UNESCO row: 'Tomb of Rachel is a mosque'

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 4, 2010

UNESCO, the world culture and heritage organisation, has classified the ancient Tomb of Rachel, south of Jerusalem, as a mosque as well as a holy Jewish site.

The small building on the outskirts of Bethlehem has been identified for many centuries as the tomb of the Matriarch Rachel who, according to the Torah, died there while giving birth to Benjamin.


King Herod archaeologist dies after tragic fall

By Jennifer Lipman, October 29, 2010

The Israeli archeologist who excavated King Herod’s winter palace has been killed in an on-site accident.

Professor Ehud Netzer died in hospital after a wooden safety railing broke and he fell several yards.

Professor Netzer, who was 76, spent more than three decades searching a part of Mount Herodium in Jerusalem in the hope of finding the tomb of the Roman-appointed King of Judea.

The Hebrew University archeologist finally discovered the tomb in 2007, to international acclaim.


Rabin assassination anniversary to be downgraded

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 21, 2010

The memorial events for the 15th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination began this week under growing controversy over his legacy.

A series of events marked the anniversary of the former prime minister's killing beginning with a ceremony at the President's residence in Jerusalem including a memorial service at his grave on Mount Herzl and a special Knesset session.


Jewish man murdered in Uman during festival

September 28, 2010

A 19-year-old Breslov Chasid was buried in Jerusalem on Sunday after he was stabbed to death in the Ukrainian city of Uman. Two men, also suspected of attacking the man's brother, have been arrested by Ukrainian police.

Shmuel Toubul, who was due to be married, and his elder brother Rafael, were involved in a fight late on Saturday night with local residents.


Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne tour Jerusalem

By Jennifer Lipman, September 28, 2010

The Western Wall and other tourist spots in Jerusalem have made a “great impression” on heavy metal musician Ozzy Osbourne.

The singer, in Israel for the Tel Aviv leg of his OzzFest tour, spent a day touring around the Old City of Jerusalem.

Accompanied by his Jewish wife Sharon, he also visited Holocaust museum Yad Vashem. Mr Osbourne said: “We were very pleased to have the opportunity to come to Israel and visit the holy sites.”


Billy Crystal donates to Hebrew University

By Jennifer Lipman, September 22, 2010

When Harry Met Sally star Billy Crystal has been described as “a real mensch” after he made a large donation to Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.

The American Jewish actor, 62, has given a “substantial” amount to the institution’s Peace through the Performing Arts programme, which has run projects uniting Israeli and Palestinian students for more than a decade.


US reserve Israel burial spots

By Simon Rocker, September 16, 2010

The United Synagogue has received the first reservations for its newly acquired burial plots in Israel.

US burial head Melvyn Hartog told the organisation's council on Monday that a £1,000 deposit had been made for two plots in the Eretz Hachayim cemetery near Bet Shemesh.The US has bought an initial 50 spaces in the cemetery, which is situated between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Additionally, arrangements can be made for US members to be buried in 14 other Israeli cemeteries.


Israel fights to stop science brain drain

By Nathan Jeffay, September 16, 2010

Israel has begun to implement a £250 million plan to win its best and brightest scientists back from abroad and slow its "brain drain".

A decade after the state slashed funding for university research, new posts for young academics are few and far between. The result is that most are going abroad to find a "post doctoral" research position - and increasingly they are staying abroad.


Arab-Jew deception rape 'was violent'

September 7, 2010

Evidence revealed last week has cast new light on the case of Saber Kashur, the Arab man convicted of rape for telling a woman with whom he had sex that he was Jewish.

The sex was considered a rape only because Kashur masqueraded as a Jew.

The Jerusalem DA's office agreed however that, although the rape was violent, Kashur would be charged with the lesser crime of "rape by deception" in order to avoid the victim being cross-examined.


Charedi extremism divides Israeli city

By Nathan Jeffay, September 2, 2010

"Someone is going to be killed," predicted Orthodox rabbi Natan Slifkin on his blog this spring. He went on to outline what exactly he thought would happen. "A religious Jewish teenager is going to be beaten to death by a gang of religious Jewish men for the 'crime' of being in their neighbourhood and not conforming to their idea of Orthodoxy."

The scene of the crime, he wrote, would be a few hundred yards from his home in Beit Shemesh, a heavily "Anglo" city of 80,000 people, 10 miles west of Jerusalem. Specifically, the new part of town, Ramat Beit Shemesh (Beit Shemesh Heights).