JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel on Wednesday announced a further relaxation of its blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, saying exports of manufactured goods would now be permitted in a move that major powers welcomed as significant.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said Israel’s security cabinet had approved an “additional easing of restrictions to permit and expansion of commercial exports” from the Mediterranean coastal enclave.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Formidable in war, Israel was defenseless on Friday in the face of a wildfire, casting around desperately for help from neighbors with fire-fighting planes.
Israel was caught flat-footed by the forest blaze now raging for a second day through the tinder-dry Carmel hills above the Mediterranean port of Haifa, because it has no water-bombers.
TIRAT CARMEL, Israel (Reuters) – A huge forest fire killed about 40 people in Israel Thursday, including young prison guard cadets trapped in a bus while heading to help inmates flee the flames, officials said.
More than 12,000 people were evacuated from towns and villages as the fires, said to be the worst in the country’s history, blazed out of control.
TEL AVIV (Reuters) – It takes just 45 minutes to drive from the clogged freeways and gleaming office towers of Tel Aviv to the roadblocks and watchtowers of the West Bank.
The humid metropolis of the coast, where most Israelis prefer to live, seems a world away from the dry air of Jerusalem and tensions of the occupied Palestinian territory, where the inescapable choices facing the nation await resolution.
GHAJAR, Israel (Reuters) – Israel said on Wednesday it would withdraw troops from a village straddling the Lebanese border, in a gesture to the United Nations that drew residents onto the streets protesting the division of their community.
The people of Ghajar, a prosperous hillside town of 2,300 who are members of Syria’s Alawite sect, say they want no “Berlin Wall” dividing the north from the south of their village and forcing them to chose between Lebanon or Israel.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Cracks emerged in Israel’s right-wing coalition on Tuesday ahead of an expected cabinet vote on whether to accept U.S. inducements to freeze West Bank settlement building so that stalled peace talks can resume.
“I think we are facing a real disagreement,” said Benny Begin, a respected right-wing minister and son of the late Menachem Begin who made peace with Egypt in the late 1970s.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s plan to build new homes on occupied land should be countered by international recognition of a Palestinian state, the chief Palestinian negotiator said on Tuesday.
Raising the stakes in the deadlock over stalled peace talks, Saeb Erekat said it was clear from the latest announcement of building plans that Israel wants settlements, not peace.
(Photo: Students protest near Hebrew University in Jerusalem on October 27, 2010 against the bill to give more state funds to Torah students/Ronen Zvulun)
Israeli university students have demanded that the government drop plans to pay stipends to ultra-Orthodox Jews who study the Torah but do not work.
Protests over the so-called Yeshiva bill in the past week highlight growing Israeli resentment of the 600,000 ultra-Orthodox “haredim”, who live almost entirely off state welfare benefits.
TEL AVIV (Reuters) – A “Say No to Obama” event in Israel drew only 100 supporters on Sunday to the launch of an Israeli version of the Tea Party movement that is challenging the U.S. President in Tuesday’s mid-term elections.
There were no security police outside and parking was easy in the notoriously clogged center of Tel Aviv, as former Knesset deputy Michael Kleiner, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud bloc, inaugurated the movement.
UMM EL-FAHM, Israel (Reuters) – Israeli police fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse Arab protesters at an Israeli-Arab city Wednesday in an effort to prevent a clash with ultranationalist Jews planning to march there.
About 30 Jewish demonstrators traveled from Jerusalem to Umm el-Fahm in northern Israel, the seat of an Islamic movement whose leader, Sheikh Raed Salah, has alleged that Israel endangers Jerusalem’s Muslim holy sites.