Israel news

LCD Soundsystem defies calls to boycott Israel

By Jennifer Lipman, September 1, 2010

An American musician has performed in Israel despite a campaign mounted by pro-Palestinian activists encouraging him to boycott the gig.

American dance act LCD Soundsystem, the stage name of producer James Murphy, played to both Israeli and Arab fans at a concert in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.


Four Israelis killed but peace talks must go on

By Jennifer Lipman, September 1, 2010

Hamas’ military wing has claimed responsibility for the murder of four Israeli civilians, including a woman believed to be pregnant.

But American and Israeli officials have urged that Israel and the Palestinians do not let the terror attack derail the direct peace negotiations set to begin in Washington tomorrow.


Topman to open in Israel

By Jennifer Lipman, August 31, 2010

The men’s fashion chain Topman is to open in Israel.

Stores in Herzliya and Beersheva are to be opened initially, with 25 more branches of Topman and its sister retailer Topshop planned for Israel over the next three years.

Topman and TopShop are owned by the Jewish billionaire Sir Philip Green.

There are already about 300 Topman stores around the world and the first Topshop opened in Israel in 2003.

At the time Sir Philip told the JC that he thought Israel was the right market for the brand.

He said: “They [the Israelis] are very fashionable.”


Gilad Shalit's fifth birthday in captivity marked

By Jennifer Lipman, August 30, 2010

A rally marking the 24th birthday of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit has attracted thousands of people in Jerusalem.

Aviva Shalit used the occasion of her son’s fifth birthday in captivity to appeal to Benajmin Netanyahu to do more to secure Gilad’s freedom.

Mrs Shalit has been camped outside of the Israeli prime minister’s home since June in an attempt to pressure the government into striking a deal for Gilad’s release.


Netanyahu: I don't share Rabbi Yosef's views

By Jennifer Lipman, August 30, 2010

The Israeli Prime Minister has distanced himself from inflammatory remarks about Mahmoud Abbas made by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

The spiritual leader of the religious party Shas said in an address on Saturday that the Palestinian leader should "vanish from our world" and labelled the Palestinians as evil and bitter enemies.

The 89-year-old, who is a former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, also said that God should strike the Palestinians “with a plague”.


Ashton concerned by Palestinian conviction

By Jennifer Lipman, August 27, 2010

Baroness Ashton has criticised an Israeli court ruling convicting a Palestinian activist of demonstrating illegally.

Abdullah Abu Rahmeh has not yet been sentenced but could face two years in jail after a military court convicted him of incitement.

The teacher, 39, staged weekly protests against the West Bank security fence, leading marches from the West bank village of Bilin to the barrier. Israel said he did not have the necessary license for this.


Israel's biblical vultures under threat

By Jennifer Lipman, August 27, 2010

Scientists believe that a bird species mentioned in the bible is under threat of dying out because of farming methods in northern Israel.

The number of griffon vultures in the Golan Heights is thought to have dropped to under ten, due to the illegal use of pesticides to prevent wolves and jackals from attacking farm animals.

Oll Spiegel, a scientist whose Phd thesis is on the species, has blamed the decline on the use of poison to deter wolf attacks on cattle.


Tel Aviv planning Boris bikes scheme

By Paul Berger, August 26, 2010

First came Boris's Bikes in London. Now Tel Aviv wants a piece of the wheely action. Next year, the Mediterranean city will unveil a citywide bike rental scheme for residents and tourists.

Moshe Tiomkin, head of Tel Aviv's Transport and Parking Authority, said that 1,500 bikes will be available at 150 bicycle stations around the city.

Bike hire will cost about £2.50 a day, less for people with a Tel Aviv resident ID.


Blair: Don't apply rules to Israel that you wouldn't apply to your own country

By Tony Blair, August 26, 2010

Former British prime minster Tony Blair nailed his colours firmly to the mast of Israel and democracy this week in a stunning address to press, politicians and diplomats in Herzliya.


Comment: Peace talks? Don't get your hopes up

By Gerald M Steinberg, August 26, 2010

Six decades of failed peace efforts have left most Israelis (and Palestinians) deeply skeptical about the prospects for success.

The pattern is familiar - a new American president, faced with major difficulties at home and abroad, hopes that a Middle East peace breakthrough will help solve many of these problems. He squeezes the leaders of both sides, and as neither wants the label of "spoiler", they go along with the charade.

But the efforts fail, as core differences over history, religion (particularly in Jerusalem), borders and sovereignty remain insurmountable.