Israel news

Lag B'Omer bonfires challenged by Chief

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 29, 2010

The ancient custom of lighting bonfires on Lag Ba'Omer is being challenged for both religious and ecological reasons.

The tradition of lighting bonfires on the eve of Lag Ba'Omer, which falls on Sunday, has become a popular custom in Israel, for religious and secular youngsters alike. But the prevalence of the custom, which causes large clouds of thick smoke above most Israeli citiesm, is raising concern amongst rabbis and environmentalists.

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Netanyahu gets away with Jerusalem policy

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 29, 2010

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu believes he has turned a corner in his difficult relationship with the American administration and that peace talks are now possible without a commitment to freeze building in east Jerusalem.

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Yossi Benayoun's dad 'assaulted his wife'

By Simon Griver, April 29, 2010

The father of Liverpool footballer Yossi Benayoun has been charged with assaulting his wife during a row on Saturday night.

Yehuda Benayoun, 57, was arrested on Sunday morning after allegedly slapping Zeri Benayoun in the face and hitting her on the shoulder. She had complained to police in the Negev town of Dimona.

Mr Benayoun claims he pushed her in retaliation and his solicitor Natalie Fourian said: "My client has done nothing wrong and is confident that the truth will come to light in court."

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Israel and Palestinian peace talks to start "in two weeks"

By Robyn Rosen, April 28, 2010

Danny Ayalon, Israel's deputy foreign minister, has announced that new peace negotiations with Palestinian leaders could start within a fortnight.

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is due to fly to Cairo on Monday to discuss the talks, the first since 2008, with Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak.

He told his Likud party in Tuesday that he had heard that Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president “intends to renew the talks. I will be very glad if this will indeed be carried out next week,” he said.

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IDF soldiers rapped for West Bank deaths

By Jessica Elgot, April 27, 2010

Three IDF officers have been disciplined and one demoted over the killing of four Palestinians during protests in the West Bank.

The shootings happened in March this year near the Palestinian village of Iraq Burin and the day after at the Awarta checkpoint.

Troops were deployed into the area to stop Palestinian protesters storming the settlement of Bracha.

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Hamas release 'dead Gilad Shalit' cartoon

By Jessica Elgot, April 27, 2010
Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has condemned a Palestinian animated film showing captured soldier Gilad Shalit in a coffin.

Hamas denies that the film is officially sanctioned by them.

Hamas spokesman Mahmoud Zahar said that the film, which was released by the group’s military wing, “does not reflect the official position of Hamas”.

Mr Zahar said: “We have not killed in the past and will never kill captive Israeli soldiers. Our morals prevent us from doing so."

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Apple iPads allowed into Israel

By Jessica Elgot, April 26, 2010

Israel has lifted its embargo on Apple’s iPads after research showed the wireless signal from the gadget is not powerful enough to disrupt other devices.

Around 10 iPads were seized by security staff at Ben Gurion airport, where they were held for a fee until their owners left the country. It was thought that the devices emit a signal which was too powerful and could interfere with Israeli computers and other devices.

Israel’s Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon said that tests had proved the iPad was safe and imports would now be allowed.

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New Israel Fund under attack again

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 22, 2010

The right-wing movement Im Tirzu is stepping up its campaign against the New Israel Fund (NIF) with a new report accusing NIF of funding groups that have tried to prosecute IDF officers for alleged war crimes.

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Olmert faces massive new corruption investigation

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 22, 2010

Police investigators believe that they are close to securing the testimony of a number of close associates of former prime minister Ehud Olmert in what is being described as the largest corruption case in Israeli history.

So far, the allegations against Mr Olmert have focused on millions of shekels in bribes that the investigators believe were paid to secure extensive building rights in the Holyland project in Jerusalem. The suspects include a group of building tycoons and senior officials in Jerusalem City Hall.

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Threat to homes of fallen soldiers

April 22, 2010

The Israeli government will have to decide by the end of next week whether to demolish 11 illegally-built homes in the Givat Hayovel settlement on the West Bank. The defence establishment is trying to prevent the demolition, as two of the homes belong to IDF officers who were killed in combat.

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