Israel news

Global recession hits growth in Israel

By Simon Griver, November 27, 2008

The Israeli government has announced a range of rescue measures as new data show the country's economy is beginning to feel the effects of the global recession.

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer also sprang a surprise by cutting interest rates an additional 0.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent - the lowest level in Israel's history. Mr Fischer has now lowered interest rates by 1.75 per cent since the start of October.

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Pope to visit Israel

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 27, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI is to visit Israel next year at the invitation of President Shimon Peres, in an attempt to end the recent period of tension over the beatification of former Pope Pius XII.

The visit, which is yet to be formally announced, is set to take place in early May 2009.

President Peres officially invited the Pope a few weeks ago, following a meeting with Archbishop Antonio Franco, the papal nuncio in Jerusalem, who indicated that such an invitation would be positively received.

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Netanyahu presents his ‘dream team’

By Yaakov Katz, November 26, 2008

Likud Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu, who spent the past week compiling his "dream team" for the Knesset, has succeeded in enlisting a contingent of celebrities.

They include Tal Brody, the basketball hero who led Maccabi Tel Aviv to its historic 1977 Euroleague victory, former general Moshe Ya'alon, Ze'ev Jabotinsky, grandson of the legendary Betar leader who he is named for, as well as former politicians Dan Meridor and Benny Begin, son of former prime minister Menahem Begin.

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Alert system widened as Kassams continue

By Ben Lynfield, November 20, 2008

The port city of Ashdod, 24 km north of the Gaza border, was this week connected to the rocket alert system already in use in Ashkelon and Sderot. It is an acknowledgement that threats by Palestinian militants to bring it within range are being taken seriously.

The move comes as an escalation of fighting continued to shake the five- month-old ceasefire between Israel and Hamas along the Gaza border.

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Propping it up… regulars vow to save Tel Aviv bar from demolition

By Michal Levertov, November 20, 2008

One of Tel Aviv's oldest buildings - and now home to one of its hippest bars - is at risk after developers announced plans to demolish it for a new office building.

Nanouchka's, on fashionable Lilienblum Street, is a hugely popular Georgian restaurant and bar that has catered to trendy locals and celebrities for the past six years.

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Gang wars fear after mafia boss is killed

By Yaakov Katz, November 20, 2008

Police fear that this week's slaying of a top mobster in Tel Aviv will lead to an all-out crime war in Israeli cities.

On Monday, 53-year-old Yaacov Alperon, a former boxer and one of Israel's most infamous mobsters, died in a meticulously planned car bombing in central Tel Aviv, shortly after attending a court hearing for one of his sons, suspected of running an extortion racket. Two bystanders were injured.

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Gang war fear after mafia boss slaying

By Yaakov Katz, November 19, 2008

Police fear that this week's slaying of a top mobster in Tel Aviv will lead to an all-out crime war in Israeli cities.

On Monday, 53-year-old Yaacov Alperon, a former boxer and one of Israel's top mobsters, died in a meticulously planned car bombing in central Tel Aviv shortly after attending a court hearing for one of his sons, suspected of running an extortion racket. Two bystanders were injured.

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‘Obama trend’ hits mayors

By Michal Levertov, November 13, 2008

The veteran mayors of three of Israel's largest cities lost out to younger rivals in this week's municipal elections, with one blaming his defeat on "the Obama trend".

In Beer Sheva, Yaakov Turner, 73, mayor for the past 11 years, was roundly defeated by his former protégée and deputy, 36-year-old Rubik Danilovitch, who won 60 per cent of the votes.

Mr Terner said: "The Obama trend, with its spirit of change, swept many young people to voting, but hurt veteran mayors."

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Concern over ‘lost’ refugees

By Ben Lynfield, November 13, 2008

The UN's refugee agency has confirmed that 91 African refugees expelled by Israel to Egypt as part of its controversial "hot return" policy have gone missing.

A spokeswoman in Cairo for the United Nations High Commission on Refugees said that Egypt had not responded to requests for information about the 91, who were returned shortly after crossing illegally from Sinai into Israel.

"We don't have access to this group, we do not know where they are," she said.

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Britain confirms its anti-settlement push

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 13, 2008

The Foreign Office has confirmed that Britain's initiative against Israeli exports originating in the West Bank is merely the opening shot in a wider campaign it is waging against the settlements.

A paper sent by the UK to its European Union counterparts, which was revealed last week, urged EU members to exercise more vigilance in monitoring Israeli products, to ensure they were not manufactured in the settlements. Israel opposes British demands for clearly labelling such goods.

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