Israel news

Analysis: Israel left reeling from US-British attacks

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 25, 2010

The day after David Miliband announced that an Israeli diplomat would be expelled from Britain, British Ambassador Tom Phillips made the rounds in Jerusalem trying to promise that the ties between the two countries, especially those regarding intelligence, would remain strong.

The same could be heard from Israeli sources: this was regrettable, but the British did what they had to. It could have been worse.

That is true. The Foreign Office has not named and shamed the Mossad representative in London, who is being given time to leave in an orderly fashion, after Pesach.


Young Israelis keen to join IDF combat units

By Nathan Jeffay, March 25, 2010

Young Israelis are keener than ever to join army combat units, according to new Israel Defence Forces figures.

After a barrage of criticism by human rights organisations and the Goldstone Report in the wake of the Gaza War, the reputation of the Israeli army's combat units have taken a battering.

But among Israeli school leavers, the three-week military campaign appears to have done wonders for their image.


Rabbi: Allow beans and pulses on Pesach

By Nathan Jeffay, March 25, 2010

Three years ago, Jerusalem rabbi David Bar-Hayim sent shockwaves through Israeli Orthodoxy after convening a beth din which ruled that all Israelis may eat kitniyot on Passover.

Now, he has come to the conclusion that the ruling should also apply to English Jews.

As well as following the Biblical law of avoiding chametz on Passover, Ashkenazi Jews observe a medieval tradition of also steering clear of numerous foods classified by rabbis as kitniyot, their term for pulses and legumes.


No charge for sex case Israeli rabbi

March 25, 2010

Police have recommended that no criminal charges should be brought against one of Israel's leading rabbis, Motti Elon, for homosexual encounters with young men who sought spiritual guidance.

According to the police, all the cases they investigated involved consensual acts with men over 18.

The Attorney General, Yehuda Weinstein, is expected to accept the police recommendation.

The investigation was launched into Rabbi Elon last month after a forum of senior rabbis and educators, Takana, announced that he had been accused of sexual impropriety.


Israeli TV star set to run for Knesset

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 25, 2010

For once, elections in Israel are not even on the horizon. By law the country will not have to go to the polls for another three years and a coalition crisis is not even on the cards.

Even if Binyamin Netanyahu's current right-wing partners turn against him, he can still join forces with Kadima and form a new centrist coalition.

Still, this relatively stable political landscape has not stopped the Israeli media and parliament feverishly speculating about a political upheaval: the emergence of a force that may rearrange the balance of power in the Knesset.


Israeli hospital A&E moved due to ancient graves

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 25, 2010

Binyamin Netanyahu was forced to take time out from his Washington trip this week to order a review of a government decision to relocate a new emergency ward planned for an Ashkelon hospital, at a cost of NIS 136 million (£24 million).


MK calls British 'dogs' over Dubai passport row

By Jessica Elgot, March 23, 2010

A Knesset member has compared the British to “dogs” and claimed the UK government has no right to judge Israel.

MK Arieh Eldad, a member of the extreme right-wing National Union party, was expressing his anger over Britain’s apparent decision to expel an Israeli diplomat after an investigation by the Serious Organised Crime Agency into the forging of British passports.

The passports were used by a hit squad which killed a Hamas terrorist in Dubai.


Israel fur ban dropped

By Jessica Elgot, March 19, 2010

The Knesset may scrap a bill which had the backing of Sir Paul McCartney, to forbid the manufacture, import and export of all kinds of furs.

MK Zevulun Orlev, who chaired a coalition committee discussion on the bill, said pressure from the Charedi community, from MK Menachem Eliezer Moses and from the Shas Party had led to the bill being temporarily shelved.
Mr Orlev said: “I have no interest in offending the Charedi public”.


Quartet: Settlement freeze and Palestinian state in 'two years'

By Jessica Elgot, March 19, 2010

The Middle East Quartet peace mediators have called on Israel to freeze all settlement activity and say their aim is to create a Palestinian state within two years.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who led the meeting with representatives from the US, the European Union and Russia, was the latest to condemn Israel’s plan to build 1,600 homes in Ramat Shlomo, east Jerusalem.


Stanley Fischer second term at Bank of Israel

By Simon Griver, March 18, 2010

Professor Stanley Fischer has agreed to serve a second five-year term as Governor of the Bank of Israel, providing a potentially enormous boost for the Israeli economy.

Such is his international eminence that when he accepted the offer to become head of the Bank of Israel in 2005, it was likened to Michael Jordan agreeing to play basketball for Maccabi Tel Aviv.