Israel news

WikiLeaks: Netanyahu 'support for' Palestinian land swap

By Jennifer Lipman, November 30, 2010

Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the possibility of a land swap with the Palestinians just two weeks after becoming Israel’s prime minister, according to documents released by the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks.

A classified cable from February 26 2009 recorded that Mr Netanyahu “expressed support for the concept of land swaps” in exchanges with the newly - elected Obama administration.

The cable continued: “[He] emphasised that he did not want to govern the West Bank and Gaza but rather to stop attacks from being launched from there."


IDF on manoeuvres as Nasrallah hints at war

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 26, 2010

The IDF's Nahal infantry brigade is carrying out its annual manoeuvres on the Golan Heights.

Traditionally, this is considered tank country, a potential battlefield between Israeli and Syrian armoured formations, but the column of soldiers moving under cover of darkness into dawn attack positions are training for war against another adversary.


Netanyahu struggles to get votes for settlement freeze

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 25, 2010

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is finding it hard to gain the necessary cabinet votes he needs to pass an agreement with the Obama administration on a new settlement freeze period and renewed talks with the Palestinians.


Analysis: Palestinians are rejecting peace

By Robin Shepherd, November 25, 2010

Last week's comprehensive survey of Palestinian public opinion conducted on behalf of the left-leaning Israel Project makes for sober reading for anyone holding out hope that the Palestinians are genuinely interested in a lasting peace.

Most worrying of all were multiple findings showing that solid majorities among them have no intention whatsoever of living side by side with Israel in a long-term peace based on a two-state solution.


Israeli army uses Facebook to stalk draft-dodgers

By Jennifer Lipman, November 23, 2010

Israel has adopted a new tool in the fight against army draft evaders, and it involves looking at people’s Facebook pages.

Service in the IDF is compulsory for Israeli school-leavers, except under specific circumstances. Those exempt from duty include some Orthodox Jewish men and women.

But with draft-dodging on the rise, the army has turned to Facebook to check those avoiding service are doing so for a legitimate reason.

The method has enabled the IDF to catch some 1,000 women exaggerating the extent of their religious observance.


Actors agree West Bank settlement pact

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 18, 2010

Israeli theatre companies will play at the new concert hall in the settlement of Ariel while allowing individual actors not to perform.

This was the uneasy agreement reached between the theatre industry and the Culture Ministry following a dispute which included threats of boycotts and a curtailment of funding.


Egypt helping Israel root out Gaza terror cells

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 18, 2010

While israel is disappointed with Egyptian efforts to stop the smuggling of weapons over the border into Gaza, joint intelligence efforts between the two countries are ongoing and there have been recent successes in tracking down terrorists in the Strip and in Sinai.

Last week the Egyptians arrested 25 terror suspects living in northern Sinai, with Israel's help. They are currently searching for a cell of seven jihadists still at large in the desert.


'Segregation' row in Israeli town of Safed

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 18, 2010

In different circumstances, the Zefat Academic College in the northern town of Safed could have been a poster story for successful integration between the Jewish and Arab communities in Israel.


Gaza militants warn of more rocket attacks on Israel

By Jennifer Lipman, November 18, 2010

A warning of an attack on "aggressor Jews” has been posted online by Islamic extremists believed to have al Qaeda links.

The threat, in Hebrew for what is believed to the first time for such a message, was made by a man claiming to be a member of Jemaa Ansar al-Sunna, a militant group which operates in Gaza.

On the 30 second recording he warned that Jews will not be safe from rockets and other violence until they "leave the land of Palestine".

The message is understood to be about revenge for Israel’s killing of two Gazan terrorist leaders earlier this week.


Harry Potter and the Israeli muggle grave

By Jennifer Lipman, November 17, 2010

It has been described as a “billion-dollar Zionist project” by an Iranian newspaper and criticised for “corrupting” young souls by the pope. Now it turns out that Harry Potter does have a connection with the Holy Land.

Tourists have been flocking to the Israeli town of Ramla to visit the grave of Harry Potter, a British soldier who died as a teenager in 1939.

Private Potter, unlike his fictional counterpart, grew up in Birmingham and joined the army in 1938.

He was posted to what was then British Mandate Palestine and killed in battle the following year.