Guy Leshem

Sharon: Indispensable, Not Indestructible

TEL AVIV — After holding its collective breath for two long hours this past Sunday night, waiting for news of Ariel Sharon’s health, Israel appeared to shrug off the prime minister’s mild stroke as a passing incident and returned to normal.Beneath the nonchalance, however, was a palpable uncertainty. The stroke reminded Israelis that

Corruption Looms Large as Israeli Campaign Begins

TEL AVIV — The recent conviction of Prime Minister Sharon’s most trusted political confidant — his son Omri — is dragging the long-festering issue of government corruption into the Israeli election campaign.Just minutes before the prime minister officially registered his new Kadima party last week, he directed aides to strike his son’s

Netanyahu, Defense Minister Face Off for Likud’s Top Spot

TEL AVIV — When Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz announced his candidacy to lead Israel’s ruling Likud Party this past Monday, he was not just challenging the party’s presumed heir-apparent, Benjamin Netanyahu. He was indirectly challenging his own political mentor, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who had founded the Likud but left it

New Labor Chief Upends Israeli Politics

TEL AVIV — Surging out of the gate after his upset win in last week’s Labor Party leadership primary, union firebrand Amir Peretz scored a rapid series of tactical victories this week and appeared poised to remake Israeli politics into a competitive sport for the first time in years.Peretz, 53, a political maverick who heads the powerful

Israel Stalls On Removal Of Outposts, Official Says

TEL AVIV — Israel is stalling on the removal of illegal outposts, according to the official who wrote a government report on the matter.Eight months after the Cabinet approved her investigative report showing collusion by government agencies in the construction of illegal West Bank settlement outposts, the government has taken no significant

Talks With P.A. Halted After Shootings

TEL AVIV — Prospects for renewal of Israeli-Palestinian dialogue, already stalled in the wake of two canceled summits this month, went into a deep freeze this week following a pair of Palestinian terrorist attacks in the West Bank that left three Israelis dead and five wounded over the post-Yom Kippur weekend.Israel immediately

Poverty and Crime Rates Reveal Israel’s Failure To Absorb Ethiopian Immigrants

TEL AVIV — Following a wave of violent incidents, political controversies and alarming sociological findings regarding the poverty-plagued immigrant community, Prime Minister Sharon has agreed to head up a campaign to boost public support for Ethiopian Israelis.The campaign, which is being organized by the Jewish Agency for Israel, is set to

Sharon Scores a Likud Victory, But Still May Form New Party

TEL AVIV — Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon emerged from his latest battle against top Likud rival Benjamin Netanyahu with an unexpected victory and a significant bounce in the polls. But Israeli political players and prognosticators still are guessing whether Sharon will stay put in the Likud Party or jump ship to form a new,

Reform Rabbi Sues Israel for State Salary, In Latest Bid To End Orthodox Monopoly

TEL AVIV — In one of the strongest challenges ever to Orthodox religious dominance, an American-born Reform rabbi who serves a kibbutz of mostly American immigrants has petitioned Israel’s Supreme Court to demand a state salary as a municipal rabbi.The suit, submitted to the court this week by the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, the

Palestinians Destroy Synagogues in Gaza

TEL AVIV — Monday’s dramatic scenes of synagogues being vandalized and, in some cases, destroyed by Palestinians in Gaza reminded Oded Tira of Israel’s pullout from the Sinai Desert nearly a quarter-century ago.Tira, a retired brigadier general in the Israeli army, was in charge of the 1982 evacuation of Yamit, the last Jewish settlement