the building of a settlement for Jewish residents of Amona, a West Bank outpost of 40 homes that was evacuated in February, according to i24 News. It must now be approved by the full Cabinet.

The announcement comes after President Donald Trump said in February that he would like to see Israel “hold back on settlements a little bit.” Earlier in February, Trump had said settlement expansion “may not be helpful” in achieving peace.

Israeli negotiators…

Reconstructionist rabbis affirm full inclusion of transgender, gender-fluid Jews

(JTA) — The Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association approved a resolution affirming the full equality of transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming individuals.

The resolution was approved Tuesday at the association’s annual meeting in Portland, Oregon, which ends on Wednesday.

Non-binary individuals identify as neither male nor female.

The resolution commits the RRA to work for “full inclusion, acceptance, appreciation, celebration and welcome of people of all gender identities in Jewish life and in society at large.” The document also “strongly advocates for the full equality of transgender, non-binary, and gender non-confirming people and for equal protections for people of all gender…

Ivanka Trump to become unpaid government employee as assistant to her father

(JTA) — Ivanka Trump will become an official government employee acting as a special adviser to her father, President Donald Trump.

Last week, it was reported that the president’s Jewish daughter was working out of a West Wing office and was in the process of receiving a government security clearance.

But in statement Wednesday, Ivanka Trump acknowledged concerns that her informal role exempted her from federal ethics regulations.

“I have heard the concerns some have with my advising the president in my personal capacity while voluntarily complying with all ethics rules, and I will instead serve as an unpaid employee in the White…

Bob Dylan to accept his Nobel Prize in Stockholm

(JTA) — American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan will accept his Nobel Prize for Literature in Stockholm.

The Swedish Academy will hand over the Nobel diploma and Nobel medal in a “small and intimate” setting with no media present, Sara Danius, secretary of the Swedish Academy, said Wednesday in a blog post.

Dylan is scheduled to give two concerts in Stockholm over the weekend, and the academy “will show up at one of the performances,” Danius wrote. She added that no Nobel lecture will be delivered.

“The Academy has reason to believe that a taped version will be sent at a later point,” she wrote,…

White House: Envoy’s ties to Israel are an ‘asset’ toward peace

WASHINGTON (JTA) — David Friedman’s Israel connections, a factor that helped dampen Democratic support for President Donald Trump’s nominee as ambassador to Israel, will be a “tremendous asset” to advancing peace, the White House said on the day of his swearing in.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters on Wednesday that Trump “is glad that Ambassador Friedman will be officially on board as we strive for a lasting peace in the Middle East.”

“Mr. Friedman’s strong relationships in Israel will be a tremendous asset to the president in furthering that mission,” Spicer said.

Friedman, confirmed last week…