Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak will speak at the Labour Party Conference next week.
He will be addressing the Labour Friends of Israel at their annual reception on Tuesday afternoon.
The presence of Mr Barak, who is also Israel’s deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Party, is certain to be controversial given the hostility of many Labour Party members to Israel, and his role in Operation Cast Lead in Gaza earlier this year.
The Simpsons are going to Israel, and their tour guide will be Bruno and Borat creator Sacha Baron Cohen.
The episode, called The Greatest Story Ever D'ohed , is scheduled to air in 2010 and will feature the famous yellow family on a guided tour of Israel with an angry Israeli tour guide, voiced by Mr Baron Cohen.
Homer Simpson will develop Jerusalem Syndrome – where sufferers experience obsessive religious fantasies – and become convinced he is the new messiah, dragging Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson to the Holy Land.
The recent strength of the shekel has generally been credited to a strong Israeli economy. However, market sources now claim that speculators are targeting the shekel, keeping it artificially high, with foreigners holding nearly $80 billion of the currency.
A massive sell-off of shekels could seriously destabilise the country’s economy and some, like Motorola Israel president Elisha Yanay, suspect that the speculators may have more than profit in mind.
As Rosh Hashanah approaches, Israeli charities are buckling under the strain of providing for growing numbers of needy people, while their own resources are dwindling because of the country’s economic downturn.
“It’s very difficult for those of us who are holding the front,” said Shlomit Shulov-Barkan, deputy director of the Meir Panim soup kitchen network. It has been forced to lay off more than 40 of its 120 employees in the past six months due to declining donations, most of which come from Israelis.
The death of Captain Asaf Ramon in a jet fighter accident on Sunday has reopened the question of whether children from bereaved families should be allowed to serve in combat units.
Captain Ramon was the son of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, who died in the Columbia Shuttle disaster in 2003.
The IDF regulations state that a child or sibling of a fallen IDF soldier is exempt from service in a combat unit unless their parent signs an authorisation. On average, about 80 members of bereaved families join the IDF each year and serve in combat units with their parents’ consent.
It is true: Israel did use “disproportionate force” when fighting Operation Cast Lead. It was also “collectively punishing” the Palestinians.
“The testimonies we have heard… have been very difficult to hear, but I believe it is important that we listen to these stories,” said UN investigator Richard Goldstone, presenting his committee’s report this week.
Israel’s president Shimon Peres has called the United Nations report on the Gaza conflict “a mockery of history”.
Mr Peres denounced it as giving a green light to terrorists.
A UN fact-finding mission, headed by South African judge Richard Goldstone, produced a 574-page report which concluded: "Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity.”
Mr Peres said: “The Hamas terror organisation is the one who started the war and also carried out other awful crimes. Hamas has used terrorism for years against Israeli children.
The Israeli government says it is “appalled” by the latest United Nations commission report which claims both sides in the Gaza conflict committed war crimes.
A fact-finding mission, headed by South African judge Richard Goldstone, has produced a 574-page report which concludes: "Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity.”