Anshel Pfeffer

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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Bus segregation move dissolves into farce

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 21, 2015

A directive to separate Israelis and Palestinians travelling on buses to the West Bank was implemented on Tuesday and then suspended the next morning following a public outcry.

The directive, ordered by Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon, was the result of pressure from settler groups to prevent Palestinian day-workers returning home on buses used by Israelis.

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Another Lebanon war is inevitable - and Israel is preparing

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 19, 2015

On the face of it, a third major war between Israel and Hizbollah seems implausible right now.

Israel is not eager for another summer like the last one. For 50 days, people across the country were sent scurrying to bomb shelters as Hamas launched missiles from Gaza.

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Dig starts for Tel Aviv Tube

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 14, 2015

The preliminary engineering works on Tel Aviv's new underground rail system began on Sunday.

The first stage of the Red Line is to have seven stations in southern and central Tel Aviv and neighbouring Ramat Gan, and is scheduled to start operating in 2021.

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Israeli coalition collapse averted

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 14, 2015

Seven weeks since the elections, on Wednesday afternoon, the Knesset removed the final obstacle to Benjamin Netanyahu's fourth government when it narrowly passed an amendment that allowed him to appoint more than 18 ministers to his new cabinet.

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Israel’s best friend?

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 14, 2015

Officials in Jerusalem have spoken of their joy and relief at the re-election of David Cameron.

“Cameron has been a fantastic supporter of Israel and the ties between the two governments, which were already close under Blair and Brown, have only improved under him,” said one.

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New Israeli coalition heading for diplomatic storm

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 11, 2015

Even before the new government in Israel has been sworn in, it is already on a collision course with the international community and its own judiciary on a range of issues.

The first obstacle that could derail the coalition is the question of settlement-building.

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Major battle over top Israeli court looms

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 7, 2015

The new Knesset will be a battle-ground over the future and independence of Israel's Supreme Court.

The appointment of Habayit Hayehudi MK Ayelet Shaked - an outspoken critic of the court's powers to scrutinise and disqualify legislation - as the new justice minister will add extra impetus to the campaign to limit its powers.

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A coalition is born

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 7, 2015

With less than two hours to go before the final deadline for forming a government, Likud and Habayit Hayehudi negotiating teams finalised an agreement which allowed Benjamin Netanyahu to inform President Reuven Rivlin that he had succeeded in fulfilling his mandate.

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Israel hit by race riots

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 7, 2015

Two angry protests against police violence have brought the challenges facing Israel's Ethiopians to the fore.

Sixty-eight people were injured and 43 arrests were made at the second demonstration, which took place in Tel Aviv on Sunday evening. Thousands of Israeli-Ethiopians and members of other communities took part.

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At last minute, Netanyahu finalises shaky coalition

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 6, 2015

With less than two hours to go before the final deadline for forming a government, Likud and Habayit Hayehudi negotiating teams finalised an agreement which allowed Benjamin Netanyahu to inform President Reuven Rivlin that he had succeeded in fulfilling his mandate.

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Israel braced for wave of UN pressure over peace talks

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 1, 2015

Israel is concerned that it will soon face a wave of diplomatic pressure to agree to a timetable for establishing a Palestinian state.

The main worry is that the United States will give quiet backing to a French proposal that was presented to the United Nations Security Council three months ago and created with the help of the Palestinian Authority.

Another, similar proposal has been drafted

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UN accuses Israel over Gaza

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 1, 2015

A report issued by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon accusing the IDF of attacking seven UNRWA schools in the Gaza Strip during the conflict last summer has prompted a muted response from Israel.

According to the report, 44 Palestinians were killed and 227 injured in the attacks.

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Netanyahu closes on right-wing coalition

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 1, 2015

Six weeks after winning the election and only a few days before the final deadline to present his cabinet to the president, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed coalition agreements with two parties, with three other parties close to doing a deal.

For now, Labour will remain in opposition and the new Likud government will be backed by 67 Knesset members.

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Israel playing nuanced game in Syria

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 30, 2015

for the past four years, report after report has emerged attributing air strikes on Syrian military targets to Israel. The Israeli government has not acknowledged a single one - not even when the remnants of bombs with labels in Hebrew were found on the scene. However, Israeli officials have developed a way of taking indirect responsibility that - theoretically - serves the country's interests.

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