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Oct 7, 2013

Influential Israeli rabbi Ovadia Yosef dies, aged 93

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, an Iraqi-born sage who turned an Israeli underclass of Sephardic Jews of Middle Eastern heritage into a powerful political force, died on Monday at the age of 93, plunging masses of followers into mourning.

Dubbed Israel’s Ayatollah by critics who condemned many of his pronouncements as racist – he likened Palestinians to snakes and said God put gentiles on earth only to serve Jews – Yosef was revered by many traditional Sephardic Jews as their supreme religious leader.

Sep 30, 2013

Israel showcases Iranian spy case as Netanyahu visits U.S.

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A man arrested on suspicion of being an Iranian spy appeared in an Israeli court on Monday and some Israeli analysts questioned the timing of the affair, suggesting it was being showcased as part of efforts to discredit Tehran’s new opening to Washington.

As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew on Sunday to the United States for a visit focused on Iran’s nuclear program, Israel’s Shin Bet security service announced that Ali Mansouri had been arrested on September 11 on suspicion of spying for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Sep 25, 2013

Iranian leader’s smooth diplomacy poses new challenge for Israel

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A charm offensive toward the West by Iran’s new president and his nuanced approach to his predecessor’s Holocaust denial have run into an Israeli wall of suspicion hardened by Tehran’s nuclear pursuits.

Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, will not be fooled by Hassan Rouhani’s international outreach and the world must not be either.

Sep 15, 2013

Kerry reassures Israel on bid to rid Syria of chemical arms

JERUSALEM, Sept 15 (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John
Kerry assured Israel on Sunday a U.S.-Russian deal to remove
Syria’s chemical weapons would be effective, addressing concern
that a lack of resolve would embolden Iran in its nuclear drive.

“We cannot have hollow words in the conduct of international
affairs, because that affects all other issues, whether Iran or
North Korea or others,” Kerry said after talks with Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Sep 15, 2013

Netanyahu gives guarded response to Syrian chemical weapons deal

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry briefed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday on a U.S.-Russian deal to remove Syria’s chemical weapons, an accord that drew a guarded response from the Israeli leader.

Netanyahu, in a speech before the meeting, said the agreement would be judged on whether it achieved “the complete destruction” of the Syrian government’s chemical weapons stockpiles, and he pointed toward Iran’s nuclear program as another test of world resolve.

Sep 2, 2013

As Obama blinks on Syria, Israel, Saudis make common cause

JERUSALEM/RIYADH (Reuters) – If President Barack Obama has disappointed Syrian rebels by deferring to Congress before bombing Damascus, he has also dismayed the United States’ two main allies in the Middle East.

Israel and Saudi Arabia have little love for each other but both are pressing their mutual friend in the White House to hit President Bashar al-Assad hard. And both do so with one eye fixed firmly not on Syria but on their common adversary – Iran.

Sep 2, 2013

Insight: As Obama blinks on Syria, Israel, Saudis make common cause

JERUSALEM/RIYADH (Reuters) – If President Barack Obama has disappointed Syrian rebels by deferring to Congress before bombing Damascus, he has also dismayed the United States’ two main allies in the Middle East.

Israel and Saudi Arabia have little love for each other but both are pressing their mutual friend in the White House to hit President Bashar al-Assad hard. And both do so with one eye fixed firmly not on Syria but on their common adversary – Iran.

Aug 22, 2013

Rockets from Lebanon fired at northern Israel, no casualties

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A rare rocket barrage from Lebanon on Thursday deepened Israeli concern that al Qaeda-linked Islamist militants are opening a new front for confrontation with Israel.

The Israeli military said several rockets were fired from southern Lebanon, but that one was intercepted by an anti-missile shield and two or three others fell outside Israeli territory. However, Israeli security sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said at least five rockets hit Israel.

Aug 22, 2013

Israel says world paying ‘lip service’ to alleged Syria gas attacks

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel said on Thursday it believed Syrian forces had used chemical weapons in the killing of hundreds of people in the rebel-held suburbs of Damascus, and it accused the world of turning a blind eye to such attacks.

“The world condemns, the world investigates, the world pays lip service,” Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Israel Radio.

Aug 19, 2013

Concerned Israel quietly backs Egypt’s military

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel is urging the West to stick by Egypt’s army in its confrontation with the Muslim Brotherhood, quietly echoing warnings by U.S. regional ally Saudi Arabia against putting pressure on the military-backed government.

“Israel shares its views with the U.S. and some EU (European Union) countries, and those views are to give priority to restoring stability,” a senior Israeli official said on Monday.

    • About Jeffrey

      "Heller joined Reuters from United Press International in Tel Aviv in 1984 and transferred to London in 1987. He returned to the Middle East in 1992 as a senior sub-editor on the Middle East and Africa desk before taking up a post as correspondent, Jerusalem a year later. He is currently editor-in-charge in the Jerusalem bureau."
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