Double-murder suspect commits suicide

News

 A man considered the chief suspect in a double murder committed suicide. The bodies of Sigalit Kirschner, 46 and David Katchkart, 40, from Hadera, who married a fortnight ago, were found shot dead in the Galilee town of Kadita. Police named Acre man Erez Ben-Ezra as the prime suspect.

 The former CEO of Heftziba, Boaz Yona, is to serve seven years in prison and pay NIS 4 million (£580,000) in compensation after agreeing a plea bargain with prosecutors.

 Mr Yona fled abroad last August after his construction company collapsed. He was finally extradited from Italy last month.

 Reports in both Israeli and Arab media suggested that Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, currently serving five life sentences for his complicity in terror murders, could be released separately from any prisoner swap for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. This would be an attempt to bolster the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority and not give Hamas credit for liberating the popular leader.

 Six suspects were charged with membership in a terrorist organisation for alleged links to al-Qaida. Seized as part of a joint operation between Israeli police and the Shin Bet security services, the group included two students at Jerusalem's Hebrew University.

 Former president Moshe Katzav may be indicted on two counts of rape following allegations by an employee who worked for him when he was tourism minister. Prosecutors have been discussing whether to charge him with forcible indecent assault or rape since he withdrew from a plea bargain in April.

 The Cabinet formally confirmed a 67-year-old law professor, Gabriela Shalev, as Israel's next ambassador to the United Nations. Replacing outgoing envoy Dan Gillerman, this is Ms Shalev's first appointment to a diplomatic role.

 Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin warned that Hamas had been using the ceasefire to re-arm itself and develop missiles capable of reaching further into Israel than ever before. He told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee that the only way to combat this was for IDF troops to operate on the ground in the Gaza Strip.

Arts

 Punk legend Siouxsie Sioux has cancelled her appearance at the Heatwave Festival this summer. Low ticket sales for the concert have also meant that the gig, headlined by Morrissey and including the New York Dolls, has been moved to a smaller venue.

 Jerusalem's first origami festival was held this week, with workshops, lectures and children's events. It will include sessions on Origametria - an Israeli-developed method for teaching geometry through the ancient art of paper-folding, currently taught to some 10,000 Israeli schoolchildren.

 Legendary Blues singer and harmonica player James Cotton is to play three shows in Israel this September. Born in 1935, the veteran musician played harmonica for the legendary Muddy Water for 12 years, and has collaborated with other stars including Janis Joplin, Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin and Santana.

 A group of 12 young documentary filmmakers from across Europe met in Israel last week to exchange ideas and network. The participants, from countries including Germany, Poland and Cyprus, met as part of the Sunday in the Country programme, which has been arranging conferences in different countries in each of the past 13 years.

 A student incurred the wrath of Holocaust survivors when he used a drawing of Adolf Hitler (below) in his end-of-year show at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. The Centre for Holocaust Survivor Organisations in Israel complained, but student Nir Avigad said he wanted to subvert the "taboo around this subject".

Business

 Teva Pharmaceuticals, the world's biggest maker of generic drugs, looks set to buy US copycat manufacturer Barr Pharmaceuticals for $7.5 billion (£3.75bn). If successful, this would be the largest ever deal made by an Israeli company.

 Israel's per annum industrial production increased by 6.8 per cent between March and May of this year, according to new figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics. This is in addition to the 11.9 per cent rise already measured in the first quarter of 2008. Most of the increase was in the hi-tech, electronic and pharmaceutical sectors, while production in traditional industries such as food and textiles continued to fall.

 Sir Richard Branson made his second investment in Israeli hi-tech by putting $12 million (£6m) into GreenRoad Technologies, an in-vehicle system which reduces fuel consumption and lowers harmful emissions. His Virgin Green Fund last year invested $9 million (£4.5m) in Netanya-based Metrolight, which has developed electronic ballasts for high-intensity-discharge lamps.

    Last updated: 1:49pm, January 6 2011