Israel news

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”.


Israel to prepare for missile strike

By James Martin, May 25, 2009

Israel is preparing itself for the possibility of simultaneous missile strikes and terror attacks by holding a drill next week.

According to Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai, multiple attacks on civilians “would very likely happen during a war”.

He made the comments during a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee meeting yesterday, in which it was announced the Home Front Command will simulate defending against such an assault as part of a large-scale drill to be held next week.


Israel’s most expensive home is sold

By Candice Krieger, May 21, 2009

Sold, for NIS 110 million (£17m) — a duplex penthouse in Tel Aviv. The 1,100sq m apartment is believed to be the most expensive ever sold in Israel. It was snapped up by a Russian Jewish oligarch. Quelle surprise. The penthouse, which is being developed by Electra Real Estate Ltd and Oranim Projects, is located on the seafront near the Dolphinarium between Herbert Samuel and Hayarkon streets. It is part of an apartment block that has been under construction since 2006, scheduled to be completed in 2011.


Religious war waged in the suburbs

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 21, 2009

Israel’s Charedi and secular communities are squaring up once again — this time in the central neighbourhoods of the country’s two largest cities.

Kiryat Yovel, the largest remaining secular area in Jerusalem, is facing an influx of dozens of Charedi families who failed to find flats in nearby religious Bayit Vegan. Secular residents have tried to convince neighbours not to rent or sell flats to Charedi families.


Israeli teachers ‘back to basics’ as international rankings fall

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 21, 2009

A new education minister in Israel almost always heralds a complete revolution in pedagogical priorities and teaching methods; until the next change at the top.

Likud’s Gidon Saar is no exception. His predecessor, Professor Yuli Tamir, promoted advanced learning theories. Now, Mr Saar is promising “back to basics” for Israeli schools.


Row over 'occupied territories' advert

By Jan Shure, May 18, 2009

Pro-Palestinian groups have made representations to the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority over an Israel Government Tourist Office poster on the London Underground promoting holidays to Israel.

The poster, which is part of IGTO’s campaign, shows a map of Israel that includes the Occupied Territories. Above the map is the slogan “Experience Israel ” against an image of a diver in the Red Sea. The complaint was lodged with the ASA last Friday by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.


Israel’s unlikely ally versus Iran: the Arabs

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 14, 2009

Israel has identified unlikely allies in its emerging diplomatic dispute with the new administration in Washington over Iran’s nuclear programme — the Arab states.