Ilan Ben Zion

Ilan Ben Zion is an author at Religion News Service.

All Stories by Ilan Ben Zion

Israel may uproot ancient Christian mosaic near Armageddon. Where it could go next sparks outcry

By Ilan Ben Zion — August 17, 2023
TEL MEGIDDO, Israel (AP) — The proposed loan to the Museum of the Bible in Washington underscores the deepening ties between Israel and evangelical Christians in the U.S, whom Israel has come to count on for political support, tourism dollars and other benefits.

Tensions build around Jerusalem shrine after Syria rockets

By Ilan Ben Zion — April 10, 2023
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli warplanes and artillery struck targets in Syria following rare rocket fire from the northeastern neighbor, as Jewish-Muslim tensions reached a peak Sunday at a volatile Jerusalem shrine with simultaneous religious rituals.

Israel’s Haredi voters drift hard right in leadership vacuum

By Ilan Ben Zion — October 31, 2022
JERUSALEM (AP) — Itamar Ben-Gvir's sharp rise in popularity in the last three years has transformed him from a fringe provocateur to a central player in Tuesday's parliament election.

Palestinian gunman kills 5 in 3rd attack in Israel in a week

By Ilan Ben Zion — March 30, 2022
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli media said the attacker was a Palestinian from the West Bank, the third Arab assailant to launch an attack ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Israel’s national library sees Arabic site traffic boom

By Ilan Ben Zion — January 10, 2022
(AP) — The Jerusalem library is home to an extensive collection of Islamic and Arabic texts, including thousands of rare books and manuscripts in Arabic, Persian and Turkish ranging from the 9th to the 20th centuries.

Christmas in Bethlehem: Gilded treasures, but few tourists

By Ilan Ben Zion — November 19, 2021
BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) — Ahead of Christmas, a towering wooden screen — once blackened with soot from millions of worshippers’ candles — is being restored to its gilded glory in the Church of the Nativity, built at the site where many believe Jesus was born. But few visitors are expected to see it during […]

Woman now thought to be Afghanistan’s last Jew flees country

By Ilan Ben Zion and Llazar Semini — October 29, 2021
JERUSALEM (AP) — For years, Zebulon Simentov branded himself as the “last Jew of Afghanistan,” the sole remnant of a centuries-old community. He charged reporters for interviews and held court in Kabul’s only remaining synagogue. He left the country last month for Istanbul after the Taliban seized power. Now it appears he was not the […]

Jewish prayers held discreetly at contested Jerusalem shrine

By Ilan Ben Zion — August 25, 2021
(RNS) — “What is happening is a blatant and dangerous violation of the status quo,” said Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, a top official with the Waqf, the Jordanian-backed Islamic trust that administers the site. “The Israeli police must stop providing protection to extremists.”

Israel’s Olympic gold victory raises Jewish identity debate

By Ilan Ben Zion — August 3, 2021
JERUSALEM (AP) — Artem Dolgopyat and his girlfriend have lived together for three years, but his mother says the state won't allow them to marry.

Politics foil replacing hazardous bridge to Jerusalem site

By Ilan Ben Zion — July 22, 2021
JERUSALEM (AP) — The tenuous state of the Mughrabi Bridge has raised fears of another disaster after a stampede at a religious festival left 45 people dead.

Mixed city of Arabs and Jews remains on edge after violence

By Ilan Ben Zion and David Goldman — June 8, 2021
LOD, Israel (AP) — The roots of the recent upheavals that racked Israel’s mixed Jewish-Arab cities during the war have not been addressed, leaving those communities on edge.
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