Israeli government

Israel fourth from bottom of peace index

By Jessica Elgot, July 31, 2009

Israel has been placed a dismal 141st out of 144 on a list of the world’s most peaceful countries, beating just Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.

Countries which ranked higher in the 2009 Global Peace Index included Sudan, Zimbabwe, Lebanon, North Korea, and Iran.

The index was compiled by the think-tank Vision of Humanity, with the data compiled and analysed by the Economic Intelligence Unit.

The survey is endorsed by ex-United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Anan, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former US President Jimmy Carter.

More..

The New Jersey scandal could hurt Israel's Shas party

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 30, 2009

The arrest of leaders of the Halebi community in New York and New Jersey sent shockwaves through the Sephardi Orthodox party, Shas, in Israel.

While numerically the Halebis are one of the smaller Sephardi groups, their financial clout is inordinate.
Rabbi Ovadia Yossef and other Shas leaders have regularly visited the Halebi communities in New York, Sao Paolo and Mexico City to give sermons and fundraise.

Rabbi Ovadia has been close to the community for over six decades. While he was born in Baghdad, his late wife, Margalit, was the daughter of a respected Halebi family.

More..

Analysis: An agreement on a settlement freeze is imminent

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 30, 2009

Visits by four high-ranking American officials to Israel this week seem to have pushed Binyamin Netanyahu’s government to the brink of an agreement on freezing settlement building.

Defence Secretary Robert Gates, National Security Adviser Jim Jones, special envoy George Mitchell and Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross all repeated the requisite statements on America’s commitment to Israel’s security and tried hard to infuse a friendly atmosphere into the talks. They even began to sound tough about imposing time limits on talks with Iran.

More..

Bibi and Ahmadinejad may clash at UN

By Jessica Elgot, July 16, 2009

Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu may speak at the UN's General Assembly session in September, which could see him go head-to-head with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The meeting of world leaders, including the US President Barack Obama, will open on September 23, and Mr Ahmadinejad plans to give a speech at the opening.

If he does attend, Mr Netanyahu will use the opportunity to meet Arab leaders such as Jordan's King Abdullah, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

More..

Barak in detailed talks with Americans in London

July 7, 2009

Israel discussed new measures on access and movement in the West Bank with the US administration this week.

Defence Minister Ehud Barak flew to London yesterday for talks with President Obama's special envoy for Middle East peace, George Mitchell. It was the second leg of detailed discussions which began in New York on June 30.

The talks covered all aspects of Middle East peace and security.

More..

Netanyahu backs Lieberman after Sarkozy criticism

By Jessica Elgot, June 30, 2009

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has given his foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman his full backing, after reports surfaced that French President Nicolas Sarkozy had told Netanyahu to "get rid of" him.

In a meeting with EU ambassadors in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said Lieberman was “fully committed to peace and security” and was an integral part of the government.

He said Lieberman "will play an important role in implementing the policy" presented in his diplomatic speech at Bar-Ilan University last month.

More..

Israel approves 50 new settler homes in West Bank

By Jessica Elgot, June 29, 2009

Israel plans to build 50 new West Bank homes in an existing settlement to absorb residents evicted from the illegal outpost of Migron, five kilometres north of Jerusalem.

The State Prosecutor's Office in Israel told the High Court on Friday that 190 housing units will be built in the settlement of Adam, approved by the Defence Ministry in May.

However, only 50 of the units can be erected without further approval from the ministry and the building approval does not include permission for any public buildings and roads.

More..

Lieberman welcome to visit, say Deputies

By Simon Rocker, May 14, 2009

Israel’s controversial Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman would be welcome at the Board of Deputies, the four contenders for its presidency agreed this week.

The electoral success of his nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party in February provoked disquiet among UK Jews, with several prominent rabbis condemning his attitude towards Arabs.

More..

Lieberman to be charged with fraud

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 7, 2009

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is to be charged with money laundering and fraud, according to Justice Ministry sources.

“We have enough proof to indict him on multiple charges of money laundering through a string of shell companies,” said a lawyer from the Justice Ministry, who is close to the investigation.

In the next few weeks, the police’s National Fraud Squad is expected to recommend an indictment against Mr Lieberman. Then Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz must decide whether to press charges, pending a hearing.

More..

Netanyahu pledges to face down Iran

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 2, 2009

Stabilising the Israeli economy, dealing with the Iranian threat and establishing a dialogue with the Obama administration will be the first priorities of Binyamin Netanyahu’s new government, which was sworn in on Tuesday night.

With 30 ministers and eight deputy ministers, Mr Netanyahu’s Cabinet is the largest government in Israel’s history, and is based on a coalition of six parties and 74 members of the Knesset.

More..