Archive for March, 2010

Mar 13 2010

America’s secret weapon against Iran

The American flag used for ceremonial receptions at the Ben Gurion airport must be worn out already, as a slew of Obama administration officials and US military top brass are visiting Israel almost on a daily basis.

Joe Biden (photo: Munich Security Conference 2009)

Joe Biden (photo: Munich Security Conference 2009)

The list of dignitaries stopping by in the last two months alone includes national security adviser Jim Jones, CIA director Leon Panetta, Senator John Kerry and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Admiral Michael Mullen. Topping them all off is Vice President Joe Biden, who finished his five-day visit last Friday.

The hunch that something big is going on is underscored by the simultaneous high-profile visits in Washington of Israeli defence minister Ehud Barak (in February) and of Gabi Ashkenazi, the chief of general staff (right now).

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Mar 11 2010

The fur ban

Brigitte Bardot is not a frequent lobbyist in the Israeli parliament, so her three consecutive letters to Knesset members, urging them to approve an all-out ban on the fur trade in Israel, seem to have left their mark. “All the world’s eyes are turned towards you”, wrote the French animal rights activist and former actress, adding flatteringly: “I am personally counting on your help”.

Brigitte Bardot

Brigitte Bardot

Bardot’s foundation is just one of many international animal rights organisations watching closely as Israel prepares to pass a bill that would make it the first fur-free country in the world.

Already hailed as “an historic event”, the bill will ban importing, producing and selling of fur and fur items from all mammals, except for fur on shtreimels, the fur-trimmed hats worn by married ultra-orthodox Hassidic Jewish men. While each of those hats is made of no less than 24 fox tails, their wearers number only a few thousand.

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