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Orthodox synagogue ready to hire first female clergy member

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 05:27

(JTA) — Congregation B’nai David-Judea, an Orthodox synagogue in Los Angeles, is planning to hire its first female clergy member by September, 2015.

Such a hire would be a first among Orthodox synagogues in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Jewish Journal reported.

The congregation recently retained Alissa Newborn, 25, a student at the New York-based seminary Yeshivat Maharat, for a one-year “kehilla intern” position. The position involves addressing the full congregation on  Shabbat, and teaching at various events with different groups from within the congregation. In addition, Newborn will shadow B’nai David’s Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky in life-cycle events, according to  the Jewish Journal.

Newborn will complete her studies while interning in Los Angeles; upon graduation she will earn the title of “maharat”— an acronym  meaning female leader of Jewish law, spirit and Torah.

If the congregation benefits from the presence of a female religious leader, the synagogue’s board will put together a list of candidates for a permanent female clergy member position, Kanefsky told the Jewish Journal.

Kanefsky also said that the move could be controversial, and emphasized that the female clergy member will not be called by the title “rabbi.” He said he hopes that using an alternative title will ease concerns from Orthodox congregation members who would otherwise be resistant to introducing female clergy.

“The best way to derail a good idea is by moving too far, too fast,” Kanefsky told the  Jewish Journal. “If we want to continue advancing women’s participation in communal leadership, we have to have common communal sense.”

Orthodox groups have condemned ordaining female clergy members in the past. In 2010, the Rabbinical Council of America said in a statement that it “cannot accept either the ordination of women or the recognition of women as members of the Orthodox rabbinate, regardless of their title.”

Nonetheless, Yeshivat Maharat—the only Orthodox institution in the world with a female ordination program—has placed five of its graduates and eight of its current students, including Newborn, in jobs and internships at eight Orthodox synagogues in the United States and one in Montreal.

Leading Likudnik Gideon Saar stepping away from politics

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 15:59

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Interior Minister Gideon Saar, touted as the favorite to succeed Benjamin Netanyahu as Israel’s prime minister, said he will “take a break” from politics.

Saar, citing family reasons, made the surprise announcement in front of hundreds of members of the Likud Party at a pre-Rosh Hashanah toast on Wednesday. He said he will quit his ministerial post and the Knesset after the holidays.

“Sometimes you have to take your personal life into account,” said Saar, the father of a newborn son. “I want privacy, quiet, freedom and to spend more time at home. I think it’s the right thing to do for my loved ones.”

Saar’s wife, Channel 1 news anchor Geula Even, was suspended recently for violating an order not to interview Likud ministers due to conflict of interest. The couple married last year.

Saar stressed at the party that he would remain in Likud, which with his departure will drop to 18 Knesset seats — one less than Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party.

Leon Litnetsky of Yisrael Beiteinu, which is in the government on a combined list with Likud, will replace Saar.


Lone soldiers’ parents being brought to Israel for holiday visits

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 15:40

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The parents of 77 lone soldiers in Israel who fought in the recent Gaza operation are being brought to Israel to spend the High Holidays with their children.

El Al airlines will be flying in 125 parents from 10 cities in North America and Europe. The families also will receive five free days in hotels that belong to the Israel Hotel Association.

The first flight, from Moscow, is scheduled to arrive on Thursday.

“We initiated this special project for family reunification in Israel to celebrate the New Year; to allow soldiers to get a hug from their parents, close the circle and open up new opportunities,” David Maimon, the CEO of El Al, said in a statement.

“The lone soldiers are not alone,” said Avigdor Kahalani, the head of the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers, which co-organized the project.

Three lone soldiers, all staff sergeants, were killed in action during Operation Protective Edge: Max Steinberg of California, Nissim Sean Carmeli of Texas and Jordan Bensemhoun of Lyon, France.

‘With Jews we lose,’ reads one Senate candidate’s slogan in Ky.

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 14:22

(JTA) — Robert Ransdell, a write-in candidate for U.S. Senate from Kentucky, is campaigning with the slogan “With Jews we lose.”

Campaign lawn signs with the slogan began appearing in the Cincinnati suburb of Florence, Ky., in recent days. Ransdell said his campaign has posted about 20 signs and plans 200 more in the weeks ahead.

“Online we have had a lot of positive feedback,” Ransdell told WLWT, a TV news station in Cincinnati. “Like I said, we’re going to find out what kind of feedback we get once we go out and take it to the people here in the state of Kentucky.”

The major-party candidates in the race are Republican Mitch McConnell, the incumbent and the Senate’s minority leader, and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. Neither is Jewish.

Joel Levy named president and CEO of Center for Jewish History

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 14:19

(JTA) — Joel Levy is the new president and CEO of the Center for Jewish History in New York City.

The center, the home to five partner organizations, made the announcement on Wednesday. It also announced that Amy Goldman Fowler was appointed board chair.

Levy most recently served as development director at the Vera Institute of Justice and was formerly the New York Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League for nine years. He previously served as chairman for Germany of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation and co-managing director of the SHOAH Visual History Foundation, both based in Berlin. For many years, Levy was a senior U.S. foreign service officer.

Goldman Fowler, a philanthropist and author, has served since 2011 as vice chair of the center’s board of directors. In addition to her leadership of the Amy P. Goldman Foundation, Goldman Fowler is a trustee of the Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust. She has served as executive director of the Sol Goldman Charitable Trust of New York City.

The center’s top executive, Michael Glickman, resigned in May.

Its five partner organizations are the American Jewish Historical Society, the American Sephardi Federation, the Leo Baeck Institute, the Yeshiva University Museum and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. Their collections total more than 500,000 volumes and 100 million documents, and include thousands of pieces of artwork, textiles, ritual objects, recordings, films, and photographs.

Dig uncovers gas chambers at Sobibor death camp

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:14

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An archaeological dig at Sobibor has uncovered the Nazi death camp’s gas chambers.

The excavations in Poland have been going on since 2007, and thousands of inmates’ personal items have been found at the site. They include rings, pendants, earrings, jewelry, perfume bottles, medicine cases and food utensils, Yad Vashem said Wednesday.

The water well used at Sobibor’s Camp 1, in which an uprising by inmates took place, also was discovered. The well also contained the personal items of Jewish inmates.

David Silberklang, senior historian at the International Institute for Holocaust Research and editor in chief of Yad Vashem Studies, called the discovery of the gas chambers “a very important finding in Holocaust research.”

“There were no survivors from among the Jews who worked in the area of the gas chambers. Therefore, these findings are all that is left of those murdered there, and they open a window onto the day-to-day suffering of these people,” he said in a statement.

“We will now be able to know more precisely what the process of murder was in the camp, and what the Jews went through until they were murdered. Additionally, finding the gas chambers and their capacity will enable us to estimate more precisely the number of people murdered in Sobibor.”

Archaeologist Yoram Haimi said the staff was “amazed at the size of the building and the well-preserved condition of the chamber walls.”

The Sobibor camp operated between April 1942 and October 1943, during which time some 250,000 Jews were murdered there. In the wake of the camp uprising on Oct. 14, 1943, the Germans decided to dismantle the camp, bulldozing it and leaving no signs that it was a former death camp.

Until now, researchers used survivor testimony for details about the camp.



Biden regrets making ‘Shylock’ reference

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:07

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged that he made a “poor choice of words” in using the term “Shylock” to describe unscrupulous lenders.

Biden was reacting Wednesday to remarks by Abraham Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League’s national director, in response to the vice president’s use of the term this week.

Speaking to the Legal Services Organization, a group that funds legal assistance for the poor, Biden referred to the experience of his son Beau, the Delaware attorney general who has served in Iraq.

Beau Biden, the vice president said, had been approached by service members who had been preyed upon by unscrupulous lenders.

“People would come to him and talk about what was happening to them at home in terms of foreclosures, in terms of bad loans that were being — I mean, these Shylocks who took advantage of these women and men while overseas,” he said.

Foxman, in a statement to Yahoo News, said the term was “offensive.”

“When someone as friendly to the Jewish community and open and tolerant an individual as is Vice President Joe Biden uses the term ‘Shylocked’ to describe unscrupulous moneylenders dealing with servicemen and women, we see once again how deeply embedded this stereotype about Jews is in society,” Foxman said.

In a statement emailed from his office to JTA, Biden agreed with that characterization.

“Abe Foxman has been a friend and advisor of mine for a long time,” Biden said. “He’s correct, it was a poor choice of words, particularly, as he said, coming from ‘someone as friendly to the Jewish community and open and tolerant an individual as is Vice President Joe Biden.’ He’s right.”

Lawsuit accusing Israel of genocide to be filed in Argentina

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 11:33

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — An Argentine lawyer said he will file a lawsuit in federal court in Buenos Aires accusing Israel of crimes against humanity and genocide.

Carlos Slepoy told Pagina/12, a Buenos Aires newspaper, in an interview published Tuesday that the suit will be filed in the coming days in response to Israel’s 50-day operation in Gaza this summer. The suit is in conjunction with the American Association of Jurists.

The suit singles out specific Israeli leaders as being responsible both directly and non-directly for the alleged crimes, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz  and Likud lawmaker Moshe Feiglin, according to Pagina/12.

“The disproportionate number of forces and the large number of [Palestinian] victims reveals the huge crime; we will provide to the court a list with names and ages of the Palestinian kids murdered“ said Slepoy, who successfully opened in Argentina a trial about crimes committed in Spain during the government of Francisco Franco, who was the dictator of Spain from 1939 to his death in 1975.

Slepoy said he hoped that Gaza victims and human rights groups representing Gazans would join the suit.

In July, the American Association of Jurists issued a statement “strongly condemning the criminal aggression of Israel against Gaza and the occupation of Palestinian territories including East Jerusalem.”



Notes removed from Western Wall ahead of Rosh Hashanah

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 09:54

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Workers at the Western Wall emptied the holy site of layers of notes from its cracks and crevices for the New Year.

The notes were removed Wednesday morning under the supervision of the rabbi of the Western Wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich. The notes will be buried in the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem.

Visitors to the wall traditionally write their prayers and hopes on pieces of paper and insert them into its cracks.

In addition to the notes that visitors place in the wall, the Western Wall Institute receives tens of thousands of notes through its website and by fax to be placed there, the office of the Rabbi of the Western Wall said in a statement.

The notes are removed from the wall twice a year, before Rosh Hashanah and Passover, using wooden sticks dipped in the mikvah.



Hamas arrests cell that fired mortar at Israel despite cease-fire

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 09:52

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Hamas in Gaza reportedly arrested those responsible for launching a mortar at Israel in defiance of the cease-fire.

Following the launching of the mortar on Tuesday evening, Hamas contacted Israel through intermediaries to say it was honoring the truce and was attempting to discover the identities of the launchers in order to arrest them, Ynet reported late that day, citing unnamed security sources. Hamas later announced the arrest.

The rocket landed in the Eshkol Regional Council near the border fence with Gaza. No injuries or damage were reported. The Code Red alert siren did not sound.

Hamas denied any knowledge of the rocket launch. No other Gaza faction claimed responsibility.

The attack came three weeks after the announcement of a cease-fire ending the 50-day conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

In Jerusalem, Syrian rebel calls for new gov’t to make peace with Israel

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 09:22

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Syrian rebels should make peace with Israel in return for support in overthrowing the current Syrian government, a prominent Syrian rebel said.

Kamal al-Labwani spoke with Israeli reporters on Tuesday in Jerusalem. He visited Israel for more than a week while taking part in the annual International Conference on Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya.

Labwani said that a new Syrian government would be able to reach a negotiated settlement over the Israel-annexed Golan Heights to turn the territory into “a garden of peace rather than conflict,” he told the i24 Israeli news channel. Israel captured the southern Golan in the 1967 war.

“It is up to the government of Israel. I think we can open the road, we can cooperate, we can create a new process for peace in Syria and the whole region. But both sides need to understand each other and listen to each other,” he told i24 news.

Labwani was released from a Syrian prison in 2011 during a general amnesty after being held for nearly a decade on charges of “communicating with a foreign country and inciting it to initiate aggression against Syria.” He was given political asylum in Sweden.

He called on the new U.S.-led coalition against ISIS to also help to overthrow the government of President Bashar Assad, and to provide more support to the rebels and the Syrian people, including establishing a no-fly zone for Syrian rebels and refugees in the north and south of the country.

European Jewish groups call for greater security, fight against anti-Semitism

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 07:43

(JTA) — European authorities must provide greater security for Jewish institutions, a major Jewish organization said in the wake of a suspected arson attack on a Brussels synagogue.

“While it is unclear who was behind the attack, what is clear is that synagogues and other Jewish institutions have been placed on the front lines,” Dr. Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, said in a statement issued hours after the attack on Tuesday,

Police said fire was deliberately set in four places in the synagogue on de la Clinique Street in Anderlecht, one of the municipalities that make up the Brussels region.

The wife and two children of the synagogue’s caretaker, who live in the building, were treated for smoke inhalation. The caretaker was not there at the time of the attack.

Tuesday’s attack, part of an increase across Europe in anti-Semitic attacks, was “born on May 24,” when a French gunman killed four people at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels, said Joel Rubinfeld, president of the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism, or LBCA. The museum shooting, he added, is similar to a March 2012 attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, which left three children and a rabbi dead.

“Whatever the motivation for this particular attack, incidents of this nature only serve to cause further distress to the Jewish Community both in Brussels and across Europe,” said Pinchas Goldschmidt, the president of the Conference of European Rabbis.

“Coming within months of the terrorist attack at a Brussels Museum and in the context of a spike in anti-Semitic attacks across Europe, this highlights the need for political leaders to take the strongest possible stance on anti-Semitism, following the example Chancellor [Angela] Merkel set in Berlin earlier this week,” he added, referring to her speech at a rally in Berlin against anti-Semitism in which she said it was the German state’s duty to fight anti-Semitism.

Rabbi Menachem Margolin of the Chabad-affiliated Rabbinical Center of Europe in a statement called on Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo to increase security around the country’s Jewish institutions and to establish a national authority for combating anti-Semitism.

“Don’t wait for another murder,” he cautioned Di Rupo.

Meanwhile, Brussels lawmaker Alain Destexhe on Tuesday called on the government to develop a plan to fight anti-Semitism following recent anti-Semtitic incidents.

“Anti-Semitism reached an intolerable level in our capital. Within three days, we have witnessed the burning of a synagogue, throwing missiles at the Jewish memorial visitors to Anderlecht, and anti-Semitic insults in a train in Jette,” he wrote on his Facebook page. He said the plan to fight anti-Semitism should be separate from other plans against racism.

On Sunday at the National Memorial Site for Jewish Victims of the Holocaust, also in Anderlecht, several people hurled large stones and a bottle at the monument where several dozen people were attending a ceremony.

Hours earlier, Di Rupo in an address at the reopening of the Jewish Museum of Belgium in central Brussels vowed to punish perpetrators of anti-Semitic crimes.

“More than ever before, fighting anti-Semitism must truly become a national cause. At stake is our country’s honor and probably its future,” he said.

Tuesday’s attack in Brussels follows a recent attempted arson attack on a synagogue in Wuppertal, Germany, and the arrest of two Muslim girls who planned to blow up the Great Synagogue in Lyon, France.


Agudah, Reform laud feds’ Sabbath suit against Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 05:34

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A federal lawsuit against a Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee for refusing to hire a Sabbath-observant worker drew praise from Agudath Israel of America and the Reform movement.

“Employers need to know that it is illegal to refuse to hire an employee because of his or her religion, and that they are required by federal law to attempt to accommodate Sabbath observers in the workplace,” Mordechai Biser, Agudah’s general counsel, said in a statement Monday.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission brought the suit against Citi Brands LLC for refusing to hire Darrell Littrell, a Seventh-day Adventist, who was offered and then denied a job at a manufacturing facility in Arden, N.C.

“Employers should be mindful that it is against the law to discriminate against an applicant or an employee based on his religion, including the observance of the Sabbath,” Lynette Barnes, the regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District, said in a statement.

Barbara Weinstein, the director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, said it was the EEOC’s role to investigate any failure to accommodate religion.

“No one should be denied a job opportunity based on religious belief, unless it poses an undue hardship to the employer,” she told JTA. “Here Citi Brands appears to have failed to provide the desired accommodation based on Littrell’s religious belief. We hope that this case will send a signal to other employers regarding the importance of providing accommodations for employees.”

Seventh-day Adventists, like observant Jews, observe the Sabbath from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday.

Italian Jewish groups open anti-Semitism hotline

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 05:29

ROME (JTA) – A hotline to report anti-Semitic incidents was launched in Italy.

Renzo Gattegna, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, announced the creation of the Anti-Semitism Antenna in a statement published Tuesday on his umbrella group’s information website.

The hotline is an experimental project by the group and the Milan-based Center for Contemporary Jewish Documentation Foundation, or CDEC, Italy’s main anti-Semitism monitoring institution.

Victims of and witnesses to anti-Semitic acts can report the incidents to CDEC’s anti-Semitism monitor section by calling a Milan phone number – 0233103840 – or filling out a form on the CDEC website.

The announcement said the reports received will be verified, saved and “used to deepen knowledge of anti-Jewish prejudice and hostility.” Callers’ identities will not be divulged to third parties, it said.

NYC police looking into swastika fliers in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 05:25

(JTA) — New York City police are investigating the distribution of fliers marked with swastikas in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.

A member of the Shomrim, a watchdog group affiliated with New York’s haredi Orthodox community, spotted the fliers on Bedford Avenue, a Jewish area of Williamsburg, on Monday evening, according to the JPUpdates news site. The group alerted the police.

Police are reviewing surveillance video to see if they can track the fliers’ distributor, JPUpdates said.

The fliers are marked with a swastika and the word “uber,” which roughly translates as “superior” in German.

Michael Broyde, rabbi in pseudonym scandal, launching synagogue

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 05:20

(JTA) — Michael Broyde, the rabbi at the center of a scandal involving his use of pseudonyms in talkbacks to tout his reputation, is launching a synagogue in Atlanta.

The Jewish Channel, the news website that last year exposed Broyde’s use of an online persona to praise his own work, reported Tuesday that Broyde is one of three rabbis planning a new congregation in the Toco Hills neighborhood, where he helped found another Orthodox congregation in 1994.

Broyde in February resigned from the Rabbinical Council of America, a leading Orthodox organization, because of the revelations of his use of a pseudonym.

Winehouse statue features Star of David

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 17:13

Mitch and Janis Winehouse viewing the statue of the late singer Amy Winehouse, their daughter, at its unveiling in London, Sept. 14, 2014. (Dave Hogan/Getty Images)

(JTA) — A statue of Amy Winehouse in London has the iconic blues singer wearing a Star of David.

The unveiling Sunday in the Camden Town neighborhood, where Winehouse lived, marked what would have been Winehouse’s 31st birthday and was attended by her parents.

The statue, by Scott Eaton, casts the singer, who was Jewish, mostly in gray striking a typical pose – one hand on hip, the other clutching a miniskirt – topped by a bouffant hairdo stuck with the statue’s only burst of color, a red rose.

Around her neck is a Star of David set in a circle.

“It is incredibly emotional to see Amy immortalised like this, but Scott has done an amazing job in capturing her,” her father, Mitch Winehouse, was quoted as saying by New Musical Express. “It is like stopping her in a beautiful moment in time.”

Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning in 2011 at 27.

IDF disciplines reservist for passing info to Bennett during Gaza op

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 16:08

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israel Defense Forces disciplined a senior reserves officer who reportedly passed classified information to a government minister during Operation Protective Edge.

On Tuesday, the Israeli media identified the two: former IDF Chief Rabbi Avichai Ronsky and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett. Ronsky was barred from the headquarters of IDF units.

He denied that he was the reserve officer. Bennett has denied he illegally received information during the Gaza operation.

Ronsky, who was not called up for reserve duty during the Gaza operation this summer, joined some of the patrols.

The head of the hesder yeshiva in the West Bank settlement of Itamar, Ronsky is known to be close to Bennett. The rabbi said in an interview on Israel Channel 2 that he did not talk to Bennett during the operation.

Bennett, who served as an officer in the IDF Special Forces, has taken credit for initiating the plan to destroy the Hamas tunnels from Gaza to Israel. The economics chief said he visited soldiers on numerous occasions during the Gaza conflict and met with many commanders.

“My insistence on pushing for the destruction of the terror tunnels was not because I read my horoscope. It was because I went down south daily to the field,” Bennett wrote on his Facebook page. “It was because of my repeated meetings with several security and intelligence officials and various experts.”

“As a member of the Security Cabinet during Operation Protective Edge I spent a great deal of time down south. I was there for the sirens, the rockets and other difficult moments. I slept many nights by residents’ homes. It is called doing my job. Should I apologize for that,” he wrote.

Group Jewish wedding held in eastern Ukraine

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 15:27

Liliya Menasheva Sadovski and Kim Boruchovitch were among 19 couples wed in Jewish ceremonies in Dnepropetrovsk’s Menora Center, Sept. 14, 2014. (Courtesy of the Jewish Community of Dnepropetrovsk)

(JTA) — The Jewish community of Dnepropetrovsk in eastern Ukraine held a group wedding for 19 Jewish couples.

Most of the couples that wed Sunday were already married under Ukrainian law but had not had a Jewish wedding ceremony, or huppah, the director of the Dnepropetrovsk Jewish community, Zelig Brez, told JTA.

“It is a huge event in the spiritual sense, and, I’m not afraid to say it – historic,” he said, adding that the ceremonies were the largest group wedding performed in his city – where 50,000 Jews live – since before the communist era.

Ten rabbis conducted the marriages on a terrace at the Menora Center, Dnepropetrovsk’s $100 million Jewish community center, which opened in 2012. The couples received special preparation by Shmuel Kaminezki, the city’s chief rabbi and Chabad’s influential envoy to Ukraine, and his wife, Chana.

Under communism, Jewish life in the former Soviet Union was conducted underground, a reality that meant many Jews did not have a Jewish wedding. In many areas, a majority of Jews were not circumcised.

“The challenge was both logistical and halachic,” the community wrote in a report about the weddings. Special attention went to helping couples feel the moment in their own private context as opposed to a group activity, Brez explained.

For this reason, the weddings were conducted in two groups and not all at once – first for 10 couples and then for the remaining nine.

“It was something special, and I’m happy that I saw my daughter, in the presence of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren, finally get a huppah,” community activist Mina Dreitser said of the wedding of her daughter, Miriam Minutova, to Shlomo Skorokhod.

Mortar from Gaza hits Israel for first time since cease-fire

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 15:18

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A mortar shell fired from Gaza hit Israel — the first since a cease-fire ending the most recent Hamas-Israel conflict — Israel’s military confirmed.

The rocket landed Tuesday evening in the Eshkol Regional Council near the border fence with Gaza, according to reports. No injuries or damage were reported. The Code Red alert siren did not sound.

Hamas denied any knowledge of the rocket launch. No other Gaza faction claimed responsibility.

“There is no sign a mortar bomb was fired from Gaza and Palestinian factions are committed to keep the agreement for calm, and eager to maintain it,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.

The launch came a day after the Code Red alert siren was sounded in the Gaza border area in what was determined to be a false alarm.

Also Tuesday, Israel agreed to a deal brokered by the United Nations to rebuild Gaza.