Israel news

Netanyahu in Athens to build Greek-Israel ties

By Jennifer Lipman, August 16, 2010

Benjamin Netanyahu has arrived in Athens for a historic visit to Greece to discuss military cooperation, trade and tourism.

According to a top Israeli official, the prime minister’s two-day trip is a sign of “new warmth in Israeli-Greek relations".

Greece has only had diplomatic ties with Israel for 20 years and this is the first time an Israeli prime minister has officially visited the country.

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Spencer Tunick plans nude photo in Israel

By Jennifer Lipman, August 16, 2010

An artist famous for photographing large crowds in the nude is hoping to take his show to a new low - the Dead Sea.

Spencer Tunick wants to stage the unusual event there to draw attention to the environmental threat of receding waters.

Mr Tunick, who is Jewish and whose father and grandmother live in Israel, originally applied in March for permission to shoot at the Tel Aviv port.

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West Bank barrier removed as security improves

By Jennifer Lipman, August 16, 2010

Israel has begun work to remove a concrete barrier at the border between a Jewish Jerusalem neighbourhood and the West Bank town of Beit Jalla.

The barrier outside the southern Jerusalem neighbourhood of Gilo, which has a population of 40,000, was constructed during the second intifada to protect residents from frequent attacks by Palestinian gunmen and bombers.

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Irish artists join cultural boycott of Israel

By Jennifer Lipman, August 16, 2010

More than 150 Irish intellectuals and artists have launched a cultural boycott of Israel and compared their efforts with the fight against apartheid.

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) said the boycott would continue until “Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights”.

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'Mossad man' hearing in Germany

By Jennifer Lipman, August 13, 2010

A secret hearing is to take place in Germany to determine whether an alleged Mossad spy will face formal charges.

Uri Brodsky, an Israeli suspected of being implicated in the killing of a Hamas operative in Dubai, was extradited to Germany from Poland earlier this month.

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Valuable 'Cleopatra' coin unearthed in Israel

By Jennifer Lipman, August 12, 2010

A precious coin dating back more than 2,200 years has been discovered in northern Israel. The antique coin is believed to bear the image of Egyptian queen Cleopatra.

At a weight of 28 grams, it is some six times heavier than other coins from the same time, and represents one of the most valuable archeological finding ever made in Israel.

Donald Ariel, the head of Israel’s antiquities authority coin department, said the coin was probably minted by the Egyptian Ptolemies, who ruled between 305 BC and 30 BC.

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Islamic movement tried to remove evidence of Jewish Jerusalem

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 12, 2010

An investigation into the failure of law enforcement agencies to prevent what is alleged to have been an attempt to wipe out Jewish history on Temple Mount 11 years ago looks set to cause widespread controversy.

The publication of the report into the removal, by night, of 6,000 cubic metres of mud from beneath the Al Aqsa Mosque by the Muslim Wakf authority that oversees the management of the mosque compound, has been suppressed for months by the government.

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Sewage row on Tel Aviv's beaches

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 12, 2010

This has been one of the warmest Israeli summers in memory but almost daily, some of the most central beaches on the Mediterranean coast have been closed due to pollution.

So far this year, the Health Ministry has ordered the closure of 15 public beaches due to the excessive amounts of waste and sewage discovered in the water.

Environmentalist groups have accused the local authorities of not investing sufficiently in modernising sewage treatment works, instead relying on pipelines pumping excess sewage into the sea whenever the antiquated systems are close to overflowing.

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Analysis: Israel ponders an eerie calm

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 12, 2010

It has become almost a cliché to say this but the last year and a half has been one of the calmest periods on Israel's borders, and in the statistics of casualty numbers quite possibly the calmest in its history.

Since the Gaza operation ended in January 2009, missiles from the Strip into Israel have lessened to a trickle, barely even a nuisance as almost all of them fall in uninhabited areas, quite often within Palestinian territory.

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Police clamp down on gambling in Israel

By Nathan Jeffay, August 12, 2010

In the latest move of cat-and-mouse between Israel and the gambling industry, police have decreed that internet service providers must block access to online gambling sites.

With the exception of the state lottery and football pools, gambling is illegal in Israel. But Israelis have long been on the lookout for ways around the law.

Underground casinos have always flourished. Police are constantly closing down operations - they closed six in the last month, but this is thought to be the tip of the iceberg.

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