Israel news

UK has biggest Israel immigration increase

By Jessica Elgot, December 29, 2009

Aliyah from the UK has increased by 34 per cent, the largest increase in new immigrants to Israel in 2009.

The Jewish Agency for Israel has announced a global increase of 17 per cent, after more than 16,200 new olim made their home in Israel.

The largest number of the new immigrants was 3,767 from the US and Canada with, but 835 British citizens also made aliyah, the largest increase in emigration volume.

Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky said: “Every new immigrant strengthens the country and is a strategic asset to Israel.”


Israeli man sets record with 11th divorce

By Jessica Elgot, December 29, 2009

A 50-year-old Jerusalem man has been granted his 11th divorce by the Jerusalem Beth Din in a new Jewish Israeli record — and he’s already on the hunt for a new wife.

The unnamed man, who has conducted all his marriages and divorces in Israel and abroad in accordance with halachah, said he had a tradition of divorcing his wives every two years.

The man said he planned to look for a new bride immediately, and had no problems finding wives.

He told the beth din: “I throw out a hook and the fish come on their own."


Vanunu held after meeting with Norwegian woman

By Jessica Elgot, December 29, 2009

Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu has admitted breaking terms of his release from prison.

Mr Vanunu, a former technician at the Negev Nuclear Research Centre, leaked details and pictures of Israel’s nuclear operation to the Sunday Times in 1986, leading experts to conclude that Israel had the world’s sixth largest nuclear arsenal.

He was kidnapped in Rome by the Israeli secret service, and then served 18 years in jail for treason and espionage. He was released in 2004 but is banned from any contact with foreign nationals or media.


Refugee ship 'Exodus' captain dies

By Jenni Frazer, December 24, 2009

Ike Aranne, the captain of the iconic 1947 refugee ship Exodus, has died in Israel, aged 86.

Tributes have flowed in for the man born Yitzchak Aronovitz in Danzig, Poland. He came to pre-state Israel in 1933, aged 10.

The Exodus set sail at Aranne's initiative and Israel's president, Shimon Peres, described him as not only the ship's captain, but "its spirit, who gave the voyage a special character."


How the Left turned on Israel

By Colin Shindler, December 23, 2009

Since the beginning of the al-Aqsa intifada in September 2000, an important feature in the debate on the Israel-Palestine imbroglio has been a questioning of the legitimacy of Israel as a nation-state by sections of the political Left and the liberal and cultural intelligentsia in Britain.

Such opinion has moved from passionately supporting the right of the Jews to self-determination in 1948 (by figures such as Aneurin Bevan, Bertrand Russell and Tony Benn) to questioning that right over 60 years later.


Israel doubts UK will overturn 'Livni law'

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 23, 2009

The Israeli government has little faith that Britain will, in the near future, change the laws that allow arrest warrants to be obtained for Israeli officials on the suspicion of war crimes. The government is now pinning its hopes on an international initiative to amend the laws of war.

Israel officially maintains that it is the responsibility of the British government to amend legislation that has put London out of bounds for many Israeli officers and politicians.


Yeshivah backs off in fight with army

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 23, 2009

The heads of the Hesder yeshivahs, which allow 18-year-olds to combine Torah studies and army service, have issued a joint statement against any form of political protest within the IDF.

The rabbis are trying to end the crisis with the defence establishment which led to one of the yeshivahs being cut out of the arrangement last week. Defence Minister Ehud Barak cancelled the Hesder status of the Har Bracha yeshivah on the West bank following the refusal of its head, Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, to retract his previous statements in support of soldiers refusing orders to dismantle settlements.


Charedi sites close following ban

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 23, 2009

Two Charedi news websites closed down this week and a wave of resignations has hit other sites following the strictest rabbinical ruling against the internet to date.


Police to recruit Arab youngsters

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 23, 2009

The Israeli Police will launch next week a low-profile programme to enlist 18-year-olds from the Arab population into its ranks.

The plan has three aims: to establish a national service option for Arab school leavers, to swell the police’s understaffed ranks and to try and improve relations between the state and the Arab community.


Israeli firms 'refusing to hire Charedim or Arabs'

By Nathan Jeffay, December 17, 2009

Ethiopian Jews, Charedim and Israeli Arabs are being systematically discriminated against in the workplace, even if they hold degrees, according to an influential new report.

In the first study of its kind, academics from Kiryat Ono Academic College near Tel Aviv surveyed employers about how graduates from these communities, widely considered Israel’s most disadvantaged, can expect to be received when they try to enter the job market.

The respondents included advertising executives, lawyers, bankers and other professionals who employ graduates.