Israeli government

Now the race to succeed Olmert

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 1, 2008

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz are neck-to-neck in the race to succeed Ehud Olmert as leader of Kadima and Prime Minister of Israel after his dramatic announcement that he would not be running in the Kadima primaries next month.

In a televised address on Wednesday night, Mr Olmert attacked his detractors and insisted once again that he was innocent of the corruption claims being investigated by the police.

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Chief Rabbi lobbied MKs over divorce bill

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 1, 2008

Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar intervened in the political process this week when he tried to scupper a law that would have ensured women get equal parts of a couple's assets in divorce proceedings.

Rabbi Amar personally called up religious Knesset members to try and persuade them not to vote in favour of the new law.

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Terrorism bill passed by Knesset

July 18, 2008

A bill that would allow the Interior Minister to revoke the citizenship of anyone convicted of offences relating to terrorism has been approved by a Knesset committee.A further bill ending state payments for the burials of terrorists was also approved by a separate committee.

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PM prepares for a Knesset address

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 11, 2008

An address to the Knesset on July 21 is likely to be part of a two-day visit to Israel by Gordon Brown, the JC understands.

Mr Brown’s visit was planned months ago to coincide with Israel’s 60th-anniversary celebrations. But it was delayed because of the crowded list of world leaders visiting Jerusalem of late.

US President George Bush and Nicolas Sarkozy have been there in recent weeks. After Mr Brown, it will be the turn of Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi.

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Mind your language, Eli

By Simon Round, July 11, 2008

There are signs that the Israeli government might not be treating the process of welcoming and integrating immigrants with a great deal of importance.

Why? Well, the newly appointed absorption minister, Eli Affalo, does not speak a word of English. That may prove significant when one’s job entails a large number of conversations with English-speakers.

A source close to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert defended the decision, saying: “Speaking English is not part of the criteria.”

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Kadima leadership battle starts early

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 4, 2008

The two front-runners in the Kadima leadership primaries, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz, began trading barbs this week, even before an official date for the primaries had been decided.

The primaries are expected in September, after Kadima committed to them in return for Labour agreeing not to vote for early elections.

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Israel will swap land for peace, Livni tells Berlin

By Shelly Paz, June 27, 2008

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told a Berlin conference this week that Israel was willing to accept territorial compromise in return for peace.

But Israel would not accept another “extremist Islamic state which is unable to fulfil its commitments and control its own territory”, said Ms Livni. She was one of 20 foreign ministers — including US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice — at the Conference in Support of Palestinian Civil Security and the Rule of Law hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

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Outrage in Knesset as Olmert avoids early poll

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 27, 2008

A last-minute deal between Kadima and Labour in the early hours of Wednesday staved off — for now — the threat of early elections in Israel, but may have hastened the political demise of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who committed his party to leadership primaries in three months.

The Knesset was to vote on a motion by Likud MK Silvan Shalom for bringing the elections forward two years to this November. Kadima’s two main coalition partners, Labour and Shas, announced at the beginning of the week that they were planning to support the motion.

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Three held as ambassador faces a riotous Assembly

By Ian Cameron, June 27, 2008

Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor was given a rough reception both inside and outside the Welsh Assembly on Tuesday on his visit to Cardiff.

Pro-Palestinian protesters clashed with police who made three arrests as Mr Prosor arrived at the building on the Cardiff Bay waterfront.

Two women and a man were held for questioning on public-order offences and later bailed.

Four Assembly Members joined the 30 flag-waving protesters while inside Mr Prosor faced a “very aggressive” grilling from other AMs.

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Ex-president tells UK event of 'shame' at Israel sleaze

By Leon Symons, June 20, 2008

A former Israeli president has said he is ashamed of the corruption scandal engulfing his country’s politics.

Yitzhak Navon, who held office from 1978 to 1983, said: “I feel ashamed at what is happening, but my consolation is that there is no cover-up. Whatever rank or position someone holds, they are interrogated if under suspicion. If they are guilty, they will be punished and this shows democracy works.”

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