Anshel Pfeffer

Anglican bishop fights Israel deportation

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 10, 2011

The head of the Anglican church in Israel, Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan, Bishop Suheil Dawani, is fighting the Israeli Interior Ministry's decision not to renew his residency visa with a petition to the Supreme Court.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai announced six months ago that Bishop Dawani's visa would not be renewed but he has been allowed to remain in Israel pending a review of his case.

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IDF prepares for popular uprising in West Bank

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 10, 2011

The Israeli military is worried about the effect the revolutions currently sweeping the Arab world may have on the Palestinian population.

Contingency plans have been adapted to take into consideration the kind of demonstrations recently seen on the streets of Cairo and Tunis, although most officers do not believe there is much chance of seeing similar scenes soon in Ramallah.

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Meet the new neighbours (and say a little prayer)

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 10, 2011

Egypt's appointment of a foreign minister known for his hostile views is causing ripples of concern across the Israeli political establishment.

On Monday caretaker Prime Minister Issam Sharraf appointed Nabil Al-Arabi as Egyptian foreign minister, in place of Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

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Israeli MK plans to visit Pollard in jail

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 10, 2011

An Israeli cabinet minister is due to visit to incarcerated spy Jonathan Pollard in the United States for the first time in years.

Moshe Kahlon, the Minister of Telecommunications and Social Services and a Likud party leader, is scheduled to visit Mr Pollard at Butner Prison in North Carolina on Wednesday.

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Knesset approves NGO law

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 10, 2011

The Knesset approved a law placing sanctions on individuals and companies involved in boycotts of Israel on Monday.

The law, by Likud parliamentary faction chairman, MK Zeev Elkin, passed 32-12 in its first reading and will now be prepared in the Justice Committee for its final readings.

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Fears in diaspora as Israel rejects convert

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 3, 2011

The Israeli Chief Rabbinate is trying to impose its stringent conversion rules on Orthodox organisations outside Israel.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai recently denied citizenship to a Canadian convert on the grounds that the Chief Rabbi, Sholmo Amar, does not recognise the authority of the rabbi who converted him in Canada.

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Thanks for the Oscar… now wave goodbye

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 3, 2011

It has the plot of a happy-ending Spielberg flick, but the denouement of a Coen brothers angst-fest.

The news that the film Strangers no More, about a school for the children of migrants in south Tel Aviv, got the Best Short Documentary award at the 2011 Oscars this week brought delight to Israel and the Jewish world - not to mention its pupils and staff.

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Hamas starts new Gaza fight

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 3, 2011

Fighting has intensified over the past week around the Gaza Strip in what Israeli defence sources believe is an attempt by Palestinian organisations to test the boundaries and return Gaza to the agenda despite the tide of revolution sweeping the Arabcountries.

The current round of hostilities began last Wednesday night when three Grad rockets hit the city of Be'er Sheva.

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Barak's out, so where next for Labour Party?

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 3, 2011

Three historical ruling parties in the Middle East have taken severe beatings over the last two months: Egypt's National Democratic Party, Tunisia's Constitutional Democratic Party and Israel's Labour Party.

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West Bank burns as settlers have day of rage

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 3, 2011

Jewish settlers embarked on a wave of demonstrations and attacks against Palestinian property this week following the demolition of a number of homes built illegally in the West Bank.

Police and IDF forces arrived at the Havat Gilad outpost in Central Samaria in the early hours of Monday morning to demolish three houses.

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Law to criminalise Israel boycotts planned

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 24, 2011

A new law that will fine Israelis who promote boycotts of Israel and prevent foreign citizens who do so from entering the country will be brought to the Knesset next week.

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As Egypt convulses, Iran slips through Suez

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 24, 2011

Iran tried this week to divert attention from the growing unrest within its cities by sending two warships through the Suez Canal for the first time in over three decades.

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Israel fury over Jordan demo

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 17, 2011

Israel has reprimanded the chargé d'affaires at the Jordanian embassy in Tel Aviv for remarks made by the new Jordanian Justice Minister in favour of releasing a soldier who murdered seven Israeli girls in 1997.

Jordan's King Abdullah replaced his cabinet two weeks ago, appointing Hussein Majali, a prominent lawyer, as the justice minister.

Fourteen years ago Mr Majali was the lawyer for Ahmed Dekamse, a Jordanian soldier who had opened fire on a group of Israeli school-children who were touring the island of Naharayim on the Jordanian border.

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Joy in Egypt but uncertainty elsewhere

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 17, 2011

The announcement that the Supreme Council of the armed forces was taking control in Egypt for the duration of the transition period to a new civilian government, reassured the Israeli leadership in the wake of the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.

Despite initial efforts to mobilise international support for the embattled president, Israeli analysts had realised, perhaps belatedly, that the Mubarak era was finally over and that Israel would do best to lower its profile while the Egyptians muddle their way, hopefully, towards some form of democracy.

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Rabbi faces arrest over 'kill' book

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 10, 2011

The Israeli police have issued an arrest warrant for the Rabbi of Kiryat Arba, Dov Lior, over his endorsement of a book that discusses the halachah of killing of non-Jews.

The arrest warrant, issued last week, has caused uproar in religious settler circles.

Rabbi Lior is considered one of the central spiritual leaders of the religious right in Israel.

Police have been seeking Rabbi Lior for questioning for the past six months over the rabbinical endorsement he wrote on the book Torat Ha-Melech, published in November 2009 and written by Rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur.

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Emergency selection for new IDF chief

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 10, 2011

The crisis that has been engulfing Israel's political and military establishment since it was announced last week that Major General Yoav Galant would not be appointed IDF's 20th chief of staff may have now abated.

Instead of Maj-Gen Galant, who has been accused of illegal land appropriations, Major General Benny Gantz will be appointed chief of staff on Monday.

Maj-Gen Gantz's appointment, two months after he retired from duty, was decided upon following Attorney General Yehud Weinstein's decision not to defend in court the appointment of Major General Yoav Galant.

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The good news: Iran may be next

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 10, 2011

Who's next? Which domino will be the next to fall? Which other Arab capital is about to see thousands of young demonstrators battling it out with police and calling for the speedy departure of their autocratic ruler, as we have over the past few weeks in Tunisia and Egypt?

Given that not one expert or analyst foresaw the events in Cairo and Tunis, one wonders how they can tell if and where it will happen again.

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Egypt protests: start of a new Middle East?

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 3, 2011

The hundreds of thousands of protesters crowding Tahrir Square this week seemed to have little idea of what they wanted to happen next.

"We must have multi-party elections and then all Egyptians can decide what they want to happen," said Sayyed Nasri, a civil engineer from Cairo's Giza neighbourhood, who had come to the square every morning to join the call for democracy and the end of the 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak.

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Israel trembles as Egypt quakes

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 3, 2011

There is no single emotion that defines a revolution. Across Cairo, 30 years of autocracy are pouring out in streams of tears and screams of joy.

But the hope, fear and uncertainty coursing through the Egyptian uprising is shaking Israel.

Peace with Egypt under President Hosni Mubarak has been, according to one defence official, "Israel's second biggest strategic asset after the United States".

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Are the revolts across the Arab world linked?

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 27, 2011

It is tempting to lump the unrest sweeping the Arab world this week into one tidal wave, but the scenario in each country is unique.

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