Israel news

Olmert faces second police questioning

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 23, 2008

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is to be questioned by police today (Friday) for the second time over suspicions of bribe-taking. One of the main witnesses, financier Morris Talanski, is to give preliminary evidence next week.

State Prosecutor Moshe Lador claimed in a Supreme Court hearing that Mr Olmert had received envelopes stuffed with dollars from Mr Talansky, a US citizen.

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Billionaires to build a ‘school of leadership’

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 23, 2008

An international school of Jewish and technological leadership will be founded in two years in Jerusalem, to foster the next generation of leaders in Israel and the Jewish world.

The project is part of an initiative of President Shimon Peres and the non-Jewish media entrepreneur Rupert Murdoch. Others involved include businessmen Leslie Wexner and Mort Zuckerman.

The initiative was announced by Mr Murdoch last week at the President’s Conference in Jerusalem, originally as a special school for technological innovators.

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Hamas poised to agree Gaza ceasefire

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 23, 2008

Israel is poised to agree to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire deal with Hamas, despite the deal not including any assurances regarding the release of captured solder Gilad Shalit and an end to arms smuggling over the Egyptian border.

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Shul 'sex sting' charges likely

By Nathan Jeffay, May 23, 2008

Israel’s Ministry of Justice looks set to prosecute a chazan accused of trying to land himself the country’s top cantorial job by tempting its incumbent with a honey-trap.

Jerusalem police believe that freelance chazan Israel Rand hired a female private investigator to tempt his former teacher, Naftali Hershtik, the cantor of the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem, into a sexual encounter.

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New gay Israel tour

May 23, 2008

A new Israel tour for gay Jewish young professionals is to launch this autumn.

The luxury 10-day “Pride in Israel” tour will take members of Young Judea Impact, the US youth movement’s young adult programme, to sites of gay interest.

Highlights will include the Tel Aviv Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, planting trees in the Pride Forest in the Upper Galilee and meeting gay soldiers and activists.

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'Israel has failed to learn from Lebanon War'

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 16, 2008

Israel has not implemented the lessons from its disastrous war in Lebanon, almost two years ago, says one of the country’s leading strategists.

According to a memo prepared by Professor Yehezkel Dror, a member of the Winograd Commission set up to investigate the war, and seen by the JC, the government has not carried out the commission’s main recommendations.

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How the battle for Jaffa lives on

By Ben Lynfield, May 16, 2008

Jews and Arabs hold conflicting memories of the confrontation that lead to Israel's establishment

Despite flags everywhere and aerial acrobatics for Israel’s 60th birthday, ghosts were still haunting Jaffa this week.

At Etzel House, a museum that commemorates the conquest of Jaffa in 1948 by Menachem Begin’s underground fighters, also known as the Irgun, 82-year-old veteran Joseph Nachmias recalls how forces moved from house to house, hammering holes in the walls to enter.

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Olmert to face new quiz as police close in

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 16, 2008

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is to be questioned for the second time over allegations of bribe-taking, in an investigation that continues to widen.

Police sources have told the JC that they are convinced that there is sufficient proof of illegal money transfers of hundreds of thousands of dollars from the United States to Mr Olmert’s interests in Israel. However, they still have not found the primary source of the funds, or what Mr Olmert was alleged to have done with them.

Israel is our best friend, says Bush

May 16, 2008

US President George Bush pledged America’s constant support as “Israel’s oldest and best friend in the world” on Wednesday during his keynote address to Shimon Peres’s President’s Conference in Jerusalem.

Previewing a speech he was to make to the Knesset on Thursday, Mr Bush said: “I will talk about the day when I believe that every child in the Middle East can live in peace and freedom.



President Bush on the podium

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How Tony helped Shimon schmooze the world

By David Rowan, May 16, 2008

You are Shimon Peres, the world’s best-networked politician, and you are having a dozen or two of your closest head-of-state friends over to stay.

So how do you make each of these national heads (current or recent) feel that “he” is your special friend, smoothing over explosively clashing egos and defusing diplomatic minefields while paying just enough attention to the other 3,500 guests you are having round?

Simple: you call in your bestest-of-all statesman friend, Tony Blair, and anoint him your very own Schmoozemaster General.