Israel news

Netanyahu: I would always have built in East Jerusalem

By Jessica Elgot, March 26, 2010

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied claims on Friday that right-wing members of his coalition were pushing him into building in east Jerusalem – because, he said, he would have initiated such building himself.

Mr Netanyahu’s coalition has been the subject of speculation since he returned empty-handed from an apparently disastrous meeting in Washington with US President Barack Obama.

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Miliband: Move protects passports of British Jews

By David Miliband, March 25, 2010

I am saddened that Britain and Israel have found themselves at cross purposes this week.  This was not an argument that Britain chose. 

But as I said in Parliament, no country could have stood by once it had discovered another country - especially a friend - misusing its passports. 

By doing so, Israel disrespected Britain's sovereignty and put British nationals at risk. 

I am struck by the fact that all those whose passports were misused were British Jews living in Israel. 

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Analysis: Israel left UK and US with no choice

By Martin Bright, March 25, 2010

On Tuesday evening, David Miliband made a point of honouring an invitation to attend a fundraiser for two prominent Jewish parliamentary candidates who make no secret of their support for Israel.
On the very day he had made a statement in Parliament condemning the cloning of British passports, he could have been forgiven for excusing himself from an event for Luciana Berger, the former director of Labour Friends of Israel, and Ruth Smeeth from the CST.

Earlier in the day, Mr Miliband had failed to attend an event to celebrate the renovation of the Israeli Embassy.

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Analysis: Israel left reeling from US-British attacks

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 25, 2010

The day after David Miliband announced that an Israeli diplomat would be expelled from Britain, British Ambassador Tom Phillips made the rounds in Jerusalem trying to promise that the ties between the two countries, especially those regarding intelligence, would remain strong.

The same could be heard from Israeli sources: this was regrettable, but the British did what they had to. It could have been worse.

That is true. The Foreign Office has not named and shamed the Mossad representative in London, who is being given time to leave in an orderly fashion, after Pesach.

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Israeli TV star set to run for Knesset

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 25, 2010

For once, elections in Israel are not even on the horizon. By law the country will not have to go to the polls for another three years and a coalition crisis is not even on the cards.

Even if Binyamin Netanyahu's current right-wing partners turn against him, he can still join forces with Kadima and form a new centrist coalition.

Still, this relatively stable political landscape has not stopped the Israeli media and parliament feverishly speculating about a political upheaval: the emergence of a force that may rearrange the balance of power in the Knesset.

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Israeli hospital A&E moved due to ancient graves

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 25, 2010

Binyamin Netanyahu was forced to take time out from his Washington trip this week to order a review of a government decision to relocate a new emergency ward planned for an Ashkelon hospital, at a cost of NIS 136 million (£24 million).

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Young Israelis keen to join IDF combat units

By Nathan Jeffay, March 25, 2010

Young Israelis are keener than ever to join army combat units, according to new Israel Defence Forces figures.

After a barrage of criticism by human rights organisations and the Goldstone Report in the wake of the Gaza War, the reputation of the Israeli army's combat units have taken a battering.

But among Israeli school leavers, the three-week military campaign appears to have done wonders for their image.

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Rabbi: Allow beans and pulses on Pesach

By Nathan Jeffay, March 25, 2010

Three years ago, Jerusalem rabbi David Bar-Hayim sent shockwaves through Israeli Orthodoxy after convening a beth din which ruled that all Israelis may eat kitniyot on Passover.

Now, he has come to the conclusion that the ruling should also apply to English Jews.

As well as following the Biblical law of avoiding chametz on Passover, Ashkenazi Jews observe a medieval tradition of also steering clear of numerous foods classified by rabbis as kitniyot, their term for pulses and legumes.

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No charge for sex case Israeli rabbi

March 25, 2010

Police have recommended that no criminal charges should be brought against one of Israel's leading rabbis, Motti Elon, for homosexual encounters with young men who sought spiritual guidance.

According to the police, all the cases they investigated involved consensual acts with men over 18.

The Attorney General, Yehuda Weinstein, is expected to accept the police recommendation.

The investigation was launched into Rabbi Elon last month after a forum of senior rabbis and educators, Takana, announced that he had been accused of sexual impropriety.

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MK calls British 'dogs' over Dubai passport row

By Jessica Elgot, March 23, 2010

A Knesset member has compared the British to “dogs” and claimed the UK government has no right to judge Israel.

MK Arieh Eldad, a member of the extreme right-wing National Union party, was expressing his anger over Britain’s apparent decision to expel an Israeli diplomat after an investigation by the Serious Organised Crime Agency into the forging of British passports.

The passports were used by a hit squad which killed a Hamas terrorist in Dubai.

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