Israel news

US and UK spying revealed no secrets, claims Israel

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 23, 2013

The revelations in the Guardian and New York Times last Friday that the target list of a joint NSA-GCHQ surveillance operation included Israel’s former prime ministers Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak elicited only a muted response in Jerusalem.

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Israel’s leaders need to alter their tactics

By Michael Goldfarb, December 23, 2013

Next year is shaping up to be a period of subtle change in the Israel-US relationship.

The parameters of that change became clear last month when the US and the rest of the permanent members of the UN security council plus Germany, the P5 + 1, announced talks with Iran about its nuclear programme. In return, the Iranian government said it would freeze its nuclear research for six months.

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To predict nuclear talks, watch Iran’s domestic politics closely

By Meir Javedanfar, December 23, 2013

Iran’s foreign policy in 2014 is likely to be more chaotic than it was this year.

The reason is that Iran’s domestic politics is likely to be more chaotic in 2014, and in Iran, like in many other countries, foreign policy is an extension of what happens at home.

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Calmer horizon for Israel as Middle East burns

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 23, 2013

Nearly three years into the upheaval that began as the “Arab Spring”, and both Egypt and Syria are undergoing turmoil that is unlikely to subside in 2014.

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Fortunes of Bennett and Lapid will define the political game in 2014

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 23, 2013

The year 2013 was the year of the “brothers” in Israeli politics.

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Will 2014 be a year of peace?

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 23, 2013

At a particularly bleak moment during his umpteenth visit to the region this month, US Secretary of State John Kerry insisted: “We’re not talking at this point about any shifts [in the schedule],” and reiterated his belief that Israel and the Palestinians can still reach a peace agreement by April, at the end of the nine-month time-frame he set for the talks.

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Israel to levy new second home tax

By Nathan Jeffay, December 20, 2013

The cost of maintaining a second home in Israel will rocket on January 1, when a new regulation will double council tax on properties that lie empty for most of the year.

Last week, the Knesset approved the increase in taxes for so-called “phantom apartments”, following years of complaints by municipalities in tourist areas such as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

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Analysis: How rabbinate lost influence over holiest site

By Nathan Jeffay, December 20, 2013

Israel’s chief rabbis have issued a declaration reminding the public of the religious ban against visiting the holiest site in Judaism, Temple Mount.

The new chief rabbis, who took office five months ago, have stated that they adhere to the traditional position, which has dominated Israeli Orthodoxy since Israel captured Temple Mount in 1967.

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Confusion as Bedouin plan slides off the agenda

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 19, 2013

The decision by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last Thursday night to cancel the Prawer-Begin Plan for the Negev Bedouin Settlements left its opponents jubilant — but with no clue about what the replacement could be.

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Israel fears sanctions tsunami

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 19, 2013

Israeli diplomats are concerned that a large wave of sanctions could hit the country if the current round of talks with the Palestinians fails.

A recent spate of boycott actions in Europe and the US will have a limited effect but Israelis fear that they could be just the beginning.

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