Anshel Pfeffer

Political crisis looms as rabbis go to war

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 17, 2016

When the deal establishing a new prayer area at the Western Wall was announced in January, it seemed to be pass without too much fuss.

The Charedi parties registered their opposition to making any concessions to the Reform and Conservative movements but, since the agreement preserved the strictly-Orthodox control of the main Kotel plaza, they were content to leave it at that.

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IDF turns to social media for help in combating the intifada

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 17, 2016

Israeli security forces are beginning to prevent Palestinian attacks by detecting potential perpetrators on social media.

In addition, IDF units and Shin Bet agents have been visiting the homes of young men and women expressing an intention to carry out attacks, in order to give them and their families "warning talks".

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Army in secret talks to give PA security control over parts of the West Bank

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 17, 2016

Israeli generals have been holding secret talks on new security arrangements with the Palestinian Authority.

The two sides have yet to agree on the details, but this week's revelation in Haaretz of the existence of the discussions caused anger among ministers who had not been informed about them.

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Zionist Union turning on Isaac Herzog

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 17, 2016

Labour leader Isaac Herzog is losing control over his party as more Knesset members openly attack him and the party plummets in the polls.

Surveys conducted last week, a year after the previous election, showed Zionist Union (the joint list of Labour and Tzipi Livni's Ha'tnuah) receiving only 15 Knesset seats, down from the 24 it won in the election.

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Israel still sees Russia as key player despite Syria pullout

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 17, 2016

Israel is closely monitoring what it considers to be Russia's ongoing influence in Syria following President Vladimir Putin's announcement on Monday that he would pull most of his jet fighters out of the war-torn country.

Despite some initial fears of a Russia-Iran axis on its northern border, the Israeli government was largely satisfied with the level of military co-operation Moscow maintained

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Outrage over possible release of rapist Katsav

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 17, 2016

The possibility that former Israeli president Moshe Katsav, who was convicted on multiple rape charges, could be released from jail early has sparked anger from politicians and women's rights organisations.

Mr Katsav, who is currently serving a seven-year sentence, is up for parole in two weeks as the two-thirds mark of his sentence approaches.

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Plot to take down Bibi

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 10, 2016

This month contains two anniversaries for Benjamin Netanyahu. He will mark a year since the last election - the fourth he has won - and ten full years as prime minister, including the three he served in the late 1990s and seven in this second stretch.

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Iran test-launches missiles 'to wipe Israel off the map'

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 10, 2016

Iran claimed that this week it had tested ballistic missiles capable of hitting targets in Israel.

Iranian news agencies reported that the two Qadr missiles launched on Wednesday from a location in northern Iran carried the Hebrew inscription "Israel should be wiped off the pages of history" and hit targets 1,400 km away.

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Charedi parties warn Bibi over Kotel deal

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 10, 2016

Shas and United Torah Judaism, the strictly Orthodox parties in Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition, are demanding that the government cancel the agreement signed in January with the Reform and Conservative movements allowing them use of a new prayer area by the Western Wall.

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Despair and discord after days of terror across Israel

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 10, 2016

The bloody chaos that hit Israel's streets this week should ram home one fact more than any other - and it is a truism that has remained quietly constant since the current intifada began in October:

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Iran election fog yet to clear

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 3, 2016

The implications of the Iranian elections last Friday for the parliament and the Assembly of Experts are already being hotly contested by pundits and partisans. Are the results truly, as reported, a victory for the "moderates"? Will they have any real effect on Iran's policies?

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Why Israel wants Britain to stay firmly inside the EU

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 3, 2016

The Israeli government, unlike the Obama administration and the member states of the European Union, is extremely unlikely to express an official position on Britain's European referendum.

But off-record conversations with senior Israeli officials make the unofficial position clear: Israel would like to see the UK remaining firmly in.

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Gulf states label Hizbollah a terrorist organisation

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 3, 2016

The confrontation between Saudi Arabia and Iran took a turn for the worse this week when the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a six-member group of Sunni states on the Persian Gulf, announced that it was labelling Lebanese paramilitary group Hizbollah a terrorist organisation.

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Troops rescued after sat nav 'led them' into riot

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 3, 2016

A navigation mistake led to intense rioting in the Qalandia refugee camp, north of Jerusalem, on Monday night, as the IDF feared that at least one of its soldiers may have been kidnapped by Palestinians.

The incident took place when two soldiers from the IDF's elite K9 unit were driving back to base near Ramallah in the West Bank.

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Israel is concerned over wild card Trump in White House

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 2, 2016

The soaring success of Donald Trump is causing considerable concern within Israel's corridors of power.

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Why Israelis call this the 'ground zero' of terror

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 25, 2016

Once the main exit from the Old City of Jerusalem to the north, Damascus Gate - Sha'ar Shkhem in Hebrew or Bab al Amud in Arabic - is still a major thoroughfare and commercial centre of east Jerusalem.

In recent months it has also become one of the main sites for Palestinian attacks, and as a result is being called the "ground zero of terror".

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Split over plan to invest in Palestinians

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 25, 2016

A plan by Israel's Finance Minister, Moshe Kahlon, to allow Palestinian companies greater access to Israel's building sector could herald a split in the cabinet over both security and housing policy.

It comes as another showdown brews between Israel's security establishment and the government over policy on Gaza.

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Knesset debates 'suspension law' to ban Arab MKs

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 25, 2016

The Knesset Constitution and Law Committee began debating the "suspension law" this week, which is aimed at banning from parliament MKs who express support for terrorist acts.

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Media backlash after police detain Jerusalem journalist

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 18, 2016

Police detained for questioning one of the most prominent foreign journalists stationed in Israel on Tuesday following an anonymous complaint that proved to be baseless.

The Washington Post's Jerusalem bureau chief, William Booth, was working on a report with two other Post reporters, Sufian Taha and Ruth Eglash, on the recent terror attacks near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City.

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Israel makes up with EU

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 18, 2016

Israel has ended its policy of not engaging with the EU on the diplomatic process with the Palestinians.

The decision to suspend all dialogue on this issue was taken in the wake of the EU's decision six months ago to publish guidelines on labelling settlement products.

Despite the move by Israel, EU policy on labelling will not change.

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