Israel news

Israeli healthcare standards 'slipping'

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 10, 2009

The heated discussions going on in Britain and the United States over the future of public medicine and medical insurance has shifted the spotlight to successful systems in other countries.

In Israel, while there is universal coverage for all residents and a generally high level of treatment, there are complaints of slipping standards.

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Abbas in dilemma over settlements

By Ben Lynfield, September 10, 2009

Israel’s approval of 450 new housing units in the settlements this week has placed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a vulnerable position, as he may have to make an embarrassing climbdown from his refusal to resume negotiations without a full settlement freeze.

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Assimilation ad angers diaspora

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 10, 2009

A new campaign against assimilation in the diaspora, which is aimed at Israelis, is raising eyebrows in international Jewish organisations.

The television advert shows spoof “missing” posters, featuring young men and women with Jewish names. The implication is that the diaspora youngsters are being “lost” to Judaism.

The advert urges Israelis with a relative abroad who might be interested in Israel to contact MASA, an Israeli-based group that encourages Jewish students to study in Israel.

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Israel ponders missed chance over Ron Arad

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 10, 2009

The basic facts are not new. Israel’s intelligence services have believed for some time that Ron Arad, the Israel Air Force navigator who was taken prisoner in Lebanon 23 years ago, died in captivity over a decade ago. But the new details of the failed efforts to release him were published this week, and in this there is a chilling resemblance to the current situation of Gilad Shalit.

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What hijack? The high-sea drama no one will discuss

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 10, 2009

Ehud Barak’s face remained expressionless. The reporters surrounded the defence minister, asking again and again, “do you have anything to say about the Russian ship?” — but he would not even look at them. His bodyguards cleared a path for him as he stepped into his official car and sped away.

None of the countries allegedly involved in the mystery of the Arctic Sea — the boat that disappeared in the Baltic Sea for several days in July after being boarded by pirates — have any interest in publicity.

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More than 700 civilians killed in Gaza- B'Tselem

By Jessica Elgot, September 9, 2009

Israeli officials seriously underestimated the number of Palestinian civilians killed in Operation Cast Lead, a Israeli human rights group has alleged.

A new report by B'Tselem found that 773 civilians, whose names it publishes today, were killed during the Israeli offensive in Gaza in January. B’Tselem says this includes 252 children and 109 women.

Israeli army figures put the civilian death toll at 209, with 89 children killed, but the figures did not include 245 Hamas policeman, whereas B’Tselem’s report counts policeman in its civilian figures.

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Ron Arad not dead until we say so, says Israel

By Jessica Elgot, September 7, 2009

The Israeli government has refused to accept a report that the missing air force navigator Ron Arad died in Lebanon in 1995.

The Prime Minister’s Office says it will continue to assume that Lt. Col Arad is alive, unless more conclusive evidence is given to the contrary.

A statement from the PMO said: "The missing aviator’s case is ongoing and until we have conclusive evidence to the contrary, the premise is that Ron Arad is alive. We are doing everything possible to bring him home."

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Settlements approved before West Bank freeze

September 4, 2009

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is set to approve hundreds of West Bank housing units ahead of a possible construction freeze, according to Israeli officials.

Mr Netanyahu is expected to support the building of new units, in addition to the 2,500 that are yet to be completed. The new buildings will be based in the West Bank, rather than East Jerusalem.

The US has been pressuring the Israeli government to halt all new settlement construction.

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Hundreds of settlements will be approved before West Bank freeze

September 4, 2009

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is set to approve hundreds of West Bank housing units ahead of a possible construction freeze, according to Israeli officials.

Mr Netanyahu is expected to support the building of new units, in addition to the 2,500 that are yet to be completed. The new buildings will be based in the West Bank, rather than East Jerusalem.

The US has been pressuring the Israeli government to halt all new settlement construction.

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Israel rejects harsh response to Norway boycott

September 4, 2009

The Israeli foreign ministry yesterday refrained from harshly criticising Norway’s decision to divest from an Israel company.

In a relatively low key response, the foreign ministry released a statement: “Israel will consider further protest measures in the future.”

Haaretz reported the foreign ministry decided against using stronger language in order to prevent a diplomatic crisis.

The decision was taken after foreign ministry director - general Yossi Gal consulted Israel’s ambassador to Oslo, Michael Eligal, and foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman.

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