Record year for visitors to Auschwitz museum

By Jennifer Lipman, January 13, 2011

Auschwitz has experienced the highest number of visitors since the former concentration camp was opened up to the public more than 60 years ago.

Some 1.38 million people toured the museum in 2010, eclipsing the previous year’s attendance of 1.3 million.

Outside of Polish groups, the majority of visitors were British, followed by high numbers from Italy and France. Around 850,000 were students.


Stab victim 'could not wait to make aliyah'

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 22, 2010

Mystery still surrounds the circumstances of the stabbing in the Jerusalem Hills on Saturday in which an American tourist was murdered and a British immigrant to Israel wounded.

Kristine Luken, a Christian Messianic pilgrim from the United States, was walking with her friend Susan Wilson, a tour guide who made aliyah from Britain, near the Hirbet Hanut archaeological site south-west of Jerusalem on Saturday afternoon, when they were accosted by "two young Arab men".


Denzel Washington flashes cash on Israel visit

By Jennifer Lipman, December 22, 2010

Hollywood actor Denzel Washington and his wife Pauletta spent more than £9,000 on jewellery in Jerusalem last week after flying to Israel on a private plane.

The Training Day star, in Israel to visit a friend from his drama school days, spent the money at the Padani jewellery store in the upmarket Mamilla Mall.

He also bought two red-gold wedding rings with the couple’s initials engraved on the inside.


Stabbed Israeli tour guide tells of her ordeal

By Jennifer Lipman, December 20, 2010

The British-born Israeli woman stabbed in what Israeli police have suggested was a terrorist attack has said she survived the ordeal by pretending to be unconscious.

Kaye Susan Wilson, who moved to Israel in 1991, said that she and an American friend, who died from her wounds, were attacked by two Arab men with a knife while hiking in a forest near Jerusalem.


Dead Sea could be new seventh wonder of world

By Jennifer Lipman, December 13, 2010

The Dead Sea is up against the Iguacu waterfalls in South America, the Maldives and the Grand Canyon in a competition to be named one of the new wonders of the world.

The famous waters are one of the finalists in the New7Wonders of the World contest, along with Mount Vesuvius in Italy and the Great Barrier Reef.

The Dead Sea is one of only three sites in the Middle East to have made the shortlist; the others are Bu Tinah island in Abu Dhabi and the Jeita Grotto in Lebanon.


On this day: Barbados gains independence

By Jennifer Lipman, November 30, 2010

Settled by the British in 1625, Barbados remained a colony for more than three centuries.

A prized holiday destination for both Jewish and non-Jewish tourists, the Caribbean island also has a Jewish past.

Sephardic Jews first came to Barbados in the 1650s, refugees from Brazil escaping the Inquisition. Most began working in Bridgetown as merchants, trading sugercane and coffee. The challenges for the community were different to those for European Jews; one Succot, the succah and the synagogue were destroyed by a hurricane.


Tel Aviv BA flight makes emergency landing due to fire warning

By Katie Taylor, November 18, 2010

A British Airways flight from Heathrow to Tel Aviv had to make an emergency landing this morning, after a suspected fire on board.

The BA flight 165 was diverted and landed in Brussels, after a flashing warning light in the cockpit.

The pilot diverted the flight as a precaution and all 166 passengers on board were evacuated in a normal disembarkation.

A passenger on board the Boeing 777, said: “The pilot was brilliant and very calm as indeed were the staff. I was told it was due to a suspected fire.


Leonardo DiCaprio, Bar Refaeli on Israel holiday

By Jennifer Lipman, November 15, 2010

Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio has joined his Israeli girlfriend Bar Refaeli on a birthday visit to Tel Aviv.

The Inception actor, who has been involved with the supermodel since 2005, is staying at the Dan Hotel in the presidential suite to celebrate his 36th birthday.

The couple, who are on holiday with Mr DiCaprio’s mother Irmelin and Entourage actor Kevin Connelly, will be in Israel for the rest of the week.

They spent the previous week in Egypt with Naomi Campbell before flying in to Israel on a private jet.


Chilean miner wants mistress to join him in Israel

By Jennifer Lipman, November 9, 2010

The Chilean miners who were rescued from deep underneath the Atacama Desert in October have accepted the Israeli government’s offer to spend an “uplifting and extraordinary” Christmas in Israel.

After the 33 men were saved, the Israeli tourism minister, Stas Misezhnikov, invited them on an all expenses paid trip to see the Christian holy sites.

Rather rashly, he extended the invitation to the miners’ partners. “Los 33” have now happily accepted the offer, but have also asked that nearly 70 members of their extended families can come too.


'Sin City' Tel Aviv top Lonely Planet pick

By Jennifer Lipman, November 1, 2010

Tel Aviv has been named the third best city in the world by travel guide company Lonely Planet.

The coastal destination was beaten only by New York and Tangier to the top spot of Lonely Planet’s annual list of top cities.

Describing it as “the total flipside of Jerusalem”, the judges called it “a modern Sin City on the sea rather than an ancient Holy City on a hill”.

They said: “Scratch underneath the surface and Tel Aviv…reveals itself as a truly diverse 21st century Mediterranean hub.”