Ofer Shelah

Coalition Talks Offer Few Slots To Old Soldiers

TEL AVIV — Although the signs were visible well before Israel’s March 28 elections, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz refused to believe that his term at the helm of Israel’s most sensitive ministry was actually drawing to a close. “I don’t believe he [Prime Minister Ehud Olmert] would give up on me,” Mofaz told the Forward shortly before

Daring Raid on Prison Shows A Newly Aggressive Olmert

Whatever else he might have accomplished in this week’s dramatic raid on a Jericho prison, Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert certainly put his personal stamp on Israel’s political agenda. If any Israelis were still wondering about Olmert’s leadership skills and his mastery of things military, they’ll now have the images from Jericho to

Defense Chief Calls for Second Disengagement

TEL AVIV — Barely 48 hours after the victory of Hamas in the Palestinian parliamentary elections — a victory that no Israeli intelligence agency foresaw — the government in Jerusalem had replaced its initial shock with a “wait and see” attitude. The prevailing tone was that in the end, something good might come out of the

Netanyahu Recaptures the Likud Party, at Least What’s Left of It

TEL AVIV — Early this past Monday morning, as the first voters made their way to the polls to vote in the Likud leadership primary, party front-runner Benjamin Netanyahu visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Addressing reporters afterward, Netanyahu said he “prayed for the health of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon,” who had suffered a

Bitter Divisions Could Split Likud Party

TEL AVIV – For the first time in Israeli history, the ruling party has started the process of deposing a reigning prime minister — and its quite possible that the internal Likud fight could mean defeat for both sides.Barely two-and-a-half years after enjoying its most resounding victory in the polls, the Likud is about to embark on a political

Soldiers, Police Praised After Evacuating Settlements

EIN HASHLOSHA, Israel — As the residents of Netzarim, the last Israeli settlement in Gaza to be evacuated, left the area Monday, the respective commanders of the Israeli military and police southern commands, Dan Harel, a general, and police chief Uri Barlev, met the press in what was tantamount to a victory ceremony.They maintained a collected,

More Tears Than Blood Shed In Disengagement’s Early Days

NEVE DEKALIM, Gaza — For months, Israelis have been hearing about the massive opposition awaiting Israeli military and police forces should they try to implement the disengagement plan. But as the day finally arrived, the evacuating forces were met with scattered and leaderless resistance from youths in the streets and families waiting

As Poverty Surges, Bibi Quits Finance Post. His Aim: Oust Sharon

TEL AVIV — Israel earned the dubious distinction this week of being the Western nation with the highest proportion of its children — one in three — living in poverty. An annual report released Tuesday by the National Insurance Institute, Israel’s Social Security office, showed that the number of Israelis living below the poverty line had

Sharon, Netanyahu Maneuver As Election Battle Looms

TEL AVIV — Although Israel’s disengagement from Gaza wasn’t scheduled to begin for another week and a half, the political circus known as the Day After Disengagement had its informal kickoff this week with the submission of the government’s 2006 budget proposal.It was a budget notably short on the draconian cuts for which Finance

Sharon’s Future Seen in Doubt As Son Faces Criminal Charges

TEL AVIV — Just two weeks before the commencement of what could be the decisive political step in his career — pulling Israeli troops and settlers out of Gaza — Ariel Sharon suffered one of his career’s most serious political and personal blows: the indictment of his son, Omri, on campaign finance violations.The indictment, announced