Israel news

Moshe Katzav: Shock and anger sweep Israel - but also pride

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 6, 2011

Moshe Katzav is planning to appeal against his conviction - but he may have to do it from a prison cell.

The judges' damning verdict leaves little doubt that he will be handed a lengthy prison term before he is able to take his case to Israel's Supreme Court.

But despite fierce criticism of the conduct of the trial by Katzav and his supporters, opinion polls suggest most Israelis think he received fair treatment.

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Should Israel export its gas find?

By Nathan Jeffay, January 6, 2011

Israel's latest natural gas find totals 16 trillion cubic feet, the company leading drilling, Noble Energy, has announced.

The past two years have seen the discovery of two massive offshore energy deposits in the Mediterranean Sea.

The first was the Tamar natural gas field, thought to hold 6 trillion cubic feet of gas, where production is expected to begin in 2012.

The second was Leviathan, where exploratory drilling has just taken place, leading to the 16 trillion cubic feet estimate. This quantity of gas is worth around £60 billion in today's market.

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Israeli soldiers warned over Facebook use

By Nathan Jeffay, January 6, 2011

During the Second World War, the British government famously released posters warning: "Careless talk costs lives." Now the IDF is running a contemporary equivalent campaign - against indiscreet Facebook posts.

Top brass have written to all commanders asking them to urge subordinates to be careful what they post on Facebook and other social networking sites.

It urges against posting photos taken on bases or pictures of soldiers which give away information about their role in the army, such as by revealing unit insignia, or where they live.

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Knesset votes for NGO probe

By Marcus Dysch, January 6, 2011

THe Knesset has voted overwhelmingly in favour of establishing a parliamentary committee to probe funding of human rights groups in Israel.

The right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party proposed the bill, calling for an investigation into the actions of NGOs monitoring the activities of the IDF in the West Bank.

The motion claimed a coalition of international organisations was working under the guise of human rights to encourage draft-dodging and label IDF soldiers and commanders as war criminals.

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Halutz: we didn't have intelligence to get Gilad Shalit

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 6, 2011

Former IDF Chief of Staff, retired Lieutenant General Dan Halutz, said that Israel had insufficient intelligence to retrieve Gilad Shalit following his capture by Hamas four and a half years ago.

Mr Halutz, who gave a lecture in Beersheva on Shabbat, is trying to rebrand his image in attempt to win political office. The former general resigned four years ago following the Second Lebanon War and is widely seen by the Israeli public as one of those responsible for the less than spectacular results of Israel's war against Hizbollah.

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US realised settlement freeze was wrong tactic

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 6, 2011

The Israeli government was prepared to extend the settlement freeze by three months but the American administration decided at the last moment to change course, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this week.

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Debate over death of Palestinian woman in Bil'in

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 6, 2011

A Furious debate has broken out in Israel and across the blogosphere over what caused the death of a 36-year-old Palestinian woman over the weekend.

The villagers of Bil'in in the West Bank claim Jawaher Abu Rahme was suffocated by tear-gas shot, by Israelis soldiers. The IDF maintain she died of an illness that she was already suffering from.

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Rabbis battle over organ transplants

January 6, 2011

After Orthodox British student Yoni Jesner was murdered in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem in 2002, his family gave permission for doctors to use his organs for transplant. The decision was particularly poignant because the recipients included a young Palestinian girl.

But last week's dispute over the body of Avi Cohen has highlighted that organ donation still remains a contentious issue among Orthodox rabbis.

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Storm over Avi Cohen organ donation

January 6, 2011

The refusal of Avi Cohen's family to give away the former Israel football captain's organs has reopened a debate over the religious objections to such donations.

Mr Cohen, who also played for Liverpool in the 1980s, was hurt in a motor-cycle accident three weeks ago in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan.

He lay in a coma for nine days before doctors at Ichilov Hospital told his family he was clinically dead.

Mr Cohen, 54, was a proud organ donor card carrier and had advocated that every professional footballer in the country should carry one.

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Netanyahu heckled, chaos at Carmel fire memorial

By Jennifer Lipman, January 6, 2011

A memorial for the victims of the Carmel forest fire descended into chaos as the crowd shouted at the Israeli Prime Minister, causing his bodyguards to intervene, and forced another government minister to leave the service.

Friends and relatives of the 44 people who died heckled Benjamin Netanyahu as he made a tribute speech at Kibbutz Beit Oren, one of the sites damaged in the blaze.

The crowd raged that they blamed the prime minister for the way in which he coordinated the response to the devastating fire last month.

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