Israel news

Outcry as Defence Ministry authorises 20 new houses in the West Bank

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 1, 2008

Settlers in the Jordan Valley are unfazed by the international outcry against the Defence Ministry's decision to authorise the building of 20 houses at a West Bank settlement.

In an unusually harsh statement, Britain's Foreign Secretary David Miliband has described it as "a real obstacle to peace" and complained directly to Jerusalem. The US State Department and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon also condemned the planned expansion at Maskiot, in the Jordan Valley.

More..

Ehud Olmert: An ambitious career that collapsed in scandal

By Simon Rocker, August 1, 2008

Dogged by allegations of corruption, Ehud Olmert will bring his undistinguished premiership to an end after less than two-and-a-half years in office.

More..

Chief Rabbi lobbied MKs over divorce bill

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 1, 2008

Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar intervened in the political process this week when he tried to scupper a law that would have ensured women get equal parts of a couple's assets in divorce proceedings.

Rabbi Amar personally called up religious Knesset members to try and persuade them not to vote in favour of the new law.

More..

Crackdown call after bulldozer rampage

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 25, 2008

An Arab bulldozer driver has gone on the rampage in Jerusalem in the second incident in three weeks, bringing renewed calls for restrictions on the capital’s Palestinian civilians.

More..

Obama fires up the Israeli public

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 25, 2008

Senator Barack Obama may or may not be elected the 44th President of the United States in November, but this week in Israel he received a welcome to match that of many heads of state.

The Democratic candidate reciprocated in kind by saying almost everything possible to allay Israeli and Jewish fears of his election.

More..

Brown vows security and support for Israel

July 25, 2008

Prime Minister Gordon Brown's visit to Israel this week was a diplomatic success. But from the public-relations angle - at least, from the side of the Israeli media - it proved a damp squib.

An official at Israel's Foreign Ministry said: "Brown was eager to show that he is a close friend of Israel and spoke very forcefully about facing the Iranian threat."

More..

Brown to Knesset: ‘I am proud of Israel’s success’

July 25, 2008

"For 2,000 years, you had history — but not a home. For 2,000 years, you lifted the artistic and cultural life and the scientific and political development of every continent — but had no home. For 2,000 years, you endured pogroms — and then the horror of the Holocaust — because you had no home.

More..

‘Talks’ on Royal visit to Israel

July 25, 2008

Talks are under way for a visit to Israel next year by Prince Charles, Israeli diplomatic sources have told the JC. Clarence House denied knowledge of any such discussions. Earlier this year, an aide to the Prince said in a leaked email that there was "no chance ever" of his visiting Israel.

More..

Israel divided over possible Shalit deal

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 25, 2008

Efforts to bring about the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit ran into further difficulties this week, when it emerged that the Israeli government is divided on the price to pay.

Fellow members of corporal Shalit’s tank platoon, who were discharged on Tuesday at the end of three years’ service, marched to the office of Defence Minister Ehud Barak to demand that he does more to ensure their comrade, captured two years ago, is freed.

More..

Case against Olmert ‘very strong’ after key witness gives evidence

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 25, 2008

Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz must now decide whether to indict Prime Minister Ehud Olmert over the alleged bribes he received from Morris Talansky, after the American fundraiser ended five days in the dock with his version of events intact.

Despite appearing at times shaken and confused during the cross-examination, the main facts of his testimony have not been changed. Mr Olmert allegedly received money through Mr Talansky on at least three separate occasions and he also covered the expenses of Mr Olmert and his wife’s stay in Washington in October 2005.

More..