Israel news

Rabbi blasts 'ignorance' at weddings

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 18, 2010

Rabbi Ovadia Yossef has attacked the "ignorant" manner in which the custom of breaking a glass under the chupah is often carried out during religious wedding ceremonies.

The most prominent Sephardi rabbi in the world and the spiritual leader of Shas, 89-year-old Rabbi Ovadia Yossef published his public criticism of religious wedding services in Yom Leyom, the weekly affiliated to the Sephardi Shas party.

He singled out the breaking of the glass, which is meant to remind all those present at the celebration of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.

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Arab rights protesters seek to lift Israel's Left

By Ben Lynfield, February 18, 2010

While many Israelis use Friday afternoons for a pre-Shabbat nap, hundreds each week are refusing to sleep through what appears to them to be a glaring injustice against Palestinians. They have converted a park opposite east Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood into the venue for regular protests against evictions of Palestinian residents to make way for Jews.

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Mossad: "Can we borrow your passport please?"

February 18, 2010

So how could the Israeli authorities get access to the details of British passport-holders?

Here are two ways: one, when people make aliyah, and another, when foreign passport-holders are approached by security services.

Sanjoy Mukherjee made aliyah last year. He said: “Once your aliyah application is approved by the Jewish Agency, you give your passport in and it’s given to the Israeli consulate in London which provides you with an aliyah permit.

"The passport is returned to you and you make aliyah after that. As I recall, my passport was there for around 10 days.”

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British journalist held by Hamas

By Jessica Elgot, February 15, 2010

A British journalist is being held in Gaza for ‘violating security’, Hamas has announced.

Freelance journalist Paul Martin, who has reported for the BBC and The Times, will be held by Hamas for a fortnight awaiting a court hearing.

The British consulate in Jerusalem confirmed that Mr Martin was being held and said it was “very concerned”. A spokesman said Mr Martin’s family had been informed.

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Bar Refaeli's Israeli tax row resolves

By Jessica Elgot, February 12, 2010

Bar Refaeli has resolved her row with the Israeli tax authority, which refused to allow the supermodel to register as an expat.

Ms Refaeli, the on-off girlfriend of Leonardo DiCaprio, had requested exemption from Israeli tax because she is resident abroad.

She broke up with Mr DiCaprio in June last year, but the pair have been spotted taking a holiday to Italy together earlier this month, fuelling rumours the romance is back on.

The model, who has been the face of campaigns for Victoria’s Secret and Israeli clothing line Fox, has now reached an agreement with the tax authority.

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Israeli plan stalls to give drivers extra road training

By Nathan Jeffay, February 11, 2010

After more than five years working on a programme to improve driving standards in Israel, the Transportation Ministry has shelved it.

Israelis have a reputation for being bad drivers, and last month this assumption became enshrined in official information for visitors put out by the American State Department.

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Analysis: Bibi survives his first year, but has done little

By Shmuel Rosner, February 11, 2010

In recent weeks, the Israeli media has been obsessively covering the whereabouts of PM Binyamin Netanyahu’s wife, Sara. News flash: she fired a house maid! News flash: she intervened on behalf of a candidate for ambassadorship. News flash: Sara is at it again! And again! And again!

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Analysis: War talk reveals Israeli fear of a Syrian front

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 11, 2010

Thousands of Israelis flocked last week to the Golan Heights to enjoy the first major snowfall of the year, but not all of them returned home safe and sound. One family, eager to slide down a pristine white hillside, inadvertently entered a minefield and two of its children stepped on anti-personnel mines. A boy lost his foot and his sister sustained extensive shrapnel wounds.

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Israel bans fur imports, except for Chasidic hats

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 11, 2010

The Israeli government is going to forbid manufacture, import and export of all kinds of furs, with one exception: Chasidic shtreimels, or fur hats.

A new law forbidding all manufacture and trade in furs in Israel is one of the strictest of its kind in the world and was approved on Sunday. It is an extension of a previous law prohibiting the use of cat and dog skins.

Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon explained that the inspectors had trouble distinguishing between the different kinds of furs and that Israel should not be supporting “a cruel industry”.

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Israeli expats may get voting rights

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 11, 2010

A new law proposed this week by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to allow Israeli citizens living out of the country to vote in the elections could cause a split in his own coalition.

Israeli law allows only official representatives of the government to vote outside the country. Various proposals in the past to allow expatriate voting for the estimated one million Israelis living abroad have never garnered enough support.

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