Israel news

Family of Rachel Corrie will sue Israel

By Jessica Elgot, February 24, 2010

The family of American peace activist Rachel Corrie, killed seven years ago while apparently acting as a human shield in front of an Israeli army bulldozer, is to sue the Israeli Defence Ministry.

Cindy and Craig Corrie of Olympia, Washington, say they have four key witnesses, three Britons and an American, who saw Ms Corrie crushed underneath a Caterpillar bulldozer in Rafah in 2003.

The witnesses belong to the International Solidarity Movement, the pro-Palestinian activist group with which Ms Corrie, 23, was involved at the time of her death.

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Israeli army clashes with shrine protesters

By Jessica Elgot, February 22, 2010

Israeli soldiers have clashed with stone-throwing protesters in Hebron angry that two shrines have been listed as Israeli heritage sites.

The IDF soldiers used tear gas to disperse the protesters who threw bottles and stones at the soldiers.

The protest was in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to include the Tomb of the Patriachs in Hebron and the site of Rachel’s Tomb in Bethelehem as part of an Israeli £69m restoration plan for heritage sites.

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Analysis: If it was Mossad, then was it a success?

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 18, 2010

Israel almost never takes responsibility for mysterious killings in the Middle East. To do so would only cause diplomatic and security problems and reveal operational methods.

As it is, most of the targets have multiple enemies and whoever's finger was on the trigger, Israel will be blamed.

There is one major exception to this rule: sometimes things go dramatically wrong and the only way to release a captured agent is to own up.

Did the assassins who eliminated the Hamas arms smuggler, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, mess up? Operationally, no.

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Rabbi blasts 'ignorance' at weddings

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 18, 2010

Rabbi Ovadia Yossef has attacked the "ignorant" manner in which the custom of breaking a glass under the chupah is often carried out during religious wedding ceremonies.

The most prominent Sephardi rabbi in the world and the spiritual leader of Shas, 89-year-old Rabbi Ovadia Yossef published his public criticism of religious wedding services in Yom Leyom, the weekly affiliated to the Sephardi Shas party.

He singled out the breaking of the glass, which is meant to remind all those present at the celebration of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.

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Arab rights protesters seek to lift Israel's Left

By Ben Lynfield, February 18, 2010

While many Israelis use Friday afternoons for a pre-Shabbat nap, hundreds each week are refusing to sleep through what appears to them to be a glaring injustice against Palestinians. They have converted a park opposite east Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood into the venue for regular protests against evictions of Palestinian residents to make way for Jews.

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Mossad: "Can we borrow your passport please?"

February 18, 2010

So how could the Israeli authorities get access to the details of British passport-holders?

Here are two ways: one, when people make aliyah, and another, when foreign passport-holders are approached by security services.

Sanjoy Mukherjee made aliyah last year. He said: “Once your aliyah application is approved by the Jewish Agency, you give your passport in and it’s given to the Israeli consulate in London which provides you with an aliyah permit.

"The passport is returned to you and you make aliyah after that. As I recall, my passport was there for around 10 days.”

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British journalist held by Hamas

By Jessica Elgot, February 15, 2010

A British journalist is being held in Gaza for ‘violating security’, Hamas has announced.

Freelance journalist Paul Martin, who has reported for the BBC and The Times, will be held by Hamas for a fortnight awaiting a court hearing.

The British consulate in Jerusalem confirmed that Mr Martin was being held and said it was “very concerned”. A spokesman said Mr Martin’s family had been informed.

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Bar Refaeli's Israeli tax row resolves

By Jessica Elgot, February 12, 2010

Bar Refaeli has resolved her row with the Israeli tax authority, which refused to allow the supermodel to register as an expat.

Ms Refaeli, the on-off girlfriend of Leonardo DiCaprio, had requested exemption from Israeli tax because she is resident abroad.

She broke up with Mr DiCaprio in June last year, but the pair have been spotted taking a holiday to Italy together earlier this month, fuelling rumours the romance is back on.

The model, who has been the face of campaigns for Victoria’s Secret and Israeli clothing line Fox, has now reached an agreement with the tax authority.

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Israeli plan stalls to give drivers extra road training

By Nathan Jeffay, February 11, 2010

After more than five years working on a programme to improve driving standards in Israel, the Transportation Ministry has shelved it.

Israelis have a reputation for being bad drivers, and last month this assumption became enshrined in official information for visitors put out by the American State Department.

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Analysis: Bibi survives his first year, but has done little

By Shmuel Rosner, February 11, 2010

In recent weeks, the Israeli media has been obsessively covering the whereabouts of PM Binyamin Netanyahu’s wife, Sara. News flash: she fired a house maid! News flash: she intervened on behalf of a candidate for ambassadorship. News flash: Sara is at it again! And again! And again!

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