Israel news

Abbas may resign before election

By Jessica Elgot, November 9, 2009

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has told Egyptian leaders that he may not wait until the next election to resign.

Mr Abbas has announced that he will not seek reelection as president of the Palestinian Authority.

The Egyptian delegation, led by the country’s Palestinian ambassador Yasser Othman, was visting Ramallah in order to try and urge Mr Abbas to continue as president, Haaretz reported.

Mr Abbas had come under fire in recent months because he did not immediately throw his backing behind the UN Goldstone Report, causing tensions between Hamas and Fatah.


Lev Leviev agrees to debt deal

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 5, 2009

Israeli billionaire and Lubavitch philanthropist Lev Leviev has reached an agreement to refinance the loans that his company took out from banks and pension funds in Israel.

Africa-Israel announced two months ago that it would have trouble repaying the loans, which total £1.2 billion. Mr Leviev will pay about ten per cent of the debt from his private funds and be allowed to retain control of the company.

Part of the loans will be repaid in Africa-Israel shares and the rest of the repayments will be spread over the next ten years.


Jewish 'terrorist' charged with killing gays, Arabs, Jews

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 5, 2009

A Jewish “terrorist” who has allegedly confessed to a string of murders and terror attacks was remanded in custody for a week in a Petah Tikvah court on Wednesday.

As part of the ongoing investigation, Ya’akov Teitel’s Manchester-born wife, Rivka, was arrested as she drove to a remand hearing for her husband, and was separated from her baby. The couple have four children and live in the Shvut Rachel settlement on the West Bank.


Murder raises questions over Israeli immigration

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 5, 2009

It took the police only six days to crack Israel’s most vicious murder, but despite the arrest of the alleged killer and his detailed confession, the case has raised serious questions about the country’s immigration policy.


An unsettled alliance

By Anshel Pfeffer and Ben Lynfield, November 5, 2009

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will travel to Washington next week for a meeting with President Obama in a much friendlier atmosphere than their past two meetings.

The improvement in relations between the White House and Jerusalem came as the Obama Administration took more Israel-friendly positions on the issue of settlements and the Goldstone Report.


Israel zoo experiences hippo overload

By Keren David, November 5, 2009

The land of Jaffa oranges and Hass avocados has a new export success. Israel emerged this week as the world’s leading supplier of hippopotami.

An Israeli zoo, the Ramat Gan Safari, has shipped 14 of the massive mammals to zoos around the world in recent months. The animals have been sent to new homes in Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and Vietnam.


Miliband: Stop violence and evictions in Jerusalem

By Jessica Elgot, October 29, 2009

Foreign Secretary David Miliband has expressed concern over worsening tensions in Jerusalem, and said Britain would press the Israeli government to halt evictions in East Jerusalem.

In a telephone conversation with the Palestinian Prime Minister, Mr Miliband also expressed his anger with Hamas to Prime Minster Salam Fayyad.

The militant group yesterday urged Palestinians to boycott the January elections in Gaza, threatening violence against those who did not.

Mr Miliband said in a statement: “This betrays the Palestinians in Gaza who have suffered so much in the past year.”


Israeli films win prizes at London Film Festival

By Jessica Elgot, October 29, 2009

Two Israeli films have won top prizes at the London film festival

Israeli director Yoav Shamir has won the Grierson prize for documentary for his film Defamation, which looks at antisemitism around the world.

The Sutherland award for the best first feature film went to Ajami, a film set in Jaffa in a mixed Jewish and Arab neighbourhood. It was directed by Palestinian Scandar Copti and Israeli Yaron Shani.

The film has also been placed on the short list of nominees for the 2010 Academy Awards.


EU lawyers target IDF officers

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 29, 2009

Senior IDF officers have stopped visiting several European countries, including Britain, as a network of human rights lawyers has stepped up efforts to issue arrest warrants against officers suspected of war crimes.

Lawyers in the UK, Holland, Spain and other countries have compiled a list of IDF officers who were in command of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza 10 months ago. According to Daniel Machover of Hickman & Rose in London, his office has been instructed by Palestinians in Gaza to bring charges against officers for alleged war crimes.


Segregated public buses ruled illegal

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 29, 2009

A special committee has ruled that gender-segregated public buses are illegal, but at the same time will allow the strictly Orthodox community to organise segregated private transport.

The largest transport co-operative, Egged, has about 55 bus lines on which men and women are made to sit separately as a result of strictly Orthodox pressure. Petitions against this to the Supreme Court resulted in a committee appointed by the Transport Ministry.