Israel news

Jewish boat heads to Gaza

By Jennifer Lipman, September 26, 2010

A boat carrying a group of Jewish pro-Palestinian activists has set sail for Gaza with the aim of breaking Israel’s naval blockade.

The boat, named “Irene”, left a port in Cyprus on Sunday morning.

It has been organised by Jews for Justice for Palestinians and the umbrella organisation European Jews for a Just Peace.

More than 40 activists had been expected to join the passage; however JfJP said there were ten passengers and crew on board, from Britain, Germany and the US.

The cargo includes fishing nets, musical instruments and textbooks.


Billy Crystal donates to Hebrew University

By Jennifer Lipman, September 22, 2010

When Harry Met Sally star Billy Crystal has been described as “a real mensch” after he made a large donation to Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.

The American Jewish actor, 62, has given a “substantial” amount to the institution’s Peace through the Performing Arts programme, which has run projects uniting Israeli and Palestinian students for more than a decade.


Frank Gehry backs settlement boycott

By Jennifer Lipman, September 22, 2010

Two prominent Jewish artistic figures have announced their support for a boycott of Israeli settlements.

Conductor Daniel Barenboim and architect Frank Gehry have added their names to a list of public figures expressing solidarity with Israeli artists who refuse to perform in the West Bank.

It follows the decision by Mr Gehry earlier in 2010 to abandon his role in the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Museum of Tolerance project in Jerusalem because of controversy over its location.


How Moses parted the Red Sea - in Egypt?

By Jennifer Lipman, September 22, 2010

Researchers in Colorado have come up with an explanation as to how Moses was able to part the Red Sea and save the Israelites from Pharaoh’s army.

The group of scientists from the University of Colorado (CU) and the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) found that the waters could have been separated by a strong gust of wind.

The investigation, which used computer modelling, suggests that Moses’ extraordinary feat took place at the Nile delta rather than Red Sea.


UN criticises Goldstone Report response

By Jennifer Lipman, September 21, 2010

A United Nations panel has criticised Hamas for having “made no serious effort” in its response to the Goldstone Report.

The group of experts also called for Israel to do more to address the demands of the controversial document, compiled by Jewish judge Richard Goldstone following the UN investigation into Operation Cast Lead.

The panel said Israel should have investigated officials of more senior ranking and questioned the impartiality of both Israel and Hamas’ inquiries.


Religious party puts up Shabbat pay-wall

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 21, 2010

Interior Minister Eli Yishai has opened a new front in the battle between state and religion by ordering his ministry's website to close down its payment facilities on Shabbat.


How politics hurt Israel's Rabbi Ovadia Yosef

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 21, 2010

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak received a personal letter last week wishing him good health and thanking him for his involvement in the direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.


Palestinian sues to obtain Israeli wages

By Nathan Jeffay, September 21, 2010

Normally, when Israelis and Palestinians row over the Green Line, the grievance is predictable - both claim authority over the same piece of land. But in an unusual court case, a Palestinian is advancing claims of Israeli jurisdiction.

Last week Nazer Fukra asked the Tel Aviv labour court to declare that the Nitzanei Shalom industrial zone, which lies on a spot of uncertain sovereignty right on the Green Line, should be considered Israeli.


Analysis: Olmert wreaks revenge in memoir

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 21, 2010

The current political status of the two Ehuds hardly seems comparable. Defence Minister Ehud Barak was in Washington this week, conferring with senior figures in the Obama administration and then attending more high-level meetings at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, on the other hand, spent most of his week hunkered down with his lawyers, preparing for another series of damning testimonies by a former secretary on his double-billing speaking fees in the ongoing corruption case against him.


Analysis: What the Big Society may mean for Israel

By Martin Bright, September 21, 2010

I have been observing the "Big Society" at close quarters this summer, establishing a small charity helping the long-term unemployed find work in the creative industries. I also spent a week visiting artists and writers in Jerusalem, where I was struck by the gulf in liberal intellectual opinion between Israel and Britain.

But the most memorable conversation I had recently was with a prominent member of the UK Jewish establishment who told me of his serious concerns about the future.