Anshel Pfeffer

After Stuxnet virus, Iran has been in the grip of network-paranoia

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 26, 2012

Iran's leadership has repeatedly said over the past couple of years that the destructive Stuxnet computer worm was easily vanquished and caused little damage to the centrifuges carrying out uranium enrichment.

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Will Israel-Egypt relations collapse with gas deal?

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 26, 2012

On announcing that it was terminating its contract to supply gas to Israel on Sunday, Egypt's Natural Gas holding company immediately claimed that the decision had been made on a purely commercial basis.

However, the move was pounced upon by the country's presidential candidates as yet another opportunity to burnish their national and anti-Israel credentials.

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Inside Sinai, where al-Qaeda roam free

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 19, 2012

For over a hundred miles between the heavily guarded Suez Canal Bridge and the main town in northern Sinai, El Arish, the road is deserted at night. No-one is stopping cars or checking documents at the roadblocks and the guard posts are empty.

Only on the final approach to El Arish can the first signs of a military build-up be seen.

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Carry on enriching: the Iran talks farce

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 19, 2012

The different views of the outcome of last weekend's talks between the international powers and Iran have already caused a public spat between Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama.

Iran's delegation to last Saturday's talks in Istanbul with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany (P5+1) refused to discuss the specifics of the demand that they curtail their uranium enric

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Fact and fiction in Israel's fight behind enemy lines

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 11, 2012

When trying to make sense of some of the recent reports to come out on secret Israeli missions and plans for attacks on Iran, it is useful to simply open an atlas.

Take, for instance, the "news" on Israeli operations from the Kurd regions in northern Iraq, which appeared in the Sunday Times last month. This is the same report that has been recycled for the past nine years - but how true is it?

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Healing hands: how Israeli town riven by religious war is forging peace

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 11, 2012

Last year, Beit Shemesh was ground zero for the latest round of religious conflict in Israel, with regular reports emerging from the town of violent scuffles and the harassment of schoolgirls.

In recent months, however, the town may have turned into a symbol of communal engagement.

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Toulouse terror reshaping the French election

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 4, 2012

Last month's attacks in which a jihadist shot four people at a Jewish school in Toulouse have changed the focus and, quite possibly, the outcome of the French presidential election.

Mohamed Merah, who also shot three soldiers in a separate attack and was killed following a 32-hour siege, had only one alleged collaborator - his brother.

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It's clear: Hamas has left Iran's axis of madness

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 15, 2012

The latest round of violence around the Gaza Strip has brought out into the open one of the major results of the last year's strategic shift throughout the region.

While Israel officially continues to hold Hamas responsible for every attack emanating from Gaza, it has been clear over the past week that every strike and counter-strike was centred on the two smaller organisations in the Strip, Is

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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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