January 24, 2013 |
JERUSALEM - The unexpectedly strong showing by a new centrist party in Israel's parliamentary election has raised hopes of a revival of peace talks with Palestinians that have languished for four years under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Political newcomer Yair Lapid, the surprise kingmaker, is already being courted by a weakened Netanyahu, who needs his support to form a ruling coalition. Lapid has said he will not sit in the government unless the peace process is restarted. But following a campaign in which the Palestinian issue was largely ignored, it remains unclear how hard Lapid will push the issue in what could be weeks of coalition talks with Netanyahu.
January 15, 2013 |
JERUSALEM - With large numbers of Israelis expected to sit out next week's election, centrist activists have launched a last-ditch appeal to get out the vote, hoping to defy what appears to be a guaranteed victory for a hard-line bloc led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This grassroots effort could be the moderate camp's only chance. Moderate, secular voters tend to turn out in smaller numbers than ideologically motivated hard-liners. Reversing this trend, experts say, is the surest way to take on the government's handling of major issues such as stalled peacemaking with the Palestinians, Iran's nuclear program, and the economy.
January 14, 2013 |
JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised Sunday to follow through with plans for settlement construction in a key West Bank area known as E-1 after police evicted scores of Palestinian protesters who had set up a tent camp there. "We will complete the planning, and there will be construction," Netanyahu told Army Radio hours after the eviction, but he cautioned that planning for the new development "will take time. " Netanyahu, who is in the home stretch of an election campaign, moved swiftly against the Palestinian encampment, a new form of grass-roots protest modeled after scores of wildcat outposts set up by Jewish settlers on West Bank hills without government approval.
January 10, 2013 |
JERUSALEM - Israel's election campaign entered its home stretch on Tuesday with the beginning of a quirky two-week period of televised political advertisements, giving candidates a final chance to attack front-running Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Derided by many as archaic and irrelevant, the state-subsidized blocs of ads are a legendary part of Israeli election campaigns, providing a rare platform for candidates from the more than 30 parties contesting the election to take their messages to the masses.
January 6, 2013 |
JERUSALEM - The Mideast conflict has done little to help Israel's image in the world, but the way local filmmakers deal critically with the Israel-Palestinian issue has won wide international praise - and this year, recognition from the top of the movie industry. Two Israeli-produced documentaries about the conflict have been shortlisted for possible nomination in this year's Academy Awards. Few Israeli films have contended in the Best Documentary category before. The shortlisted films represent rare recognition of foreign entrants in a category dominated by American productions.
January 1, 2013
Israel eases Gaza curbs JERUSALEM - In a major concession to Gaza's Hamas leaders Monday, Israel dropped its five-year ban on construction materials crossing into the territory and raised hopes there that rebuilding could begin following a damaging eight-day Israeli air campaign. The easing of restrictions is an outgrowth of the cease-fire that ended the air strikes and months of daily rocket fire from Gaza at Israel. Contacts mediated by Egypt to follow up the truce produced the concession, and Israel promised to keep easing the lives of Gaza's 1.6 million residents, as long as Israelis were no longer targeted by rocket fire by Gaza militants.
December 24, 2012 |
Just a rocket's throw from the Gaza Strip, the Israeli desert town of Netivot has struggled for years with economic-development and safety concerns when missiles fall. Since 1997, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, under a program of U.S.-Israel community partnerships, has donated about $500,000 a year to the city of 30,000. A new link in that partnership - to be highlighted on Monday at a conference in Netivot - compounds traditional checkbook charity with innovative venture philanthropy.
December 21, 2012
Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, 68, a former chief of staff of the Israeli military and a cabinet minister who was involved in peace talks with the Palestinians, died Wednesday in Jerusalem. His death was confirmed by a spokeswoman at the Hadassah Medical Center in southwest Jerusalem, where he had been treated for cancer. In a statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Mr. Lipkin-Shahak "an Israeli hero who dedicated his best years to the security of the state of Israel. " He was deputy chief of staff and chief of staff during the years before and after Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signed the Oslo Accords, the first peace agreements with the Palestine Liberation Organization.
December 14, 2012 |
JERUSALEM - Israel's powerful foreign minister was charged Thursday with breach of trust for actions that allegedly compromised a criminal investigation into his business dealings, throwing the country's election campaign into disarray just weeks before the vote. While Avigdor Lieberman was cleared of more serious allegations, the indictment sparked calls for the controversial politician to step down. He declined to do so at a news conference but said he would consult with his lawyers on what to do next.
December 11, 2012 |
JERUSALEM - The rising confidence and bellicosity of Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, combined with rapidly deteriorating relations with Israel's would-be peace partner in the West Bank, are raising jitters in Israel that a new Palestinian uprising could be near. A number of prominent voices urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday to take steps to ease the tensions and bolster the Western-backed Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. Netanyahu's political rival, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, warned that renewed violence might not be "far off. " But the Israeli leader stood tough.