December 2008 Headlines

IDF Launches Gaza YouTube - JERUSALEM, Israel - The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) initiated its own YouTube channel,  where viewers worldwide can watch the pinpoint air strikes on Hamas installations in the Gaza Strip.

Mother Killed by Rocket Laid to Rest - ASHDOD, Israel - Friends and neighbors joined the family of the late Irit Sheetrit, 39, who died of injuries sustained in a Palestinian rocket attack.

Shin Bet Chief: Gaza Op Succeeding - JERUSALEM, Israel - Shin Bet (General Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin told Security Cabinet members that the Gaza op has dealt a heavy blow to the Hamas infrastructure.

Court Grants Press Limited Entry to Gaza - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel's High Court granted limited permission for foreign journalists to enter Gaza "at their own risk."

Gaza War: Grad Rockets Hit Beersheba - BEERSHEBA, Israel - The 200,000 residents of the southern Israeli city of Beersheba joined the growing number of western Negev communities coming under Palestinian rocket fire.

Three Israelis Killed by Rockets - JERUSALEM, Israel - Two Israelis were killed by rockets within an hour of one another on Monday, bringing the day's casualties to three.

Northern Troops on Heightened Alert - GOLAN HEIGHTS, Israel - Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troops stationed in the north have been put on heightened alert in anticipation of missile fire from Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon.

Praying during Rocket Attacks - JERUSALEM, Israel - The National Council of Young Israel launched Project SMS program to help Americans identify with Israelis pummeled by Palestinian rocket fire.

'Free Gaza' Yacht Turned Back - JERUSALEM, Israel - On Tuesday morning, the Israeli Navy turned back a Free Gaza Movement boat, which left Monday en route to the Gaza Strip.

UN Ambassador Defends Israel - NEW YORK CITY - Israeli UN Ambassador Gabriella Shalev defended Israel's Operation Cast Lead.

Anti-Israel Protests Rage Globally - AMMAN - While Jordanians burned Israeli flags, Egyptians demonstrated in Cairo, Alexandria and Assiut against the Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip.

Arab Press: Shalit Injured in Attack - GAZA STRIP - Arab news media broadcast a Hamas report that captured IDF (Israel Defense Forces) Corporal Gilad Shalit was injured during an Israeli air strike.

Nasrallah Blasts Egyptian FM - BEIRUT - Hezbollah spiritual leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah blasted Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit for holding Hamas responsible for the Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip.

Gaza Resident Petitions Court - GAZA STRIP - The High Court is reviewing a petition for clemency by a Gaza resident who said he has been working for the Shin Bet (General Security Agency) for the past year.

Grad Kills One, Injures 16 - ASHKELON - A direct hit by a Grad missile killed a Bedouin Arab worker and injured 16 others, five seriously, at a construction site in the center of the coastal city of Ashkelon. Several passersby were treated for shock.

Israeli Ground Troops Gather at Gaza Border - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli jet fighters and attack helicopters continued precision air strikes on Hamas sites in the Gaza Strip Monday, while artillery batteries and ground troops amassed at the border with the Gaza Strip.

Israel's Gaza Op Continues - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) continued to target Hamas power centers in Gaza city Monday morning, including two university laboratories used to store rockets and manufacture explosives, The Jerusalem Post reports.

Israel Launches Gaza Offensive - JERUSALEM, Israel - At a press conference Saturday afternoon, Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced that Israel launched an offensive in the Gaza Strip in response to escalating rocket fire on western Negev communities.

Hamas Denies Sharia Penal Code - JERUSALEM, Israel - Hamas has quickly denied this week's disclosure by the London-based al-Hayat (reported yesterday by Palestinian Media Watch) that the Palestinian legislature has voted for an Islamic penal code that would include hand amputations, crucifixion, lashes and executions.

British NGOs Christmas Attack on Israel - LONDON - Again this year, British NGOs are exploiting Christmas to promote their anti-Israel agenda, the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor reported.

Israel Transfers Aid to Gaza - GAZA STRIP - Despite ongoing rocket and mortar shell attacks on southern Israel, Defense Minister Ehud Barak opened the Kerem Shalom and Sufa border crossings Friday to transfer humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

PFLP Leader Gets 30 Years - JERUSALEM, Israel - An Israeli military court sentenced PFLP (Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine) chief Ahmed Saadat to 30 years in prison.

Lebanese Army Diffuses Eight Katyushas - NAKOURA, Lebanon - Lebanese army sappers and UNIFIL (United Nations) troops diffused eight Katyusha rockets, primed for launching at Israel Thursday night.

Israel's Messianic Jews: Some Call it a Miracle

In Israel, a resurgence in the number of Jews who believe in Jesus is getting a lot of attention. Many leaders say it's the strongest growth since the time of Jesus and that the Messianic movement could be on the brink of a great revival.

Hanukkah Miracle: 80 Rockets, No Injuries - JERUSALEM, Israel - The spokesman for Israel's national emergency rescue service said it was a miracle that no one was seriously injured or killed by the more than 80 rockets that hit the country Wednesday.

P.A. Forces on Christmas Duty - BETHLEHEM - About 500 Palestinian Authority (PA ) forces from Ramallah and Jericho were deployed to Bethlehem to provide security for Christian pilgrims during Christmas.

Israelis Visit Joseph's Tomb - SHECHEM, Israel - Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers accompanied a group of Israelis visiting Joseph's Tomb on Wednesday evening in biblical Shechem (Nablus).

Friends Mark Shalit's 3rd Hanukkah in Captivity - HERZLIYA, Israel - Family and friends of IDF (Israel Defense Forces) Corporal Gilad Shalit marked his third Hanukkah in captivity Tuesday evening.

Rishon Tours Hearing Set for February - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz scheduled the hearing in the Rishon Tours case against outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for February.

Hamas Sanctions Sharia Law - GAZA STRIP - The Hamas-ruled Palestinian legislature in the Gaza Strip recently passed a bill sanctioning Islamic sharia (religious) law.

Rockets, Missiles Rain Down on Israel - ASHKELON, Israel - Since midnight Tuesday, Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip bombarded southern Israel with more than 40 Kassam rockets, Grad missiles and mortar shells, damaging homes and factories and sending residents into shock.

Nazareth Village, Re-Creating Jesus' Birth

From childhood most of us learned a traditional version of the birth of Jesus. But scholars say that wasn't exactly the way it happened.

Mubarak Invites Livni to Cairo - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni will meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo Thursday to discuss extending the six-month temporary cease-fire with Hamas, which ended Friday.

British Tourist Finds Gold Coins - JERUSALEM, Israel - In the last days of a month-long visit to Israel, Nadine Ross, who came to volunteer at the City of David excavation, discovered a cache of 264 gold coins dating to the 7th century.

Ashdod Holds First Rocket Drill - ASHDOD, Israel - Under the auspices of the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) Home Front Command, the port city of Ashdod held its first-ever emergency preparedness drill in preparation for Palestinian rocket attacks.

500 New Israelis to Arrive by Year's End - TEL AVIV, Israel - Before 2008 comes to an end, 500 new immigrants will call Israel home.

The Festival of Lights - JERUSALEM, Israel - Everyone has a favorite holiday - one that brings smiles to his or her heart.

Israel Prepares for Gaza Op - JERUSALEM, Israel - The Israeli Foreign Ministry launched a series of diplomatic initiatives to pave the way for a possible large-scale military incursion in the Gaza Strip.

Record Number of Israelis Return - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israelis living abroad returned in record numbers during 2008, exceeding new immigrants by 50 percent.

Police on High Alert during Hanukkah - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel Police are on high alert for the eight-day Hanukkah celebration, which began Sunday evening.

PM's Legal Team Opts for Hearing - JERUSALEM, Israel - Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's legal team has requested a hearing on the Rishon Tours case, also known as "Olmerttours."

Rainfall Less than Half Annual Average - JERUSALEM, Israel - Since the beginning of the rainy season, there has been less than half the average annual rainfall, marking Israel's fifth below-average winter.

Hamas Declares End to 'Cease-Fire' - GAZA STRIP - Hamas announced its decision not to extend the six-month-old cease-fire Thursday evening.

Outgoing PM Pursuing Syrian Tract - JERUSALEM, Israel - Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert continues his efforts to negotiate with Syria, despite his role as the caretaker head an interim government, following his resignation from office three months ago.

More Second Temple Coins Found - JERUSALEM, Israel - A teenage volunteer sifting through rubble discarded by the Waqf (Islamic religious trust) from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City found a silver half-shekel dating to Second Temple times.

Families of Bus Crash to Sue Israel - JERUSALEM, Israel - Russian families, who lost relatives in the Wednesday's tour bus crash in southern Israel, waited for authorities to identify the bodies of their loved ones, flown home Thursday evening.

Police Drill Response to Rioting - JERUSALEM, Israel - Seven thousand police officers participated in the largest emergency drill ever held in Israel.

Knesset Speaker Third in Primaries - JERUSALEM - Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik finished third in the Kadima party primaries Wednesday, just after Foreign Minister and party chair Tzipi Livni and Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz.

Hamas to Announce Cease-Fire Decision - GAZA STRIP - On Friday, the day the six-month temporary calm with Israel ends, Hamas plans to announce whether or not it will extend the truce.

Arab Youth Using Drugs - RAMALLAH - Results of a study released Wednesday reveal that drug use among Arab teens exceeds that of their Jewish counterparts.

Russia Mulls Buying Israeli Drones - JERUSALEM, Israel - Russia would like to purchase Israeli-made drones (unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs), the chief of general staff of Russian armed forces said on Tuesday.

2008: Palestinians Sentence 11 to Death - A New York-based human rights group, which opposes the death penalty, complained that Palestinians issued 11 death sentences in 2008 to residents accused of "collaborating" with Israel.

IAF Hits Gaza Weapons Warehouse - GAZA STRIP - For the first time in six months, the Israel Air Force (IAF) targeted an artillery warehouse and a weapons manufacturing shop in the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu Meeting with Sarkozy in Paris - PARIS, France - Likud chairman and opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu will fly to Paris Wednesday evening to meet with French President Nicholas Sarkozy.

Netherlands Considers Boycott of Durban II - The Netherlands may be the third country to boycott the U.N.'s Durban II conference to be held in April.

Rockets Pound Israel before Truce Ends - WESTERN NEGEV, Israel - Two days before the six-month cease-fire with Israel ends, Palestinian terrorists pounded southern Israeli communities with rockets Wednesday afternoon, one exploding in the parking lot of a large shopping center in Sderot, lightly injuring three people.

Kadima Voting for Knesset List - JERUSALEM, Israel - The Kadima party, chaired by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, is holding its first-ever primary Wednesday to elect a Knesset list.

Deadliest Accident in Israel's History - EILAT, Israel - The bus crash Tuesday, which killed 25 Russian tourists and injured 33 people, 23 seriously, was the deadliest traffic accident in Israel's history.

President Bush Holds Hanukkah Reception - WASHINGTON - Outgoing U.S. President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush hosted the annual White House Hanukkah reception Monday evening.

IDF Kills Jenin al-Quds Commander - JENIN - In a joint counter-terror operation Monday evening, a senior Islamic Jihad commander was killed attempting to evade arrest.

Abbas Calls for April Elections

RAMALLAH - Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas plans to issue a presidential decree calling for elections in April, the London-based Arabic daily al-Hayat wrote.

Quartet: Mideast Talks 'Irreversible' - NEW YORK CITY - U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her colleagues in the Quartet (United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia) said there's no reversing the momentum of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Rocket Fire Brings Border Closures - ESHKOL REGIONAL COUNCIL, Israel - Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered border crossings to the Gaza Strip closed after Palestinians fired four rockets and a mortar shell on southern Israel Tuesday morning.

Messianic Jews Detained at Airport - TEL AVIV, Israel - A Messianic Jewish couple spent more than eight hours in detention at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport Sunday, charged with alleged missionary activities.

'Facing Jihad' Conference in Jerusalem - JERUSALEM, Israel - "Facing Jihad," a conference organized by Israeli MK (member of Knesset) Arieh Eldad (Hatikva party) took place Monday at Jerusalem's Menachem Begin Center.

'No room for Jews in the West Bank'

ABU DIS, Israel - Former Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister and chief PA negotiator said there will be no room for Jews anywhere in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) in the future.

Arab MK May Face Indictment - JERUSALEM, Israel - Attorney General Menachem Mazuz is considering charging Arab MK (member of Knesset) Said Naffa (Balad) with visiting an enemy state and contacting a foreign agent.

Arab Indicted for Beating His Wife - JERUSALEM, Israel - A newly married Israeli Arab will be tried for assaulting his wife for refusing to wear a Muslim veil.

Israel Submits Official Complaint to U.N. - NEW YORK CITY - In a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon, Israeli Ambassador Gabriela Shalev complained of Iran's continuing call to eradicate the State of Israel.

Livni Criticized for her Remarks - TEL AVIV, Israel - Foreign Minister and Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni's remarks on the fate of captured IDF (Israel Defense Forces) Cpl. Gilad Shalit drew sharp public criticism.

Israel Transfers $25+ Million to Gaza - GAZA STRIP - Israel transferred $25,730,843 million in cash to banks in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, ostensibly to pay November salaries to some 70,000 Palestinian Authority (PA) employees living there.

IDF at Gaza Border on Heightened Alert - GAZA BORDER - On Thursday, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Southern Command put troops along the border with the Gaza Strip on high alert for cross-border attacks.

Anti-Israel Christmas Carols in Britain - LONDON - A group of anti-Israel Arabs, joined by a few Jews, held a Christmas service in a church in central London, featuring "alternative" lyrics for traditional holiday carols.

Foreign Ministry Staffers to Fly Coach - JERUSALEM, Israel - The Israeli Foreign Ministry, headed by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, issued a directive to senior diplomats advising that they will no longer be permitted to fly business class to and from meetings abroad.

Security Cabinet Mulls Response to Rockets - JERUSALEM, Israel - Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak attended an emergency session of the Security Cabinet on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

Hezbollah Gives Carter a Thumbs Down - BEIRUT, Lebanon - Senior members of the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror organization turned down a request by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter to meet with them.

Israelis Told to Avoid Goa - JERUSALEM, Israel - The Israeli Counter Terrorism Bureau (CTB) admonished Israelis not to visit India's Goa region.

Poll: Likud Gaining Strength - JERUSALEM, Israel - A poll following Monday's Likud party primaries shows the party gaining strength.

New Radar for Rocket Launch Pads - JERUSALEM, Israel - A new radar system will allow the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) to more quickly locate and destroy rocket launching pads used by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Immigrant MDs Train for IDF Service - JERUSALEM, Israel - The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched a new training program for immigrant physicians, designed to meet the need for more army doctors.

Likud Veterans Prevail in Primaries - TEL AVIV, Israel - Political veterans and security-minded members of the opposition Likud party prevailed in the party's primary Monday, which was delayed by problems posed by computerized voting machines.

Iran's Missile Cache Multiplies Threefold - TEHERAN, Iran - Iran tripled its arsenal of long-range missiles over the past year, according to a report on Israel's Channel 10.

Carter Visits Beirut, Syria - BEIRUT, Lebanon - Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter arrived in Beirut Tuesday for meetings with Lebanese officials.

E.U. Upgrades Ties with Israel

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The 27-member European Union General Affairs and External Relations Council approved a broad upgrade of diplomatic ties with Israel, despite strong objections by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Egypt.

Israelis Urged to Avoid Greece - JERUSALEM, Israel - The Israeli Foreign Ministry posted a travel warning on its Web site, urging Israelis to avoid major Greek cities, which have been dealing with mass rioting for three days.

Students Deficient in Math, Science - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli students scored five points lower than last year in international math and science exams, finishing twenty-fourth out of 49 nations.

Gaza Jihad: Calm before the Storm - GAZA STRIP - Members of Islamic Jihad may be driven by hate for Israel and the US, but there's an element of respect as they train for war.

Iran Rejects Obama's Diplomatic Carrot - TEHERAN, Iran - Iran rejected U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's proposed "carrot-and-stick" policy, meant to dissuade the Islamic Republic's pursuit of enriched uranium and support of terror groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas.

IDF Prepares Ashdod for Rockets

ASHDOD, Israel - Residents of the Israeli coastal city of Ashdod and nearby communities of Kiryat Gat and Kiryat Malachi have received instructions on how to respond in the event of rocket attacks by Gaza-based Palestinians.

Barak Offers Holiday Gestures

JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak came up with his own basket of goodwill gestures for the Palestinian Authority (PA) to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Likud Primaries Underway - JERUSALEM, Israel - Likud party primaries got underway Monday morning, albeit with a delay in the nation's capital caused by a bulldozer that inadvertently severed fiber optic lines, disrupting phone service throughout the city.

Arab Teen Killed in Clan Shootout

ABU GHOSH, Israel - A clan shootout following a traffic argument took the life of a teen resident of an Israeli Arab city just outside Jerusalem.

A-Aksa Terrorist Killed in Nablus

NABLUS, West Bank - Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian terrorist during a counter-terrorism operation in Nablus (biblical Shechem) on Monday.

MK to Submit 'Anti-Islamization Legislation' - JERUSALEM, Israel - MK (member of Knesset ) Arieh Eldad (National Union/National Religious Party) plans to introduce legislation to "confront the enemy within and without."

State Closes One Case against Olmert - JERUSALEM, Israel - State Prosecutor Moshe Lador closed one of several investigations against outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Rabbis Bemoan Jews Fighting Jews - JERUSALEM, Israel - Rabbis in Israel were saddened by the government-ordered evacuation at the Beit Hashalom (House of Peace) in Hebron Thursday.

Attorney Exposes 'Acid Libel'

JERUSALEM, Israel - Yossi Fuchs, an attorney running on the Likud Knesset list, filed a libel complaint against a possibly fictitious report issued Thursday during the government's evacuation of Jewish residents of Hebron's Beit Hashalom (Peace House).

Egypt: No Islamic State at our Border - CAIRO, Egypt - A member of Egypt's ruling party said his nation would not accept an Islamic state at the border with Gaza.

Barak Orders Evacuation of Hebron House - HEBRON, Israel - Following a meeting with representatives of the Jewish residents of Beit Hashalom (Peace House) Thursday morning, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak made good on his threat to evacuate the premises.

Jerusalem Mayor Sworn In - JERUSALEM, Israel - Newly elected Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat was sworn into office Wednesday.

Abbas Plans to Purge City Councils

RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas hopes to replace Hamas-controlled municipalities and councils to ensure an additional year in office after his term ends on January 9.

More Boats to Gaza

GAZA STRIP - Just days after the Israeli navy denied a Libyan vessel free passage to the Gaza Strip, more trips are being planned by Arab groups claiming that they want to bring aid to Gaza.

IDF Commander: Gov't. Promoting Violence

HEBRON, Israel - The former commander of IDF (Israel Defense Forces) ground forces blamed the government for the violence at Beit Hashalom (the Peace House) in Hebron.

E.U. Plans to Push Peace Deal in 2009 - JERUSALEM, Israel - An internal European Union document, outlining the EU's plans to push for the establishment of a Palestinian state in 2009, has many Israelis concerned.

Knesset Hires Special Needs Workers

JERUSALEM, Israel - The Israeli Knesset (parliament) hired 15 special needs workers, who will enjoy the same benefits as other employees.

Cabinet Approves Prisoner Release

JERUSALEM, Israel - Despite protests by several Cabinet ministers, the government voted in favor of releasing 250 Arab prisoners on December 8 to coincide with the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Israel Boosts Security Abroad - JERUSALEM, Israel - Following last week's terror attack on the Chabad House in Mumbai, Israel has boosted security around embassies, consulates and other government offices abroad.

Brother Arrested for Suspected 'Honor' Killing

RAMLE, Israel - Israel Police officers arrested Mahmoud Abu-Ghanem on suspicious of murdering his teenage sister.

Tel Aviv Police on High Alert

TEL AVIV, Israel - Israeli police set up roadblocks Tuesday morning to traffic entering Tel Aviv, following warnings that Palestinians planned to carry out an attack.

Mumbai Nanny Heads to Israel

JERUSALEM, Israel - The nanny who saved the two-year-old son of the late Rabbi Gavriel and Rifka Holtzberg, killed by terrorists in Mumbai, will arrive in Israel Monday.

Israeli Navy Turns Back Libyan Ship

The Israeli navy turned back a Libyan ship bound for the Gaza Strip, provoking a wrathful response from the official Libyan news agency, which called the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) a "terrorist, Zionist army."

Israel Marks International AIDS Day

JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel joined with nations worldwide Monday, marking International Aids Day.

Lebanon Recognizes Palestinian State - BEIRUT, Lebanon - The Lebanese government will grant full diplomatic relations to the "state of Palestine," which includes raising the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Beirut to full embassy status.