• As UAE hails Israel accord, silence from Saudi Arabia
    DUBAI/RIYADH, August 14 (Reuters): As media and people in the United Arab Emirates hailed the Gulf state's deal to normalise relations with Israel as a diplomatic victory that helps the Palestinians, silence reigned in Saudi Arabia, longtime figurehead of regional policy towards Israel. Analysts see the surprise UAE-Israel agreement announced on Thursday as a strategic boost for the UAE's regional and global standing that could put it ahead of its powerful Saudi neighbo
  • Turkey may suspend ties with UAE over Israel deal, Erdogan says
    ISTANBUL, August 14 (Reuters): Turkey is considering suspending diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates and withdrawing its ambassador over the Gulf state's accord to normalise ties with Israel, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday. The Turkish foreign ministry said history would never forgive the UAE's "hypocritical behaviour" in agreeing such a deal, which recasts the order of Middle East politics. Under the U.S.-brokered, the first between Israe
  • With Trump's help, Israel and the United Arab Emirates reach historic deal to normalize relations
    WASHINGTON, August 13 (Reuters): Israel and the United Arab Emirates reached a historic peace deal on Thursday that will lead to a full normalization of diplomatic relations between the two Middle Eastern nations in an agreement that U.S. President Donald Trump helped broker. Under the agreement, Israel has agreed to suspend applying sovereignty to areas of the West Bank that it has been discussing annexing, senior White House officials told Reuters. The peace deal was the p
  • Israeli hospital trials super-quick saliva test for COVID-19
    RAMAT GAN, Israel, August 13 (Reuters): A newly developed saliva test aims to determine in less than a second whether or not you are infected with the novel coronavirus, Israel's largest medical center said on Thursday. Patients rinse their mouth with a saline wash and spit into a vial. This is then examined by a small spectral device that, in simple terms, shines light on the specimen and analyses the reaction to see if it is consistent with COVID-19. With machine learn
  • Israel successfully tests Arrow-2 missile interceptor, says U.S. missile agency
    WASHINGTON, August 13 (Reuters): Israel successfully tested its Arrow-2 ballistic missile interceptor on Wednesday, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said. "The Arrow-2 interceptor successfully performed its planned trajectory and destroyed the target," the Pentagon agency said in a statement. The Arrow-2 and a newer generation system, Arrow-3, serve as the top tier of an integrated Israeli shield built up with U.S. backing to withstand various potential missil
  • 'Your time is up': Thousands protest against Netanyahu over COVID-19 and alleged corruption
    JERUSALEM, August 9 (Reuters): Thousands of Israelis rallied outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem on Saturday as anger mounted over corruption allegations and his handling of the coronavirus crisis. "Your time is up", read the giant letters projected on to a building at the protest site, as demonstrators waved Israeli flags and called on Netanyahu to resign over what they say is his failure to protect jobs and businesses affected by t
  • Israeli leaders locked in budget battle as economic crisis deepens
    JERUSALEM, August 4 (Reuters): A stand-off between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main coalition partner over passage of Israel's budget threatens to trigger its fourth election in a little over a year amid an economic crisis fuelled by the coronavirus outbreak. A ballot is automatically mandated if a budget is not approved by parliament by Aug. 25. Analysts are concerned that a new election and likely protracted coalition talks afterwards would have a crippling
  • Israel's Netanyahu condemns protests against him, criticises media
    JERUSALEM, August 2 (Reuters): Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu struck back on Sunday at demonstrations calling for his resignation, accusing protesters of trampling democracy and the Israeli media of encouraging them. Netanyahu, who was sworn in for a fifth term in May after an election, has often complained of press bias against him, and some of the charges he faces in a corruption trial relate to alleged attempts to seek favourable coverage from media barons in return for s
  • 'Last Supper' artwork of feasting Netanyahu irks Israeli leader
    TEL AVIV, July 29 (Reuters): A statue in a Tel Aviv square of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enjoying a "Last Supper" feast added new bite on Wednesday to mounting protests against his handling of the coronavirus crisis. Netanyahu, whose popularity has plunged in opinion polls amid 21.5% unemployment, said his depiction in a mock tableau of Jesus's final meal before his crucifixion, was tantamount to a death threat. In the installation, Netanyahu sit
  • Tears for toddler's return to Israel after accidental coronavirus exile
    AFULA, Israel, July 23 (Reuters): Melaniya Petrushanska spent almost a sixth of her life in accidental exile after Israel sealed its borders while she was abroad on what was meant to be a short holiday. The three-year-old daughter of Ukrainian immigrants had a tearful reunion with her parents this week after an Israeli airline agreed to bring her back, with a special escort, from Kyiv, where she had flown with her grandmother in January. Return flights had dried up as Israel
  • Labour abuse fears rise for Thai migrant workers in Israel under new deal
    BANGKOK, July 21 (Thomson Reuters Foundation): Thai agricultural workers in Israel will be at greater risk of labour abuses under a new partnership between the governments, advocates said, voicing concerns that the United Nations migration agency (IOM) would no longer oversee the process. Thailand's Department of Employment (DOE) this week signed a deal with the Israeli government - replacing a 2010 agreement that was facilitated and managed by the IOM - to keep sending 5,0
  • Israelis protest against Netanyahu, government handling of COVID-19 crisis
    JERUSALEM, July 19 (Reuters): Israeli police used water cannons to disperse demonstrators around Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence on Saturday as protests mounted against him over alleged corruption and his handling of the coronavirus crisis.   Hit by high unemployment, a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases and reimposed coronavirus curbs, Israelis have taken to the streets in almost daily demonstrations against the government.   Public anger has bee
  • Netanyahu's corruption trial to hear first witnesses in January
    JERUSALEM, July 19 (Reuters): Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's corruption trial will begin in earnest in January with witnesses being heard three times a week, a court decided on Sunday.   Lawyers for Netanyahu, the first serving prime minister in Israel to go on trial, had asked for a six-month postponement to prepare their strategy. They suggested it would be difficult to gauge the truthfulness of witnesses wearing anti-coronavirus masks, currently comp
  • Netanyahu ally wants West Bank 'cultivation' now, not annexation
    JERUSALEM, July 17 (Reuters): Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's top coalition partner wants Israel to shelve planned West Bank annexations and instead focus on improving conditions for Jewish settlers and Palestinians in the occupied territory, two cabinet ministers said on Friday.   Centrist ex-general Benny Gantz and the conservative Netanyahu agreed to begin discussing annexations as of July 1, but the plan -- already dogged by diplomatic blowback -- has been s
  • Coronavirus resurgence sidelines Israel's annexation planning
    JERUSALEM, July 15 (Reuters): A coronavirus resurgence in Israel and divisions within Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government have sidelined its plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, officials said.   Although the conservative Netanyahu and Defence Minister Benny Gantz, his centrist coalition partner, agreed the government could begin moving on annexation as of July 1, there has been "close to zero" cabinet-level discussion on the issue, o
  • Israelis protest against government response to coronavirus
    TEL AVIV, July 12 (Reuters): Thousands of Israelis demonstrated on Saturday in Tel Aviv, angered by what they say has been an inept government response to the economic hits they have taken during the coronavirus crisis.   In keeping with restrictions on public gatherings, police limited the number of people allowed into Tel Aviv's Rabin square for the rally as nearby streets filled with demonstrators wearing face masks.   "I have 40 workers with no i
  • Palestinians hope Biden would roll back Trump's embrace of Israel
    RAMALLAH, West Bank, July 9 (Reuters): Palestinian leaders hope Democrat Joe Biden will tone down Washington's pro-Israel policies if he becomes U.S. president, and Palestinian-Americans have been pressing his campaign for a change, sources familiar with the efforts said.   So far, their efforts have had little impact, the sources said.   U.S. President Donald Trump has recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital, moved the U.S. Embassy to the city and m
  • Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan warn Israel on annexation
    BERLIN, July 7 (Reuters): Egypt, France, Germany and Jordan warned Israel on Tuesday against annexing parts of the Palestinian territories, saying that doing so could have consequences for bilateral relations.   In a statement distributed by the German Foreign Ministry, the countries, which include two of Israel's leading partners in the Middle East, said their foreign ministers had discussed how to restart talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. &nbs
  • Israel reimposes series of restrictions after coronavirus spike
    JERUSALEM, July 6 (Reuters): Israel reimposed on Monday a series of restrictions to fight a spike in coronavirus infections, including the immediate closure of bars, night clubs, gyms and event halls.   In public remarks at a special cabinet session on the health crisis, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had to reverse course to avoid a wider lockdown that could paralyse its economy, where unemployment is just above 20%.   "The pandemic is sp
  • UK PM Johnson tells Israel: do not annex parts of the occupied West Bank
    LONDON, July 1 (Reuters): British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Israel it should not go ahead with a plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, cautioning that London would not recognise any changes to the 1967 lines.   "Annexation would represent a violation of international law," Johnson said in an opinion piece for Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s top-selling daily. "It would also be a gift to those who want to perpetuate the old stories a