Anshel Pfeffer

Wanted: new Mossad chief

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 11, 2015

Tamir Pardo, chief of Mossad, is scheduled to retire at the end of 2015 after five years in the post and 35 years in Israel's intelligence community.

The race to replace him is on and the identity of the new Mossad chief could be an indication of how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sees Israel confronting the Iranian nuclear programme, Mossad's primary target over the past decade.

Three ca

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It tried to court boycotters — but Orange got squashed

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 11, 2015

The CEO and chairman of Orange, Stephane Richard, knew he would be given a hard time at a press conference with Egyptian journalists in Cairo last week.

Orange - formerly known as France Telecom - is now the principal shareholder in Mobinil, the first and one of the largest mobile phone operators in Egypt, but the company has suffered from image problems in the Arab world.

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Netanyahu launches anti-BDS drive

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 11, 2015

The Israeli government has announced it is embarking on a crusade against the boycott movement, which may also have implications for Israeli diplomacy in Britain.

Ambassador Daniel Taub is being mentioned as a candidate to lead the government's anti-BDS efforts.

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Saudi-Israeli relations reach new high point

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 11, 2015

The normally secretive ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia are coming out of the closet as both countries gear up to confront joint regional challenges and lobby against the impending P5+1 nuclear deal between the international community and Iran.

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Israel holds off as Hamas reins in Isis

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 10, 2015

Israel is officially holding Hamas responsible for the recent rocket attacks from Gaza.

However, behind the scenes, there is a silent understanding that Hamas will be allowed time to deal with the groups that fired the rockets, and that both sides will try to prevent a new escalation.

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Controversial Israeli laws blocked

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 10, 2015

Plans to push through legislation that would limit the powers of the Israeli Supreme Court are on hold for now because there is no majority in the Knesset for the new laws.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to pass an "override clause" that would allow the new legislation to pass even if the Court rules they are unconstitutional.

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Hamas cracks down on Islamic State in tacit understanding with Israel

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 10, 2015

Israel is officially holding Hamas responsible for the recent rocket attacks from Gaza.

However, behind the scenes, there is a silent understanding that Hamas will be allowed time to deal with the groups that fired the rockets, and that both sides will try to prevent a new escalation.

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What the Turkish election means for the Middle East

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 9, 2015

The schadenfreude in the West and in Israel over the electoral blow suffered by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday is understandable.

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Republicans do 'Adelson audition'

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 4, 2015

Israel has become a must-stop on the campaign trail in the Republican Party's primaries for the presidential nomination in 2016.

Eager to burnish their foreign policy credentials and to appeal to the influential Jewish GOP donors, they pray at the Kotel and go on helicopter rides to see Israel's slender borders. Unofficially, it is being called "the Adelson audition".

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Israel's European allies key to blocking Palestinians at Fifa

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 4, 2015

Israel's European allies played a pivotal role in removing a motion to have Israel expelled from international football at the Fifa Congress in Zurich last Friday.

The head of the Palestinian Football Association, Jibril Rajoub, said in interviews after the congress that he had agreed to drop the motion following pressure from Arab states.

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PM Modi's visit will be a giant boost for Israel

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 4, 2015

On the day after Israel's election two and a half months ago, the diplomatic community was buzzing over President Barack Obama's reluctance to congratulate Benjamin Netanyahu on his victory. Instead, the White House was focusing on his controversial statements during the campaign.

Another world leader had no qualms.

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Netanyahu struggling to shape workable coalition

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 4, 2015

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has lost his first minister only 17 days after swearing in his fourth government.

Veteran Likudnik Benny Begin was forced to resign from the cabinet after Mr Netanyahu brought in Gilad Erdan as Internal Security and Strategic Affairs Minister last week, exceeding Likud's quota of ministers by one.

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Egypt could strike Gaza, say Israelis

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 4, 2015

Egypt's crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood could lead it to carry out its own strikes against Gaza, Israeli army officers have said.

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Blair not a total Mid East failure

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 28, 2015

Tony Blair's announcement on Wednesday that after eight years he was stepping down as special envoy of the international Quartet to the Israel-Palestine diplomatic process was rather underwhelming.

His role - never well-defined - can hardly be described as a success story.

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Bibi does first reshuffle

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 28, 2015

Ten days after swearing in his fourth government, Benjamin Netanyahu was already carrying out his first reshuffle on Monday.

The Likud's most popular young politician, Gilad Erdan, who had pinned his hopes on becoming foreign minister and was unsatisfied with the portfolio he was offered, had realised how difficult life was going to be as a backbencher in a coalition with a majority of one, and

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Hizbollah pummelled in Syria

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 28, 2015

Hizbollah is on the back foot and, in an attempt to cover up its failure to prop up the failing Assad regime in Syria, it has embarked on a PR offensive to boost its political fortunes back home in Lebanon.

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US strategic ties with Israel get $1.9bn boost

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 28, 2015

Over the past few days, the Obama administration has taken a number of steps to assure Israel that the strategic alliance between the two countries remains intact.

At the Nuclear Nonproliferation Review Conference last week, the US, Britain and Canada blocked a resolution that would have put pressure on Israel to disclose details about its nuclear weapons programme.

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Genocide recognition not a job for politicians

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 21, 2015

Yuli Edelstein is Benjamin Netanyahu's hand-picked choice as speaker of the Knesset. For the past two years, he has run the Israeli parliament in accordance with the prime minister's often conflicting wishes, not sprung any surprises and, where needed, bent procedure to accommodate his agenda.

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Concern over Bibi media laws

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 21, 2015

Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to retain the communications portfolio for himself in his new government is causing concern in the Israeli media.

The prime minister also prompted anxiety when it emerged that the coalition agreements contained a clause regarding media legislation.

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Israeli government exposed as diplomatic pressure rises

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 21, 2015

The new Netanyahu government does not yet have a foreign minister but it is already facing a series of profound diplomatic challenges.

Last week, the P5+1 talks between Iran and the world powers continued under a low profile - a reminder that the one issue that has done more than any other to cloud the relationship between Jerusalem and Washington is still there.

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