Israel news

Fears of 'hostile' shekel trading

By Simon Griver, September 18, 2009

The recent strength of the shekel has generally been credited to a strong Israeli economy. However, market sources now claim that speculators are targeting the shekel, keeping it artificially high, with foreigners holding nearly $80 billion of the currency.

A massive sell-off of shekels could seriously destabilise the country’s economy and some, like Motorola Israel president Elisha Yanay, suspect that the speculators may have more than profit in mind.


Charities struggle to feed Israel's poor

By Ben Lynfield, September 18, 2009

As Rosh Hashanah approaches, Israeli charities are buckling under the strain of providing for growing numbers of needy people, while their own resources are dwindling because of the country’s economic downturn.

“It’s very difficult for those of us who are holding the front,” said Shlomit Shulov-Barkan, deputy director of the Meir Panim soup kitchen network. It has been forced to lay off more than 40 of its 120 employees in the past six months due to declining donations, most of which come from Israelis.


Israelis positive about Germany

By Nathan Jeffay, September 18, 2009

A new poll indicates that the majority of Israelis have a firmly positive attitude towards Germany and German culture.

In March 2008, some Israeli politicians voiced outrage when German Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the Knesset in German.

But according to the new research, just published by the Hebrew University, three in five Israeli Jews think that Germany has handled the memory of the Holocaust well.


Fighter pilot’s death re-ignites combat debate

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 18, 2009

The death of Captain Asaf Ramon in a jet fighter accident on Sunday has reopened the question of whether children from bereaved families should be allowed to serve in combat units.

Captain Ramon was the son of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, who died in the Columbia Shuttle disaster in 2003.

The IDF regulations state that a child or sibling of a fallen IDF soldier is exempt from service in a combat unit unless their parent signs an authorisation. On average, about 80 members of bereaved families join the IDF each year and serve in combat units with their parents’ consent.


Analysis: Israel never had a chance with the UN’s Gaza report

By Shmuel Rosner, September 18, 2009

It is true: Israel did use “disproportionate force” when fighting Operation Cast Lead. It was also “collectively punishing” the Palestinians.

“The testimonies we have heard… have been very difficult to hear, but I believe it is important that we listen to these stories,” said UN investigator Richard Goldstone, presenting his committee’s report this week.


Peres: Goldstone report "mockery of history"

By Jessica Elgot, September 16, 2009

Israel’s president Shimon Peres has called the United Nations report on the Gaza conflict “a mockery of history”.
Mr Peres denounced it as giving a green light to terrorists.

A UN fact-finding mission, headed by South African judge Richard Goldstone, produced a 574-page report which concluded: "Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity.”

Mr Peres said: “The Hamas terror organisation is the one who started the war and also carried out other awful crimes. Hamas has used terrorism for years against Israeli children.


Israel 'appalled' by Goldstone report

By Jessica Elgot, September 15, 2009

The Israeli government says it is “appalled” by the latest United Nations commission report which claims both sides in the Gaza conflict committed war crimes.

A fact-finding mission, headed by South African judge Richard Goldstone, has produced a 574-page report which concludes: "Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity.”


Netanyahu and Mitchell 'can't agree on settlements'

By Jessica Elgot, September 15, 2009

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US envoy George Mitchell have failed to reach any agreement over settlement construction in the West Bank.

The two men held a two-hour meeting in Jerusalem, but Mr Mitchell has been forced to extend his stay in Israel until Thursday when the two will meet again for further discussions.

They had hoped to reach an agreement in time to announce plans for a potential settlement construction freeze at the meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York next week.


Asaf Ramon to be buried next to astronaut father

By Jessica Elgot, September 14, 2009

Israel air force captain Asaf Ramon, son of Israel’s first astronaut Ilan Ramon, will be buried today after being killed in an air crash.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has postponed a meeting with US envoy George Mitchell in order to attend the funeral of the 21-year-old pilot.

He will be buried at a military cemetery next to his father.

Captain Ramon was killed when the F-16A Falcon jet he was flying during a training exercise crashed near the Hebron hills.


Russian ship hijack was 'Israeli cover story'

By Jessica Elgot, September 10, 2009

An Israeli source has claimed that the hijack by pirates of a boat which disappeared off the coast was a cover, and that the ship was carrying a Russian missile system to Iran.

The Arctic Sea and its 15 crew members, all Russian, disappeared in July. The ship was then believed to have been sailing to Algeria with a cargo of timber.

The ship was found in mid-August off West Africa, and Moscow claimed the ship had been hijacked by pirates, charging eight men with hijacking and piracy.