Israel news

Israeli mother who starved child avoids prison

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 21, 2010

The strictly Orthodox woman from Jerusalem who was charged with starving her three-year-old son was convicted of intentionally harming her child in a plea bargain with the prosecution on Monday.

According to the terms of the plea bargain, the mother will not serve any prison time but will spend the next three years under house arrest, following which she will be sentenced by the court.

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Ex-Charedim challenge school system

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 21, 2010

A former education minister, an ex-general and a university president have joined a group of formerly Charedi men in challenging the political arrangement which allows strictly Orthodox schools to receive state funding despite not teaching secular subjects.

For the past five years, the Education Ministry has been trying to make all Israeli schools that are financed by the government teach a set of core subjects - including grammar, mathematics, basic sciences and English - as a condition of funding.

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Comment: Chomsky ban shows up bad border policy

May 21, 2010

Outside of the extreme right, it was hard to find this week in Israel someone who would justify the decision to deny entry to Professor Noam Chomsky. Even the various agencies of the government seem to agree belatedly that there was no reason to prevent the professor from travelling from the Jordanian border to Bir Zeit University in the West Bank and delivering his scheduled lecture.

The decision to deny entry to the 81-year-old Jewish academic was taken by a low-level Interior Ministry official, who was in charge of immigration at the Allenby Bridge Crossing that day.

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Israel champion Burt is Middle East minister

By Martin Bright, May 21, 2010

The appointment of Alistair Burt as Middle East Minister in the Foreign Office sends as clear a message as possible about the direction of the new government in the region. Mr Burt is listed as an officer in the parliamentary group of Conservative Friends of Israel and has been passionate in campaigning for visiting rights to Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held hostage by Hamas for the past four years.

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Israel wary of Iranian nuclear deal with Turkey

By Jessica Elgot, May 18, 2010

An Israeli government official has called Iran’s new nuclear deal with Turkey and Brazil a “trick”, as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met cabinet members to discuss their concerns.

An agreement was signed yesterday in Tehran that Iran would ship enriched uranium to Turkey.

The enriched uranium would be exchanged for nuclear rods – which can be used in scientific research but cannot be processed to make weapons. However, Iran has said it will still continue to enrich its own uranium.

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Elvis Costello to boycott Israel gig

By Jessica Elgot, May 18, 2010

British musician Elvis Costello has pulled out of two concerts in Israel, saying in a statement that he did not want his performance to be a “political act”.

The move contradicts his comments in an interview with the Jerusalem Post two weeks ago when Costello said that he did not approve of cultural boycotts, and that he believed that “dialogue is essential” to resolve the conflict.

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Chomsky anger as Israel refuses him entry

By Jessica Elgot, May 17, 2010

US academic Noam Chomsky has been refused entry to the West Bank from Jordan by Israeli immigration officials.

The Jewish professor of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who is a vocal critic of Israel, had been due to give a lecture at Birzeit University, near Ramallah.

But today an Israeli Interior Ministry spokesman said that the ministry would do all it could to ensure Professor Chomsky could get into the country.

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BBC's Bowen: Problems in US-Israel relations 'enjoyable'

By Jessica Elgot, May 14, 2010

The BBC’s Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen has said that a report where he described the tension in US-Israeli relations as “enjoyable” was down to an editing glitch.

In his piece ‘Analysis: Bleak climate for Mid-East talks’ for the BBC News website, Mr Bowen wrote: “It has been an unusual and enjoyable new experience to be able to look on as the Israelis argued with their most important ally.”

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Palestinian boy 'shot by settlers', reports claim

By Jessica Elgot, May 14, 2010

Palestinian witnesses claim a 14-year-old boy was shot dead by Jewish settlers in the West Bank last night.

The witnesses, including the boy’s cousin, told police the boy was shot on Highway 60, a short distance from Ramallah after Palestinians threw stones at the car of the settlers.

He has been named locally as Ayssar Yasser from the village of Mizra al-Sharqiah, but this has not been confirmed by Israeli police.

The IDF said the body of a teenager had been found and the cause of death was unclear.

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Israel enters OECD

By Simon Griver, May 13, 2010

Israel has been officially accepted as a member of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the forum of the world's most developed economies.

The 31 member nations voted unanimously for Israel's accession in Paris on Monday, and also accepted Estonia and Slovenia.

Israel's Minister of Finance, Prof Yuval Steinitz, said the vote has implications far beyond the economic sphere.

"This has huge diplomatic significance at a time when Israel is under attack and being delegitimised in the international arena."

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