Jerusalem

Ian McEwan: Engage with Israel even if you disagree

By Jennifer Lipman, February 18, 2011

The British writer Ian McEwan has expressed his belief in the importance of engaging with Israeli politics rather than boycotting the country.

Speaking in Israel ahead of a ceremony at which he will receive this year’s Jerusalem Prize, Israel’s highest honour for foreign writers, Mr McEwan said: “You cannot isolate [literature] but I take it as a bad sign when politics permeates every corner of life”.

According to the Guardian, he added: “I don't feel I endorse every corner of Israel's domestic or foreign policy…but I feel it's right to engage with it."

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Beauty and blood of a holy city

By Robert Low, February 14, 2011

Jerusalem: The Biography
By Simon Sebag Montefiore
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £25.00

The Jewish Odyssey: An Illustrated History
Marek Halter
Flammarion, £27.50

On a visit to Jerusalem, Thackeray mused: "There's not a spot at which you may look but where some violent deed has been done, some massacre, some visitors murdered, some idol worshipped with bloody rites."

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Israeli grandmother gives birth to 18th baby

By Jennifer Lipman, February 11, 2011

A Jerusalem woman has given birth to her 18th child, a baby boy who is already an uncle twice over.

Rivkah, who has two grandchildren older than her new son, is part of the strictly Orthodox Chasidic community, where large families are not unusual.

But at only 44 years old, Rivkah – who cannot even count a set of twins or triplets among her brood – has gone a step further than many.

And her nine sons and nine daughters also have a large extended family; their mother has 15 siblings.

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The aliens reach Jerusalem

By Simon Rocker, February 10, 2011

Never mind if the Israelis and Palestinians cannot make peace because the matter is about to be taken out of their hands. A UFO (see bright light above) has been spotted over the Temple Mount - to the excitement of Michael Cohen of allnewsweb, the "world's only intergalactic daily news service". Veteran Scottish guru Benjamin Creme thinks the visitation sign of the impending arrival of the Messiah, or the Maitreya as he calls him (who he once believed to be living incognito in Brick Lane).

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My love affair with the city of peace and conflict

By Simon Sebag Montefiore, February 3, 2011

In the recent leaked papers about the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Jerusalem is central - always the universal city, the capital of David, Solomon, the Maccabees and Herod, the Holy one, Yerushalaim and al-Quds, the cradle of the three Abrahamic faiths, prize of empires, the setting for the Apocalypse, the heart of Judaism, centre of the world - and vital in 2011 more than ever.

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Ian McEwan wins 2011 Jerusalem Prize

By Jennifer Lipman, January 18, 2011

British writer Ian McEwan has been described as “one of the most important writers of our time” by the judging panel of this year’s Jerusalem Prize.

The author of the bestselling novels Atonement and On Chesil Beach was named as the recipient of the prize, Israel’s most significant literary honour for foreign writers.

Mr McEwan was chosen for the £6,200 prize because of “his love of people and concern for their right to self-realisation, and in recognition of his artistic achievements.”

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Tycoon property war erupts in Jerusalem

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 13, 2011

Jewish, Israeli and Palestinian millionaires are trying to go beyond politics and decide the future of east Jerusalem using their money and business acumen to wage real-estate battles against each other.

This week the demolition of the Shepherd's Hotel in Sheikh Jarrah, owned by the settlers' patron, American millionaire Irwin Moskowitz, made headlines around the world.

But another tug-of-war has been fought behind the scenes over a planned Jewish neighbourhood in east Jerusalem.

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Rabbi says Wall visits break law

By Nathan Jeffay, December 22, 2010

Jewish tourists who visit Israel often describe Shabbat prayers at the Western Wall as one of the most moving experiences of their trip. But according to the most influential rabbi in Israel, take part and you break religious law.

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On this day: Allenby captures Jerusalem

By Jennifer Lipman, December 9, 2010

Before the First World War, Jerusalem, as indeed the region, had been under the control of the Ottoman Empire for some four centuries. 1917 saw the fall of the Ottoman regime and, just weeks after the Balfour Declaration in Britain, saw Jerusalem be captured by the British army’s Commander-in-Chief, Field Marshall Sir Edmund Allenby.

British Prime Minister David Lloyd-George had already called on his army to secure Jerusalem by Christmas. Allenby improved on that wish.

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Palestinians remove Western Wall 'not Jewish' claim

By Jennifer Lipman, December 2, 2010

A claim that the Western Wall is not of Jewish significance has been taken off a Palestinian Authority report after its inclusion prompted condemnation from the US and Israel.

The controversial statement, which runs counter to archeological evidence, had been made by Palestinian Authority Deputy Information minister Al-Mutawakil Taha. He said "this wall has never been a part of what is called the Jewish Temple.”

But a Palestinian official said the claim did not reflect their position and so it had been removed from the government’s website.

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