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Orthodox Jews arrested in Israel anti-conscription protest

Israeli police arrested five ultra-Orthodox Jews who threw stones at them during a Jerusalem protest Thursday against a new law making men in their community subject to compulsory national service. "Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in (the ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood of) Mea Sharim, stopped traffic and threw stones and bottles at police," Micky Rosenfeld told AFP, adding that five of them were arrested. The demonstration came a month after parliament adopted a law that will compel ultra-Orthodox Jews to either serve in the military or perform civilian service.

Kerry returns to Israel after Paris talks

US Secretary of State John Kerry is returning to Israel on Monday and will land in Tel Aviv, a senior US official said in France. Kerry, who held talks on the Ukraine crisis in Paris with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov at the weekend, will possibly also hold meetings in Jerusalem and Ramallah over Monday and Tuesday, the official said. "Our negotiating team has been working with both parties on the ground to help them agree on a path forward, and Secretary Kerry has kept in close touch with his counterparts by phone," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Israel to allow materials into Gaza for Turkish hospital

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel said on Thursday it will allow into the Gaza Strip construction materials and electric equipment to help build a Turkish-sponsored hospital, in a possible sign of improving ties with Ankara. The decision came as Israel and Turkey try to hammer out the details of a U.S.-backed reconciliation announced a year ago. Relations between the once-close allies ruptured in 2010 over a deadly Israeli naval raid on a Turkish Gaza-bound flotilla.

Arab summit refuses to recognise Israel as 'Jewish state'

Arab leaders fully back a Palestinian refusal to recognise Israel as a Jewish state, an Israeli demand that threatens to derail peace talks, a joint statement said on Wednesday. "We express our total rejection of the call to consider Israel as a Jewish state," said the final declaration of the two-day Arab summit in Kuwait. oh-lyn/bpz

Britain's Cameron puts Iran on guard, sets out support for Israel

By William James JERUSALEM (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron denounced Iran's government as a "despotic regime" in a speech to Israel's parliament on Wednesday and accused Tehran of making "despicable" efforts to arm Palestinian militants. His address to the Knesset was staunchly pro-Israeli, and he delighted his hosts by claiming Jewish ancestral roots and talking tough on Iran, which is in negotiations with world powers on curbing its contested nuclear ambitions.

British PM pledges to fight attempts to boycott Israel

Britain will stand firm against attempts to delegitimise or boycott Israel, Prime Minister David Cameron told MPs in Jerusalem on Wednesday, shortly before Palestinian militants fired at least 25 rockets at the Jewish state. Speaking at the outset of a two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, Cameron gave a 20-minute address to the parliament, pledging "rock solid" support for Israel's security and expressing "deep scepticism" over Iran's nuclear intentions in a speech which checked all the right boxes and won him sustained applause.

Britain opposes boycotts of Israel

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday voiced opposition to boycotts of Israel, as he spoke in the Israeli parliament during a two-day visit to the Holy Land. "Britain opposes boycotts," he said, referring to trade unions campaigning for the exclusion of Israelis, and universities trying to stifle academic exchange. "Delegitimising the State of Israel is wrong. It's abhorrent. And together we will defeat it." hmw-jad/bpz

The threat of Israel boycotts more bark than bite

By Crispian Balmer JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Though voices are getting louder inside and outside Israel about the threat of economic boycotts for its continued occupation of Palestinian territories, there seems little prospect of it facing measures with real bite. With a number of European firms already withdrawing some funds, Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid has warned that every household in Israel will feel the pinch if ongoing peace talks with the Palestinians collapse.

The threat of Israel boycotts more bark than bite

By Crispian Balmer JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Though voices are getting louder inside and outside Israel about the threat of economic boycotts for its continued occupation of Palestinian territories, there seems little prospect of it facing measures with real bite. With a number of European firms already withdrawing some funds, Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid has warned that every household in Israel will feel the pinch if ongoing peace talks with the Palestinians collapse.

Along with international boycott efforts, Israeli settlements also facing pressure from within

PESAGOT, Palestine - These days, when Yaakov Berg tries to sell his award-winning line of Psagot boutique wines, he encounters obstacles from every direction. As a Jewish vintner in a West Bank settlement, his product is increasingly considered off-limits. "Not just overseas, also in Tel Aviv," says Berg, 37. "So we have big problems. Actually, it's almost impossible to sell in (Tel Aviv) restaurants."
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