Anshel Pfeffer

Can 'sexy' Lapid heat up Israeli politics?

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 12, 2012

Yair Lapid has yet to announce the establishment of his new party but some polls are already predicting that over 15 per cent would vote for it were elections to be held this week.

More..

MKs helped settlers defy IDF

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 12, 2012

Knesset members have been supplying the settlers with information on military operations to help them prevent the IDF and police from demolishing illegal outposts in the West Bank.

Five settlers were indicted on Sunday with running an intelligence-gathering team that collected details on the army's movements.

The headquarters of the team in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Kiryat Moshe was rai

More..

Iran's nuclear plans brings Israel and US closer to strike

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 12, 2012

Iran is planning to begin uranium enrichment soon at a new subterranean facility, bringing forward the moment when Israel and the United States will have to decide whether to launch a military strike.

Meanwhile, the clandestine campaign against the nuclear programme continues. This week another Iranian nuclear scientist was killed in Tehran.

More..

Now Hamas leaders 'seek legitimacy'

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 5, 2012

Senior Israeli analysts are convinced that some Hamas leaders genuinely want the terror group to become a legitimate political force.

Hamas has been under pressure in recent weeks from Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to renounce violence, and there are clear signs that a new direction is being considered.

One Israeli expert on Hamas said this week: "There is a true change of direc

More..

Faint hope for peace process as second date set for talks

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 5, 2012

There was no breakthrough in the first official talks between Israeli and Palestinian representatives on Tuesday in Amman but the fact that the meeting did not end acrimoniously and both sides agreed to meet again next week is seen as progress in itself.

The meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's personal emissary, Isaac Molho, and the Palestinian Authority's senior negotiator, Sae

More..

He wants to unite Jerusalem. And you thought your job was hard

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 5, 2012

I first met Mark Sofer in a humid Mumbai car-park in November 2008. The multiple terror attacks on the city - which included an assault on a Chabad centre - were still in progress, Israeli security teams were scouring mortuaries to discover how many of the country's nationals had been killed, and the Israeli ambassador had agreed to give an impromptu briefing to reporters outside the consulate.

More..

Could Charedim deliver peace?

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 29, 2011

The dictatorships of the Middle East have long repressed religious Islamic parties, imprisoned their leaders and forbidden them from participating in elections.

The first relatively free elections in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco have seen major gains by Islamist parties, which are suddenly facing the challenge of participating in government with all the consequent compromises.

More..

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

More..

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.

More..

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

More..

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.

More..

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.

More..

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.

More..

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".

More..

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".

More..

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

More..

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.

More..

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

More..

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.

More..

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

More..