Israel news

Mordechai Vanunu leaves jail

By Jennifer Lipman, August 9, 2010

Nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu has been released from jail after serving a three month sentence.

The Israeli, 55, was first jailed in 1986 for disclosing confidential information about Israel’s nuclear operation to the British media.

He was released in 2004 but last year was arrested again for breaching the conditions of his parole. It was his second sentence for this.

Mr Vananu’s release had been conditional on him not travelling abroad, speaking to the media or having any contact with foreign nationals.

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Ashton Kutcher: it's hot in Israel

By Jennifer Lipman, August 9, 2010

Hollywood star Ashton Kutcher has been enjoying the sites of Israel – and the weather.

The actor, who is married to actress Demi Moore and is perhaps best known for having one of the world’s largest Twitter followings, was in Jerusalem for a Kabbalah event.

He and his wife are among a number of Hollywood followers of the Jewish mysticism, even marrying in a Kabbalah ceremony in 2005.

Accompanied by Ms Moore’s daughter Scout, Mr Kutcher attended the birthday party of Kabbalah Center founder Shraga Berg at the David Citadel hotel.

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Netanyahu: Israel warned Turkey about flotilla

By Jennifer Lipman, August 9, 2010

Benjamin Netanyahu has told a public investigation into the clash on a Gaza-bound ship that the Turkish government ignored warnings “intended to prevent a confrontation with the Marmara flotilla”.

The Israeli Prime Minister said that from May 14 his office communicated with the Turkish government "at the highest level" on the issue, but repeated warnings that the ships would not be allowed to sail to Gaza were not heeded.

Nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists died during the fighting with the Israeli navy on May 31.

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Jenin cinema reopens with film of hope

By Jennifer Lipman, August 6, 2010

A cinema has reopened in the West Bank with a launch event celebrating a Palestinian man who donated his son’s organs to Israeli patients.

The Jenin Cinema, which has started showing films again after a 23 year intermission, has both an indoor and outdoor screen, a film library and educational facilities.

The first film shown was a prizewinning documentary called "Heart of Jenin” about Ismail Khatib, the father of a boy killed in 2005 when Israeli soldiers mistook a toy weapon for a real gun.

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Reports of Sharon's death exaggerated on Twitter

By Jennifer Lipman, August 6, 2010

Ariel Sharon has not died, despite what Twitter users might have heard.

The former Israeli prime minister’s demise was reported on the social networking site last week.

The news was so widely circulated that a spokesman from Sheba Medical Centre had to make a public statement denying the rumours.

Mr Sharon was hospitalised in January 2006 with a stroke and has been in a coma ever since.

According to Ha’aretz, the majority of the Tweets came from Arab countries or Iranian or Palestinian users.

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ZAKA volunteers mourn crash victim colleague

By Jennifer Lipman, August 6, 2010

A member of Israel’s volunteer rescue service has been killed in a car accident along with six members of his family.

Aryeh Bernstein, 43, died after a train collided with a minibus in southern Israel. His wife, pregnant daughter, and four children were also killed when the minibus broke through a railroad barrier near Kiryat Gat.

The only survivors from the crash were the driver and Dudi Gotstein, Mr Bernstein’s son-in-law, who is recovering in hospital. Twenty others were injured.

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America: Lebanon attack on Israel 'unjustified'

By Jennifer Lipman, August 5, 2010

America has laid the blame for the flare-up on Israel’s northern border with the Lebanese.

The US State department called the attack, which left an Israeli commander and three others dead, "totally unjustified and unwarranted".

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Israeli air exercises go on despite Romania deaths

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 5, 2010

The Israeli Air Force will continue carrying out long-range exercises abroad, despite the helicopter crash last week in Romania in which six Israeli aircrew and one Romanian liaison officer were killed.

Exercise "Blue Skies" was scheduled to take place for two weeks over Romania, but was terminated last Monday when an IAF CH-53 Sea Stallion transport helicopter crashed in the Carpathian Mountains killing all seven on board.

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Israel vows payback for Hamas after Eilat attack

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 5, 2010

Israel has said it will retaliate against Hamas after two attacks by Grad missiles on Ashkelon and Eilat in the space of three days heightened tension in the south of Israel.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyanhu told Israelis in a TV broadcast that the terrorist organisation was responsible for the attacks on Israel and another on Jordan's Red Sea port of Aqaba, where one man died.

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Jerusalem culture season planned

By Martin Bright, August 5, 2010

A Jerusalem Season of Culture, an annual event to promote the arts of the city is to be launched next summer.

The event is part of a drive by the artistic community in Jerusalem to show an alternative perspective of a city often associated with division, violence and religious fanaticism.

Figures in the political, business and cultural worlds in Jerusalem are also keen to remove the Israeli capital from the shadow of its more hedonistic neighbour Tel Aviv.

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