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News: Israel sees tourism surge as investment pays dividends

According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, the country welcomed 3,611,800 million tourist entries in 2017, up by a quarter on the previous year, and 29 per cent on 2015. A total of 290,000 tourist entries were recorded in December 2017, about 17 per cent more than December 2016 and 47 per cent more than December 2015. There were about 308,000 visitor entries in December (including day visitors). The United States remains the largest source country for incoming tourists, with 778,800 tourist entries in 2017, 20 per cent more…

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Israel strikes Gaza Hamas sites after rocket attacks

Israel says it has targeted a number of sites belonging to militant group Hamas in retaliation for rocket strikes. The Israeli military says it hit a weapons manufacturing site and an ammunition store early on Saturday. Three rockets were fired from Gaza to Israel in the past day, with one hitting the southern city of Sderot. Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians have increased since US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Wednesday’s decision reversed decades of US neutrality on the matter. Frank Gardner: Counter-terror efforts at risk? Israel…

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Jerusalem: Israel braced for protests over Trump declaration

Israeli forces are on high alert for protests in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank against the US declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Hundreds of extra police have been deployed in Jerusalem’s Old City, and additional battalions sent to the West Bank, after clashes there on Thursday. Dozens of Palestinians were hurt in the violence as protesters fought troops. Donald Trump’s announcement was hailed by Israel but condemned across the Arab and Islamic world. Western allies of the US have also disavowed the move, which reversed decades of US…

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Same sex marriage opponent Israel Folau reportedly got married on the day of 'yes'

Rugby player and vocal opponent of same sex marriage Israel Folau, 28, reportedly married Kiwi netballer Maria Tutaia, 30 – the day the results of the same sex marriage vote were announced. The pair announced their engagement in October last year. Play VideoDon’t Play Up Next Same-sex marriage: debate begins Play VideoDon’t Play Video duration 01:55 More National News Videos Previous slideNext slide Same-sex marriage: What happens next Now Australians have voted in favour of marriage equality, it’s up to our politicians to make it law. Political reporter Michael Koziol explains just what that…

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Priti Patel quits cabinet over Israel meetings row

Priti Patel has resigned as UK international development secretary amid controversy over her meetings with Israeli officials. She was ordered back from an official trip in Africa by the PM and summoned to Downing Street over the row. In her resignation, Ms Patel apologised and said her actions “fell below the standards of transparency and openness that I have promoted and advocated”. The PM said her decision was “right” as “further details have come to light”. Ms Patel had apologised to Mrs May on Monday after unauthorised meetings with Israeli…

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Priti Patel's cabinet future in doubt over Israel trip row

Priti Patel’s future as international development secretary is understood to be increasingly uncertain amid a row over her conduct in a visit to Israel. She has apologised for meeting Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in August without telling the Foreign Office in advance. Labour want an inquiry into whether she has broken the ministerial code. BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said sources suggested Ms Patel was in “serious trouble” as new details about unofficial meetings were examined. The Sun reported that No 10 had demanded Ms Patel “come clean” about any…

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Priti Patel held undisclosed meetings in Israel

The International Development Secretary held undisclosed meetings in Israel without telling the Foreign Office while accompanied by a powerful pro-Israeli Conservative lobbyist, the BBC has learned. Priti Patel met the leader of one of Israel’s main political parties and made visits to several organisations where official departmental business was reportedly discussed. According to one source, at least one of the meetings was held at the suggestion of the Israeli ambassador to London. In contrast, British diplomats in Israel were not informed about Ms Patel’s plans. Ministers are by convention supposed…

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