Israel news

Mixed forecast from the Governor

By Candice Krieger, June 25, 2009

Sausages and the budget are pretty much the same, says Stanley Fischer, Governor of the Bank of Israel: “You do not want to know how they are made.”


Strong shekel brings more pain than gain

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 25, 2009

Shmulik is sitting behind a 3in-thick glass window in a small flat in Meah Shearim that has been divided by a concrete wall and a steel door. This is one of half a dozen “black banks” that are the economic pipeline of Jerusalem’s Charedi community. He looks out at the empty room.

“Business is slow,” he says.

Not that long ago, the bank was packed at all hours, mainly with local residents selling dollars or cheques.


Torture expert claims Israeli doctors were ‘complicit’

By James Martin, June 25, 2009

Israel’s secret services are operating in a “black hole” which allows torture to go unchecked, according to a leading expert on torture in Israel.

Dr Ishai Menuchin, executive director of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), says his organisation has recorded 600 complaints about treatment received during General Security Service interrogations since 2001.


Row over Sharansky’s Jewish Agency role

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 25, 2009

Former Prisoner of Zion Nathan Sharansky was expected to be voted chair of the Jewish Agency on Thursday, after an unprecedented row between the Israeli government and American Jewish organisations nearly scuttled his appointment.

Mr Sharansky was PM Netanyahu’s candidate and, in the past, would have been automatically voted in.


PM’s office in chaos

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 18, 2009

After only two-and-a-half months in power, Binyamin Netanyahu’s office is already coming apart at the seams. Bitter arguments between senior officials, an inflation of special advisors and a lack of clarity over responsibilities all contribute to an atmosphere of chaos.

Nir Hefetz, a former executive on the Yediot Achronot daily, was appointed the new head of hasbarah in the Prime Minister’s Office last week.

Mr Hefetz is currently the fourth senior communications official in Mr Netanyahu’s team.


At last, a kosher search engine

June 15, 2009

The strictly orthodox are now able to surf the Web like anyone else - thanks to a new Hebrew-language kosher search engine.

Those normally discouraged lest they find sexually explicit material are being encouraged to use Koogle, a search engine designed to omit anything objectionable.

It links primarily to Israeli news and shopping sites but filters the results, says its creator, Yossi Altman.


I'll meet any Arab leader, anywhere

June 14, 2009

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has called on Palestinian leaders to restart Middle East peace negotiations immediately and said he is prepared to go anywhere to meet Arab leaders.

In a highly anticipated foreign policy address at Bar Ilan University, he said: "I call on you, our Palestinian neighbours, and to the leadership of the Palestinian Authority: Let us begin peace negotiations immediately, without preconditions.

"Israel is committed to international agreements and expects all the other parties to fulfill their obligations as well," he said.


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.