Israel news

Netanya helicopter deaths joy on Press TV site

By Marcus Dysch, November 24, 2009

Reports of the death of a British tourist in a helicopter crash in Netanya were met with celebration by readers of Press TV’s website.

The news organisation, funded by the Iranian government, ran a story on Tuesday afternoon headlined “Two killed in Israeli chopper crash”.

It was immediately met with comments referring to the Gaza conflict and apparently calling for Jews and Israelis to be killed.

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Briton killed as helicopter crashes in Netanya

By Jessica Elgot, November 24, 2009

Four people have died after a helicopter crashed off the coast of Netanya, Israel.

Israeli ambulance service Magen David Adom has confirmed that four bodies have been recovered from the helicopter, and that at least one, a 43 year-old man, was British.

The private helicopter took off from Tel Aviv's Sde Dov airfield. Two of the dead have been identified as Israeli citizens. A British passport has also been recovered from the sea.

Haaretz has identified the pilot as Ran Lapid, and suggested he was an employee of El Al.

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Netanyahu: There's no Gilad Shalit deal yet

By Jessica Elgot, November 23, 2009

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has slammed reports of a prisoner swap deal to rescue kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, claiming any deal would have to be approved by the cabinet.

Mr Netanyahu said that reports that a deal wth Hamas, for the release of the 23-year-old soldier, was imminent, were “not credible and some of them are even intentionally distorted.”

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Shabbat wars erupt over Intel Jerusalem factory

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 19, 2009

Attempts at mediation have failed so far to prevent another round of Shabbat protests in Jerusalem, this time over a high-tech factory working seven days a week.

The Intel plant in Jerusalem’s Har Hotzvim business park has carried out limited work on Shabbat for over three decades. The start of a new manufacturing process, which will greatly increase the work taking place on Shabbat, had sparked calls for renewed protests. It has been two months since the previous Shabbat protests against an open municipal car park petered out.

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Analysis: Why Bibi will not go to Copenhagen

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 19, 2009

Greenpeace Israel held an unusual demonstration outside the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem on Sunday. Dressed as El Al cabin crew, they held aloft a giant boarding card with passenger Binyamin Netanyahu’s name.

They demanded the government put the issues of global warming and protection of the environment higher up its agenda and, as a start, urged Mr Netanyahu to fly to Copenhagen next month for the global climate summit.

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Israel is officially out of recession

By Simon Griver, November 19, 2009

Israel is officially out of recession after the Central Bureau of Statistics reported that the country’s economy grew 2.2 per cent on an annualised basis in the third quarter of 2009.

This followed 1 per cent growth in the second quarter.

Israel was one of the last Western countries into recession, enjoying growth of 4 per cent last year despite a contraction of 1.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2008. The recession hit hardest in the first quarter of this year, when the Israeli economy contracted by 3.2 per cent.

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A day of pride for Ethiopians

By Ben Lynfield, November 19, 2009

For their forebears in Ethiopia, the Sigd was a religious holiday renewing their covenant with God and expressing longing for Zion. But for many among the thousands marking it in Jerusalem on Monday, the festival was more of a day of ethnic pride.

“The sigd is very empowering,” said Aviva Nagosa, 32. “It is the only thing left that joins us all together.”

While in Ethiopia, the Sigd highlighted the uniqueness of the Beta Yisrael — the ancient Jewish community — amongst their Ethiopian neighbours, today it defines them as a distinguished group among other Israeli Jews.

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Woman arrested for wearing tallit at Western Wall

By Jessica Elgot, November 18, 2009

A woman has been arrested by Israeli police for wearing a tallit at the Western Wall.

Nofrat Frenkel, who was wearing a tallit, a kippah and carrying a Torah scroll, was arrested during the Women of the Wall’s Rosh Chodesh prayers.

Police who arrested Ms Frenkel say she was violating Israeli law that a certain dress code should be worn at the Kotel.

Forty women were attending the prayers in the Western Wall square when Ms Frenkel was allegedly seen reading from the scroll by members of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, who called police.

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UK, US critical of new home building in Jerusalem

By Jessica Elgot, November 18, 2009

The British and US governments and the United Nations have denounced plans approved by Israel to build 900 homes in Gilo, a neighbourhood in Jerusalem.

The building has been approved by the Israeli Interior Ministry has approved the expansion of the neighbourhood in south west Jerusalem.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "The Foreign Secretary has been very clear that a credible deal involves Jerusalem as a shared capital. Expanding settlements on occupied land in East Jerusalem makes that deal much harder. So this decision is wrong and we oppose it."

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EU: A Palestinian state is ‘premature’

By Jessica Elgot, November 17, 2009

The European Union has said that Palestine is not ready to be recognised as a full state by the UN.

The current holder of the EU presidency, Carl Bildt of Sweden, said at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels that conditions were not yet right for Palestinian statehood.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said they had decided to seek recognition of the Palestinian state from the UN because of the failure of recent peace talks.

The proposal is an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital and with June 1967 borders.

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