Knesset

Settler rabbi arrested for 'incitement'

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 30, 2011

The arrest this week of the Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Arba, Dov Lior, on suspicion of incitement has provoked outrage from the religious right and a rare statement by the Attorney General that "no one is above the law".

Rabbi Lior, one of the spiritual leaders of the settlers, had already been questioned by police five months ago.

More..

'Nakba Law prevents free expression'

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 24, 2011

On Tuesday the Knesset passed two laws: one to protect Israel's Zionist history, and another allowing small towns to prevent certain families from becoming residents.

Both laws have been attacked by left-wing parties and human rights groups as being targeted at Israel's Arab minority.

More..

Arab MKs blast 'apartheid' Jewish state

By Marcus Dysch, July 29, 2010

Israeli Arab Knesset members have launched a blistering attack on the Jewish state and its Parliament, declaring Israel "racist, fascist and worse than apartheid South Africa".

Speaking to supporters of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign at the House of Commons on Wednesday, MK Haneen Zoubi said: "Israel is much worse than the apartheid regime in South Africa. There were no ethnic cleansing policies there, but there are those policies in Israel."

Demand for entrance to the event was so great that supporters filled two committee rooms.

More..

Ban Jewish burka, say Israeli rabbis

By Nathan Jeffay, July 29, 2010

Israeli rabbis are set to ban the burka for a small group of radical Jewish women who have taken to wearing it.

Two years ago, it emerged that around 100 women in the city of Beit Shemesh had begun to cover their faces with a veil and wear numerous layers of clothing to obscure their body shape. When many rabbis criticised the trend, the women took no notice because they considered the rabbis too moderate.

More..

Loyalty oath bill ‘provokes Arab citizens’

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 22, 2010

The Israeli cabinet is split over a demand to make all new citizens pledge allegiance to the "Jewish and democratic" character of the state of Israel.

There is no formal pledge of allegiance today in Israeli law. Native-born Israelis do not have to make any kind of commitment as a condition for citizenship and neither do immigrants of Jewish descent who become Israeli by the Law of Return.

More..

Israel's conversion bill vote delayed

July 22, 2010

There will be no Knesset vote on the controversial new conversion bill before the winter session, which begins in October.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu hopes that in the interval, the bill can be redrafted in order to make it more palatable to the Reform and Conservative movements.

Mr Netanyahu made his rejection of the bill clear at the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, where he said that "this law could create a schism within the Jewish people".

More..

Analysis: Lieberman wants Netanyahu's job

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 22, 2010

Binyamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman have a lot in common.

Both are shrewd and cynical political operators who, despite all they have done, are still treated by the old Israeli elite as outsiders. Both are regarded by the international media as dangerous hardliners. Neither let any of that stand in their way in their struggle to reach the top. And both made millions in the short breaks they took from their meteoric political careers.

More..

Tension between Netanyahu and Lieberman

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 22, 2010

A late-night meeting between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has ended what is being seen as the coalition government's most serious crisis to date. However, the tension between the two is far from over.

Following a weekend of angry statements from Mr Lieberman and his party colleagues regarding the failure of the prime minister to honour his coalition commitments, the pair met on Monday for two hours and emerged promising to continue their partnership and improve co-operation.

More..

Knesset yes to civil marriage

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 18, 2010

The Knesset has authorised civil marriage in Israel for the first time.

The law will allow for only a very limited form of civil marriage, specifically for people whose religious identity is not determined.

The new law, introduced by MK David Rotem of Yisrael Beiteinu, will allow Israeli citizens whose religious status is unclear - usually due to the fact that the Rabbinate does not recognise them as Jews - to marry through a new civil registrar's office.

More..