Israel news

Analysis: No Abu Ghraib photoshoot, but we should all be very concerned

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 19, 2010

The Facebook photos of former IDF Sergeant Eden Abergil's army days drew an inevitable, though ridiculous, comparison this week with the depraved scenes of sexual abuse and torture carried out by American soldiers in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison.

But in many ways, the images of Abergil posing, smiling, with arrested Palestinian civilians bound and blindfolded in the close background, poses a more difficult and complex moral challenge for the IDF's commanders.

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Israeli wins mathematics 'Nobel prize'

By Jennifer Lipman, August 19, 2010

A Jerusalem scientist has become the first Israeli winner of a prestigious mathematics award.

Hebrew University professor Elon Lindenstrauss has been named as the recipient of the Fields Medal for 2010.

The prize, which is described as the mathematics equivalent of a Nobel Prize, is given out every four years to an outstanding academic under the age of 40.

Mr Lindenstrauss, born in 1970, is a reserve major in the IDF and a graduate of the Talpiot programme for outstanding students in the Israel Air Force.

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West Bank settlers plan to teach kids Arabic

By Nathan Jeffay, August 19, 2010

In the West Bank, both sides in the conflict are busy building barriers.

Construction is still under way on Israel's security barrier. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority is building trade barriers. But despite this, one settler leader claims to have come up with a plan to break down a barrier - the language barrier.

Oded Revivi, mayor of Efrat, south-west of Jerusalem, wants to make his schools home to Arabic master classes.

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Jonathan Safran Foer boosts Jerusalem culture

August 19, 2010

Two of America's leading young Jewish novelists, husband and wife Jonathan Safran Foer and Nicole Krauss, have spearheaded a cultural initiative in Jerusalem: the revival of the Jerusalem Fellows at Mishkenot Sha'ananim.

Mishkenot, a cultural hub in the shadow of Yemin Moshe, the capital's famous windmill, used regularly to host artists, writers and musicians when the late Teddy Kollek was mayor of Jerusalem.

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Jerusalem prepares for Pop Idol clashes

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 19, 2010

Major clashes are expected next month in Jerusalem around the broadcast of the A Star is Born finale from the Sultan's Pool in Jerusalem.

The final of Israel's equivalent to Pop Idol is scheduled for Saturday night and strictly Orthodox rabbis object to it for fear that the preparations for the broadcast will take place on Shabbat, and that the heavy traffic expected will block the road for those planning to get to the Western Wall for the first night of selichot (penitential prayers said before the High Holy Days).

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Greek-Israel ties bolstered

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 19, 2010

The diplomatic relationship between Israel and Turkey continued to deteriorate this week in the wake of the Gaza flotilla raid, as the ambassador to Ankara was publicly snubbed. At the same time, Israel bolstered its ties with Turkey's rival neighbour, Greece, with a prime ministerial visit.

Israel's ambassador was not invited to a Ramadan "Iftar" supper hosted by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Iftar meal was attended by all the ambassadors in Ankara but Israeli representative, Gabi Levy, was pointedly left out.

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Netanyahu's wife wades into deportation row

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 19, 2010

Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israel's prime minister, has joined in the debate on the future of 400 children of foreign workers who will have to leave Israel with their families over the next couple of weeks.

The cabinet decided three weeks ago to allow around 800 children to remain in Israel.

According to the new guidelines, children who have started school, who are about to this year or who have lived in Israel for at least five years and speak Hebrew, will be allowed to stay if both their parents entered legally.

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Israel take down Jerusalem wall

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 19, 2010

Ten years after becoming a local landmark in Jerusalem, the concrete wall shielding the Gilo neighbourhood from Palestinian fire is being removed.

The decision to take down the wall, made from 800 concrete panels, spanning 600 metres of Anafa Street, was agreed upon by the IDF, Jerusalem City Hall and the police. The wall went up at the beginning of the second intifada in 2000, after the eastern part of Gilo came under daily fire from the Palestinian village of Beit Jallah.

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Turkish embassy gunman remanded in custody

By Jennifer Lipman, August 18, 2010

The Palestinian gunman who held two people hostage for several hours at the Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv yesterday is to remain in Israeli police custody until next week.

At a hearing, Nadim Injaz denied being “a crazy man”.

He said he had stormed the embassy on Hayarkon Street, and threatened to kill Jews, to draw attention to his demands for political asylum in Europe.

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Munich Olympics attack terrorist dies

By Jennifer Lipman, August 18, 2010

A senior Palestine Liberation Organisation officer who was implicated in the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre has died at age 70.

Amin al-Hindi, who was a close associate of Yasser Arafat, was never prosecuted for the attack, in which 11 Israeli athletes and a West German police officer were taken hostage and then murdered.

Mr al-Hindi, who ran the Palestinian General Intelligence Service under Arafat and was also a senior security officer for Fatah in the 1970s, will be buried in the Gaza Strip.

He died of cancer of the liver and pancreas in a Jordanian hospital, following surgery.

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