Israel news

‘Halal beer protects us from Hamas’

By Ben Lynfield, October 17, 2008

The hundreds who flocked to the fourth annual Oktoberfest in Taybeh, near Ramallah, had a choice: the eponymous golden draught beer readily available at discount prices, or a non-alcoholic alternative.

This alcohol-free beverage was "halal" beer, according to the appropriately green (the colour of Islam) label on the bottle.

But it was the booze that was most popular at this event, aimed as much at boosting the spirits of the dwindling local Christian community as at promoting the Taybeh Brewing Company, its sponsor.


Leviev cuts back on schools

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 17, 2008

The largest Jewish education network in Europe is to cut back as a result of the global financial crisis.

Or Avner, founded by billionaire Lev Leviev, is to "rationalise" operations due to a shortfall in donations.

Operating more than 100 Jewish schools in Russia, the former Soviet Union, Germany, Israel and the US, it is planning to cut back particularly in places where there are only small communities and little Jewish activity.


Congress stalls Iran bill

October 17, 2008

Efforts to approve tougher sanctions against Iran in the last days before Congress ends its term have fallen through due to partisan disagreements and political disputes.

Republicans blocked the bill - composed of two pieces of legislation which had passed in the House of Representatives - from reaching the Senate floor.


Livni entices Labour into Kadima coalition

By Yaakov Katz, October 17, 2008

Foreign Minister and Kadima party head Tzipi Livni inched closer to becoming prime minister this week after agreeing a partial deal on bringing the Labour party into the coalition she is trying to form after Ehud Olmert's resignation last month.

Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai said Labour was confident that a new government would be formed in the coming weeks.

According to the agreement, Labour party chairman Ehud Barak will be granted veto power over legislation and the government's diplomatic and social agenda.


Akko Riots: Arab-Jewish tensions flare

By Michal Levertov, October 17, 2008

Across the blue-collar housing projects in the mixed Jewish-Arab city of Akko, the squares are strewn with chunks of bricks, fragments of tiles and shattered glass.

Police guards are stationed outside the homes of Arab families and patrolling street corners. Five days of rioting have left this city, with 72 per cent of its 53,000 residents Jewish and 28 per cent Arab, swamped with fear.


‘Fraud’ case man’s £2.6m barmitzvah

By Leon Symons, October 10, 2008

A businessman wanted on fraud charges in America has been allowed to attend his son's barmitzvah in Israel after rabbis pledged £2m in sureties.

Zev Saltsman, who lives in Hendon, North-West London, was arrested in London a year ago after he was named as one of six men accused by US federal prosecutors in Brooklyn.

He was alleged to have made $55m (£31.5m) in fraudulent profits through private share sales. He has not admitted the allegations in the USA.


IDF on high alert for new settler violence

By Yaakov Katz, October 10, 2008

Israeli security forces went on high alert this week out of fear that a recent spate of settler violence will escalate as a result of Palestinian farmers harvesting olives in groves located near settlements.

In recent weeks, senior IDF officers have met frequently with their Palestinian counterparts to prepare for the harvest season, which started this week and will last until late December.


Hizbollah and the IDF exchange threats

By Yaakov Katz, October 10, 2008

Israel and Hizbollah exchanged threats this week as the head of the IDF's Northern Command said that the military would use "disproportionate force" in any new round of violence with the Lebanese group.

In 2006, Israel fought a month-long inconclusive war against Hizbollah following the capture of two IDF reservists whose bodies were returned to Israel two months ago. Since the war, Israel claims that the Iran-backed group has amassed close to 40,000 missiles and rockets. Most of the weaponry is believed to be smuggled into Lebanon from Syria.


Gaydamak launches mayoral bid

October 10, 2008

Russian-born billionaire Arkady Gaydamak officially entered the race to become Jerusalem mayor on Monday.

On the same day in Paris, Mr Gaydamak went on trial in absentia as one of 42 people charged with illegal arms trafficking to Angola between 1993 and 2000. Mr Gaydamak's lawyers insist that their client is innocent.


Livni: ‘Time running out’ for peace process

By Yaakov Katz, October 10, 2008

Prime Minister-designate and Kadima Party chairwoman Tzipi Livni has given the public a taste of her diplomatic vision for Israel while warning that time is running out to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians.

In her first foreign-policy address since winning the Kadima primary last month, Ms Livni took Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to task for a Rosh Hashanah interview in which he called on Israel to cede nearly all of the territories won in the 1967 Six-Day War.