Comment: Peace talks? Don't get your hopes up

By Gerald M Steinberg, August 26, 2010

Six decades of failed peace efforts have left most Israelis (and Palestinians) deeply skeptical about the prospects for success.

The pattern is familiar - a new American president, faced with major difficulties at home and abroad, hopes that a Middle East peace breakthrough will help solve many of these problems. He squeezes the leaders of both sides, and as neither wants the label of "spoiler", they go along with the charade.

But the efforts fail, as core differences over history, religion (particularly in Jerusalem), borders and sovereignty remain insurmountable.


West Bank settlers plan to teach kids Arabic

By Nathan Jeffay, August 19, 2010

In the West Bank, both sides in the conflict are busy building barriers.

Construction is still under way on Israel's security barrier. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority is building trade barriers. But despite this, one settler leader claims to have come up with a plan to break down a barrier - the language barrier.

Oded Revivi, mayor of Efrat, south-west of Jerusalem, wants to make his schools home to Arabic master classes.


Jonathan Safran Foer boosts Jerusalem culture

August 19, 2010

Two of America's leading young Jewish novelists, husband and wife Jonathan Safran Foer and Nicole Krauss, have spearheaded a cultural initiative in Jerusalem: the revival of the Jerusalem Fellows at Mishkenot Sha'ananim.

Mishkenot, a cultural hub in the shadow of Yemin Moshe, the capital's famous windmill, used regularly to host artists, writers and musicians when the late Teddy Kollek was mayor of Jerusalem.


Initiatives like these are arguments against boycotts

By Martin Bright, August 19, 2010

The other week I spent the evening in a beautiful garden in east Jerusalem listening to sublime music that brought together the best of the traditions of western, Arabic and Jewish music, ancient and modern.

It was a unique event, bringing together two of the most prominent musicians in the region, one Jewish, one Palestinian. Also performing for a small audience of friends and invited outsiders was a group of rappers from the Shuafat refugee camp. Everyone agreed that it was an astonishing moment.


Jerusalem prepares for Pop Idol clashes

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 19, 2010

Major clashes are expected next month in Jerusalem around the broadcast of the A Star is Born finale from the Sultan's Pool in Jerusalem.

The final of Israel's equivalent to Pop Idol is scheduled for Saturday night and strictly Orthodox rabbis object to it for fear that the preparations for the broadcast will take place on Shabbat, and that the heavy traffic expected will block the road for those planning to get to the Western Wall for the first night of selichot (penitential prayers said before the High Holy Days).


Greek-Israel ties bolstered

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 19, 2010

The diplomatic relationship between Israel and Turkey continued to deteriorate this week in the wake of the Gaza flotilla raid, as the ambassador to Ankara was publicly snubbed. At the same time, Israel bolstered its ties with Turkey's rival neighbour, Greece, with a prime ministerial visit.

Israel's ambassador was not invited to a Ramadan "Iftar" supper hosted by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Iftar meal was attended by all the ambassadors in Ankara but Israeli representative, Gabi Levy, was pointedly left out.


Israel take down Jerusalem wall

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 19, 2010

Ten years after becoming a local landmark in Jerusalem, the concrete wall shielding the Gilo neighbourhood from Palestinian fire is being removed.

The decision to take down the wall, made from 800 concrete panels, spanning 600 metres of Anafa Street, was agreed upon by the IDF, Jerusalem City Hall and the police. The wall went up at the beginning of the second intifada in 2000, after the eastern part of Gilo came under daily fire from the Palestinian village of Beit Jallah.


Islamic movement tried to remove evidence of Jewish Jerusalem

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 12, 2010

An investigation into the failure of law enforcement agencies to prevent what is alleged to have been an attempt to wipe out Jewish history on Temple Mount 11 years ago looks set to cause widespread controversy.

The publication of the report into the removal, by night, of 6,000 cubic metres of mud from beneath the Al Aqsa Mosque by the Muslim Wakf authority that oversees the management of the mosque compound, has been suppressed for months by the government.


Israel honour Aborigine Nazi fighter

By Dan Goldberg, August 5, 2010

Yad Vashem will for the first time honour an indigenous Australian, who protested against the "cruel persecution" of the Jews by the Nazis.

Researchers at Israel's national Holocaust memorial have spent much of the last year verifying accounts of the protest led by the late William Cooper, the then 77-year-old head of the Australian Aborigines League, who delivered a petition to the German consulate in Melbourne on December 6, 1938 - just weeks after the Kristallnacht pogrom.


Israel ad ban appeal unsuccessful

By Robyn Rosen, August 5, 2010

An appeal against a ban on a holiday advert describing the Western Wall as part of Israel has been unsuccessful.

The Israel Government Tourist Office (IGTO) appealed after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld a complaint in April that the Kotel was actually in the Occupied Territories.