World news

Angry Muslim ally sides with Hamas

By Sami Kohen, January 8, 2009

Israel’s relations with Turkey, its closest Muslim ally, are in crisis as a result of the Israeli offensive.

As thousands of Turks took to the streets of Istanbul and other cities to condemn Israel’s action, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed Israel for dealing what he called “a fatal blow” to Turkey’s mediation efforts between Israel and Syria and called Israel’s action a “crime against humanity”.

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Egypt holds key to ending the conflict

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 8, 2009

Egypt appears to hold the key to the solution of the Gaza crisis as the Israeli government waits for an improved ceasefire deal before ending Operation Cast Lead.

The IDF has indicated that it is prepared to escalate the ground offensive by reinforcing the units already operating in the Strip and entering Gaza City. However, the army high command and Defence Minister Ehud Barak are opposed to such a move as it may result in higher casualties.

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Fashion designer Lapidus dies

December 31, 2008

Designer Ted Lapidus, who democratised couture in he 1960s, died in Nice yesterday aged 79.

Lapidus, the son of a Russian Jewish immigrant, set up his couture house in Paris in 1951 and in 1963 became a member of La Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, the organisation which governs haute couture in France. During the 1960s, his then innovative concept of “unisex dressing” put men and women in culotte suits, braided and brass buttoned military jackets and sand-coloured safari suits, and made him one of the highest profile designers of the period.

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Thousands march across Arab world

December 31, 2008

Demonstrations swept the Arab world this week as tens of thousands of people marched to protest against Israel’s actions in Gaza.

A number of mass rallies were held in Beirut, including one where thousands turned out to hear a video address by Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who called for “a third intifada” in response to the air strikes.

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Yemeni Jews: relocation offer

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 30, 2008

The Jewish community in Rayda have refused an offer by the Yemeni President to relocate to the capital, Sana’a. Three weeks ago, a Jewish teacher was killed there by a former air force officer demanding his conversion to Islam.

About 270 Jews live in the Rayda area and they have been living in fear since the murder of Moshe Yaish Nahari by former pilot Abdul Aziz Yahya Hamoud Al-Abdi, who has already confessed to the murder. In his defence he said that he had given Nahari a choice between converting to Islam, fleeing the country or death.

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There’s Chanucah bingeing, then there’s 46-latke Pete

By Simon Round, December 23, 2008

The beginning of Chanucah on Sunday has prompted the start of the do-something-silly-with-latkes season, with eating contests, an attempt to fry the country’s largest potato pancake and even a bid to cook a latke in a solar powered oven.

In New Jersey, a 6ft 2in Canadian bodybuilder, “Furious” Pete Czerwinski, blitzed allcomers to win the National Potato Latke Eating Championships.

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Israel helps to boost Bethlehem tourism

By Ben Lynfield, December 23, 2008

A tourist revival in Bethlehem has seen the number of visitors double this year.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority cite improved security as the main factor in bringing 1.25 million tourists to Bethlehem, twice as many as in 2007.

But while Israel stresses that it has made it easier for tourists to cross from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, the PA insists difficulties still remain and that tourism figures could be higher if not for the difficulties still involved in travel.

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Fear over Russia air defence sale to Iran

By Yaakov Katz, December 23, 2008

Concern mounted in Israel this week over reports that Russia has finalised plans to sell an anti-aircraft missile system to Iran that would make any potential airstrike against their nuclear facilities far more difficult.

Israel is concerned that Russia will sell Iran the S-300, one of the most advanced multi-target anti-aircraft-systems in the world. It has a reported ability to track up to 100 targets simultaneously while engaging up to 12. It has a range of 200 kilometers and can hit targets at altitudes of 90,000 feet.

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Reform proposes merger

December 23, 2008

The leader of the US Reform movement, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, proposed that some of his movement’s synagogues could pool resources and merge with Conservative shuls to save costs in the face of the global economic crisis.

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Polish president at shul

December 23, 2008

Poland’s president Lech Kaczynski marked the start of Chanucah by visiting Warsaw’s main synagogue, the first time a head of state had attended a religious service at a synagogue in the Eastern European country.

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