Israel news

Netanyahu banking on key talks

June 12, 2009

Binyamin Netanyahu does not think any of his coalition parties will leave if his diplomatic policies shifted left in Sunday's address.

Sources close to the prime minister told the Jerusalem Post that the Right have “learned lessons” from toppling right-wing governments in the past. This included Netanyahu's first administration, which led to left-wing governments entering negotiations with the Palestinians and Syria.


Charedim divided over ‘kosher buses’

By Nathan Jeffay Tel Aviv, June 11, 2009

The government is expected to decide whether gender-segregated buses are acceptable by next week.

The prospect is scaring many in the Charedi community, who fear that the government will adopt the false assumption that all Charedim want segregated buses.


Child porn confession

June 11, 2009

An Israeli fitness instructor has admitted making hundreds of indecent images of children.

Amir Gilboa, 36, of Finchley, north London, pleaded guilty at Wood Green Crown Court last Thursday to 14 charges of making pornographic pictures.

The final charge covered hundreds of offences relating to more than 670 images. When officers seized Gilboa’s computer, they found more than 200 images that they classed as “live” — in other words, the photographs had recently been opened from the hard drive.
Gilboa was bailed until June 29, when he will be sentenced.


Orthodox, 60 - and a mum for the first time

June 10, 2009

A 60-year-old strictly Orthodox woman in Israel has become a mother for the first time.

After 40 years of fruitless fertility treatments, the woman and her husband, who live in the strictly Orthodox settlement of Kfar Chabad, have welcomed their firstborn son.

The woman told the Israeli newspaper Yediot Achronot on Wednesday: "I've waited for a baby for so long, I'm so happy."


Dudu Topaz 'set up attacks on TV bosses’

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 4, 2009

One of Israel’s top television stars, Dudu Topaz, has confessed to organising a series of physical attacks on media executives who rejected his ideas for television programmes.

Mr Topaz apparently hired two former bouncers to assault Shira Margalit, vice president of Channel 2; Avi Nir, a Channel 2 director; and talent agent Boaz Ben-Zion in Tel Aviv over the past seven months. Ms Margalit was hospitalised with fractures in her face but the attacks were unexplained until Mr Topaz was arrested on Sunday.


Tough love’ from Obama

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 4, 2009

The Israeli government is seeking ways to accommodate American demands to stop building in the settlements as some commentators warn of the worst period in US-Israel relations for over a decade.

As President Barack Obama headed for the Middle East and his address to the Muslim world in Cairo on Thursday, Israeli officials were concerned by a report that Mr Obama was considering abandoning the long-standing United States veto of United Nations resolutions against Israel.


Former Israeli president dies at home

By James Martin, June 1, 2009

Professor Ephraim Katzir, eminent scientist and the fourth president of the State of Israel, has died at his home at the Weizmann Institute of Science at the age of 93.

He was president between 1973 and 1978. During his term he paid special attention to the importance of education in solving the country’s social problems.

He had previously served as Chief Scientist of the Israeli Defence Ministry. As well as training a generation of younger scientists, he translated important material into Hebrew and helped to establish a popular science magazine.


Bibi bows to US as settlers removed

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 27, 2009

London became the venue this week for discussions between the Israeli and American leaderships over a new co-ordinated policy towards Iran and the Palestinians.

A team headed by Intelligence Services Minister Dan Meridor has been meeting a White House team to discuss President Barack Obama’s plans to talk to Iran about its nuclear programme.

The Israelis hope to receive a definite time limit to American talks.


Cash pledged for Reform conversions

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 27, 2009

Two separate rulings by the Supreme Court in Israel last week have brought the controversial issue of giyur (conversion) back to the fore.

In a petition filed by the Israeli Reform movement, the court ruled that the government has to provide the Reform and Conservative academies that prepare candidates for conversion with the same funding it gives Orthodox academies.


7 million Israelis rehearse for war

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 27, 2009

Israel is launching its largest-ever emergency drill next week, but the government insists that it is a routine exercise.

Next Tuesday, sirens will sound throughout Israel, and the entire population will be requested to take shelter in “protected spaces”.

The nationwide alert will be the high point of the Defence Ministry and IDF Home Command’s exercise, “Turning Point 3”.