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Thu, Dec 20, 2012 News From Israel

Israel’s 15th Chief of Staff laid to rest

Foreign Minister denies wrongdoing and says he’d act the same way today

Nurses’ strike ends

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Former Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen Amnon Lipkin-Shahak was laid to rest on Thursday. Lipkin-Shahak died on Wednesday at age 68 after a lengthy battle with cancer. In addition to his widow and children, Lipkin-Shahak was eulogized by current Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who all described him as a brave man of values.

Last week Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein announced that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman would be indicted on fraud and breach of trust charges for allegedly using his influence to promote the former Israeli ambassador to Belarus because the ambassador illegally leaked information about an investigation against him. On Thursday Lieberman told Channel 2 that if he had to do it again, he would behave the same way regarding the ambassador. Lieberman denied any wrongdoing, saying that it was only his beard and Russian accent which made him a suspect.

The nurses' union signed an agreement with the Finance Ministry on Thursday morning, ending a 17-day-old nationwide strike. According to the agreement nurses in the public health system will receive a 14% wage increase over a period of 4.5 years.

Israel's Central Elections Committee on Thursday rejected a petition to disqualify the right-wing Strong Israel Party from running in January national elections. The petitioners claimed the party is undemocratic and racist, in contradiction of Israeli law. The committee also rejected a petition by women's organizations to disqualify the ultra-Orthodox parties for not including women on their Knesset lists.

Heavy rains and winds reached Israel on Thursday. Snow fell in the north, and the Sea of Galilee's water level rose by about 10 centimeters.

President Shimon Peres on Thursday delivered a Christmas greeting to Christians in Israel and over the world. Peres was attending a holiday reception in Haifa hosted by Archbishop Elias Chacour.

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