Israel news

Israeli films win prizes at London Film Festival

By Jessica Elgot, October 29, 2009

Two Israeli films have won top prizes at the London film festival

Israeli director Yoav Shamir has won the Grierson prize for documentary for his film Defamation, which looks at antisemitism around the world.

The Sutherland award for the best first feature film went to Ajami, a film set in Jaffa in a mixed Jewish and Arab neighbourhood. It was directed by Palestinian Scandar Copti and Israeli Yaron Shani.

The film has also been placed on the short list of nominees for the 2010 Academy Awards.

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EU lawyers target IDF officers

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 29, 2009

Senior IDF officers have stopped visiting several European countries, including Britain, as a network of human rights lawyers has stepped up efforts to issue arrest warrants against officers suspected of war crimes.

Lawyers in the UK, Holland, Spain and other countries have compiled a list of IDF officers who were in command of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza 10 months ago. According to Daniel Machover of Hickman & Rose in London, his office has been instructed by Palestinians in Gaza to bring charges against officers for alleged war crimes.

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Segregated public buses ruled illegal

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 29, 2009

A special committee has ruled that gender-segregated public buses are illegal, but at the same time will allow the strictly Orthodox community to organise segregated private transport.

The largest transport co-operative, Egged, has about 55 bus lines on which men and women are made to sit separately as a result of strictly Orthodox pressure. Petitions against this to the Supreme Court resulted in a committee appointed by the Transport Ministry.

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Israeli Arabs 'would not live in a new Palestine'

By Nathan Jeffay, October 29, 2009

A clear majority of Israeli Arabs do not want to be part of a Palestinian state, according to a new survey.

Some 64 per cent are against a settlement with the Palestinians which would involve redrawing borders in order to put some Israeli Arab towns in Palestine.

The majority explain that jobs and living standards are better in Israel and six per cent say they reject the idea because they have a separate identity to Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza.

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Financial scandals rock Israeli sports

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 29, 2009

A suicide that was seen last Monday simply as a personal and family tragedy has swiftly developed into a storm engulfing not only Israel’s most successful basketball team, but the entire sporting establishment.

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Labour: Jerusalem is not the Jewish capital

By Jessica Elgot, October 28, 2009

Ehud Barak’s Labour Party has vetoed a bill in the Knesset describing Jerusalem as the Jewish capital.

The party says that while Jerusalem should be asserted as the capital of Israel, a move to make it a religious capital would be misinterpreted by the rest of the world as a potential act of aggression.
The government cannot support a bill if a party in the Knesset uses its power of veto.

The bill was proposed by Habayit Hayehudi (Our Jewish Home) MK Zevulun Orlev, in order to state clearly that a “United Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish people.”

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Clinton to meet Netanyahu in Israel

By Jessica Elgot, October 28, 2009

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Israel this weekend, in her first official visit since the Israeli elections.

On Sunday, she will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Middle East envoy George Mitchell, Defence Minister Ehud Barak and President Shimon Peres.

Mr Mitchell will arrive in Jerusalem on Thursday to prepare for Mrs Clinton’s visit.

After Mrs Clinton leaves Israel, she will fly to Morocco for a meeting with Arab foreign ministers

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Amnesty: Israel is 'denying Palestinians water'

By Jessica Elgot, October 27, 2009

Israel is denying Palestinians their fair share of water by blocking projects to improve water supplies, Amnesty International has alleged.

In a new report, the human rights organisation claimed that Israel is using over 80 per cent of the water from the mountain aquifer in the West Bank, depriving local Palestinians. It is the only water supply to the West Bank.

In the 112-page report, Amnesty claimed that Palestinians used 70 litres of water a day, compared with the Israelis who use 300 litres.

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Will this be Israel’s last Nobel prize?

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 22, 2009

Five Israelis have won Nobel Prizes in various fields of research over the past eight years. Only the United States, Britain and Japan have more Nobel laureates over the same period.

This statistic may make Israel appear to be an academic giant, but many leading professors are convinced that the prizes reflect efforts made many years ago and that with the current level of investment, Professor Ada Yonath’s Chemistry Prize - announced two weeks ago and widely celebrated within Israel - may be the last Nobel an Israeli will receive for many years to come.

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IDF mobilises as fears over olive wars grow

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 22, 2009

The IDF is deploying unprecedented forces in the West Bank to ensure that this year’s olive harvest can be carried out smoothly.

In past years, violent clashes have broken out between settlers and Palestinians over the right to pick olives around some of the settlements.

This year, the Defence Ministry’s civil administration in the West Bank has mapped out the ownership of all olive groves near settlements which are classified as “flash points”. A mobile battalion-sized security team of Border Police and the Special Patrol Unit has been formed to secure the area.

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