Israel news

Netanyahu calls for 'crippling' Iran sanctions

By Jessica Elgot, February 9, 2010

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has called for “crippling sanctions” against Iran in a meeting with European ambassadors in Israel.

His call to EU leaders comes as Tehran announced it would begin enriching uranium to 20 per cent, rather than the 3.5 per cent it is currently producing.

The technology used to enrich uranium to this level is very similar to that needed to make a nuclear bomb, about 80 to 90 per cent.

Mr Netanyahu said: "Iran is racing forward to produce nuclear weapons, in brazen defiance of international law.

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Anti-Zionists urge Elton John to boycott Israel gig

By Jessica Elgot, February 9, 2010

Anti-Zionist British academics have urged Elton John to pull out of a performance in Israel, in an open letter to the singer.

Tickets go on sale today for the June concert, which will be the Candle In The Windsinger’s first performance in Israel for 17 years.

The British Committee for the Universities of Palestine, who recently tried to persuade botanist David Bellamy to cancel an appearance for the Zionist Federation, called Israel a “racist state” in its letter.

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Israeli organ donors to get priority transplants

By Nathan Jeffay, February 4, 2010

Israelis are about to be presented with a stark choice by their Health Ministry: sign up for a donor card, or you may find yourself at a disadvantage if you ever need a transplant.

The National Transplant Centre, the ministry’s transplant authority, is working on a NIS 3.5 million (£600,000) advertising campaign spelling out the ramifications of legislation to encourage organ donation which is unlike any other in the world.

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EU 'funding Palestinian terror’

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 4, 2010

The British Taxpayers’ Alliance pressure group has joined the Israeli campaign against European Union funding for the Palestinian Authority’s education system, which they claim includes incitement against Israel.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance Chief Executive, Matthew Elliot, visited Israel this week and held meetings with officials at the Foreign Ministry to co-ordinate the campaign it is running, with additional European organisations, against the lack of transparency in the PA’s use of EU financial support.

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Interview: Alan Dershowitz

By Paul Berger, New York, February 4, 2010

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz has accused Richard Goldstone, the author of the UN investigation into Operation Cast Lead, of “using his Jewishness to defame Israel”.

Said Mr Dershowitz: “If he weren’t Jewish and well-known as a Jew, his report would be ignored. And yet in every interview he emphasises, ‘I am a Jew, I am a Zionist, I am connected to the Hebrew University.’”

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Charity funded groups that ‘assisted Goldstone’

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 4, 2010

The New Israel Fund has come under fire for financing human rights groups that supplied the Goldstone Commission with information regarding alleged war crimes by the IDF.

A student organisation, Im Tirzu, which bills itself as a “centrist” movement “working for the renewal of Zionist ideals”, this week published an analysis of the Israeli sources in the UN report on Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

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Analysis: Israel hands UN detailed rebuttal of Gaza allegations

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 4, 2010

Israel has handed the United Nations a detailed rebuttal of the Goldstone Report on Operation Cast Lead in Gaza last year.

The document denied the main allegations made by the committee headed by Judge Richard Goldstone: that Israel had intentionally targeted Palestinian civil infrastructures; that the IDF had committed dozens of alleged war-crimes; and that these incidents were not being properly investigated.

Israel has to inform the UN imminently what kind of commission it plans to set up to investigate the findings of the Goldstone Report.

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Livni defends decision not to join Netanyahu coalition

By Stephen Pollard, February 4, 2010

Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni has defended her decision not to join the coalition led by Binyamin Netanyahu.

“I could not join a government that is endangering Israeli security by failing to negotiate with the Palestinians.”

She said that the blame for the lack of talks lay with Mr Netanyahu.

“It is a matter of trust. Words are not enough. Palestinians do not see actions.”

The need for talks was urgent, she said, but Mr Netanyahu was not taking sufficient measures to build trust with the Palestinian Authority.

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Israel's Chief Rabbi 'We'll stop conversion reversals'

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 4, 2010

The Chief Rabbi of Israel, Shlomo Amar and the new attorney general, Yehuda Weinstein, have agreed on new guidelines limiting the powers of rabbinical courts to revoke conversions.

Under the new guidelines, if rabbinical courts question the validity of a conversion carried out by the special conversion courts, the decision will be referred to the president of the Grand Rabbinical Court, Rabbi Amar. He will decide on a special forum of dayanim that will rule on the specific case.

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Analysis: Israel will be blamed for Hamas murder

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 2, 2010

Hamas leadership and the international media, understandably, immediately accused Israel’s Mossad of being behind the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel room two weeks ago.

There is no shortage of reasons for this. Mabhouh, for the last six years, was the main Hamas operative in the complex arm-smuggling organisation linking the Gaza Strip and Iran. Israel’s intelligence services have been fighting a major campaign against this pipeline, largely in secret.

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