Israel news

Scandal brings down Israel's top soldier

By Nathan Jeffay, February 3, 2011

Israelis are notoriously prone to squabbling with their neighbours. But never before has a neighbourly dispute spiralled in to the kind of crisis the country has seen this week, shaking the political and military establishment.

On Tuesday, just two weeks before the Israel Defence Force's new Chief of Staff was due to take up his post, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak announced that they were overturning his appointment.


Amnesty 'aligns with terrorists' to support Hizbollah spy

By Jennifer Lipman, February 3, 2011

Amnesty International have been criticised for losing its “moral compass” after mounting a campaign in support of a convicted spy for an Islamist terrorist organisation.

The Middle East and North Africa deputy director of the human rights organisation called the jailing of Hizbollah spy Ameer Makhoul “a very disturbing development”.


Israeli politicians could face swearing fine

By Jennifer Lipman, February 2, 2011

Israeli politicians could soon face a fine for using bad language.

The Knesset Ethics committee is set to consider a proposal to punish members who swear or speak insultingly to their colleagues by charging them up to 34,000 shekels (£5,700).

The amount is equal to an entire month’s salary.

At present Knesset members can only be fined for prolonged lapses in attendance or for taking on outside work.

The committee will meet later this month to decide whether to approve the new set of behavioural recommendations.


Cautious support for Egypt protests from Israel's Peres and Netanyahu

By Jennifer Lipman, February 1, 2011

Benjamin Netanyahu has appealed to the anti-government protesters to maintain Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel if they succeed in overthrowing the government of President Hosni Mubarak.

The Israeli Prime Minister expressed his support for democratic reform in Egypt as demonstrations in the Arab country continued for an eighth consecutive day.

Mr Netanyahu offered cautious backing to the protesters with a statement in which he said he encouraged “the advancement of free and democratic values in the Middle East”.


Angelina Jolie should go to Israel, says dad Jon Voight

By Jennifer Lipman, February 1, 2011

Angelina Jolie’s father has expressed his desire for his daughter to visit Israel.

Actor Jon Voight, a prominent Republican supporter who is in Israel with former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee this week, said he would “love to see” the Tomb Raider star tour Israel.

He said: “That would be a nice thing.”

Mr Voight, 72, the star of Midnight Cowboy, admitted he did not know his daughter’s views on the Middle East. The two were estranged for many years, but have been back in touch over the last year.


Amnesty: Gaza flotilla activists with knives 'no threat'

By Jennifer Lipman, January 31, 2011

Amnesty International have dismissed as “a whitewash,” a report into the clash on the Gaza-bound flotilla last year which found that Israel was acting in self-defence.

The organisation criticised the Turkel Commission panel for using “highly contentious legal arguments” in its research and for failing to explain the causes of the deaths of nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists on board the Mavi Marmara.


Tony Blair: focus on peace talks not Palestine Papers

By Jennifer Lipman, January 28, 2011

Tony Blair has expressed concern that the Palestine Papers were leaked in order to destabilise the situation in the Middle East.

The former British Prime Minister who is now Middle East envoy for the Quartet, told the BBC’s Today programme that the documents were likely intended to be “extremely damaging” to the Palestinian leadership.

The papers, released by Arabic news channel Al-Jazeera earlier this week, have shed light on concessions allegedly offered by the Palestinians to Israel in 2008. However Mr Blair warned that the importance of the documents should not be overstated.


Water pipes don't dilute nargilah danger

By Nathan Jeffay, January 27, 2011

Every day, millions of people in the Middle East and growing numbers in the West smoke water pipes - most believing it is far safer than smoking cigarettes. But new Israeli research indicates that it is even more harmful.

Lea Bentur, head of the Paediatric Pulmonary Unit at the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa, decided to probe the acute effects of smoking them - widely known as hookah or nargilah - after becoming aware of how accepted it is among Israeli youngsters and how little research has been conducted.


Palestinians arrested for Jerusalem tourist stabbing

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 26, 2011

A group of Palestinian men involved in both terror and criminal activity have been arrested in connection with the stabbing of two women in the Jerusalem Hills last month. Two of the men were indicted for the murder of American tourist Kristine Luken and the serious wounding of her friend, British immigrant Kaye Wilson.


Google helps with Holocaust memorial project

By Jennifer Lipman, January 26, 2011

Yad Vashem and Google have joined forces to encourage more young people to learn about the Holocaust.

From today, the Jerusalem memorial museum’s vast photo archive can be viewed online and accessed easily through the search engine.