Israeli state validates 40,000 conversions

By Nathan Jeffay, May 10, 2012

Israel's High Court has affirmed the validity of 40,000 conversions, called in to doubt when the so-called conversion crisis started four years ago.

In 2008, a panel of judges in Israel's Supreme Rabbinical Court raised a question mark over all conversions performed in the previous decade by the state's conversion courts.


British National Party bucks far-right trend in Europe - by losing

By Jessica Elgot, May 10, 2012

Support for the British National Party has "collapsed" in all of its former strongholds, losing 10 of the 12 council seats it was defending.

The far-right party lost its seat in the London Assembly and all its candidates lost their deposits, according to Hope Not Hate.


Ken pays price for sectarianism

By Martin Bright, May 10, 2012

At around 10 o'clock on Friday evening I received a call from a prominent figure in the Jewish community, a lifelong Labour supporter who had worked for the party in his youth.

The count for the London mayoral election was looking closer than anyone had predicted and my caller was getting twitchy.


This accord is just sticking plaster on broken system

By Arye Carmon, May 10, 2012

David Cameron's administration is the UK's first coalition government since the war.

In contrast, Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition is Israel's 33rd. And he has to manage not one but six coalition partners.

The politics of survival led in 2009 to him establishing the largest cabinet ever, comprised of 30 ministers and nine deputy ministers.


Feeling the unkindest cut of all

By Peter Rosengard, April 27, 2012

As regular readers of this monthly column will know, I've been eating out every night for the past 15 years. It's not easy, but someone has to keep London's restaurants going, especially in these austere times.

And It doesn't matter whether I order spaghetti or steak, sole or schnitzel, I always order a tomato-and-onion salad to go with it.


Denier in line for Papal blessing

By Ed Kessler, April 26, 2012

Close observers of Vatican tea leaves suggest that the Holy See is close to an agreement with the ultra-conservative Society of St Pius X, after three years of negotiations.


Will Israel-Egypt relations collapse with gas deal?

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 26, 2012

On announcing that it was terminating its contract to supply gas to Israel on Sunday, Egypt's Natural Gas holding company immediately claimed that the decision had been made on a purely commercial basis.

However, the move was pounced upon by the country's presidential candidates as yet another opportunity to burnish their national and anti-Israel credentials.


Fact and fiction in Israel's fight behind enemy lines

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 11, 2012

When trying to make sense of some of the recent reports to come out on secret Israeli missions and plans for attacks on Iran, it is useful to simply open an atlas.

Take, for instance, the "news" on Israeli operations from the Kurd regions in northern Iraq, which appeared in the Sunday Times last month. This is the same report that has been recycled for the past nine years - but how true is it?


Can Iranians compromise in Istanbul?

April 11, 2012

Until last week, it was not even clear where talks would happen.

On Friday, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) will meet their Iranian counterparts in Istanbul, for a new round of negotiations over Iran's nuclear programme. There is no reason to be optimistic about the talks, despite the initial mood expressed by Brussels and Washington.


Toulouse killer was no lone wolf

By Jason Burke, March 29, 2012

As ever, as the dust settles, the facts become clearer. In the case of Mohamed Merah, the killer of three Jewish children, a rabbi and three soldiers in France earlier this month, the questions have become sharper too.

Though local authorities have been praised for their handling of the bloody dénoument of Merah's short-lived terrorist career, many doubts remain.