Israel news

Netanyahu: I don't share Rabbi Yosef's views

By Jennifer Lipman, August 30, 2010

The Israeli Prime Minister has distanced himself from inflammatory remarks about Mahmoud Abbas made by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

The spiritual leader of the religious party Shas said in an address on Saturday that the Palestinian leader should "vanish from our world" and labelled the Palestinians as evil and bitter enemies.

The 89-year-old, who is a former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, also said that God should strike the Palestinians “with a plague”.

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Ashton concerned by Palestinian conviction

By Jennifer Lipman, August 27, 2010

Baroness Ashton has criticised an Israeli court ruling convicting a Palestinian activist of demonstrating illegally.

Abdullah Abu Rahmeh has not yet been sentenced but could face two years in jail after a military court convicted him of incitement.

The teacher, 39, staged weekly protests against the West Bank security fence, leading marches from the West bank village of Bilin to the barrier. Israel said he did not have the necessary license for this.

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Israel's biblical vultures under threat

By Jennifer Lipman, August 27, 2010

Scientists believe that a bird species mentioned in the bible is under threat of dying out because of farming methods in northern Israel.

The number of griffon vultures in the Golan Heights is thought to have dropped to under ten, due to the illegal use of pesticides to prevent wolves and jackals from attacking farm animals.

Oll Spiegel, a scientist whose Phd thesis is on the species, has blamed the decline on the use of poison to deter wolf attacks on cattle.

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Tel Aviv planning Boris bikes scheme

By Paul Berger, August 26, 2010

First came Boris's Bikes in London. Now Tel Aviv wants a piece of the wheely action. Next year, the Mediterranean city will unveil a citywide bike rental scheme for residents and tourists.

Moshe Tiomkin, head of Tel Aviv's Transport and Parking Authority, said that 1,500 bikes will be available at 150 bicycle stations around the city.

Bike hire will cost about £2.50 a day, less for people with a Tel Aviv resident ID.

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Blair: Don't apply rules to Israel that you wouldn't apply to your own country

By Tony Blair, August 26, 2010

Former British prime minster Tony Blair nailed his colours firmly to the mast of Israel and democracy this week in a stunning address to press, politicians and diplomats in Herzliya.

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Comment: Peace talks? Don't get your hopes up

By Gerald M Steinberg, August 26, 2010

Six decades of failed peace efforts have left most Israelis (and Palestinians) deeply skeptical about the prospects for success.

The pattern is familiar - a new American president, faced with major difficulties at home and abroad, hopes that a Middle East peace breakthrough will help solve many of these problems. He squeezes the leaders of both sides, and as neither wants the label of "spoiler", they go along with the charade.

But the efforts fail, as core differences over history, religion (particularly in Jerusalem), borders and sovereignty remain insurmountable.

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Analysis: The best bet for Israel is still sabotage, not an air attack

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 26, 2010

The much-heralded "switching on" of the Iranian nuclear reactor in Bushehr does not mean that an Israeli or American military attack is any nearer.

Despite some alarmist warnings, especially by former American ambassador the United Nations, John Bolton, this is not any sort of "point of no return". With close inspection by the IAEA and the Russian government, the light-water reactor won't give the Iranians the much-sought-after key to the nuclear power clubhouse.

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New IDF chief Galant is 'a natural leader'

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 26, 2010

There has never been an IDF Chief of General Staff from the navy and that is no coincidence. The Israeli navy may be known as the Senior Service but, in the IDF, it has always been the poor and underfunded cousin.

But within the close-knit family of naval commandos, Yoav Galant was a legend, dating back to his days as a young officer on raids on the Lebanese coast in the late 1970s. His physical strength and natural leadership skills gained the respect of his soldiers but also of his commanders.

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Comment: New IDF chief choice is highly political

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 26, 2010

Defence Minister Ehud Barak did not lose a moment. Last Thursday night, the police confirmed that none of the members of the IDF General Staff are suspected of writing the "Galant memo" - an apparently forged document setting out Maj Gen Yoav Galant's aggressive strategy for becoming the next chief-of-staff - and Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein informed him that he could legally appoint a new Chief of General Staff (CGS).

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UNIFIL: Lebanon not provoked in border clash

By Jennifer Lipman, August 25, 2010

United Nations peacekeepers have released a report concluding that Israel did not cross the border with Lebanon before IDF soldiers were fired on in a border fatal clash at the beginning of August.

Lebanon had claimed that Israel provoked the attack, which took place after soldiers were spotted carrying out maintenance work on a tree at Israel’s northern border.

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