Israel news

Israeli organ donors to get priority transplants

By Nathan Jeffay, February 4, 2010

Israelis are about to be presented with a stark choice by their Health Ministry: sign up for a donor card, or you may find yourself at a disadvantage if you ever need a transplant.

The National Transplant Centre, the ministry’s transplant authority, is working on a NIS 3.5 million (£600,000) advertising campaign spelling out the ramifications of legislation to encourage organ donation which is unlike any other in the world.

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EU 'funding Palestinian terror’

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 4, 2010

The British Taxpayers’ Alliance pressure group has joined the Israeli campaign against European Union funding for the Palestinian Authority’s education system, which they claim includes incitement against Israel.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance Chief Executive, Matthew Elliot, visited Israel this week and held meetings with officials at the Foreign Ministry to co-ordinate the campaign it is running, with additional European organisations, against the lack of transparency in the PA’s use of EU financial support.

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Interview: Alan Dershowitz

By Paul Berger, New York, February 4, 2010

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz has accused Richard Goldstone, the author of the UN investigation into Operation Cast Lead, of “using his Jewishness to defame Israel”.

Said Mr Dershowitz: “If he weren’t Jewish and well-known as a Jew, his report would be ignored. And yet in every interview he emphasises, ‘I am a Jew, I am a Zionist, I am connected to the Hebrew University.’”

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Charity funded groups that ‘assisted Goldstone’

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 4, 2010

The New Israel Fund has come under fire for financing human rights groups that supplied the Goldstone Commission with information regarding alleged war crimes by the IDF.

A student organisation, Im Tirzu, which bills itself as a “centrist” movement “working for the renewal of Zionist ideals”, this week published an analysis of the Israeli sources in the UN report on Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

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Analysis: Israel hands UN detailed rebuttal of Gaza allegations

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 4, 2010

Israel has handed the United Nations a detailed rebuttal of the Goldstone Report on Operation Cast Lead in Gaza last year.

The document denied the main allegations made by the committee headed by Judge Richard Goldstone: that Israel had intentionally targeted Palestinian civil infrastructures; that the IDF had committed dozens of alleged war-crimes; and that these incidents were not being properly investigated.

Israel has to inform the UN imminently what kind of commission it plans to set up to investigate the findings of the Goldstone Report.

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Livni defends decision not to join Netanyahu coalition

By Stephen Pollard, February 4, 2010

Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni has defended her decision not to join the coalition led by Binyamin Netanyahu.

“I could not join a government that is endangering Israeli security by failing to negotiate with the Palestinians.”

She said that the blame for the lack of talks lay with Mr Netanyahu.

“It is a matter of trust. Words are not enough. Palestinians do not see actions.”

The need for talks was urgent, she said, but Mr Netanyahu was not taking sufficient measures to build trust with the Palestinian Authority.

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Israel's Chief Rabbi 'We'll stop conversion reversals'

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 4, 2010

The Chief Rabbi of Israel, Shlomo Amar and the new attorney general, Yehuda Weinstein, have agreed on new guidelines limiting the powers of rabbinical courts to revoke conversions.

Under the new guidelines, if rabbinical courts question the validity of a conversion carried out by the special conversion courts, the decision will be referred to the president of the Grand Rabbinical Court, Rabbi Amar. He will decide on a special forum of dayanim that will rule on the specific case.

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Analysis: Israel will be blamed for Hamas murder

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 2, 2010

Hamas leadership and the international media, understandably, immediately accused Israel’s Mossad of being behind the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel room two weeks ago.

There is no shortage of reasons for this. Mabhouh, for the last six years, was the main Hamas operative in the complex arm-smuggling organisation linking the Gaza Strip and Iran. Israel’s intelligence services have been fighting a major campaign against this pipeline, largely in secret.

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Hamas: Gilad Shalit deal has 'failed'

By Jessica Elgot, February 2, 2010

Negotiations to rescue kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit have collapsed, Hamas’s Mahmoud Zahar has claimed.

Mr Zahar, a founder of Hamas, and one of its most militant commanders, told the BBC that it was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who had caused the “failure” of the talks.

He said: "After the involvement of Benjamin Netanyahu, it appears we have gone one step back. As of now the process has failed."

Israel has been in talks for months through German mediator Gerhard Conrad over a huge prisoner swap for the abducted 23-year-old corporal.

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Berlusconi: My dream for Israel to join EU

By Jessica Elgot, February 1, 2010

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has declared that Israel should become a member of the European Union.

In a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mr Berlusconi said: “My greatest desire, as long as I am a protagonist in politics, is to bring Israel into membership of the European Union."

He added: “We would like a committed friendship to grow from this meeting, to work together toward the future.

"I hope we can all look towards a future of profit and prosperity, particularly peace for you, whose fragile existence is threatened."

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