News from Israel and the Jewish World

JNS.org is an editorial content and business-services resource for media, reaching global Jewish communities. Below you will find the most pressing, breaking news from Israel and the Jewish world. JNS.org is updated regularly and includes special Israel news through exclusive English-language syndication of content by Israel Hayom, one of Israel’s leading daily newspapers.

Latest News

Israel this month became the first nation outside the U.S. to declare the initial operational capability of the American-produced F-35 stealth fighter jet. Brig. Gen. (ret.) Ephraim Segoli, a former commander of two combat helicopter squadrons, told JNS that the F-35 “is not just a plane, but a system in its own right. It serves the entire air force, through its range of sensors and ability to communicate what it collects.”

When film director Roger Sherman called Israel one of the “hottest food scenes in the world,” his colleagues laughed. It was at that moment that Sherman knew he had discovered a subject for a successful film. Sherman’s “In Search of Israeli Cuisine,” featuring renowned chef Michael Solomonov, shows a side of Israel that very few knew existed—including Israelis themselves.

President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was overwhelmingly rejected in the Muslim world based on the denial of Jews’ legitimacy to have a state in what they see as Islamic territory. But this anger was tempered by the interests of Sunni Arab governments that are more concerned with their own survival and the threat of Iran.

A Palestinian ambassador’s boast that he assaulted an Israeli student in an argument over the origins of falafel is drawing strong criticism from British Jewish leaders and veteran Israeli diplomats. Manuel E. Hassassian, the Palestinian Authority’s chief envoy in London, asserted in a recent Lebanese television interview that when he was a graduate student at the University of Toledo in 1976, he got into an argument with an Israeli student who claimed “that falafel and hummus are Israeli foods.”

In October, the State Department notified UNESCO that America would withdraw from the U.N. cultural body. The U.S. cited the need for fundamental reform, mounting arrears and “anti-Israel bias” at the organization. But the problem is much deeper: UNESCO does not consider Jewish culture and heritage worthy of protection, writes columnist Sean Durns.

A surge in alleged Israeli strikes on targets in Syria appears to suggest a new Israeli urgency to block Iran’s spread into the war-torn country. So far, neither Iran nor its terror proxies have retaliated. Yet the lack of retaliation is not something that can be counted on forever, warned Yaakov Amidror, former national security advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “It is clear that in the cost-benefit calculation…they ran through their considerations and concluded that launching a war [against Israel] is not something they should do. There is no telling when their considerations will change,” Amidror told JNS.

For many NGOs, besmirching Israel’s name is the goal, not improving the universal human rights for Palestinians and Israelis. The disconnect between real human rights work and hollow social media advocacy campaigns is stark. There is little evidence that internet-based slacktivism generates lasting change, writes columnist Rena Young.

The “P is for Palestine” children’s book that is causing so much controversy presents anti-Israel propaganda and deeply disturbing justifications for “intifada” violence. But it also contains one very important truth—the author helps remind readers of the true nature of Palestinian nationalism, writes JNS columnist Stephen M. Flatow.

Anti-Israel and anti-Semitic demonstrations pervaded Europe last weekend as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the continent days after the Trump administration’s Dec. 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The civilian protests as well as widespread opposition to the White House’s Jerusalem policy changes within the European political establishment may serve to deepen the chasm between Israel and Europe. 

Jerusalemite opinions about President Donald Trump’s landmark policy changes on their city run the gamut, reflecting the diversity of the Israeli capital itself. In an effort to take the pulse of the holy city’s mood following U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as well as Trump’s announcement of plans to move the American embassy there, JNS spoke with various Jerusalemites from east to west and from natives to immigrants. 

The Palestinians need to learn that no matter what dangerous illusions of conquest they are teaching their children, Israel will never cede its capital of Jerusalem—not after 3,000 years of history. They need to learn, once and for all, that Israel is here to stay. In this way, Trump’s announcement of American policy changes on Jerusalem was a sorely needed dose of reality therapy for the Palestinians, writes columnist Sarah N. Stern.

That President Donald Trump embraced the reality of Israel’s capital and the rights of the Jewish people to Jerusalem in a way that didn’t foreclose the theoretical possibility of a two-state solution helped shore up the pro-Israel consensus. But while the support for Trump’s move is encouraging for those hoping to strengthen the bonds between American Jews and Israelis, celebrations must be tempered, writes JNS Editor in Chief Jonathan S. Tobin.

Avi Gabbay, a leader of Israel’s political left and presumably one of the top challengers to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a future election, has surprised the Israeli public with what many consider right-wing rhetoric. Yet it remains unclear if Gabbay’s positioning represents a real shift or merely a pre-election bid for wider support. JNS spoke with Knesset members from across the political spectrum to assess Israel’s changing political map.

It’s not often that the American Jewish community is united on issues pertaining to President Donald Trump, or on any political topics for that matter. But Trump’s Dec. 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and his expression of the intent to move the U.S. embassy to that city drew widespread support from Jewish organizations, dovetailing with the expected backing of Christian Zionist groups.

The attorneys in the landmark Jerusalem passport lawsuit are calling on President Donald Trump to instruct the State Department to list “Israel” as the birthplace of American citizens born in Jerusalem. The passport question could emerge as the key test of how Trump's Dec. 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital will be implemented. 

President Donald Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Dec. 6, breaking with decades of U.S. policy and enraging the Palestinians. Legal experts, Israeli leaders and pro-Israel organizations noted that Jerusalem has long been the capital and that Trump’s recognition is a simple acknowledgement of reality.

In a strategic win-win-win for the U.S., Israel and Africa, the Jewish state has been welcomed into a multi-billion-dollar project that aims to raise the standard of living for as many as 600 million sub-Saharan Africans currently living in poverty and without electricity. Israel’s entrance into USAID’s Power Africa initiative marks the latest surge in Israeli-African ties. “To put it shortly, it’s the technology…as ambassador, I am exposed to a lot of the technology Israel has to offer,” Zambia’s Ambassador to Israel Martin Mwanambale told JNS.org.

The Israeli Navy has a new tool at its disposal to defend the country’s offshore gas rigs, which are under threat from Hezbollah and Hamas. The Iron Dome anti-rocket system generated global headlines in 2014, when it successfully defended Israeli cities from Gazan rocket attacks for more than 50 days. Now, a sea-based version of Iron Dome is operational. “Our working assumption is that in the next war, terror organizations will try to harm Israeli national assets at sea. This strengthens the importance of the sea Iron Dome squadron and its capabilities,” said Lt. Col. Yoni Grinboim, commander of the 137th Iron Dome Battalion.

The Israel trips organized by the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP) are nicknamed “Birthright for moms.” But a Nov. 27-Dec. 4 trip carried some extra gravitas, convening visitors described by JWRP as “Media Magnets.” Participants connected to Israel’s media professionals and showcased their experiences for combined audiences of more than 10 million followers on their social media pages and blogs. The trip underscored Israel’s diversity, revealing a picture that goes far beyond what mainstream media often depict the Jewish state to be—ridden with conflict, religion extremism and camels.

The Taylor Force Act started out as a powerful and long-overdue tool for pressuring the Palestinian Authority to stop paying terrorists. But the legislation has been diluted, weakened and compromised in so many ways that it is now a pale shadow of its former self, writes JNS.org columnist Stephen M. Flatow.