Dan's Feed
Feb 10, 2014

Israel’s Sephardim abuzz at expanded Spanish citizenship offer

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The expansion of Spain’s offer of citizenship to descendants of Jews it expelled en masse in 1492 has sparked interest in Israel, where the so-called Sephardim make up around a quarter of the population.

While no one predicts an Israeli exodus to economically bruised Spain, a passport granting access to the wider European Union appeals to many in the war-wary Jewish state – especially its disproportionately large Sephardic underclass.

Feb 7, 2014

Israeli foreign minister defends peace-maker Kerry

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s right-wing foreign minister on Friday defended U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry whose Middle East peace drive has seen mounting criticism from within the Israeli government.

The conciliatory remarks by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who has previously been a vocal critic of international efforts to set up a Palestinian state on Israeli-occupied territory, could help Kerry cobble together consensus for pursuing the peace negotiations.

Jan 31, 2014

Israel wages “war between wars” as Mideast threats simmer

TEL AVIV , Jan 31 (Reuters) – Watching old Arab enemies reel
with sectarian insurgencies and international diplomacy capping
the Iranian nuclear drive, Israel’s military is confounded by a
new challenge: quiet.

The relative tranquility, for Israel at least, poses its own
dilemma for commanders tasked with preparing for an array of
potentially unpredictable future adversaries while trying to
stave off steep cuts to their budget.

Jan 29, 2014

Hoping to deter Hezbollah, Israel threatens Lebanese civilians

HERZLIYA, Israel (Reuters) – Israel accused Lebanon’s Hezbollah guerrillas on Wednesday of putting “thousands” of bases in residential buildings and said it would destroy these in a future conflict, even at the cost of civilian lives.

The unusually explicit threat by air force chief Major-General Amir Eshel appeared to be part of an effort by Israeli officials to prepare world opinion for high civilian casualties in any new confrontation with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Jan 29, 2014

Israeli general says al Qaeda’s Syria fighters set up in Turkey

TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Some of the al Qaeda militants going to fight in Syria have bases in neighboring Turkey and can easily access Europe from the NATO member state, Israel’s military intelligence chief said on Wednesday.

Major-General Aviv Kochavi, presenting a map of the Middle East marked with areas of al Qaeda presence, told a security conference al Qaeda fighters from around the world entered Syria weekly, “but they do not stay” there.

Jan 28, 2014

Netanyahu: interim deal set Iran’s nuclear drive back by 6 weeks

TEL AVIV (Reuters) – An international deal capping Iran’s nuclear work set the program back by just six weeks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday, accusing Tehran of using the hiatus to hone technologies with bomb-making potential.

Iran this month began implementing the interim nuclear accord it clinched with world powers in Geneva in November, and which Netanyahu has condemned as a “historic mistake” for easing sanctions on Israel’s arch-foe while letting it retain the infrastructure to make fissile materials.

Jan 28, 2014

Abbas proposes three-year Israeli pullout from West Bank

TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas proposed on Tuesday that Israel carry out a gradual three-year withdrawal from the occupied West Bank as part of any future peace deal, an offer that fell short of Israeli demands.

He gave the timeframe in an interview shown at an international security conference in Tel Aviv, where Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon challenged the effectiveness of the Palestinian leader’s current security commitments.

Jan 28, 2014

Palestine’s tragic Oscar hopeful tests identity, ideas

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The complexities and contradictions of the Middle East conflict come into play in both the real-life production story and fictional plot of “Omar”, Palestine’s contender for a best foreign language film Oscar.

The movie’s director and lead actors are Israeli Arabs who identify as Palestinian. And while it depicts lovers literally walled-off by Israel’s West Bank barrier, and a hero brutalized by Israeli secret police, the $2 million drama was filmed mostly in Nazareth, northern Israel, without hindrance.

Jan 28, 2014

Israel, Abbas spar over Palestinian security steps in West Bank

TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Israel and the Palestinians disagreed sharply on Tuesday over the effectiveness of security measures by the regional Palestinian administration in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, deepening doubt about peace prospects in U.S.-brokered talks.

Foreign powers have been helping build up Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s security services in the West Bank to prevent militant attacks on Israelis and ward off any challenge from breakaway Hamas Islamists who control the Gaza Strip.

Jan 22, 2014

Israel says cracks Palestinian al Qaeda cell in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel said on Wednesday it had arrested two Palestinians from East Jerusalem who were planning to carry out attacks for al Qaeda with the help of foreign suicide bombers posing as Russian tourists.

The men were recruited by another al Qaeda agent in the Gaza Strip, said Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency – the second Israeli report in as many months suggesting the militant network was taking root among Palestinians.