Israel news

Lieberman to be charged with fraud

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 7, 2009

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is to be charged with money laundering and fraud, according to Justice Ministry sources.

“We have enough proof to indict him on multiple charges of money laundering through a string of shell companies,” said a lawyer from the Justice Ministry, who is close to the investigation.

In the next few weeks, the police’s National Fraud Squad is expected to recommend an indictment against Mr Lieberman. Then Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz must decide whether to press charges, pending a hearing.

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Lone attacks fear after axe murder

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 6, 2009

The IDF warned this week of a new wave of terror attacks carried out by lone attackers after a 13-year-old was killed by an axe-wielding Palestinian last week.

The murder took place last week at the Bat-Ayin settlement, in the Etzyon bloc, south of Jerusalem. Shlomo Nativ was murdered and Yair Gamliel, seven, was wounded. The murderer fled in the direction of the nearby Palestinian village of Safa. Intensive searches by the IDF and the General Security Service (GSS) failed to locate him.

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Obesity up in Israel

April 2, 2009

The number of obese Israelis has nearly tripled over the past 30 years, according to a report from five physicians who examined data on 1.14 million conscription candidates between 1967 and 2003.

Their study found that low socio-economic standing and less education increase chances of obesity. Families of African or Asian descent are more likely to be thinner.

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For sale: one rebbe

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 2, 2009

If you’ve got $250,000 to spare, you could buy yourself a day to remember — Shabbat with the reclusive Gerrer rebbe.

The Gerrer Chasids have been hit by the global financial slump and seen a significant fall in fundraising. The Gerrer network has 120 schools and yeshivot around the world with 23,000 pupils. It also has many medical and welfare groups.

The Gerrer Rebbe, Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Alter, has taken the lead in an emergency fundraising campaign for the network that he controls.

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'No more light touch for Hamas prisoners'

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 2, 2009

Human rights groups will not challenge the Netanyahu government’s new regime for Hamas prisoners in Israeli jails.

A committee headed by former Justice Minister Professor Daniel Friedman recommended that Hamas prisoners should be denied academic studies, media access and have their family visits limited. “We might be the only democracy in the Middle East,” explained Professor Friedman, “but we don’t have to be the only suckers.”

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Netanyahu pledges to face down Iran

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 2, 2009

Stabilising the Israeli economy, dealing with the Iranian threat and establishing a dialogue with the Obama administration will be the first priorities of Binyamin Netanyahu’s new government, which was sworn in on Tuesday night.

With 30 ministers and eight deputy ministers, Mr Netanyahu’s Cabinet is the largest government in Israel’s history, and is based on a coalition of six parties and 74 members of the Knesset.

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IDF ‘war crimes’ probe ends amid controversy

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 2, 2009

The IDF’s Military Advocate-General, Brigadier Avichai Mendelblit, has closed the investigation into the testimony of Israeli soldiers who reported shootings of civilians during the Gaza operation — but the public controversy is far from over.

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10,000 new suits for Pesach

March 26, 2009

If yeshivah students in Israel are looking particularly smart this Pesach then billionaire philanthropist Ira Rennert is responsible.
He has donated 10,000 new suits to needy yeshivah students. Mr Rennert is ranked 132 on Forbes Magazine’s list of world billionaires.

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Pope meets Chief Rabbinate

March 26, 2009

Holocaust studies may become a required subject in Catholic schools following a meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and representatives of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel at the Vatican. The Jewish delegation said the move could help stamp out antisemitism in the future.

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Rabbis to block Bodyworlds show

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 26, 2009

The controversial Bodyworlds exhibition featuring plastinated corpses has been denounced as “an insult to human dignity” by Orthodox groups trying to ban it from being shown at a museum in Haifa.

The exhibition is due to open at Haifa’s National Science Museum over Pesach. This will be its first showing in Israel since it started touring the world in 1995.

The Chief Rabbi of Israel, Yonah Metzger and leading local rabbonim have issued rulings banning followers from visiting it.

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