Israel news

Protests mar Israel’s Davis Cup joy

By James Martin, March 9, 2009

Israel has advanced to the quarter-finals of tennis’s most prestigious national team cup in a match that was overshadowed by violent political protests.

Israel’s joy at beating Sweden 3-2 and earning a tie with Russia in July, was tempered by the fact that violence erupted outside Malmo’s Baltic Arena during Saturday’s doubles match.

Riots outside the stadium saw rock-throwing protesters attempt to storm into the arena, with Swedish police forced to apprehend around 100 protesters.

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Ex-Israeli president faces rape charges

By Jenni Frazer, March 9, 2009

Israel's former president, Moshe Katzav, will be charged with a variety of serious sexual offences, including rape, it was announced yesterday.

Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz's decision brings a new phase to the situation which led to the forced resignation of Mr Katzav, who first faced investigation in the summer of 2006.

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Israel flights 'safe' despite warnings

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 5, 2009

The head of Israel's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has insisted that flying to Israel remains safe, despite international criticism over the state of its air traffic control and aviation infrastructure.

However, CAA head Giora Romm admitted: "Our problem is that we don't conform to the international standards in documentation and bureaucratic procedures and these things have to be addressed.

"At the same time, the level of safety incidents and near-misses is not higher in Israel than elsewhere."

Senior transportation officials have blamed lack of government funding for l

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IDF chief is to warn Pentagon over Iran

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 5, 2009

IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi is to meet his US counterparts in Washington next week for talks aimed at convincing the Obama administration of the urgency of acting against Iran’s nuclear programme.

Senior Israeli military sources have made it clear that a decision on an Israeli strike against Iran will top the agenda of a new government headed by Binyamin Netanyahu.

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Gaza soldiers speak out

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 5, 2009

Ofer, a fighter in the Golani Brigade, was in the first wave of the ground offensive:

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Ehud Barak may leave Labour for Netanyahu

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 5, 2009

Defence Minister Ehud Barak is considering leaving Labour to join Binyamin Netanyahu's government as an independent MK, according to party sources.

Mr Barak mobilised business leaders, former Supreme Court judges and retired senior IDF officers to lobby his colleagues in an attempt to forge a party-wide coalition with Likud. So far, however, Labour's Knesset members remain overwhelmingly opposed.

"There are rumours that Barak has support from the party for coalition talks," said MK Danny Ben-Simon. "But the rumours are being put out by Barak's political advisors.

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Netanyahu will face 'tough' US demands

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 5, 2009

Sources close to Prime Minister-elect Binyamin Netanyahu have warned that they anticipate "a tough time" from the Obama administration over the Middle East peace process.

Visiting Israel this week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a clear indication that she expected Israel to do more on both the Palestinian and Syrian fronts.

"Clinton left us with no illusions," said a senior adviser to Mr Netanyahu.

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Analysis: Squandering the victories of Operation Cast Lead

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 5, 2009

Six weeks since the end of Operation Cast Lead, Palestinian groups are still launching missiles, Hamas is busy replenishing its arsenal and Gilad Shalit remains incarcerated. Israelis are beginning to ask if it was all worth it.

Brigadier-General (res) Shmuel Zakai, former commander of the Gaza Division, fears that politicians will waste the IDF’s military victory . “The political leadership has, in the past, proved incapable of taking advantage of the opportunities afforded it by the IDF’s achievements.”

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Ram: why I played in Dubai

By James Martin, February 26, 2009

Israeli tennis star Andy Ram has explained his reasons for deciding to go ahead and play in the Dubai Open after being labelled unpatriotic by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Mr Ram was given a visa to play in the UAE only after a high-profile controversy the previous week over the exclusion of his compatriot, Shahar Pe’er, from the women’s tournament.

Ha’aretz quoted the Prime Minister as saying: “It would be highly worthwhile for someone to advise him to demonstrate patriotism and solidarity, and boycott the tournament.”

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Israel makes last-gasp attempt at Shalit deal

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 26, 2009

The efforts to secure a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas are to proceed through two different channels in a last-gasp attempt to finalise the deal before a new right-wing government is formed in Israel.

Negotiations are taking place simultaneously in Cairo and Europe through joint mediation by the French and Qatari governments, both of which are eager to deepen their involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

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