JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel is lobbying world powers not to ease their pressure on Iran to curb its disputed nuclear programme should Tehran cooperate with the West in beating back Sunni Muslim insurgencies that have spiralled from Syria into Iraq.
A lightning advance has seen Sunni fighters rout the army of Iraq’s Shi’ite-led government and seize the main cities across the north since last week, prompting Iran, the Middle East’s main Shi’ite power, to state that it is prepared to intervene to defend Shi’ite holy sites in Iraq.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s Defense Ministry has for weeks been engaged in a public battle with the Finance Ministry, which is seeking to slash Israel’s largest budget and dismisses warnings that cuts will make it harder to protect the Jewish state.
The Treasury is seeking an $870 million cut in defense funds, which at about $14.5 billion make up some 17 percent of Israel’s total budget. The Defense Ministry in turn has cautioned it will Israel’s security will be compromised unless its funding is increased.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The United States should change its role in the Middle East peace process allowing for more direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Israel’s chief negotiator Tzipi Livni said on Saturday.
The U.S.-brokered peace talks veered toward collapse this week, prompting a warning from Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday, that Washington was evaluating whether it was worth continuing its role in the negotiations.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel may impose a partial settlement freeze to keep U.S.-brokered peace talks with the Palestinians alive, an Israeli source close to the negotiations said on Tuesday.
The proposed halt to Israeli public construction in the occupied West Bank would be part of a package that includes the release of Jonathan Pollard, an Israeli spy jailed in the United States, and hundreds of Palestinians held by Israel.
JERUSALEM/GAZA (Reuters) – Egypt brokered a ceasefire on Thursday aimed at ending a flare-up of rocket attacks from Gaza on Israeli towns and Israeli air strikes in the Palestinian enclave, the Islamic Jihad militant group said.
There was no immediate word from Israel, but a senior Defence Ministry official said earlier in the day he expected the fighting to die down soon.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s parliament on Wednesday approved a contentious law that abolishes blanket military exemptions for ultra-Orthodox Jewish seminary students, ending a tradition upheld since the state’s foundation.
Finalized after months of political wrangling and likely to spark ultra-Orthodox rage, the legislation will be implemented fully in 2017 and limit the annual number of ultra-Orthodox men excused from compulsory military service to 1,800 granted “gifted scholar” status.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A bitter mayoral race in a town that has become a symbol of religious and political divisions in Israel ended on Wednesday with the victory of its ultra-Orthodox Jewish incumbent over his secular challenger.
Moshe Abutbul won the re-vote in Beit Shemesh, a town near Jerusalem that has become a focus of national attention in the Jewish state where secular-religious tensions often flare.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel approved a change to electoral law on Tuesday that raises the percentage of votes needed for seats in parliament, an amendment that critics said targets Arab and ultra-Orthodox Jewish minorities.
The opposition in the Knesset, or parliament, boycotted the 67-0 vote which supporters said will bring greater stability to government. Many of Israel’s governing coalitions have fallen or were disbanded before the end of their terms due to unsustainable alliances among ultranationalist, religious, centrist and left-wing legislators.
BEIT SHEMESH, Israel (Reuters) – When this Israeli town goes to the polls on Tuesday, the vote may decide more than a bitter mayoral race. Many see it as a bellwether for the strained secular-religious relations throughout the Jewish state.
Municipal votes rarely raise passions in Israel, but this one – a rerun of an election last October – is different. Two courts ordered it after finding voter fraud in the original ballot that returned the ultra-Orthodox mayor to office.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Two gunmen on a motorcycle killed a man as he drove near Tel Aviv’s bustling beachfront on Saturday, in what Israeli police suspected was the latest in a wave of gangland murders and attacks.
The drive-by shooting took place in broad daylight, as families and tourists walked nearby on the afternoon of the Jewish Sabbath.