Israel news

Israel fourth from bottom of peace index

By Jessica Elgot, July 31, 2009

Israel has been placed a dismal 141st out of 144 on a list of the world’s most peaceful countries, beating just Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.

Countries which ranked higher in the 2009 Global Peace Index included Sudan, Zimbabwe, Lebanon, North Korea, and Iran.

The index was compiled by the think-tank Vision of Humanity, with the data compiled and analysed by the Economic Intelligence Unit.

The survey is endorsed by ex-United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Anan, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former US President Jimmy Carter.


Jerusalem slams UK on NGO funds

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 30, 2009

Israel has formally protested against the British government’s funding of the soldiers’ organisation Breaking the Silence.

The objection was raised at a meeting in Jerusalem this week between the Foreign Ministry’s deputy director general, Rafi Barak, and British Ambassador Tom Phillips. The meeting was mainly meant to discuss attempts by UK organisations to boycott Israel, but the £40,000 given by the British government to Breaking the Silence was also raised.

Similar objections were raised with the Dutch embassy and the EU, which has also funded the organisation.


Israel gives its missile defence a huge boost

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 30, 2009

Two recent missile tests have proved that Israel is on the way to equipping itself with the most comprehensive multi-layer missile defence system in the world.

Two weeks ago, the IDF and the Defence Ministry completed the first full test of the Iron Dome short-range interceptor system.

Iron Dome is designed to operate against rockets and artillery shells fired from between four and 70 km away.


Why Israel fears a Lebanon flare-up

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 30, 2009

At a rare press conference on Tuesday, IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi tried to play down the reports of tension on the Israel-Lebanon border.

“We have no signs that the peace is about to be broken,” he said.

A few minutes earlier, though, while meeting new recruits bound for one of the IDF’s infantry brigades, he told them that “the chance we will have to act in the near future is large. So make the most of your training, you could well be put to the test.”


Two-thirds of Israelis want Temple rebuilt

By Jessica Elgot, July 30, 2009

Two thirds of Israelis have indicated they would like the Temple in Jerusalem to be rebuilt, including Israelis who describe themselves as secular.

The survey, conducted for Ynet and the Gesher organization, asked 516 Israelis if they knew the meaning of Tish B’Av and if they would like to see the Temple restored.

Ninety-seven percent knew the meaning of the fast of Tisha B’Av, that it was the destruction of the Temple, while only 2% said they did not know.


Hamas PM banned from Facebook

By Jessica Elgot, July 27, 2009

Facebook has removed the fan page for Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, costing him 10,000 facebook friends.

But the social networking site has not issued an official statement as to why the page was deleted.

The more popular Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal who has 17,000 friends still remains on the site.

More than 10,000 people were "friends" with the Gazan PM on Facebook, and the organisation has received dozens of complaints demanding the page be reinstated, London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat reported.


Is this man the IDF’s best British friend?

By Leon Symons, July 23, 2009

Speaking up for the Israel Defence Force is unlikely to win many friends — but it has turned one man into the most unlikely new star on YouTube.

Colonel Richard Kemp was the commander of British forces in Afghanistan in 2003 and even he admits he is surprised by his new-found fame.


UK blamed for East Jerusalem building row

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 23, 2009

British diplomats played a major part creating the recent spat between Israel and the United States over Jewish building in East Jerusalem.

Last week, during a routine meeting with Israel’s new ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren, at the State Department, the Americans objected to plans to convert the Shepherd Hotel in East Jerusalem into 20 flats for Jewish families.

The building has been owned by American-Jewish millionaire Irving Moskovich for 24 years.


Mother whose arrest fired rage ‘is innocent’

By Marcus Dysch, July 23, 2009

The grandmother of a three-year-old boy allegedly starved by his mother in Jerusalem until he weighed just 14 lb has said she is standing by her daughter-in-law, whose arrest has sparked rioting by some of the city’s strictly Orthodox factions.

The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, is a member of the strictly Orthodox community in Stamford Hill, north London.

“I’m giving my daughter-in-law my full support for everything. She’s a wonderful woman. She’s never had a personal problem,” the 50-year-old said.


El Al set to launch no-frills Euro fares

By Jan Shure, Travel Editor, July 23, 2009

El Al is set to launch cheap, no-frills fares for some of its European flights.

From November, Israel’s national airline will face competition from easyJet, Europe’s leading low-cost airline, which is to launch a route between London and Tel Aviv.

El Al is to test the no-frills market with low-cost seats on flights between Tel Aviv and Rome. A spokesman for the airline in London said there were no plans “at present” to introduce the cheap flights to London.

“We are starting the cheap flights as an experiment on the Tel Aviv-Rome route in September,” he said.