Israel news

Jail delay for Arab 'rapist' who posed as Jew

By Jennifer Lipman, August 3, 2010

An Israeli court has postponed the sentence of an Arab man convicted of rape by deception after he had consensual sex with a Jerusalem woman while posing as a Jew.

The high court also called for Sabbar Kashur’s remand conditions to be eased. The 30-year-old married father has been under house arrest for two years.

Last month Mr Kashur was sentenced to 18 months in jail for presenting himself as a Jewish bachelor to a woman he met and then had sex with soon after in a nearby building.

The woman said she would not have consented if she had known he was not Jewish.


Flare up on Israel-Lebanon border

By Jennifer Lipman, August 3, 2010

Israeli troops have reportedly been shot at near the border with Lebanon.

According to security officials Galilee residents have been ordered into bomb shelters after explosions believed to be caused by a mortar shell fired into the area.

Initial reports suggest there has been an exchange of fire between Israeli and Lebanese forces.

Two Lebanese soldiers are believed to have been killed.

The flare up on the border comes four years after the Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hizbollah.


Dawson's Creek star has Tel Aviv wedding

By Jennifer Lipman, August 3, 2010

Actor James Van Der Beek has married his pregnant fiancée at a Kabbalah ceremony in Israel.

The star, who shot to fame as a Steven Spielberg-worshipping teenager on the 1990s series Dawson’s Creek, was married by "Rabbi" Yehuda Berg in Tel Aviv.

Mr Berg also officiated over the nuptials of Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher in 2005.

The bride, model Kimberly Brook, wore a black dress while Mr Van Der Beek, 33, chose a white Armani tuxedo. The pair, who met in Israel last year, are expecting their first child in the autumn.


UK ambassador to Israel on 'hostile' Britain

By Jennifer Lipman, August 2, 2010

The outgoing UK ambassador to Israel has said that it is undeniable that “there is antisemitism in the UK” but it is not “a simple story of hostile Britain drifting away from Israel.”

Sir Tom Phillips admitted that the “climate can be difficult” for supporters of Israel in Britain and that the Jewish state is no longer viewed as “David” but as “Goliath”.

The ambassador, who is to leave his post in Israel after four years, told the Jerusalem Post that the historically dominant image in the UK was of “plucky little Israel against a sea of non-democratic states.


Rockets fired at Eilat and Aqaba

By Jennifer Lipman, August 2, 2010

Several rockets have been fired at Israel’s southernmost city of Eilat, although no injuries have been reported.

Officials said they believe the five rockets were fired from within Egypt.

The short-range rockets also hit the Jordanian city of Aqaba, minutes from Eilat on the other side of the Red Sea, exploding outside a hotel and killing one man and injuring three others.

Two other rockets are thought to have landed in the sea.

Jordan's Information Minister Ali Ayed said: "Preliminary investigation showed that the rocket was fired from outside Jordanian territory.”


Israeli scientists help paralysed talk

By Leon Symons, July 29, 2010

VScientists at Israel's Weizmann Institute have invented a unique device operated by sniffing that could allow people who are completely paralysed to communicate with their family and control wheelchairs.

The new system identifies changes in air pressure inside the nostrils and translates these into electrical signals. The device was tested on healthy volunteers as well as quadriplegics, and the results showed that the method is easily mastered.


Ban Jewish burka, say Israeli rabbis

By Nathan Jeffay, July 29, 2010

Israeli rabbis are set to ban the burka for a small group of radical Jewish women who have taken to wearing it.

Two years ago, it emerged that around 100 women in the city of Beit Shemesh had begun to cover their faces with a veil and wear numerous layers of clothing to obscure their body shape. When many rabbis criticised the trend, the women took no notice because they considered the rabbis too moderate.


Analysis: This time, ignoring the council is right

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 29, 2010

A year-and-a-half ago, in the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead, the United Nations Human Rights Council announced that it was setting up a fact-finding commission to investigate claims of human rights abuse and war crimes.

The commission's chairman, one of the most respected members of the South African Jewish community and a committed Zionist, begged senior Israeli ministers to cooperate with him, but Prime Minister Ehud Olmert refused. The result was the damning Goldstone Report, which has continued to haunt Israel and especially the IDF for almost a year now.


Israel to boycott UN Gaza flotilla inquiry

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 29, 2010

The Israeli government will not cooperate with the latest commission set up by the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate Israel's conduct during the Gaza flotilla affair two months ago.

Despite no official statement being made by the government, senior officials all confirmed that there was no way Israel would confer legitimacy on the UNHRC, widely seen as a forum designed solely for attacking Israel. One official said that "we are not going to even grace them with an official statement. They are totally irrelevant".


Israel clamps down on violent settlers

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 29, 2010

ISraeli law enforcement agencies have begun a new crackdown on what it believes are "violent and inciteful elements" amongst extreme right-wing settlers.

On Monday, Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, head of the Od Yosef Chai yeshivah and an influential figure, especially among the younger settlers, was arrested by the police for questioning on allegations of "severe incitement".