Israel news

Tributes to 'hero' victim of Carmel forest fire

By Jennifer Lipman, December 21, 2010

Israel’s Prime Minister has paid tribute to the selflessness of a firefighter who died in hospital two weeks after he attempted to put out the most devastating forest fire in Israel’s history.

After visiting the parents of Danny Hayat, Benjamin Netanyahu described the family as “strong, united and brave.”

Mr Hayat, 35 and from Afula, was the 44th victim of the Carmel Forest Fires, which began flaring on December 2.


Israeli doctors using iPads to treat patients

By Jennifer Lipman, December 20, 2010

Israeli doctors have found a new use for the Apple iPad.

Staff at the Mayanei Hayeshua hospital in Bnei Brak have been given the tablet computers to help them care for patients.

They are using the technology to check patient records, look at X-ray scans and find out test results.

The iPads, customised for use in Hebrew, can also be used to access information from outside the hospital, so doctors can offer advice to their colleagues at any time of day.


Stabbed Israeli tour guide tells of her ordeal

By Jennifer Lipman, December 20, 2010

The British-born Israeli woman stabbed in what Israeli police have suggested was a terrorist attack has said she survived the ordeal by pretending to be unconscious.

Kaye Susan Wilson, who moved to Israel in 1991, said that she and an American friend, who died from her wounds, were attacked by two Arab men with a knife while hiking in a forest near Jerusalem.


Anti-Arab ruling sparks fury

By Michal Levertov, December 16, 2010

A rabbinical edict which prohibits Jews from renting and selling homes to non-Jews has provoked uproar across Israel.

The ruling, which has been signed by over 200 chief rabbis, is to be examined by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, who is looking into bringing charges of incitement.

The Abraham Fund, an Israeli Jewish-Arab co-existence organisation, said that the authorities' slow response to a similar decree issued by Safed's chief rabbi, Shmuel Elyiahu, six weeks ago, encouraged this group of rabbis to make their provocative opinions known.


Blaze devastated our service, says Manchester-raised head of prisons

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 16, 2010

The Prisons Service is not usually the most prominent of security agencies in Israel.

But it came well and truly into the spotlight after the blaze on Mount Carmel killed 37 of its members, including cadets and instructors on a select officers' course.


Peace talksgo back to the drawing board

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 16, 2010

Following its failure to secure a second settlement freeze, the Obama administration is now pushing for indirect talks over the "core" issues between Israel and the Palestinians.

The senior US negotiator George Mitchell resumed the "shuttle diplomacy" between Jerusalem and Ramallah this week, after four fruitless months spent trying to enable direct talks.

Mr Mitchell and the Prime Minister met for over three hours on Monday in a meeting that, according to Israeli sources, was mainly dedicated to "working out a new procedure for the negotiations with the Palestinians".


Conversions cause political storm

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 16, 2010

The Knesset voted unanimously on Wednesday in favour of a law affirming the conversions carried out by the IDF's rabbinate, despite warnings by the Charedi parties of a political crisis.

The Shas leader, Interior Minister Eli Yishai, said following the vote that: "If the law goes ahead, we will consider leaving the coalition".

Shas and United Torah Judaism both oppose the law which will give conversions performed in the IDF the same status as those carried out by the civilian conversion courts of the Chief Rabbinate.


Bon Jovi tells Larry King, we're off to Israel

By Jennifer Lipman, December 16, 2010

American rock band Bon Jovi is to tour Israel for the first time.

The group, famous for hits including Living on a Prayer and It’s My Life, are to play in Israel next year.

The tour is to mark the release of Bon Jovi’s 11th album, The Circle.

Frontman Jon Bon Jovi revealed the planned concert during an interview with Larry King, the Jewish American television presenter who is leaving his late night CNN chat show Larry King Live this evening, after 25 years interviewing everyone who matters in the public eye.


Palestinian Arab leader struck wartime deal with Nazis

By Jennifer Lipman, December 15, 2010

The Nazis told the leader of the Palestinian Arabs that in return for his help during the Second World War he would have control of Palestine.

According to a report released this week by the US National Archives, based on thousands of declassified documents, the Nazis planned to make the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, overall leader after the British were ousted and the 350,000-strong Jewish population was murdered.


Ancient Roman statue unearthed in Israel storm

By Jennifer Lipman, December 15, 2010

The stormy weather that hit Israel this week had an unexpected consequence when an ancient Roman statue was unearthed on an Ashkelon beach.

A passer-by noticed the headless marble statue, thought to be at least 1700 years old, after the storm left it exposed in the sand. The white marble figure, which is 1.2 metres tall and weighs 200 kilograms, is wearing a toga but no longer has arms.

A spokesman for the Israel Antiquities Authority said that what was thought to be part of a Roman bathhouse was also unearthed.