Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert this week won German support for sanctions against Iran aimed at ending its nuclear program and flew to Italy to receive similar support there. But at home the buzz was all about his apparent acknowledgement of Israel’s own nuclear arsenal.
In an effort to prop up a faltering Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, the United States was seen as pressuring Israel this week to release more Palestinian prisoners and dismantle more unauthorized outposts. But there is widespread opposition to such moves by many Israelis.
Travelers to Israel or other international destinations could no longer be denied life insurance if a proposal by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners is adopted.
The proposal, which was adopted Sunday by the committee of the group that represents insurance regulators from all 50 states, is expected to be approved by the entire organization. It will then propose that it be enacted by each state.
As Israeli leaders continued to warn against the dangers posed should Iran develop nuclear weapons, Tehran reportedly conspired with Syria in August to have its Hezbollah proxies replace Yasir Arafat’s troops as the most important Palestinian force in Lebanon.
When Ariel Sharon returns to Israel at the end of this week, he will face what could be his most challenging two weeks as prime minister as he attempts to persuade his Likud Party to adopt his disengagement plan in a May 2 referendum.
Sharon hopes to use the commitments he won this week from President George W. Bush as leverage to garner support for the plan. But Shaul Goldstein, mayor of the regional council of the Gush Etzion bloc just south of Jerusalem, said that may backfire.
The national debate in Israel over the propriety of defending isolated settlements is expected to intensify after the Passover holiday as more than 200,000 Likud Party members are asked to approve Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s disengagement plan from the Gaza Strip.
An Israeli air raid on a Hamas training camp in the Gaza Strip Monday night that killed 15 terrorists and injured 30 has prompted Hamas to consider retaliating against Israeli or Jewish interests abroad, according to an Israeli expert on Arab groups.
Stephen Weiner of Sunnyside, an alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention that convened here this week, said that more and more of his fellow congregants at the Young Israel of Sunnyside who voted against George W. Bush four years ago are planning to vote for him in November.
The fierce fighting that occurred at midweek in the south Lebanese village of Bint Jbail, (in which a reported 14 Israeli soldiers were killed and more than a dozen wounded) has caused at least one prominent analyst to question Israel's handling of the war.
"I think it will raise doubts in Israel about the whole rationale and logic about using only more force in this war," said Yoram Meital, chairman of the Herzog Center for Middle East Studies and Diplomacy at Ben-Gurion University.
Jessica Leifer, a college student studying Hebrew this summer at the University of Haifa, went into a bomb shelter for the first time last Thursday just as a “precaution.” But when she went in again Sunday, it was the real thing.
“We heard intermittent booms,” Leifer, 20, said of the missiles that exploded nearby and kept her in the shelter for three hours.