Israel news

Israel's Strictly Come Dancing same-sex partners

By Jessica Elgot, October 21, 2010

Israel’s version of Strictly Come Dancing is to feature a same-sex dancing couple, the first in 35 versions of the show around the world.

The Israeli version of the BBC dance show will feature Gili Shem Tov, a gay female TV sports personality.

She will dance with professional dancer Dorit Milman – who is straight - on the Channel 2 show, with the women sharing who takes the role of the male lead in the dance steps.

Producers said it had been Ms Tov’s decision to dance with another woman.

More..

Netanyahu changes loyalty pledge after backlash

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 21, 2010

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planning to alter the "loyalty pledge" law voted on last week by the cabinet so that it will include not only non-Jews but any new Israeli citizen.

More..

Turkish activist backs IDF account of Gaza flotilla

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 21, 2010

A Turkish journalist's account of the events during the takeover of the flotilla to Gaza on May 31, in which nine Turkish activists were killed by Israeli commandos, tallies with the Israeli version of events.

Sefik Dinc, a Turkish journalist, was on the Mavi Marmara ferry when the violent clashes took place. Mr Dinc recently published in Turkey a book on the incident, The Bleeding Mavi Marmara, which, while critical of Israel's actions, is also critical of his own government and the activists' actions.

More..

Rabin assassination anniversary to be downgraded

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 21, 2010

The memorial events for the 15th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination began this week under growing controversy over his legacy.

A series of events marked the anniversary of the former prime minister's killing beginning with a ceremony at the President's residence in Jerusalem including a memorial service at his grave on Mount Herzl and a special Knesset session.

More..

Hillary Clinton: don't defer Middle East decisions

By Jennifer Lipman, October 21, 2010

Hillary Clinton has called for the Palestinians to publicly disavow terrorist organisations Hamas and Hizbollah.

The US Secretary of State told a Palestinian peace group that Israel must take further steps to relax restrictions on the Gaza Strip.

Mrs Clinton also told the audience at the American Task Force on Palestine event that while there is “no magic formula” to solve the Middle East conflict, negotiation remains absolutely necessary.

Direct peace talks resumed in Washington in September after nearly two years.

More..

Remember him, pleads Yitzhak Rabin's daughter on anniversary

By Jennifer Lipman, October 20, 2010

Yitzhak Rabin’s daughter Dalia has called for Israel to do more to keep the memory of the former prime minister alive at an event to mark the 15th anniversary of his assassination.

Ceremonies were held around Israel, including a candlighting with Israeli President Shimon Peres and a ceremony at the Rabin Centre in Tel Aviv.

Mr Rabin was killed in 1995 by a right-wing Orthodox Jewish fanatic during a peace concert.

More..

Life-size Sharon on show in Tel Aviv gallery

By Jennifer Lipman, October 19, 2010

Nearly five years after he went into a coma Ariel Sharon is to be immortalised in a Tel Aviv art gallery.

A life-size sculpture of the former Israeli prime minister, who suffered a stroke in January 2005, will go on display in a Tel Aviv art gallery.

The war hero and politician, who climbed the political ladder as a member of Likud but in 2005 founded the centrist Kadima party, has been unconscious ever since his stroke.

More..

Dead Sea scrolls to go on Google archive

By Jennifer Lipman, October 19, 2010

The Dead Sea scrolls will soon be available to anyone with an internet connection.

Search engine Google and the Israel Antiquities Authority have revealed plans for an online archive of the scrolls, which number around 900.

More..

Mike Leigh cancels Israel visit over 'conscience'

By Jennifer Lipman, October 18, 2010

Mike Leigh has cancelled a trip to Israel in protest at the controversial loyalty oath bill.

The British Jewish film director said he had been stupid and naïve to agree to teach a master class at Jerusalem’s Sam Spiegel Film and Television School and that he had no choice but to let his audience down.

He said: “I cannot come, I do not want to come, and I am not coming.”

Mr Leigh was due to visit in November and receive an honorary fellowship award from the school, as well as speak in Haifa and Tel Aviv and to Palestinian filmmakers in the West Bank.

More..

Ahmadinejad at Israel-Lebanon border

By Jennifer Lipman, October 14, 2010

Israeli officials have criticised a visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Lebanon's border with Israel.

Mr Ahmadinejad addressed thousands at a stadium in Bin Jbeil on Lebanon’s southern border, an area of the country where Tehran-backed terrorist organisation hizbollah is a key influence.

More..