Israel news

Vanunu held after meeting with Norwegian woman

By Jessica Elgot, December 29, 2009

Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu has admitted breaking terms of his release from prison.

Mr Vanunu, a former technician at the Negev Nuclear Research Centre, leaked details and pictures of Israel’s nuclear operation to the Sunday Times in 1986, leading experts to conclude that Israel had the world’s sixth largest nuclear arsenal.

He was kidnapped in Rome by the Israeli secret service, and then served 18 years in jail for treason and espionage. He was released in 2004 but is banned from any contact with foreign nationals or media.

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Refugee ship 'Exodus' captain dies

By Jenni Frazer, December 24, 2009

Ike Aranne, the captain of the iconic 1947 refugee ship Exodus, has died in Israel, aged 86.

Tributes have flowed in for the man born Yitzchak Aronovitz in Danzig, Poland. He came to pre-state Israel in 1933, aged 10.

The Exodus set sail at Aranne's initiative and Israel's president, Shimon Peres, described him as not only the ship's captain, but "its spirit, who gave the voyage a special character."

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How the Left turned on Israel

By Colin Shindler, December 23, 2009

Since the beginning of the al-Aqsa intifada in September 2000, an important feature in the debate on the Israel-Palestine imbroglio has been a questioning of the legitimacy of Israel as a nation-state by sections of the political Left and the liberal and cultural intelligentsia in Britain.

Such opinion has moved from passionately supporting the right of the Jews to self-determination in 1948 (by figures such as Aneurin Bevan, Bertrand Russell and Tony Benn) to questioning that right over 60 years later.

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Israel doubts UK will overturn 'Livni law'

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 23, 2009

The Israeli government has little faith that Britain will, in the near future, change the laws that allow arrest warrants to be obtained for Israeli officials on the suspicion of war crimes. The government is now pinning its hopes on an international initiative to amend the laws of war.

Israel officially maintains that it is the responsibility of the British government to amend legislation that has put London out of bounds for many Israeli officers and politicians.

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Yeshivah backs off in fight with army

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 23, 2009

The heads of the Hesder yeshivahs, which allow 18-year-olds to combine Torah studies and army service, have issued a joint statement against any form of political protest within the IDF.

The rabbis are trying to end the crisis with the defence establishment which led to one of the yeshivahs being cut out of the arrangement last week. Defence Minister Ehud Barak cancelled the Hesder status of the Har Bracha yeshivah on the West bank following the refusal of its head, Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, to retract his previous statements in support of soldiers refusing orders to dismantle settlements.

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Charedi sites close following ban

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 23, 2009

Two Charedi news websites closed down this week and a wave of resignations has hit other sites following the strictest rabbinical ruling against the internet to date.

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Police to recruit Arab youngsters

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 23, 2009

The Israeli Police will launch next week a low-profile programme to enlist 18-year-olds from the Arab population into its ranks.

The plan has three aims: to establish a national service option for Arab school leavers, to swell the police’s understaffed ranks and to try and improve relations between the state and the Arab community.

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Israeli firms 'refusing to hire Charedim or Arabs'

By Nathan Jeffay, December 17, 2009

Ethiopian Jews, Charedim and Israeli Arabs are being systematically discriminated against in the workplace, even if they hold degrees, according to an influential new report.

In the first study of its kind, academics from Kiryat Ono Academic College near Tel Aviv surveyed employers about how graduates from these communities, widely considered Israel’s most disadvantaged, can expect to be received when they try to enter the job market.

The respondents included advertising executives, lawyers, bankers and other professionals who employ graduates.

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Lieberman: Antisemitism is being used to undermine Israel

December 17, 2009

Antisemtism is being used to undermine Israel, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has warned.

“Classic antisemitism, along with Iranian funding and Islamic antisemitism, is being used to incite hatred against Jews, and to delegitimise the state of Israel,” he told the Foreign Ministry’s third annual Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism.

“The people behind the assault against Israel have crossed the line. They seek to destroy the Jewish state and take away the right of the Jewish people to define themselves.

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Row over kosher-only policy at Israeli ministry

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 17, 2009

An internal regulation saying that Israeli diplomats hosting foreign visitors must eat with them only in kosher restaurants has provoked a protest by Tel Aviv restaurateurs.

Israeli government agencies are mandated by law to operate only kosher catering facilities.

As a matter of tradition, Israeli ministers will eat only kosher at official meals, in Israel and abroad, even if they do not keep kosher at home.

At the Foreign Ministry, this extends to a regulation forbidding its employees to entertain visiting dignitaries at restaurants that serve non-kosher food.

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