Israel news

Israeli pioneer dies at 88

By Jennifer Lipman, June 1, 2010

One of the founders of Israel’s Labour party, who was a key figure in the development of the Jewish state, has died at the age of 88.

Israeli politicians have paid tribute to statesman and writer Arie “Lova” Eliav, who served in five different Knessets and was instrumental in settling new immigrants into Israel.

Born in Moscow, he moved to Israel as a child and at 15 joined the pre-state Hagana. After fighting for the British Army in the Second World War, he was a key figure in bringing immigrants to Israel in the run up to independence.

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Egypt reopens Rafah crossing

By Jennifer Lipman, June 1, 2010

The Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, has ordered the reopening of his country's border with Gaza.

The Rafah crossing will be reopened to allow humanitarian and medical aid into Hamas-controlled Gaza, following the weekend's raid on a flotilla ship which left at least nine pro-Palestinian activists dead.

Rafah has been kept mostly closed in the three years since Hamas gained control of the area. It is the only point on the Gaza border that Israel does not fully control.

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Israel miss out on Eurovision win

By Jennifer Lipman, June 1, 2010

Israel finished in a disappointing 14th place in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Winning 71 points at the event in Oslo on Saturday, singer Harel Skaat missed out on the high ranking he had been predicted to gain.

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More deaths in aftermath of IDF raid

June 1, 2010

Two terrorists were shot dead attempting to infiltrate the Gaza border this morning.

The attempt followed Monday's IDF raid of the "Free Gaza" flotilla in which nine passengers were killed.

Four settlements near the border fence have been closed and families living nearby have been asked to stay in their homes. It is believed schools have been closed.

As international outrage mounted, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu cut short his visit to North America and canceled a meeting with President Barack Obama to return to Israel.

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Analysis: Gaza aid deaths: how could it happen?

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 31, 2010

Flotilla 13, the IDF's naval commandos, were the toast of Israel's military - until yesterday. The recipients of a rare citation for the entire unit from Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi, only last month, the "Shayetet" are credited with numerous secret missions far away from the country's shores. According to the non-Israeli press, these missions included interdiction of ships bearing arms from Iran to Israel's enemies in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

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Netanyahu regret over Gaza aid killings

By Jessica Elgot, May 31, 2010

Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has expressed his regret that nine people were killed in the IDF action against the Gaza flotilla.

The six ships, which were part of a supposed aid mission to Gaza, have now docked in the port of Ashdod and 32 activists have been arrested.

Israeli had previously offered the ships a safe passage to dock in Ashdod and have their aid transported by land to Gaza.

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Dershowitz turns down Israeli ambassador role at the UN

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 27, 2010

Alan Dershowitz has declined a request from Binyamin Netanyahu for the law professor to become Israel's ambassador to the United Nations.

Mr Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman have been searching for an "international media star" to replace the lacklustre Gabriela Shalev, the current ambassador to the UN.

"Netanyahu, who was himself an ambassador to the UN, sees that job as Israel's premier spokesperson abroad," said a senior official at the Foreign Ministry. "That's why he is not interested in appointing a diplomat, but a media performer."

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Vanunu returns to jail in Israel after parole violation

By Jennifer Lipman, May 27, 2010

Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu is back in prison after violating parole conditions.

Mr Vanunu, 55, was jailed in 1986 for disclosing confidential information about Israel's nuclear operation to the British media.

The former technician at the Negev Nuclear Research Centre served 18 years of his sentence and was released in 2004 on condition he did not travel abroad, speak to the media or have contact with foreign nationals.

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PA drive to boycott settlement goods

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 27, 2010

Israeli officials are concerned that the Palestinian campaign against buying produce from the settlements will escalate into a larger international boycott on Israeli goods.

In recent weeks, the Palestinian Authority published a booklet with a list of Israeli companies that operate in the West Bank and on the Golan Heights, calling upon its people not to buy their products.

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Israel to make jail harsher for Hamas

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 27, 2010

The Knesset this week passed a first reading of a new law mandating harsher prison conditions for Hamas members.

The measure, which was supported by the government, has been nicknamed the "Shalit Law" in reference to captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who is being held by Hamas in Gaza.

Proposed by Likud MK Danny Danon, the legislation will allow prison authorities to deny Hamas prisoners rights they have enjoyed until now, including family and conjugal visits, academic studies and watching television.

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