Anshel Pfeffer

Battle rages for moral control of Holy Land

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 29, 2011

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the city of Bet Shemesh on Tuesday as part of the escalating conflict within Israeli society over the exclusion of women.

The protest followed violent clashes on Sunday when the local municipality took down signs that had been hung in a strictly Orthodox neighbourhood instructing women not to walk on the same pavement as men, to dress modestly and

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IDF warns next Cast Lead 'urban warfare'

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 29, 2011

Exactly three years after Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, the IDF is preparing for a replay.

"The one thing we can know for certain is that the next major operation or war we will have to fight will be in an urban area filled with civilians," says Colonel Amir Baram, commander of the IDF's Paratrooper Brigade.

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Israel's social justice dream 'laid to rest'?

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 29, 2011

The Knesset this week authorised additional funding for the Defence Ministry in Israel's state budget.

The decision to reverse plans to cut military spending calls into question the implementation of the recommendations of the Trachtenberg Commission, which advised increased spending on social programmes.

The joint finance and defence sub-committee voted in favour of the government's request

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Protest in Bet Shemesh over Orthodox exclusion of women

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 27, 2011

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the city of Bet Shemesh on Tuesday as part of the escalating conflict within Israeli society over the exclusion of women.

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IDF set for major settler showdown

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 22, 2011

Israel's security forces are preparing to dismantle one of the largest illegal settler outposts, Ramat Gilad, in the West Bank.

Hundreds of Jewish settlers are expected to attempt to physically prevent the evacuation in what is set to be a violent standoff with the IDF.

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US switches to hawk over Iranian threat

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 22, 2011

America's defence chiefs have adopted a belligerent new tone over the possibility of carrying out a military strike against Iran.

In an interview with CBS on Monday, Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta said that the Iranians are at a point in the their nuclear programme where they can develop a bomb in a year or less.

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Hamas dispels reports of a 'no violence' deal

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 22, 2011

Reports of a shift of policy by Hamas to non-violent resistance against Israel appear premature at best.

In a Friday interview with the Euronews network, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas claimed to have reached an agreement with Hamas that, from now on, the Palestinian struggle against Israel would "be population-based and not with weapons".

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Netanyahu puts NGO funding law on hold

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 15, 2011

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has temporarily halted the passage of the NGO funding law following the opposition of Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.

In a rare intervention, Mr Weinstein wrote to the Prime Minister last week saying that the new law was "unconstitutional" and therefore would be "indefensible in the Supreme Court".

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Settlers hurl block at IDF colonel and attack base

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 15, 2011

The relationship between Jewish settlers in the West Bank and the IDF took another plunge this week after dozens of rioters attacked a brigade headquarters and a jeep in which two senior officers were travelling.

The attacks seem to have been part of a co-ordinated attempt to prevent the army from carrying out eviction orders against illegally-built outposts in Samaria.

The first incident oc

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Could Israel's Metzger succeed Sacks?

By Anshel Pfeffer and Marcus Dysch, December 15, 2011

Israel's Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger has declared his interest in becoming Britain's new chief rabbi when Lord Sacks steps down in 2013.

Rabbi Metzger's aides and his spokesman Avi Blumenfeld said he had been approached by a prominent member of the UK's Orthodox community regarding his possible candidacy.

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A pragmatic Islamism? Wait and see

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 8, 2011

The success of Islamist parties in the relatively free general elections held in Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt over the past two months has surprised even those who predicted that they would make major gains.

But is this the first sign of a radical movement that will take over in the region, changing the secular character of these countries' governments?

Egypt, where almost two thirds of the vo

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Netanyahu calls early primaries to 'stay one step ahead'

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 8, 2011

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu surprised his party colleagues on Sunday by announcing that Likud leadership primaries will take place in less than two months.

The move is seen as an indication that the prime minister expects early elections and is trying to get the leadership contest over while he believes he is popular within his party.

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Hamas exits Syria - and orbit of Iran

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 8, 2011

Hamas has largely deserted its headquarters in the Syrian capital in recent weeks, in what has become an unofficial departure by the Palestinian movement.

The exodus reflects both the widely-held belief that the Assad regime is entering its dying days, and the proximity of Hamas to Islamist elements in the Syrian opposition.

Hamas was founded 24 years ago in the Gaza Strip by Palestinian mem

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Israel releases cash to Palestinian Authority

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 1, 2011

Three weeks after deciding to block the transfer of tax revenue to the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli cabinet decided on Wednesday to "unfreeze" the funds.

Israel halted the transfer some $100 million in customs duties it charges on behalf of the PA following the decision of Unesco to recognise the Palestinians as a member-state.

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Attack is sign that 'war may spill into Israel'

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 1, 2011

The firing of two Katyusha rockets from Lebanon into Israel this week served as a reminder that the growing Syrian civil war could boil over into neighbouring countries.

The rockets, which landed in a village in the Western Galilee on Monday night, did not cause any casualties and succeeded only in setting light to a gas storage unit.

Over five years since the end of the Second Lebanon War,

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As Egypt votes, ties with Israel falter

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 1, 2011

Enthusiasm and optimism were in good supply in Cairo on Monday as people flocked to what one voter in al-Maadi neighbourhood described as "my first chance to really determine my future myself".

"In the past, the polling stations were empty on election day, as we knew that whatever we voted, the results would be the same," said the voter.

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Is democracy in Israel really under assault?

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 1, 2011

Almost three years ago, when Benjamin Netanyahu was forming his new government, the leader of the second largest party in his coalition, Avigdor Lieberman, demanded Yisrael Beiteinu receive the justice portfolio.

It was a red-herring.

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Rockets from Lebanon: Assad's last stand?

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 30, 2011

The launch of two Katyusha rockets across the Lebanese border at an Israeli village in the Western Galilee in the night between Monday and Tuesday did not cause any casualties and succeeded only in setting light to a gas storage unit, but it served as a reminder that the growing Syrian civil war could boil over into neighbouring Lebanon and Israel.

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Hope and fear as Egypt holds elections

By Anshel Pfeffer in Cairo, November 29, 2011

Enthusiasm and optimism was high on Monday as voters flocked to what one voter in al-Maadi neighborhood describe as "my first chance to really determine my future myself, in the past the voting stations were empty on elections day, as we knew that whatever we voted, the results would be the same."

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Premier stuck inside a growing political chasm

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 24, 2011

Benjamin Netanyahu's attempt this week to reduce the impact of the right-wing legislative campaign is the result of several lingering pressures.

The Likud old-guard, clinging to democratic and judicial values that the younger right-wingers seem to have forfeited, have leaned on the Prime Minister to tone down the legislation.

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