Israel News for the New Year

-An association of hundreds of Israeli rabbis called the Rabbinical Congress for Peace – Pikuach Nefesh recently wrote U.S. President George Bush and asked him to cancel his planned visit to Israel next week. The also issued a religious ruling declaring that “the Olmert government, this evil government, has no right to exist; it must be abolished and disappear from this world.” (Haaretz)

-With a threat looming that the university semester will be cancelled altogether, Olmert says he will not intervene in the strike. (The Jerusalem Post)

-University presidents are seeking an injunction from the National Labor Court to end the professors’ 10-week-old strike, and in response, some senior faculty in four of Israel’s seven universities are circulating no-confidence petitions, calling for resignations and impeachment. (Haaretz)

-Israel’s top police commander indicated that the role of the Israel Police would be redirected toward fighting crime rather than on responding to terror. There will be increased emphasis on public corruption cases, the war on drugs, the trafficking of women and forged identity documentation. (The Jerusalem Post)

-And in another sign, the Magen Unit, established to protect Egged users, will be discontinued. (The Jerusalem Post)

-The human rights group B’Tselem reported that the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces in 2007 has fallen by almost two-thirds from 2006 and that the number of Kassam attacks against Sderot and the Gaza periphery fell from an average of 149 per month in 2006 to 109 per month in 2007. (The Jerusalem Post)

Ten promising young scientists describe their 2007 work, which ranges from fighting depression, cancer and AIDS, to teaching languages to computers and working to improve human memory. (Haaretz)

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