Israel news

Warning that Israel risks 'secular flight'

By Jenni Frazer, September 8, 2008

An Israeli academic and former politician predicted this week that the twin demographic rises of the Muslim and Haredi communities in Israel "could lead to a secular flight from the country".

Professor Amnon Rubinstein, a former minister of education and of communications, and a professor of constitutional law, described himself as "full of anxieties" about the future of the Jewish state.

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Police make peace with modesty patrols

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 4, 2008

the Jerusalem police and the leaders of the Eda Haredit, the extremist camp in the ultra-Orthodox community, have reached an unofficial agreement to end the latest cycle of unrest on the streets of the Mea Shearim neighbourhood in Jerusalem.

The sporadic outbreaks of violence, arson and clashes with police, followed the arrest of a member of the so-called "modesty patrol", Shmuel Weispish. As part of the agreement, Mr Weispish was released and the rabbis promised that the violence would cease.

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Shock over new child murders

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 4, 2008

Israel has been gripped by the tragic details emerging from the investigation into the fate of three four-year-old children, allegedly murdered by their parents.

In the latest case, police arrived at a south Tel Aviv flat on Tuesday night after 31-year-old Regina Kruchkov called the police and said: "I killed my son." They found the lifeless body of Mikhail drowned in a tub of water.

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Court for alleged sex traffickers

September 4, 2008

Charges are due to be filed next week in Tel Aviv in the case of an Israeli mother and daughter who are accused of trafficking women for prostitution between Israel and London. Therese Orland, 55, and Katrin Atyia, 28, who were arrested two weeks ago, were sent to court yesterday (Thursday) for further detention on remand.

Tel Aviv's District Advocacy spokesperson confirmed that "the file is being examined by the Tel Aviv District Prosecution and the decision on charges will be made in the next few days".

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Blair’s sister-in-law ‘trapped in Gaza’

By Dana Gloger, September 4, 2008

FORMER Prime Minister Tony Blair's sister-in-law Lauren Booth this week claimed she was trapped in Gaza.

The human-rights activist, journalist and sister of Cherie Booth was on one of two "peace" boats organised by the Free Gaza Movement. She claims that Israeli and Egyptian authorities denied her entry, leaving her stranded in Gaza.

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Jailed ex-Shas leader tipped to run for Jerusalem mayor

By Simon Griver, September 4, 2008

Reports that former Shas leader Arieh Deri wants to run for the Jerusalem mayoralty has created a stir in the race, even though he may not be allowed to because of his corruption conviction.

Mr Deri, one of the most popular yet controversial figures in Israeli politics, has been out of public life since his release from prison in 2002.

He has remained an influential power behind the scenes, unofficially advising ministers and acting as a power-broker, while remaining a constant threat to the current Shas leader Eli Yishai.

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Four-year-old girl was ‘killed and stuffed into case’ by grandfather

August 28, 2008

In what is being described as one of the most gruesome and disturbing murders in Israeli history, police suspect that a missing four-year-old French girl has been killed by her mother and paternal grandfather - who are lovers.

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Settlement-building ‘nearly doubles’

By Michal Levertov, August 28, 2008

Construction in West Bank settlements nearly doubled in the first half of this year compared to 2008, according to new figures from Peace Now.

The pressure group's report emphasised that much of this new building connected isolated settlements in the heart of the West Bank to bigger settlements' blocs. "The creation of a territorial continuity means that Israel unilaterally ‘moves' the Green Line far into the heart of the West Bank," said its author, Hagit Ofran.

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Activists concerned as Israel resumes expulsion of refugees

By Ben Lynfield, August 28, 2008

Israel has revived the practice of rapidly returning refugees crossing into its territory from Egypt for the first time since a group of 48 Africans went missing after being forcibly returned to Sinai last year by the IDF.

The IDF confirmed on Wednesday that fresh expulsions had been carried out but could not immediately say how many people were returned or what their nationalities were. The expulsions became public only after soldiers serving along the Egyptian border alerted refugee-rights activists of new orders to return refugees to Egypt.

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Israel fears there will be more ‘Free Gaza’ boats

By Yaakov Katz, August 28, 2008

Israel's decision to permit two boats carrying international activists to sail into Gaza harbour has raised fears that human-rights groups will make additional attempts to sail into the Strip to protest the Israeli blockade.

Professor Jeff Halper, an Israeli participant, told the JC from Gaza that the group's ultimate plan was to establish a regular ferry service between Cyprus and Gaza and to recruit other ships.

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