Israel news

Analysis: Netnayahu faces US crisis

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 18, 2010

Binyamin Netanyahu is not a natural gambler. He hates making decisions and will use every opportunity to defer and procrastinate. But this week he was handed a clear ultimatum by the White House: make the choice - us or your coalition.

His response: to continue playing for time.

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Obama reaffirms Israel 'special bond'

By Jessica Elgot, March 18, 2010

US President Barack Obama has spoken of the “special bond” the US has with Israel, keen to smooth over the mounting diplomatic crisis between the countries.

Tensions have been high since the Israeli Interior Ministry announced the building of 1,600 new homes in Ramat Shlomo, east Jerusalem, just 24 hours after US Vice President Joe Biden visited the country in an attempt to start peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

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Gaza rocket kills Negev man at kibbutz

By Jessica Elgot, March 18, 2010

A man has been killed by a Kassam rocket fired by Gaza terrorists. It exploded next to him when it hit a kibbutz in the northern Negev, Nativ Ha’asara.

The man is believed to be a migrant worker from Thailand who was working in the kibbutz’s greenhouse.

The rocket is the third to have hit the region in the past 24 hours, after riots in Jerusalem and protests in the Gaza Strip over Israel’s plan to build 1,600 new homes in East Jerusalem.

Two women have been treated for shock, but no-one else has been reported injured.

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The Simpsons in Israel to be screened next week

By Jessica Elgot, March 17, 2010

Israel has welcomed America’s most famous yellow family in a new episode of The Simpsons to be released in the US next week.

Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen will star as an Israeli tour guide who takes Homer and Bart around Jerusalem, including a trip to the Western Wall.

During the episode, “The Greatest Story ever Doh’ed” Homer experiences “Jerusalem Syndrome” and becomes convinced he is the Messiah.

Producer Al Jean said Mr Baron-Cohen’s character would have political clashes with Marge Simpson.

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Jerusalem riots ease as Clinton calls for peace

By Jessica Elgot, March 17, 2010

Jerusalem appeared to have returned to a semblance of calm last night as police reopened the Temple Mount and road closures from the West Bank were lifted, despite yesterday’s violent clashes.

The riots were in protest against the Israeli government’s approval given to 1,600 new homes in East Jerusalem, a move which cause a deep rift between Israel and the US, with US special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, cancelling a visit to Israel.

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Hamas declares 'Day of Rage' in Jerusalem

By Jessica Elgot, March 16, 2010

Hamas has declared a “day of rage” as Palestinians took to the streets of Jerusalem to protest against Israeli plans to build 1,600 new homes in East Jerusalem.

Masked rioters attacked Israeli police officers, throwing stones and burning tyres. Nearly 30 protesters have been arrested and nearly 50 people injured in the Old City and East Jerusalem.

Hamas' acting parliamentary Speaker, Dr Ahmed Bahar, called on the Palestinians to plan suicide bombings and terror attacks on Israel.

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Bar Refaeli warned 'Don't marry Leo Di Caprio'

By Jessica Elgot, March 15, 2010

Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli has been urged not to marry her non-Jewish boyfriend Leonardo Di Caprio by a group of strictly Orthodox Jews.

Extreme right-wing activist Baruch Marzel, the head of the Jewish National Front, wrote to Bar Refaeli on behalf of his group Lehava urging her not to “dilute the Jewish race.”

He told the supermodel, who has recently rekindled her romance with American actor Mr DiCaprio: “It is not by chance that you were born Jewish.

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Nude photoshoot planned for Tel Aviv

By Jessica Elgot, March 12, 2010

The controversial Jewish artist Spencer Tunick, whose photographs feature thousands of naked volunteers, hopes to shoot a work in Israel.

The proposal has sparked both excitement and anger among politicians and religious groups.

Mr Tunick has submitted two requests, one to shoot in the Tel Aviv Port and one on the Dead Sea beach.

A spokesman for the Tel Aviv municipality said they were thrilled to be considered by Mr Tunick. He said: "This is a wonderful way of telling the world about Tel Aviv and its modern and vibrant nature."

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European Parliament calls for Gilad Shalit release

By Jessica Elgot, March 11, 2010

The European Parliament have passed a motion calling for the immediate release of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

MEPs from across the political spectrum signed a letter to EU Foreign Policy chief Lady Catherine Ashton, who will visit Israel and Palestinian areas next week. Israel will open the Erez crossing into Gaza for Lady Ashton’s visit.

Gilad Shalit, 23, was abducted almost four years ago by Hamas terrorists. No Red Cross members or negotiators have seen him, but videos and photographs have been released.

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Peace talks cancelled over East Jerusalem homes

By Jessica Elgot, March 11, 2010

The Palestinians have called off peace talks with the Israeli government after a decision to approve 1,600 new homes to be built in East Jerusalem, despite an apology from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Israel’s approval of the houses, which came 24 hours after indirect talks between Israeli and the Palestinians were announced, brokered by US special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell.

The homes are to be built for a strictly-Orthodox community in Ramat Shlomo near the Palestinian village of Shuafat.

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