Wednesday, 27 February 2008
By: Channel 4 News
More4 News reports on the prominent Israeli religious politician who has caused controversy by saying that earthquakes are the result of the liberalisation of laws on homosexuality.
It may seem bizarre and offensive, but the views of Schlomo Benizri are not quite as marginal as they may sound. The Shas party has four cabinet ministers and ten per cent of the MPs in the Knesset.
From Jerusalem, Matthew Kalman reports.
NEWS BLOG February 27, 2008
Jerusalem An Israeli student was killed today in a Palestinian rocket attack on Sapir College, in Sderot, in southern Israel.
Ron Yichia, a 47-year-old student, died after suffering chest wounds when a rocket fell near his car in the parking lot of the college. The campus had been hit at least twice before, but Mr. Yichia was the first campus fatality and the first person to die in Sderot since May 2007, following daily rocket barrages from the nearby Gaza Strip.
Hamas said it had fired the rocket. The Palestinian group said the attack was a response to Israeli security measures that have wreaked havoc on the Palestinian territories, including the killing of five Palestinian militants this morning.
David Brennan, chairman of the Sapir College Student Union, called on the Israeli government to do more to stop the attacks, which have left Sderot and surrounding communities close to economic collapse. A statement issued by the Israeli Foreign Ministry accused Hamas and other Palestinian groups of committing war crimes by taking aim at civilian installations like Sapir College. Matthew Kalman
Tuesday, 26 February 2008
Tuesday, February 26th 2008
By Matthew Kalman
Special to the News
JERUSALEM - Ariel Sharon turns 80 Tuesday and the family of the comatose, stroke-stricken former prime minister is now facing another tragedy as one of his sons heads off to prison.
Omri Sharon, the eldest son of the lionized military hero, begins a nine-month prison sentence tomorrow after the country's Supreme Court let stand his election finance fraud conviction.
Before he goes, Omri and his brother Gilad will visit their dad today along with their children.
Sharon remains in a vegetative state since he was felled by a massive stroke in January 2006.
He is in Sheba Hospital in Tel Hashomer, north of Tel Aviv. Two plainclothes officers from the Shin Bet secret service are on permanent 24-hour guard outside his door.
"There has been no recent change in his condition," said David Weinberg, a hospital spokesman.
Sharon is able to breathe without assistance but is fed through a tube. He could remain alive but unconscious for years, experts said.
Thursday, 21 February 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
By MATTHEW KALMAN
A new report on the brain drain from Israeli universities suggests
that the ratio of Israeli academics working in the United States to
those in Israel is nearly 25 percent.
The report, "Brain Drained," is based on a study by Dan Ben-David of
the department of public policy at Tel Aviv University. It says that
"a massive policy breakdown" in higher education has created
conditions in which "the rate of academic emigration from Israel to
the United States is unparalleled in the Western world."
In the report, Mr. Ben-David argues that a shortage of university
teaching and research posts here "has made it extremely difficult for
young new researchers to return to Israel," and so "a large and
growing number of Israel's top researchers and scientists have
emigrated from the country, primarily to the United States."
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development, 82,905 foreign scholars worked at American universities
in 2003-4, representing 7.1 percent of the combined senior academic
Of those, the largest single group was 3,117 British scholars,
representing 2.1 percent of the senior academic faculty in Britain.
Among Canadian scholars, the ratio of those residing in the United
States that academic year to those in Canada was 12.2 percent.
Philosophers From Afar
Israeli scholars were far ahead of that rate. "The 1,409 Israeli
academics residing in the States in 2003-4 represented 24.9 percent of
the entire senior staff in Israel's academic institutions that
yeartwice the Canadian ratio and over five times the ratio in the
other developed countries," writes Mr. Ben-David.
He says that the numbers of Israelis working in the United States are
equal to one-eighth of all Israel's chemists, 15 percent of the
country's philosophers, and 29 percent of "top Israeli economists."
"The group with the greatest proportional representation in the top
American departments is computer science," he reports. "The number of
Israelis in just the top 40 U.S. computer-science departments
represents a full third of the entire contingent remaining in Israel."
Israel's educational policy makers have been concerned for some time
about a brain drain. A government committee that reported last year on
reforms in higher education recommended specific new spending to
encourage talented young academics to stay in Israel and to lure back
those who had left.
Rabbi Michael Melchior, chairman of the education committee in the
Knesset, Israel's Parliament, puts the total number of Israeli
academics abroad at about 3,000 - more than double the figure cited by
"It costs about $1-million to train and educate someone to professor
level," Mr. Melchior told The Chronicle. "So we've paid about
$3-billion, which has been thrown out of the window."
Monday, 18 February 2008
By MATTHEW KALMAN in Jerusalem
A WOMAN has declared herself the oldest living person after her birth certificate was uncovered, showing she is 120.
Mariam Amash rises at 5am, walks unaided and puts her longevity down to eating lots of vegetables.
She said: 'Yes, I am the oldest person in the world. I eat, drink and take showers. I hope to keep going for another ten years.'
Her Ottoman Empire birth certificate says she was born near her home in Jisr az-Zarka, northern Israel, in 1888.
Mrs Amash, who is a Bedouin Muslim, has ten children, 120 grandchildren, 250 great-grandchildren, and 30 great-greatgrandchildren.
The oldest living person in the Guinness Book of Records is Edna Parker, of Indiana, who is 114.
Mrs Amash's age came to light this month when she applied to the Israeli interior ministry to renew her ID card.
Official Moshe Hazut said: 'She was born during the Ottoman period, when the population registry was very inaccurate. It is possible she is younger – or even older.
'She was perfectly capable of walking by herself. Her hearing is impaired but she seemed fine, God bless her.'
Thursday, 14 February 2008
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE : Thursday, February 14, 2008
Matthew Kalman, Chronicle Foreign Service
Jerusalem -- Shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday, an aide handed Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak a brief message of no more than five words. Barak glanced at the note, pursed his lips, and continued briefing reporters about his trip to Turkey.
Monday, 11 February 2008
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS : February 11th 2008
BY MATTHEW KALMAN in Jerusalem and DAVE GOLDINER in New York
DAILY NEWS WRITERS
Rabbi Avrohom Mondrowitz
An Israeli judge ruled Sunday that a disgraced Brooklyn rabbi accused of sexually abusing children more than two decades ago can be extradited to the U.S.
Rabbi Avrohom Mondrowitz, who fled to the Jewish state in 1984 to avoid prosecution, could now be headed back to Brooklyn within a matter of months to face sodomy and sex abuse charges.
"It's good news," said Michael Lesher, who represents several of the rabbi's alleged victims. "This order means he'll be on the way back to face trial."
Mondrowitz, 60, a married father of seven, could still appeal the decision to the Israeli Supreme Court, a move that could take nearly a year to resolve.
"There's still some work to be done," said Jerry Schmetterer, a spokesman for Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes. "We look forward to bringing him to justice in Brooklyn."
Mondrowitz was arrested last year after the U.S. and Israel agreed to broaden their extradition pact.
The rabbi argued that the statute of limitations had run out on his alleged crimes.
But Judge Nava Ben-Or ruled Mondrowitz should not benefit from fleeing prosecution.
"When someone is escaping justice it is only fair and reasonable that this period of time is not taken into account," said Gal Levertov, an Israeli Justice Department official.
Dressed in a long black coat and yarmulke, the shackled Mondrowitz sat impassively as the judge read his decision.
His wife and children sat behind him, but were prevented by two guards from touching or talking to him.
"I'm very proud of my kids. I'm always proud of my kids," Mondrowitz said to his family as he was led away.
"We're proud of you, too," one of his sons cried out.
Mondrowitz was once a popular child psychologist and youth counselor in Borough Park, where he was especially well-known among Hasidic Jews.
He fled to Israel after several boys filed horrific complaints claiming he sodomized them after befriending them or taking them on outings to amusement parks and movies.
One of Mondrowitz's victims told Lesher he was pleased that the rabbi is one step closer to facing trial for his alleged crimes.
"It's been a long time to see any sort of justice," Lesher said. "We feel we are tangibly closer now."
Tuesday, 5 February 2008
From Matthew Kalman in Jerusalem
SUICIDE bombers struck in Israel for the first time in a year
yesterday, killing a woman at a shopping mall.
But the carnage could have been much worse as only one of the two
bombers involved managed to detonate his bomb.
The second Palestinian was knocked over by the blast when his comrade
blew himself up in the town of Dimona.
An Israeli doctor, thinking the stunned man was one of the wounded,
ran to his side and tore open his jacket, only to discover he was
wearing a suicide belt. As the doctor backed away a policeman stepped
up and shot the Palestinian at point-blank range, killing him.
The blast occurred only a couple of miles from Israel's most sensitive
military site, the nuclear reactor in the desert just outside Dimona.
The Palestinians came from Gaza and entered Israel via the Sinai
Desert through the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.
The border was breached two weeks ago when Hamas blew up the barrier
and smashed through it with bulldozers.
Responsibility for the attack was claimed by the Al-Aqsa Brigades of
Fatah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
In Gaza, residents handed out sweets and flowers and fired into the
air to celebrate.
Al-Aqsa Brigades spokesman Abu Fouad boasted that 'the attack has been
planned for a month, but was only made possible after gunmen bombed
He identified the bombers as Mussa Arafat, 23, and Lawai Abwaini, 20.
Arafat's father said: 'Thank God he died a martyr.'
In the alley outside Abwaini's home in Gaza City, the bomber's father
held up a picture of his son and praised him as a hero.
But his mother Ibtissam, remained inside, sitting on a mattress on the
floor and sobbing uncontrollably. She said she had learned of her
son's death from neighbours.
She cowered when her husband and other men in the family reprimanded
her for grieving.
Dr Baruch Mandeltzwieg, a local doctor who tried to treat the injured
in Dimona, said the second bomber was bleeding from the head when he
ran up to try to help him.
'His head was moving,' said Dr Mandeltzwieg.
'We started to treat him and then we saw an explosive belt … I managed
to see a small gas canister and small plastic bags attached to his
Tony Blair, special peace envoy for the Middle East, who is due in the
area today for talks, condemned the bombing as a 'despicable act of