Israel news

How racism defeated the ‘X-ray rabbi’

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 6, 2009

He faced down Israel’s most famous family of mystics, became the undisputed leader of Israeli kabbalah, transformed himself into a household name and became the close confidant of tycoons and celebrities.

But now it seems that Rabbi Yaakov Ifergan has finally come up against one immovable barrier — the strictly Orthodox Ashkenazi establishment which is forcing the Sephardi star out of his home town of Netivot.


Analysis: Lieberman's last cabinet meeting?

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 6, 2009

Yisrael Beiteinu may have 15 Knesset members, as well as several ministries and parliamentary committees, but is still essentially a one-man party.

Avigdor Lieberman handpicked the candidates, decided which spot they would receive on the list and who would become a minister.

But now, he is learning the limitations of his power.

After an investigation which seemed never ending, the police this week recommended pressing charges against Israel’s foreign minister for allegedly money laundering over NIS 10 million (£1.5 million).


Gay rabbi talks of Tel Aviv shooting heartbreak

By Keren David, August 6, 2009

When Hillel Athias-Robles was a teenager, he would stand for a long time in the street outside the Aguda gay youth centre in Tel Aviv, scared that someone would see him go inside.

As a Charedi yeshivah student, he was terrified of being spotted by someone he knew. But it was worth the risk.

“I knew I’d found a refuge where I could be myself,” he recalled this week, in the wake of the gun attack on the centre.


Police: Don't call Tel Aviv shooting a hate crime yet

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 6, 2009

Tel Aviv police are investigating additional motives for the attack on a gay youth club on Saturday night, rather than labelling it a simple “hate crime”.

The shooting spree, which resulted in the deaths of 17-year-old Liz Trubeshi and 26-year-old Nir Katz, and the wounding of 11 others, was initially interpreted by the media and politicians as an attack against the gay and lesbian community.

The unidentified shooter was portrayed by the press as someone who hated homosexuals for religious or racist reasons.


In east Jerusalem, an Arab PR coup

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 6, 2009

Two Palestinian families sitting on street corners in east Jerusalem in the sweltering August heat are at the centre of a media and diplomatic storm this week. The eviction from the homes they have lived in for 53 years has delivered the Palestinian cause a major PR coup.


Hizbollah: 40,000 rockets on Israel border

By Jessica Elgot, August 5, 2009

Hizbollah is training its militia to be able to hit Tel Aviv with long-range missiles, and has stockpiled 40,000 rockets on the border, a report by The Times claimed.

A Hezbollah warehouses which stored Katyusha rockets in southern Lebanon exploded last month, revealing the group was stockpiling rockets in the region, in violation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

UN peacekeeping forces have been blocked from entering the site to investigation the claims.


Barak: We should accept US peace plan

By Jessica Elgot, August 4, 2009

Israel’s Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, has said he expects a new peace proposal from the US administration to arrive in the next few weeks, which he believes Israel should accept.

Mr Barak announced his intention of accepting the proposal at a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee.


Charedi mother to be charged

By Jessica Elgot, August 4, 2009

The mother accused of starving her three-year-old son in the row which sparked the Jerusalem Charedi riots is to be charged with abuse.

Jerusalem State Prosecutor Moshe Lador is said to have been briefed on the case at the weekend and several counts are to be filed with the Jerusalem District Court after a psychiatric evaluation found that she was fit to stand trial.

The strictly Orthodox mother, who has been under house arrest for the past week, has not been allowed to see her son, who was recently released from hospital, but has been in contact with her other children.


Lieberman: "I'll resign if I'm charged"

By Jessica Elgot, August 3, 2009

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has announced that if fraud charges are brought against him then he will immediately resign.

But in a statement he said: "I believe that next year, and in two years, I will remain the (Yisrael Beiteinu) chairman and the foreign minister."

Israeli police recommended Mr Lieberman be charged with corruption, breach of trust, embezzlement and money-laundering, after a 13-year investigation.

Police have been investigating fake companies allegedly formed by Mr Lieberman and his partners, which they claim were used as fronts to launder money.


Gay centre gunman still at large

August 2, 2009

Police are today continuing their search for a gunman who killed two people and wounded around a dozen at a gay support centre in Tel Aviv.

The victims were Nir Katz, 26, the gay centre's counsellor and Liz Trubeshi, 16, who meeting at the centre in Nachmani street.

The gunman, dressed all in black, entered the centre and opened fire at random before fleeing into nearby streets. Some reports say he had a handgun, others an automatic weapon.