Israel facing major economic challenges as voters head to polls
27 March 2021 | 2:28 pm
Israel's economy has weathered the Covid-19 pandemic better than most, with a contraction in GDP of only 2.4 percent in 2020. Demand for Israeli technology exports plus its rapid vaccine rollout helped to reduce the economic impact, but there are fears that employment may take years to return to pre-pandemic levels. Also today, we look at efforts in France to push more employers to boost remote working arrangements, as lockdown is imposed in several regions of the country. Local officials are to increase inspections of businesses to ensure their compliance with government guidance.
In this article
In November of 1995, a Jewish extremist murdered Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, marking a turning point in the country's history. For some, Rabin's assassination partially catalysed the death of a certain path towards peace with Palestinians and a sense of unity among Israelis.
The Israeli government has said it would seek to speed up the process for citizens to obtain firearms licenses in the wake of attacks in East Jerusalem.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged a "strong, swift and precise" response following deadly attacks in Jerusalem. The Israeli military also sent more troops into the West Bank.
The US secretary of state strongly condemned recent attacks by Palestinian gunmen in east Jerusalem, but also urged restraint from Israelis in their response.
As any diplomat will tell you, your friends' friends aren’t necessarily your friends. We knew that at the start of the war in Ukraine, when Israel made sure to keep up relations with Russia so it could keep on targeting Moscow ally Syria. Did that all change last Saturday night in Isfahan? Israeli drones reportedly targeted a defence facility in Iran's third-largest city.
From withholding nearly $40 million in tax revenue from the Palestinian Authority, to pledges to expand West Bank settlements and the Israeli security minister's controversial visit to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the first months of Israel's most far-right government in history presage a bleak outlook for peaceful relations between Israelis and Palestinians.
Israel's government said it would would legalize nine settlements in the occupied West Bank after recent attacks by Palestinians in Jerusalem. Several Western countries said they are "deeply troubled" by such a move.
At a meeting of foreign ministers, Germany's Annalena Baerbock urged Israel to abandon a plan to start executing terrorists. Her Israeli counterpart, meanwhile, warned that Iran now poses a threat to Europe.
In an interview with FRANCE 24 from Tel Aviv, former Mossad chief Dany Yatom expressed deep concern at the prospect of Israel becoming a "dictatorship". For weeks, Israel has been rocked by a wave of protests against a bill that would curtail the independence of the country's highest court.
Israelis have been protesting a judicial overhaul planned by the country's ultranationalist government. The gap between supporters and opponents of the controversial reform is widening.
More major protests in Israel against proposed justice reforms forced visiting US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hold talks at or near Ben Gurion airport.
In Israel, the ongoing protest movement against judicial reform has now spread to the ranks of the army and in particular, reservists of elite units. In recent weeks, hundreds of them have published open letters to express their doubts about continuing to serve if the plans of Benjamin Netanyahu's government are adopted.
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