In New York, 20,000 Orthodox protest against draft

By Zoe Winograd, June 10, 2013

Thousands of Charedim gathered in New York yesterday to protest against the Israeli government’s moves to force the Orthodox to join the army.

The New York City police reported that 20,000 Charedim filled Foley Square in lower Manhattan holding banners which read “freedom of religion” and “Orthodox Jews will proudly go to jail rather than join the Zionist army.”


Boom time for the Negev as vast military complex rises from sand

By Nathan Jeffay, June 6, 2013

By the end of this year, Israeli soldiers will start to move into the country's first megabase - starting a process that will change civilian as well as military life.

At a 500-acre plot, tractors and cement mixers are working at full speed to build living quarters, training facilities, sports areas and synagogues.


Israel releases conscientious objector

By Zoe Winograd, June 4, 2013

An Israeli conscientious objector has been released after five and a half months in jail.

Natan Blanc, 20, refused to serve in the Israel Defence Forces because of his opposition to the occupation and spent 178 days in prison.

Members of his family and Yesh Gvul – an organisation which supports conscientious objectors – greeted Mr Blanc when he was released earlier today.


Touching bottom? IDF girls pose in underwear

By Elliot Miller, June 3, 2013

Female Israeli soldiers based in southern Israel have been disciplined after pictures emerged of them posing in their underwear.

In one of the pictures, two newly recruited women expose their bottoms to the camera.


Coalition near-crisis over conscription

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 30, 2013

Israel’s governing coalition this week avoided its first major crisis since it was formed barely two months ago, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed his defence minister to remove his opposition to a new national service law.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid had threatened to withdraw his party, Yesh Atid, from government if the law was not approved.


Israeli cabinet approves punishments for Orthodox draft-dodgers

By Zoe Winograd, May 29, 2013

An Israeli ministerial committee has approved a new law which includes criminal sanctions against Orthodox men who dodge the draft.

The legislation was approved on Wednesday following two days of fiery exchanges between members of Knesset.


Israeli coalition crisis over Orthodox draft

By Zoe Winograd, May 28, 2013

Serious tensions have surfaced within the Israeli government over legislation on military enlistment for the Orthodox.

At a Peri Committee meeting held on Sunday and Monday, Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Peri and Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon argued over a proposal to imprison Orthodox men who avoid conscription.


Israeli military chief warns Syria of 'consequences' over attacks

By Zoe Winograd, May 22, 2013

Israeli military’s chief of staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz has warned Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad that he will “bear the consequences” if Syria continues to attack Israel.

Lt Gen Gantz told an audience at Haifa University on Tuesday: “We will not allow the area of the Golan Heights to become a comfortable place for Mr Assad.”


Israel and Syria exchange fire in the Golan Heights

By Marcus Dysch, May 21, 2013

Israeli and Syrian forces have exchanged fire in the Golan Heights in the latest in a series of incidents on the border.

The Syrian army claimed it had destroyed an IDF jeep that it said had infiltrated into Syrian territory in the early hours of Tuesday morning.


There will be no escalation with Syria, says Israel

By Zoe Winograd, May 7, 2013

Israel has downplayed the possibility of escalation following its air strikes on Syrian targets over the weekend.

Yair Golan, head of the IDF northern command, told Israeli reporters: "It is always right to prepare and train, but there are no winds of war.”