Israel news

Ron Arad not dead until we say so, says Israel

By Jessica Elgot, September 7, 2009

The Israeli government has refused to accept a report that the missing air force navigator Ron Arad died in Lebanon in 1995.

The Prime Minister’s Office says it will continue to assume that Lt. Col Arad is alive, unless more conclusive evidence is given to the contrary.

A statement from the PMO said: "The missing aviator’s case is ongoing and until we have conclusive evidence to the contrary, the premise is that Ron Arad is alive. We are doing everything possible to bring him home."

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Settlements approved before West Bank freeze

September 4, 2009

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is set to approve hundreds of West Bank housing units ahead of a possible construction freeze, according to Israeli officials.

Mr Netanyahu is expected to support the building of new units, in addition to the 2,500 that are yet to be completed. The new buildings will be based in the West Bank, rather than East Jerusalem.

The US has been pressuring the Israeli government to halt all new settlement construction.

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Hundreds of settlements will be approved before West Bank freeze

September 4, 2009

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is set to approve hundreds of West Bank housing units ahead of a possible construction freeze, according to Israeli officials.

Mr Netanyahu is expected to support the building of new units, in addition to the 2,500 that are yet to be completed. The new buildings will be based in the West Bank, rather than East Jerusalem.

The US has been pressuring the Israeli government to halt all new settlement construction.

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Israel rejects harsh response to Norway boycott

September 4, 2009

The Israeli foreign ministry yesterday refrained from harshly criticising Norway’s decision to divest from an Israel company.

In a relatively low key response, the foreign ministry released a statement: “Israel will consider further protest measures in the future.”

Haaretz reported the foreign ministry decided against using stronger language in order to prevent a diplomatic crisis.

The decision was taken after foreign ministry director - general Yossi Gal consulted Israel’s ambassador to Oslo, Michael Eligal, and foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman.

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Who will teach Israel’s Ethiopians?

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 3, 2009

The plight of 102 Ethiopian-born children in the town of Petach Tikva who do not have a school place has raised serious questions about the Israeli education system.

At the centre of the argument is the refusal of three private religious schools to accept about 50 of these children into their normal classes.

The Education Ministry, the media and even President Shimon Peres have all come down hard on these three schools, accusing them of racism.

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Netanyahu uses British tactics to fight crime wave

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 3, 2009

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has come out with a five-point plan for dealing with the rise in crime in Israel, based upon British and American experience.

Mr Netanyahu published his plan following a wave of crime in which 14 Israelis have been murdered in less than a month.

In a special radio interview, Mr Netanyahu termed the violence “inner terrorism” and said, “if missiles are fired at us, we respond fiercely immediately. In the same way I am not prepared to accept any kind of terrorism against Israeli citizens.”

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Corruption storm peaks in Israel

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 3, 2009

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was charged on Sunday with serious fraud, breach of trust, falsifying corporate records, receiving illicit benefits and tax evasion.

Meanwhile former Shas minister Shlomo Benizri this week began a four-year jail sentence for bribery; former finance minister Avraham Hirchson began a five-year jail sentence for embezzlement of funds; and former President Moshe Katsav’s trial for rape opened.

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'For the POWs who return, captivity is never ending'

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 3, 2009

Israel is experienced in treating its prisoners of war when they return home, but may still find it hard to help Gilad Shalit adjust to freedom.

“We don’t have experience of quite these conditions that Gilad Shalit is going through,” explains Dr David Senesh, a clinical psychologist who was a POW for 40 days in Egypt following the Yom Kippur War in 1973.

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Gilad Shalit hopes 'exaggerated'

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 3, 2009

Israeli leaders are playing down reports of a breakthrough in the talks over captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

Meanwhile, the few details coming out from the talks in Cairo indicate that a breakthrough could be close.

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Peacenik's fear over Israel

By Simon Rocker, September 3, 2009

One of Israel’s leading peace activists has denied that he and others in the peace movement, who have criticised Israel openly, had contributed to the atmosphere in which it was being demonised as an apartheid state.

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