Israel news

Trinny and Susannah: what Britain's Israeli ambassador should wear

By Jennifer Lipman, December 2, 2010

British fashion gurus Trinny and Susannah have shared some style tips with the British Ambassador to Israel at a party at his Ramat Gan home.

Matthew Gould and wife Celia hosted the celebrity-filled party in honour of the pair, who are filming a makeover series in Israel for Channel 10. Other guests at the party, dubbed the ambassador’s "best dressed event yet", included model Galit Guttman, designer Galit Levy and former international footballer Itzik Zohar.

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Palestinians remove Western Wall 'not Jewish' claim

By Jennifer Lipman, December 2, 2010

A claim that the Western Wall is not of Jewish significance has been taken off a Palestinian Authority report after its inclusion prompted condemnation from the US and Israel.

The controversial statement, which runs counter to archeological evidence, had been made by Palestinian Authority Deputy Information minister Al-Mutawakil Taha. He said "this wall has never been a part of what is called the Jewish Temple.”

But a Palestinian official said the claim did not reflect their position and so it had been removed from the government’s website.

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US to Palestinians: Western Wall has Jewish significance

By Jennifer Lipman, December 1, 2010

The Obama administration has rejected the controversial claim by a Palestinian official that there is no Jewish connection to the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Last week Palestinian Authority minister Al-Mutawakil Taha said in a report that "this wall has never been a part of what is called the Jewish Temple.

"It was Islamic tolerance which allowed the Jews to stand before it and cry over its loss."

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Dagan's deputy named new Mossad director

By Jennifer Lipman, November 30, 2010

The former deputy to Mossad director Meir Dagan has been named as his successor.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu named Tamir Pardo as the new chief of Israel’s intelligence service, despite speculation that he would look outside the organisation and choose the head of Israel’s domestic intelligence service, Shin Bet.

Mr Pardo has worked in the organisation for much of his career. He resigned as Mr Dagan’s deputy last year amid claims of disagreements.

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WikiLeaks: Netanyahu 'support for' Palestinian land swap

By Jennifer Lipman, November 30, 2010

Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the possibility of a land swap with the Palestinians just two weeks after becoming Israel’s prime minister, according to documents released by the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks.

A classified cable from February 26 2009 recorded that Mr Netanyahu “expressed support for the concept of land swaps” in exchanges with the newly - elected Obama administration.

The cable continued: “[He] emphasised that he did not want to govern the West Bank and Gaza but rather to stop attacks from being launched from there."

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IDF on manoeuvres as Nasrallah hints at war

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 26, 2010

The IDF's Nahal infantry brigade is carrying out its annual manoeuvres on the Golan Heights.

Traditionally, this is considered tank country, a potential battlefield between Israeli and Syrian armoured formations, but the column of soldiers moving under cover of darkness into dawn attack positions are training for war against another adversary.

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Netanyahu struggles to get votes for settlement freeze

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 25, 2010

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is finding it hard to gain the necessary cabinet votes he needs to pass an agreement with the Obama administration on a new settlement freeze period and renewed talks with the Palestinians.

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Analysis: Palestinians are rejecting peace

By Robin Shepherd, November 25, 2010

Last week's comprehensive survey of Palestinian public opinion conducted on behalf of the left-leaning Israel Project makes for sober reading for anyone holding out hope that the Palestinians are genuinely interested in a lasting peace.

Most worrying of all were multiple findings showing that solid majorities among them have no intention whatsoever of living side by side with Israel in a long-term peace based on a two-state solution.

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Israeli army uses Facebook to stalk draft-dodgers

By Jennifer Lipman, November 23, 2010

Israel has adopted a new tool in the fight against army draft evaders, and it involves looking at people’s Facebook pages.

Service in the IDF is compulsory for Israeli school-leavers, except under specific circumstances. Those exempt from duty include some Orthodox Jewish men and women.

But with draft-dodging on the rise, the army has turned to Facebook to check those avoiding service are doing so for a legitimate reason.

The method has enabled the IDF to catch some 1,000 women exaggerating the extent of their religious observance.

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Actors agree West Bank settlement pact

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 18, 2010

Israeli theatre companies will play at the new concert hall in the settlement of Ariel while allowing individual actors not to perform.

This was the uneasy agreement reached between the theatre industry and the Culture Ministry following a dispute which included threats of boycotts and a curtailment of funding.

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