Israel news

Israel divided over loyalty bill

By Jennifer Lipman, October 11, 2010

A controversial bill requiring Israel’s non-Jewish citizens to swear loyalty to the "Jewish and democratic" state has been approved by the cabinet.

It was passed by 22 votes to eight and will now face a vote in Israel’s Knesset.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "The state of Israel is the national state of the Jewish people and is a democratic state in which all its citizens - Jews and non-Jews - enjoy full equal rights.

“Whoever wants to join us has to recognise us."


Jewish boat passenger as Jewish as 'pork chop'

By Jennifer Lipman, October 8, 2010

A German woman who took part in an attempt to breach the naval blockade of Gaza pretended to be Jewish in order to take part.

According to Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, Edith Lutz may not have formally converted to Judaism.

Ms Lutz was part of the Jewish boat that attempted to sail to Gaza last week. The boat, named the Irene, was intercepted by the Israeli navy and redirected to Ashdod.


Israelis launch kosher boycott

By Nathan Jeffay, October 7, 2010

A boycott campaign is mounting against Israel's most prestigious kosher certification.

With dozens of different kashrut seals available in Israel, hechsher snobbery is rife. Not everyone accepts every supervision label and some engender more loyalty than others. However, virtually everybody regards "Badatz Eida Hacharedit" stamp as the gold standard, and those conscious of kashrut widely strive to buy most of their products with a Badatz seal.


How Israel prepared for a cyber war

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 7, 2010

Israeli officials are maintaining their silence over reports that the country's intelligence agencies are behind the Stuxnet computer virus that has wreaked havoc on the Iranian nuclear programme.

Analysts are convinced that the complex "worm" virus was a targeted attack that could have only been carried out by a clandestine agency of a country opposed to the Iranian efforts to acquire a bomb. Countries developing such capabilities include the United States, Britain and Israel.


Nobel winner is expelled from Israel

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 7, 2010

Irish Nobel prize-winner Mairead Corrigan Maguire was expelled from Israel on Tuesday morning after the Supreme Court ruled against an appeal to cancel the deportation order.

Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch recommended that the government allow Ms Maguire to complete the scheduled visit but ruled that since she had entered the country despite knowing that she was banned, the deportation order was legal.


Analysis: Bibi fights his coalition on settlements

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 7, 2010

"Bibi really has a big dilemma right now,"a prime ministerial aide said this week. "This is probably the most difficult decision of his premiership."

Delaying tactics have become Binyamin Netanyahu's signature move but, this time, his stalling over whether or not to renew the building freeze in the West Bank settlements seems to be a sign of genuine soul-searching.


Clinton: peace would remove impetus for terror

By Jennifer Lipman, October 6, 2010

Resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict would have “more impact by far than anything else” on global terrorism levels, according to Bill Clinton.

The former US president said that a Middle East peace agreement would “take about half the impetus in the whole world for terror away".

Speaking at a conference in Cairo, President Clinton said that a deal could have a knock on effect on Syrian support for Hizbollah and Iran’s nuclear ambitions.


IDF looking into dancing soldier video

By Jennifer Lipman, October 5, 2010

Israel has condemned the perpetrator of a video that appears to show a soldier dancing next to a blindfolded Palestinian.

An IDF investigation has been launched into the clip, which features a woman in a headscarf and black robe.

The video was filmed and uploaded on to the internet in 2008 but only emerged this week,

An IDF spokesman said: “This will be done in any case that raises suspicions of similar conduct in the future."


Israel deports Nobel prize activist

By Jennifer Lipman, October 5, 2010

Israel has deported an Irish activist who described Israel as an apartheid state during a court hearing.

The Supreme Court upheld the ban imposed last week on Máiread Maguire entering Israel for the next ten years.

Ms Maguire, a Nobel laureate, was banned from entering Israel in June after she took part in an attempt to breach the naval blockade of Gaza.


Máiread Maguire rebuked by Israeli judge

By Jennifer Lipman, October 4, 2010

An Israeli judge has warned Nobel Peace Prize laureate Máiread Maguire that the courtroom is “not a place for propaganda” after she called Israel an “apartheid” state during a deportation hearing.

The Belfast-born activist is in court appealing against a ban on her entering Israel for the next ten years.
Ms Maguire, 66, was barred from Israel in June after she took part in an attempt to breach the naval blockade of Gaza.

After the Rachel Corrie ship was boarded and redirected to Ashdod, Ms Maguire gave written confirmation that she would not attempt to enter Israel again.