Israel news

Financial scandals rock Israeli sports

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 29, 2009

A suicide that was seen last Monday simply as a personal and family tragedy has swiftly developed into a storm engulfing not only Israel’s most successful basketball team, but the entire sporting establishment.


Labour: Jerusalem is not the Jewish capital

By Jessica Elgot, October 28, 2009

Ehud Barak’s Labour Party has vetoed a bill in the Knesset describing Jerusalem as the Jewish capital.

The party says that while Jerusalem should be asserted as the capital of Israel, a move to make it a religious capital would be misinterpreted by the rest of the world as a potential act of aggression.
The government cannot support a bill if a party in the Knesset uses its power of veto.

The bill was proposed by Habayit Hayehudi (Our Jewish Home) MK Zevulun Orlev, in order to state clearly that a “United Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish people.”


Clinton to meet Netanyahu in Israel

By Jessica Elgot, October 28, 2009

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Israel this weekend, in her first official visit since the Israeli elections.

On Sunday, she will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Middle East envoy George Mitchell, Defence Minister Ehud Barak and President Shimon Peres.

Mr Mitchell will arrive in Jerusalem on Thursday to prepare for Mrs Clinton’s visit.

After Mrs Clinton leaves Israel, she will fly to Morocco for a meeting with Arab foreign ministers


Amnesty: Israel is 'denying Palestinians water'

By Jessica Elgot, October 27, 2009

Israel is denying Palestinians their fair share of water by blocking projects to improve water supplies, Amnesty International has alleged.

In a new report, the human rights organisation claimed that Israel is using over 80 per cent of the water from the mountain aquifer in the West Bank, depriving local Palestinians. It is the only water supply to the West Bank.

In the 112-page report, Amnesty claimed that Palestinians used 70 litres of water a day, compared with the Israelis who use 300 litres.


Will this be Israel’s last Nobel prize?

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 22, 2009

Five Israelis have won Nobel Prizes in various fields of research over the past eight years. Only the United States, Britain and Japan have more Nobel laureates over the same period.

This statistic may make Israel appear to be an academic giant, but many leading professors are convinced that the prizes reflect efforts made many years ago and that with the current level of investment, Professor Ada Yonath’s Chemistry Prize - announced two weeks ago and widely celebrated within Israel - may be the last Nobel an Israeli will receive for many years to come.


IDF mobilises as fears over olive wars grow

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 22, 2009

The IDF is deploying unprecedented forces in the West Bank to ensure that this year’s olive harvest can be carried out smoothly.

In past years, violent clashes have broken out between settlers and Palestinians over the right to pick olives around some of the settlements.

This year, the Defence Ministry’s civil administration in the West Bank has mapped out the ownership of all olive groves near settlements which are classified as “flash points”. A mobile battalion-sized security team of Border Police and the Special Patrol Unit has been formed to secure the area.


Israel extends visa for illegal worker youth

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 22, 2009

The government will allow 1,200 children of foreign workers whose visas have expired to remain in Israel until the end of the school year, next July.

Previously, the government had ruled that the children, most of whom were born and raised in Israel, would have to leave with their families by November 1, but it reversed its decision following a public outcry.

The decision highlights the difficulty of formulating a consistent policy on an estimated 400,000 foreign workers, close to three quarters of whom lack a valid work visa.


Rights group is biased on Israel, says its own founder

October 22, 2009

The founder of Human Rights Watch has blasted the group for “writing report after report about Israel” while ignoring the rest of the Middle East.


Israel slips down rankings for media freedom

By Jessica Elgot, October 20, 2009

Israel has lost its place at the top of Middle Eastern states for media freedom after the restrictions placed on journalists during the Gaza war.

Reporters San Frontières, which complies an annual ranking of media freedom in 176 countries, placed Israel in 93rd place, below Kuwait, UAE and Lebanon.

Severe restrictions were placed on journalists covering the Israeli offensive in Gaza. Three journalists were killed in Gaza, 20 injured and five were arrested.


Weizmann letter to Lady Lloyd George fails at auction

By Robyn Rosen, October 16, 2009

A letter written and signed by the first president of Israel, Chaim Weizmann, has failed to find a buyer at an auction.

The letter, which was estimated to fetch up to £1,500, was written to Lady Lloyd George, the first female MP and daughter of the First World War prime minister, Lloyd George, on October 26 1945.

Mr Weizmann, who was also president of the World Zionist Organization, wrote that he was “deeply moved” by a letter Lady Lloyd George had written in the Daily Telegraph.