Israeli government

Profile: Moshe Katzav

December 30, 2010

Moshe Katzav was the eighth president of Israel, holding office from 2000 until his resignation in July 2007.

Born in Yazd, in Iran, he was brought to Tehran by his family before their immigration to Israel in 1951, when he was five.

At first the family lived in an immigrant campsite, near the port city of Ashdod. Tragedy struck that winter when severe flooding in the camp claimed the life of Katzav's two-month-old brother, Zion.

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Ex-president Katzav guilty of rape

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 30, 2010

Israel was shocked this morning as former president, Moshe Katzav was found guilty of two counts of rape, one of an obscene act, one of sexual harassment and of attempting to subvert the course of justice.

The Tel-Aviv District Court, headed by Judge George Kara, upheld the claims of three un-named women who had worked in Mr Katzav's office when he served as president and previously as tourism minister. The court's verdict was total and devastating, rejecting the defence's claims and describing the former president's version as "riddled with lies."

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Israeli cabinet approves detention centre for illegal immigrants

By Nathan Jeffay, December 9, 2010

The Israeli government has announced it will build a detention centre for the growing number of people entering the country illegally.

Since 2005, there has been an influx of Africans, the vast majority of them Sudanese and Eritreans. More than 35,000 of them have reached Israel via Egypt.

At the end of November, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared: "This growing wave threatens Israelis' jobs, is changing the character of the country and we must stop it." He added that "there has been talk for years but now we are not talking".

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Israel's leaders must accept some blame for fire

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 9, 2010

Binyamin Netanyahu can arguably be said to have come out well from the first national emergency of his second premiership.

Indeed, his decision to call it
a "national emergency" - at one stage he even used the word "international" - contributed to the marshalling of resources necessary to put the fire out, four days and 42 deaths after it was ignited.

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Sacked MK vows to run new party

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 2, 2010

Rabbi Chaim Amsellem, the Knesset member banished last week by his party Shas for his "heretical" views, is now threatening to form a new party for "traditional" Sephardi voters.

Rabbi Amsellem, a second-term MK, has repeatedly angered conservative Charedi rabbis and politicians with his over-liberal positions on religious and social issues.

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Israel-Britain strategic talks back on

By Jennifer Lipman, November 4, 2010

Security and defence talks between the Israeli and British government will now take place in Israel amidst fears that Knesset members could be prosecuted under universal jurisdiction legislation if they visit Britain.

As the JC reported earlier this week, the Israeli Deputy Prime Minister, Dan Meridor, cancelled a speech at the Bicom dinner in London just hours before the event.

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On this day: Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated

By Jennifer Lipman, November 4, 2010

What was supposed be an event celebrating peace ended as one mourning a tragedy.

More 300,000 people had gathered that night in a square in Tel Aviv for a peace concert, hopeful that the Oslo accords signed by Mr Rabin and PLO chairman Yasir Arafat in 1993, would finally bring an end to the Middle East conflict.

It was not to be. Yigal Amir, an extremist Orthodox Jewish man, shot Mr Rabin as he was leaving the square. Amir is now serving a life sentence for the murder.

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Meridor cancels Bicom appearance over arrest fears

By Marcus Dysch, November 1, 2010

EXCLUSIVE: Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor has cancelled an appearance at a London fundraising dinner over fears he could be arrested under universal jurisdiction legislation.

It is believed the Israeli Justice Ministry warned Mr Meridor that a warrant for his arrest may be issued if he entered Britain.

He was due to speak at the Bicom dinner tonight. He was a replacement for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who cancelled last week due to the delicate state of the peace negotiations.

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Victory at Cambridge Israel is 'rogue state' debate

By Jennifer Lipman, October 29, 2010

An Israeli politician received a warm welcome at a recent Cambridge Union debate.

Ran Gidor, Israel’s minister for political affairs, was joined by former radical Islamist Shiraz Maher to oppose the motion “Israel is a rogue state” at the debate last Thursday.

Arguing for the other side was Lauren Booth, the pro-Palestinian activist and half-sister of Cherie Blair, who announced last weekend that she had converted to Islam.

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Religious party puts up Shabbat pay-wall

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 21, 2010

Interior Minister Eli Yishai has opened a new front in the battle between state and religion by ordering his ministry's website to close down its payment facilities on Shabbat.

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