Israel news

Woman arrested for wearing tallit at Western Wall

By Jessica Elgot, November 18, 2009

A woman has been arrested by Israeli police for wearing a tallit at the Western Wall.

Nofrat Frenkel, who was wearing a tallit, a kippah and carrying a Torah scroll, was arrested during the Women of the Wall’s Rosh Chodesh prayers.

Police who arrested Ms Frenkel say she was violating Israeli law that a certain dress code should be worn at the Kotel.

Forty women were attending the prayers in the Western Wall square when Ms Frenkel was allegedly seen reading from the scroll by members of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, who called police.

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UK, US critical of new home building in Jerusalem

By Jessica Elgot, November 18, 2009

The British and US governments and the United Nations have denounced plans approved by Israel to build 900 homes in Gilo, a neighbourhood in Jerusalem.

The building has been approved by the Israeli Interior Ministry has approved the expansion of the neighbourhood in south west Jerusalem.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "The Foreign Secretary has been very clear that a credible deal involves Jerusalem as a shared capital. Expanding settlements on occupied land in East Jerusalem makes that deal much harder. So this decision is wrong and we oppose it."

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EU: A Palestinian state is ‘premature’

By Jessica Elgot, November 17, 2009

The European Union has said that Palestine is not ready to be recognised as a full state by the UN.

The current holder of the EU presidency, Carl Bildt of Sweden, said at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels that conditions were not yet right for Palestinian statehood.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said they had decided to seek recognition of the Palestinian state from the UN because of the failure of recent peace talks.

The proposal is an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital and with June 1967 borders.

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Call to bar criminals from aliyah

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 12, 2009

The arrests of two alleged killers who were allowed to immigrate to Israel despite previous brushes with the law have strengthened calls for a change in the Law of Return.

Yaakov (Jack) Teitel, who was arrested a month ago by the Shin Bet (Security Service), is suspected of carrying out a long list of terror attacks on Palestinians, left-wing and gay-rights activists, messianic Jews and police, including two murders of Palestinians in 1997. The murders were carried out while Teitel was still an American tourist living on the Kfar Tapuach settlement.

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IDF set to investigate Goldstone Report

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 12, 2009

The IDF has formed an internal commission which will investigate the claims raised in the Goldstone Report over alleged war crimes during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza earlier this year.

While many voices in Israel over recent weeks supported the launch of a judicial commission of inquiry over the Goldstone allegations, the IDF has staunchly resisted “putting the IDF on trial”, insisting that the army’s internal investigations were sufficient.

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Rabbis' dismay as transplant rules change

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 12, 2009

Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman has dismayed the Israeli medical community and many rabbis by announcing that organ transplants are to be allowed only after the donor’s heart has stopped beating.

His decision contradicted a recent agreement between rabbis and doctors that said that transplants could be carried out following brain death.

Mr Litzman, of the United Torah Judaism party, made his position clear in a letter to a medical conference last week.

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Outrage over 'rape' poster that demonises Israel

By Robyn Rosen, November 12, 2009

The New Israel Fund (NIF) has defended a conference sponsored by three Palestinian groups it funds, which allegedly “demonised” Israel.

The poster publicising the conference, held in Haifa on Monday, shows the hand of an IDF soldier grasping the breast of a woman wearing a traditional Palestinian dress.

The poster reads: “Her husband needs a permit to touch her. The occupation penetrates her life everyday.”

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Jewish 'terrorist': God is proud of me

By Jessica Elgot, November 12, 2009

Jewish “terrorist” Ya’akov Teitel, who is charged with the murder of two Palestinians, has told an Israeli court: “God is proud of me.”

Mr Teitel, 37, an American immigrant who lives in the Shvut Rachel settlement in the West Bank with his Manchester-born wife Rivka, is charged with 14 offences.

Charges include two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder, and include alleged attacks on gay, left-wing and messianic Jews.

He is accused of murdering a Palestinian taxi driver in East Jerusalem and a Palestinian shepherd in the West Bank.

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Palestinian cave man fights 'eviction'

By Jessica Elgot, November 11, 2009

A Palestinian man who lives in a cave near Jerusalem has been threatened with eviction by the Israeli authorities.

Abdel Fattah Abed Rabbo, 48, claims he was brought up in the cave as a child. Now he has moved back to the steep hills between Jerusalem and Bethlehem to stake his claim to his five acres in Al Walajah.

Mr Abed Rabbo’s family, including his ten children currently live in a refugee camp in Bethlehem.

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Abbas may resign before election

By Jessica Elgot, November 9, 2009

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has told Egyptian leaders that he may not wait until the next election to resign.

Mr Abbas has announced that he will not seek reelection as president of the Palestinian Authority.

The Egyptian delegation, led by the country’s Palestinian ambassador Yasser Othman, was visting Ramallah in order to try and urge Mr Abbas to continue as president, Haaretz reported.

Mr Abbas had come under fire in recent months because he did not immediately throw his backing behind the UN Goldstone Report, causing tensions between Hamas and Fatah.

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