Benjamin Netanyahu

Building plans in east Jerusalem on hold

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 4, 2010

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been forced to intervene in Jerusalem's building plans to prevent another diplomatic row with America.

On Tuesday, Mr Netanyahu asked Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat to put on hold his plan to demolish 22 houses in the Silwan neighbourhood of east Jerusalem and build a tourism complex in their place.

Mr Barkat had announced his plan earlier that day at a press conference in City Hall. According to the plan, 22 buildings in Silwan which were built without planning permission will be demolished to make way for a series of parks, hotels and restaurants.


Analysis: Is this the end of Bibi’s coalition?

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 4, 2010

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has become embroiled in another criminal investigation, just when a decision on a possible indictment against him seems imminent.

If he is indicted, Mr Lieberman will have to resign his ministerial post and many coalition insiders believe that his party, Yisrael Beiteinu, will not stay for long in the Netanyahu government. Their departure would almost certainly cause a dramatic change in the coalition's make-up and could lead to the entry of the main opposition party, Kadima, into the government.


Israeli army clashes with shrine protesters

By Jessica Elgot, February 22, 2010

Israeli soldiers have clashed with stone-throwing protesters in Hebron angry that two shrines have been listed as Israeli heritage sites.

The IDF soldiers used tear gas to disperse the protesters who threw bottles and stones at the soldiers.

The protest was in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to include the Tomb of the Patriachs in Hebron and the site of Rachel’s Tomb in Bethelehem as part of an Israeli £69m restoration plan for heritage sites.


Analysis: Bibi survives his first year, but has done little

By Shmuel Rosner, February 11, 2010

In recent weeks, the Israeli media has been obsessively covering the whereabouts of PM Binyamin Netanyahu’s wife, Sara. News flash: she fired a house maid! News flash: she intervened on behalf of a candidate for ambassadorship. News flash: Sara is at it again! And again! And again!


Israeli expats may get voting rights

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 11, 2010

A new law proposed this week by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to allow Israeli citizens living out of the country to vote in the elections could cause a split in his own coalition.

Israeli law allows only official representatives of the government to vote outside the country. Various proposals in the past to allow expatriate voting for the estimated one million Israelis living abroad have never garnered enough support.


Bibi and the boy wonder

By Simon Rocker, February 11, 2010

It could all been so different for Bibi…

Benjamin Cohen, Channel 4’s technology correspondent and ex-JFS pupil, who recalled his 1990s’ fame as a “teenage dotcom millionaire” on BBC radio this week, revealed that he came out of his English class at school one day when he got a call from the Israeli Embassy in London.


Netanyahu calls for 'crippling' Iran sanctions

By Jessica Elgot, February 9, 2010

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has called for “crippling sanctions” against Iran in a meeting with European ambassadors in Israel.

His call to EU leaders comes as Tehran announced it would begin enriching uranium to 20 per cent, rather than the 3.5 per cent it is currently producing.

The technology used to enrich uranium to this level is very similar to that needed to make a nuclear bomb, about 80 to 90 per cent.

Mr Netanyahu said: "Iran is racing forward to produce nuclear weapons, in brazen defiance of international law.


Livni defends decision not to join Netanyahu coalition

By Stephen Pollard, February 4, 2010

Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni has defended her decision not to join the coalition led by Binyamin Netanyahu.

“I could not join a government that is endangering Israeli security by failing to negotiate with the Palestinians.”

She said that the blame for the lack of talks lay with Mr Netanyahu.

“It is a matter of trust. Words are not enough. Palestinians do not see actions.”

The need for talks was urgent, she said, but Mr Netanyahu was not taking sufficient measures to build trust with the Palestinian Authority.


Berlusconi: My dream for Israel to join EU

By Jessica Elgot, February 1, 2010

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has declared that Israel should become a member of the European Union.

In a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mr Berlusconi said: “My greatest desire, as long as I am a protagonist in politics, is to bring Israel into membership of the European Union."

He added: “We would like a committed friendship to grow from this meeting, to work together toward the future.

"I hope we can all look towards a future of profit and prosperity, particularly peace for you, whose fragile existence is threatened."


Netanyahu sues media over wife's staff abuse claims

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 28, 2010

Pressure piled up on PM Binyamin Netanyahu this week as it emerged that another household employee is suing his wife, Sarah. The Netanyahus responded with a libel suit and a complaint to the Israeli Press Council.

Two weeks ago, the former housekeeper of the couple’s weekend home in Caesarea filed a lawsuit which included potentially embarrassing claims about Mrs Netanyahu’s behaviour at home. This was soon followed by a slew of media reports focusing on her personal relationships with members of staff and her influence on the prime minister’s policy-making.