Israel news

Shalit march reaches Jerusalem

By Jessica Elgot, July 8, 2010

A march to draw attention to Gilad Shalit’s plight has reached Jerusalem after a 12 day walk across the country by the captured soldier’s family and their supporters.

More than 20,000 people are expected to march to the official residence of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu before a rally in Independence Park.

The march began at the Shalit family home in Mitzpe Hila, Galilee, and Gilad’s father Noam has vowed to stay camped outside Mr Netanyahu’s home until his son is freed.

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Eilat buckles under pressure of illegal African migrants

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 8, 2010

Eilat is struggling to deal with an influx of illegal immigrants from Africa, who now form some 10 per cent of the holiday town's population.

Hundreds of Africans, mainly from Sudan but also from Eritrea, Somalia, Ivory Coast and Ghana, cross over the Israel-Egypt border every month. Most try to reach Tel-Aviv, but many remain down south and gravitate either to the Negev city of Arad, or to Eilat.

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Jewish studies compulsory for Israelis

By Nathan Jeffay, July 8, 2010

Jewish Studies is to become compulsory in Israel's high schools from this September.

Currently, Israeli pupils learn Bible for two hours a week, but schools are not obliged to teach anything about post-biblical Judaism.

Religious schools choose to set aside time for Jewish Studies, but in non-Orthodox schools it is taught according to head-teachers' discretion and is often discarded.

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Lebanon uncovers more Israeli 'spies'

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 8, 2010

The capture of another group of alleged "Israeli spies" in Lebanon indicates the depth of Israel's penetration into the country's infrastructure and upper echelons.

Last week Charbel Qazzi, a senior executive at the Alfa mobile phone company, in charge of transmissions and broadcasting, was arrested on suspicion that he had helped Israeli intelligence plant listening devices at the heart of Lebanon's telecommunications infrastructure. The detention is causing shockwaves that are reverberating throughout the country's business, political and security circles.

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Poland to deport Israeli

By Jennifer Lipman, July 7, 2010

Poland is to deport an alleged Mossad agent to Germany.

Uri Brodsky, an Israeli suspected of involvement in the killing of a Hamas operative in Dubai, has three days to appeal the extradition order.

He was arrested in Warsaw in June for allegedly helping a Mossad agent obtain a false German passport by using a concocted story.

Judge Tomasz Talkiewicz said the court had not decided whether Mr Brodsky was behind the forgery.

He said: “The court only checked whether the extradition request fulfils the formal requirements and whether the suspect is correctly identified.”

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Dustin Hoffman did not cancel Jerusalem appearance

By Jennifer Lipman, July 7, 2010

Jewish actor Dustin Hoffman did not halt arrangements to attend the Jerusalem Film Festival in the wake of the Gaza flotilla clash, despite what one of the organisers had claimed.

Yigal Molad Hayo, the associate director of the Cinematheque, the location of the annual festival, had told the Jerusalem Post he had been “very close to reaching an agreement” for Mr Hoffman to appear at the event.

But he said: “Then the flotilla happened and correspondence was ended.”

However he has now retracted his statement as “misleading and incorrect”.

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Obama: 'unwavering' on Israel's security

By Jennifer Lipman, July 7, 2010

Benjamin Netanyahu received a warmer welcome in Washington as President Obama called for the resumption of direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians within the next two months.

In a marked contrast to March’s frosty meeting, the president also assured that America “will never ask Israel to take any steps that would undermine their security interests."

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Dancing soldiers escape trouble

By Jennifer Lipman, July 6, 2010

A group of Israeli soldiers will not face disciplinary action after footage of them dancing in uniform to a pop song appeared online.

Six soldiers from the Nahal brigade uploaded a video of them in Hebron performing a routine to the Ke$ha song Tick Tock.

In the “Batallion 50 Rock the Hebron Casbah” video the armed soldiers are patrolling to the sound of the Muslim prayer call, before breaking into the dance sequence when the pop song starts.

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Soldier to be charged for Gaza death

By Jennifer Lipman, July 6, 2010

The Israeli military has said it is charging a soldier with manslaughter for an incident during Operation Cast Lead.

His will be the third case of a soldier going on trial for offences during the January 2009 incursion into the Gaza Strip.

The soldier, named only as First Sergeant S, is from the Givati regiment.

Investigators said he broke Israel’s rules of engagement in firing at two Palestinian women, killing both. The troops been ordered only to fire warning shots at combatants in the crowd.

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Proposal to twin Dublin and Gaza

By Jennifer Lipman, July 6, 2010

The newly elected Lord Mayor of Dublin has suggested twinning the Irish capital with the Gaza Strip out of “sympathy”.

Gerry Breen proposed that the City Council explore the idea at its next monthly meeting, but said it was not meant as a criticism of Israel but as a positive step.

He said: "Gaza doesn't necessarily need to benefit from it, sometimes you can do these things because it's the right thing to do.

"It's saying that we empathise with the plight of the inhabitants in that area."

Both Dublin and Gaza are already twinned with Barcelona.

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