Israel news

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.


Israel honours Aussie cavalry

By Dan Goldberg, May 2, 2008

More than 90 years after a First World War battle that helped pave the way for Israel’s creation, a memorial to the Australian soldiers who routed the Turks at Beersheva has been unveiled.

Almost 1,000 dignitaries, including many descendants of the Australian Light Horse Brigade who fought there, witnessed the unveiling by Israeli President Shimon Peres and Australian Governor-General Michael Jeffery of a 1.5-tonne bronze sculpture of a mounted soldier leaping over the Turkish trenches to capture the city.


Guards died due to 'lack of training'

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 2, 2008

The murder of two civilian security guards last Friday at the Nitzanei Oz industrial area, near Tul Karm, has sparked a debate over the quality of tens of thousands of Israeli guards.

Eli Wasserman and Shimon Mizrahi were shot dead while guarding a plastics factory. Hamas and Islamic Jihad jointly took responsibility.


Israel blushes over arrest of Stateside spy

By Eric Silver, April 25, 2008

Israel was stunned this week when New York police arrested an 84-year-old retired Jewish military engineer and accused him of handing dozens of classified documents to an Israeli agent between 1979 and 1985.

It raised the spectre of another Jonathan Pollard affair (former US Naval civilian intelligence analyst convicted of spying for Israel) and threatened to overshadow President Bush’s state visit for Israel’s 60th anniversary. Tom Stacey, a State Department spokesman, said: “This is not the kind of behaviour we would expect from friends and allies.”


How do you celebrate Israel at 60? Any way you like . . .

By Daniella Peled, April 25, 2008

With Israel about to mark its 60th anniversary next month, parties have been planned throughout the Jewish state and the diaspora. Barbecues will be fired up, falafel will be fried, and blue-and-white flags will be waved.

But some have decided to celebrate in a rather more unusual style.

In Israel, the committee tasked with organising the 60th-anniversary celebrations has come up with a variety of events — at a cost of NIS 98 million (£14m) — including a mass wedding for 60 new immigrant couples officiated at by Chief Rabbis Shlomo Amar and Yonah Metzger .


Israel’s ninth satellite lifts off

By Eric Silver, April 25, 2008

Israel yesterday was scheduled to launch Amos 3 — a telecommunications satellite designed and built by Israel Aerospace Industries — from a site in Kazakhstan.

It reinforces Israel’s status as a satellite superpower, which can also monitor Iran and its Arab neighbours without relying on other countries’ goodwill.