Israel news

Pamela Anderson fighting Israel's religious fur trade

By Jennifer Lipman, November 4, 2010

Baywatch star Pamela Anderson has written to an Orthodox Israeli politician asking him to back a proposal to ban the trade of fur in Israel.

The Canadian-American actress and animal rights activist is also planning to go to a Knesset meeting to appeal for more politicians to support proposed legislation preventing religious men from wearing shtreimels (hats) trimmed with fur.

In a letter to Yakov Margi, Israel’s Minister of Religious Services, Ms Anderson said that the fur trade goes against Jewish laws about the treatment on animals.


Clinton: would be peace if Rabin had lived

By Jennifer Lipman, November 4, 2010

There would have been peace in the Middle East had Yitzhak Rabin lived, Bill Clinton has said on the 15th anniversary of the Israeli prime minister’s death.

The former US president, in office at the time of the assassination, wrote in the New York Times that within three years there could have been “a comprehensive agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians.

“To be sure, the enemies of peace would have tried to undermine it, but with Rabin’s leadership, I am confident a new era of enduring partnership and economic prosperity would have emerged.”


Hague hails British-Israel science partnership

By Jennifer Lipman, November 3, 2010

William Hague has described science as “one of the cornerstones of the relationship between Britain and Israel” at an event marking co-operation between the two countries in the field.

The Foreign Secretary, who is in Israel for a two-day-long official visit, revealed funding allocations for ten joint British-Israeli scientific ventures, including one exploring methods of coral reef conservation in the Red Sea.


Blair to launch Haifa human rights celebration

By Jennifer Lipman, November 1, 2010

Tony Blair is to open an annual human rights event in Haifa this Chanucah.

The former UK prime minister will virtually launch the Leo Baeck Education Centre’s celebration of International Human Rights Day by lighting a candle on the first night of the festival.

Mr Blair will be opening the event on behalf of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.

A special prayer has also been composed by rabbis from the Centre as a symbol of “commitment, as human beings, as Jews and so importantly for us at this time, as Israelis, to the values of Human Rights”.


'Sin City' Tel Aviv top Lonely Planet pick

By Jennifer Lipman, November 1, 2010

Tel Aviv has been named the third best city in the world by travel guide company Lonely Planet.

The coastal destination was beaten only by New York and Tangier to the top spot of Lonely Planet’s annual list of top cities.

Describing it as “the total flipside of Jerusalem”, the judges called it “a modern Sin City on the sea rather than an ancient Holy City on a hill”.

They said: “Scratch underneath the surface and Tel Aviv…reveals itself as a truly diverse 21st century Mediterranean hub.”


King Herod archaeologist dies after tragic fall

By Jennifer Lipman, October 29, 2010

The Israeli archeologist who excavated King Herod’s winter palace has been killed in an on-site accident.

Professor Ehud Netzer died in hospital after a wooden safety railing broke and he fell several yards.

Professor Netzer, who was 76, spent more than three decades searching a part of Mount Herodium in Jerusalem in the hope of finding the tomb of the Roman-appointed King of Judea.

The Hebrew University archeologist finally discovered the tomb in 2007, to international acclaim.


‘Kach’ march sparks riots

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 29, 2010

Rioting broke out in the Israeli-Arab town of Umm el-Fahm in the wake of a march by extreme right-wing Jewish activists on Wednesday morning. Police used tear gas and stun grenades against the rioters.


Anger over IDF Cast Lead indictments

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 28, 2010

Two cases of misconduct, one still only alleged, by IDF soldiers who fought in Operation Cast Lead are causing widespread debate and furor in the Israeli army and public.

On Monday, the two former soldiers appeared for their preliminary hearing before sentencing. The two were convicted earlier this month of exceeding their authority, among other charges, for forcing a Palestinian child to open bags that were suspected of being booby-trapped.

Despite the conviction, the two were accompanied by over a hundred friends and former comrades who claimed they were being scapegoated.


Now the Chief Rabbinate probes army conversions

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 28, 2010

The decision of the Chief Rabbinate in Israel to investigate the validity of conversions performed in the IDF has raised concerns that 5000 converts may find their Jewishness questioned.

For over eight years, the Israeli army's Nativ Project has allowed soldiers of mixed marriages who are not recognised as Jews by the Rabbinate to undergo a programme of Jewish studies, leading to conversion in a special military rabbinical court.


Vatican conference 'hijacked' by anti-Israel

By Nathan Jeffay, October 28, 2010

Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon, has claimed that the Vatican synod on the Middle East, which was convened this week, was "hijacked" by critics of Israel.

Bishops ended the two-week conference of Middle East bishops, organised by the Pope to discuss challenges facing Catholics in their region, with a call for Israel to accept UN resolutions demanding a stop to the "occupation."