Israel news

Israeli teachers ‘back to basics’ as international rankings fall

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 21, 2009

A new education minister in Israel almost always heralds a complete revolution in pedagogical priorities and teaching methods; until the next change at the top.

Likud’s Gidon Saar is no exception. His predecessor, Professor Yuli Tamir, promoted advanced learning theories. Now, Mr Saar is promising “back to basics” for Israeli schools.


Row over 'occupied territories' advert

By Jan Shure, May 18, 2009

Pro-Palestinian groups have made representations to the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority over an Israel Government Tourist Office poster on the London Underground promoting holidays to Israel.

The poster, which is part of IGTO’s campaign, shows a map of Israel that includes the Occupied Territories. Above the map is the slogan “Experience Israel ” against an image of a diver in the Red Sea. The complaint was lodged with the ASA last Friday by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.


Israel’s unlikely ally versus Iran: the Arabs

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 14, 2009

Israel has identified unlikely allies in its emerging diplomatic dispute with the new administration in Washington over Iran’s nuclear programme — the Arab states.


Jews thought of Jesus first, says Bible scholar

By Simon Rocker, May 14, 2009

The idea of a Messiah who is killed and then resurrected is a Jewish one that pre-dates Christianity, according to a Hebrew University scholar.

Israel Knohl, a professor of Bible, believes the evidence lies in the “Gabriel Revelation”, an inscription on a stone found at the Dead Sea, which dates back to the beginning of the first century CE or the end of the century before.


Lieberman: Cyprus the blueprint for peace

By Stephen Pollard, May 14, 2009

Israel’s controversial Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, appears to have persuaded Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to adopt a peace plan which the leader of Yisrael Beiteinu views as an alternative to the two-state solution as it is usually defined.

Mr Lieberman, who has been visiting European capitals, revealed the outlines of his plan at a reception in London on Tuesday, on the eve of his meeting with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband. He also discussed the plan, which he has floated before, in Italy last week.


Noa and Mira in Eurovision final

May 13, 2009

Israel has made it into the final of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow.

Voters from around Europe selected its entry There Must Be Another Way, performed by Noa and Mira Awad, at the first of two semi-finals.

Joining Israel in the final on Saturday night will be 24 other countries, including the United Kingdom.


Israel reveals its unlikely allies

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 12, 2009

Israel has identified new allies in its emerging diplomatic dispute with the new administration in Washington over Iran 's nuclear programme – the Arab states.

"In the past, the Arab leaders would complain about the Americans being too pro-Israel," says a senior Israeli diplomat in Jerusalem.


Israel takes the swine out of swine flu

By James Martin, May 8, 2009

Israel has re-named the potentially deadly Swine Flu virus as "Mexican Flu" because the virus comes from pigs, which are non-kosher.

Ultra-Orthodox Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman made the announcement at a press conference on the grounds that under Jewish law pigs are considered unclean and pork is non-kosher.

This is despite the fact that the non-kosher meat is available in some stores in Israel.

Mr Litzman was appointed health minister in the recently-formed government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and is one of eight ultra-Orthodox ministers in his administration.


New swine flu case in Israel

May 8, 2009

A seventh Israeli case of swine flu has been announced, with health authorities concerned that the carrier may have passed it on to other passengers on a flight back from New York last Sunday.

The 58-year-old West Bank resident, who had not been hospitalised and has since recovered, was found to have contracted the virus according to the results of tests carried out in the United States.

The Israeli Health Ministry said that anyone who was on the woman’s flight from New York on Sunday – El Al 008 – and was feeling unwell should get tested.


Pope will achieve nothing, say Israelis

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 7, 2009

Israel will see little benefit from Pope Benedict XVI’s visit next week, say senior Israeli officials.

The Pope will land in Tel Aviv on Monday for a five-day “pilgrimage” to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The much heralded visit has become a political, financial and security nightmare for many of those involved in organising it.