Israel news

'Gods Hates Fags' extremists target synagogues

By Paul Berger, October 1, 2009

Members of one of America’s most reviled religious groups, Westboro Baptist Church, picketed two New York shuls in the run up to Yom Kippur.

A group of Westboro congregants, including young children, brandished signs last Saturday that included slogans such as “Jews Stole The Land”, “God Hates Jews” and “The Jews killed Jesus”.

The Westboro Baptist Church’s message of hate is usually aimed at homosexuals. It pickets soldiers’ funerals, claiming that military deaths are god’s punishment for America’s acceptance of homosexuality.


Secular Jews flock to special holidays services

By Nathan Jeffay, October 1, 2009

The “synagogue” was informal even by Israeli standards — several rows of chairs in a courtyard with a Torah scroll at the front. Several women wore jeans and though it was the middle of neilah, the Yom Kippur service when people normally stand throughout, most of the congregation was sitting down.

This service in Zichron Yaakov, south of Haifa, was one of 170 run along similar, relaxed lines nationally.


Goldstone rejects 'barrage of criticism'

By Jessica Elgot, October 1, 2009

The judge responsible for compiling the UN report into the Israeli offensive in Gaza has rejected the “barrage of criticism” he has received since publication.

Richard Goldstone, who headed the UN’s investigation, said: "We will not address these attacks as we believe that the answers to those who have criticised us are in the findings of the report."

Mr Goldstone’s inquiry produced a 574-page report which concluded: "Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity.”


Gilad Shalit: the prisoner swap list in full

By Jessica Elgot, September 30, 2009


The twenty female prisoners to be released in return for a video of captured solider Gilad Shalit

Ayat Kisi - Sentenced to one year and eight months for attempted murder.

Rojena Riyad Mohammed Jinajira - Sentenced to three years for conspiracy and attempted murder.

Rimat abu Ayisha - Sentenced to nine months for membership in a banned organization.


Prisoner swap for Gilad Shalit video

By Jessica Elgot, September 30, 2009

Israel has agreed to release 20 Palestinian woman prisoners in exchange for video proof that Gilad Shalit is alive.

International aid organisations are denied access to the solider, who was captured in 2006. No news has been heard from him since a letter in 2008 and an audio message in 2007.

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said the decision was made because "it is important that the entire world know that Gilad Shalit is alive and well and that Hamas is responsible for his health and state."


Miliband denounces Barak arrest threat

By Leon Symons, September 30, 2009

Foreign secretary David Miliband made it clear that the government will not back attempts by Palestinian supporters to try to have Israeli politicians arrested as war criminals.

Speaking at the Labour Friends of Israel fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference in Brighton, Mr Miliband said: “This will never become a country where ministers of Israel are unable to come and have proper dialogue with the government of the United Kingdom.”


Barak arrest warrant is rejected by judge

By Jessica Elgot, September 30, 2009

A judge has rejected a Palestinian group’s application to issue an arrest warrant for Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak, who is in the UK this week.

Deputy District Judge Daphne Wickham at Westminster Magistrates Court said: “I am satisfied that under customary international law, Mr Barak has immunity from prosecution as he would not be able to perform his functions efficiently if he were the subject of criminal proceedings in this jurisdiction.”


Barak to meet Brown, Miliband for Iran talks

By Jessica Elgot, September 29, 2009

Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak will meet Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Foreign Secretary David Miliband at the Labour Party conference in Brighton to discuss the growing nuclear threat from Iran.

But Mr Barak's visit may be hampered by a Palestinian group who have sought to obtain an international arrest warrant for alleged war crimes committed by Mr Barak.

The group, represented by solicitors Irvine Thanvi Nataz, submitted the request to Westminster Magistrates, seeking the arrest under the International Criminal Court Act 2001 and the Criminal Justice Act.


Secularists fight Charedi housing plan

By Ben Lynfield, September 24, 2009

The Charedi community has scored a victory in the latest round of its conflict with secular residents over the future of the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood in Jerusalem. Last week a Charedi group won a tender for a large housing project expected to further consolidate the growing ultra-Orthodox presence in the area.

The rapid influx of Charedim into the neighbourhood is being met with unusually vocal opposition from secularists, and the area has come to symbolise the larger battle over the character of Israel’s capital.


Israel wants rules of war to be changed

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 24, 2009

Israel is launching a campaign to adapt the international laws on warfare to a new reality where organisations purposely operate from civilian areas.

They are hoping that the American and British governments, which face similar circumstances in Iraq and Afghanistan, can be persuaded to join.

The effort comes in response to the UN Human Rights Council report released last week, which accuses the IDF of committing war crimes in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead at the beginning of 2009.