Israel news

Dead Sea could be new seventh wonder of world

By Jennifer Lipman, December 13, 2010

The Dead Sea is up against the Iguacu waterfalls in South America, the Maldives and the Grand Canyon in a competition to be named one of the new wonders of the world.

The famous waters are one of the finalists in the New7Wonders of the World contest, along with Mount Vesuvius in Italy and the Great Barrier Reef.

The Dead Sea is one of only three sites in the Middle East to have made the shortlist; the others are Bu Tinah island in Abu Dhabi and the Jeita Grotto in Lebanon.

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Snow falling on Jersualem, extreme weather in Israel

By Jennifer Lipman, December 13, 2010

After months of unusually warm weather and dangerously low rainfall, Israel is now experiencing the other extreme – snow.

The country has been hit by the largest snowstorm in two decades, with 120 centimetres of snow falling on Mount Hermon in the north.

The weather raging across the Middle East also caused a Moldovan ship to sink in the Mediterranean Sea, 15 kilometres off the coast of Ashdod in the south. All the crew members escaped the ship.

Light snowfall has also fallen around the country including in Jerusalem.

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EU, UN criticise Israel for settlements

By Jennifer Lipman, December 10, 2010

Israel’s refusal to change its position on settlement building has prompted criticism from members of the European Union and the United Nations.

The rebukes came as Israeli envoy Yitzhak Molcho flew to Washington to discuss the progress of the peace process at meetings with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Middle East George Mitchell.

On the same day Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak met Thursday with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

EU High Representative Catherine Ashton said that the EU considered settlements an obstacle to peace.

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EU, UN criticise Israel for settlements

By Jennifer Lipman, December 10, 2010

Israel’s refusal to change its position on settlement building has prompted criticism from members of the European Union and the United Nations.

The rebukes came as Israeli envoy Yitzhak Molcho flew to Washington to discuss the progress of the peace process at meetings with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Middle East George Mitchell.

On the same day Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak met Thursday with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

EU High Representative Catherine Ashton said that the EU considered settlements an obstacle to peace.

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The mountain gave up few survivors

By Rafi Beyar, December 10, 2010

The Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa is northern Israel's largest tertiary hospital, serving more than two million people and 11 district hospitals. As such, sadly, all too often, we need to be ready to respond at a moment's notice to emergency situations, sometimes involving multiple causalities.

When we receive word of such a situation, as we did last Thursday, we immediately go on high alert.

Dozens of physicians and nurses make ready to receive the injured, some on them rushing to the campus on their days off to do whatever they can to help.

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Regenerated Haifa becomes the city to watch in 2011

By Nathan Jeffay, December 9, 2010

The global affairs magazine Monocle has singled out Haifa as top of its "places to watch for business opportunities in 2011".

It explains that Haifa - which flourished under British rule, before Israeli independence - has been in "steady decline for the past few decades," yet its "massive head-to-toe regeneration effort" is "starting to have an impact."

Mayor Yona Yahav views the award as recognition of his success in turning the city round during his seven years in office.

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Mobile crash could be cyber attack

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 9, 2010

The reasons for a software breakdown which resulted in no service for millions of Israeli mobile phone users last week are still unclear. Computer experts are worried that this could have been a successful trial run ofa cyber attack against Israel.

Cellcom, the largest mobile phone provider in Israel, experienced last Wednesday what the company described as a "failure in the heart of our system". For over 12 hours, most of the company's 3.3 million users were without service but, despite resuming normal operations, the company has been silent as to the causes.

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Israeli cabinet approves detention centre for illegal immigrants

By Nathan Jeffay, December 9, 2010

The Israeli government has announced it will build a detention centre for the growing number of people entering the country illegally.

Since 2005, there has been an influx of Africans, the vast majority of them Sudanese and Eritreans. More than 35,000 of them have reached Israel via Egypt.

At the end of November, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared: "This growing wave threatens Israelis' jobs, is changing the character of the country and we must stop it." He added that "there has been talk for years but now we are not talking".

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Lebanon crisis may be averted

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 9, 2010

Israeli intelligence believes that serious turmoil can be avoided in Lebanon by a toning down of the results of the Special Tribunal investigating the assassination of the Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Central operatives of Hizbollah are expected to be indicted by the tribunal and Hizbollah's leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, has issued dire warnings that "political upheaval" would result from such accusations.

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Rabbis sign anti-Arab ruling

By Simon Griver, December 9, 2010

Widespread condemnation has greeted a ruling by over 50 chief rabbis of Israeli towns prohibiting Jews from renting and selling homes to non-Jews either in Israel or Jewish neighbourhoods in the diaspora.

The Israeli media reported that the radical declaration will be published ahead of Shabbat as an advertisement in the Orthodox press and in weekly leaflets that are circulated to synagogues. The decree states that Jews who ignore the prohibition should be ostracised.

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