Israel news

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.

Kassam rocket kills TV star’s mother-in-law

By Alex Kasriel, May 16, 2008

The mother-in-law of comedian Paul Kaye has been killed in a rocket attack near the Gaza Strip.

Mrs Shuli Katz, a 69-year-old nurse, was visiting her sister-in-law, Leora, in Moshav Yesha when the missile fell within a yard of her on Monday.

Her son, Yariv, 40, had left her side momentarily and survived the blast. Neither had time to find cover when the siren sounded.

Mr Kaye, 42, whose alter ego Dennis Pennis hoodwinked celebrities on the red carpet, attacked Palestinians for celebrating successful terror attacks.

Olmert faces political ruin over bribes inquiry

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 9, 2008

A new, potentially devastating corruption investigation into the financial affairs of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert threatens to unseat him.


Thousands ‘not Jewish’ after conversion row

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 9, 2008

The Chief Rabbi of Israel, Shlomo Amar, is to convene the entire Grand Rabbinical Court to overturn a previous ruling that could revoke thousands of conversions made over the past decade.

Three of the more conservative dayanim [religious judges] from the Court last week published a ruling that said that all the conversions performed by the special giyur [conversion] courts were “null and void”.


Bush visit played down by Jerusalem

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 9, 2008

US President George Bush’s visit to Israel next week will be mainly ceremonial and there is little expectation that it will achieve a breakthrough in the peace process, according to diplomatic sources.

President Bush with Ehud Olmert during his visit earlier this year

Mr Bush will arrive in Israel on Wednesday with his wife Laura for a two-day visit — his second this year — devoted mainly to Israel’s 60th-anniversary celebrations.


Peres rejects Hamas talks

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 9, 2008

President Shimon Peres reaffirmed Israel’s refusal to deal with Hamas in a special press conference for Israel’s 60th anniversary.

Peres speaks at the conference


Toxic fish - it's a lose-lose situation

By Nathan Jeffay, May 9, 2008

Menachem Lev has been fishing on the Kinneret for 30 years. But this anniversary will be a bleak celebration. Kinneret fish are fast disappearing off the Israeli menu.

“People are going in to the shops and saying that they want fish from anywhere but here,” he says.

Lev, like many other fishermen, has not taken his boat out since the middle of February, when Israelis were revolted by pictures in the press of thousands of dead fish washed up on the shore, the result of a mass poisoning.


Film ‘shows IDF did not kill family’

By Simon Griver, May 9, 2008

The IDF has released video footage to back its claim that the deaths of a Palestinian woman and her four small children last week was not caused directly by Israeli fire.

Anatomy of a strike: the IDF says its video footage shows that the Israeli strike
kills a militant while leaving the nearby family home unscathed


A final salute to the hero commander of the Exodus

By Eric Silver, May 2, 2008

Israel bade farewell this week to Yossi Harel, the commander of the Exodus and three other illegal immigrant boats that defied a British blockade and brought 25,000 Holocaust survivors to the Promised Land, more than a third of those who sailed from Europe between 1945 and 1948.

He died in Tel Aviv aged 90 and was buried by the Mediterranean at Kibbutz Sdot Yam. He is survived by his American widow, July, and three children.


Writ threats fly over film ‘exposé’ of claims body

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 2, 2008

The airing of an investigative TV documentary in Israel which fiercely criticises the Claims Conference over its policy towards Holocaust survivors has caused the normally conservative organisation to react with unaccustomed vigour. However, threats of legal action have failed to prevent the programme’s transmission.

Moral Reparations 2, broadcast on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, is the second film by the two self-styled docu-activists, Orly Vilnai-Federbush and Guy Meroz, on the plight of Holocaust survivors in Israel.