Anshel Pfeffer

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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Israel fears new war as Egypt teeters on brink of anarchy

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 24, 2011

A former Israeli defence minister has said that the growing chaos in Egypt could lead to an all-out conflict on Israel's southern border.

Knesset member Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, who had close relations with the Mubarak regime, said on Monday that while Israel needed to maintain its co-operative relationship with Egypt, "it's not working now".

"We are willing to co-ordinate everything with them

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Bibi softens stance on 'anti-democratic' laws

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 24, 2011

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planning to "soften" the controversial laws passed in the Knesset over the past couple of weeks.

Mr Netanyahu is trying to convince the public that, contrary to the accusations of the opposition - and even some of the members of his own party - he is not pushing an "anti-democratic" agenda.

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Warning over religious coercion in IDF sparks anger

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 17, 2011

A petition signed by 19 former generals cautioning against religious coercion in the IDF is causing uproar in the army.

The petition follows series of flashpoints involving religious soldiers.

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Is Israel going it alone in Iran?

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 17, 2011

A large explosion that killed a senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander near Tehran last Saturday has been attributed by various intelligence sources to Mossad.

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Netanyahu against vetting of Supreme Court judges

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 17, 2011

The political battle over new laws aimed at limiting foreign funding of human rights organisations and changing Israel's Supreme Court continued to rage this week, with no clear winner emerging.

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Syria has two friends left - and more enemies

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 17, 2011

The double blow this week to the Syrian régime - official isolation in the Arab world and the audacious attack by defectors against an Air Force Intelligence compound near Damascus - is further proof that time is running out for Bashar al-Assad.

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Pressure mounts on Syria's Assad after air base attack

By Anshel Pfeffer and Jessica Elgot, November 16, 2011

Dozens more people have died in continuing unrest in Syria, after the country was suspended by the Arab League last week.

In their most high - profile attack so far, Syrian rebels have attacked a major military base near Damascus. Reports say that the Air Force Intelligence building in Harasta, north of the capital, has been partially destroyed by the Free Syrian Army.

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Battle on for control of Israel's Supreme Court

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 10, 2011

Left and right are fighting it out in the Knesset over the future composition of the senior bench of Israel's judiciary.

Next week, the Judiciary Appointments Committee will select three new judges for the Supreme Court in Jerusalem and the politicians are trying to influence its decisions.

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Mossad man got Gilad out. Can he bag Turkey?

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 10, 2011

In a new effort at reconciliation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week appointed David Meidan, the former Mossad operative who spearheaded the Shalit prisoner deal, as his special envoy to the Turkish government.

In what is seen as an encouraging move in Jerusalem, Turkey has accepted the move and Mr Meidan will be meeting senior officials in Ankara over the next few weeks in an attempt

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Why did Prosor meet Le Pen?

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 10, 2011

Ron Prosor, Israel's ambassador to the UN, is one of Israel's most canny and prescient diplomats - as many in London will know from his time as envoy to Britain.

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Will the world act on Iran?

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 9, 2011

The release of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s report on Iran’s nuclear programme this week has ended talk of an independent Israeli strike on Iran — for now.

Israel’s leadership is now waiting to see how the international community — and specifically the Obama administration — react to the report.

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Israel fears Tel Aviv is next target

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 3, 2011

The violent escalation around the Gaza Strip last weekend and the launching of Grad rockets at Israeli cities by Islamic Jihad have raised concerns that Tel Aviv may be soon be a target.

"Hamas in Gaza already has dozens of missiles capable of reaching Tel Aviv," said a senior defence official, "and to a lesser degree, Islamic Jihad has similar capabilities.

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Plan to order Arab players to sing Israeli national anthem

By Anshel Pfeffer and Simon Griver, November 3, 2011

After a three-month recess, the Knesset began its winter session on Monday with a slew of nationalist legislation on its agenda.

National Union Party MK Michael Ben-Ari has tabled a plan to require members of Israeli national sports teams to sing the national anthem and to sign a document recognising Israel as a Jewish state or face being banned.

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UNESCO vote prompts Israel anger

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 3, 2011

Israel has responded to the acceptance of Palestine as a full member of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) with a range of sanctions against the Palestinian Authority.

But ministers are split over whether funds to the PA should be cut off.

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