Israel news

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.

More..

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.

More..

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.”

More..

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.

More..

'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.

More..

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.

More..

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.

More..

On stage: Madonna and child

September 3, 2009

Madonna’s son Rocco, who she had with her ex-husband Guy Ritchie, joined her on stage during her final concert in Tel Aviv last night.

He took the stage at the Hayarkon Park venue for the last night of her Sticky & Sweet tour. The nine-year-old danced and sang along with his mother on three tracks.

On Tuesday night Madonna brought out her daughter Lourdes, 12, who danced and played the piano on stage.

More..

Madonna Israel concert delights fans

September 2, 2009

Madonna made her return to the stage in Israel last night after a 16-year absence and told a crowd of 50,000: “Israel is the energy centre of the world.”

The concert, at Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv, was the first of two to mark the end of her Sticky & Sweet tour. The second is this evening at the same venue.

She took the stage half an hour late and delighted fans when she grabbed an Israeli flag from the crowd and draped herself in it for her final song.

More..

Law student held over assassination plot

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 1, 2009

Rawi Sultani, 23, passed on information about Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazy's movements. His arrest is probably the nipping in the bud of Hizbullah's plan to assassinate Israel's most senior soldier. It also serves as a reminder of the Lebanese organisation's true motives.

Last week, the IDF released surveillance footage of Lebanese citizens repelling Hizbollah members from their village near the border with Israel. Their intention had been to rebuild fortified positions and replenish arm caches that had been used to shell the Galilee during the Second Lebanese War.

More..