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Life in Israel

Mine-free Jordan Baptismal Site Church Hosts First Mass in 54 Years

Monday, 11 January 2021 | A handful of clergymen, VIP guests, journalists and Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers yesterday gathered at the Franciscan St. John the Baptist Chapel on the banks of the Jordan River adjacent to Qasr Al-Yahud—the traditional site where Jesus was reportedly baptized—to celebrate the first mass in this spot in 54

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IDF Sees Record Number of Israeli Arab Conscripts

Monday, 4 January 2021 | More than 1,000 Israeli Arabs have volunteered to serve in the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] as conscripts or reservists in the past year, and most after the coronavirus crisis began in March 2020, the military’s Manpower Directorate said Sunday. The number of conscripts from the Arab sector is more than

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Through the Streets of History

Journeying along the streets of Jerusalem is like paging through an encyclopedia filled with a rich and vibrant history. Jerusalem does not have regular street names like Maple, Magnolia or Main. Rather, at every turn, the events and people who were influential in the history of the Jewish people or in the creation of the

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Life Above All Else

On October 18, a new patient arrived at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center coronavirus ward in critical condition. Saeb Erekat—chief Palestinian negotiator, right hand to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the man hailed as the public face of the Palestinian people—had tested positive for COVID-19 days earlier. The disease quickly ravaged Erekat, who suffered from

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Something Old, Something New

One of my favorite things about living in Jerusalem is the seemingly never-ending layers of history that coexist with the style and energy of the modern capital of Israel. This city is a treasure trove of ancient history ever present amidst the contemporary everyday hustle and bustle of life. Let’s take a look at a

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A Sanctuary for Birds and Birders in Jerusalem

In the heart of the bustling city of Jerusalem, nestled between Israel’s Knesset (Parliament) and the Supreme Court, lies a serene nature sanctuary. The Nili and David Jerusalem Bird Observatory (JBO) rests on an acre-and-a-half (0.6 hectares) of lush land that provides a safe haven for some 200 species of birds and other wildlife within

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Second Temple Period Remains Unearthed at Gethsemane

Wednesday, 23 December 2020 | One of the first pieces of archaeological evidence of Second Temple-period activity at Gethsemane was unearthed near the modern church during archaeological excavations conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority [IAA] in collaboration with scholars from the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum. A 2000-year-old ritual bath discovered at the site dates from the

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Indoctrinated for Hate and Death

The Palestinian powers-that-be are masters of doublespeak, adapting their message to stir the emotions of the audience they happen to address. When the audience is the United Nations, international funding agencies, the world media or English-speaking college students, the message is one of harmony, painting the Palestinian people as a victimized, misunderstood group yearning for

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The Fruits of Peace: Moroccan Schools to Teach Jewish History

Monday, 14 December 2020 | Starting next term, the curriculum for Moroccan primary school students will include Jewish history and culture—a significant first in the region. On Thursday, Morocco made headlines around the world, as US President Donald Trump announced that the kingdom was the fourth Muslim-majority nation to normalize ties with Israel since August.

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Ben-Gurion Letter Outlining Vision for Israel Discovered after 69 Years

Thursday, 10 December 2020 | A previously unknown letter written by Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, describing his vision for the nascent state was recently discovered, approximately 69 years after it was first sent. The 1951 missive to a Swedish journalist was kept by the recipient’s granddaughter, who is the current Swedish ambassador to

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