Israel news

Britain will abstain from Goldstone UN vote

By Jessica Elgot, October 16, 2009

Britain will abstain from a crucial United Nations vote today over whether to endorse the Goldstone Report, despite urgent calls from Israel for Gordon Brown to reject it.

The UN Human Rights Council will vote in Geneva on whether to accept the report, which was strongly critical of Israel’s conduct during the Gaza offensive in January this year.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reportedly held a heated phone conversation with Mr Brown yesterday where he claimed that if the resolution against Israel was to pass; it could completely derail the peace process.


Israeli house prices rise by one quarter

By Simon Griver, October 15, 2009

The price of Israeli homes has risen by 24 per cent over the past two years, according to a Bank of Israel (BOI) survey.

In recent months price rises have accelerated, with the value of the average home rising by an annualised rate of 15 per cent in August, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.


The end of Israeli-Turkish ties?

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 15, 2009

The Israeli government is split over the correct response to Turkey’s decision to cancel a joint military exercise. While the Foreign Ministry is in favour of a belligerent stance, the defence establishment is trying to lower the tensions.

Israeli, American, Italian and Turkish warplanes were due to simulate dogfights against each other this week over Turkey, but Ankara barred Israel from participating at the last minute, in protest at Operation Cast Lead. The other participants then pulled out, leading to the cancellation of the manoeuvre.


Turkish state TV depicts 'bloodthirsty' IDF soldiers

By Jessica Elgot, October 15, 2009

Watch the controversial Turkish TV drama


Ken Loach: reaction to Israeli film donations row

By Robyn Rosen, October 15, 2009

Film director Ken Loach, a supporter of the Israeli film boycott, has criticised the chief executive of Israel’s leading film distribution company, who, he claims, did not inform him that his latest film would be shown at the Haifa Film Festival.

Mr Loach has frequently attacked Israel’s action in Gaza and was among the high - profile figures urging organisers of the Toronto Film Festival to drop a celebration of Tel Aviv last month.


Hizbollah 'rearming against Israel'

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 14, 2009


Rabbi compares Jewish Agency to rioters

By Jessica Elgot, October 14, 2009

The rabbi in the centre of the row over gender segregation at the Western Wall has compared the Jewish Agency to the Jerusalem rioters.

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, has previously demanded more stringent gender segregation at the Western Wall, causing the Jewish Agency to halt all ceremonies for new olim at the Kotel.

The head of immigration and absorption at the Jewish Agency, Paula Edelstein, refused to segregate men and women during the ceremony, and the organisation will now hold the presentation at its own headquarters in Jerusalem.


Fatah seeks peace agreement with Hamas

By Jessica Elgot, October 14, 2009

Fatah have signed a preliminary truce deal with Hamas, amid rising tensions between the two Palestinian factions over the Goldstone Report.

But Hamas is yet to sign the agreement, and a spokesman for the party said their leadership would not be pressurised into peace.

Hamas has been strongly critical of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who originally refused to push for a UN debate on the Goldstone Report.

The UN-commissioned report had been critical of Israel’s conduct during the Gaza offensive earlier this year.


Barak to Miliband: Don't accept Goldstone

By Jessica Elgot, October 14, 2009

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak has urged David Miliband not to accept the UN’s Goldstone report into Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, which found Israel guilty of war crimes.

Mr Barak has embarked upon a telephone campaign to key European foreign ministers to persuade them to criticise the report ahead of the meeting of the UN Human Rights Council, who will discuss the report on Thursday.


Jewish Agency stops Western Wall ceremonies

By Jessica Elgot, October 13, 2009

New Israeli citizens will no longer have their immigration ceremony held at the Western Wall after a row erupted over gender segration at the Kotel.

Instead of a ceremony at the Wall, in which new olim are presented with their Israeli passports and identity cards, the Jewish Agency will hold the event at the Jewish Agency Courtyard.

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, has previously demanded more stringent gender segregation at the Western Wall, causing a rift between him and the head of immigration and absorption at the Jewish Agency, Paula Edelstein.