First Read For Feb. 7
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News RoundupThe headlines American Jews are talking about today.

First Read For Feb. 7

NFL takes Israel; 20 rabbis arrested in NY protesting refugee ban; Israel to welcome 100 Syrian children; More

A group of rabbis protesting outside of the Trump International Hotel in New York City, Feb. 6, 2017. JTA
A group of rabbis protesting outside of the Trump International Hotel in New York City, Feb. 6, 2017. JTA

About 20 rabbis were arrested yesterday at a protest of President Donald Trump’s refugee ban in front of the Trump International Hotel in Manhattan, The NY Times reported.

The rabbis, part of a conference hosted by T’ruah, a liberal Jewish human rights group, were arrested for obstructing traffic. After marching with a group of about 200 through Manhattan, they sat in front of the hotel and ignored repeated police warnings to disperse.

Protesters, many of them rabbis, wore tallitot, while others blew shofars to signal their opposition to last week’s ban on refugees and nationals of seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Protesters held signs reading “My people were refugees too” and “another rabbi standing for justice.”

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The Super Bowl is over, but the National Football League is still in the news.

A delegation of NFL players will arrive in Israel next week as part of a campaign to showcase the country’s “true face” to the world. The Jerusalem Post reports that the players are part of a joint initiative between the Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy, also headed by Erdan, and the Tourism Ministry.

Their trip will include visits to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the Dead Sea. The group, which will include former Super Bowl champions Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, will hold an exhibition game against Israel’s national team in Jerusalem on February 18.

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New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft hopes his buddy President Trump can “score a diplomatic victory with Russian President Vladimir Putin” – by retrieving one of his treasured Super Bowl rings, according to Market Watch. “I do have an emotional attachment to that ring,” Kraft told Fox News Sunday.

Putin allegedly stole Kraft’s $25,000 Super Bowl ring during their meeting in 2005. Putin admired his diamond ring and Kraft let him try it on.  “I could kill someone with this ring,” Putin remarked. When Kraft put out his hand to get his ring back, Putin — surrounded by three KGB agents — pocketed the ring and took off.

Kraft said he’d be willing to make a new one for the Russian leader in exchange for getting the second of his four Super Bowl rings back — and Trump could be the courier.

 

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Israel’s Interior Minister Aryeh Deri has approved the outline of a plan that will offer refuge approximately 100 Syrian children who have survived their country’s civil war, Israel’s i24news TV channel reports. A statement from the Interior Ministry Population and Immigration Authority said that Deri ordered officials to initiate contact with relevant agencies.

“The situation in Syria is very harsh,” Deri said in the statement. “I have decided to order professionals in my ministry to work toward absorbing children on humanitarian grounds in order to render assistance and rescue 100 of them from the horrors and afford them good and normal lives in Israel.”

The orphans will reportedly be put up in an Education Ministry dormitories and subsequently enrolled into Israeli schools; some may be adopted by Israeli families.

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Has President Trump had a change of heart in his opposition to a two-state solution to Israeli-Palestinian hostilities?

Some administration officials say so, according to the ynetnews website, which reports that a “two-state solution” will be the base for negotiations that Trum will discuss with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a meeting in Washington next week.

During his presidential campaign last year, Trump spoke dismissively of a two-state solution, and his nominee as U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, is a prominent supporter of Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

The GOP platform last year removed the two-state solution and avoided any mention of a Palestinian state.

The new administration stance “is an indication of the internal disagreements in the Republican Party regarding settlements,” ynetnews reported.

 

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