Israel news

Dudu Topaz 'set up attacks on TV bosses’

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 4, 2009

One of Israel’s top television stars, Dudu Topaz, has confessed to organising a series of physical attacks on media executives who rejected his ideas for television programmes.

Mr Topaz apparently hired two former bouncers to assault Shira Margalit, vice president of Channel 2; Avi Nir, a Channel 2 director; and talent agent Boaz Ben-Zion in Tel Aviv over the past seven months. Ms Margalit was hospitalised with fractures in her face but the attacks were unexplained until Mr Topaz was arrested on Sunday.

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Tough love’ from Obama

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 4, 2009

The Israeli government is seeking ways to accommodate American demands to stop building in the settlements as some commentators warn of the worst period in US-Israel relations for over a decade.

As President Barack Obama headed for the Middle East and his address to the Muslim world in Cairo on Thursday, Israeli officials were concerned by a report that Mr Obama was considering abandoning the long-standing United States veto of United Nations resolutions against Israel.

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Former Israeli president dies at home

By James Martin, June 1, 2009

Professor Ephraim Katzir, eminent scientist and the fourth president of the State of Israel, has died at his home at the Weizmann Institute of Science at the age of 93.

He was president between 1973 and 1978. During his term he paid special attention to the importance of education in solving the country’s social problems.

He had previously served as Chief Scientist of the Israeli Defence Ministry. As well as training a generation of younger scientists, he translated important material into Hebrew and helped to establish a popular science magazine.

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Bibi bows to US as settlers removed

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 27, 2009

London became the venue this week for discussions between the Israeli and American leaderships over a new co-ordinated policy towards Iran and the Palestinians.

A team headed by Intelligence Services Minister Dan Meridor has been meeting a White House team to discuss President Barack Obama’s plans to talk to Iran about its nuclear programme.

The Israelis hope to receive a definite time limit to American talks.

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Cash pledged for Reform conversions

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 27, 2009

Two separate rulings by the Supreme Court in Israel last week have brought the controversial issue of giyur (conversion) back to the fore.

In a petition filed by the Israeli Reform movement, the court ruled that the government has to provide the Reform and Conservative academies that prepare candidates for conversion with the same funding it gives Orthodox academies.

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7 million Israelis rehearse for war

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 27, 2009

Israel is launching its largest-ever emergency drill next week, but the government insists that it is a routine exercise.

Next Tuesday, sirens will sound throughout Israel, and the entire population will be requested to take shelter in “protected spaces”.

The nationwide alert will be the high point of the Defence Ministry and IDF Home Command’s exercise, “Turning Point 3”.

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Israel to prepare for missile strike

By James Martin, May 25, 2009

Israel is preparing itself for the possibility of simultaneous missile strikes and terror attacks by holding a drill next week.

According to Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai, multiple attacks on civilians “would very likely happen during a war”.

He made the comments during a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee meeting yesterday, in which it was announced the Home Front Command will simulate defending against such an assault as part of a large-scale drill to be held next week.

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Israel’s most expensive home is sold

By Candice Krieger, May 21, 2009

Sold, for NIS 110 million (£17m) — a duplex penthouse in Tel Aviv. The 1,100sq m apartment is believed to be the most expensive ever sold in Israel. It was snapped up by a Russian Jewish oligarch. Quelle surprise. The penthouse, which is being developed by Electra Real Estate Ltd and Oranim Projects, is located on the seafront near the Dolphinarium between Herbert Samuel and Hayarkon streets. It is part of an apartment block that has been under construction since 2006, scheduled to be completed in 2011.

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Religious war waged in the suburbs

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 21, 2009

Israel’s Charedi and secular communities are squaring up once again — this time in the central neighbourhoods of the country’s two largest cities.

Kiryat Yovel, the largest remaining secular area in Jerusalem, is facing an influx of dozens of Charedi families who failed to find flats in nearby religious Bayit Vegan. Secular residents have tried to convince neighbours not to rent or sell flats to Charedi families.

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Israeli teachers ‘back to basics’ as international rankings fall

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 21, 2009

A new education minister in Israel almost always heralds a complete revolution in pedagogical priorities and teaching methods; until the next change at the top.

Likud’s Gidon Saar is no exception. His predecessor, Professor Yuli Tamir, promoted advanced learning theories. Now, Mr Saar is promising “back to basics” for Israeli schools.

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