Did the current round of violence start because of the death of a 13-year-old boy on November 8?

Israel struggles to land the Leviathan

February 17, 2016 | Or Avi Guy

Five years ago a massive offshore reserve of natural gas – appropriately named Leviathan – was discovered approximately 170 km. off the Israeli coast, approximately 4.5 km. underwater. Since then, attempts to tap into the gas field have stalled, as new challenges emerged at each step of the way.

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Video: Prof. Efraim Inbar on Iran, the Islamisation of the eastern Mediterranean and more

February 12, 2016

This post contains video excerpts of renowned Israeli academic Professor Efraim Inbar of Bar-Ilan University describing the current situation for Israel and the challenges it faces, including the troubling US-led nuclear deal with Iran, the growing Islamisation of the eastern Mediterranean, the spate of Palestinian stabbing attacks, and Israel’s developing relations with Asia.

Growing Aussie and Asian investment in the Israeli start-up scene

Growing Aussie and Asian investment in the Israeli start-up scene

February 12, 2016 | Sharyn Mittelman

Israel is widely considered an international leader in entrepreneurship, technology and innovation, and it is said to have the highest density of start-ups per capita.  Now Aussie and Asian businesses and investors increasingly want to be part of the Israeli start up action, as seen by the many recent announcements of new business partnerships with Israeli companies.

Understanding and "explaining" Palestinian terrorism/Israel's NGO problem

“Understanding” and “explaining” Palestinian terrorism/Israel’s NGO problem

February 12, 2016

This Update leads with some discussion of the moral and political problem with the tendency of some, including, recently, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, to attempt to explain and “understand” why Palestinians resort to terrorism even as one condemns the specific acts. It also contains a long, important discussion of the debate in Israel over proposed new transparency regulations for the many Israel-based Non-Governmental Organisations which gain most of their funding from European governments.

Syrian peace talks fail as Assad makes military gains

Syrian peace talks fail as Assad makes military gains

February 11, 2016

In the Syrian civil war, the Assad regime has been making major gains of late, thanks in large part to Russian assistance, and looks likely to regain most or all of the parts of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, which it had lost to rebel groups over recent years. Meanwhile, last week’s peace talks in Geneva, on which the US and other members of the international community had placed most of their hopes, failed to achieve anything and have been suspended. This Update is about the nexus between these two pieces of news.

Gaza and Hamas' Tunnels/ The French Peace Ultimatum

Gaza and Hamas’ Tunnels/ The French Peace Ultimatum

February 4, 2016

This Update offers two pieces on the situation in Hamas-ruled Gaza – where Hamas openly admits its priority is building tunnels into Israel to facilitate terrorism while internationally-funded rebuilding efforts there remain sluggish. A further piece analyzes the implications of a recent French ultimatum demanding an international peace conference be called to create an Israeli-Palestinian two state resolution, or else Paris will recognise “Palestine” as a state.

Israel gets no credit for settlement construction curbs

Israel gets no credit for settlement construction curbs

February 3, 2016 | Ahron Shapiro

If a long-term freeze on approvals for new construction in West Bank settlements and east Jerusalem happened without the Israeli government publicly acknowledging or announcing it, shouldn’t it still count as a concession for peace? And what does it say about the goals of the Palestinian leadership, which apparently knew about the gesture and yet continued to accuse Israel of “massive settlement expansion” and use settlements as a pretext to avoid negotiations?

Israel's relationship with Greece

Israel’s relationship with Greece, Cyprus and its implications for Turkey

February 2, 2016 | Sharyn Mittelman

For decades Israel had no significant natural resources – but its recent gas finds in the Mediterranean have made it an energy superpower. This in turn seems to be providing the Jewish state with new opportunities for diplomatic partnerships that will bring both economic and strategic benefits.

Mahmoud Abbas

Mahmoud Abbas, incitement, and Palestinian politics

January 29, 2016

This Update features three articles discussing how Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas fits into the more problematic aspects of Palestinian politics, such as incitement to terrorism and misuses of foreign aid – as well as his current position within his own Fatah party.

Israeli government launches major program to boost investment in Israeli Arab sectors

Israeli government launches major program to boost investment in Israeli Arab sectors

January 22, 2016 | Sharyn Mittelman

Israel’s cabinet has approved a five-year plan worth around $15 billion shekels (US$3.85 billion) for social and employment development for Israel’s Arab community. The plan seeks to improve education, public transportation, highway infrastructure, employment, public security, law enforcement, sports ands community services, as well as facilitate the future construction of tens of thousands of housing units in minority communities.

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