Israel news

Analysis: Barak knows Labour is now failed project

By Robin Shepherd, January 20, 2011

Rarely does political discourse become more venomous than when it turns its attention to a high-profile apostate. It is no surprise, therefore, that erstwhile comrades have erupted in a volcano of vitriol at Defence Minister Ehud Barak's decision to leave the Labour Party to form Atzmaut, a party Barak pointedly described as "centrist, Zionist and democratic" in notable contrast, he alleged, to the "constant drift to the left and again to the left" of Labour.


Shimon Peres' wife Sonia dies at 87

By Jennifer Lipman, January 20, 2011

The wife of the Israeli president Shimon Peres has died at the age of 87.

Sonia Peres, nee Gelman, who was born in Poland, moved with her family to British Mandate Palestine when she was four years old. She served in the British army before marrying Mr Peres in May 1945.

The couple, who had three children together, were among the founders of Kibbutz Alumot in northern Israel.


McDonald's brings McFalafel to Israel

By Jennifer Lipman, January 19, 2011

Israeli diners can now enjoy falafel fast food style – but for more calories than a burger.

McDonald’s has just launched a McFalafel option to suit Middle Eastern tastes. Served with tahina or pita bread and chopped salad, prices range from ten shekels (£1.80) to 34.90 shekels (£6), depending on portion size and extras.


Swastika found on British Airways Israel flight cargo

By Jennifer Lipman, January 18, 2011

An investigation is under way into how a container with a Nazi symbol daubed on it ended up on a British Airways cargo flight to Israel.

A shipment with a swastika sprayed on it was discovered in the cargo of the flight when it arrived in Ben Gurion airport last Saturday.

Transport staff alerted the Israel Airports Authority, which is now looking into whether the person responsible for the graffiti was an employee.

An IAA spokesman told Ynet: “This is a very serious incident.


Israeli scientists: face-cream can lower fertility

By Jennifer Lipman, January 18, 2011

Israeli scientists have shed light on an unusual factor behind fertility problems in women.

Researchers at the Weizmann Institute have found that the substances found in face-creams and some food and drink can reduce women’s chances of pregnancy.

Professor Nava Dekel made the discovery after finding that antioxidants can cause ovulation levels in female mice to drop “precipitously”.

She said the research showed that “more caution should be taken when administering such substances”


Ron Prosor to Netanyahu: stop diplomat strike

By Jennifer Lipman, January 17, 2011

The Israeli ambassador to Britain and twenty other veteran Israeli diplomats have called on Benjamin Netanyahu to take action over the ongoing Foreign Ministry workers' strike.

Ron Prosor was one of the signatories of the letter appealing on the Israeli Prime Minister to “save Israel's foreign service" and resolve a month-long dispute over salary levels.

Those striking claim that they should receive the same pay and benefits as Mossad staff and as workers for the defence ministry.


Ehud Barak quits Labour to form new Israeli party

By Jennifer Lipman, January 17, 2011

Ehud Barak and four other former members of Israel’s Labour faction have announced they are to form a new centrist political party.

Mr Barak, who currently serves as defence minister in Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government and was Israel’s 10th prime minister, revealed the creation of the “Independence” party in an open letter to parliament.

The letter said: "The new independent faction will be a centrist Zionist and democratic faction and will advance these ideas in the Knesset and the coalition, and in the future in public.”


Britain 'concerned' over Bilin activist case

By Jennifer Lipman, January 14, 2011

Britain has criticised Israel for extending the sentence of a Palestinian man in prison for his role in weekly and often violent anti-Israel protests.

Abdallah Abu Rahma, a leading figure in the regular demonstrations in the West Bank village of Bilin, was handed the 12 month sentence in October 2010 for incitement and for organising and participating in the unauthorised protests.

He had been arrested eight months earlier, so has now served the conditions of his initial sentence.


Last chance for peace in Middle East

January 14, 2011

Time is running out for Israel to make a deal with the Palestinians, according to three of the most influential figures in recent peace negotiations.

Former Jordanian ambassador to Israel Omar Rifa'i, Dr. Ron Pundak, an initiator of the Oslo peace talks, and former Palestinian Authority minister Dr Sufian Abu Zaydeh were in London to launch a Bicom research paper on Britain's role in the peace process.


Netanyahu: More cash for Birthright

By Jessica Elgot, January 13, 2011

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that the government will give more than £64m to Taglit-Birthright so that more young Jews can visit Israel for the first time.

UJIA, which co-ordinates the British tours, said the money would have a direct impact on extra places for British participants, although it could not confirm how much extra funding the UK would receive.