Haaretz Correspondent

Voter Turnout Proves Heavier Than Expected

Some 65 percent of eligible Israeli voters cast their ballots in the state’s general elections on Tuesday. This was approximately 2.5 percent higher than the number of votes gathered by the same time during the last elections in 2006.

Mubarak: Hamas To Blame for Arab Casualties

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak voiced harsh criticism against Hamas on Wednesday, accusing the Islamist Palestinian movement of being responsible for the shedding of Arab blood.

Following Rocket Attack, Israel Bombs Gaza Tunnels

An Israel Air Force aircraft bombed smuggling tunnels connecting Gaza with Egypt on Tuesday after a rocket launched from the Islamist Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip struck the southern port city of Ashkelon, Gaza residents and Hamas officials said.

President Obama Prioritizes Middle East Peace

President Barack Obama pledged on Monday that his new Middle East envoy George Mitchell would engage “vigorously and consistently” in the quest for Israeli-Palestinian peace and would seek concrete results.

Israel Begins Gaza Withdrawal

The Israel Defense Forces began a partial withdrawal of ground troops from the Gaza Strip on Sunday evening, hours after ending a three-week offensive on the Hamas-ruled coastal territory. The move also came shortly after Gaza’s Hamas rulers announced a one-week cease-fire, despite continuing rocket fire on southern Israel.

Human Rights Groups Warn of Gaza Health System Collapse

Nine human rights organizations joined forces on Wednesday to call for emergency humanitarian relief for the population of the Gaza Strip. At a meeting Wednesday, they warned of a complete collapse of the health system in Gaza, with at least 850 chronically ill patients and hundreds of wounded who have not been treated. They also fear outbreaks of infectious diseases resulting from the collapse of the water and sewage systems in Gaza.

Months of Planning and Public Deception Preceded Gaza Strikes

Long-term preparation, careful gathering of information, secret discussions, operational deception and the misleading of the public — all these stood behind the Israel Defense Forces “Cast Lead” operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, which began Saturday morning.

Calling It Quits, Olmert Opts Out of Kadima Primary

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Wednesday that he has decided not to contend in the Kadima primary election and would resign as soon as the new party leader was chosen, due to the criminal investigations that have embroiled him in recent months.

Islamic Jihad Swears Revenge as 13 killed in Israeli Raids in Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces on Tuesday continued its assault on Gaza Strip militants responsible for the Qassam rockets that batter southern Israel on a daily basis, raising the death toll among Islamic Jihad and Hamas to 13 in the past 24 hours.

Israel's Conservative Movement Threatens To Sue Ex-Chief Rabbi

Israel’s Masorti (Conservative) Movement is threatening legal action against former Sephardi chief rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu for saying that “the reek of hell wafts” from Reform and Conservative synagogues, and it is therefore forbidden to walk by them.