Israel news

Arabic classes in Israeli schools

By Jennifer Lipman, August 24, 2010

Israeli schoolchildren are to be taught Arabic as part of a new education programme designed to promote tolerance.

From the fifth grade children Haifa and around the north of Israel will learn to speak, read and write the language as of the new school year.

Officials plan to expand the scheme across the whole country.

The classes, to be taught mostly by Arab teachers, will be compulsory at 170 public and religious schools.

Arabic is already taught by more than 1,000 Jewish teachers in Israel.

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Ayalon: Israel will act if Iran attacks

By Jennifer Lipman, August 24, 2010

Israel’s deputy foreign minister has said that Israel will act against Iran if necessary and called on the Iranian people to act against the “aggressive dictatorial regime”.

Danny Ayalon, speaking during a radio broadcast which was then translated into Farsi, warned that if sanctions to stop Iran arming itself with nuclear weapons fail “the United States and other nations might consider other options."

"Israel is committed to defending its citizens and if attacked will act accordingly."

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Police recommend indicting Ehud Olmert

By Jennifer Lipman, August 23, 2010

Israeli police have advised that Ehud Olmert be indicted for accepting bribes in the Holyland affair.

They said that they suspect the former prime minister of fraud, breach of trust and taking bribes and that they recommend he stand trial.

The corruption charges relate to Mr Olmert’s role in a property deal when he was Jerusalem mayor.

Mr Olmert served as mayor between 1993 and 2003, and became prime minister in 2006 after Ariel Sharon suffered a stroke.

He has denied the accusations and his spokesman has described them as baseless.

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Direct Middle East peace talks due September

By Jennifer Lipman, August 20, 2010

Hillary Clinton has announced the first direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians in nearly two years.

The US Secretary of State invited Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas to Washington to resume negotiations in order to creat a "just and lasting peace."

Egyptian and Jordanian leaders have also been asked to attend.

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Direct Middle East talks near

By Jennifer Lipman, August 19, 2010

It could be just days before direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians take place.

The United States government and the Quartet have been working on the details for some time now and are believed to be very close to agreeing on a timetable for direct talks.

Last week Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the United States Middle East envoy George Mitchell that it was time “to get on with it”.

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Analysis: No Abu Ghraib photoshoot, but we should all be very concerned

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 19, 2010

The Facebook photos of former IDF Sergeant Eden Abergil's army days drew an inevitable, though ridiculous, comparison this week with the depraved scenes of sexual abuse and torture carried out by American soldiers in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison.

But in many ways, the images of Abergil posing, smiling, with arrested Palestinian civilians bound and blindfolded in the close background, poses a more difficult and complex moral challenge for the IDF's commanders.

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Israeli wins mathematics 'Nobel prize'

By Jennifer Lipman, August 19, 2010

A Jerusalem scientist has become the first Israeli winner of a prestigious mathematics award.

Hebrew University professor Elon Lindenstrauss has been named as the recipient of the Fields Medal for 2010.

The prize, which is described as the mathematics equivalent of a Nobel Prize, is given out every four years to an outstanding academic under the age of 40.

Mr Lindenstrauss, born in 1970, is a reserve major in the IDF and a graduate of the Talpiot programme for outstanding students in the Israel Air Force.

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West Bank settlers plan to teach kids Arabic

By Nathan Jeffay, August 19, 2010

In the West Bank, both sides in the conflict are busy building barriers.

Construction is still under way on Israel's security barrier. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority is building trade barriers. But despite this, one settler leader claims to have come up with a plan to break down a barrier - the language barrier.

Oded Revivi, mayor of Efrat, south-west of Jerusalem, wants to make his schools home to Arabic master classes.

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Jonathan Safran Foer boosts Jerusalem culture

August 19, 2010

Two of America's leading young Jewish novelists, husband and wife Jonathan Safran Foer and Nicole Krauss, have spearheaded a cultural initiative in Jerusalem: the revival of the Jerusalem Fellows at Mishkenot Sha'ananim.

Mishkenot, a cultural hub in the shadow of Yemin Moshe, the capital's famous windmill, used regularly to host artists, writers and musicians when the late Teddy Kollek was mayor of Jerusalem.

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Jerusalem prepares for Pop Idol clashes

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 19, 2010

Major clashes are expected next month in Jerusalem around the broadcast of the A Star is Born finale from the Sultan's Pool in Jerusalem.

The final of Israel's equivalent to Pop Idol is scheduled for Saturday night and strictly Orthodox rabbis object to it for fear that the preparations for the broadcast will take place on Shabbat, and that the heavy traffic expected will block the road for those planning to get to the Western Wall for the first night of selichot (penitential prayers said before the High Holy Days).

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