Israel News | Palestinians

West Bank arson attack suspected to be work of Jewish extremists leaves Palestinian infant dead and family critically injured
  • Witnesses reported Israeli settlers firebombed two homes in the town of Duma around 2 a.m., leading to the infant’s death and the serious injury of his parents and 4-year-old brother.
  • The government was swift to condemn the violence as “an act of terrorism in every respect,” but Palestinian leaders called for the Israeli government to be held responsible as it continues to green-light Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank.
  • The act was the latest in a string of violent acts traded between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank, where mosques have been burned and an Israeli man murdered in the last month.

“Your soul cries out and cannot find solace — the murder of a child by Jews and the burning of a house is the murder of Abu Khdeir all over again.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.

(Image Credit: Alaa Badarneh/European Pressphoto Agency, via The New York Times)

Armenia News | Women

Armenian ministry proposes ban on sex-selective abortion along with additional restrictions
  • The Ministry of Health submitted the bill to parliament at the beginning of July, hoping to become the first country to enact the protective measure in the South Caucasus.
  • The ban would require doctor’s consent for all abortions between the 12th and 22nd weeks of pregnancy and would require counseling and a three-day waiting period.
  • One estimate puts the number of sex-selective abortions at 2,000 per year, producing a male-to-female birth ratio of 114 to 100, the third highest in the world.

“Having a son is one of the most important issues for many Armenian families, and I highly doubt that it will be possible to get results [and end selective abortions] by using prohibitions.”

Read the full story at EurasiaNet.

(Image Credit: Anahit Hayrapetyan/EurasiaNet)

New Zealand News | Indian Immigrants

Indian nationals receive extortionate phone calls in New Zealand
  • Individuals posing as immigration officials have been targeting immigrants over the phone, threatening deportation unless payment is received.
  • The scams involve using phone numbers similar to the Immigration Contact Centre and demands for money transfers through Western Union.
  • Immigration New Zealand issued a reminder that they would never ask for payment over the phone and that such illegal activity should be reported to the police.

Read the full story at The Times of India.

U.S. News | African Americans

Cincinnati community speaks out on ongoing police harassment following killing of unarmed black man
  • A University of Cincinnati police officer was indicted on murder charges following a traffic stop involving a missing front-end license plate.
  • Residents decried targeting by campus police at the University of Cincinnati, where only 7% of students are black compared to 45% in the city population.
  • Off-campus patrols were increased in 2013 following a statement by the UC president that community residents and student activists believe inflamed town-gown relations.

“Instead of inclusion, there’s this culture of class that UC has created. … It’s like the people in the outside communities are voiceless to the administration and the administration just wants them to stay out of the way.”

Read the full story at BuzzFeed News.

(Image Credit: William Philpott/Reuters, via BuzzFeed News)

Israel News | LGBT

Assailant stabs six at Jerusalem Pride
  • Yishai Schlissel, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, had been released from prison three weeks earlier for good behavior after having been imprisoned for stabbing three at 2005’s Jerusalem Pride.
  • Schlissel had released a threatening letter and railed against the celebration in an interview prior to the event, which is attended by thousands.
  • While politicians denounced the attack, attendees sharply criticized the police for the lack of security precautions given Schlissel’s release.

“We won’t allow a single excuse for violence of any kind. Jerusalem is a place for all, and we will continue to fight together with the Israel Police against all who attempt violence to harm another. … We will continue to support all groups and communities in Jerusalem and won’t be deterred by those who try perverse ways to prevent this.”

Read the full story at The Times of Israel.

(Image Credit: Screen capture/Channel 2, via The Times of Israel)

France & U.K. News | Migrants

Migrant situation in Calais deteriorates as French and British authorities bicker over responsibility
  • Reports indicate that more than 2,000 migrants have been taken from the Eurotunnel premises connecting France and the U.K. over the last few days, although a police union stated those numbers may be inflated due to migrants making multiple attempts.
  • One man was killed and another electrocuted during the surge in attempts, while 148 made it to the U.K. side and declared asylum.
  • While France demands more border and repatriation support from the U.K., around 5,000 migrants and refugees–mostly from Africa and the Middle East–have been living in poor conditions in camps around Calais.

“It was pandemonium. … They were pouring through holes in the fences and clinging on to the Eurotunnel trains.”

Read the full story at France 24.

(Image Credit: Philippe Huguen/AFP, via France 24)

U.S. Research | Race Sentiment

Black Attitudes on U.S. Race Relations

The New York Times released the results of a recent New York Times/CBS News poll surveying individuals’ attitudes on white-black relations in the U.S.. Here are highlights of the level of security expressed by black respondents only:

Belief in real progress made in eliminating racial discrimination
56% believe vs. 41% do not believe

Who has the better chance of getting ahead in today’s society?
Whites do: 60% (2015) vs. 46% (2014)
Blacks do: 1% (2015) vs. 4% (2014)
Both do equally: 35% (2015) vs. 46% (2014)

Feelings about personal interactions with the police
58% mostly safe vs. 37% mostly anxious

Belief that race has ever caused police to stop him/her
41% race-motivated experience vs. 57% no race-motivated experience

Further Reading
“A Growing Divide on Race” (NYT: full results)

“Poll Finds Most in U.S. Hold Dim View of Race Relations” (NYT: analysis)
“How the Poll Was Conducted” (NYT: methodology)

U.S. News | Transgender Jews

Ritual baths pose difficult obstacle for trans individuals converting to Judaism in the U.S.
  • The last step in the conversion process, the mikvah requires submersion in water in the nude, which can be a source of anxiety for transgender converts.
  • Transgender and ally rabbis have been working together to compile a running list of transgender Jews willing to serve as witnesses for those undergoing mikvah.
  • The number of gender minorities seeking to convert has surprised some community members, but theologians note that Judaism has recognized individuals falling outside of the gender binary since its earliest times.

“The body is an area of particular vulnerability for transgender people, because so much of our identities is inextricably intertwined with the nuances of our physical appearance.”

Read the full Religious News Service story at The Huffington Post.

(Image Credit: Mayyim Hayyim, via The Huffington Post)

Afghanistan Feature | Women

Making Bricks of Molehills

An estimated 2 million widows in Afghanistan struggle to hold together their families and forge a future for themselves following the death of their husbands. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty profiles a group of un-remarried women who, living independently, have built a community from the ground up with the few resources they have.

View the full feature at Radio Free Liberty/Radio Europe.

Sweden News | Gender Identity

Sweden’s new gender-neutral pronoun makes its way to Facebook
  • “Hen,” the relatively new alternative to “hon” (she) and “han” (he) in Swedish, has been gaining steady momentum in the last decade as an alternative to explicit gender identification in speech and writing.
  • The Facebook inclusion comes as a part of Facebook’s push to include more identification options for those with non-binary gender identities.
  • The word appeared in the Swedish dictionary for the first time earlier in the year as evidence of common usage and official acceptance.

“Facebook is a hub for other social media which use your Facebook profile. The hope is that they will realize that they have to adapt. Facebook is such a central online space and we hope this will have a ripple effect.”

Read the full story at The

U.S. News | Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual

Boy Scouts of America ends ban on gay adult leaders
  • The executive board’s vote culminates a 15-year evolution that began with the Supreme Court’s 2000 affirmation of the right of the organization to ban gay individuals from participating as scoutmasters.
  • In 2013, the organization ended its ban on gay youth participation while upholding the exclusion of openly gay adult leadership.
  • The Mormon church responded that it would have to reevaluate its relationship with the organization, although individually chartered groups will still be able to enforce the ban should they so choose.

“We so much closer to getting back to being about what scouting is all about, going on camping trips and teaching how to build fires and tie knots and lash poles together and build stuff … and learning to be a good leader and good friend and good citizen in the midst of all that.”

Read the full story at BuzzFeed News.

(Image Credit: Rich Pedroncelli/AP, via BuzzFeed News)

U.S. Feature | Muslim Americans

Reclaiming Faith

Western Muslims are in the throes of a two-front battle against ignorance, forced to counter both religious reactionaries’ and Islamophobia’s reduction of the complexity of contemporary Islam to its most extreme, fundamentalist interpretations. NPR spotlights Not in His Name, an education campaign launched by Reclamation Studios that uses the tools of Islam to demonstrate why most Muslims reject Islamic State theology and action.

Read the full feature at NPR.

China News | Hong Kong Women

Government and communities push to equalize gender representation in Hong Kong’s tech industry
  • Despite equal early interest in tech education, the proportion of girls in computer science courses drops to a third by the start of college.
  • In Hong Kong, where social pressure and negative images of tech culture push many into business, software development faces an uphill battle in capturing the career interests of young women.
  • Programs and organizations such as W Hub, Women Who Code, and First Code Academy are working to open opportunities to girls and young women in the tech field.

“Encouragement and support to study STEM needs to begin early both in school and at home. … Girls who show an early interest in the field often lose interest because of pervasive but underrecognised biases in the learning environment.”

Read the full story at the South China Morning Post.

(Image Credit: Jonathan Wong/South China Morning Post)

U.A.E. Feature | Jewish Israeli

Eli Beer: Diplomatic Daredevil

Middle East Eye interviews Eli Beer, an Israeli citizen who traveled to Dubai and recorded a video greeting despite the U.A.E.’s lack of diplomatic recognition of Israel. Raising money on a dare for the volunteer ambulance service he founded in Israel, Beer speaks about his perception of Dubai, his home country’s place in the Middle East, and the future of the Arab world’s relations with Israel.

Read the full interview at Middle East Eye.

Turkey News | Left-wing Kurds

Turkey blocks pro-Kurdish and left-wing websites as military action ramps up
  • The Telecommunications Directorate, Turkey’s official Internet-monitoring organization, targeted websites from Turkey and Iraq in the shutdown following the murder of two police officers by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.
  • Although officials denied involvement, Internet users also reported a slowdown in access to Facebook and Twitter, the latter of which was last blocked for two hours on July 22 after an Islamic State attack on the southern town of Suruc.
  • To date, more than 81,000 websites have been blocked in Turkey following the March passage of a law enabling removal or blockage of an online publication for national security.

Read the full story at the Hurriyet Daily News.

(Image Credit: via Hurriyet Daily News)