Israel news

Son of Hamas leader was an Israeli agent

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 25, 2010

Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of a leading member of Hamas, has revealed himself to be an agent for Israel's security service.

In over a decade as a secret source working within Hamas, he exposed plans to launch suicide bombings and supplied information that led to the arrest of dozens of Hamas terrorists.

The son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, one of Hamas's founders and the leader of its military wing in the West Bank, Mr Yousef has written a book to appear next week in the United States, titled Son of Hamas.


Israeli heritage site row 'could start intifada'

By Jessica Elgot, February 24, 2010

Israeli president Shimon Peres has said that the row over the protection of Jewish and Muslim heritage sites by Israel is being incited by extremists and Hamas.

Hamas’s leader in Gaza has called on Palestinians to attack Israel over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to include the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, and the site of Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, in a £69m restoration plan. Both are also important Islamic shrines.


Fake Viagra factory raided in Israel

By Jessica Elgot, February 24, 2010

Twelve people have been arrested on suspicion of distributing fake Viagra from a factory in central Israel.

Undercover police officers from the Financial Intelligence Unit conducted a lengthy investigation into the factory, in a small moshav in central Israel, Ynet reports.

Police seized thousands of fake Viagra and Cialis pills. Both are prescription drugs used to treat impotence but they are a valuable commodity online as patients buy them without prescription.


Family of Rachel Corrie will sue Israel

By Jessica Elgot, February 24, 2010

The family of American peace activist Rachel Corrie, killed seven years ago while apparently acting as a human shield in front of an Israeli army bulldozer, is to sue the Israeli Defence Ministry.

Cindy and Craig Corrie of Olympia, Washington, say they have four key witnesses, three Britons and an American, who saw Ms Corrie crushed underneath a Caterpillar bulldozer in Rafah in 2003.

The witnesses belong to the International Solidarity Movement, the pro-Palestinian activist group with which Ms Corrie, 23, was involved at the time of her death.


Israeli army clashes with shrine protesters

By Jessica Elgot, February 22, 2010

Israeli soldiers have clashed with stone-throwing protesters in Hebron angry that two shrines have been listed as Israeli heritage sites.

The IDF soldiers used tear gas to disperse the protesters who threw bottles and stones at the soldiers.

The protest was in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to include the Tomb of the Patriachs in Hebron and the site of Rachel’s Tomb in Bethelehem as part of an Israeli £69m restoration plan for heritage sites.


Analysis: If it was Mossad, then was it a success?

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 18, 2010

Israel almost never takes responsibility for mysterious killings in the Middle East. To do so would only cause diplomatic and security problems and reveal operational methods.

As it is, most of the targets have multiple enemies and whoever's finger was on the trigger, Israel will be blamed.

There is one major exception to this rule: sometimes things go dramatically wrong and the only way to release a captured agent is to own up.

Did the assassins who eliminated the Hamas arms smuggler, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, mess up? Operationally, no.


Rabbi blasts 'ignorance' at weddings

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 18, 2010

Rabbi Ovadia Yossef has attacked the "ignorant" manner in which the custom of breaking a glass under the chupah is often carried out during religious wedding ceremonies.

The most prominent Sephardi rabbi in the world and the spiritual leader of Shas, 89-year-old Rabbi Ovadia Yossef published his public criticism of religious wedding services in Yom Leyom, the weekly affiliated to the Sephardi Shas party.

He singled out the breaking of the glass, which is meant to remind all those present at the celebration of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.


Arab rights protesters seek to lift Israel's Left

By Ben Lynfield, February 18, 2010

While many Israelis use Friday afternoons for a pre-Shabbat nap, hundreds each week are refusing to sleep through what appears to them to be a glaring injustice against Palestinians. They have converted a park opposite east Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood into the venue for regular protests against evictions of Palestinian residents to make way for Jews.


Mossad: "Can we borrow your passport please?"

February 18, 2010

So how could the Israeli authorities get access to the details of British passport-holders?

Here are two ways: one, when people make aliyah, and another, when foreign passport-holders are approached by security services.

Sanjoy Mukherjee made aliyah last year. He said: “Once your aliyah application is approved by the Jewish Agency, you give your passport in and it’s given to the Israeli consulate in London which provides you with an aliyah permit.

"The passport is returned to you and you make aliyah after that. As I recall, my passport was there for around 10 days.”


British journalist held by Hamas

By Jessica Elgot, February 15, 2010

A British journalist is being held in Gaza for ‘violating security’, Hamas has announced.

Freelance journalist Paul Martin, who has reported for the BBC and The Times, will be held by Hamas for a fortnight awaiting a court hearing.

The British consulate in Jerusalem confirmed that Mr Martin was being held and said it was “very concerned”. A spokesman said Mr Martin’s family had been informed.