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Barak: Iran has delayed building a nuclear bomb
JERUSALEM – Iran has pulled back from the brink of achieving a nuclear weapon, opting to use over a third of its medium-enriched uranium for civilian purposes, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told a British newspaper.
Iran’s decision to convert that uranium into fuel rods for a civilian research reactor avoided a crisis this summer, Barak said in an interview published in the Daily Telegraph.
Iran delayed its ability to assemble a nuclear bomb by eight to 10 months, according to Barak, who said that he does not believe sanctions and diplomacy will succeed and that Israel and its allies will have to decide sometime in 2013 whether to launch an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
He added that Israel reserves the right to act unilaterally to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities. Barak told the newspaper that Iran is progressing steadily toward its goal of a nuclear weapon. His concern, he said, is that Tehran will fortify its nuclear plants to the point where Israel’s air force will not be able to disable them by itself.
Day school parts way with Boy Scouts over gays
A Conservative Jewish day school will not renew its Boy Scouts charter because of the organization’s policy excluding gay and lesbian adults as leaders.
The Golda Och Academy in West Orange, NJ, said in a letter to parents that the Scouts’ policy presents a “problematic image for many families. “To exclude same-sex families from membership and adult volunteerism is in direct contradiction of school policies, which place high value on inclusion.”
The Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed its ban on gays and lesbians over the summer.
The day school’s scout and pack are now in search of another location in which to meet. Thirty of the school’s families have children in the Boy Scout Troop and Cub Scout Pack.
Since 2001, the Reform movement has recommended that member congregations withdraw sponsorship of packs or troops over the issue, according to the New Jersey Jewish News.
Agency committee calls for Wall prayer change
JERUSALEM – A Jewish Agency committee has adopted a resolution calling for a “satisfactory approach” to prayer at the Western Wall. The resolution passed Tuesday, Oct. 30, during the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Board of Governors meeting in Tel Aviv, reads in part: “Whereas Jewish women and men, of all streams of Judaism, desire the opportunity to pray at the Western Wall of Har Habayit (the Temple Mount) in a manner that fulfills their religious expression, and in an atmosphere of mutual respect and Ahavat Yisrael,” calling for leaders of the Jewish Agency to work with other officials to arrive at a satisfactory approach to the issue of prayer at the Western Wall.
The resolution comes in the wake of the arrest and alleged roughing-up by police earlier this month at the Western Wall of Anat Hoffman, leader of Women of the Wall and the Reform movement’s Israel Religious Action Center. Hoffman was wearing a tallit and leading the Shema prayer at a Rosh Chodesh service for about 200 women.
In 2003, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that women cannot wear a tallit or tefillin or chant from a Torah at the Western Wall.
FAA upgrades Israel’s safety rating
The FAA on Nov. 1 returned Israel to its list of nations that comply with International Civil Aviation Organization standards with a Category 1 ranking, based on an FAA review last month of Israel’s civil aviation authority, the Associated Press reported.
The status upgrade allows Israeli airlines to partner with U.S. airlines, and to expand their service to the U.S. Israel’s safety rating was downgraded to a Category 2 rating by the FAA in 2008, which allowed Israeli air carriers to maintain existing services to the U.S.