Anshel Pfeffer

Chasidic dynasties make peace

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 8, 2012

Two of the largest Chasidic dynasties have buried the hatchet after an estrangement lasting 32 years.

The two leaders of the Belz and Satmar courts finally met three weeks ago at the home of the Belzer Rov Yissachar Ber Rokeach near Jerusalem, during the Satmar Rebbe Aaron Teitelbaum's visit to Israel.

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Lieberman offers aid to victims of Syria horror

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 8, 2012

Although Israel has remained resolutely on the sidelines over Syria throughout the past year, last Friday Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel would send humanitarian aid to President Bashar Assad's victims if asked.

A rare contact occurred last week online when a Syrian citizen, Abd el-Hadr, wrote on the Facebook wall of IDF Spokesman Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai: "We want t

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Watertight pledges - but oceans apart

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 8, 2012

While both President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made major efforts to emphasise the cordiality of their three-hour meeting in the White House on Monday, the differences between the two administrations over Iran were evident this week.

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Obama has not changed his position on Iran

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 8, 2012

The moment that, in his Aipac speech on Sunday, President Obama began reeling off all the instances over the past three years when his administration had stood firmly by Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's advisers went into crisis mode.

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Deep in Bibi's inner circle, fear and mistrust rule

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 1, 2012

Benjamin Netanyahu's administration will not be three years old until the end of this month, but he is already onto his fifth press secretary.

That's less than nine months' service for each of them - hardly job security. The last press secretary, Dr Yoaz Hendel, lasted only six months before being forced out in less than auspicious circumstances, replaced by his deputy, Liran Dan.

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Baku-Jerusalem in £1bn deal

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 1, 2012

Azerbaijan has signed an agreement to purchase weapons systems worth £1 billion from Israel.

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Israel and US set for crisis talks on Iran

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 1, 2012

All three of Israel's most senior leaders are visiting the United States in attempt to reach an understanding with the Obama administration over a possible strike on Iran's nuclear programme.

Defence Minister Ehud Barak conferred this week with the heads of the Pentagon while President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will both meet President Barack Obama.

The flurry of dip

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Migron deal falls through as settlers refuse to sign

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 1, 2012

The agreement between the government and the settlers of the Migron outpost has fallen through at the last moment.

Representatives of the 50 families living at the settlement north of Jerusalem refused to sign an agreement after being instructed by rabbis to insist on a clause that would rule out any demolition of the outpost's buildings and ensure a "Jewish presence" on the site.

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Israel's talks position 'same as Annapolis'

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 23, 2012

Israeli officials this week presented their version of what happened during the peace talks in Amman four weeks ago.

In the midst of the blame game that has followed the breakdown of the negotiations, Israeli diplomats said that the Palestinian team unilaterally decided to limit the time devoted to the talks.

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Israel waits for world to wake up as Iran blocks inspectors

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 23, 2012

The refusal of the Iranian government to grant the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors access to some of the country's nuclear plants will bolster the arguments of the Israeli faction, headed by Defence Minister Ehud Barak, that argue that diplomacy and sanctions will not deter the Tehran regime from achieving its nuclear ambitions.

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Iranian cell planning attack on Israelis arrested in Azerbaijan

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 23, 2012

As more evidence accumulated this week of Iranian attempts to attack Israeli targets from Thailand to Azerbaijan, the Indian government has tried to play down the Iranian involvement in the bombing last week that wounded the wife of an Israeli diplomat.

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End of Charedi exemption?

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 23, 2012

In a rare intrusion into the legislative process, Israel's High Court of Justice ruled 6-3 on Tuesday that the "Tal Law", which allows for the exemption of yeshivah students from military service, is unconstitutional.

The need to draft a new law has thrown Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition into turmoil.

The law was passed ten years ago following a court ruling that the historical

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Budget cuts put IDF 'in crisis mode'

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 16, 2012

Israel's generals have warned the government that if the IDF does not receive an urgent supplement to its budget, it will be forced to ground part of the air force, cancel regular exercises and freeze most of its procurement plans.

In a blatant media campaign, the IDF's top brass leaked this week that, due to defence projects forced upon it by the government, the army has a NIS 3.6 billion (£6

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Muslim Brotherhood push for ultimate power

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 16, 2012

Three weeks after the swearing in of the Islamist-dominated Egyptian Parliament, the Muslim Brotherhood has begun asserting its new-found power.

Over the past few days, representatives of the Brotherhood's parliamentary wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, have called on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) - the group of generals that still hold the reins of power in Egypt - to sack

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Israel: global terror wave has just begun

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 16, 2012

Israeli intelligence believes that Iran and Hizbollah will make more attempts to attack Israeli representatives and targets around the world over the next few months.

The assessment of the three attempted hits this week in Georgia, India and Thailand is that they are all connected to Iran's terror network.

Israel's ambassador to Thailand, Yitzhak Shoham, said on Wednesday that the bombs used

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Sign of Iran's grim desperation

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 16, 2012

The three incidents on Monday and Tuesday, in Tbilisi, New Delhi and Bangkok are somewhat baffling to Israeli security experts.

On the one hand, the nearly simultaneous operations in different parts of the globe point to a highly organised network with major resources at its disposal.

On the other, the attacks appeared bungled and the targets were all "low-grade".

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US election hands Netanyahu giant dilemma on Iran

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 9, 2012

The strategic timetable for the next nine months is becoming increasingly clear. Israel's apparent plans to strike Iran this year are limited by one crucial date: November 6 - the day of the US presidential elections.

Although he wishes with all his heart for a Republican victory, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is predicting the re-election of Barack Obama.

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Fears over Syrian chemical stores

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 9, 2012

Concern is mounting in Israel regarding the fate of missiles and chemical weapons as the civil war in Syria deepens.

The Syrian army, which is currently involved in the bloody repression of the uprising against President Bashar Assad, holds major stores of artillery shells and warheads capable of delivering nerve gas and biological agents.

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Fogel killer 'blessed' on television

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 2, 2012

The Palestinian Authority's TV channel broadcast greetings to the convicted murderers of the Fogel family last week.

During a programme in which Palestinian prisoners are sent messages by their relatives, the mother of Hakim Awad, one of the two men who brutally killed Ehud and Ruth Fogel and their three young children in Itamar last March, "blessed" her "dear son" who "carried out the operatio

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Hamas hunts for new base in Middle East

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 2, 2012

Hamas is searching for a new political base following its departure from Damascus. Turkey and Jordan have both denied reports that they may host the Palestinian movement.

On Sunday, the head of Hamas's political bureau, Khaled Mashal, made his first official visit to Jordan since the kingdom closed down the movement's offices in 1999.

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